Sep 10


Corruption is what we call it when people, such as politicians, misuse their power for personal gain, e.g. taking bribes. The same word can describe rot or decay, but that is an old-fashioned usage. However, we still use it to say things like, “Kids these days are being corrupted by rock-and-roll music.”

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Jul 02

onohara_july2“There are many good reasons I should be allowed to stay up until 11:00.” 「23時まで起きてもいいという理由がたくさんあります。」
“This isn’t a debate. Go to bed.” 「これは討論ではない。もう寝なさい。」


A debate is a formal kind of argument, with rules about who gets to talk and how much. Some schools have debate clubs, and kids may be instructed to defend a viewpoint, to learn how to present a good argument. An informal conversation in which both sides argue using facts can also be called a debate, even if it has no formal rules.

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Aug 21


A heat wave is a longer period of hot weather. This summer heat waves struck many places across the globe, including Japan. Temperature records were broken in many countries; for example, 48.9 degrees in Chino, California. The heat is dangerous on its own, and also connected to other disasters such as wildfires.

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Jun 12


A tariff is a tax on certain things that are imported or exported. For example, a country might set a tariff on imported wheat in order to help wheat farmers within the country, by giving them an advantage over foreign competition.

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Feb 06

onohara_feb6“The police investigation turned up evidence that led to his arrest.” 「警察の調査で彼の逮捕につながる証拠を発見した。」
“Mueller is in charge of the investigation into the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.” 「ミュラーがトランプ・キャンペーンとロシアの共謀の可能性の調査を担当している。」


An “investigation” is a thorough search for evidence or facts in order to answer a question or solve a mystery, often a crime.

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Nov 29

onohara_nov28“He admitted that he had gone to the scene of the crime, but said he didn’t see anything suspicious.” 「彼は現場に行ったことは認めたが、何も怪しいものは見ていないと言いました。」
“I admit that it sounds bad, but let me explain.” 「聞こえが悪いことはわかっているけれど説明させてください。」


We use “admit” when someone recognizes a fact that they don’t like much, or that goes against their main point. Even if you’re right, there is usually a little evidence that makes it look like you’re wrong. You might have to admit those things are true.

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Oct 03

onohara_oct3“Charges filed in slaying of local man.” 「殺人事件で起訴」
“Funeral for slain officer Wednesday.” 「殺された警察官の葬式が水曜日」


We sometimes see the word “slay” instead of “kill” in the news. To slay someone is to kill them using violence. A person can die from other things, such as illness—the sickness killed them, but it did not slay them.

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Mar 21

onohara_mar21“This isn’t a real news article. It’s from a joke website. It’s fake.”

When making a movie, you can film a real river. But when putting on a play on a stage, if you have a river, it has to be a fake river. It is made to look like a river, but it’s not real. Some restaurants have displays of fake food in their windows to show the kind of food they serve. “Fake” has a negative connotation.



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Jan 24

onohara_jan24“The presidential inauguration was met with protests across the nation.”

Not only presidents, but also other positions can have inaugurations. Also, new policies or programs, or just periods of time, have beginnings that can sometimes be called “inaugurations”.



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Nov 15

onohara_nov15“I don’t support all of her policies, but I voted for her anyway.”

“Support” means “to hold up”. A table is supported by its legs. When you support an idea, it means you think it’s a good idea and should be acted on. When you support a person, you try to help them, or just cheer them on.



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