Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Show 59 Wednesday 31 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Hi, I’m Sarah and this is The Daily English Show.
Harry Potter is in the news today. And the conversation is also from a Harry Potter book. This conversation is an excellent one to practice sarcasm.

Some people say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. And it can be overused at times I guess. But I think there’s a definite place for sarcasm in this world. And I’m a fairly big user.

So Harry Potter has a nasty cousin called Dudley. Dudley is a greedy, stupid, mean bully and he often picks on Harry. And on Harry’s birthday Dudley decides to be mean to him. He says: “I know what day it is”.
He means Harry’s birthday and Harry knows this too – but Harry decides to be sarcastic because he knows that Dudley is going to say something nasty next.

So Harry says: “Well done. You’ve finally learned the days of the week.”

So this “Well done” is sarcastic. You can tell sarcasm from the tone or from the context.

Next time you’re watching an English movie, try and identify some sarcasm.

And you can try it out yourself. I recommend trying it out on some good friends or family. Perhaps ... not recommended for strangers.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, researches in England and the United States think they can make an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter’s.

Harry Potter is a fictional character created by J.K.Rowling. In the first Harry Potter book, Harry gets an invisibility cloak for Christmas.
There are Harry Potter fans worldwide. Including this group of scientists from England and the United States.
They loved Harry Potter so much they decided they wanted an invisibility cloak like Harry’s.
But since no such cloak exists – they decided to make one.

The scientists haven’t said how they are planning to use the cloak. It is understood all of the group are too old to be admitted to Hogwarts.
And the American military has supported the research. They think a few invisibility cloaks may be useful during their next overseas invasion.
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 31st of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 38 How come you haven’t got any cards?
This conversation is from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling

Harry Potter’s nasty cousin Dudley starts hassling Harry Potter on his birthday. Harry pretends to do magic to scare Dudley.
Step 1: Repeat Harry’s lines.
Step 2: Read Harry’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Dudley I know what day it is.

Harry What?

Dudley I know what day it is.

Harry Well done. So you’ve finally learned the days of the week.

Dudley Today’s your birthday. How come you haven’t got any cards? Haven’t you even got any friends at that freak place?

Harry Better not let your mum hear you talking about my school.

Dudley Why’re you staring at that hedge?

Harry I’m trying to decide what would be the best spell to set it on fire.

Dudley You c-can’t – Dad told you you’re not to do m-magic – he said he’ll chuck you out of the house – and you haven’t got anywhere else to you – you haven’t got any friends to take you -

Harry Jiggery pokery! Hocus pocus ... squiggly wiggly ...

Dudley MUUUUUUM! MUUUUM! He’s doing you know what!


The conversation is on page 12 of my book.
I accidentally said "which" instead of "what"... In the book it is: "I'm trying to decide what ...)

The music on today's show is by Philharmonia Baroque from San Francisco, United States.
The track is from the album Beethoven Symphonies No 3 Eroica and No 8.

This music was used with permission from

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Show 58 Tuesday 30 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Hi I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

The other day I found out how to make these window things.
Oh, there goes a banana. Oh. There goes another one.

Today’s news is about Joan Baez.
When I saw the name Joan Baez it immediately brought back memories of my childhood because my mother loved Joan Baez.

And I have two sisters so whenever we went on car trips anywhere there was always huge battles between my sisters and my parents and me over what music we were going to listen to.

My mother always wanted to listen to Joan Biaz. Whereas I wanted to listen to whatever music I was into at the time.

And I was much more into pop music than folk music.

The first cassette I ever owned was a dubbed Bob Dylan tape. I dubbed it from my father – cause he liked Bob Dylan.

But the first tape I ever bought was a Kylie Minogue tape. Um, yeah, I loved it. And the second one I think was Poison. It was called “Open up and say ahh”. I still like singing some Poison songs in karaoke, like “Every Rose has its Thorn”. It sounds pretty bad when I sing it… but it’s fun.


Kia Ora. This is Stick News.
Last week, Joan Baez sat in a tree and sang a song. She was protesting against the planned demolition of a garden in Los Angeles.

Joan Baez is an American folk singer.
In the 1960s she protested against war and for civil rights.
In the early 1970s she helped establish a U.S. branch of Amnesty International.
She also had a relationship with a woman. And supported gay and lesbian rights.
Last week, she decided to sit in a tree.
Another woman sat in the tree too. Her name is Julia Butterfly.
It’s not the first time Julia Butterfly has sat in a tree – she sat in a tree called Luna for two years.
This time Julia and Joan sat in a tree in LA and sang songs.

In late 1962, Joan Baez became romantically involved with Bob Dylan. The pair remained together until early 1965.
However, Bob likes me better.
And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 30th of May. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 37 What kind of music do they play?

Sarah’s friend John asks her about what music she listened to when she was young.
Step 1: Repeat John’s lines.
Step 2: Read John’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

John What kind of music did you listen to when you were young?

Sarah When I was about 12 or 13 I loved the New Kids on the Block. Have you heard of them?

John New Kids on the Block? No. What kind of music do they play?

Sarah Well, they aren’t around any more but they were a boy band, so I don’t think they actually played any instruments. They just sang and danced.

John How many people were there in the band?

Sarah Um, five – Jordon, Joey, Jonathon, Danny and Donnie.

John Wow, you can remember all their names.

Sarah Yeah, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about them. I even read a book about them and I had posters of them on my wall.

John Did you see them in concert?

Sarah Yeah, yeah, they came to New Zealand once, so I went to their concert.

John Was it good?

Sarah Yeah, it was great. I screamed a lot.


And that was The Daily English Show.
While I was reading about Joan Baez and Julia Butterfly for today’s news I found a good site for English study.
So it’s called Big Picture TV and it is: “an online media channel that streams free video clips of global leaders in sustainability.”
So you can watch clips of people talking about interesting things – and the good thing is that a lot of them have transcripts. So that’s really good for students – and good for teachers too, you can use them in your classes.
So, I’ll put a link to that on the blog.
See you tomorrow.


Read about today's news here.
Read about Joan Baez.

Watch video clips at Big Picture TV.
Some of them have transcripts - great for studying.
This one has a transcript:
Prince Charles talking about the future of food.

The music on today's show is by Rob Costlow from the United States.
The track is from the album Sophomore Jinx.

You can listen to the album and download it for free here.
This is Rob Costlow's website.

Show 57 Monday 29 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show, number 57.

The conversation we’re practicing today is from a video which you can watch on the net.

Two guys are having an argument while they’re taking a picture for a present for their mother on mother’s day.

It’s really funny and I think it’s a great video to watch for your English study. So, I’ll put a link to that on The Daily English Show blog – so please check it out.

It has some useful language in it to study – especially useful if you’re having an argument, and I particularly like their use of “fine”.

One of the things that I noticed when I first came to Japan was that when I asked people how they were they usually answered: “Fine thanks and you?”. And the reason why they do this is because that’s what they usually learn, that’s what’s in school textbooks – but I found it a bit odd because in New Zealand – as far as I can remember – um, people usually don’t say “fine thanks, and you”. They usually reply “good” or “not too bad” or “can’t complain”, “alright”.

And when I hear the word “fine” it’s usually in a different context. As in the angry fine. Like when you’re angry but you’re denying it. So... “Oh, what’s wrong?”. “Nothing. I’m fine”.

In this video, when one of the brothers says “fine” he means: OK, I’ll do it, but I’m not happy about it.
So, let’s watch the start of it.

So, that’s the conversation we’re practicing today. Please follow the link to watch the whole thing.
Stick News today is about Arakawa Shizuka.
And the question for questionanswer is: “What did he say?”


The woman who won the only gold medal for Japan at this year’s winter Olympics is making her acting debut this week. Arakawa Shizuka will make a guest appearance as a lawyer in TV Asahi’s drama “七人の女弁護士” (Seven Women Lawyers).

Shizuka Arakawa went skating in Italy a few months ago, and came back to Japan with a gold medal. Now, she is famous.
She told some TV producers that she’d always wanted to visit the set of a TV drama and would love to have a part as an extra.
Arakawa was surprised when they gave her a bigger part than they expected.
“I just wanted to show off to my friends,” she said.
The episode will screen this Thursday. Arakawa’s character will play a prosecutor in a murder trial.

Producers have said that Arakawa will also have some scenes in which she skates. It is not clear whether Arakawa will actually be skating inside the courtroom.
And that was Stick News for Monday the 29th of May. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 36 What picture?

Tucker wants to take a picture with his brother for a mother’s day present for his mum.
Step 1: Repeat Brad’s lines.
Step 2: Read Brad’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Tucker Brad we’re taking the picture, now.

Brad  What picture?

Tucker Now. The one for mum. Hello? Now.

Brad  I’m right here Tucker, stop your screaming.

Tucker Hey. Alright. So, I set it up, and ...

Brad  It’s a T-shirt.

Tucker Put on a tie, it’s for mum.

Brad  This is fine.

Tucker It’s for mother’s day.

Brad  Whatever!

Tucker Put on a tie!

Brad  Fine!


Read today's news here.

The mother's day video is made by Barats and Bereta productions.
You can watch the video here.
This is their website.

"Mum" is the spelling used in New Zealand. I use New Zealand English spelling - because I am from New Zealand. (New Zealand English spelling is usually the same as British English.)

In American English this word is spelt "mom".
The pronunciation is different too - you can probably notice the difference in the way I say "mum" and the way the guys say it in the video.

The music on today's show is by Kiff'On from France.
The track is from the album Nes Funky.

You can listen to the album and download it for free here.
This is Kiff'On's website.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Show 56 Sunday 28 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

sunday kitchen
#7 Beer snacks part 2

Crackers with tomato, avocado and sprouts.
Rice crackers.
Eda mame.

You need:
a tomato
an avocado
rice crackers

Open the packet of crackers and put the crackers on the plate.
Cut the tomato.
Cut the avocado.
On each cracker put one piece of tomato, one piece of avocado and one sprout.
Add salt and pepper.
Open the rice crackers and put them in a bowl.
Take out the frozen eda-mame from the freezer.
Put them in a bowl.
Put water in the bowl.
Leave the water running for two minutes.
Shake the beans.
Add salt.
Put the beans in a nice bowl.
Open a can of beer and pour it into a glass.
Open another can.

The music on today's show is by David Schombert from France.
The track is from the album Quiet Life Vol.1

You can listen to the album and download it for free here.
This is David Schombert's blog.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

#55 How To Drink Beer In Japan

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


#3 How to drink beer in Japan

1. Find an izakaya.
2. Wipe your hands with the oshibori.
3. Look at the menu.
4. Order some beer.
5. Say “kanpai”.
6. Take a sip.
7. Repeat until glass is empty.
8. Order some food.
9. Go to another bar.
10. Go home.

The music on today's show is by Ben Othman from Germany.
The track is from the album Lounge Cafè Tunis "Sahria".

You can listen to the album and download it for free here.
This is Ben Othman's blog.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Show 54 Friday 26 May

Watch today's show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show. I’ve been getting a lot of nice emails from people. Thank you. And also a lot of scams, surprise, surprise.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of receiving a scam email in English, let me share this one with you.

So this one is from Africa and I’ve got a lot of this same kind of theme. So they are from some bank in Africa, they say. And the English is terrible. Full of mistakes.
“In my department we found an abandoned sum of 15 million USA dollars. And it belongs to a foreign customer who died in a plane crash along with his entire family.”
So, they say they’ve been expecting the next of kin to come and claim the money. But, unfortunately, all of his next of kin and relations died along side him in the plane crash. So there is nobody to claim the money.
So what they want me to do is say that I’m the next of kin, and go to the bank and get the money.
But first all they need me to do ... is give them my bank name, bank account number, my private telephone and fax number.
And if I did this then presumably they would ring me and start contacting me and harassing me. And then ask me to give them some money for administration or something, before they gave me millions of dollars.

In a way it is kind of laughable that people fall for these kinds of tricks. But it’s also kind of sad because some people actually do.
So, hey scumbags, don’t try and trick people out of their money.

And speaking of scumbags ... In the news today, in Stick News. A police officer in Nara has just been fired for taking photographs up women’s skirts.


Kia Ora, in Stick News today, a police officer in Nara, Japan has been fired after he was caught taking photos up the skirts of women.

This 31-year-old woman was riding in an ambulance with her son following an accident.
A 49- year-old police officer was also in the ambulance.
The woman said he took a photo up her skirt.
Police have also received complaints from another woman. She said the same officer took photos up her skirt.

Police investigated the incident and found more than 200 photographs of women on the officer’s digital camera.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 26th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 35 What’s in it?

Sarah is at an izakaya with her friend Hiro.
Step 1: Repeat Hiro’s lines.
Step 2: Read Hiro’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sarah What’s this?

Hiro  Shichimi.

Sarah What?

Hiro  Shichimi.

Sarah Shichimi?

Hiro  Yeah.

Sarah What’s in it?

Hiro  7 spices.

Sarah What spices?

Hiro  Chili and I don’t know what else… do you have a dictionary?

Sarah Yeah, here you go.

Hiro  Oh, OK, here it is.

Sarah Sesame seed, hemp seed, poppy seed, rape seed, Japanese pepper, chinpi – what’s that in English?

Hiro  I don’t know.


Read today's news here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Show 53 Thursday 25 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


In Stick News today, a study has found smoking marijuana does not increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.

This is a cigarette. Inside there is tobacco. This is a joint. Inside there is marijuana or cannabis. So, which is better, a cigarette or a joint?
The cannabis plant has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. People smoke or ingest cannabis for recreational, medicinal or religious reasons.
Tobacco also has a history of being used in medicine and religion. It is now mainly used recreationally.
Cannabis has been illegal in many countries in the world since the 20th century. Tobacco is legal in most countries.
In many countries cannabis laws have been relaxed in recent years while laws involving tobacco use have become more restrictive.
Both tobacco and cannabis have been associated with health problems.
But in terms of cancer, cannabis seems to be the clear winner according to the latest research.

The study found that smoking cannabis didn’t increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. But people who smoked two or more packets of cigarettes a day were 20 times more likely to develop the disease.
And that was Stick News for Thursday the 25th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 34 What do you call eda mame in English?

Sarah is at an izakaya with her friend John.
Step 1: Repeat John’s lines.
Step 2: Read John’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sarah Mmm. I love eda mame.

John Yeah, these are good. What do you call eda mame in English?

Sarah Um, well, people don’t really eat these in New Zealand. But, but these are soybeans.

John Soybeans?

Sarah Yeah. But I think if you ordered them in a Japanese restaurant it's just “eda mame”.

John So you use the Japanese name?

Sarah Yeah, yeah. Usually food that comes from another country usually keeps its original name. Like sushi or tempura or tofu.

John But the pronunciation is different isn’t it?

Sarah Yeah.

John How do you pronounce tofu in New Zealand.

Sarah Um, “toe-foo” I think.

John Oh “toe-foo”.


Read about cannabis.

Show 52 Wednesday 24 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora, in Stick News today, Beethoven is dead.
You may never have the chance to meet him, but you will soon be able to buy a diamond made from his hair.

Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He died in 1827.
This man is a celebrity hair collector.
He is giving some of Beethoven’s hair to a diamond company.
The company has been making diamonds out of dead people since 2002.
But they are now starting to make diamonds out of hair. They are planning to make three diamonds from 5 to 10 strands of Beethoven’s hair.

Beethoven’s hair diamonds will go on a world tour of museums and opera houses for 6 months and will then be sold at an auction.
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 24th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 33 Do you want another one?

Sarah is at an izakaya with her friend Alex.
Step 1: Repeat Alex’s lines.
Step 2: Read Alex’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Alex  Do you want another one?

Sarah Yeah, sounds good.

Alex  Another beer?

Sarah Hmm. Maybe something else actually.

Alex  OK. How about Nihonshyu?

Sarah Ahh. I don’t really like nihonshyu.

Alex  Here’s the drink menu.

Sarah Mmm, this looks good. Yeah, I’ll have one of these. How about you?

Alex  I think I’ll stick with beer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Show 51 Tuesday 23 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora, this is Stick News.
It is now over sixty years since the end of World War 2.
But in France and Belgium, potatoes are still being affected.

During World Wars 1 and 2, there were battles in France and Belguim. Now, there are potatoes.
Some of those potatoes go to England, where they are turned into French Fries.
Last week a British French Fry factory was evacuated two days in a row after bomb parts were found in the potatoes.
On Friday a worker spotted a shell tip in the potatoes.
And on Saturday an entire hand grenade was discovered.

British police blew the grenade up and production at the chip factory is back to normal.
And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 23rd of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 32 What do you feel like?

Sarah is at an izakaya with her friend Dave.
Step 1: Repeat Dave’s lines.
Step 2: Read Dave’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Dave So, what do you feel like?

Sarah Um. I don’t know.

Dave Here. Have a look at the menu.

Sarah OK. Ooh, there’s English on this menu. Very convenient.

Dave This salad looks good.

Sarah Hmm. Oh, it has pork in it though.

Dave Oh, that’s right, you don’t eat meat.

Sarah Yeah. There’s not a lot on this menu without animal products actually.

Dave How about tofu?

Sarah Yeah, that looks good. And eda mame, and pickles. That’s about it really. Do you want to have a look at the menu?


Read today's news here.

Show 50 Monday 22 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora, this is Stick News. A 44-year-old man is dead after a fatal hit-and-run in Tokyo.
The driver said he was watching TV when the accident happened.

In Japan, many cars have car navigation systems. It is legal to look at maps on the screen while driving. But it is illegal to watch TV when driving.
Most systems are set so that it is only possible to watch TV when the handbrake is on. But this isn’t always the case.
A 30-year-old man was driving in Tokyo on Saturday night. Just after midnight he hit a pedestrian.
The 44- year- old man died and the driver didn’t stop.
But he turned himself in the next day.
He told police he was driving about 80 km/hr and had his eyes on the TV screen.
“Then I heard a crashing sound. I panicked and just kept going”.

And that was Stick News for Monday the 22nd of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 31 Do you usually drink beer?

Sarah is drinking with her friend Kyu.
Step 1: Repeat Kyu’s lines.
Step 2: Read Kyu’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sarah Mmm. This is good.

Kyu  Yeah, it is. Do you usually drink beer?

Sarah Yeah, usually beer. How about you?

Kyu  Same. I usually drink beer.

Sarah What kind of beer do you usually drink?

Kyu  At home I drink bottles of Asahi super dry.

Sarah Bottles?

Kyu  Yeah. I think it tastes better from a bottle.

Sarah Yeah, true. But I usually buy cans.

Kyu  Why?

Sarah Hmm, because I can’t be bothered carrying the bottles home. Cans are lighter, so…


I got “while” and “when” mixed up when I was reading the news. It doesn’t make a huge difference though.

Read today's news here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Show 49 Sunday 21 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

sunday kitchen

#6 beer snacks part 1

Spicy miso paste.
Spicy miso cucumber.
Spicy miso cabbage.

You need:

Sesame oil

Put some miso into a bowl.
Add some sesame oil.
Add some tobanjan (a kind of chili paste).
Add some crushed garlic.
Mix some more.
Cut the celery.
Cut the cabbage.
Wash the vegetables.
Cut the sprouts.
Wash the sprouts.
Shake the water off your hands.
Cut the cucumber and put it on a plate.
Put spicy miso paste on the cucumber.
Put spicy miso paste on the cabbage.
Cut the celery and put spicy miso paste on it.

Show 48 Saturday 20 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

Sarah's Diary

#4 Beauty show in Tokyo

One of my students works in the beauty business.
And she had a stall at a beauty trade show.
So I decided to go along and check it out.

The show was at an events center called Tokyo Big Sight.

Inside there were thousands of booths, and thousands of well-dressed women.

The first thing that caught my eye was the proliferation of bizarre-looking machines.

I wasn’t really sure how they could make us more beautiful.

But luckily, there were many informative demonstrations.

I also saw some shoes, clothes, towels, a few bottles of wine, a spa pool, and a god cleaner!


The highlight of my beauty show experience was the foot massage and the foot bath.


See you tomorrow!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Show 47 Friday 19 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora, this is Stick News.
In New Zealand some new stamps are due to be released next month. But some people are angry and want to prevent their release. They say the stamps are ugly.

Maori performing arts are called kapa haka.
Kapa haka is extremely popular throughout New Zealand.
But some stamps due to be released next month are proving to be not so popular.
The stamps portray kapa haka with cartoon-style illustrations.
This stamp collecter and former stamp shop owner said the designs were ridiculous. We was worried that the stamps would be seen around the globe. And said they would make New Zealand “the laughing stock of the world”.
This kaumatua said the stamps were stupid and insensitive. He said they should have been photographs, not drawings.
This kapa haka performer said the stamps looked cheap and ugly.

But a NZ post representative said the stamps were a fresh and contemporary interpretation of kapa haka.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 19th of May. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 30 Which one is better?

Ali G interviews a professor about feminism.
Step 1: Repeat the Professor’s lines.
Step 2: Read the Professor’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Ali G    Women. They is important aren’t they?

Professor They indeed are. Very important. As important as men.

Ali G    Which is better, man or woman?

Professor Well, equality is not about being better.

Ali G    But which one is better?

Professor I don’t think either is better.

Ali G    But one must be a little bit better.

Professor In what respect?

Ali G    Like, you know, in the way that something is worse and something is better.

Do you think that there will ever be a female prime minister?

Professor Well, there has been one.

Ali G    When?

Professor Margaret Thatcher.

Ali G    No, she weren’t prime minister. She was the defense minister.

Professor No, she was prime minister.

Ali G    Do you think another woman will be allowed to slip through?

Professor I think the real question is whether there’ll be a president of the United States who is a woman.

Ali G    Do you think a woman should be able to have any job?

Professor I do, yes. I think they should be able to have any job.

Ali G    Would you feel safe, though, if you knew a woman was flying your plane?

Professor Why, wouldn’t you feel safe if a woman was flying it? Do you feel safe being driven by a woman?

Ali G    No.


See the stamps.

Watch Ali G.

Watch the haka.

Kaumatua means "elder" in NZ English and Maori.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Show 46 Thursday 18 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


In Stick News today a plane in the north of Japan has a 30 centimetre hole in one of its wings, after flying into some birds.

On Tuesday a Boeing 767 aircraft took off from Haneda airport in Tokyo.
It flew to Sapporo, and was due to land at 8:45pm.
The collision occurred when the plane was descending.
It flew into some birds, creating a hole in the right wing.
The president of the United States initially blamed the attacks on the international bird terrorist network Al Birdia.
However it has now been proven that Al Birdia doesn’t exist.

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara said the birds must have been foreign since Japanese birds never commit crimes.
And the government has now passed a law requiring all foreign birds to be fingerprinted and photographed before flying into Japan. And that was Stick News for Thursday the 18th of May. Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 29 Where is Mali?

Sarah quizzes her flatmate.
Step 1: Repeat Bob’s lines.
Step 2: Read Bob’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Sarah Wow, this is so interesting.

Bob  What is?

Sarah I’m reading the world almanac. It makes you smarter.
It says so on the back.
OK, I’m going to test your knowledge of nations.

Bob  Mmm OK. Go ahead.

Sarah Question One ... Where is Mali?

Bob  What?

Sarah Mali.

Bob  Mali?

Sarah Yeah. Mali.

Bob  Um ... I don’t know. Next to Bali?

Sarah No. It is ... hmm where is it ... where is it, where is it, location. It’s in the interior of West Africa. Let’s see ... let’s find it on the globe ... Hmm ... Africa, Africa, west, where is it, I can’t find it.. hmm ... ah, here it is, here we go, the yellow one.
OK, next question. Hmm. What’s the population?

Bob  I have no idea.

Sarah 11 million. What’s the capital?

Bob  This quiz is ridiculous, I’ve never even heard of Mali.

Sarah Well, you should spend more time reading the World Almanac then.

Bob  Whatever.


Read about the bird news here.
(I credit a couple of the ideas at the end of Stick News to comments I read on the Japan Today site.)

Read about the new fingerprint/photograph law here. (You need to register to see old stories on this site.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Show 45 Wednesday 17 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora in Stick News today, a man who lost his legs 14 years ago has just climbed the highest mountain in the world.

Mount Everest is 8848 metres high. In 1953 two men climbed to the top. They were Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal.
When they got to the top, Edmund Hillary said: “We knocked the bastard off”.
Mark Inglis is another New Zealand climber. In 1982, he was climbing Aoraki, the highest mountain in New Zealand, when he got trapped in an ice cave for two weeks.
He lost both of his legs below the knees.
But that didn’t make him give up. And this week he was the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest with artificial legs.
After the climb he said to his wife on the phone that it was “bloody cold” and “bloody hard”.

Sir Edmund Hillary said Inglis’ achievement was “remarkable”.
And the Prime Minister Helen Clark said it was “absolutely incredible”.
And that was stick news for Wednesday the 17th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 28 Who did it?

Tom asks about a picture on Sarah’s wall.
Step 1: Repeat Tom’s lines.
Step 2: Read Tom’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Tom  Nice picture.

Sarah Yeah it’s cool isn’t it. Very modern.

Tom  Who did it?

Sarah My friend’s daughter.

Tom  In Japan?

Sarah No, in New Zealand. I visited them when I went back there last year.

Tom  How old is she?

Sarah Um two, I think. Maybe three. Yeah, she must be three by now.


Read about today's news here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Show 44 Tuesday 16 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora in Stick News today, China has introduced a 5 percent tax on disposable chopsticks.
Chopstick importers in Japan are worried, but environmentalists are celebrating.

These disposable wooden chopsticks are called “waribashi” in Japan. Customers are given them at convenience stores, and eat with them at most restaurants.
In Japan 25 million sets of waribashi are used ever year. That’s about 200 per person.
20 years ago half of all the waribashi were produced locally. Now, 97 percent come from China.
China’s annual production of disposable wooden chopsticks is more than 45 billion pairs. That’s about 25 million trees. About one third of these go to Japan and Korea, and the rest are used locally.
In Japan, a pair of waribashi used to cost 1 yen. They now cost up to 1.7 yen.
Chain stores have changed their chopstick policies.
At some convenience stores, customers are now only given chopsticks if they ask for them.
And an Osaka restaurant chain has switched to reusable plastic chopsticks, and customers who bring their own chopsticks get a small discount.

And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 16th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 27 How was your trip?

Sarah went to Bali for 5 days. Sarah asks about her trip.
Step 1: Repeat Kim’s lines.
Step 2: Read Kim’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Kim  How was your trip?

Sarah It was great!

Kim  When did you get back?

Sarah I got back two days ago.

Kim  You must be tired.

Sarah Yeah, I am a bit.

Kim  Did you get good weather?

Sarah Yeah, it was fantastic! It didn’t rain at all.

Kim  Did you do much sightseeing?

Sarah No, not really... we spent most of the time just lying on the beach.
We did go to one temple, but that was about it.


Read today's news here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Show 43 Monday 15 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora, this is Stick News. In America, a “paralysed” wheelchair-bound woman suddenly got up out of her chair and started to run.

This is a 35-year-old woman from Los Angeles. She is a liar.
She said she was paralysed from a drink driving accident.
She then sued four California cities over injuries she said she sustained while trying to navigate her wheelchair.
After telling so many lies, the police suspected her of fraud.
They followed her to Las Vegas and arrested her.
She then said she felt sick. So they took her to a hospital.
While waiting to see a doctor, she got up and tried to run away.

The woman is now facing charges of filing false documents, attempted grand theft and insurance fraud. And that was Stick News for Monday the 15th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 26 I wonder if you might get me a rock hammer?
This conversation is from the movie Shawshank Redemption

Andy has recently arrived in prison, and asks Red a favor.
Step 1: Repeat Andy’s lines.
Step 2: Read Andy’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Andy I wonder if you might get me a rock-hammer?

Red  A what?

Andy A rock-hammer.

Red  What is it and why?

Andy Why do you care?

Red  Well, if it was a toothbrush, I wouldn’t ask questions. I’d just quote a price. But then a toothbrush is a non-lethal object, isn’t it?

Andy Fair enough. A rock-hammer is about six or seven inches long. Looks like a miniature pickaxe.

Red  Pickaxe?

Andy For rocks.

Red  Rocks.


Different countries have different legal systems and therefore different legal terms.
In crime news, the charges are often named.

I think the people who really know/care exactly what these charges mean are usualy laywers, police, journalists and criminals etc.

But if you're interested in crime news, or watching police movies/dramas, you might be interested in this kind of vocabulary.

Today's story was from America, so I didn't understand the charge: "grand theft".

I found this definition.

Simply put: "grand theft" is when a lot is stolen
"petty theft" is when a little is stolen

I'm pretty sure these terms aren't used in NZ. Maybe it's all just "theft".

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Show 42 Sunday 14 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

sunday kitchen
# 5 How to make Japanese rice.

Show 41 Saturday 13 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

Sarah's Diary

#3 Bamboo shoot picking trip

竹 in Japanese, means bamboo. 子 means child.
So 竹の子 literally means child of bamboo, or bamboo shoot in English.

In Japan people eat bamboo shoots.
You can buy them from the supermarket, vegetable store or convenience store.
You can buy it wrapped in plastic, like this.

Or, you can find them yourself.

So, where can you find them?

You can find bamboo shoots in the spring, wherever bamboo is growing.

This bamboo shoot is by a famous temple in Kamakura, Hase Dera.
I don’t think it would be a good idea to eat this bamboo shoot though.
You might get in trouble.

So where can you legally dig them up?

A few weeks ago I was invited to go on a bamboo shoot picking trip.
We drove to Ibaraki. It took a couple of hours to get there.
First we had a delicious lunch.

Then we walked around the bamboo forest trying to find bamboo shoots.
We couldn't find any for ages… and started to get disappointed.
Then suddenly I saw a huge one!

We carefully dug deeply around it. If you are not careful you will break it off too high up and it will fall apart. They are quite fragile so they break off easily.

The massive bamboo shoot came out intact.
And back at base camp they were stunned by its size.

The second shoot I found was smaller than the first one.
And it didn’t fare so well. It broke off near the top. Ahh well.

After picking most of the shoots were cut and boiled.
They have a kind of poison inside them so you need to boil them first.

After all our hard work, we had some delicious sweets and tea. And then went home.

We took the monster shoot back to my place to cut open.
We boiled it up and spent the next week eating takenoko.

Takenoko rice. Takenoko pasta.

Takenoko on toast.
Takenoko soup.
Takenoko and chips.
Takenoko burger.
Takenoko icecream.
Takenoko dango.

(I’m kidding.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Show 40 Friday 12 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was discharged from hospital in New Zealand yesterday, but he will stay in the country for some time.

Keith Richards is a 62 year old guitarist for the British rock band The Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 and are still together. They were due to start a European tour at the end of this month. But the tour was delayed because of Keith Richard’s injury.
Keith was on holiday in Fiji. He fell out of coconut tree and injured his head. He then flew to New Zealand to get it fixed. Doctors drilled a hole in his skull to drain blood from his brain.
When Keith came out of hospital yesterday, he thanked the staff and said: “I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain in the arse.”

Richards also said the female hospital staff were beautiful, prompting concern amongst doctors about the success of the operation.
He will stay in New Zealand for several weeks and return to the hospital for check ups.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 12th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 25 Can you see it?

Sarah and Yuko are standing on the balcony talking, when suddenly they see a raccoon dog.
Step 1: Repeat Yuko’s lines.
Step 2: Read Yuko’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah!

Yuko Wow! Look! There’s a raccoon dog!

Sarah What? Where?

Yuko There. Beside that tree. Can you see it?

Sarah Oh, yes. Wow! Is that a raccoon dog? I’ve never seen one of them before.

Yuko Really? Are there raccoon dogs in New Zealand?

Sarah No, I don’t think so. Do you see them very often in Tokyo.

Yuko No, hardly ever.

Sarah It’s really cute!

Yuko Yeah, it is cute ... apparently they are really dirty though.

Sarah Really? What do mean dirty?

Yuko They carry lots of viruses.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Show 39 Thursday 11 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, a German man is still alive after his suicide attempt failed. But he now faces a bill for the damage he caused to the train.

In Germany a 47-year-old man tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a train.
But he misjudged the timing.
He jumped too late and instead of landing in front of the train, he crashed through the side window of the driver’s cabin.
He was then sued for damages of 4200 Euros. The court ordered the man to pay half the sum.

And that was Stick News for Thursday the 11th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 24 How much should I use?

Sarah wants to do some washing, but is not sure how to use the washing machine. She asks her flatmate Kazu to help her.
Step 1: Repeat Kazu’s lines.
Step 2: Read Kazu’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah!

Sarah Hey Kazu, um ... I’m not sure how to use the washing machine ...

Kazu  OK, I’ll show you.

Sarah Oh, thanks. This is the right washing powder aye?

Kazu  Yeah.

Sarah How much should I use?

Kazu  Um ... about 1 scoop I think.

Sarah OK. And then which button should I press?

Kazu  This is the ON button.

Sarah So I just press this?

Kazu  Yes. And then press this button. And then just wait.

Sarah Oh, it’s easy. I thought it would be more complicated. How long does it take?

Kazu  About 30 minutes.

Show 38 Wednesday 10 May

Watch the show at grouper or YouTube.

Hi, my name’s Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.
Grouper sent me a package. And inside is ... a T shirt.
Ohh. What do you rekon? Grouper.
Very nice. Thank you.
It’s kind of small though. Hmm. What size is it. Mmm medium.
I’m definitely a large kind of girl. Or X large.
And in Japan, I’m just, enormous.
Which completely rules out shopping for girls clothes.
Which is kind of a shame because there are lots of nice girls clothes in Tokyo.
I think they should make a new size: e.
Small, medium, large and enormous. Then I could go shopping.
Anyway, enough about me.
I can’t wear this T shirt, so I want to give it away, to you.
Do you want a T shirt?
If you do, please email me:
and tell me why you want the T shirt.
Hi, my name’s Bob, and I want the T shirt because… blah, blah, blah.
If you are the only person who emails me, I will send it to you.
Anywhere in the world is OK.
If more than one person emails me,
then I will pick a name out of a hat.


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, an American man spent seven days under water in New York trying to break a world record.
He emerged on Monday with very wrinkly hands.

David Blane is a 33 year old American stunt man.
His past stunts include spending 61 hours inside a block of ice. And fasting for 44 days.
This time he thought he’d go for a bit of a dip.
He spent seven days in water-filled sphere in New York.
On the second day his doctor noticed liver damage and told him to get out. David refused.
On the last day, he tried to break the world record for holding breath under water.
The current world record is 8 minutes and 58 seconds.
David only managed 7 minutes and 8 seconds.

Divers pulled Davd out of the tank when he began struggling.
He then thanked his supporters and went to hospital.
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 10th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 23 What happened?

Sarah is using the computer and makes a mistake. Her friend Kim asks what happened.
Step 1: Repeat Kim’s lines.
Step 2: Read Kim’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah!

Sarah Oh noooo! 

Kim  What happened?

Sarah Ahhhh… the email I was writing just disappeared.

Kim  Oh, no. How did that happen?

Sarah Oh ... I don’t really know. I think I accidentally hit a random key on the keyboard. Ahh.

Kim  That’s so frustrating isn’t it? I’ve done that before too actually.

Sarah Yeah. Ahh. I spent about half an hour writing it. I can’t believe it. I really can’t be bothered writing it again.

Kim  It’s so annoying isn’t it? You should probably write it in word and then copy it into hotmail.

Sarah Yeah, that’s a good idea.


Read today's news here.
Watch the video here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Show 37 Tuesday 9 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora. In stick news today, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But it doesn’t stop the legal battles. Two apple companies, Apple computer and Apple Corps have been fighting in court again recently. Yesterday the winner was announced and it looks like the computer company came out on top.

Apple corps was founded in 1968 by the British rock band the Beatles.
Eight years later, in 1976, Apple computer was founded.
Since then, Apple Corps has been rather grumpy about the computer company’s choice of logo.
The two fruity companies have had several legal fights about the trademarks.
In 1978 Apple computer gave Apple corps $80,000.
In 1989 they gave them $26.5 million.
But this time, the Beatles lost the fight.

The chief executive of Apple Computer said they have always loved the Beatles, and now they want to be friends. Apple Corps said they will appeal the decision.
And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 9th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 22 What are you making?

Sarah is making lunch and her flatmate comes into the kitchen and asks her about what she is making.
Step 1: Repeat Bob’s lines.
Step 2: Read Bob’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah!

Bob  Are you making lunch?

Sarah Yeah.

Bob  What are you making? It smells nice.

Sarah Ah, pumpkin soup.

Bob  It looks good. What did you put in it?

Sarah Um ... pumpkin, of course, and onions and garlic.

Bob  And pepper and salt?

Sarah Yip, I put pepper and salt in. And I also used this vegetable stock.

Bob  Oh, I’ve never seen that before. Where did you buy it?

Sarah Oh, I bought it at Parco.

Show 36 Monday 8 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.


Kia Ora. In stick news today the male kiwi psyche and home improvement television are causing thousands of injuries every year – and that figure is rising.

This is a Kiwi male. He is proud of his collection of power tools. And, although he has no building qualifications or skills, he thinks he can repair anything with a piece of wire.
This psyche, mixed with the popularity of DIY television shows is a dangerous mix.
The man sees spectacular results on TV and thinks he can do it easily himself.
Since the man’s answer to any potential problems is “she’ll be right”, safety precautions are ignored.
Last year DIY accidents cost taxpayers more than $20 million dollars.
Falls from ladders were the number one cause of injury. Accidents involving gardens and fences came in second and third.

Building industry experts are advising DIY enthusiasts to use commonsense.
And the government is also changing the rules, to control the wannabe handymen… by 2011 only licensed builders will be able to renovate houses.
And that was Stick News for Monday the 8th of May.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 21 What are you watching?

Sarah is watching TV and her flatmate comes into the room and asks her about the program.
Step 1: Repeat Bob’s lines.
Step 2: Read Bob’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah!

Bob  What are you watching?

Sarah Ainori.

Bob  What’s Ainori?

Sarah Haven’t you seen Ainori before?!

Bob  No. Is it new?

Sarah No, it’s been going for ages.

Bob  What kind of programme is it?

Sarah It’s a kind of reality show.

Bob  Is it good?

Sarah Yeah, it’s really funny. I watch it every week.


Watch MC Hammer here. Hammer time!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Show 35 Sunday 7 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube or watch me tv.

Golden Week special 7: Ainori parody.
The Classroom.

This is a parody I made of one of my favorite Japanese TV programs: Ainori.
Ainori is a reality TV show. About 3 or 4 single girls and 3 or 4 single boys travel around the world in a pink van, called the “love wagon”.
They are not allowed to say if they like someone, directly to that person. But they tell the staff who they like, or they write it in their dairies.
If they want to go back to Japan with someone, they tell them they like them and give them some tickets. Then the person has one day to think about it and give their answer. This parody is based on what has been happening for the last few weeks on Ainori.

Read about ainori in English or Japanese.

Name: Salt Shaker
Personality type: weird
Likes: playing video games

Name: Seal
Personality type: smiley
Likes: Tom

Name: Boots Freshner
Personality type: interesting
Likes: karate, drawing, eating grass, climbing trees

Name: Lobster
Personality type: jealous
Likes: Tom

Name: Tom
Personality type: young and cute
Likes: playing soccer

The Daily English Show classroom has gone on a school trip to Austria.
They have lunch at a restaurant.
They drink wine.
Boots Freshner starts eating grass and climbs a tree.
Seal starts crying.

Tom: why is she crying?
Salt shaker: mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble.
Lobster: You don’t understand anything, do you?

Salt Shaker can’t stop dreaming about the two girls who he thinks like him.
He thinks Seal and Lobster both like him.
Actually, they both like Tom.
Finally he decides he likes Lobster best and he asks her to go back to Japan with him.

According to the rules, if you leave the school trip,
you have to leave the classroom.

leave trip = leave classroom

Salt shaker meets lobster in a café and makes his announcement.

"Sometimes when you meet someone,
you think they are 37 degrees.
Which is hot, but not hot enough.
Then, sometimes, when you meet someone,
you think you they are 41 degrees.
Which is very hot. And just right.
Lobster, I think you are 41 degrees.
Please come back to Japan with me.
Please think about your answer and tell me tomorrow."

The next day...

"Salt Shaker, thank you for your invitation.
But I think you are only 37 degrees.
I don’t want to go back to Japan with you."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Show 34 Saturday 6 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

Golden Week special 6: Fluffy TV parody

Today’s show is a spoof of the puppet show “Fluffy TV”.
Spotty TV copies the format and some of the lines, but changes the characters to teachers, and the topics to things related to studying English. (The characters in Fluffy TV are a doctor and a nurse and they talk about medical issues).

Watch the real thing here. I love Fluffy TV and I also listen to Sowerby and Luff’s Big Squeeze – a podcast by Comedy 365. I think it’ s very funny.
Fluffy TV is comedy – but beware it contains language which may offend some people. Please don’t watch it if you are offended by profanities.

Don’t worry Spotty TV doesn’t contain any dodgy language.

Spotty TV
A tribute to Fluffy TV

Welcome to Spotty TV, with me Professor Dog and me Teacher Frog.
First up today is Grammatical Matters.
“Grammatical Matters. Grammatical Matters.”
And today’s subject is the present perfect.
What is the present perfect Teacher Frog?
It’s a tense, Professor Dog.
Have you ever used the present perfect?
Yes, I have. I use the present perfect every day.
Which do you think is better, Teacher Frog, the present perfect or the past perfect?
Well, it depends on what you are talking about?
Does it?
Yes. Of course it does. Don’t ask stupid questions.

Now it’s time for: Product Placement Headbanging.
1, 2, 3.
Oxford Oxford Oxford. Oxford.

That was Product Placement Headbanging.
Now, here is Bleak Bear.

Every year, thousands of people take English tests all over the world. And thousands of people fail. Failing is usually defined as not scoring enough points to pass an exam or test. Here are some ways you might fail an English test.

You could sleep in.
You could fall asleep during the exam.
On the way to exam you could be hit on the head by a falling object which penetrates your skull.
If you are hit on the head you should shout “ouch” very loudly.
This has been stuff to worry about, with me, Bleak Bear.

Today’s email says: “I recently sat the TOEIC test and my score was 10. Is this normal?”
Is that normal Teacher Frog?
No, Professor Dog. That is not normal. If you only got 10 on the TOEIC test, you must be very, very stupid.
Yes, Teacher Frog. My thoughts exactly.

Did you fold the corner over?
Did you fold the corner over?
You have to fold the corner over.
So we don’t get confused.
Oh, whatever.
It’s important! Do it! Do it! Do it!
OK. OK. Calm down. I’m folding over the corner. See? Folding the corner.
Good. Now read the next email.

The next email says: “I like studying English, naked. Is this normal?”
Is it normal Teacher Frog? To study English, naked?
Well, it depends.
What does it depend on Teacher Frog?
It depends on where you are. If you are in the library, it is not normal. It is weird.
But if you are at home, it is normal.
Have you ever studied English naked Teacher Frog?
No, I haven’t. But I once taught a class naked. The students found it very stimulating.
Ha ha ha ha ha. Ah ha ha ha ha. I’m sure they did Teacher Tom.

Did you fold the corner down?
No. I put the email up my bottom. Yes! I folded the corner down! Grrr.

This has been spotty TV.
Say “bye, bye” Teacher Frog.

Bye, bye, Teacher Frog.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Show 33 Friday 5 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

Golden Week special 5: error correction

Today I fix the mistakes on English signs and menus in Japan.

All of the photos on the show are ones that I have taken myself. (If you want to know where they were taken, please email me: I have shown the photos for their educational value. Checking the errors in your own or someone elses work is a useful study method.

If you are interested in the entertainment value of English mistakes, see That site focuses on the humour of the mistakes, and mainly includes mistakes found in the English used in Japan for design purposes (t-shirts etc).

I think if the English is used for design only, it's not too important if it is correct or not. However, if it is for a sign or menu it is important to check it carefully before it is printed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Show 32 Thursday 4 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube.

Golden Week special 4: gestures.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Show 31 Wednesday 3 May

Watch today's show at grouper or YouTube or watch me tv.

Golden week special 3: Knock Knock Jokes

These are the jokes I told on the show:

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Nobel who?
Nobel, that's why I knocked!

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Pencil who?
Pencil fall down if you don't have a belt.

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Cash who?
No, thanks. I prefer peanuts.

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Larva who?
Larva cup of coffee.

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Boo who?
Don’t cry, it’s only a joke.

Here are some more knock knock jokes:

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Woo, who?
Don't get so excited, it's just a joke.

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Amos who?
Amosquito bit me!

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Cow-go Who?
No, Cow go MOO!!!

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Ya who?
What are you getting so excited about?


Read more knock knock jokes here.