Monthly Archives: September 2006

Show 150 Saturday 30 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.

Today is the 150th show!

Thank you so much to everyone for watching. Thank you to everyone who has sent messages and left comments. I haven’t gotten around to replying to most of them – but I really appreciate all the support and the constructive criticism.

Today I decided to lip-sync to a video clip from the Fuji TV show Zuiikin English.

My lip-syncing is completely out of time – hopefully this adds to the charm : )

I didn’t actually do it while listening to the music… my boyfriend was holding the camera and was embarrased enough about the whole thing as it was – he might have refused if I bought music along!

I think the original clip is hilarious, so I thought it would be a bit of fun.

But I also think that this is a pretty good idea for teaching English. I think if you spend 5 minutes watching a ridiculous video clip of some women doing silly aerobics moves while chanting English you’re much more likely to remember the phrases than if you were to spend the same 5 minutes doing exercises from a textbook.

Of course it would be more useful if they were teaching more relevant phrases. How likely is it that anyone will ever need to say: “spare me my life?”

By the way, this video that I’m lip-syncing to is kind of a review lesson – which makes it seem even stranger. When I first watched it I thought “WTF?! did they just choose completely random sentences?”. But actually they are part of short skits and when you see the longer programs it makes more sense. But still… they definately could’ve chosen more useful phrases to teach.


Show 149 Friday 29 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show. One way to study English is by reading comic strips.
But, a word of warning: If you read a comic strip and you don’t think it’s funny, don’t automatically assume that it’s because your English isn’t good enough to understand it. It might well be that the comic strip just isn’t funny.

For example, this is a page of comic strips from a newspaper in Hawaii – one of my students gave it to me … she goes to Hawaii a lot like a lot of people in Japan.
Incidentally, it’s an unusual shape for a newspaper – it’s really long and thin.

Anyway – I read all of the cartoons on this page and I didn’t find any of them funny.
Maybe it’s just me, but it can be hard to find a good one.
But one that I really like is Dilbet. Dilbert is an American comic strip by Scott Adams. It satirizes IT workplace and company issues.

A good idea could be to take a comic strip to class and ask the teacher to explain it to you. Or if you have any English speaking friends – or other friends studying English – ask them to explain it to you.

I cut this out of Student Times I think – that’s a newspaper for English students in Japan – and it’s really helpful because it has Japanese translations underneath.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, the Overlander has been saved. The long-distance passenger train which runs from Auckland to Wellington will continue to operate next week on a reduced time table.

New Zealand isn’t famous for its great train services. In most of the country there are no trains at all.
But for the past 98 years one place you could go by train, was from Auckland to Wellington.
This daily service is called the Overlander. It’s not very fast and not very popular. People prefer to travel by car, plane or bus.
In the last two years annual patronage has dropped from 90,000 to 50,000 passengers. And the company running the service Toll NZ , had been losing 2 million dollars a year.
So they decided to stop the service. But many people weren’t happy about this and campaigned to save the train.
Yesterday the Toll NZ announced it would continue the service – but it would only run three days a week.

The only bad news coming from the saved train seems to be that a local politician is going to honor his promise to dash through Ohakune wearing only carrot-coloured undies. Scary.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 29th of September.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 99 What are the trains like in New Zealand?

Sachie asks Sarah about the trains in New Zealand.
Step 1: Repeat Sachie’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sachie’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sachie What are the trains like in New Zealand?

Sarah Well, compared to Japan … they’re kind of a joke.

Sachie A joke?

Sarah Yeah, they’re slow for a start. And … there are a few train lines in Auckland and Wellington – but most people in New Zealand get to work or school by car or bus.

Sachie So most people can drive?

Sarah Yeah, I grew up in the country so I think I got my licence the day I turned 15.

Sachie Did you have a car when you were 15?

Sarah No, I just used my parent’s car, when they let me.

Sachie How about when you went to university?

Sarah When I lived in Wellington I just walked everywhere. And when I went home in the holidays I, I usually took the long-distance train from Wellington to Auckland or Hamilton.


And that was the 149th episode of The Daily English Show. Tomorrow is the 150th episode. So to celebrate, I’m going to be making my internet lip-syncing debut.
I’m going to be lip-syncing to a Japanese English aerobics program called Zuikin English – you might have seen some clips on the net.
So I’ve finished editing the video and it’s all completely out of time – which hopefully adds to the charm.

But isn’t as funny as funny as the original and no-where near as good as the internet lip-syncing classics like the original numa numa or the Chinese backstreet boys. But I thought I’d give it a g0, an important attitude for all language learners – give it a go – yeah.


Music on the show used with permission from and
Today’s questionanswer music:
Artist: Galdson
From: Ortigueira, Spain
Album: Roots
Track: Roots
music at jamendo

Today’s news.
Trains in New Zealand.

Show 148 Thursday 28 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. This is The Daily English Show.
So yesterday I talked about bro’Town.
And I found a glossary on their site for some words that they use in the show.
hese are some of the words on that list:

Ow: a word or sound often used to end a sentence for emphasis
Fah! An expression of surprise or incredulity
Fa’afafine: A man who is like a woman
Shot! A congratulatory expression meaning “Good one!” or “Well done!”
Pash: slang term for French-kissing

I like the word pash – I’m not sure if it’s New Zealand English or not… snog is also a good word.
And remember words like “ow” are not standard New Zealand English, so don’t go using them in your university essays or something.

I read some of the comments on the Internet Movie Database too about bro’Town and somebody commented that they thought it was racist. But I don’t think it is. I think it’s mocking racial stereotypes rather than the actual races themselves.

And I think they do a pretty good job of mocking all the stereotypes fairly equally.
For example my ethnicity – I’m pakeha – which basically means white New Zealander. And if you know anything about New Zealand history you’ll know that British people went to NZ – they had some fights with Maori – and then they signed a treaty in 1840 to make things equal. And the British government said that they would only buy land fairly – and then they just stole it.
So in one episode a woman teaches her nephew to say “bloody thieving colonialists”.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today Junichiro Koizumi is no longer the prime minister of Japan. Two days ago a new prime minister was elected. His name is Shinzo Abe.

Shinzo Abe is 52. He’s Japan’s youngest post-World War II prime minister and the first born after the war.
Abe was born in Nagato. He studied at Seikei University in Japan, then at the University of Southern California in the United States.
He then worked at Kobe Steel for a few years before getting into politics.
He was no stranger to politics. His father and grandfather were both politicians and his mother’s father and uncle were both prime ministers.
It doesn’t sound like China and Korea are going to be too happy about Abe’s appointment. On his official website he denies that Japanese troops used military sexual slaves during World War 2.
His wife Akie is a fan of Korean pop culture, particularly the actor
Bae Yong Joon. Her father is the president of the sweet company Morinaga, and she has worked in advertising and radio.

Abe also wants to change article 9 of the Japanese constitution. Article 9 is the chapter which is supposed to prevent Japan from attacking other countries.
And that was Stick News for Thursday 28th of September.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 98 Is bro’Town easy to understand?

Maki and Sarah talk about bro’Town.
Step 1: Repeat Maki’s lines.
Step 2: Read Maki’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Maki Is bro’Town easy to understand?

Sarah There are some New Zealand English words that you might not understand at first, like Kumara, marae, hui…

Maki How about the plot?

Sarah The basic story lines are pretty simple. But some of the finer points might be harder to understand.

Maki Why is that?

Sarah There are a lot of cultural references that you probably wouldn’t understand if you don’t know much about New Zealand. And there are also references to current events …

Maki What kind of current events?

Sarah Ah, in one episode in season two they find a baby and then they call the police. And the police say “call back if you find a baby of another ethnicity and we’ll send a taxi”.

Maki Why would they send a taxi?

Sarah Um, that’s referring to something that happened a couple of years ago. A woman was in trouble and she called the police and then they … They had a police car available, but they sent a taxi instead for some reason, and it went to the wrong address and then she disappeared.


Music on the show used with permission from and

Artist: Saelynh
Album: Sensation electronique
Track: Museum H.M
music at jamendo

Today’s news.

bro’Town glossary

Show 147 Wednesday 27 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. This is the The Daily English Show. A couple of days ago I talked about the word satire when I was talking about South Park.
And some satire that I recommend from New Zealand is bro’Town.
When I was in NZ last year I bought the DVD of the first season and then recently I found came across their myspace page and I decided to buy the DVD of season 2 and a tshirt.
So, they arrived yesterday, which was quite exciting.
And it turns out that season 3 starts tonight. So if you’re in New Zealand now you can watch it on TV tonight.
The main characters of bro’Town are four young boys called Vale, Valea, Jeff da Maori, Sione and Mack and they live in the suburb of Morningside.
Wikipedia says: “The show satirises the boys’ culture, with vivid dialogue in the local vernacular, expressing what is like to grow up as a minority culture in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the world.”
So if you’re in NZ now or you’re planning to go to New Zealand, or you’re interested in New Zealand language or culture, then I recommend you check it out.
I think it’s also on TV in Fiji, Australia and Canada. And there’s a channel on YouTube called morningsideforlife which has bro’Town clips on it.
So, I’m a big fan of bro’Town. But I’m not sure how much people would enjoy it if they’re not from New Zealand or don’t know anything about the history or culture – because it’s full of cultural, historical, and political references … so if you missed all that it might not be very interesting.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today the animation series bro’town starts its third season in New Zealand tonight.

The first episode of bro’Town was on TV in September 2004. It was created by a comedy group called The Naked Samoans.
To make the show they received funding from New Zealand on air, private investors and product placement.
The first season was a success. The show got awards, more funding, and some schools even banned students from using some of the show’s catchphrases: not even ow and peyow peyow.
Many famous New Zealanders have starred as guests on the show, including Helen Clark, Stacey Jones, David Tua, Scribe and Cliff Curtis.

Tonight the first episode of season three screens in New Zealand. The producer of the show has said they plan to continue for seven series.
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 27th of September. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 97 Can you give me an example of how to use it?

Naoto asks Sarah about her T-Shirt.
Step 1: Repeat Naoto’s lines.
Step 2: Read Naoto’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Naoto What does that say on your T-Shirt?

Sarah Oh this is one of the characters from bro’Town.

Naoto What’s bro’Town?

Sarah It’s an animation series from New Zealand.

Naoto And is he one of the characters?

Sarah Yeah, this is Jeff da Maori.

Naoto What does “not even ow” mean?

Sarah It means “no, that’s not true.”

Naoto Can you give me an example of how to use it?

Sarah OK. So, mmm, if someone accused me of doing something. Like if we were in a group of people and one person said to everyone: “Sarah ate all the chocolate” I could say “not even ow”.


Music on the show used with permission from and

Today’s questionanswer music:

Artist: Keep Cool Vibration
From: Nancy-Metz, France
Album: Conquest of the empire
Track: Day after day
music at jamendo

bro’Town at Wikipedia
bro’Town site
bro’Town on IMDB
NZ Herald article about bro’Town

Show 146 Tuesday 26 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. This is the The Daily English Show.
And today I’d like to talk about the word smirk.

Yesterday I watched a video on the net taken from Fox TV. It was an interview with Bill Clinton.
And the interviewer asked: Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?
Then Bill Clinton seemed to be quite annoyed – and he talked for about 10 minutes and during part of it he said: “And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. And you think you’re so clever.”
Smirk means: to smile in a silly or unpleasant way that shows that you are pleased with yourself, know sth that other people do not know” etc.

So I think the Fox guy was definitely smirking.
Smirking is pretty nasty and rude … I probably did it a lot when I was a teenager.
But no, smirking is probably something you should avoid if your aim is effective English communication.
Better things to do with your mouth: smile, grin or beam.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today a religious group in New Zealand may lose their labor law exemptions after it was revealed they hired private investigators to dig dirt on politicians.

The exclusive brethrens are a Christian group found throughout Europe and in the English Speaking World. There are 10,000 exclusive brethrens in New Zealand. Their way of life is rather different than the rest of the population. According to their website, they “shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet.”
And “Their approach is non-political. They do not vote, but hold Government in the highest respect as God’s ministers , used by Him to restrain evil and provide conditions for the promotion of the glad tidings.”
Thanks to this “non-political” approach, 649 employers currently enjoy an exemption from laws that say employers must allow union access to workplaces.
But it seems like the exclusive brethrens aren’t so non-political after all.
During the last election they spent 500,000 dollars on a campaign criticizing two political parties.
And it has now been revealed that they also hired two private investigators to dig dirt on politicians they don’t like.

Last week the leader of the opposition Don Brash admitted meeting Exclusive Brethren members and didn’t rule out meeting them again. But yesterday, he changed his mind. He said they crossed the line by hiring private investigators and his party wanted nothing to do with them. And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 26th of September. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 96 How can you get food poisoning from a vegetable?

Mari and Sarah talk about Spinach.
Step 1: Repeat Mari’s lines.
Step 2: Read Mari’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sarah Did you hear that in America people have been warned not to eat spinach because of food poisoning.

Mari Spinach?! How can you get food poisoning from a vegetable?

Sarah Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But apparently it’s from water contaminated with cattle feces.

Mari Cattle feces? What does that mean?

Sarah Cow shit.

Mari Gross! So now people can’t eat spinach?

Sarah Yeah. But apparently organic spinach is OK.

Mari Really? Why?

Sarah I don’t know. I guess they don’t grow their vegetables next to factory farms.


Music on the show used with permission from and

Today’s questionanswer music:

Artist: NeXuS
Album: Trance Planet
Track: Night flyer
music at jamendo

Today’s news
Exclusive Brethren
Exclusive Brethren site
Anti-greens leaflet

Dangerous spinach

Clinton interview short
Clinton interview long

From the Clinton interview:

Now I’ve never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one seventh as important at Iraq.
And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of, sort dismissive thing, when all you have to do is read Richard Clark’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.
And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. And you think you’re so clever.
But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country.
I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try.

Show 145 Monday 25 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. This is the The Daily English Show. And today’s word is satire.
I read a story today on CNN about South Park – about how the show has been going for 10 years.
I’m pretty sure most people in Japan haven’t heard of South Park. You can see it on pay TV with Japanese subtitles– but I’m not sure how funny it is translated.

So, I like South Park even though I’ve only seen a handful of episodes in the 10 years it’s been on. Because I’m not much of a TV watcher, and I don’t have cable or satellite.

And it’s something I would recommend to English students. Although it’s not easy – not just because of the language, but also because of all the cultural references. So it’s definitely not for beginners.

South Pak is an animation series. The main characters are four young boys:
Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan.
But Kenny doesn’t actually speak properly … he just mumbles. And he dies in every episode – and when he dies someone says “oh my god, they killed Kenny”.

Anyway… back to the CNN article … it says: Virtually everything and everyone in politics, pop culture and religion have been fair game for Parker and Stone’s sharp satire.

So, what does satire mean?
My dictionary says: The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.
A person who writes or uses satire is called a satirist.

There’s a list of notable satires and satirists in Wikipedia and it lists some of my favourite books and movies:
George Orwell Animal Farm,
Stanley Kubrick – Dr. Strangelove
Tom Wolfe – The Bonfire of the Vanities
Good book!


Kia Ora. In Stick News today there are more TV sets than people in the average American home.

The origins of television date back to 1873 when a British electrical engineer made a discovery.
They became popular in American homes in the mid-1950s and now they’ve outnumbered people. In the average home there are 2.55 people and 2.73 TV sets.
A set is turned on for more than eight hours a day in the average home. But people aren’t always watching it – the average person watches TV for four and a half hours a day.

And that was Stick News for Monday the 25th of September.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 95 Did you have a good weekend?

Takahiro asks Sarah about her weekend.
Step 1: Repeat Takahiro’s lines.
Step 2: Read Takahiro’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Takahiro Did you have a good weekend?

Sarah Yeah, it was good. Some friends came to visit.

Takahiro What did you do?

Sarah Ah, we did a bit of sightseeing and … what else did we do? We played some pool.

Takahiro Do you play pool often?

Sarah No, not really. I did when I was in New Zealand though. How about you? Do you like pool?

Takahiro I’ve never played it.

Sarah Oh really? We should go to a pool bar some time. It’s fun.


Music on the show used with permission from and
Artist: NeXuS
Album: Trance Planet
Track: Night flyer
music at jamendo

Today’s news.

Show 144 Sunday 24 September

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.

sunday kitchen
#20 Yuba

If you boil soy milk, a skin forms on the surface. This is yuba.
You can buy yuba dried or fresh.
I bought a packet of each. There were recipes on the back of one of the packets, so I followed two of them.
First I used the dried yuba.
I soaked it for a few minutes until it was soft.
Then I cut it.
Then I fried it in olive oil with salt and pepper.
Then I mixed vinegar and soy sauce, and dipped the yuba in the sauce.
Mmm. Very tasty.
Then I tried the fresh yuba.
I cut it into strips.
Then put wasabi and soy sauce into a bowl.
Pretty complicated recipe this one.
Mmm. Nice.



Music on the show used with permission from

Artist: Saelynh
Album: Sensation electronique
Track: In memory of our dreams
music at jamendo