July 20, 2011
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You may have heard or seen the word “setsuden (節電)” being used a lot lately. Setsuden is Japanese for conserving energy. In the aftermath of the events in Fukushima and our own Shika power plant still closed, the Hokuriku area (and all of Japan) is trying to conserve as much energy as they can this summer. Last week, Hokuriku Electric Power Company sent out informational fliers telling people how to conserve energy in their homes. More useful tips are also available at the HEPC website, unfortunately they are all in Japanese so here’s some of the main points that you can do to cut back on your summer energy usage.
Remember, cutting your energy usage benefits you in the form of a smaller electricity bill every month.
- Set your air conditioner temperature to 28º C. (Estimated energy savings: 10%)
Let’s face it, you don’t need to keep your room at a crisp 23-25º. I’ve kept my room at 28º for the past week and it’s kept me plenty cool. Keeping your room at a warmer temperature also prevents that jarring shock when you step outside into warmer temperatures.
- Hang bamboo or reed curtains outside your windows. (Estimated energy savings: 10%)
Hanging these curtains outside your windows blocks harsh sunlight from entering your room keeping it a little cooler.
- Use your air conditioner less. (Estimated energy savings: up to 50%)
Summer is hot, but your air conditioning does not need to be on every second you’re at home. Try setting the timer on your air conditioner to turn it off after an hour and turn it back on once the temperature rises to unbearable levels again. If you need the air conditioner to fall asleep, set the timer to shut off 2-3 hours after you go to bed. The night air should cool down enough after you’re asleep to keep you comfortable for the rest of the night.
- Clean your air conditioner filter 1-2 times a month.
Cleaning your filter will mean less energy being used to keep your home cool.
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May 14, 2009
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Today, in place of my usual Pop Culture post, I will be sharing a lesson plan that was a big hit.
In your time in Japan, it may have come to your attention that the English isn’t exactly, shall we say, correct. Consequently, it also may be teaching your students bad English while you’re away.
So, what I did was take the more blantantly obvious signs and discuss with my students what they think is wrong. It’s been my experience that when you explain the funnier signs, they also start to understand what is funny and then start to understand the nature of English grammar a little better. More importantly, it teaches them that they can’t speak English thinking like a Japanese person, and that directly translating never works.
However, be careful with the signs you use! You don’t want to discourage them into thinking that English is impossible for Japanese people!
This exercise is really for upper division English courses, and I have found it to work best on my third-years.
As always, a helpful site is Engrish. com. Try it out, and good luck!