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English Teacher John Show 60 – Transcript

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It’s our 2-year birthday! Yes, our first podcast episode was in July 2005!
In this show:

  • Our 2-year birthday!
  • News: election & politics in Japan
  • Taiko traditional Japanese drumming
  • Interview with Andrea
  • Idioms ‘rock’: rock the boat, on the rocks, rock bottom
  • Quotations: M Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Traveled)
  • Frappr map update … and more

Enjoy and learn!

===== TRANSCRIPT: EPISODE 60 =====

Colored text is informational only and not included in the audio file. Transcript may differ from actual audio recording.


[Buddha doll squeak] Hey, I ride my bike up and down those hills … up and down and up and down, gruntin’ sweatin’ pushin’. There’s no yellow jersey or Arc de Triomphe at the end of my mountain bike rides but you know what? … There also isn’t any endangerin’ EPO, I don’t do growth hormone, no stinkin’ steroids; this dope doesn’t do blood dopin’. The thrill is in seeing how far my natural non-drug enhanced body can take me. And right now, I’m off the bike, in front of the mic, for the all-natural 100-percent non-chemically enhanced, red-blood cell enabled English Teacher John Show number 60.

[intro music]

SEGMENT 0 – INTRODUCTION & INDEX – Our 2-year birthday and a quick summary all video & audio podcasts available on the website

Welcome to The English Teacher John Show No. 60. In our program, which is targeted for English learners of all abilities, we use clear and easy-to-understand English. [music playing] Oh no … what’s that I hear …

[happy birthday song]

That’s right. It’s our 2-year anniversary or I guess you could call it our 2-YEAR BIRTHDAY! Yay! Yes, we’ve certainly slowed the podcast production schedule down a bit recently, but we do have a bunch of podcasts available, and I’d like to give you a quick summary of all the video and audio podcasts we have on our website. And, that is, of course, english teacher john -dot- com.

First of all, there are 60 English Teacher John Show episodes and they’re easy to find by going to our website’s homepage, then clicking on ‘podcast’ where you’ll then see the list of all 60 English Teacher John shows. If a transcript is available, then you’ll see a ‘transcript’ link. Also, you will see our RSS feed which is maybe the easiest way to make sure you get all of the episodes.

We also have our “What’s Up? Podcast” which I haven’t done in quite a while. If you look closely on the podcast page, you’ll see a link to our “What’s Up?” podcast, and you can also find that link on the main page of our blog. As of August 2007, there are eightWhat’s Up?” podcasts and all of the transcripts can be found on the blog. The easiest way to find all the shows and transcripts is to go to our blog — the My English Blog — and look at the right column, the right-hand column. You’ll see ‘categories’ under the search box and calendar. Click on ‘What’s Up.”

Hey, video podcasts. How about video podcasts? Do you have any of them? Yes, we do indeed. As of August 2007, we have 10 English Teacher John video podcasts, and these are actually hosted on YouTube.com, blip.tv and revver.com, but they are embedded in and completely accessible and viewable from our video page. Just go to our homepage, click on ‘video‘ and you can’t miss ’em. Six of the ten videos are labeled “English Teacher John Show” videos and four of them are labeled “AdventurePod English.” On the video page, you’ll also see transcript links for some of those videos.

Transcripts: we get a lot of questions about the transcripts. The best way to find all available transcripts is to go to our blog, which is called the MY ENGLISH BLOG, look at the right column once again, below the search box and calendar; then click on category “transcripts.” Right now, there are 25 entries in the transcript category and most of them are in fact complete transcripts.

Our blog is formally called the MY ENGLISH BLOG and you can of course access it from our homepage. The exact URL is: english teacher john -dot- com slash my english blog.

Okay. I hope that gives you some help with finding our video and audio content, and also the transcripts. This is the English Teacher John Show number 60, and let’s take a look at today’s show index.



In today’s show, there are 5 segments, or sections or parts.


Intro – hey, it’s the 2-year birthday for the ETJS!
1. News: Election in Japan – ruling party suffered a big loss;
2. Wikipedia profile – Taiko drumming
3. Interview – with Andrea
4. Idioms (2) – ‘rock’: 1. don’t rock the boat; 2. on the rocks 3. rock bottom
5. Quotations – M. Scott Peck quotations

Alright. Let’s get on with the show!




For today’s WHAT’S NEWS?’ segment, it’s politics.

Story 1 (POLITICS): Japan Election
From: The newspapernameyyy (URL)

The Ruling Party Suffers Defeat in Recent Japanese Election
Yeah, it’s politics in Japan and this past Sunday we had a big election here. Japan’s legislature is called the Diet in English, and Kokkai in Japanese. There are two chambers: an upper House of Councillors (sangin in Japanese) and a lower House of Representatives (which is shugin in Japanese).

This recent election was for the upper house, or House of Councillors and it has 242 members who serve 6-year terms. And, I think there are going to be a bunch of new members. The Liberal Democratic Party (the LDP) has ruled Japan for most of the years since the second world war, but it looks like that’s going to change. The Democratic Party of Japan (or DJP) scored big victories and will now become more powerful in the government.

The lower house is the House of Representatives with 480 members, and they serve 4-year terms. The House of Representatives was not affected by this election.

Shinzo Abe of the LDP is the prime minister of Japan and even though his party was defeated in the elections, he says he is not going to step down. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks and months.

The biggest issues here in Japan right now are:
1. Reform of the pension system – Japan is an ageing society with fewer and fewer young people, an increasing amount of older people, and it’s clear that this demographic trend is going to be quite a challenge for the current pension system. For increased funding of the pension system, there’s a proposal to increase the Sales Tax, or you could call it a Consumption Tax and of course those kinds of issues are always controversial and hard-fought.

2. Another issue: the rise of neighboring China, and relationships with the Koreas, and of course China. These are always issues here.

3. Japan does have a very low crime rate, but I think there’s a growing sense that the crime rate is rising. I’m not sure the statistics confirm the rise, but the media usually sensationalizes these violent crime stories and it’s hard for people not to be shocked by them. It is indeed a very low crime rate still.

4. Another issue: Japan has a contingent — a group of soldiers — in Iraq. The Japanese military is labelled the Self-Defense Force, or SDF, and their presence in Iraq has always been a hot issue here. The Japanese consitution’s Article 9 renounces the country’s ability to go to war, but that provision is also a hot topic.

So, Article 9 says no war, but there’s been recent talk. There are right-wing movements to change or remove Article 9 and some reports show that that support is growing. However, there are also a lot of people working to see that Article 9 is not changed and that Japan remains a country opposed to waging war. I think some of you know Charlie, a good friend of the show here. He has been working on peace issues and spreading awareness about the importance of maintaining Article 9.

Alright, well, that’s it for Japanese politics and the What’s News? segment. Coming up next on our WIKIPEDIA PROFILE, we’ll look at Japanese traditional drumming called TAIKO.




Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko

Yes, it’s time for our Wikipedia Profile. This past weekend I was really inspired by one of our exciting annual events here in Matsumoto. It was the Matsumoto Taiko Matsuri, or Taiko Festival and it attracts local and national Taiko drummers from all over Japan. Let’s listen to a little of this past weekend’s traditional drumming.

[audio: Taiko drumming from Matsumoto festival]
The event is held right at Matsumoto Castle and it is really something to look forward to. This year, they setup the stage just next to the castle, providing a magical backdrop to the on-stage performers.

Alright. This is WIKIPEDIA PROFILE so, let’s take a look at wikipedia and the entry for TAIKO, and that’s capital-T-A-I-K-O. The actual link is:

Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko

Okay, reading from the Wikipedia website:

[start:text from wikipedia website]

Taiko (太鼓) means simply “drum” in Japanese (etymologically “great” or “wide drum”). Outside Japan, the word is often used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums (和太鼓, ‘wa-daiko’, “Japanese drum”, in Japanese) and to the relatively recent art-form of ensemble taiko drumming (sometimes called more specifically, “kumi-daiko” (組太鼓)).

Now, we’ll skip down to the section called “The Early History of Taiko.”

The Early History of Taiko
The story of the early beginnings of Taiko is one that is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that some of the earliest recorded uses of the Taiko drums were on the battlefields of ancient Japan during the period of Warring States. These massively sized drums served many purposes to the Japanese fighting on the battlefield. Firstly, the drums were massive in size and could sound a loud boom that could echo across every expanse of the battlefield. This would scare the opposing side’s soldiers providing a very useful advantage. However, along with the moralizing effects of the drums, the fact that they had such and ability to cover long distances with their rolling sounds, many army generals used the drums to aid in commanding their men over wide open battlefields. An example of a typical battlefield style Taiko drum would be a large drum that was more than likely carved from a single log, with several precisely drilled holes along the sides of the drum to maximize the thunderous sounds they produce.


That’s a little bit about Taiko drumming. It’s a great cultural tradition here and it’s one of my favorite things — just the power that you feel from the drummers, watching them and their movements as well as the sound of the drum. Boy, it really makes you vibrate. Don’t forget, today’s WIKIOPEDIA PROFILE, you can find that on the: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko.

Okay, that’s Japanese Taiko drumming and that’s our Wikipedia Profile. Next, we’ve got a short interview coming up.




I think you guys might be a little tired of hearing my voice, so let’s listen to an interview with my colleague Andrea. He’s from Australia and I recently asked him how he likes to spend his free time.

[interview with Andrea]

Next up, we’ll look at a few idioms.



[idiom segment intro sound FX]


A. don’t rock the boat – don’t upset people by trying to change something or starting something that may be controversial

B. on the rocksnot doing well; not succeeding; likely to fail due to problems

C. hit/reach rock bottom – reach the lowest possible level or point; be in the worst possible situation

Well, you might hear the wind howling in the background there or the wind chimes. It’s a windy one here in Matsumoto.

Yep, it’s idiom time and I think we have a couple of good ones for you today, and all three of them have the word ‘rock‘.

[idiom 1: rock the boat]

Our first idiom is: rock the boat.

I think you should stop spreading those rumors about our boss. Hey, don’t rock the boat.
Someone who rocks the boat is someone who wants to change something or start something that is maybe a little controversial. You’re going to rock the boat with that. You’re going to upset people for sure. Hey, don’t rock the boat!

You could also say: Don’t STIR UP TROUBLE!

Don’t stir up trouble. Don’t rock the boat.
Here in Japan, CONFORMITY is very important and it’s expected that your behavior in society and at your job will be similar to everyone else’s behavior. It’s often not acceptable to do or say something that may make people feel uncomfortable or that may upset them. Though I have not worked in the corporate world in Japan, I think the corporate culture here is to do the things that your bosses expect you to do. For employees, I think there is not so much encouragement or desire to look at things with an independent eye, or start new things on one’s own. Hey, you shouldn’t rock the boat.

I know that I’m generalizing here and I want to be careful when I do that, but I find that you have to be especially careful in Japan when you’re going to rock the boat. All cultures have accepted or acceptable ways to rock the boat with some more direct and permissible than others.
Think it over before you rock the boat!

[idiom 2: on the rocks]

Our second idiom today is: on the rocks. What’s the worse place for a ship or boat to be?

On the rocks.

We use this expression with relationships. Your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse, your father, kids, mother other family members.

How’s it going with Yuji and Ceclia. I’m not sure but I think they’re on the rocks.
They’re not doing well together. Their relationship is not doing well. It’s on the rocks. They’re on the rocks. It’s likely to fail due to problems.
It could also be an agreement, a business deal or contract. For example:

Last month I thought they were going to sign it, but now it looks like it’s on the rocks. It’s on the rocks.

[idiom 3: reaching rock bottom/hitting rock bottom]

Our third and final idiom today is: rock bottom. r-o-c-k b-o-t-t-o-m. Hitting rock bottom or reaching rock bottom.

It’s reached the lowest, most negative point. The situtation is at its worst. At its worst point. It’s hit rock bottom. It can’t get any worse. It’s already hit rock bottom. It’s already reached rock bottom.

Once again, you can use this expression with relationships. You really don’t want your relationship with your husband or wife to reach rock bottom. You can also use it for experiences or behavior.

The alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before he or she starts the process of recovery.

She’s almost hit rock bottom.

He’s definitely hit rock bottom.

How’s your new job going?

You know. Last month was really bad, but this month it’s truly hit rock bottom.

How about our podcast? Have we hit rock bottom yet? If we have, then I ‘m going to have to have a meeting with the staff and make some changes. I’ll definitely rock the boat.

That’s it for idioms. Coming up next, it’s QUOTATIONS.



SEGMENT 5 ­– FAMOUS QUOTATIONS – M. Scott Peck (author of “The Road Less Travelled”)

At the university, we have a great variety of books laying around in different places, and I found myself paging through M. Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety,” published in 1997. I’m well into it now and I find it very informative and eye-opening. There are some great ideas and explanations about the value of good, solid THINKING. I’ve found some great passages about the problems caused by simplistic thinking and those concepts really resonated with me. I think about them over and over again and I think I’ve benefited from some of his words.

So, today, for our QUOTATIONS segment, we’ll feature the famous psychotherapist and self-help writer M. Scott Peck.

He was born in 1936 and died in 2005. Peck was best known for his first book, “The Road Less Traveled” published in 1978 and it has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. You can find it in 20 different languages.

Comments about Peck’s work usually include references to his Christianity, his religion, but I’m finding great ideas to contemplate in this book, all of them are independent of any particular religious beliefs.

Okay, enough about the review of that book, let’s look at some of his quotes, which may be direct quotes from his books.

According to M. Scott Peck:
“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”

Another quote from Peck is:
We must be willing to fail and to appreciate the truth that often ‘Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.'”

And finally:
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

On a final note about M. Scott Peck: from looking at pieces of his life story — his biography — it’s clear that his personal life was not completely consistent with the ideals that he expressed in his books. For me, that does affect my thinking about him and his words and ideas.

Well, that’s it for M. Scott Peck and our Quotations segment.




[frappr map]

I haven’t talked about our frappr map in a little while. It’s been great to see some new hometown pins and photos on the english teacher john group frappr map (at f-r-a-p-p-r dot com slash english teacher john group). Some of our recent listeners and frappr map participants are from:

The Netherlands (Holland)
Czech Republic
South Korea
The. U.S.
Sierra Leone
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (known as Laos in English)

Thanks for your photos and your kinds words. With our new listeners, our country list now has 66 entries — 66 countries. Yay!

[final signoff]

Well, let’s wrap up this show number 60. You can find our blog, all of our video and audio podcasts, some transcripts, other language help and more, at our always-a-work-in-progress website english teacher john -dot- com. The complete transcript for our last show, episode number 59, is now on our website, so please visit english teacher john -dot- com slash podcast for that transcript (actually, it’s on our blog). And remember, we have some transcripts on our site but right now we do NOT have all transcripts available.

Our email address is podcast at english teacher john dot com. Also, you can leave us a voicemail message on skype, at s k y p e ID english teacher john (no spaces).

[Thanks to Martin]

Thanks to Martin Chenhall; he’s our dedicated music man and we thank him for helping us out. You can check him out on his myspace page at myspace -dot- com, and do a search on martin chenhall (m-a-r-t-i-n-space-c-h-e-n-h-a-l-l).Thanks to all of you for listening to the English Teacher John Show. My name is John Koons on this, I guess rainy, more windy evening in Matsumoto. Have a nice weekend and a great week!

© Copyright 2005-2007 English Teacher John, John Koons. All rights reserved.

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