Photo : ©Mikio Koyama / RendezVous

2018/11/05  #023

SNS Eigojutsu (on E-Tele): August 2nd  #SummerBreak and My Wardrobe

Eテレ『世界へ発信!SNS英語術』8月2日放送分  #SummerBreakと当日の衣裳について

Official website of the show :

■Behind the Scenes

Our theme for this episode was #Summer______. We featured a variety of summer-related hashtags, including #SummerBreak, #SummerSolstice, #SummerGoals, #SummerRuined, and more.

So far on the show we’ve usually narrowed our focus to a single central theme, and introduced a number of tweets that include that hashtag. On this episode, we wanted to look at all the ways Americans spend their summer break as a whole, so instead of narrowing (or more accurately, broadening) our focus to #summer or #SummerBreak, we decided to feature a range of different hashtags offering differing insights into the summer experience.

Our English teacher for this week, Naito-sensei, donned an “aloha” (or Hawaiian) shirt for this episode. He taught us words like “humid”, “sticky”, “scorching”, “sizzling”, while photos flashed on the screen with Naito-sensei himself acting out each adjective. This was an idea the director had, and judging from the response online after the show aired, it was a hit with our audience as well. There are plenty of other English expressions for fall, winter, and spring, and I hope on those occasions we have the pleasure of seeing a continuation of the Naito-sensei photo series.

There was also a bit at the beginning where we cut to Naito-sensei just as he was in the middle of a brain freeze from eating shaved ice too quickly. Because of the ice, the staff had to time everything just right—the preparation of the shaved ice, and when they brought it out to Naitio-san. Lately I’ve come to realize that when you’re watching it all unfold on the TV screen it seems like something so basic, but behind the scenes a lot of elements have to sync up for that to actually happen as planned.






■The Season of Summer Break

In Silicon Valley in California where I was born and raised, the climate is moderate all year round. The seasons aren’t clearly defined; at some point you realize that the suns rays are beating down on you, and some time later you realize that it’s getting a little chilly. So as a kid, I did not have a real sense that summer was a season caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its revolution around the sun. Instead, summer referred the span of time during which we were on break from school. Summer was not a season between spring and fall, rather, it was the season of summer break. And summer break was about 10 to 11 weeks long—practically 1/4 of a year. So it was only natural that it felt like a season unto itself.

So how did a California kid in the 90s spend that season? Those who lived near the ocean went to the ocean, while those who were more inland went to pools and water parks. (California is often synonymous with the West Coast, but in terms of west-to-east distance, the state is about 1.5 times wider than Honshu, Japan’s main island. It can take quite a while to reach the ocean for someone who lives inland.) There was also an amusement park near where I lived, and I had friends who would buy season passes and actually go to ride rollercoasters everyday.

And the place American children would go to get away from their parents was summer camp. There was a wide range of summer camp programs, from the outdoors to sports to math and science, as well as faith-based camps, camps for those in need, and camps for the disabled.

Teenagers would get away from their parents by going to the mall. And there were many ways for a kid to have fun at the mall: people watching, killing time at the arcade, hanging out at the foot court, going into a store, filling up a shopping cart and then just leaving it there, buying a ticket for one movie and actually seeing several. You figured out how to have fun. Side note, kids who spent all their time at the mall were known as “mall rats”.

In any case, because summer break is so long, you inevitably end up spending a considerable amount of time sitting idly at home, staring off into space. Especially until you’re old enough to get a driver’s license. In English we call this “bored to death” (死ぬほど退屈である). When I was a kid, I remember spending a lot of time being bored to death.

In this day and age, where smartphones have become so ubiquitous, I feel that kids don’t get enough chances to experience staring off into space or feeling like they’re dying of boredom. And with more neighborhoods not as safe as they once were coupled with the growing scourge of the helicopter parent, kids don’t get to play outside as much as they used to. The spread of smartphones has robbed something precious from these kids. It’s ironic that as the world becomes a more convenient place, it has increasingly become harder for kids to just be kids. * Helicopter parents are parents that hover over their children like a helicopter, closely monitoring their every move, experience, and their education, making sure they have a say in everything.

They say that in order for a kid’s imagination to develop, it’s important for them to be able to spend some time just staring off into space. Be that as it may, three months is much too long by any standard. When American teenagers growing up in the city or in the suburbs run out of things to do, what recourse do they have but to cause mischief (and sometimes, crime), or experiment with something like weed? There were a number of times where a friend would have such mind-expanding experiences over the summer and come back after break as someone that I no longer recognized.

[Recommended Brad Bird films]

American Graffiti
National Lampoon's Vacation
『ホリデーロード4000キロ』ハロルド・ライミス監督 (1983年)
Dirty Dancing
『ダーティ・ダンシング』エミール・アルドリーノ監督 (1987年)
Do the Right Thing
『ドゥ・ザ・ライト・シング』スパイク・リー監督 (1989年)
The Sandlot
『サンドロット/僕らがいた夏』 デヴィッド・ミッキー・エヴァンス監督 (1993年)
Wet Hot American Summer
『ウェット・ホット・アメリカン・サマー』デヴィッド・ウェイン監督 (2001年)
『アドベンチャーランドへようこそ』グレッグ・モットーラ監督 (2009年)
The Way, Way Back
『プールサイド・デイズ』ナット・ファクソン、ジム・ラッシュ監督 (2013年)


Photo : ©Mikio Koyama / RendezVous

僕が生まれ育ったカリフォルニア州のシリコン・ヴァリィは、1年中気候が穏やかな場所です。はっきりした季節の区切りがなく、いつの間にか太陽がジリジリ照らすような季節が訪れ、またいつの間にか少し肌寒くなるという感覚で1年を過ごします。その為、僕は子供の頃、“summer” は地球の公転と自転軸の傾きによる季節・・ではなく、学校がない期間・・・・・・・という風に認識していました。つまり、“spring”と“fall”の間にあったのは“summer”ではなく“summer break”というシーズンだったのです。学校の休みも、おおよそ10〜11週間あり、1年間の4分の1近くを占める長さですので、一つの“季節”と言っても自然なのかもしれません。



もう1つ、ティーネイジャーが親元をから離れる為に行くのが“ショッピング・モール”です。アメリカの“モール”の楽しみ方は、人間観察、ゲーセンでの暇つぶし、フード・コートでたむろ、あるお店でショッピング・カートをいっぱいにし店内に放置するイタズラ、併設の映画館でチケット1枚買って複数の映画を楽しむなど、様々な“テクニーク”があります。因みに、モールに入り浸っているこのような若者を“mall rat”(モールのネズミ)と言います。

それにしても、夏休みがあまりにも長いので、どうしても家でボーッとしている時間が増えてしまいます。車を持てる年齢になるまでは、尚更です。英語ではこの状態を“死ぬほど退屈である”(bored to death)と言います。僕が幼かった頃は、“死ぬほど退屈な状態”で夏を過ごす割合がとても多かったことを覚えています。




■This Week’s Wardrobe/ この日の衣裳

■A Word About Undershirts

I sweat quite a bit, so for a long time I couldn’t decide whether an undershirt made it better or worse. When I brought this up with Scarlet, she explained to me that a dress shirt was essentially underwear. No matter how hot it is outside, the idea is that you will not be taking off your jacket. Of course, given Japan’s hot and humid climate, it’s become commonplace for businessmen to go “cool biz” style and wear a dress shirt with no jacket. But even so, Scarlet said, it would be odd to wear underwear underneath underwear.

For someone who wears a dress shirt to work every day, an undershirt may be a way to reduce the frequency with which you have to launder your dress shirts. But again, if you think of a dress shirt as underwear, you should be changing shirts every day.

There may be those who have a job where wearing an undershirt is simply more practical. If so, the one thing you want to avoid is having your undershirt be visible through the fabric of your dress shirt. Walk around any Tokyo business district in summer and you’ll see middle-aged salarymen everywhere clearly sporting a tank top underneath their dress shirts. For some, an undershirt may be a way to prevent your nipples from showing through a cheap shirt, but if that is the case, I recommend dishing out the extra cash to buy a dress shirt in the 7,000 yen range. It’s worth it, trust me.

Sometimes, I’ll see someone trying to pass of a plain t-shirt as an undershirt. But t-shirts are made with thicker fabric than an undershirt, and that t-shirt shows. And if you’re going without a necktie and opening that top button, you get the unseemly t-shirt collar sticking out from underneath your dress shirt. Instead, get an undershirt in a U-neck or V-neck. In terms of color, stick with plain white or skin-colored. Wearing a black t-shirt with a printed design would be a major no-no. Wearing a U-neck or V-neck undershirt by itself is an even bigger one.

Incidentally, the Japanese call dress shirts “wai-shatsu”, which is technically wasei-eigo, an English term coined in Japan. Apparently the “wai” is short for “white”. (“Shatsu” is the katakana transliteration of “shirt”.) And I’d always assumed “wai” was “Y” to indicate the shape of the collar and placket. (How embarrassing.)







■Azabu Tailor pink candy striped jacket

Photo : ©RendezVous
I’ve talked about this item before. See WARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #017.

こちらの商品は、以前紹介したのでWARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #017を参照してください

■Universal Language light gray double-breasted suit trousers

Photo : ©RendezVous
Check out WARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #007 for more information about this item.

こちらの商品は、以前紹介したのでWARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #007を参照してください

■Azabu Tailor pink linen shirt

Photo : ©RendezVous
Check out WARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #018 for more information about this item.

こちらの商品は、以前紹介したのでWARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #018を参照してください

■Red Wing chukka boots / 「レッド・ウィング」のチャッカ・ブーツ

Photo : ©RendezVous
I’ve talked about this item before. See WARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #007.

こちらの商品は、以前紹介したのでWARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #007を参照してください

■Hakusan Megane brown glasses / 『白山眼鏡』の茶色のメガネ

Photo : ©RendezVous
I’ve talked about this item before. See WARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #004.

こちらの商品は、以前紹介したのでWARDROBE & ENSEMBLES #004を参照してください

■Breaking Down #SunsOutBunsOut

I’d never thought I’d be talking about the hashtag/phrase #SunsOutBunsOut on our show. This phrase essentially means that summer has arrived—the ladies are wearing their bikinis on the beach and showing off their toned bodies.

Japanese readers will immediately picture the round pieces of bread that sandwich the patty and other toppings of hamburger. “Buns” is a term for round bread, but due to the resemblance in shape, the term is also an informal way to refer to the buttocks. A “bun” can also refer to a hairstyle, as in “tie your hair in a bun”. A man with a similar hair style has a “man bun”, an expression that connotes questionable sexiness. If you ask me, this is a reflection of the differences between Japanese and American food cultures. In Japan, the simile of choice for buttocks is a peach (もも); hair buns are referred to as dango, a rice dumpling (だんご). If the Japanese fairy tale Momotaro (“peach boy”) were written by an American, surely the protagonist would have been born from a hamburger bun. And the folk tale Odango Korokoro would have been titled “Buns Korokoro”.

Here I’d like to point two things out to our English-language learners in Japan. The Japanese transliteration of this noun is バンズ, or buns—in other words, there is no katakana version of bun, singular. But before a hamburger bun is split into two, it is, of course, a bun, singular. Once it is sandwiching the patty and toppings, it is (two) buns, plural. Katakana loanwords often leave it very vague as to whether or not something is singular or plural. (Differentiating between singular and plural is also one of the most difficult things when translating Japanese to English.) My second point is that the “suns” in #SunsOutBunsOut does not refer to multiple suns. It is actually sun’s, or sun is. (Hashtags cannot include apostrophies, commas, periods, asterisk, and other symbols.) English-language learners using social media to study have to pay extra close attention to notice these types of things.

Side note, the male equivalent of “sun’s out, buns out”, where men wear tank tops or swimsuits to show off their toned bodies, is “sun’s out, guns out”. And no, guns does not refer to anything X-rated—it refers to a man’s biceps. Despite the fact that scholars say the etymology is unrelated, it’s interesting to note that in English, a person has an arm, but they can also carry arms.



“バンズ”(buns)というと、日本では、ハンバーガーの具を挟む為に使われる丸いパンのことを想像すると思いますが、その形が似ていることから“お尻”を指す言葉としても使われます。また、髪をおだんごにすることは“tie your hair in a bun”と言い、男性のおだんごヘアを、セクシィさが少々疑わしいというニュアンスも込めて“man bun”と言います。僕に言わせれば、これは日本とアメリカの食文化の豊かさの違いが、言語に表れているのだと思います。日本ではお尻の形が、桃に例えられることがあります。アメリカ人が『桃太郎』を書いたとしたら、主人公はハンバーガーのバンズの中から生まれてきたという設定になっていたのかもしれません。また、日本の民話の『おだんごころころ』も、“バンズころころ”になっていた可能性があります。

ここで、英語学習の視点から、注意点が2つあります。ひとつは、1つのパンを割る前の状態であればそれは“bun”(単数形)であり、割って具を挟む時点では“(two) buns”になるということです。カタカナ語ばかり見ていると“単数形なのか複数形なのか”が、曖昧になってしまうので注意が必要です。(単数形と複数形の区別については、翻訳する際に、一番苦労することの一つです。)もうひとつは、#SunsOutBunsOutの“suns”という表現は、太陽が複数あるという意味ではなく、“sun’s = sun is”のことです。(ハッシュタッグにはアポストロフィー、コンマ、ピリオド、星印やなどの記号を使うことができません。)これもまた、SNSを通して英語を学習する場合には、充分注意する必要があります。

因みに、男性がタンクトップや水着を着て引き締まったボディを見せたがる現象を“sun’s out, guns out”と言います。この場合の“guns”とは下ネタではなく、上腕の筋肉のことです。そもそもの語源は、違うと言われているのですが、英語で腕のことを“arm”と言い、武器や銃のことも“arms”と言うのも実に興味深いことです。

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