Self Check Quiz
"Japan: Learning at School"
Children of the World: Japan
By Lucy Birmingham
The following passage describes a typical Japanese school and two students, Masayo and Hirofumi.
Masayo and Hirofumi are busy with school and studies. They attend school six days a week, as most school pupils do in Japan. They go from Monday to Saturday, but Saturday is a half day. Pupils wear uniforms in private schools. Hirofumi and Masayo's uniform is a yellow hat. Other schools have more formal uniforms.
School begins each day with an 8:30 A.M. assembly in the playground. Pupils line up class by class and form neat lines according to height. On Monday the headteacher gives a pep talk, encouraging everyone to work hard. On other days the children sing or exercise. They call their headteacher Kondo-sensei. Sensei, which means "teacher," is a term of respect.
Elementary students carry traditional leather book bags – black for boys and red for girls. It's worn on the back like a satchel and is often quite heavy. Students take most of their books and writing materials home with them every day.
There are five lessons of 45 minutes and a sixth lesson for meetings and activities, as well as two rest periods. At midday everyone stops for lunch and a daily cleaning period to tidy up the school.
Hirofumi is in the last year of junior school. He has the same teacher he had last year, Hamana-sensei. Masayo is two years below. Her teacher is Harada-sensei. For special classes, students have other teachers.
This morning Hirofumi's first lesson is music. All pupils learn to play an instrument, usually the recorder. In the second lesson they study the Japanese language. It takes years to learn how to read and write Japanese because it is made of two different alphabets. One, called kanji, has thousands of characters. Each symbolizes an object or idea. The other, called kana, has letters which represent sounds. It is more like the system used to write English.
Today, Hamana-sensei divides everyone into teams. Each team member goes to the blackboard and writes the kanji for a word the teacher calls out. They often look up characters in their dictionaries.
Today in science lesson, Masayo's teacher, Harada-sensei, talks about the reproduction and growth of potatoes. Everyone grows a potato plant to study.
Which day do Japanese students stay at home?
"Leaving South Africa"
The Boy Child is Dying
By Judy Boppell Peace
Over the many years that apartheid existed, people of both races came to have certain expectations of one another. In this story, a new kind of relationship develops between two women, one black and one white.
Too soon our years in South Africa were coming to an end. This had been our place for eight years—our first home together after our marriage, the land of our daughters' birth. We knew it was time to leave, yet we knew we would be leaving much of ourselves behind.
Mrs. Ntonsheni and I avoided the subject, until one day she looked at me. "What can I say to you? You are taking my babies away from me."
"I know," I said. "You are as much a part of their lives as we are. You have given so much of yourself to them and have enriched their lives beyond measure. What can I say to you to ease the pain of their leaving? There is nothing that will make it easy. I don't know how I can leave you myself. We have known one another and worked together for eight years. I don't let myself think of our going."
"Mrs. Peace, we must both think of your going. The time is coming. I will have to work for someone when you leave. My children must eat and go to school. We must think about where I will work. It is better for me to find a new job before I go."
"I have thought of that. I think I can find you a job with one of our friends before we go."
Mrs. Ntonsheni shook her head. "You will not find me a a job with your friends."
"Why not? They all know how responsible you are."
"They also see how I am in your house. They will not want me to behave the same in their houses."
"Mrs. Ntonsheni, you are too cynical. Our friends cannot help but see what a good worker you are. They may have changed their perspective by observing us together."
"I am not cynical, just realistic. You can try to find me a job with one of your friends, but you will fail. Many of them are nice people, but most of them are white South Africans first."
I spent the next few weeks informing friends that Mrs. Ntonsheni needed a job starting the first of July. Some said they would have her if they needed help, which they didn't. A few said they needed help, but wouldn't have her. They preferred having someone they felt comfortable training in the ways of their household. They felt Mrs. Ntonsheni had "too strong a personality" to fit into a different lifestyle. I tried, but I was unable to find Mrs. Ntonsheni a job. I finally accepted defeat, and placed an ad in the local paper. "Responsible black woman wants housework. Excellent references available." With excellent references, it is not hard to find work. Mrs. Ntonsheni soon had the security of a monthly paycheck once we were gone.
What was the author's attitude toward leaving South Africa?
She was excited and happy about leaving.
Leaving had both its good points and bad.
She did not see why she and her family had to leave.
She had no feelings about leaving South Africa.
By Peg Connolly Schwabel
On September 7, 1858, Elizabeth Williams, wife of whaling captain Thomas Williams, began her first day at sea. She wrote, "Now I am in the place that is to be my home, possibly for three or four years…. The little cabin that is to be all my own is quite pretty, but I think it will not all be as pleasant as it is today."
Elizabeth was correct. Whaling voyages were dangerous, and they could be long. It was not unusual for a ship to be away from its homeport for as long as four years.
Mary Russell, of Nantucket, was one of the first women to make a home for herself and her family on an American whaleship. Mary sailed with her husband aboard the ship Hydra in 1817, and the couple's twelve-year-old son, William, served as the ship's cabin boy. Fifty years later, hundreds of women followed in Mary's footsteps.
A whaling captain's wife did not get much luxury at sea. Whaling ships were small and not very graceful. The captain's cabin, with a small sleeping area off to one side, usually contained a sofa and a table and was about 6 ½ to 7 feet high. Most wives were able to find space to put a small parlor organ, sewing equipment, and other small personal items in the cabin. Sometimes, too, room was made for a parrot, or a kitten to provide companionship during long hours at sea. A few toys and games were also taken along for the children.
In 1869, Lucy Smith saw a whale brought alongside of the whaleship Nautilus. Since it was the first time she had seen such an event, she remained on deck all day as the men worked. Later, in her diary, she wrote, "I gladly recall the events of this day." After just two months at sea, Lucy had begun to feel at home on the Nautilus. She had come to care about the people on the ship, and she wanted the journey to be a success just as much as any other officers or crewman on board.
The women sometimes helped make voyages successful. On occasion, they served as nurses and, in an emergency, they were even known to act as a ship's navigator, in place of the captain. Caroline Mayhew did both. In 1846, smallpox struck Caroline's husband and several members of the crew. Caroline worked desperately to save the men. Then, during the time her husband was critically ill, she took over some of his responsibilities and plotted the course of the ship Powhattan. Once the men recovered, they presented her with gifts of ivory.
After long weeks or even months at sea, the sight of another whaler was a cause for celebration. Here was a chance for everyone to enjoy a visit with those onboard another ship and to exchange mail and newspapers from home—a practice whalemen called "gamming."
Carefully, a captain's wife would scan the deck of an approaching whaler. Was it, she would wonder, a "hen ship?" That is, was it a ship that was also carrying a woman? If that were the case, once the whalers were close together, one of the women might be transferred to the deck of the other ship with the help of a "gamming chair." Most of the women were not so delicate and went on and off the ships in the usual way, without the help of a gamming chair.
Because a visit at sea was a special occasion, wives dressed in their finest clothes. On some voyages these gams took place day in and day out for weeks on end and were no cause for any special arrangements. During their visit, wives often talked of their loneliness. Not all of them were happy at sea. Most, though, simply wanted a chance to talk of something other than whaling. They felt as Susan Fisher of the whaleship Cowper did. She wrote about gamming: "It seemed delightful to have someone to talk with."
Women continued to sail aboard American whalers into this century. They returned to America with chests filled with silk and china, and more importantly, some returned with diaries written at sea. These small books, handed down from generation to generation, describe the details of a way of life that is gone forever.
What is Mary Russell well known for?
living in Nantucket
living on a whaleship
serving as a ship's navigator
From "The N.B.A.'s Sister Act" by Steve Wulf, TIME
An hour and a half before the tip-off last Wednesday, the doors of the Charlotte Coliseum swung open, and America came pouring in. Charlotte was about to play New York, and the excitement was as palpable as it would be before any game between the Hornets and the Knicks.
Except this was July, the teams were called the Sting and the Liberty, and the players that the fans were beseeching for autographs were not Ewing and Rice but Lobo and Bullett. One of the hottest items at the souvenir stands was a T-shirt that read
INVENTED BY MAN,
PERFECTED BY WOMAN.
"This is phenomenal," said a woman who drove 65 miles from South Carolina to bring her daughter to the game. "My daughter thinks I'm the best mama in the world." Following the laser lights and loud music required of every N.B.A. pregame show, the announcer thundered, "O.K., Charlotte, We Got Next!"
Welcome to the W.N.B.A., the Women's National Basketball Association, or the N.B.A.'s baby sister. On the court, the sneakers squeak with the same urgency as they do in the N.B.A., the coaches yell, "Why isn't that a foul?" at the refs, and the players get fined for roughhousing—though the $500 recently assessed Nancy Lieberman-Cline of the Phoenix Mercury for holding Jamila Wideman of the Los Angeles Sparks by the neck equals what Dennis Rodman spends in a year for eyeliner.
Backed by the N.B.A., the W.N.B.A. has exceeded all expectations midway through its two-month inaugural season, averaging 8,766 in attendance and occasionally eclipsing Major League Soccer and P.G.A. golf in television ratings. W.N.B.A. games are televised nationally. Viewers watching the N.B.A. playoffs in June were besieged with the W.N.B.A. slogan, "We Got Next." The phrase is commonly used on playgrounds to reserve the next game, but in light of the early success of the league, it takes on a new meaning. "We are building a first-class operation that appeals to fans, players, television, corporate sponsors," says Val Ackerman, W.N.B.A.'s president. "Our dream is to become the fifth major league."
What organization backs the W.N.B.A.?
"Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp"
There once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called Aladdin, a careless, idle boy who would do nothing but play all day long in the streets with little idle boys like himself. This so grieved the father that he died; yet, in spite of his mother's tears and prayers, Aladdin did not mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the streets as usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he was not the son of Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir," replied Aladdin; "but he died a long while ago." On this the stranger, who was a famous African magician, fell on his neck and kissed him, saying: "I am your uncle, and knew you from your likeness to my brother. Go to your mother and tell her I am coming." Aladdin ran home and told his mother of his newly found uncle. "Indeed, child," she said, "your father had a brother, but I always thought he was dead." However, she prepared supper, and bade Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine and fruit. He presently fell down and kissed the place where Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin's mother not to be surprised at not having seen him before, as he had been forty years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin, and asked him his trade, at which the boy hung his head, while his mother burst into tears. On learning that Aladdin was idle and would learn no trade, he offered to take a shop for him and stock it with merchandise. Next day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and took him all over the city, showing him the sights, and brought him home at nightfall to his mother, who was overjoyed to see her son so fine.
Next day the magician led Aladdin into some beautiful gardens a long way outside the city gages. They sat down by a fountain and the magician pulled a cake from his girdle (belt or sash worn around the waist), which he divided between them. They then journeyed onwards till they almost reached the mountains. Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go back, but the magician beguiled him with pleasant stories, and led him on in spite of himself. At last they came to two mountains divided by a narrow valley. "We will go no farther," said the false uncle. "I will show you something wonderful; only do you gather up sticks while I kindle a fire." When it was lit the magician threw on it a powder he had about him, at the same time saying some magical words. The earth trembled a little and opened in front of them, disclosing a square flat stone with a brass ring in the middle to raise it by. Aladdin tried to run away, but the magician caught him and gave him a blow that knocked him down. "What have I done, uncle?" he said piteously; whereupon the magician said more kindly: "Fear nothing, but obey me. Beneath this stone lies a treasure which is to be yours, and no one else may touch it, so you must do exactly as I tell you." At the word treasure Aladdin forgot his fears, and grasped the ring as he was told, saying the names of his father and grandfather. The stone came up quite easily, and some steps appeared. "Go down," said the magician; "at the foot of those steps you will find an open door leading into three large halls. Tuck up your gown and go through them without touching anything, or you will die instantly. These halls lead to a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk on till you come to a niche in a terrace where stands a lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it to me." He drew a ring from his finger and gave it to Aladdin, bidding him to prosper.
Aladdin found everything as the magician had said, gathered some fruit off the trees, and, having got the lamp, arrived at the mouth of the cave. The magician cried out in a great hurry: "Make haste and give me the lamp." This Aladdin refused to do until he was out of the cave. The magician flew into a terrible passion, and throwing some more powder onto the fire, he said something, and the stone rolled back into its place.
The magician left Persia forever, which plainly showed that he was no uncle of Aladdin's, but a cunning magician, who had read in his magic books of a wonderful lamp, which would make him the most powerful man in the world. Though he alone knew where to find it, he could only receive it from the hand of another. He had picked out the foolish Aladdin for this purpose, intending to get the lamp and kill him afterwards.
For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and lamenting. At last he clasped his hands in prayer, and in doing so rubbed the ring, which the magician had forgotten to take from him. Immediately an enormous and frightful genie rose out of the earth, saying: "What wouldst thou with me? I am the Slave of the Ring, and will obey thee in all things." Aladdin fearlessly replied: "Deliver me from this place!" whereupon the earth opened, and he found himself outside. As soon as his eyes could bear the light he went home, but fainted on the threshold. When he came to himself he told his mother what had passed, and showed her the lamp and the fruits he had gathered in the garden, which were in reality precious stones. He then asked for some food. "Alas! Child," she said, "I have nothing in the house, but I have spun a little cotton and will go and sell it." Aladdin bade her keep her cotton, for he would sell the lamp instead. As it was very dirty she began to rub it, that it might fetch a higher price. Instantly a hideous genie appeared, and asked what she would have. She fainted away, but Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly: "Fetch me something to eat!" The genie returned with a silver bowl, twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver cups, and two bottles of wine. Aladdin's mother, when she came to herself, said, "Whence comes this splendid feast?" "Ask not, but eat," replied Aladdin. So they sat at breakfast till it was dinnertime, and Aladdin told his mother about the lamp. She begged him to sell it, and have nothing to do with devils. "No," said Aladdin, "since chance hath made us aware of its virtues, we will use it, and the ring likewise, which I shall always wear on my finger."
When they had eaten all the genie had brought, Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on until none were left. He then had recourse to (turned to for help) the genie, who gave him another set of plates, and thus they lived for many years.
What did the magician offer to do for Aladdin?
Open a store for him and supply the merchandise
Teach him to be a tailor just as his father had been
Take him as a magician's apprentice
Supply him with wine and fruit
"Living in an Igloo: Snow Villages"
By Charlotte and David Yue
Eskimos lived a roaming life, but they followed a pattern in their movements. Groups had places to which they returned every year and formed settlements for larger, cooperative hunting ventures. People got together to socialize and trade and for ceremonies and dances. For the Central Eskimos, summer settlements were groups of tents; winter villages were clusters of snow huts.
In winter villages, connected igloos were sometimes built to be shared by several families. These would have two or more snowhouses, storage rooms, and a dog shelter, all with one common exit. People could go from house to house and room to room without going outside. Large igloos housing more than one family often had two platforms. These could connect with smaller houses in one snow block.
There was often a large dance house in the village that served as a meeting place for singing dancing, feasting, and ceremonies. Sometimes two large connected snowhouses were built with platforms, one for men and one for women. Dances were performed under the arch joining the two houses. In some areas the festivals or dances were held in one large igloo. This usually had no platform; men stood on one side and women on the other. The lamp was on a block of snow in the middle. Several family dwellings might be built around the large meeting chamber.
Many of the activities in the dance house were held for the enjoyment of socializing with friends. People got together for informal singing, dancing, contests, and fun. Sometimes dancers wore comic masks and held contests, trying to make each other laugh. A storyteller would promise to tell a story no one had ever heard to the end and stretch the tale out until his audience had fallen asleep.
The dance house was also a place for artistic performances. Eskimos lived in an environment where life was a constant struggle to meet basic needs, but art was one of those needs. Creating beautiful tools, utensils, and clothing was important. Their music, dancing, singing, and storytelling also filled a creative need. Some of the dances had fixed motions that were rehearsed and carefully performed. Other songs and dances were made up without preparation for a particular occasion. The stories and legends spun by storytellers to fill the endless winter nights formed the oral tradition passed on from generation to generation. A good story or song eventually spread from one village to another throughout the Arctic.
The plan of a settlement varied every time it was built. When families rebuilt igloos at another site or when they reassembled the next season, they built houses that were as simple or as elaborate as they needed at that particular time.
Why did Eskimos connect their igloos?
The structures were stronger
There was a shortage of ice
To keep predators away
To be shared by several families
"The Ozone Layer"
The sun is our source of life. However, along with heat and light, the sun gives off some rays that can damage living things. These harmful rays, called ultraviolet or UV radiation, can cause sunburn and even skin cancer. They weaken the immune systems of people and animals, increasing the chances that they will become sick. They cause plants to stop making new seeds.
Ozone is a thin layer of gas in the Earth's atmosphere that shields us from most of the harmful rays of the sun. Scientists have known since the 1970s that there was sometimes a hole in the layer of ozone that covers the earth. The hole in the ozone layer appeared over Antarctica for a short time each year and then closed up. By the mid-1980s scientists learned that the hole was growing. Through tests and experiments, they showed that chemical compounds called chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) were causing the problem in the ozone layer. CFCs rise up to the stratosphere through evaporation. There, the strong UV rays of the sun cause the CFCs to change into ozone-eating particles.
In the 1980s, CFCs were used to cool the air in air conditioners and refrigerators. They were used in plastic foam boxes for food products. CFCs were also used in aerosol cans containing these products: hairsprays, deodorants, cleaning liquids, and shaving creams.
In 1990 officials from ninety-three countries met in Canada and agreed to stop making and using many of these damaging chemicals. Some people started using pump sprays rather than aerosols and refused to buy foam packaging made with CFCs. Scientists continue to search for substitute chemicals that can do the jobs that CFCs have done in the past. For example, aerosol cans in the United States now use other chemicals, not CFCs, to cause products to spray from the can. Many countries have laws about making or using CFCs. By working together, scientists, governments, manufacturers, and consumers can protect the ozone layer.
Why are ultraviolet rays dangerous?
They disrupt radio communications.
They cause sunspots.
They can cause sunburn and skin cancer.
They melt asphalt.
"Two Inches Above the Television Screen"
Life in an Eskimo Village
By Gail B. Stewart
"They Laugh at Us"
Although Eskimos were left alone longer than native people to the south, the outside world eventually crept in. And as more and more outsiders came to the Far North, they saw that the Arctic was not as barren and useless as most people had believed. The Eskimos' lands were a valuable source of great wealth—at first from whaling ships, then from fur traders, and more recently from traffickers in gold and oil.
Life in Eskimo villages has drastically changed with increased contact from outsiders, especially in the past fifty years—and some maintain that the change has been for the better. Technology never before available to the Eskimo people is now commonplace in northern villages. Powerful motorboats have largely replaced the traditional kayaks and umiaks, the precisely engineered, skincovered boats used for hunting. It's much more common to see a sleek, modern snowmobile than a team of sled dogs outside the home of an Eskimo hunter. Modern medicine can cure Eskimo children of diseases that only a few generations ago would have killed them. Once a culture that was on the move, following the migratory patterns of the animals on which they depended, the Eskimos now live in permanent villages. Famine and mass starvation are a thing of the past.
But many feel that Eskimos in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic lost more than they gained by their new relationship with the outside world. Few hunt to feed their families; instead, people rely on canned and frozen food from the village grocery stores. As a result, many of the skills that used to be handed down from generation to generation are being lost. Alcoholism is epidemic; the use of drugs like cocaine and crack is growing among the young people. And the stories and songs of the elders are taking a backseat to video games.
Many Eskimos worry about the future of their culture. Exposure via television to the material culture of the United States and Canada has made many young Eskimos embarrassed and ashamed of their lifestyle. "The world thinks we live in snow igloos and chew cold whale meat or something," says an Inuit teen. "They laugh at us. Those kids [in Canada and the United States] don't think we're like them at all, but we are."
Many young Inuit agree. It's hard, they say, for those who live outside their world to understand them. And how could they, wonders one Inuit girl, when the Eskimo world is so remote that it is almost invisible to outsiders? The world map used to show weather patterns and world events doesn't even show the Arctic homeland of the Real People. "I live in those two inches above the television screen," this perceptive teenager laughs. "I live in the two inches of Canada that you can't see."
Advances in what area have lowered the mortality rate of Eskimo children?
By Jean Craighead George
Julie of the Wolves
Miyax, an Eskimo girl, is lost in the Artic, and is seeking the help of a wolf to survive.
"Amaroq, ilaya, wolf, my friend," she finally called. "Look at me. Look at me."
She spoke half in Eskimo and half in English, as if the instincts of her father and the science of the agussaks, the white-faced, might evoke some magical combination that would help her get her message through to the wolf.
Amaroq glanced at his paw and slowly turned his head her way without lifting his eyes. He licked his shoulder. A few matted hairs sprang apart and twinkled individually. Then his eyes sped to each of the three adult wolves that made up his pack and finally to the five pups who were sleeping in a fuzzy mass near the den entrance. The great wolf's eyes softened at the sight of the little wolves, then quickly hardened into brittle yellow jewels as he scanned the flat tundra.
Not a tree grew anywhere to break the monotony of the gold-green plain, for the soils of the tundra are permanently frozen. Only moss, grass, lichens, and a few hardy flowers take root in the thin upper layer that thaws briefly in summer. Nor do many species of animals live in this rigorous land, but those creatures that do dwell here exist in bountiful numbers. Amaroq watched a large cloud of Lapland longspurs wheel up in the sky, then alight in the grasses. Swarms of crane flies, one of the few insects that can survive the cold, darkened the tips of the mosses. Birds wheeled, turned, and called. Thousands sprang up from the ground like leaves in a wind.
What would the word ilaya most likely mean?
look at me
"Clay Marbles" from
The Clay Marble
By Minfong Ho
In 1975, the Communist Khmer Rouge party of Cambodia took over the country. The Khmer Rouge regime killed over one million Cambodian people. When Vietnamese troops invaded, thousands of Cambodian fled the country, and many ended up in refugee camps on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. After seeing the refugee children on television, Minfong Ho left the United States and returned to her homeland of Thailand in 1980. There, she worked in a refugee camp along the Thai-Cambodian border.
I remember my first day at the Border. There are not words to describe the intensity of suffering I saw there. The sickness, the starvation, the sheer silence of this vast sea of people overwhelmed me. I wanted to shut my eyes, turn around, and go back home.
Then, I felt a small hand on my arm. Looking up at me was a ragged little girl. She held one palm out to offer me a small round ball of mud. I took it, then impulsively bent down and scooped up some mud from a nearby puddle, and rolled my own clay marble. When she saw that I was offering her this marble in exchange for the one she had given me, her face broke out into a beautiful wide smile.
Within minutes, children were crowding around to show me their homemade toys – clay marbles and buffaloes, rag dolls, fish made from strips of banana leaves, trucks created out of tin cans. The intricacy of the toys was wonderful, but it was nothing compared to the radiance of those children's laughter.
I saw the refugees for what they really were: not the victims of war but its victors. They were the people who had, against all odds, survived, determined to start their lives again.
I don't know what happened to the little girl who gave me that clay marble. Maybe she went home to Cambodia with a fresh supply of rice and rice seed and tools, to try to make a new life for herself and her family. Or maybe she stayed on the Border, one of a quarter-million other refugees still living in camps there.
Whatever she did, life could not have been easy for her. Today, Cambodia is still at war with itself, despite many attempts to come to a peaceful settlement.
The other evening, as I was strolling along the Mekong River just eighty miles upstream from Cambodia, I saw a group of children playing on the riverbank. They were rolling marbles out of the damp clay, and I stopped and asked for one. Smiling, they put a clay marble, still cool and damp, in my outstretched hand.
I have it on my desk. And although I have long since lost the other marble, I can hold this one, and look at the green rice plants swaying outside my open window here, and hope with all my heart that the little girl who gave me that first clay marble is safe and happy, home in Cambodia.
Where was the author's homeland?