【Click Nippon News】 The Power of Words

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Click Nippon News
July 19, 2018

【1】Engaging with Words

【2】Suggested class activities


On the 18th of June this year, a strong earthquake hit the Osaka area. Buildings toppled, trains stopped, roads collapsed, water pipes burst... the area suffered a lot of damage from the earthquake. Every time a big earthquake hits Japan, many people still recall the great Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011.

【1】Engaging with Words
At the time of the Tohoku earthquake, the Fukushima poet Wago Ryoichi tweeted lines of poetry on Twitter, even as he struggled with fear of the radiation cloud. "If we use beautiful words for the future, we may start to see a beautiful future." Wago says.

The suggested class activities for this month use the "My Way Your Way" article about poet Wago, which invites students to reflect on the power of words. An abridged version of the article is provided to make it easier to use in the classroom.

The abridged article is here.

See the original article here.

Related topics
• Japanese-speaking communities
• Nature and the environment
• Our society
• Living in Japan
• Communication and the media
• The influence of technology

【2】Suggested class activities
1. Questions to help students' comprehension

a) What were conditions like in Fukushima after the earthquake? Describe how things were in the first 5 days.

b) What was Wago's state of mind during that time?

c) What did Wago do on the sixth day?

d) Translate Wago's first line into English.

e) What did he do in the next three months?

f) What feature of Twitter encouraged him to keep on posting?

g) Explain what Wago learned from the 2011 earthquake disaster?

h)According to Wago, what kind of power do "words" have?

i)What is Wago's goal in writing poems?

2. Discussion points

j)The first line Wago posted to Twitter was:「放射能(ほうしゃのう)がふっています。静(しず)かな夜(よる)です。」Discuss the visual effect of these words. What kind of feelings do you think are expressed in this short poem?

k) If you had been in Fukushima in those first five days, how would you have felt? What would you have done? Share your thoughts with your classmates.

l) Do you use Twitter? Discuss the pros and cons.

m) Have you ever thought that words have power? When do you feel the power of words? How can we use the power of words?

3. Creative task

n) In a group (3-5), create a poster of positive words. Each person in the group writes three words or phrases that are powerful, positive or encouraging. Arrange the chosen words on the poster in your language and also in Japanese. Use your artistic and dictionary skills wherever possible.
Put the posters up on the wall of the classroom. Did you notice any change in the atmosphere or feel of the room? Do you think being surrounded by positive words influences people?

o)Have you or your feelings ever been influenced by someone's words? Choose [A]or [B], and write a short essay about your experience. In your essay, reflect on your language use (how you use words).

[A] Have you ever become happy because of someone's words?

• What was the situation?

• Who said what to you?

• How did the words make you feel?

• Reflect on the effect of positive language. Consider how you will use positive language in the future.

[B] Have you ever made someone unhappy because of your words?

• What was the situation?

• What did you say to whom?

• What do you think the person might have felt? How did you feel about it?

• Reflect on your language use. How do you want to choose words in the future? What did this experience teach you about the power of language?

Useful expressions:

• Personが~~~していた時のことですIt was when (person) was (doing something)
• Personが~~した時・Personが~~していた時 when (person) did (was doing something)
• Personが 「xxx」と言いました (person) said "xxx" to me
• Person が 「xxx」と言ってくれました (person) kindly said "xxx" to me
• うれしくなりました became happy
• 明るい気持ちになりました be cheered up, it lifted my spirits
• はげまされました was encouraged
• Personに 「xxx」と言ってしまいました I have (mistakenly, inconsiderately) said "xxx" to (person)





Related topics
• Japanese-speaking communities
• Nature and the environment
• Our society
• Living in Japan
• Communication and the media
• The influence of technology

















まず、人を元気づけることばを一人3つずつ選んでください。そのことばをグループで1まいの大きい紙に、あなたのことばと日本語のバイリンガルで書いてください。わからないことばは、じしょを使ってしらべましょう。イラストなどを入れてもいいです。 できたポスターをクラスにはりましょう。





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