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Sell You to the Circus

Written by Nick

Click here for today's comic.


Important Vocabulary/Phrases from the Comic

First Period: 一時間目
Pay attention: 注意する
Send Mixed Signals: 曖昧な印象を与える
Cannonball = Human Cannonball:  https://youtu.be/fpMKZ2I_T98?t=24s  
Hafta = Have To (American English pronunciation. Sample here: https://youtu.be/r8Do2uPuBM4)

Important Vocabulary/Phrases from the Article

Threat:  脅し
Threaten:  脅す
Empty Threat: ただの脅しで現実には何もできない
Scold:  叱る

When I was in elementary school, I had a plastic toy drill. You could not drill holes in walls with it, but you could drill holes in very soft things. Things like cotton, paper, or even living room sofas. Speaking of sofas: I remember one day taking the toy drill and drilling a hole in the side of the sofa when my parents weren’t home. I remember being very happy that I had made a hole in the sofa with my toy drill! Success!

I then realized that I had made a hole in the sofa and my parents would be very angry.

When my father got home, he saw the hole and immediately asked me, “Did you do this?!?”

I said, “No! It wasn’t me! It was a spider.”

My father was not a fool and spent the next thirty minutes scolding me. The last thing he said that made me cry was:  If you do something like this again, I will sell you to the circus.

For some reason, in American culture, this is a popular empty threat to use against small children. I am not sure why, but it is very popular. The idea of being forced to leave your parents is very scary when you are a child. No one ever sells their children to the circus, of course. 

In the comic, the boy in the black shirt is confused because being in the circus doesn’t sound like a threat to him. It sounds like fun! In the third picture, you can see him smiling as he is flying through the air at a circus.

I did some asking around and discovered that this is an empty threat that is very specific to Americans. I was curious to know what kind of empty threats other country’s parents use against their children. 

Tie you up like a pretzel.
Eat your pizza crust and put hair on your chest.
Throw your book out the window if you read in the car.
Tell the tooth fairy/Santa Clause not to come this year.

We will sell you to the orphanage.
If you eat in front of a mirror, you will get an ugly husband.


We will sell you to the rag and bone man.


We will give you to the guy on a motorcycle.


Old Boney will get you!  (Boney meaning Napoleon Boneparte)


We will throw you in the backyard!
We will leave you under a bridge!
We will throw you in the ocean!

When you were a child, how would your parents scold you? If you have anything unusual or interesting to share, please feel free to comment below.




Show Some Appreciation

Written by Eoin

Click here to see today's comic.


First, here’s the vocabulary for today’s comic:
appreciate                 (explained below)
ouch!                          痛い!
trouble                      problem(s)
chip bag                     ポテチ袋
paper cut                   紙で切った傷
I like Garfield because it’s simple. I appreciate its simplicity.
Today’s comic shows a simple scene in Garfield’s house. Jon (that’s the man) says to Garfield (that’s the cat), “I hope you appreciate how hard I work preparing meals.” Jon works hard in the kitchen (or he thinks he works hard in the kitchen) and he wants Garfield to show appreciation [感謝]. Jon wants Garfield to say ‘thank you’ and to think about Jon’s hard work.
You can use ‘appreciate’ when you want to thank somebody:
“I appreciate it.” = “Thank you.”
But, “I appreciate it” is stronger. It has more feeling. You can also say “I appreciate your hard work.”
I also said above that I appreciate the comic’s simplicity. In this case, ‘appreciate’ means something like ‘understand and enjoy.’ I understand and enjoy Garfield, but I also think that ‘simple is good’. Some people may think that Garfield is too simple. I also appreciate punk rock music, though many people think that punk is too noisy and fast.
What do you appreciate?
Your mother’s cooking? (I’m sure you always say ‘thank you’ to your mother and think about her hard work.)
Or perhaps you appreciate classical music? (You understand Mozart and you don’t think it’s boring [つまらない].)
And if you have read this far, then I appreciate your patience!


Get Out of Your Hair

Written by Elliot
Click here to see today's comic.

Today we are looking at a single-panel comic strip.  This means that the entire joke must be delivered and understood quickly and easily.  This is in contrast to a multi-panel comic such as Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes which have been shown in previous blogs.  
The punchline or joke of this comic is the phrase "get out of your hair".  This means that you have gotten too close or spent too much time with someone or something and it's time to take a step back.  People will sometimes say that someone has "overstayed their welcome".  It is another way to say that it is time to take a break.  This phrase is usually used between two people.  
However in this comic it is used between two insects called: fleas.  The fleas are important to this comic because it's an animal that specifically lives in hair. On the right of the comic is a sign that says "Home Sweet Home".  This is a sign that is often used in America to show that you enjoy the location and house you live in.  Since fleas live in hair, the male flea is saying that not only has he stayed with the female flea for too long but he will also leave her house.
Have you ever had to get yourself "out of someone's hair"?  It may have been a co-worker or a friend, but at some point you needed to take a step back and think about what you were doing. You may have realized that you spent more time than you intended to with that person and it was becoming a problem.  Sometimes these can be funny stories.  Try to share them with your classmates and teacher.  There is a good chance that many other people have been in the same situation.



"Revenge" vs. 「リベンジ」

Written by Tricia

Click here for today's comic.


For this week, I would like to briefly talk about "revenge." Although this word is used in both English and Japanese, its meaning and usage are very different for each language. 

In English, "revenge" refers to the act of hurting or harming someone because that person did something that hurt you or made you suffer. With this, we can say in Japanese, 「復讐」, 「仕返し」 and 「恨みをはらす」 are probably the closest words there are, in terms of meaning. I think the above comic strip from Garfield perfectly shows its meaning in English. The mischievous little spider sneaked up on Garfield and bit him, and as a result, the poor cat was hurt and surprised. Of course, Garfield was not happy about what happened. So, he took revenge by also sneaking up on the spider and then stomping on him. 

You could see here that revenge has a very negative meaning in English. So, I think you could understand my confusion when one day, while talking to a friend about her upcoming TOEIC exam, she told me that she will "revenge this year," because she did poorly in last year's test. I was already beginning to imagine that she might do something terrible to the exam proctors, so I asked her what she meant. I found out that what she really meant to say was that she will give it another try (再挑戦する) or that she will make a comeback (復帰する). As you can see, revenge or 「リベンジ」 carries a more positive image in Japanese.

So, next time, be careful when using "revenge" when talking to English speakers. Unless you mean that you want to punish and hurt someone for the wrong things they did to you, you should try saying "I'll give it another try" or "I'll give it another shot," instead. 


to shuffle                                         足を引きずって歩く

to stomp on (something)                 ~を踏みつける

to sneak up on (someone)              ~にこっそり近づく

exam proctor                                   試験の監督

to give (something) another shot     ~をやり直す、~を再挑戦する


Drinking in English

Written by Gosia
Click here to see today's comic.
In the above comic strip, the rat is at the bar and he orders a shot of tequila. The bartender asks if the rat wants anything else with the shot of tequila. The rat orders a chaser. 'To chase' means 'to run after someone', so a runner arrives and he will chase the rat. However, that is not what the rat meant. 

chaser is:

a drink with little or no alcohol in it that is drunk after a small strong alcoholic drink.

  • tequila with a grapefruit-juice chaser
  • whiskey with a beer chaser

Here are some other drinking words:

  1. "Cheers" - 乾杯
  2. Pint - About 0.5 liters (a pint of beer)
  3. Draft beer - Beer served from a keg, not bottle or can
  4. Shots - Hard alcohol in small shot glasses 
  5. On the Rocks - Hard alcohol in a bigger glass with ice
  6. Straight Up - Hard alcohol without ice
  7. Bottoms up - One shot (you drink everything in your glass)


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