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2004-09-05 9:01 p.m.

somber thoughts from japanese english textbooks

Nominated for theme song of my time on The Rock.

A reading from the New Horizon English Course, Level Three (my ninth graders use this book):

"A big, old tree stands by a road near the city of Hiroshima. Through the years it has seen many things.

One summer night the tree heard a lullaby. A mother was singing to her little girl under the tree. They looked happy, and the song sounded sweet. But the tree remembered something sad.

'Yes, it was about sixty years ago. I heard a lullaby that night, too.'

On the morning of that day, a big bomb fell on the city of Hiroshima. Many people lost their lives, and many others were injured. They had burns all over their bodies. I was very sad when I saw those people.

It was a very hot day. Some of the people fell down near me. I said to them, 'Come rest in my shade. You'll be alright soon.'

Night came. Some people were already dead. I heard a weak voice. It was a lullaby. A young girl was singing it to a little boy.

'Mommy! Mommy!' the boy cried.

'Don't cry,' the girl said. 'Mommy is here.' Then she began to sing again.

She was very weak, but she tried to be a mother to the poor little boy. She held him in her arms like a real mother.

'Mommy,' the boy was still crying.

'Be a good boy,' said the girl.' You'll be all right.' She held the boy more tightly and began to sing again.

After a while the boy stopped crying and quietly died. But the little mother did not stop singing. It was a sad lullaby. The girl's voice became weaker and weaker.

Morning came and the sun rose, but the girl never moved again."


Here's a reading from a high school English textbook:

"As developing nations have serious problems to overcome, so do advanced nations have problems of their own. These problems are so serious that the advanced nations must be described as 'over-advanced.' They have evolved a way of life which seems certain to destroy itself.

The way of life of the advanced or fully-industrialized nations depends on supplies of fuel and raw materials which exist only in limited quantities. But the advanced nations are consuming these supplies at an ever-increasing rate. The American Geological Survey has stated recently that in the thirty years from 1940 to 1970 the United States alone consumed more fuels and minerals than did the whole world in all previous history. It is absurd for the citizens of fully-industrialized nations to expect an ever-rising standard of living which depends on the ever-increasing use of fuels and minerals, and on paying low prices for basic foodstuffs and raw materials from developing countries.

This expectation of constant economic growth in a world of decreasing natural resources is as dangerous to the future of mankind as is the population explosion discussed in the last lesson. While the population explosion is the disease of developing nations, the 'revolution of rising expectations' is the disease of over-advanced nations."

Whew. Not pulling any punches, are they? Do you ever stop to think about the fact that our economic system is based on the assumption that economic and population growth will continue indefinitely? What does that really mean for the future?

In other, perhaps not totally unrelated news, I saw a film today called "Equilibrium." Christian Bale was in it, and he was awesome. He has this wonderful austere severity to him. I'm excited to see him in the new Batman movie; he's perfect for it. The film itself was not very original (a mishmash of Fareinheit 451, 1984, and The Matrix), but it was extremely well done. Well done enough in fact that I'm considering giving it the four stars, but maybe I'll change my mind on that later.

That was the first movie review in quite a while, wasn't it?

the rock feels no pain and an island never cries,