Friday, September 16, 2011

Seven-Eleven stores install phones for emergency use

7-11 Japan
TOKYO — Seven-Eleven Japan Co is installing telephones in its stores in Tokyo for use in case of an emergency. The convenience store operator and NTT East started putting phones in stores in Chiyoda Ward on Sept 7. They plan to install the phones in 1,200 stores in Tokyo’s 23 wards by the end of the year.

The move comes in response to a massive communications breakdown right after the March 11 disaster when overloaded mobile phone networks crashed as millions of people tried to make calls.

Seven-Eleven said in a statement that the phones will only be used in the case of a major disaster such as an earthquake, typhoon or if a blackout occurs. There will be no charge for use of the phones which will have an extension cord long enough for them to be used outside the store in case there are long lines of people.

Source: Japan Today

Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the definitions. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.
install (v.) -- connect or set in position and prepare for use
  • They had installed a new phone line in the apartment.
convenience store (n.) -- a small retail store that is open long hours and that typically sells staple groceries, snacks, and sometimes gasoline
  • The convenience store in my town is open 24 hours.
massive (adj.) -- large or very big
  • a massive dose of a drug
breakdown (n.) -- failure
  • The breakdown of his marriage is because of drugs.
crash (v.) -- to stop working suddenly
  • If the computer crashes, we may lose all our files.
extension cord (n.) -- an electric cord used to extend the length of a power cord
  • We plugged the electric fan in an extension cord so we can use it outside the house.
Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. Why is 7-11 installing telephones in their stores?
2. When will 7-11 allow their phones to be used?

1. How important is the telephone to you?
2. How often do you go to a convenience store? What do you usually buy?
3. Is there a convenience store near your house?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Man allegedly beats 70-year-old mother to death

Source: The Graveyard Shift
YAMANASHI — A 44-year-old man has been arrested in Fujikawacho, Yamanashi Prefecture, for allegedly beating his 70-year-old mother to death on Friday night, police said Sunday.

According to a report by TV Asahi, the man, who has been identified as Kenta Yonenaga, became enraged when his mother declined to eat the dinner he had prepared for her and began punching and kicking her. Yonenaga himself then called the emergency services. Paramedics took Yonenaga’s mother to hospital where she was confirmed dead.

Yonenaga had been living alone with his mother and was cooking for her since physical infirmity had left her incapable of taking care of herself, TV Asahi reported.

Source: Japan Today

Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the definitions. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.
arrest take into custody / catch
Example: "The police arrested the suspected criminals."
allegedlyreportedly; supposedly (according to what was said but not yet proven)
Example: "He was on trial for allegedly murdering his wife."
identify: distinguish
Example: "She identified the dog as her lost pet."
enrage: to make very angry
Example: Do not enrage Grandfather because he will shoot his gun!
declined: did not accept
Example: Alex declined the offer for promotion.
punch and kick
infirmity: weakness because of old age
Example: Older people often try to ignore their infirmities.
incapable: lacking the ability; powerless
Example: He lost his job allegedly for being incapable.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. What did the 44-year old man do to his mother?
2. Why did the man hurt his mother?

1. What is a crime?
2. Is anyone capable of doing a crime?
3. How can governments reduce crime?
4. Have you witnessed a serious crime?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Japan Company’s 'Energy Saving' Staff Haircut


A Japanese company has ordered all of its 2,700 employees to get identical hairstyles. This unusual request is its efforts to help the country save energy. The Tokyo-based construction firm Maeda Corporation has requested that men have a short back-and-sides and women have a "cute" bob with a longer fringe that can be swept to one side. Company spokeswoman Chizuru Inoue explained: "Our company is very keen on protecting the environment and we encourage our staff to adopt many environment-friendly actions." She added: "We are not sure of the data yet, but we believe if people have short hair, they do not need to use their hair driers for so long and they will use less water.” Some staff are confused about which style they must have and have been asking which salons give the best cut.

The energy-saving initiative is part of a national campaign to reduce energy consumption following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March. Japan has been struggling to produce enough electricity since the tsunami ended production at the Fukushima plants. The disaster resulted in a review of the country's energy policy that now means less than a quarter of its remaining nuclear plants are in use. The government has talked about a move away from nuclear energy towards more sustainable technologies. Many government institutions have taken measures to save power, including a reduced use of air-conditioning in offices and schools. Many employees cannot turn down the air-con below 27 degrees in the hottest summer months.

Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the definitions. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.

ordered = instructed
identical = very similar (same)
request = appeal / something asked for
swept = brushed
keen on = eager to
confused = puzzled
initiative = plan
disaster = catastrophe
struggling = battling
institutions = establishments
reduced = lessened

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. Why did Maeda Corporation's staff get a haircut?
2. What is the plan of the Japanese Government about nuclear energy?


1. What do you think of this energy-saving measure?
2. Would you follow company orders to cut your hair the same as everyone else?
3. Should this company be rewarded for its idea?
4. What other energy-saving initiatives do you know of?
5. What energy-saving initiatives would you like to see in your country?