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Thanks for all your comments. I had forgotten that I originally read about this topic in “Outliers,” so thanks for reminding me. I think I need to read that book again.

As I understand it, there is really no debate about whether this advantage exists because the evidence is so strong. Even though the advantage gets smaller as children get older, the bigger / smarter / better developed children inevitably get noticed and treated differently by their coaches and teachers when they are very young. In many cases, they get to be in the best teams, take special classes, and so on. This sets up a virtuous cycle (for them) that enables them to develop even more quickly.

I don’t know whether you are familiar with the sport of snowboarding, but the number one in the world for many years has been an American called Shaun White. He is also a top professional skateboarder. Apparently, he was “discovered” by the snowboard maker Burton when he was only six years old. He was trained by the very best coaches in the world using the best facilities while most of his peers were just out playing with their friends! No wonder no one else can catch him now.

As you know, I am a big fan of motorcycle racing. Most of the top men in that sport have been racing since they were about three years old. I am not joking. If you are not ready to turn professional by the time you are around 15 or 16, it will be too late. The “advantage” that these riders had was that in most cases, their fathers were racers, so they were exposed to it from a very young age. By the time a regular person became interested in racing of their own accord, it would be far too late for them to reach the top classes. Formula 1, show jumping, and any other sports that cost a lot of money are exactly the same.

I guess there are many different kinds of “advantages,” and not all of them are connected to the relative age effect.

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.

It’s so interesting topic!
This is such an interesting topic! (A-Z: so / such a)

I think when I was a child,I felt a long time for 1day and 1week and 1month, but I feeling how time fly for 1day and 1 week and 1month.
When I was a child, one day, one week, and one month all felt like a long time, but they seem to go by much faster now.

Of course there are pupils who were born in January and February but a few ones.
…, but not very many.

It was not uncommon to change a baby’s birthday those days.
… in those days.

>many of my friends used to say to me—”many of my friends often said to me
I’m not sure why you corrected this. Both sentences are fine. I actually think the first is more natural.

Quite complicating, isn’t it!
Quite complicated, isn’t it! (A-Z: ing/ed adjectives)

I ‘guess’ what s/he wanted to say was that ラケットでボールを打つのは気持ちいい/壮快だ or something like that….
It’s still a really weird sentence, even in Japanese!

He was one of the fast runners at his nursery school.
He was one of the fastest runners at his nursery school. (A-Z: one of the)

I’m 42 now and I know exactly what you mean!!
Have you ever heard that ‘the illusion’ has a lot to do with the decline of your metabolism?
Personally, I think it is to do with relative time. If you are ten years old, a year is 10% of your total experience of life. If you are fifty, it is only 2%. The longer you live, the more quickly time seems to pass, relatively speaking.

it doesn’t seem that players born in the early months of the calendar year are particularly more than others in the list.
There doesn’t seem to be a higher proportion of players born in the early months of the calendar.

I especially agree with the part that explains the “cumulative effect” which means “you are likely to persist at something new when you receive some form of early success”.
This is true. That’s what I mean by a “virtuous cycle.”

I wonder if other teachers learn about this before they become teachers.
Unfortunately, teachers in Japan don’t really learn much about anything before they become teachers. Teacher training in this country is a disgrace. I had more input and teaching practice in the first one-month course I did in TEFL back in 1992 than Japanese students get in four years of university. And I should know – I teach in a faculty of education!

I worried about whether he was able to (could?)keep other friends.
I worried about whether he would be able to keep up with his friends.

(LOL!) I can imagine how they looked like!
“I can imagine how they looked” or “I can imagine what they looked like.”

This trend seems to apply to the academic achievement, too.
Nice sentence, but you don’t need “the” before “academic achievement.”

I wish I could have my birthday party at least 20 more times (?).
I hope I will be able to celebrate my birthday at least 20 more times. (A-Z: hope / wish)

I am a bit busy this week due to a lack of manpower.
I think you are always busy, not just this week!

I still remember wishing I had been born in March back then(lol)
Nice sentence.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend. If North Korea doesn’t try to blow us all up before then, I’ll be back on Monday!

15 Comments

  1. Biwa on Friday April 5th, 2013 at 02:03 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for your feedback. I have a question.

    >>Quite complicating, isn’t it!
    >Quite complicated, isn’t it! (A-Z: ing/ed adjectives)

    I understand that the fact/way we call 早生まれ makes me feel ‘complicated’, but isn’t the fact itself ‘complicating’? If I had used the word ‘confuse’, I think I would have said “Quite confusing, isn’t it!” or “I always get confused!”. However, it’s true that I see many phrases like ‘a complicated question’. Am I misunderstanding something?



  2. YU on Friday April 5th, 2013 at 04:27 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback!

    > but the number one in the world for many years has been an American called Shaun White.

    I’ve heard about him.
    There’s a young excellent snowboarder in Japan, too(Kadono, 16!), but White has exceptional talent and technique and no one seems to be able to beat him for a while.

    > Apparently, he was “discovered” by the snowboard maker Burton when he was only six years old.

    I’ve heard that Messi was discovered by FC Barcelona when he was 13.
    As you know, he had been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, but finding Messi’s talent, Barcelona offered to pay for his medical bills if he moved to Barcelona to join their youth academy. So he moved to Spain with his family.
    I doubt whether he would have become such a super soccer player as now if his family had been rich enough to pay for his medical bills at the time….

    >Personally, I think it is to do with relative time. If you are ten years old, a year is 10% of your total experience of life. If you are fifty, it is only 2%. The longer you live, the more quickly time seems to pass, relatively speaking.

    That’s very logical and in fact, there’s a theory which states things like that. Apparently, it is called ジャネーの法則.
    Anyway, there seems to be many theories about the illusion. To tell the truth, in my case, I just borrowed some scholar’s theory that I had heard on TV some months ago.

    > It’s still a really weird sentence, even in Japanese!

    Oh! It sounds like I’d better start learning Japanese with my son from scratch!!

    > If North Korea doesn’t try to blow us all up before then, I’ll be back on Monday!

    Do you think North Korea is serious this time?
    I do think they are very mysterious and scary, but some people say that a series of their provaocative actions are all based on the put-up race(出来レース) by North Korea, China and South Korea. It seems that North Korea told China to send as many tourists as possible because there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula, which is totally inconsistent with what they actually do now!

    http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/03/28/2013032801198.html



  3. Mika on Friday April 5th, 2013 at 08:37 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for nice feedback.

    >but not very many
    Some day I want to use this phrase in my story.

    Have a great weekend.



  4. Biwa on Friday April 5th, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Hi David,

    Maybe ‘complicate’ is a different type of verb from ‘confuse’ and others.

    I cannot use ‘complicated’ when I encounter something ‘complicated’. I am ‘confused’ or ‘perplexed’. Also, a complicating situation is a situation that makes something else more complicated.

    When I say “She is a complicated woman.”, it would have a different meaning as “She is hard to understand.”
    I hope I got it all right.



  5. Anne on Friday April 5th, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback as always.
    >I’m not sure why you corrected this. Both sentences are fine. I actually think the first is more natural.
    —Oh, I see. Thanks! When I write my thoughts here, I usually write the ones that comes to mind including words and phrases, and I don’t think that much, but this time, I thought the sentence should be the simple past.(「。。。したものだ。」ではなく「。。と言った」と言う事実が正しいのでは、と考えました。) That’s the reason I changed the sentence.

    > I worried about whether he would be able to keep up with his friends—I thought about the difference between “can” and “be able to”, but the use of “would” never crossed my mind. Also, I forgot to add “(keep) up with”! I got it.

    > but the number one in the world for many years has been an American called Shaun White–Yes, he is. I once saw the interview on TV. I think he is really consciou of having been a top athlete not only his skills but also in other aspect.

    Hi everyone,
    It’ll rain heavily tomorrow. I’m going to have the last chance of Hanamai lunch with my friends. I really hope it won’t rain until I get home.
    Hop you’ll have a great weekend,

    Anne



  6. Fumie on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 05:28 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you so much for your feedback!
    I read “outliers” once, but I couldn’t understand because of the lack of my English ability. This time I will read Japanese translation one.

    Hi Mika and Anne,

    Both of you are so young at heart. It seems more you get older, the more active you will be. I admire your spirit. I try to live active too but recently when I got busy doing various things, my body wasn’t working properly. Although I have a spirit to be active, my body can’t bear with that.最近、今までのようにあれやこれやとアクティブに行動したら、後から体に不調が現れるようになって。あー無理が利かなくなったって思うことがよくあるんです。
    Anne, hope you’ll have a lovely Hanami lunch!
    Have a great weekend, evryone!



  7. David Barker on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 09:51 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    That’s an interesting question. I think it’s because “complicate” and “confuse” are different. You can confuse a person, but you can’t “complicate” a person – only a person’s feelings, or a situation. “Complicating” is only used to talk about something that makes something else (not someone else) more complicated. For example, doctors often talk about “complicating factors” in a disease or an operation.

    In other words, something that is “confusing” causes a feeling in a person, whereas something that is “complicating” can only make a situation or thing more complicated.

    Hope that helps.



  8. YU on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Hi Mika, Anne and Fumie,

    Fumie, I think you’ll have plenty of time to spend for yourself after your children leave home.

    > Although I have a spirit to be active, my body can’t bear with that.

    I know exactly what you mean!
    I think we should always keep this in mind, “頑張る、でも無理をしすぎない”.

    The older you get, the more value and cherish yourself you become, then you might even feel young like Mika and Anne!

    Hi Anne,

    I wonder if you would be able to go to see cherry blossom today…
    Actually we have the entrance ceremony at my son’s kindergarten next Tuesday, but it’s really a pity that almost all cherry blossoms here have fallen already!!



  9. Mika on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks. I enjoy myself every day.
    It was a very hot yesterday but I took two of my grandchildren, both 8 years old, to Hirakata Park Amusement. We went back home around 2pm and I brought one of them to Osaka Airport (he lives in Tokyo). I was exhausted but it was a happy day for me.

    By the way, are you okay? If my memory is correct, about two weeks ago you stayed away from home for a few days. I was worried about you. You work so hard, so you should just stop and think about what is the top priority for you. Anyone can do everything perfectly.
    木の芽どきは体調を崩しやすいので、あまり無理をしないでね。



  10. Mika on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    訂正させてください。
    >Anyone can do everything perfectly.
    Anyone can’t be perfect.

    I’m sorry.



  11. Biwa on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 02:46 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your help!
    I think I’ve got it. However, I’m quite embarrassed that I can’t even use these simplest words correctly. I’m glad that my students aren’t reading this blog!

    By the way, I’ve just finished reading the first two chapters of ‘Outliers’. There are some words that I don’t know, but I can still read it because you gave us the outline of the RAE, so thank you!
    You also said that your students get far less input and teaching-training than what you had got. I really feel hopeless, and how can that happen? Anyway, I can’t really talk because I’m not trained at all. I suddenly had children sitting right in front of me, scary isn’t it! I’ve heard about TEFL and TESOL, but I don’t really know about them. Do you think it would be helpful for teaching children as well?



  12. Mika on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 02:46 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    I’m sorry, but I have to correct one more.
    >Hirakata Park Amusement
    Hirakata Park

    Take a good rest.



  13. Fumie on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 09:56 PM

    Hi YU,

    >Fumie, I think you’ll have plenty of time to spend for yourself after your children leave home.

    Actually, I’m half excited to have those time will come and half unreluctant to do so. Because, you know, I want to have more free time but at the same time, I’ll miss my children very much if I can see them only once in a while.

    Hi Mika,

    >By the way, are you okay? If my memory is correct, about two weeks ago you stayed away from home for a few days. I was worried about you. You work so hard, so you should just stop and think about what is the top priority for you.

    Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, I stayed away from home for a few days about 2 weeks ago, but things are already settled down. What keeps me busy these days is Kodomokai’s works. I think they should make its work more simplify and reduce workload.子供会の仕事をもっと簡素化して役員の負担を減らして欲しい。
    BTW, I received acupuncture yesterday for the first time in my life and it wasn’t hurt at all. I thought it hurt so much.



  14. Anne on Sunday April 7th, 2013 at 05:39 AM

    Hi Fumie and YU,

    Thanks! We had hanami lunch under the roof; it started raining around noon, but wasn’t windy that much. It was not a big party but just a lunch, so it was OK. By the way, when we were having lunch, we saw a jinrikisha running!



  15. amo on Sunday April 7th, 2013 at 05:00 PM

    Hi David,
    Thanks for your feedback.
    I might be busy, but much less so than I used to be. I leave the office much much earlier than before:)

    Hi everyone,
    How’s your weekend? According to the weather cast, it would be rain today but it was a sunny day, it’s windy though. I worked today and am on my way home. I will take in lieu on Wednesday.

    amo