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Movie Stars in Commercials March 4th, 2013 | Author: David

Movie Stars in Commercials

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I read on Japan Today the other day that Leonardo DiCaprio has made a commercial for whisky. Apparently, the commercial will only be shown here in Japan. I remember reading about this phenomenon before I even came to this country. The book I read said that most of the foreign celebrities who made commercials here had a clause inserted in their contract guaranteeing that they would never be shown in any other country.

The problem is that Japanese commercials seem very strange to Westerners, and a lot of the celebrities were worried about how it would affect their image back home. Not long after I arrived in Japan, I remember seeing Bruce Willis doing a commercial for tobacco in which he just looked at the camera and said, “Speak Lark,” which is a completely meaningless utterance. I have to admit that I thought he looked pretty silly.

Another problem is that Japanese commercials tend to be very formulaic. For example, if anyone needs to make a commercial for beer, please just give me a call. I will be able to write one for you quite easily: 1) Show a fit, handsome guy running up a hill or doing some exercise; 2) show him drinking the beer; 3) have him turn to the camera and say “うまい!” That’s pretty much it!

I think the reason for this lack of variety is that Japanese companies tend to be very conservative and don’t want to try anything new. I used to have a friend who was a TV producer in Tokyo. I asked her once why all Japanese TV shows follow the same format, and she said it’s because the sponsors are so conservative. Basically, she said that they will not sponsor anything unless it has an established “talent” and a popular format, so the programme makers can’t try anything new even if they want to.

Many of the comments on the JT article mentioned the idea of people “losing respect” for celebrities who just come to Japan to make a commercial, take the money, and go straight back home. I think that is a bit silly. Making commercials is just part of their job, and if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?

The point of this entry is that I would like to know what Japanese people think of commercials that feature foreign celebrities. Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it? Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general? Are there any you particularly like or dislike?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか?」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ!

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Comments

  1. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 3:45

    *Sorry! I should have posted this earlier!

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the explanation, I got it now.

    Hi YU,

    Sorry, maybe my comment was a bit illogical. I didn’t mean that the word “killing” was suitable for just “whales” because of the size. In Japanese, we say “catch(獲る、捕る、採る)” animals/fish/shellfish to eat, and we hardly ever say “kill” something to eat, although we are actually killing them. I actually do understand the nuance/feeling that we avoid the word “kill” when it comes to eating. We kind of euphemize the word “kill” because it’s too direct. However, when we discuss these issues, I don’t think we need to use euphemized expressions, as I said, it’s obvious that we are actually killing the whales, and so do other people think.
    I hope you get what I meant this time.

  2. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 5:28

    Hi David,

    Sorry for bothering you so many times, but I guess there’s something wrong with the audio file you posted for the new entry. Could you take a look?

  3. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 5:29

    Hi David,

    I’m translating your entry now.
    I have some questions.

    > if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?

    1. Why “some Japanese company wants”? not “some Japanese COMPANIES WANT”?

    2. What words are omitted after “then why not”?
    Maybe “then why not have them do the work which reflects the money they get”?

    > Are there any you particularly like or dislike?

    3. You mean, “Are there any points….” or “Are ther any commercials….”?

  4. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 5:29

    Hi David,

    Sorry again! I can hear it this time.

  5. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 6:36

    Hi YU,

    I think I can answer your questions.

    1. “some” doesn’t always mean “いくつかの”, it also means “ある”, so for this case, it means “ある日本の企業が~~したいと考えているなら”

    2. I think the words omitted are “then why not (the celebrities) take the day’s job and get a huge amount of money (even if the commercial was something strange or meaningless to the Westerners)?

    3. “Are there any TV commercials…”

  6. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 6:50

    Hi Biwa,

    Thak you for your help!

    As for No.3, I was not really sure if he meant about “points” or “TV commercials” because of the sentence right before.

  7. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 7:11

    今週のエントリーの訳です。

    Movie Stars in Commercials

    I read on Japan Today the other day that Leonardo DiCaprio has made a commercial for whisky. Apparently, the commercial will only be shown here in Japan.
    先日レオナルド・ディカプリオがウィスキーのコマーシャルの撮影をしたというJapan Todayの記事を読みました。そのCMは日本でしか流されないそうです。

    I remember reading about this phenomenon before I even came to this country. The book I read said that most of the foreign celebrities who made commercials here had a clause inserted in their contract guaranteeing that they would never be shown in any other country.
    既に日本に来る前にその事に関して(本で)読んだ覚えがあります。私が読んだ本には日本でCM撮影する外国の有名タレントたちのほとんどはそのCMが日本以外で決して流されないと保証することをCM契約の際の条件の一つに入れていると書いてありました。

    The problem is that Japanese commercials seem very strange to Westerners, and a lot of the celebrities were worried about how it would affect their image back home.
    問題は日本のCMは欧米人にはとても奇妙に見えるという点です。ですから多くの有名人がそのCMが本国での彼らのイメージに悪影響を与えるのでは、と心配しているのです。

    Not long after I arrived in Japan, I remember seeing Bruce Willis doing a commercial for tobacco in which he just looked at the camera and said, “Speak Lark,” which is a completely meaningless utterance. I have to admit that I thought he looked pretty silly.
    来日後まもなくブルース・ウィリスがタバコのCMに出演しているのを見たのを覚えています。そのCMの中の彼はただカメラに向かって全く意味のない「Speak Lark」というセリフを言うだけでした。

    Another problem is that Japanese commercials tend to be very formulaic. For example, if anyone needs to make a commercial for beer, please just give me a call. I will be able to write one for you quite easily:
    もうひとつの問題点は日本のCMはパターン化しがちだ、という点です。もしだれかビールのCMを制作しなければならないなら電話1本もらえれば私がが簡単に作ってさしあげますよ、こんな感じで:

    1)Show a fit, handsome guy running up a hill or doing some exercise;
    鍛えた身体のハンサムな男性が丘に駆け上る、または何か運動しているのを見せる
    2)show him drinking the beer
    彼がビールを飲んでいるのを見せる
    3)have him turn to the camera and say “うまい!”
    彼にカメラに向かって「うまい!」と言わせる
    That’s pretty much it!
    大体こんなところでしょう!

    I think the reason for this lack of variety is that Japanese companies tend to be very conservative and don’t want to try anything new.
    日本のCMがバラエティに欠けているのは日本の企業がとても保守的で何か新しいことに挑戦したがならいからではないか、と思います。

    I used to have a friend who was a TV producer in Tokyo. I asked her once why all Japanese TV shows follow the same format, and she said it’s because the sponsors are so conservative.
    前にテレビ局のプロデューサーをしている友達がいました。彼女になぜ日本のテレビ番組はどれも同じような構成ばかりなのか聞いてみたことがあります。彼女はスポンサー企業がものすごく保守的だからだ、と言っていました。

    Basically, she said that they will not sponsor anything unless it has an established “talent” and a popular format, so the programme makers can’t try anything new even if they want to.
    基本的に企業は番組が既に知名度のあるタレントと採用し、評判の良い、大衆向けの企画内容を採用しない限りスポンサーにならない、だからいくら制作側が新しい事をやりたくてもできない、と言っていました。

    Many of the comments on the JT article mentioned the idea of people “losing respect” for celebrities who just come to Japan to make a commercial, take the money, and go straight back home.
    そのJapan Today の記事に寄せられたコメントの多くがCMを撮りに来日してギャラをもらい、すぐに帰国していく海外セレブたちに対してみんな興味や憧れを持たなくなってきている、というようなことが書かれてありました。

    I think that is a bit silly. Making commercials is just part of their job, and if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?
    でもそれってちょっと変だな、と私は思います。コマーシャル撮影はれっきとした彼らの仕事の一部だし、日本の企業の方から海外セレブに即日終了するような楽な仕事に莫大なギャラを払うとわざわざ言ってきているのだから、そんなおいしい話を断るバカはいますか?

    The point of this entry is that I would like to know what Japanese people think of commercials that feature foreign celebrities. Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it? Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general? Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
    今回のエントリーでは日本のみなさんが海外の有名人たちが出演するCMに関してどう思っているのか知りたいと思っています。そういうCMは彼らのイメージアップにつながっていると思いますか、それともイメージダウンになると思いますか?また、TVコマーシャル全般に関してどう思いますか?特に好きなCM、嫌いなCMはありますか?

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
    皆さんの意見を聞くのを楽しみにしています。

  8. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 8:08

    Hi everyone,

    >Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it?

    Jean Reno acts as Doraemon in TOYOTA commercial, Tommy Lee Jones acts as a home delivery service staff and an alien in BOSS canned coffee commercial. I don’t really think Japanese people would lose their interest or respect for them because of the silly CMs, rather I think they would learn to feel close to them.

    > Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general?

    I find Japanese TV commercials fine.
    I didn’t like German TV commercials very much. I always felt there was nothing funny in them. I think Westeners tend to seek as much information as possible through TV commercials whilst Japanese people tend to be satisfied with knowing the image of the company or product.

    > Are there any you particularly like or dislike?

    I can’t think of any at the moment…

    > Basically, she said that they will not sponsor anything unless it has an established “talent” and a popular format, so the programme makers can’t try anything new even if they want to.

    I know what she means, but companies sponsor TV shows because they want as many people as possible to see their TV CMs to sell their products. So, no wonder why they like an established “talent” and a polular format.

  9. Kattie
    Commented on
    2013/03/04 at 9:20

    Hi Biwa,

    I tried to post a comment yesterday about emotional intelligence but I couldn’t send it – there was a problem with the CAPTCHA Code. I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you so I thought I’d send a little comment now.
    > Is it something like the ability or capacity to understand your own and other people’s emotions?

    Yes that’s right and, as you guessed, the term does come from psychology, although I think it’s quite a new psychological term. There are a lot of seemingly very intelligent people who score highly in conventional IQ tests but when it comes to succeeding at work, or in their home life, they aren’t very successful and this is probably because they lack emotional intelligence so they are not attuned to other people’s feelings.

  10. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 9:25

    Hi Kattie,

    Thanks for your comment, I didn’t feel you were ignoring me at all. I think so, too, that it’s quite a new psychological term, but more and more people are getting aware of the idea especially when they talk about the bad effects of IT technology. If people(especially young children) indulge themselves in the virtual world too much, it’s just natural that they grow up lacking emotional intelligence. Of course those technologies have good sides, so it’s really hard to keep the balance, I guess.

    Hi everyone,

    Honestly speaking, I don’t really have any special feelings towards TV commercials. I just hate the way the programs are interrupted so often by them!
    Also, for some programs, they go back to some part after the commercials, so we are forced to see the same thing again. Maybe it’s for some viewers that join from the middle, but it’s like padding out a 30-minute worth program into an hour, and it’s really disgusting.

    I can’t think of any commercials in particular, so I’m looking forward to hearing other members’ thoughts, too.

  11. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 9:30

    Hi YU,

    >Making commercials is just part of their job

    I think the translation for this part should be like “コマーシャル撮影は彼らの仕事のほんの一部に過ぎないのだから”

  12. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 9:59

    Hi Biwa,

    時間がないので日本語で失礼します。

    >Making commercials is just part of their job
    “コマーシャル撮影は彼らの仕事のほんの一部に過ぎないのだから”

    私も最初そう訳すと思ったのですが何となく前後の文と噛み合わないな、と感じたんですよね。

    それと「ほんの一部」と訳すのならなぜ”just A part of job” じゃないのかな?っていう気もしました。こういう場合冠詞はいらないのかな。わからないや。

    仕事の1つである=れっきとした仕事の一部(ひとつ)と意訳してしまいました。でも私もBiwaの訳の方が合っていると思います。

    では、出かけてきます!

  13. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 1:16

    Hi YU,

    ではでは私も日本語で。

    辞書によると、「~の一部」は”(a)part of”で、”a”が付かないことの方が一般的だそうです。但し、”a large part of the job”などのように修飾語が付く場合は”a”が必要です。

    YUの意訳で問題ないと思いますが、私はこんな風に理解しました。違ったら教えてください。
    「それ(コマーシャル撮り)は、彼らの仕事の中のほんの一部なのだから(それが彼らのすべてではない訳だから)、そんなことで人々がセレブに対する憧れや興味を持たなくなるのってちょっと変だよね?」

  14. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 1:56

    Hi Biwa,

    >辞書によると、「~の一部」は”(a)part of”で、”a”が付かないことの方が一般的だそうです。

    私も訳しているときgoogle検索して”a” のないパターンの方が多くヒットしたのでそっちの方が一般的なのかな、と思いました。

    >YUの意訳で問題ないと思いますが、私はこんな風に理解しました。違ったら教えてください。

    違ってるかどうかは私にはわからないのですが。。。(汗)

    >「それ(コマーシャル撮り)は、彼らの仕事の中のほんの一部なのだから(それが彼らのすべてではない訳だから)、そんなことで人々がセレブに対する憧れや興味を持たなくなるのってちょっと変だよね?」

    なるほど、そういう解釈もありますね、というかそっちの方が正しいんじゃないでしょうか?

    私は「人々はセレブたちのそういう変な仕事にうんざりして興味や憧れを失っているみたいだけど、それってちょっと変だよね。だってそういう仕事は(まさに)彼らの仕事の一つ(なだけ)だし、楽な仕事で莫大なギャラを払うと企業側がオファーしているのだから受けない方がおかしいでしょ?」

    私は”just”を「まさに~なだけ」と考え、「まさに彼らの仕事の1つなだけ=れっきとした仕事」と意訳しました。

    でもBiwaの訳の方が自然だと思います。ちょっと言い方が違うだけで私たち2人の訳の方向性は結局同じなんじゃないかしら。

  15. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 2:17

    Hi YU,

    I hope we’re not putting other members off by writing so many comments! lol!

    >ちょっと言い方が違うだけで私たち2人の訳の方向性は結局同じなんじゃないかしら

    I think so, too. The Japanese is not a big deal as long as everyone gets the context correctly.
    つまり、Making commercials~ 以下の文章は,”I think that is a bit silly.”の理由であり、この”that”とはつまり”the idea of people losing respect”である、ってことが分かれば、訳し方は人それぞれですね。(お騒がせしました!)

  16. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 2:47

    Hi Biwa,

    >I hope we’re not putting other members off by writing so many comments! lol!

    以前amoが訳の間違いを指摘してくれたとき、Davidがほかのメンバーも訳をチェックするのは勉強になるから良いことだ、と言っていたのでこのやりとりも勉強だったと考えて良いのでは?

    >(お騒がせしました!)

    いえいえ、私の和訳は「早いだけが取り柄」みたいなところがあったし、何となく「本当にあってるのかな~」といつも不安&孤独感を感じていたので逆にうれしかったですよ。:-)

    では!

  17. Mika
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 2:57

    Hi Biwa,

    You don’t need to worry other members at all.
    I really enjoy reading your commments.
    Thank you!!

  18. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 8:04

    Hi YU and Biwa,

    Sorry I couldn’t join your discussion – it’s been a crazy couple of days. I had to go to the printer’s yesterday to arrange the printing of a new book.

    As Biwa explained, “some” is a casual way of saying ある〜.

    A: Who was that?
    B: Just some guy I met yesterday.

    In this exchange, B’s use of “some” shows that the person’s identity is not very important.

    Please let me know if there are any other points you still need help with.

  19. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/05 at 8:52

    Hi David,

    Biwa helped me with solving my questions, but thank you.

    > As Biwa explained, “some” is a casual way of saying ある〜.

    Yes, as soon as I read her answer, I remebered it!

    By the way, are you going to publish a new book soon? That sounds great!!

  20. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 6:56

    Hi David,

    A new book? That’s exciting news! I wonder what it’s going to be like.

    Also, thanks for the explanation for “some”. It’s a useful example because for this case, I would translate it as “たまたま” or “ちょっと”. As you say it’s a casual was of saying “ある”, would “a certain” sound a bit formal?

    Hi Mika,

    Thanks! I’m relieved to hear that.

  21. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 6:59

    Hi David,

    Maybe I took “casual” in a wrong way. Maybe it’s like “random” for this case, so I guess my question was a bit weird! Sorry!

  22. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 11:27

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my thoughts about this week’s topic:
    >The problem is that Japanese commercials seem very strange to Westerners, and a lot of the celebrities were worried about how it would affect their image back home

    —–I know that movie stars don’t do TV commercials in the US. I heard that peoples who do commercials on TV are mostly novice actors or actresses, so I guess doing them would mean lowering their status as movie stars. But as you know, the situation in Japan is completely different. The number of contracts an actor or actresses has to do commercials shows how popular he or she is at that moment. I’m not familiar with commercials in foreign countries, so I’m not sure how strange or weird they look. I have to admit that some TV commercials in Japan have goofy logic, and look stupid, however, I suspect westerners feel the same way about commercials in their own countries.

    >“losing respect” for celebrities who just come to Japan to make a commercial
    —-I don’t think so.

    >Making commercials is just part of their job, and if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?
    —Yes, exactly. No wonder Japanese company want to use celebrities to sell their company’s image, and they contract to earn huge amount of money. It’s a kind of win-win situation,right? This happens to be the case on TV commercials here, but this would be done everywhere.

    > Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it?
    —I have no idea, but one thing for sure is that I’m happy to see Leonardo DiCaprio appearing on whiskey or Toyota’s commercials. I guess Japanese companies use celebrities because there are lots of people like me!

    >what do you think about TV commercials in general? —-As I mentioned above, some are good, and some are bad. Advertisements in general are all about manipulating the image that viewers have of products after all, and the ways to do differ depending on each countries, right?

    >Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
    —I think the music used in commercials is very important and adds to the good image of the products being advertised.
    Here are some commercials in which I think the music works well, and I remember and like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwrAsaS5KbQ

    This commercial is from JR TOUKAI( train company); it’s very beautiful and romantic. I like this series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a3ahoLXTuM

    This is from an insurance company. Whenever I see this, tears well up in my eyes.

    Hi YU,

    >Japanese people tend to be satisfied with knowing the image of the company or product.
    —I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Hi YU and Biwa,
    I’m always enjoying your discussion and it helps a lot. Sorry for not joining you. Yu, I admire you; your translation is great. I know there is a big difference between just reading entries and translating each sentence.

    Bye for now,

    Anne

  23. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 11:33

    it’s me again, but I wonder if my comment was accepeted or not because the number of the comments hasn’t changed, so I posted it again.

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my thoughts about this week’s topic:
    >The problem is that Japanese commercials seem very strange to Westerners, and a lot of the celebrities were worried about how it would affect their image back home

    —–I know that movie stars don’t do TV commercials in the US. I heard that peoples who do commercials on TV are mostly novice actors or actresses, so I guess doing them would mean lowering their status as movie stars. But as you know, the situation in Japan is completely different. The number of contracts an actor or actresses has to do commercials shows how popular he or she is at that moment. I’m not familiar with commercials in foreign countries, so I’m not sure how strange or weird they look. I have to admit that some TV commercials in Japan have goofy logic, and look stupid, however, I suspect westerners feel the same way about commercials in their own countries.

    >“losing respect” for celebrities who just come to Japan to make a commercial
    —-I don’t think so.

    >Making commercials is just part of their job, and if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?
    —Yes, exactly. No wonder Japanese company want to use celebrities to sell their company’s image, and they contract to earn huge amount of money. It’s a kind of win-win situation,right? This happens to be the case on TV commercials here, but this would be done everywhere.

    > Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it?
    —I have no idea, but one thing for sure is that I’m happy to see Leonardo DiCaprio appearing on whiskey or Toyota’s commercials. I guess Japanese companies use celebrities because there are lots of people like me!

    >what do you think about TV commercials in general? —-As I mentioned above, some are good, and some are bad. Advertisements in general are all about manipulating the image that viewers have of products after all, and the ways to do differ depending on each countries, right?

    >Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
    —I think the music used in commercials is very important and adds to the good image of the products being advertised.
    Here are some commercials in which I think the music works well, and I remember and like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwrAsaS5KbQ

    This commercial is from JR TOUKAI( train company); it’s very beautiful and romantic. I like this series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a3ahoLXTuM

    This is from an insurance company. Whenever I see this, tears well up in my eyes.

    Hi YU,

    >Japanese people tend to be satisfied with knowing the image of the company or product.
    —I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Hi YU and Biwa,
    I’m always enjoying your discussion and it helps a lot. Sorry for not joining you. Yu, I admire you; your translation is great. I know there is a big difference between just reading entries and translating each sentence.

    Bye for now,

    Anne

  24. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 1:22

    Hi Anne,

    Sorry about the delay, but I think you posted your comment from a new email address. When that happens, the comment is automatically held until I approve it. Once that address has been approved, all further comments from the same address go through automatically.

  25. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 2:02

    Hi Biwa,

    The new book is called “Read to Write Email.” You can see sample pages from it if you click on the cover, which is now up on the home page. I think it would be quite a good self-study book, so if anyone is interested in learning how to write emails in English, please take a look.

    Hi everyone,

    We have finally found out what is causing the site to go offline from time to time. It’s a problem with the Mac Mail program that I use. My emails and the website are stored on the same server, and the email is interfering with the site. Now that we have found the problem, we should be able to get it sorted out really soon.

    By the way, I have just posted a new entry on the Blog for Teachers called “Sowing the Seeds of Grammar.” Feel free to take a look at that and write a comment if would like to.

  26. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 3:08

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your reply, but I posted it from the same e-mail address I usually use. Anyway, I found my two comments appeared later.

    I’ll have a look at the new entry for Teachers and the page about new book.

    It’s good to know that the problem was solved.

    See you then,

    Anne

  27. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 3:09

    Hi Anne,

    That’s weird. I don’t know why that happened. Anyway, I will always approve your comments, so please don’t worry if they don’t appear immediately.

  28. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 4:15

    Hi Anne and David,

    The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago when I commented from my smartphone. My comment was rejected twice, so I finally gave up. I thought I’d done something wrong, but after I got home and opened the site from my computer, I noticed that both were published. Quite a mystery!

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the information about the new book. Is it available at stores, too? I’d like to see the whole thing and decide if I should buy it.

    And the entries for the teachers’ blog were both really interesting. I completely agree that the process of language-learning is not a “linear”.
    Thinking about these processes always reminds me of the double-helix-structure of the DNA model which my science teacher showed us during school days. Learning language is like a triple-helix-structure to me. The first helix is “reading” or “listening to” something in English, the second is “writing” or “speaking” and the third is “getting feedback” and also “referring to dictionaries(including your A-Zbook!)”. After reading your idea, I realized that all three helixes have the three processes you mentioned-”priming”,”trigger” and “consolidation”-and they all strongly affect each other. Of course, the three helixes do not get stronger or longer at the same time, but I’m sure if they are tightly interwined(?) or consolidated to each other like the DNA model, you can make some progress in your abilities. As you said, sometimes(or probably very often!) you need to go back to fix or strengthen your helix, but to me, it’s like building a strong and long DNA model as possible!

  29. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 4:35

    Hi Biwa,

    Sorry, but our books are not in bookstores yet. I’m afraid the only way you can decide is by looking at the sample. It’s a really good book, though!

  30. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 7:30

    Hi Biwa,

    > Honestly speaking, I don’t really have any special feelings towards TV commercials.

    Me, either.
    They are not really important for me, just something like a bathroom break.

    Hi Anne,

    > The number of contracts an actor or actresses has to do commercials shows how popular he or she is at that moment.

    I agree.
    I think Japanese ad agencies often want to choose stars who get good public image because Japanese companies emphasize image of their TV commercials. So they are often 好感度 top-ranking stars.

    > I have to admit that some TV commercials in Japan have goofy logic,

    My elder brother(He lived in the U.S.) told me that Americans often used the expression “goofy boy”, and this meant “間抜けな男の子”. I found it very interesting, but “goofy logic” was new to me!

    > Yu, I admire you; your translation is great.

    Thank you, and I’m glad to know that advanced level members like amo, Biwa, and you read my translations, too.

    Hi David,

    You told us that you didn’t want to pay 受信料 to NHK before. Did you pay?
    Anyway, as you know, they don’t have sponsors, and so no TV commercials. According to your friend’s theory, all NHK programs makers can try anything new they want, but do you think they actually try? Maybe they can’t try it because viewers are their sponsor?

  31. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 9:57

    Hi David and everyone,

    Sorry, can I revise my last comment? First of all, I realized that a helix is a linear anyway(!), so it doesn’t make sense at all. You must have been pretty shocked to see I was writing something completely the other way round from what you were trying to say! I must be careful not to write these things so hurriedly.

    I should have said like this. To me, language-learning is something like twining lots of parts into a whole something, and those each parts grow bigger or even start creating different parts by affecting each other, so the whole something gets really massive. Also, there is some time lag between the growth of each part, so it takes time to twine, but I think they finally do twine at the end.

    Honestly, I can’t think of anything better than your analogy of creating a beautiful garden, and I hope I’m doing something to help my students create their own beautiful gardens!

  32. Fumie
    Commented on
    2013/03/06 at 11:10

    Hi David and everyone,

    I don’t watch Japanese TV much, so I don’t have much thought about it.
    Anyway, let me answer your questions.
    >Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it?
    I think most people have good impression toward them. Usually they say something funny in Japanese with smile. So people feel familar with them.

    >Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general?
    I don’t see commercials of other countries so I can’t compare with them. I think some are good with catchy phrases and good music and some are okay.

    >Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
    Like I said, I don’t watch TV often so I can’t come up with them. Good or bad, I hate same commercials are aired over and over. It’s annoying!

    Hi Anne,

    >—–I know that movie stars don’t do TV commercials in the US. I heard that peoples who do commercials on TV are mostly novice actors or actresses, so I guess doing them would mean lowering their status as movie stars.
    I didn’t know that. But famous actors or actoresses appear on magazine ads, right?

    Hi David,

    I’ll read new entry of blog for teachers and check your new book later.
    I’m an early bird so I become sleepy quite early. When I read blogs/e-mails on PC screen at night, soon I get sleepy and sometimes my face nod and down on the keyboard.

    Nighty-night!

  33. amo
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 12:30

    Hi David and everyone,

    I don’t pay much attention to TV commercials, so it doesn’t bother me even if my favourite actors did something silly in the commercials. Anyway, here are my answers to your questions.
    >Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it?
    I don’t think it damages it.
    >Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general?
    Nothing in particular. I don’t pay attention them as I mentioned above.
    >Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
    The same as above.

    Hi Biwa,

    Thanks for your comment. I watched “Flight,” and unfortunately it wasn’t good that I had expected. I didn’t like the main character so I couldn’t sympathize with him.

    Hi everyone,

    I went to see a musical called “Notre-Dame de Paris” last night. It was good but I dozed off several times during it because I took some painkillers when I was working. What a shame!! But I think I heard the songs even I dozed off(lol)

    Good night,
    amo

  34. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 7:55

    Hi amo,

    >I watched “Flight,” and unfortunately it wasn’t good that I had expected. I didn’t like the main character so I couldn’t sympathize with him.

    Oh, I was expecting it to be quite a good story because I think Denzel Washington is a good actor. I also like Morgan Freeman in “The Bucket List(最高の人生の見つけ方)” and “The Shawshank Redemption(ショーシャンクの空に)”. By the way, I learned the word “bucket list” from this movie.
    I hope you won’t need any painkillers today, please take care!

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for posting the links for the commercials. As you say, I think the music is one of the important factors, too.

    Hi YU,

    Talking about NHK受信料、do you think I can find the discussion in the older entries? My husband also hates to pay it, and he said he never had paid it until we got married. I’m curious what David said about it!

    Hi everyone,

    I’m trying to see the Di Caprio’s whiskey commercial, but I can’t so far. I wonder when it’s aired!
    By the way, I remember Brad Pitt in a monochrome commercial for Chanel. He was mumbling something in English for quite a long time, but I guess it had nothing to do with the perfume. I don’t really understand why those meaningless commercials make people want to buy those products. Anyway, Japanese companies pay huge amount of money to those actors and also directors, so it means that the commercial is increasing the sales. It’s really strange!

  35. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 8:02

    Hi David,

    >please don’t worry if they don’t appear immediately.—Thanks again for your replay. Yes, I won’t. Maybe I need to be more patient:)

    Hi YU,
    >“goofy logic” was new to me!
    —Actually, I came across the word “goofy” several times but I’ve never used this way, so please don’t trust me! I’m not sure if it makes sense or not. I just wanted to avoid repeating the same word “stupid”(stupid logic/look stupid).

    >they are often 好感度 top-ranking stars—Yes,indeed!

    Hi Fumie,
    >But famous actors or actresses appear on magazine ads, right?
    —Yes, lots of famous movie stars show off brad new products in photos or magazines , and I’m wondering if the status of them(photos and magazines) is higher than that of TV commercials.

    Hi amo,
    >I went to see a musical called “Notre-Dame de Paris” last night.—Oh, did you? I’m going to see it next month,too:)

    Anne

  36. Mika
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 9:05

    Hi David and everyone,

    Good morning.
    Today I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, so may I write my opinions in Japanese?
    The true reason is that this is very difficult to explain in English for me.

    人気俳優をコマーシャル採用しても、その商品価値が証明されるわけではない。むしろ「高額の出演料が商品価格に跳ね返っているだろう」と考えると、彼らの採用は適切とは思えないし、彼らの採用で売り上げを伸ばそうとしている会社の意図はあまりにも安易で愚かだと思われる。また、スター自身が何を考えて出演しているのか分からない視聴者も多いと思う。
    一方で、 Anneが紹介してくれた2社のコマーシャルには「相手を思いやる心豊かな日常」が存在している。商品販売促進に宣伝は不可欠であるが、予算の制限や製作者の思惑があるにしても、そこは技量と発想の転換で乗り切るべきである。そして、たとえ30秒間の作品であっても、人の心に残る上質な作品を制作すべきであると思う。

    話しは飛躍するようだが、「子どもが集中力に欠けるのは15分ごとのコマーシャルのせいだ」と言われるのを耳にしたことがある。しかし、果たしてそれだけが原因だろうか? 子どもが何かに熱中しているとき、それが危険でない限りは最後まで見守るべきだと思う。例えば、本を読んでいるときは、途中で声を掛けない。読み終わるのを待って「面白かった? どんなところが面白かったの?」など聞いてやれば、彼らは最後まで一気に読むだろう。

    また、前のトピックの会話の中で登場したemotionally intelligentについてだが、両親の子育てに対する姿勢に大きく関与していると私は思う。親が辛抱強く子どもの考えを聞き、一緒に考え、ときには注意を、ときには激励ができれば、これからの子たちもemotionally intelligentな人間に成長すると思う。というより、これは大人の責務であると思う。

    話しをもとに戻して思うことは、視聴者には選択権があるということ。見たくなければ見なくていい。実は私はコマーシャルになるとチャンネルを変える。たとえFOXでも。

    以上、英語で書けなくてごめんなさい。でも、「書くことは考えること」ということで私のボケ防止になっていますので、大目に見てください。

  37. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 10:16

    Hi Biwa,

    > Talking about NHK受信料、do you think I can find the discussion in the older entries?

    I found it finally!
    Actually it was just a 雑談 only between David and I. I wrote “David told us…” just because I thought lots of people read this blog.
    You can see the 雑談 in the entry named “Too old to drive”. Our 雑談 appears on June 19th,2012.

    > I’m trying to see the Di Caprio’s whiskey commercial, but I can’t so far. I wonder when it’s aired!

    Here it is ;

    http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2013/02/leonardo-dicaprio-jim-beam.html

  38. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 11:30

    Hi Mika,

    > 人気俳優をコマーシャル採用しても、その商品価値が証明されるわけではない。むしろ「高額の出演料が商品価格に跳ね返っているだろう」と考えると、彼らの採用は適切とは思えないし、彼らの採用で売り上げを伸ばそうとしている会社の意図はあまりにも安易で愚かだと思われる。

    I agree with you, however, I think you can also say that all those phoenomenon are born from “strong brand preference”(ブランド信仰) of Japanese people. Most Japanese people easily connect “popular, established stars” with “good, reliable companies (products)”.
    I read in somewhere that you can often see people just shouting the name of the product or company repeatedly in Japanese TV commercials, and that shows Japanese people are not really intersted in the quality of goods themselves, and we tend to buy them only depend on the “brand name value”.

    > また、スター自身が何を考えて出演しているのか分からない視聴者も多いと思う。

    To be honest, I’m not really interested in that because I know they actually think nothing and they are just doing their job for money, they are the same as the foreign celeblities.

    > 話しをもとに戻して思うことは、視聴者には選択権があるということ。見たくなければ見なくていい。実は私はコマーシャルになるとチャンネルを変える。たとえFOXでも。

    I think so, too.
    If you find some program or TV commercial silly and worthless, you can just skip them. No one forces you to watch them.

  39. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 12:16

    訂正;

    “brad new products” should be “brand name products”!

    Anne

  40. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 12:58

    Hi YU,

    I don’t pay NHK fees because I don’t have a TV. Actually, I do have one, but it is too old to view digital broadcasts, so I just use it for watching movies. When I moved to my new house last year, someone put the payment forms in my mail box, but I didn’t fill them in, and I haven’t heard anything more about it.

    As for NHK programmes, I don’t think they do those ridiculous “variety” panel shows, do they? I haven’t watched Japanese TV for years, but I seem to remember that NHK actually had some good programmes.

  41. Mika
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 1:44

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for telling me your opinions.
    Yes, I know famous actors want to make big money easily and unfortunately Japan is a very good market for them.
    However, I want to say every Japanese company that they should pay more money for their developers and researchers, because those people are irreplaceable employees for their companies. I don’t want to pay for any brand name.
    By the way, “phoenomenon” might be “phenomenon”?

  42. Mika
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 2:40

    Correction;

    I should say,
    and luckily for them “Japan is a very good market.”
    insted of “and unfortunately Japan is a very good market for them.”

  43. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 3:05

    Hi Mika,

    > However, I want to say every Japanese company that they should pay more money for their developers and researchers, because those people are irreplaceable employees for their companies. I don’t want to pay for any brand name.

    Yes, I know, that’s why I agreed with your opinion first. I just said, 裏返せば日本人がそれを求めているからだ、とも言えませんか? in next sentences.
    The fact is that lots of people spend money for brand name in Japan, after all.

    > By the way, “phoenomenon” might be “phenomenon”?

    Yes, that’s a typo. Thank you.

    Hi David,

    > I don’t pay NHK fees because I don’t have a TV. Actually, I do have one, but it is too old to view digital broadcasts, so I just use it for watching movies

    Yes, I remember you told me so before.

    > When I moved to my new house last year, someone put the payment forms in my mail box, but I didn’t fill them in, and I haven’t heard anything more about it.

    Good for you!
    I hear about arguments between my friends and NHK over the payment from time to time.

    I’ve applied for the kids performers in a NHK’s children’s program called “おかあさんといっしょ”. Luckily, I won it at my first try and my son appeared on the program. At that time, many of my mom friends asked me how I applied for it. I explained to them that they could do it through the homepage of the program, but paying the (NHK)TV bill was required for the application. Then half of them said, “じゃあうちはダメだ、払ってないから”.

    Biwa wrote that her husband had never paid it until they got married, but it seems that lots of people refuse to pay it even after they married!

    > As for NHK programmes, I don’t think they do those ridiculous “variety” panel shows, do they?

    I hardly ever watch NHK “variety” shows because they are boring for me. As you know, NHK is a noncommercial “public” broadcasting and the viewers are often elderly people. As a result, their variety shows are a bit serious and conservative.
    I have a feeling that comedians are suppressed joking(black jokes, in particular) and humour use in NHK programs.
    As I mentioned before, those ridiculous “variety” shows for you are interesting programs for me.

    > I haven’t watched Japanese TV for years, but I seem to remember that NHK actually had some good programmes.

    I have to adimit that NHK has an established reputation for their news, documentary, and education programs, but in my opinion, other TV stations have some good programs, too.

    Some of my friends love reading and hate watching TV. Whenever I talk about Japanese TV with them, I can’t help feeling that some of them look down on people who are fond of watching TV, but hate reading like me. However, I’m very grateful to Japanese TV programs for giving me lots of information so far because I’m pretty sure that at least half of my knowledge including 雑学 actually come from Japanese TV.

  44. David Barker
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 3:33

    Hi YU,

    >As I mentioned before, those ridiculous “variety” shows for you are interesting programs for me.

    (LOL.) I shouldn’t be so rude about them. I guess a lot of people like them – that is why they are so popular.

  45. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 3:42

    Hi David,

    Don’t worry, I think I’m in the minority on this matter these days! LOL!

  46. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 4:46

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for finding it! I hope my sentence didn’t sound like「過去のエントリーの中から探せると思う?(探せるわけないじゃん!)」I wanted to say「探せるかなぁ~?(読んでみたいんだけど♪)」.

    Anyway, my husband didn’t pay the 受信料because he couldn’t understand the old-fashioned charging system. He always says if NHK really wants to charge viewers to make good programs, they should make a system with no omission. As you say, there seems to be lots of loopholes even if you’re actually viewing their programs, and he says it’s really unfair.

    Also, thanks for the link! Well, crashing the round ice into pieces seems to be fun, at least….lol!

  47. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 5:40

    Hi Biwa,

    > I hope my sentence didn’t sound like「過去のエントリーの中から探せると思う?(探せるわけないじゃん!)」I wanted to say「探せるかなぁ~?(読んでみたいんだけど♪)」.

    Of course, I knew you were just curious to read it! :-)

  48. amo
    Commented on
    2013/03/07 at 11:17

    Hi Biwa,

    >I think Denzel Washington is a good actor.
    Yes, he is. That’s why I thought that I was going to dislike him because he acted the main character so well. I have watched both movies that you mentioned and I liked both.

    Hi Anne,

    >Oh, did you? I’m going to see it next month,too:)
    That’s nice. I bet you will like it ;) By the way, I had a feeling that you were going to see it when I learnt that the musical was scheduled to be performed in Nagoya.

    Good night and sleep tight.
    amo

  49. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/08 at 8:50

    Hi YU,

    Thanks, I’m glad to hear that.(^o^)b
    By the way, have you asked why your friends don’t pay NHK fees? I’m not really sure if my husband’s claim would make sense!
    Good luck with your lesson at the English club!

    Hi amo,

    >because he acted the main character so well.

    Maybe you wanted to say “because he acted the main character so awfully”?

    Hi everyone,

    Back to our last topic, I found out they still serve whale meat for school lunch at two of the elementary schools near my house. I just asked if they did because the word “whale” appeared in the workbook. One of the boys said that he even eats it at home. Well, I’m not going to comment on this issue any more, but maybe it’s a very good idea to eat up all the meat in the freezers before they set off for their next whaling.

  50. YU
    Commented on
    2013/03/08 at 9:15

    Hi Biwa,

    > By the way, have you asked why your friends don’t pay NHK fees? I’m not really sure if my husband’s claim would make sense!

    No, I didn’t because it might have sounded that I was complaining to them.
    Unlike gas, electricity or water, NHK can’t stop broadcasting anyway even if they don’t pay the fee. I guess that is the main reason why they don’t pay it.

    > Good luck with your lesson at the English club!

    Thank you. You have a good memory!
    Yes, I’m going to give a lesson(?) now.
    Three visitors will come to take a trial lesson today. I feel great responsibility! LOL!!
    I’m going to use David’s A-Z book, too.

    See you!

  51. akane
    Commented on
    2013/03/08 at 12:45

    Hi,David.
    I am Akane.
    It’s the first time that I write a comment to this blog.
    I love communication for English,but I am not good at English.
    So I think I will study English by this blog!

    I think that media in Japan is not good.
    Because I think that they are thinking that a TV show is OK who used famous person.
    The ability and contents are not important.(
    So I don’t watch a TV show many times!!)
    どこの国でも誇れるようでなければ、その仕事を引き受けなければ良いのにと思うけれど、
    日本でのプロモーションをかねているのでしょうか。

    Akane.

  52. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/03/08 at 3:20

    Hi Akane,

    Nice to have you with us!

    >The ability and contents are not important.(So I don’t watch a TV show many times!!)

    I totally agree. However, my family and I enjoy watching quiz programs, movies(we usually record it, and skip the commercials when we actually see it) and programs that feature beautiful places in the world.