Monthly Archives: February 2008

Enjoy improving yourself!

Standard

     

     Music was being played when I entered the room.

     Last Sunday I took a lecture with two of my friends, who also joined in the one on Diana’s death the day before with me. The title was “It may come to you to be involved in volunteer work for international exchange – Preparing for the sudden chance by everyday training” and it was held under the auspices of AGGN (Aichi Goodwill Guided Network) at Nagoya Port Building near Nagoya Port.

     Those of my friends and I took the lecture too easily before taking it because the lecturer was Japanese and we thought it would be made in Japanese. You know, we took another one in English the day before.

     Yes. The lecturer, Mr. Tetsuhiko Nakanishi is Japanese and the lecture was given in Japanese. But it was too optimistic of us to expect an easy class…

     Mr. Nakanishi is a quite sturdy man, and he looked like a retired pro wrestler for me. His voice was forceful and his lecture was really vigorous. I thought music was being played because of letting the participants relaxed. Maybe it was one of the reasons. But that wasn’t all. Mr. Nakanishi started the lecture with a song entitled “The Music Played”.

          The Music Played

     An angry silence lay where love had been
    
And in your eyes a look I’d never seen
    
If I had found the words you might have stayed
     But as I turned to speak the music played

     As lovers danced their way around the floor
    
I sat and watched you walk towards the door
    
I heard a friend of yours suggest you stayed
    
And as you took his hand, the music played

     Across the darkened room the fatal signs I saw
    
You’d been something more than friends before
    
While I was hurting you by clinging to my pride,
    
He had been waiting and I drove him to your side

     I couldn’t say the things I should have said
    
Refused to let my heart control my head
    
But I was made to see the price I paid
    
And as he held you close, the music played
    
And as I lost your love, the music played.

     All of the participants were given the lyrics and gotten to sing the song together after Mr. Nakanishi explained the meanings. According to him, the song has the vivid image, and it’s important to image something with your memories or knowledge, when you practice speaking English.

     Next he showed 20 sentences in Japanese and let the participants put them into English within 100 seconds. The room went into a kind of panic. Probably most of the participants hadn’t expected that at all like my friends and I.

     Those sentences were not so difficult for translating into English. But I, maybe other participants too, am not used to putting Japanese into English so quickly and can’t utter English from my mouth smoothly. By the way, some of the 20 sentences were as follows.

     The Japanese economy is sluggish.
    
They are not members of the Democratic Party of Japan.
    
Typhoon No. 15 is heading for Cape Shiono.
    
Many people were walking to work.

     After trying to translate 20 Japanese sentences into English within 100 minutes, the participants were given two minutes to memorize some vocabularies which were used in those 20 sentences. And then we retried translating them into English within one minute. Mr. Nakanishi said, “The reason why you can’t even put some easy Japanese into English is because you don’t practice. You need to practice saying.”

     Then we listened to a CD. He asked us what story it was, but I couldn’t reply it at all. I just caught some words such as people, Thursday, September 13th, and land. It seems that other participants couldn’t understand the CD. He let us listen to the CD again. I couldn’t understand the story at all. I was disappointed.

     But he said, “Don’t blame yourself! Enjoy improving yourself! You know, what you listened to was a foreign language, not your native language. You can catch some words, right? People, September 13th, land? Great! You couldn’t have understood even a word if that had been Arabic!”

     So he showed one sentence: The UN General Assembly has adopted a landmark declaration in the rights of the world’s estimated 370-million native peoples following more than twenty years of debate. It was the first sentence of the CD we had heard.

     We made some short sentences with it to understand well as follows.    
     1. The UN General Assembly has adopted an important declaration.
    
2. The declaration was on the rights of the native peoples in the world.
    
3. They discussed it for more than 20 years.
    
4. Native peoples are estimated 370-million in the world.

     Then we made a list of some important vocabularies of the story and tried to memorize them. And we practiced reading the story aloud and telling the story in English by own words to each partner repeatedly. And then Mr. Nakanishi played the CD again.

     The UN General Assembly has adopted a landmark declaration on the rights of the world’s estimated 370-million native peoples following more than twenty years of debate. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved by an overwhelming majority of 143 to 4 with 11 abstentions on Thursday September 13th. The non-binding declaration is designed to forbid discrimination against indigenous peoples, It calls on states to prevent or redress the forced migration of native peoples, the seizure of their land or their forced integration into other cultures.

     Wow! I was able to catch and understand them! Mr. Nakanishi said, “See? You’re happy to find yourself improved, aren’t you?” He recommended making questions and answering to them using the story and doing research in it through the Internet as well. It seems that I need train myself with many methods for speaking English…

     Anyway, I think the lecture was really interesting and instructive for English learners, at least for me!

Princess Diana — Accident or Murder?

Standard

      Last Saturday of the 2nd, I went to YWCA in Sakae with some of my friends because there was an interesting lecture in it. It was “Princess Diana – Accident of Murder?”. The lecturer was a quite famous English teacher in Nagoya area: Mr. Michael Kruse.

     According Mr. Kruse, still now over half of the British people believe she was murdered. He showed many of the evidence for and against Diana having been murdered in the lecture and arrived at the final conclusion…

     I’m trying to summarize it with a memo I wrote down during the lecture. But the memo was a terrible scribble. So I refered to "Wikipedia" for completing this. That’s why there may be some deffirences between Mr. Kruse’s lecutre and this page…

     Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris on August 31 in 1997. Dodi Fayed, her boyfriend, and Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, in which all the victims were, also died, but only Trevor Rees-Jones, Dodi’s bodyguard, survived the accident.

     French Police inquired and concluded that the car accident was caused by Henri’s drunken and reckless driving. And paparazzi were also accused by their persistence chasing at that time. 

     Officially it was concluded that Diana was killed by a car accident 10 years ago, still now many people not only in Britain but also all over the world doubt if she was murdered.

     The controversy began with a comment by Dodi’s father Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has two big properties: Harrods Store and the Hotel Ritz, very next day of the accident. He mentioned that Diana and his son Dodi had been going to announce their engaging and Diana’s pregnant next day on September 1st. The rumor spread about that Diana had been involved in a conspiracy and had died quickly.

*Conspiracy Theories 

A: Motive
    
Who it was possible to plot the death of the prince for, then? One suspect is landmines companies, and one is British Royal Family. Diana protested against the use of landmines before her death. Some thinks some landmines companies might have killed her because she was a disturbance for them.

     And this is maybe most people suspect, but British Royal Family might have assassinated her by using MI6. For them it would be a big embarrassment that Diana’s marriage with an Egyptian Muslim.

B: Suspicions
  
1. Ambulance
     Someone called the emergency service at 12:26 a.m., but the ambulance carried Diana to the hospital around 2:00 a.m. Didn’t it take too much time for the transportation? 

   2. Driving drunk
     French inquirers concluded that Henri Paul, the driver, drove drunk. But he who had been taken by the CCTV camera at the hotel before driving looked stone-cold sober.

   3. Bank accounts
     Henri Paul had about 15 bank accounts. Is it too many to own for a common citizen? Was he an agent?

   4. Loss of Memory
     Trevor Rees-Johns is the only survivor of the accident. He seems to lose most of his memory on the accident. He was jumped to a high position at UN security later. Isn’t it hush money?

   5. Seat belt
     According to the investigator, no one of the victims except for Trevor Rees-Johns was wearing their seat belts at the time. Is it true? Isn’t it possible to have let the seat belts dysfunctional by someone?

   6. A White Fiat Uno
     A white Fiat Uno which had sped away was witnessed before and after the accident of the Mercedes in which Diana was. It is possible that the car blockaded the road in the tunnel and induced the accident on purpose. And the Fiat was not found. Later James Anderson, the photographer, committed suicide. He also had a white Fiat Uno.  

   7. CCTV camera
    There are more than 10 CCTV cameras on the route the Mercedes took. In spite of that, there are no recordings on the accident. It’s strange.

   8. Embalming the body
     In France, it’s necessary for embalming to proceed in writing. But Diana was embalmed without the proceeding. It’s illegal. What need is there for her to get embalmed so immediately? It was for hiding the fact of her pregnancy?

   9. A Bright Flash
     Richard Tomlinson, a former MI6 agent, mentioned there was a close resemblance between the case of Diana’s death and a plan for assassination of Milosevic, who was President of Serbia in 1990’s. According to him, the plan was causing a car accident in a tunnel by using a strong bright flash.

   10. A letter from Diana
     Paul Burrell, the butler of Diana, published a book after the princes’s death. It includes letters from her to Paul.

     “I am sitting here at my desk today in October, longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high – This particular phase of my life is the most dangerous. XXXX is planning “an accident” in my car, brake failure of serious head injury…”

     In Paul’s book, the man’s name of planning the accident is sunk. But it seems that most of the readers thought it’s Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s quite natural for people to think so. Prince Phillip is notorious as a kind of racist. They didn’t think he like that Diana and a Muslim from Egypt.

      Those above sound like a plausible explanation for the conspiracy. I would have been convinced by them if the lecturer had been an advocate for the conspiracy theories. But Mr. Kruse wasn’t. His view on Diana’s death is the cause of an unfortunate car accident.

 *Disproof of the conspiracy theories

A: Motive
    
Diana was objecting to using personal landmines. But her existence was insignificant for landmines companies. She might surely have been a problem for them and they might have wished her death, but if so they must not have taken such a circuitous measure like a car accident. It’s easier to use a sniper or something.

     How about British Royal Family? After the divorce between Prince Charles and Diana, she had nothing to do with them. They didn’t need to be worried about her marriage with anyone.

B: Suspicions
   1. Ambulance
     After calling emergency service, the ambulance arrived at 12:33 a.m.. It took much time to remove the victims from the car because of the terrible crush. The ambulance had to go slowly to protect Diana because she was alive at that time. They couldn’t carry her into the first hospital in their route because it had no heart specialist there unfortunately. (According to the inquest, Diana’s heart moved to the right from the left inside by the car crash.) That’s why they couldn’t help going to the distant hospital from the accident site.

   2. Driving drunk
     There have been some controversies on the blood test of Henri Paul, but both of French and British authorities concluded by DNA samples that the blood used for the test was indeed Henri’s, and he was definitely under the influence of alcohol. Although only two drinks, the CCTV film showed he had before driving.

   3. Bank accounts
     In France, having many bank accounts is commonplace. And he seemed to get large tips because he often worked for celebrities as like Diana. So, he could make money from guests not from MI6.

   4. Loss of Memory
     It’s no wonder that a strong contusion on the head brings defects of memory.

   5. Seat belt
     French police said all seat belts were in operational condition in 1997, but British investigators found they not work well in 2004.

   6. A White Fiat Uno
     James Anderson indeed had a white Fiat Uno. There’s a photo on which the car behind James and his wife. But James had an alibi and his car was in bad condition then. After all, white Fiat Uno is very common.

   7. CCTV camera
     Why didn’t any of over ten cameras video the Mercedes and so on at all? It’s because all of them didn’t face the road. The one of the entrance of the tunnel faces the road, but it doesn’t video anything because it’s for monitoring and no one checks after 11 o’clock p.m..

   8. Embalming the body
     Diana’s body was embalmed before getting the permission because the hospital staff thought that her body should have been in a good state until her family came. They said that her body had begun decomposing so quickly because of the heat in the summer.

     As for her pregnancy, it was revealed that Diana had had her period 10 days before the accident. And some said that she had enjoying getting massage without showing any concerns for her body some days before the accident. If she had been expecting, she could have showed any signs when she had massage.

   9. A Bright Flash
     Richard Tomlinson seemed to see a memo that an assassination plan was written. But Milosevic was not assassinated and no one had been killed by using a bright flash. Later the memo was found but it had no about a car accident or a bright flash. And if the bright flash had caused the car accident, the white Fiat Uno’s driver and the paparazzi also must have had damaged.

   10. A letter from Diana
     In that letter, Diana said, 
“I am sitting here at my desk today in October, longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high – This particular phase of my life is the most dangerous – my husband is planning “and accident” in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy. Camilla is nothing but a decoy, so we are all being used by the man in every sense of the word.”

     People thought the plotter for the accident was Prince Philip and it was for Prince Charles’ marriage with Camilla when they read the book written by Diana’s butler. But the truth is that Diana assumed that Charles would kill herself because of his marriage with Tiggy Legge-Bourke. After Diana’s death, Charles married Camilla, and Tiggy married another man.

     Mr. Kruse, the lecturer, stated Princes Diana was killed by a car accident, not a conspiracy with the facts above. According to him, British Royal family would have chosen easier way in Britain not in France if they had decided to assassin Diana.

     He also said, “People love tragedy.” As he said, the conspiracy theories on Diana’s death might have been created by people’s tendency to like tragedy and her popularity. I understand his states, but still now I can’t help suspecting Diana was murdered…I can’t satisfy myself of the accident theories somehow…I’m wondering I also love tragedy?