Archive for World

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima (slow) slow
The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima (fast) fast

Hundreds of radioactive boars are roaming the towns of Fukushima. These towns were abandoned after the nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011. The Japanese government will allow residents to return to their homes in some towns this year. However, officials worry that the wild boars will attack people when they try to come back. Over the six years, the boars have lost their fear of humans. Some are even living in abandoned homes.

Hunters have been hired to kill the boars. So far around 800 have been killed. Boar meat is a popular dish in Japan. However, the meat of these boars is too dangerous to eat. In fact, it is 300 times over the safe limit. Disposing of the dead boars is very problematic; there are very few facilities to handle them.

Now, there are many wild animals in the area. There are reports of large populations of wild dogs and rats, as well.



Are you for or against nuclear power?

This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Mount Etna Erupts

Mount Etna Erupts (slow) slow
Mount Etna Erupts (fast) fast

Mount Etna is a volcano located in southern Italy. It is on the island of Sicily. Now, Mount Etna is spewing out red hot rocks and ash. However, experts say that there is no danger for people.

Mount Etna has often erupted in the past. The last eruption was in 2014. Even now a stream of molten rock is flowing down the mountain. This is called a lava flow. The volcano is also spewing out clouds of dust. Scientists say that these clouds are not so bad this time.

Experts say, people do not need to be afraid. Even for those who live close by there is no immediate danger.

No one is sure how long the volcanic eruption will last. Sometimes it is over after a few days.

Mt. Etna is the second most active volcano on earth. Only Hawaii’s Kilauea is more active.


This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. These grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

A Dramatic Increase in Garbage in the Arctic

polar bear garbage

Arctic Garbage slow Arctic Garbage fast

There are very few people living in . You would not expect to find much garbage there. Recently, however, some German researchers have discovered a lot of plastic, glass and other waste in the sea there. They say that there is twenty times more garbage than compared to ten years ago.

polar bear small

The researchers are not exactly sure what is causing the increase in the amount of garbage there. It could be coming from very far away. Ocean currents can spread things over many kilometers. Another factor may be climate change. Ice cover in the Arctic has been shrinking. This has lead to more fishing and tour boats coming into the region. Some of the litter could be coming from these sources.

Ocean garbage is dangerous. Fish and other animals can die. Animals often suffocate when they try to eat plastic bags. Also, it is not healthy for people who eat the fish.

Which do you believe? Please choose one.


The Arctic is the part of the earth above 66° 34′ N. Above this latitude the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice (the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), and does not rise on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “7.0” means the reading level of a seventh grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

The Kazuhito Kosaka Story

pen apple pineapple pen

How a Short YouTube Video and Justin Bieber
Changed A Life

The Kazuhito Kosaka Story slow The Kazuhito Kosaka Story fast

For more than 20 years, Kazuhito Kosaka was trying his best to make it as a Japanese comedian. He was successful enough to be in a 7-11 commercial, but he wasn’t a major star. But his life changed in just 45 seconds.

Kazuhito Kosaka’s stage name is Pikotaro, and one day he made a short and silly YouTube video called Pen, Pineapple, Apple, Pen (PPAP). But once people saw the 45-second song, they went crazy for it. One of the biggest fans of the performance was Justin Bieber, who tweeted that it was his “favorite video on the Internet.” With Justin’s support the video has gone on to get over 52 million hits! And its popularity is still growing.

Of course Justin Bieber and Pikotaro never met in person… until this January, when they filmed a commercial together for Japanese cell phone provider Softbank. Pikotaro doesn’t know if his success will continue or PPAP will turn out to be a one-hit wonder, but he’s trying to enjoy the fame as long as it lasts. And with Justin Bieber now his friend, his star could continue shining for a long time to come!

Level 85

Will the United States Build a Wall?

border wall

Trump’s Wall slow Trump’s Wall fast

Donald Trump, the president of the USA, wants to build a wall. He wants to build this wall on the border with Mexico. His plan is causing much anger in Mexico and the U.S.

Currently, there is only a fence on some parts of the border between the two countries. The Rio Grande River makes up about half of the border.

The wall is supposed to stop immigrants. Many people come to the U.S. without permission from Mexico. Trump wants to prevent this.

Many questions about the proposed wall are still unanswered. For example, who will pay for its construction? Trump says Mexico will pay. The President of Mexico completely rejects this idea.

The wall will be 3,100 kilometers long. That is longer than the Danube, the longest river in western Europe.

There is much criticism about Trump’s plans. Many claim that the wall will put people at risk and tear families apart.

What do you think about the wall?

This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “6.5” means the reading level of a eight grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

2016: The Warmest Year Ever

hottest year ever

Hottest Year Ever slow Hottest Year Ever fast

Last year the world was hot like never before. That is according to international weather researchers. They say it was due to climate change.

Weather researchers from the United States and Switzerland measured the temperatures around the world. They compared the temperatures ​​with previous years. The conclusion: 2016 set a new heat record for the world. The scientists say that this climate change was caused by human activity.

In 2015, many countries gathered in Paris and adopted a treaty to protect the climate. The countries there agreed that we should not let the earth’s temperature go up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. These new measurements show that this will be very difficult.

Level 70

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers

Level 65

Shaming Drivers slow Shaming Drivers fast


, a group of young people in Russia . is . The young men wait on a . At first, they . . , however, . The . The stickers .

. One woman in the video . Another . , .

The . , their video .

Click for vocabulary list!

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers 交通違反ドライバーを恥じさせるためのキャンペーン
Recently 最近
started a campaign キャンペーンを始めった
The aim of the campaign キャンペーンの狙い
to shame drivers who do not follow traffic rules 交通規則に従わない運転手を恥じさせる
footpath 小道
to block motorists who illegally use it as a shortcut 近道に、不法に使うドライバーを阻止する
politely ask the drivers to turn back. 運転手に引き返すよう礼儀正しく頼む
Most apologize and turn around ほとんどは謝罪して、引き返す
Others 他の人たち
are less cooperative 協力的でない
youths 若者たち
stick big stickers on their windshields 大きいなステッカーを彼らのフロントガラスに張り付ける
when they do not cooperate 彼らが協力しなかったとき
are made in such a way that they don’t come off very easily 簡単にとれないように作られている
Some motorists 何人かのドライバー
react very strongly 非常に強く反応する
even threatens to murder the youths その若者たちを殺すとさえ脅迫する
continues driving with one of the young men on the hood of her car 彼女の車のボンネットに若者を乗せたまま運転を続ける
Luckily 幸いに
no one was injured in the video 動画の中で誰も負傷しなかった
movement 運動
has been quite successful とても成功している
So far 今のところ
has had over 1 million views on YouTube YouTubeで100万以上再生されている


British and American English: Can You Tell the Difference?

Story written by Andrea

Level 90

British and American English slow British and American English fast


, people speak English in the USA and the UK. However, Americans and British people !

Both nations , and the spelling . Some words .

For example, in America, they write “color, C-O-L-O-R”, , the spelling is “C-O-L-O-U-R”.

, . .

, you can take a look at this interesting video that will show you some of the differences between American and British English!
Click for vocabulary list!

British and American English: Can You Tell the Difference? イギリス英語とアメリカ英語:違いが分かりますか?
As you probably know ご存知でしょうが
as their first language 彼らの第一言語(母国語)として
do not sound alike 同じように聞こえない
have very similar grammar よく似た文法がある
is almost always the same ほとんど同じ
might be written just slightly different 書き方が少し違うかもしれない
while in the United Kingdom 一方イギリスでは
Even if there are differences in the written language たとえ書かれた言葉の違いがあるとしても
the differences in the spoken language are much easier to spot 話される言葉の違いの方がわかりやすい
You are certainly going to be able to hear that there is a difference when they speak 確実に彼らが話している時に違いがあるのを聞けるに違いない
So, can you hear the difference between an American and British accent で、アメリカ人とイギリス人のアクセントの違いを聞き取れますか?
If you are curious to test yourself もし、興味があるなら試してみて下さい

Como probablemente ya sabes
como primer idioma
no suenan igual
tienen una gramática muy similar
casi siempre la misma
podrían escribirse un poco diferente
mientras que en el Reino Unido
Aunque existen diferencias en el idioma escrito
las diferencias en el idioma hablado son mucho más fáciles de encontrar
Sin duda vas a ser capaz de escuchar que hay diferencia cuando hablan
Así que, ¿puedes escuchar la diferencia entre un acento americano y uno británico?
Si tienes curiosidad por ponerte a prueba

England and the Sandwich Obsession!

Level 85

Story written by Andrea

UK Sandwich slow UK Sandwich fast

Typical British Sandwiches

know , like drinking tea every afternoon. However, very few people know about the country’s love for sandwiches!

Over one billion sandwiches …and that was only last year!

If you walk around in the streets of a big city like London, . From Starbucks to the and even the , . , .

? English people , or . A good sandwich is a cheap, quick and …and yes, it is tasty too!

Click for vocabulary list!

England and the Sandwich Obsession! イギリスとサンドイッチへの執着
Many people around the world 世界中の多くの人々
about the unique aspects of British culture イギリス文化の独特な姿について
were bought on-the-go in England イギリスでは、出先で( 外出中に)買われた  ◆【語源】 on-the-goが「活動的」、「いろいろ動き回る」という意味から。
you will certainly notice あなたは確かに気付くだろう
the huge amount of shops selling sandwiches on the street 通りでサンドイッチを売っている膨大な数の店
grocery shop 食料品店
pharmacy 薬局
you will find a huge selection of sandwiches to eat on the go 簡単に持ち運べて食べれるたくさんの種類のサンドイッチを見るだろう
The choice is very diverse 選択は非常に様々である
ranging from traditional favorite combinations (ham and cheese, tomatoes and mozzarella) to more exotic recipes 伝統的でみんなの好物の組合せ(ハムとチーズ、トマトとモッツァレラ)からより風変わり なレシピにわたる
So why are sandwiches so popular in the UK? では、なぜイギリスではサンドイッチがそんなに人気なのか?
love to make the most out of their day 彼らの1日を有効に使うのが好きである
saving time while working 働いている間の時間を節約する
doing their errands 彼らの用事をする
effective way to get all the nourishment you need あなたが必要とするすべての栄養を得る効果的な方法

イギリスでは、出先で( 外出中に)買われた ◆【語源】 on-the-goが「活動的」、「いろいろ動き回る」という意味から。
伝統的でみんなの好物の組合せ(ハムとチーズ、トマトとモッツァレラ)からより風変わり なレシピにわたる
Muchas personas en todo el mundo
sobre los aspectos únicos de la cultura británica
sobre la marcha
sin duda notarás
la enorme cantidad de tiendas que venden sándwiches en la calle
tienda de comestibles
encontrarás una enorme selección de sándwiches para comer sobre la marcha
La elección es muy variada
desde las favoritas combinaciones tradicionales (jamón y queso, tomate y mozzarella) hasta recetas más exóticas
¿Entonces por qué son tan populares los sándwiches en el Reino Unido?
le encanta aprovechar al máximo el día
ahorrando tiempo mientras trabaja
haciendo sus recados
manera eficaz de obtener todos los nutrientes que necesitas

The Monkey Dogs of Japan

Level 65

The Monkey Dogs of Japan slow The Monkey Dogs of Japan fast

Monkey Dogs

. They often . Every year, they . But the farmers . In 2005, . They are known as monkey dogs, and they . , and . Since 2005, more than 20 . The programs .

, it . , . It is used .”

Click for vocabulary list!

The Monkey Dogs of Japan 日本のモンキードッグ (サルを追い払う犬)
Wild monkeys 野生のサル
are a problem for farmers 農家の人たちにとって問題である
in many areas in Japan 日本の多くの地域で
come out of the woods to eat the tasty vegetables and fruit on farms 農場のおいしい野菜や果物を食べるために森から出てくる
cause heavy damage to crops 収穫への大きな損害を引き起こす
are fighting back 阻止している
a small village in Nagano Prefecture 長野県にある小さな村
introduced a program to protect crops with dogs 犬で収穫を保護する計画を導入した
are trained to scare monkeys away サルを怖がらせて追い払うように訓練されている
The plan was very successful その計画は大変成功した
the village was able to save thousands of dollars その村は何千ドルも節約できた
prefectures 都道府県
have introduced similar programs 似たような計画を導入している
have been so popular that there is a shortage of monkey dogs now とても評判が良いため、今ではモンキードッグが不足している
In a side note 余白注記 or 傍注◆本などのページの傍らに添えた注釈
is well known in Japan 日本でよく知られている
that dogs and monkeys are not on friendly terms サルと犬は仲良しではない
In fact 実際
the phrase ”dog-and monkey-relationship” ”犬猿の仲”という表現
is used to describe two people who can’t get along 仲良くできない2人を言い表すのに用いられる
like the English expression という英語表現のように
to fight like cats and dogs 猫と犬のように戦う

余白注記 or 傍注◆本などのページの傍らに添えた注釈
Monos salvajes
son un problema para los granjeros
en muchas regiones de Japón
salen de los bosques para comer los sabrosos vegetales y la fruta de las granjas
causan graves daños a los cultivos
están contraatacando
una pequeña aldea en la prefectura de Nagano
introdujo un programa para proteger los cultivos con perros
están entrenados para ahuyentar a los monos
El plan tuvo mucho éxito
la aldea fue capaz de ahorrar miles de dólares
han introducido programas similares
han sido tan populares que ahora hay escasez de perros mono
Como nota al margen
es bien conocido en Japón
que los perros y los monos no se llevan bien
De hecho
la frase ‘relación perro-mono’
se usa para describir a dos personas que no pueden llevarse bien
como la expresión inglesa
pelear como perros y gatos