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Thanks for all your comments. I was very sorry to hear about people’s stories about how natural disasters have affected their families. The thing I remember most about the disaster is seeing a documentary on TV about a young couple who had both survived, but who had lost both of their children in the tsunami. The documentary showed them walking along a beach holding hands. I don’t know why, but that scene affected me more than all the horrific images of cars and buildings being swept away. I guess that as long as we choose to live in Japan, we have to accept the possibility of these kinds of events. Actually, I suppose that “possibility” is the wrong word; we know they are going to happen, so all we can do is hope that we won’t be affected too badly.

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.

今週のエントリーの訳です。
Thank you.

there have been almost no changes since they have cleared debris two years ago.
… since they cleared the debris two years ago. (A-Z: since/for)

I bet you that more and more politicians will visit affected areas before the general election in July.
Nice sentence. And sadly, probably true.

I really admire the people who are working in the front line including the Toden employees risking their health to decommission the nuclear reactors.
As I understand it, the people doing the dangerous work are not Toden or TEPCO employees; they are lowly paid temporary workers, many of whom do not understand the risks involved.

I don’t understand why they don’t ask for help/ideas from other countries.
Because of national pride and the egos of the old men who run this country.

but what surprised me most was the fact that not many affected people were in favor of rebuilding them.
Nice sentence.

as they coudln’t see the huge tunami exactly because of the seawalls!
I think “precisely because” would be more natural here.

As you know, Japanese government doesn’t like bearing responsibilities, so they make their decision by the whole committee as possible.
…, so wherever possible, they make their decisions by committee.

I found your comment right after I posted mine!
I saw / noticed / read your comment right after I posted mine!

実は、私の父は昭和51年、雨台風の被害で家もろとも土石流に押し流され、3日後に発見されました。
Thank you for sharing this story. I can’t imagine what your family must have gone through in those three days.

My husband’s parents’ house in Indonesia was completly destroyed after the earthquake in May 2006.
I’m glad that no one was killed, but it must have been a very stressful time for all of you, especially just before your wedding.

That is true to some extent, but on the other hand, as Tomoaki mentioned, I think it’s quite difficult to meet everyone’s needs.
Nice sentence.

What they (the affected people) fear the most is that other people ( we) are forgetting them.
Nice sentence, and very true. It’s easy for those of us who weren’t really affected to forget about those who were.

stand up together and oppose to the ridiculous plan
stand up together and oppose the ridiculous plan

Many would have died without her wisdom.
I bet there were hundreds of stories of individual heroism that we never got to hear about.

Some of you might know her because of this video.
Thanks for posting. I had never seen that video before.

We must learn how our predecessors coexisted with nature
I think that is good advice for the whole world!

I must be coming down with something.
I hope you feel better soon.

Therefore, politicians and administrators must keep the laws strictly, and they make laws to contribute to the whole.
I agree with you. The problem is the corrupt political system and bureaucracy.

I think one of the things what people should do is to elect best politicians not only by what TV said but also by their own thoughts. I can’t believe the consequence of last election.
Me neither!

This reminds me of my friend whose house was destroyed and almost all things were swept away because of the typhoon in 昭和51年. I
I suppose this kind of disaster affects you more when you have personal experience of it.

I always wonder why people(including me!)like to criticize politicians we chose ourselves.
To be fair, Japanese people don’t really have much of a choice. The system is so corrupt that it is almost impossible for good people to become politicians.

But anyway, the first thing we should do is to have interest in politics and have our own thoughts as you say.
This is very true. The next thing is to start educating people to question authority, not just to follow it meekly without complaining.

but are there any expressions like “goo-goo(ぐーぐー)” or “kyuru-kyuru(きゅるきゅる~)”?
We don’t have expressions like this in English, just words like “growl” and “rumble” that are supposed to mimic the actual sounds.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, and see you again on Monday.

27 Comments

  1. YU on Friday March 15th, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Hi David,

    May I ask your question?

    日本文 : わたしたちはキャンプに行くという計画をあきらめなければなりません

    *my student’s answer ;

    We have to give up our plan of going camping.

    *model answer ;

    We have to give up our plan to go camping.

    Your A-Z book says,

    計画などを「あきらめる」という時は give up on the idea of… といった名詞を入れなければなりません。

    When you want to use “plan” instead of “idea”, is preposition “on” still necessary?
    So, my student’s answer should be “We have to give up ON our plan of going camping”?
    But if so, model answer is wrong, too.

    By the way, is “our plan of going camping” natural in the first place?
    “Our plan to go camping” sounds more natural like the model answer?



  2. Biwa on Friday March 15th, 2013 at 02:24 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback. It’s always very helpful.

    >I saw / noticed / read your comment right after I posted mine!

    I see. Can I ask you why “find” is wrong? Is it because “to find something” goes through some process and it doesn’t happen in an instant? If so, I understand.

    >As I understand it, the people doing the dangerous work are not Toden or TEPCO employees; they are lowly paid temporary workers, many of whom do not understand the risks involved.

    I don’t really understand why that could happen. That is a crime, isn’t it? It’s a real shame that I have to buy electricity from them. I hope we have more choices in the near future!

    >I can’t imagine what your family must have gone through in those three days.

    This is exactly the kind of expression I would like to be able to use.

    Also, thank you for “growl” and “rumble”. I asked this because my students often write “I’m very hungry.” in their journals, and I was looking for an expression that would sound more vivid.



  3. Anne on Friday March 15th, 2013 at 03:10 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback. It’s very helpful as always.

    Hi Biwa,
    Sorry for my misunderstanding! It’s embarrassing! Anyway, Japanese have lots of onomatopoeic or mimetic words and I think they enrich each sentence or meaning.

    Anne



  4. Kyon on Friday March 15th, 2013 at 03:53 PM

    David,

    Thank you for your feedback and giving us a good opportunity to remember the disaster.

    Everyone,
    If you have a chance to visit Tohoku, please stay at ‘Horaikan 宝来館’. They offer great meals and warm hospitality.

    Many of tsunami victims try to recover from their griefs by talking about their experiences of the disaster. I hear listening volunteers are shorthanded there.

    Kyon



  5. YU on Friday March 15th, 2013 at 04:45 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for your feedback!

    > I guess that as long as we choose to live in Japan, we have to accept the possibility of these kinds of events.

    My husband and I have discussed that once. We came to a conclusion that it didn’t make much difference which mother country we chose because both of them are quake-prone countries anyway!

    > As I understand it, the people doing the dangerous work are not Toden or TEPCO employees

    I think both “Toden”(東電) and “TEPCO” are the abbreviated names for “東京電力”.

    Have a nice weekend, all!



  6. Fumie on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 07:00 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you so much for your feedback and also giving us a chance to think about March 11.
    As you said, we can’t deny that another big earthquake is going to happen sometime so we have to prepare for that to reduce the damages as much as possible.
    Have a great weekend, everyone!



  7. Fumie on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 07:08 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you so much for your feedback and also giving us a chance to think about March 11.
    As you said, we can’t deny that another earthquake is going to happen sometime so we have to prepare for that to reduce the damages as much as possible.
    The talk about onomatopoeia is interesting. I guess it’s difficult for translaters to put Japanese onomatopoeia into English because often there aren’t equivalent words in English.
    Have a great weekend, everyone!



  8. Biwa on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 09:29 AM

    Hi YU,

    I got interested in your questions to David, so I looked up several dictionaries. To tell the truth, I’ve got even more confused. (lol!)

    There are both example sentences as follows, so I don’t really get the difference between “give up” and “give up on”.

    “He gave up (trying to solve) the problem.”
    “I won’t give up on (trying to solve) the problem.”

    However, my English-English dictionary says as below, so there might be a slight difference in the meanings:

    give up=to stop trying to do something
    “She has still not given up the search.”

    give up on=to stop hoping that someone or something will change or improve
    “At that point I hadn’t completely given up on the marriage.”

    Anyway, for your students case, both “give up” and “give up on” sounds okay to me, so I’m looking forward to David’s answer, too.

    For “our plan of going camping” and “our plan to go camping”, I think I hear the latter one more often, but I’d also like to know which would be more natural.
    ごちゃごちゃ書きましたが、なんの解決にもならないですね、ごめんなさい。私も答えが知りたいです。

    Hi Mika,

    Thank you for the link. I added it to my favorites.(パソコンの「お気に入り」)

    Hi Anne,

    It was my question that wasn’t clear enough, sorry!



  9. YU on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    > May I ask your question?

    Of course, this should be “May I ask YOU A question?”, sorry.

    I have the habit of murmurring and writing at the same time when I write something in a hurry, so I actually pronounced “you a”, but wrote “your” mistakenly. I wonder if other members also make a stupid mistake like this….
    こんなバカな間違いをするのはきっと私だけなんでしょうけど。。。

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you always for your help!

    > For “our plan of going camping” and “our plan to go camping”, I think I hear the latter one more often,

    I think so, too.
    My work is interseting, but it is also very stressful because I can’t mark ✔ as long as their answers are gramatically correct.
    To tell the truth, I’m always on pins and needles for fear MY STUDENTS might find MY errors(!!) as the university of some students’ first choice seems to be 東大 or 京大…. (LOL)



  10. David on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 01:08 PM

    Hi YU,

    I had never heard of “Toden,” so I presumed that it must be 東北電力. I didn’t know there was another way of saying TEPCO.

    As for your question, this is quite tricky. I wouldn’t say either:

    We have to give up our plan of going camping.
    or
    We have to give up our plan to go camping.

    They both sound weird to me. I would say, “We have to give up on our plan to go camping.”

    That doesn’t mean that the other sentences are necessarily wrong. It is quite possible that they might be okay in American English. Of the two, however, your student’s sounds more natural to me than the model answer. Let me think about it a bit more. (Kattie, if you are reading this, I would love to know which sounds more natural to you.)

    A) We have to give up on our plan to go camping.
    B) We have to give up our plan of going camping.
    C) We have to give up our plan to go camping.

    Hi Biwa,

    I don’t think we say “find” for something that is in open view. You wouldn’t say, for example, “I was walking along the street today and I found a convenience store.” I think there has to be some process of “looking for” involved before something can be “found.” For example, if someone mentions something from a previous post, and then someone else looks for it and posts a link, it would be okay to say, “I found the comment David was talking about.”

    Hope that helps.



  11. YU on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 02:46 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for answering my question.

    > It is quite possible that they might be okay in American English.

    I think it is highly possible, too.
    Actually, I took an English class of our English club’s American teacher yesterday. I should have asked to him if my student’s answer was okay in American English!

    > Of the two, however, your student’s sounds more natural to me than the model answer.

    Oh, really!?
    That means, my student’s answer sounds weird to you, but at least it is “gramatically correct”?
    It is the first thing I’d love to know about because I have to finish my correction by tomorrow night!!

    > Let me think about it a bit more. (Kattie, if you are reading this, I would love to know which sounds more natural to you.)

    Yes, please.
    As for the matter of “which sounds more natural to native speakers”, of coure, I would love to know it, too, but this is not an urgent case, so please take your time.



  12. Fumie on Saturday March 16th, 2013 at 09:24 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I just noticed I posted 2 similar comments this morning. I’m sorry. Please ignore the firts one.
    I was chosen the chief of sport promotion section of Kodomokai by draw.くじで子供会の体育振興会の長に選ばれた。That keeps me busy. Oh, no!



  13. Biwa on Sunday March 17th, 2013 at 07:40 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for answering my question.
    Yes, I understand what you say, but I’m still not sure of the concept/border for the word “find” and other words like “see”.

    >You wouldn’t say, for example, “I was walking along the street today and I found a convenience store.”

    Actually, this sentence didn’t sound weird to me because I took it as “I was walking along a different street from usual today, and there I found a newly opened convenience store (which didn’t exist before).”

    Perhaps my understanding is wrong, but I think it would be okay to say “I found a coin on the sidewalk.” or “(Surprisingly), I found my son studying at his desk today.”
    I don’t think these “found” had any “looking for” process before it happened. I’ve been thinking that “find” has an “unexpected”, or “surprising” meaning that “see” doesn’t have.
    There must be something wrong in my understanding.



  14. YU on Sunday March 17th, 2013 at 09:41 AM

    Hi David and Biwa,

    >You wouldn’t say, for example, “I was walking along the street today and I found a convenience store.”
    > Actually, this sentence didn’t sound weird to me because I took it as “I was walking along a different street from usual today, and there I found a newly opened convenience store (which didn’t exist before).”

    Does this sentence sound weird to you?

    1) I was walking along the street today and I happened to find a convenience store.

    Actually this sounds weird to me because the object you “found” is “a convenience store”, convenirnce stores can be found anywhere all over Japan.

    However, as Biwa said, this sentence, for example, doesn’t sound weird to me.

    2) I was walking along the street today and I found “a newly opened” convevience store/”a very old” secondhand bookstore “by chance”.

    So, if you add the nuances of ”by accident”(=歩いていて偶然見つけた、というニュアンスを付け加えたり” or explain what is unusual about something you found(=見つけたものが他と違う何か特別な点を説明すれば), I think “found” can be used even though there is no “looking for” process before it happened.

    Is my understanding wrong? 



  15. David on Sunday March 17th, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Hi YU,

    I’ve been thinking about this question all weekend, and I’m pretty sure that only A) is okay. If your school has a model answer, though, I would just go with that.

    Hi Biwa,

    The example about “finding a coin” is a good one. I think that “find” has to have either an element of “looking for” or some sense of “unexpectedness.” You wouldn’t say “find” a comment on a blog because all blogs have comments. In other words, you didn’t have to look for the comment, and there was nothing surprising about it being there, so “find” sounds strange.

    Hope that helps.



  16. YU on Sunday March 17th, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Hi David,

    Sorry for bothering you in the weekend with my question…
    I would just go with the model answer, thank you very much!



  17. Biwa on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    Hi David,

    >and there was nothing surprising about it being there, so “find” sounds strange

    Thank you. I think I got it. I didn’t really get why I couldn’t use “find” because actually, “your” comment was unexpected and surprising to me. But よーく考えてみたら、it was nothing surprising at all, since it is always full of comments.(lol!)
    “Find” is a 要注意word! Good night!

    Hi YU,

    Thank you always! I’ll write tomorrow!



  18. Biwa on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 08:03 AM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for thinking together.
    What confuses me most about “find” is that it is sometimes used as a very similar meaning to “see”. Here are some example sentences from the dictionary.

    1. She found her baby still asleep.
    2. I found him lying on the bed.
    3. He found a dog abandoned in the wood.

    I think these “found” can be replaced by “saw”. However, unlike “saw”, “found” expresses the “unexpectedness” or “randomness” of the object’s state/condition.

    So I think your understanding is correct. If your first sentence was something like “I was walking along the street today, and I found the convenience store being renovated.”, I think it would be okay.

    By the way, thank you for telling David that “Toden” is another way to say “TEPCO”. I couldn’t spot that because I thought David was saying “Toden or (=in other words) TEPCO”. I found that there is a big difference between the two expressions below.

    “Toden or TEPCO”=東電やTEPCO(2つは別会社)
    “Toden, or TEPCO”=東電、別名TEPCO(2つは同じ会社)

    I’ve learned a lot during the weekend. Thanks!



  19. Gussan on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 08:23 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question about an usage of English centence under today’s weather.

    I’d like to say in Japanese, ‘私が夕方家に帰るまで雨にならないで欲しい。’

    I suppose there are many people in Kanto area think so today.(笑)

    I think it’s collect as follows:
    I don’t want it to be rainy until I return to my house this evening.

    However, I’d like to say:
    I hope it won’t be rainy until I return to my house this evening.

    Is the later one also collect?

    That’s because we can say, ‘I hope not.’

    It would be appreciated if any of you give me advice,

    See ya.



  20. YU on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 09:50 AM

    Hi Gussan,

    How about this?

    I hope it doesn’t rain until I come home this evening.

    I just used David’s “tweet” on Nov.22th 2012(“I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.”) on bitsofenglish as a reference, though…



  21. Biwa on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Hi Gussan and YU,

    If you have already left home, I would say “I hope it doesn’t/won’t rain until I return/get back home this evening.”



  22. YU on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    I’m going to do three 委員 this year.
    自治会子供会支部員, 隣組班長, 息子の英会話教室のクラスリーダー. I’m wondering if I really could manage to do that many 役員 work at once!! hahaha…(汗)

    Hi Biwa,

    “Toden or TEPCO”=東電やTEPCO(2つは別会社)
    “Toden, or TEPCO”=東電、別名TEPCO(2つは同じ会社)

    I didn’t know that there was such a big difference between the two. Thanks!

    > because I thought David was saying “Toden or (=in other words) TEPCO”.

    I never thought that David was saying that because he usually writes just “TEPCO” when he talks about 東京電力.



  23. David on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Gussan,

    Both Biwa and YU’s suggestions are fine, but I would use “before” instead of “until.”

    I hope it doesn’t rain before I get home.

    There is another expression you could use, too.

    I hope the rain holds off until I get home.



  24. David Barker on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    P.S. I’m glad my tweets are useful for someone!



  25. David Barker on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    P.P.S. I have an iPhone 4S, and I am unable to view comments on this blog on the smartphone version of my site. If any of you can see comments on the smartphone site, please let me know and tell me what kind of phone you are using.

    Thanks.



  26. Biwa on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Hi David,

    I have an iPhone5, and I can view the comments. However, the last comment right now is mine which was posted at 10:00. There’s always a time lag between what I can view from my iPhone and computer.



  27. David Barker on Monday March 18th, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Thanks. I’ll try and find out what the problem is.

    By the way, the problem that was causing the site to be unavailable a lot of the time should have been solved. Please let me know if you have any problems.