Uncharted Territory


RSS     Archives

Blue pill or Red pill


Is the Eiken doing Japan’s English learners more harm than good?
Only show author if their role is equal to author


The Eiken tests have traditionally been seen as the standard for English proficiency certification in Japan, and a ticket to a well-paying job. Hundreds of thousands of people pass the tests every year, which makes you wonder where they are all hiding, as proficient English speakers can seem few and far between in this country.

The Eiken tests, which are backed by the ministry of education, are designed and administered by Eikyo, the Eiken Foundation of Japan (formerly the Society for Testing English Proficiency), a public-interest incorporated foundation established in 1963 and based in Tokyo. Many employers see the certificate as a valuable asset in a prospective employee’s portfolio, and cram schools offer courses dedicated to Eiken test preparation.


まあ、そのあたりの感想はいろいろあるでしょうから、自分は最後の最後にあるI would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.という表現に注目したいと思います。

“But now we are rapidly moving towards a world with shrinking distances, virtual-reality commuting, automated factories and workplaces, and jobs that don’t even have names yet. Who will ask for a person who can only function in a world where everything is predictable, including what is said, and the responses to what is said? How much is a paper that certifies such a skill worth then? If I was in charge of designing the Eiken, I would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.”


ずいぶん前にブログで取り上げたものですが、マトリックスのBlue pill or red pillを念頭にした表現かもしれないなと思いました。マトリクッスでは赤いカプセルを飲むとマトリックスの世界から目覚めて現実の中で戦うんですよね。

Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (a red pill is shown in his other hand) You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

マトリクッスを踏まえているとすればI would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.という表現も腑に落ちますよね。red pillは現実に目覚める薬。自分か英検の担当になればもっと現実に即した試験にするという意味になるからです。

こういのは知らないとピンとこないですよね。まあこういうのがあるから、英語学習者のほとんどがノイズを排除した居心地のよい試験空間にこもるのでしょう。そんな人たちはred pillを飲まずにblue pillを飲んでしまったに違いありません。


New Yorkerでトランプ支持者をloss aversionという行動経済学の観点から見たエッセイがありました。loss aversionは日本語だと「損失回避性」となるようです。


The more Trump emphasizes loss, the more voters may take a risk on him to get it back.

By James Surowiecki

When Donald Trump appeared at the N.R.A.’s recent national convention, he had a simple message: Hillary Clinton “wants to take away your guns.” This was familiar rhetorical ground: warning of dire losses has been the core of Trump’s campaign. Free trade means that “we’re losing our jobs, we’re losing our money.” China’s trade practices amount to “the greatest theft in the history of the world.” We need a wall to stop illegal immigration because “we’re losing so much.” In Trump’s world, things are much worse than they seem, and it’s because American prosperity has been stolen: “We’re losing everything.”

Trump is playing to one of the most powerful emotions in our economic life—what behavioral economists call loss aversion. The basic idea, which was pioneered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, is that people feel the pain of losses much more than they feel the pleasure of gains. Empirical studies suggest that, in general, losing is twice as painful as winning is enjoyable. So people will go to great lengths to avoid losses, and to recover what they’ve lost.


日本の現状もこれから景気がよくなることは難しそうなのでloss aversionの雰囲気が強まりそうです。そうなるとトランプ現象を自分たちとは無関係だとは言ってられない気がします。

(定期ポスト)New Yorkerを読もう

先週と今週のNew Yorkerは合併号で短編特集です。改めて紹介したくなったのは作者が朗読しているものがあったため。『美について』が昨年ようやく翻訳されたゼイディー・スミス、デビュー作Leaving the Atocha Stationがジョナサン・フランゼンにも褒められていたBen Lernerが自分の作品を朗読してくれています。

By Zadie Smith

By Ben Lerner

ラングストンヒューズの未発表短編などもありますが、今号のハイライトは『ものすごくうるさくて、ありえないほど近い』が映画にもなったJonathan Safran Foerでしょうか。9月に新作が出るようです。

By Jonathan Safran Foer

By Langston Hughes

Zadie Smith、Ben Lerner、Jonathan Safran Foerいずれもアラフォー世代。同世代なだけにどうしても注目してしまいます。

New York Timesの記者も読んでいるJSTOR

アカデミックな話題を親しみやすい切り口で紹介してくれているJSTOR。このブログでも紹介させてもらいましたが、New York Timesでも読んでいる記者がいたようです。What We’re ReadingというNYTの記者が読んで面白かった記事を紹介してくれるメールマガジンで知りました。

What We’re Reading
ME, Asse; OE, Assa; From Latin Asinus
The linguist in you may be delighted by this exploration of the grammatical versatility of the word “ass.” It’s an intensifier (“big-ass car”), a nominalizer (he’s a “hard-ass”), and a universal pronoun (“she saw his ass yesterday”). Sort of makes you want to treat this colloquialism with more respect, doesn’t it? Go »
Jack Begg
Supervisor, News Research


CHI LUU /JUNE 1, 2016



Hillary Clinton may become the first woman president, but she is far from the first to run for the office. That honor belongs to Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927), the “magnetic healer,” stockbroker, publisher, freethinking free-love advocate, who was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872. Curiously, it’s not known how many votes she actually received


The Strange Tale of the First Woman to Run for President
Before Hillary Clinton, there was Victoria Woodhull.

By Carol Felsenthal
April 09, 2015

Sing Kumbaya


この動画の最初はThis is Zootopia, where predators and prey live in harmony and sing Kumbaya!となっています。この部分は本編ではシニカルに使われています。sing Kumbayaは前のブログでは取り上げましたが今回も見てみたいと思います。


Tell me if this story sounds familiar: Naïve little hick with good grades and big ideas decides, "Hey, look at me, I’m gonna move to Zootopia, where predators and prey live in harmony and sing Kumbaya!"


"Kumbaya" or "Kumbayah" or "Cumbaya" (Gullah, "Come by Here"—"Kum ba yah") is a spiritual song first recorded in the 1920s. It became a standard campfire song in Scouting and summer camps and enjoyed broader popularity during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s.



In the popular Canadian reality TV show Dragons Den, former Dragon Kevin O'Leary uses the song several times to poke fun at pitches that have a naïvely optimistic view of the world.


Judy: [catches up to him] Hey, hey! No one tells me what I can or can’t be! Especially not some jerk who never had the guts to try and be anything more than a pawpsicle hustler.
Nick: All right, look, everyone comes to Zootopia thinking they can be anything they want. Well, you can’t. You can only be what you are. [points to himself] Sly fox. [points to Judy] Dumb bunny.

このあたりのニュアンスをUrban dictionaryは取り上げてくれています。

(Urban dictionary)
blandly pious and naively optimistic
At the risk of sounding too kumbaya, I felt as if I had finally come home.


[Nick and Finnick (who has been posing as his little son in an elephant costume) share out their earnings after a day's hustle.]
Nick: 39, 40, there you go! Way to work that diaper, big guy! [as Finnick boards his van] Hey, no kiss bye-bye for Daddy?
Finnick: [spits out his pacifier and speaks in a deep, gruff voice] You kiss me tomorrow, I'll bite your face off! [puts on dark sunglasses and plays loud hip-hop music on radio] Ciao. [drives away]

Judy: [realizing Nick conned her] Well, I stood up for you. And you lied to me! You liar!
Nick: [coolly] It’s called a hustle, sweetheart. And I’m not the liar, he is.
[Judy looks to where Nick was pointing across the street; seeing there’s no one there, Judy looks back, only to find out Nick has run off.]
Judy: [annoyed] Hey! [chases after Nick] All right, slick Nick, you’re under arrest.
Nick: [smugly] Really, for what?
Judy: Gee, I don’t know. How about selling food without a permit, transporting undeclared commerce across borough lines, false advertising--
Nick: [showing her permits and paperwork] Permit, receipt of declared commerce, and I did not falsely advertise anything. Take care.
Judy: You told that mouse the pawpsicle sticks were redwood!
Nick: That’s right. [hands her the red stick] Red wood. With a space in the middle. Wood that is red. You can’t touch me, Carrots. I've been doing this since I was born.
Judy: You’re gonna want to refrain from calling me "Carrots".
Nick: My bad. I just naturally assumed you came from some little carrot-choked Podunk, no?
Judy: Ah, no. Podunk is in Deerbrooke County. I grew up in Bunnyburrow.
Nick: Okay. Tell me if this story sounds familiar: Naïve little hick with good grades and big ideas decides, "Hey, look at me, I’m gonna move to Zootopia, where predators and prey live in harmony and sing Kumbaya!" Only to find, whoopsie: we don’t all get along. And that dream of becoming a big city cop? Double whoopsie! She’s a meter maid. And whoopsie number three-sie: no one cares about her or her dreams. And soon enough, those dreams die and our bunny sinks into emotional and literal squalor, living in a box under a bridge, till, finally, she has no choice but to go back home, with that cute fuzzy-wuzzy tail between her legs, to become... You're from Bunnyburrow, is that what you said? So how about a carrot farmer? That sound about right? [Nick continues walking off, Judy follows him and is almost got trampled by a rhino] Be careful now, or it won’t just be your dreams getting crushed.
Judy: [catches up to him] Hey, hey! No one tells me what I can or can’t be! Especially not some jerk who never had the guts to try and be anything more than a pawpsicle hustler.
Nick: All right, look, everyone comes to Zootopia thinking they can be anything they want. Well, you can’t. You can only be what you are. [points to himself] Sly fox. [points to Judy] Dumb bunny.
Judy: I am not a dumb bunny.
Nick: Right. And that's not wet cement.
[He points down, and Judy sees that she's ankle deep in the cement.]
Nick: You'll never be a real cop. You’re a cute meter maid, though. Maybe a supervisor one day. Hang in there!


Historical If 過去を振り返ること


こちらがEditorialです。もしダーウィンがいなかったらというDarwin Deletedという本は数年前に出たそうですが今回は別の歴史家が遺伝におけるメンデルの役割を見直します。nature always trumps nurtureというのは遺伝が環境よりも影響が大きいことを指しているのでしょう。nature or nurture(生まれか育ちか)は語感がいいのでペアでよく使われます。

Second thoughts
Revisiting the past can help to inform ideas of the present.

17 May 2016

What if Darwin had toppled overboard before he joined the evolutionary dots? That discussion seems useful, because it raises interesting questions about the state of knowledge, then and now, and how it is communicated and portrayed. In his 2013 book Darwin Deleted — in which the young Charles is, indeed, lost in a storm — the historian Peter Bowler argued that the theory of evolution would have emerged just so, but with the pieces perhaps placed in a different order, and therefore less antagonistic to religious society.

In this week’s World View, another historian offers an alternative pathway for science: what if the ideas of Gregor Mendel on the inheritance of traits had been challenged more robustly and more successfully by a rival interpretation by the scientist W. F. R. Weldon? Gregory Radick argues that a twentieth-century genetics driven more by Weldon’s emphasis on environmental context would have weakened the dominance of the current misleading impression that nature always trumps nurture.

Editorialの途中でIf the past is a foreign countryという見慣れない表現が使われていました。こういうのがあればその分野でよく言われていることや、有名な引用であるケースが多いですね。

Biologists may take issue with the methods, but the results seem less important than the fact that such an experiment could be performed at all. If the past is a foreign country, then it is also supposed to be one that cannot be revisited.

今回はL. P. Hartleyという作家の引用でした。

The Go-Between (1953)
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.


These ‘winners’ became dominant before all the criticisms against them were fully answered, which raises questions about why the debates went the way they did, and whether they could have gone otherwise — and if so, with what repercussions.

A well-informed interest in alternative scientific pasts can help us to take the actual past more seriously as a source of present-day insight. It can also help us to stay self-critical as we make choices in the present. Science without consensus would be chaos. But the price of consensus is eternal vigilance against complacency, and a willingness to contemplate the road otherwise not travelled.


Teach students the biology of their time
An experiment in genetics education reveals how Mendel’s legacy holds back the teaching of science, says Gregory Radick.

17 May 2016

Take genetics. The past year has seen prolonged celebrations of the work of Gregor Mendel, linked to the 150th anniversary of the paper that reported his experiments with hybrid peas. Mendel’s experiments are central to biology curricula across the world. By contrast, the criticisms levelled at Mendel’s ideas by W. F. R. Weldon, Linacre professor at the University of Oxford, UK, are a footnote.

From 1902, Weldon’s views brought him into increasingly bad-tempered conflict with Mendel’s followers. In basic terms, the Mendel­i­­­­ans believed that inherited factors (later called ‘genes’) determine the visible characters of an organism, whereas Weldon saw context — developmental and environmental — as being just as important, with its influence making characters variable in ways that Mendelians ignored. The Mendelians won — helped by Weldon’s sudden death in 1906, before he published his ideas fully — and the teaching of genetics has emphasized the primacy of the gene ever since.

The problem is that the Mendelian ‘genes for’ approach is increasingly seen as out of step with twenty-first-century biology. If we are to realize the potential of the genomic age, critics say, we must find new concepts and language better matched to variablebiological reality. This is important in education, where the reliance on simple examples may even promote an outmoded determinism


Hiroshima Remarksはゲルニカになれるか?


5月のNew York Review of Booksでゲルニカが取り上げられていました。Art Issueのためかピカソのゲルニカの話がメインで書評すべきGernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre については冒頭でさらっと触れられているだけです(苦笑)

A Different Guernica
John Richardson
MAY 12, 2016 ISSUE

Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre
by Xabier Irujo
University of Nevada Press, 311 pp., $44.95

In Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, the historian Xabier Irujo reveals the hitherto unknown fact that the destruction of the historic Basque town of Guernica was planned by Nazi minister Hermann Göring as a gift for Hitler’s birthday, April 20. Guernica, the parliamentary seat of Biscay province, had not as yet been dragged into the Spanish civil war and was without defenses. Logistical problems delayed Göring’s master plan. As a result, Hitler’s birthday treat had to be postponed until April 26.
Besides celebrating the Führer’s birthday, the attack on Guernica served as a tactical military and aeronautical experiment to test the Luftwaffe’s ability to annihilate an entire city and crush the morale of its people. The Condor Legion’s chief of staff, Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, painstakingly devised the operation to maximize human casualties, and above all deaths. A brief initial bombing at 4:30 PM drove much of the population into air-raid shelters. When Guernica’s citizens emerged from these shelters to rescue the wounded, a second, longer wave of bombing began, trapping them in the town center from which there was no escape. Low-flying planes strafed the streets with machine-gun fire. Those who had managed to survive were incinerated by the flames or asphyxiated by the lack of oxygen. Three hours of coordinated air strikes leveled the city and killed over 1,500 civilians. In his war diary, Richthofen described the operation as “absolutely fabulous!…a complete technical success.” The Führer was so thrilled that, two years later, he ordered Richthofen to employ the same bombing techniques, on an infinitely greater scale, to lay waste to Warsaw, thereby setting off World War II.


Despite Picasso’s fame, the French press virtually ignored Guernica. Even the Communist newspaper L’Humanité’s star contributor Louis Aragon failed to mention it. Only the art publisher Christian Zervos celebrated the painting in an impeccably illustrated double issue of his avant-garde magazine Cahiers d’Art. It reproduced many of the preliminary sketches and Dora’s photographs with commentaries by Michel Leiris and the Spanish poet and playwright José Bergamín, as well as a poem by Paul Éluard, “La victoire de Guernica.”
When Guernica went on display at the Exposition Internationale, the organizers at the Spanish pavilion questioned its merits. Some disapproved of its modernist style and clamored for its removal. As a result, Max Aub, cultural attaché to the Spanish embassy in Paris and a fervent backer of Picasso, felt compelled to defend Guernica:

This art may be accused of being too abstract or difficult for a pavilion like ours that wishes to be above all and before everything else a popular expression. But I am certain that with a little will, everyone will perceive the rage, the desperation, and the terrible protest that this canvas signifies.

Other Spanish officials did indeed feel that Guernica was too avant-garde for visitors to appreciate, and tried to replace it with another work commissioned for the pavilion: Horacio Ferrer de Morgado’s corny Madrid 1937 (Black Aeroplanes). This composition exploited some of the same motifs used by Picasso—air-raid victims and gutted buildings—but Morgado’s kitschy representationalism was more to the taste of the public than Picasso’s bleak monochrome modernism. The raised fists and red-scarved figures depicted by Morgado also had far more appeal to Spanish Communists. Prominently displayed, Black Aeroplanes was described to Republican leaders as “the greatest popular success” of the pavilion. Whereas Guernica, according to Le Corbusier, “saw only the backs of visitors, for they were repelled by it.”

Some Spanish modernists took against Guernica. The movie director Luis Buñuel later confessed:

I can’t stand Guernica, which I nevertheless helped to hang. Everything about it makes me uncomfortable—the grandiloquent technique as well as the way it politicizes art. Both Alberti and Bergamin share my aversion. Indeed all three of us would be delighted to blow up the painting.

Even more galling was the Basque government’s reaction. Picasso had generously offered Guernica to the Basque people but, to his fury, their president disdainfully refused. Picasso felt the Basques should be grateful to him for memorializing their ancient capital. Instead, the Basque artist Ucelay, who loathed the painting, believed the commission should have gone to a fellow Basque, and denounced Guernica:

As a work of art it’s one of the poorest things ever produced in the world. It has no sense of composition, or for that matter anything…. It’s just seven by three meters of pornography, shitting on Gernika, on Euskadi [Basque country], on everything.



Try everything








「I あ〜う〜 want あ〜う〜」みたいな喋り方になりやすい英語学習者は、ネイティブにとってはSlothに見えるかもしれません。スピードに慣れるということや反射的に表現がでてくるようにすることは、英語でのコミュニケーションを自然に行うには不可欠な要素かもしれません。

Words checked = [312]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [90%]


Judy Hopps



以下のような表現はhurting your feelingsのバリエーションなので基本表現が身についていると類推しやすくなるでしょう。

Hwurting your fweelings









昔なんかのきっかけで読んだ、俳優の三國 連太郎が戦中逃げ出した時に母親が軍に報告したというエピソードに怖さを感じていたのですが、そのようなメカニズムがどのように起きていたのかを当時の資料を駆使して明らかにしてくれる本でした。






Zootopia, a gleaming city where animals of all breeds, predator and prey alike, live together in peace and harmony.


predator and preyのように語感がそろっている表現には、friends and foesやnature or nurtureなんかもあります。英語学習者はどうしても発音とか文法とかテストのスコアとか個別のものに目がいきがちですが、たくさんの素材に触れて語感を磨く作業も忘れずに取り組みたいですね。

Why is Zootopia called "Zootropolis" in some countries?
This was a creative decision made by Disney stating: "to merely allow the film to have a unique title that works for UK audiences." Despite not having any connection to any similar movies or TV shows with similar titles, there is some speculation that it was to avoid confusion to an upcoming certain zoo in Denmark called "Zootopia" as well where its owners have had their trademark for the title since February 2010. Director Byron Howard also answered the question of why so many different titles: "Licensing or trademark conflicts. All the same movie."

最後にある"Licensing or trademark conflicts. All the same movie."の部分。TOEIC学習者にはscheduling conflict(予定が重なること)という表現でおなじみですね。

イギリスのディズニーのサイトでは以下のように(A.K.A Zootopia)を加えてタイトルを紹介していました。そうしないと別のものと勘違いする人が出てしまいますよね。a.k.aは「別名」を指す表現です。

Zootropolis - Official Disney UK (A.K.A Zootopia)


What can you tell us about the animals that went savage?
Are we safe?

It's not about how badly you want something.
It's about what you are capable of!

We may be evolved, but deep down we are still animals.

No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.


No, you are naked!
For sure, we're a naturalist club.

こういう人たちはnaturist, nudistと言った言葉もあるようですが、自然のまま(裸)でいることが好きな人たちという感じでしょうか。言葉は生き物ですから、辞書的な意味からこぼれ落ちる使い方もありますね。





1. a fortified town in NE France, on the Meuse: scene of the longest and most severe battle (1916) of World War I, in which the French repelled a powerful German offensive. Pop: 19 624 (1999) Ancient name: Verodunum, (ˌvɛrəˈdjuːnəm )
2. See Treaty of Verdun

Verdun, Battle of
A long and severe battle in 1916, during the First World War, at the fortified town of Verdun in NE France.


Hollande and Merkel remember WWI dead 100 years after Verdun Battle
Latest update : 2016-05-29

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande marked the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Verdun side-by-side on Sunday, laying a wreath at a cemetery in northeastern France for the 300,000 soldiers killed.

The Verdun battle was one of the longest in World War I, lasting more than 300 days from February to December 1916, and its commemoration has come to signify the reconciliation between Germany and France after decades of hostility and distrust following two world wars.

“We are side by side to tackle the challenges of today and first of all the future of Europe, because, as we know disappointment was followed by disenchantment, and after doubts came suspicion, and for some even rejection or break-up,” Hollande said in a closing speech at the ceremony.

It was not until 1984 that the neighbours carried out a joint ceremony to mark the Verdun battle, another step towards ending decades of residual hostility.

しかも自分のアンテナにひっかかったのは以前紹介した映画でヒロインがangel of Verdunだったからに過ぎません。



implicit とexplicit

implicit とexplicitともこれまでの公式教材では見つけられませんでした。TOEICを中心に学習していた人には見慣れない語だったかもしれません。昨日取り上げた動画にちょうどimplicit とexplicitが使われていたのでこの語の使われ方を見ていきたいと思います。

まずはimplicitから現職大統領の広島訪問について謝罪はないけどそこにいるだけでan implicit acknowledgment that something terrible happened(何か恐ろしいことが起きたと暗に認めること)だと語っています。

KAI BIRD: Well, thank you, Amy. I’m very glad to be here on your show. And I’m actually quite excited that Obama made this decision to go to Hiroshima. It’s really an extraordinary thing for an American president to go to this site. And while he offered no apology, his presence there, his mere presence in Hiroshima, is an implicit acknowledgment that something terrible happened.

次はexplicitです。謝罪はしないと明言していたことをHe was very explicit about that.と表現しています。

KAI BIRD: Right. And, you know, Obama, when he was about to go to Hiroshima, he said, "I’m not going to offer an apology." He was very explicit about that. He said, "That is—that historical incident, that—what happened in Hiroshima, the decision to use the bomb, I will leave that for the historians."