五月天 諾亞方舟 arriving in Europe September 2013 – UPDATE: rescheduled for February 2014

mayeurope14Image via 五月天 Mayday FB

UPDATE: Official dates and locations for 五月天 諾亞方舟 in Europe have been announced. Tickets go on sale November 08, 2013 for the London concert; November 15, 2013 for the Amsterdam concert; and November 22, 2013 for the Paris concert.
February 21, 2014: Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom, tickets at LiveNation (UK)
February 23, 2014: Le Zénith Paris, Paris, France, tickets at LiveNation (FR), ticketnet (ticketmaster France)
February 26, 2014: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands, tickets at Ticketmaster

mayeuropeImage via 相信音樂 FB

(OLD) UPDATE: The European leg of 五月天 諾亞方舟 Mayday Now-Here tour has been postponed.
The new dates are:
February 21, 2014: London, United Kingdom, O2 Arena
February 23, 2014: Paris, France, Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy

Image via 五月天 Mayday facebook photo

I haven’t had the chance to write an introductory post on 五月天 (Mayday). But news and information about their European tour came out first, and I want to get the word out there.

五月天 is the biggest rock band out of Taiwan. Their shows in Taiwan (if not all of Asia) routinely sell out in one day. Now, they will be bringing their music to Europe! They have performed in Europe before at music festivals and some smaller venues. But, this is their first European tour, and they have booked some impressive venues.

Tickets are on sale now for 五月天 諾亞方舟 Mayday Now-Here at LiveNation. The European tour schedule is as follows:
September 19, 2013: London, United Kingdom, O2 Arena, tickets at LiveNation
September 22, 2013: Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ziggo Dome, tickets at LiveNation
September 24, 2013: Paris, France, Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy, tickets also available through Fnac spectacles
September 26, 2013: Oberhausen, Germany, König-Pilsener-ARENA, tickets also available through EVENTIM

The current tour is based on their latest album (released in 2011) called 第二人生, or “Second Round.” The concept of the album is based on the prophecy that the world would end on December 21, 2012. The songs reflect the ideas about “what would you do if the world ended now,” “would you regret anything in life,” and “life’s too short to wait for something to happen.” I think it’s a great reflection on what people are going through these days in their busy lives. Are you really living? When the album came out, there were two versions, 末日, meaning end of the world, and 重生, meaning rebirth. The songs were the same, but in different order. Here are some music videos from the album:

Don’t worry if you don’t know Mandarin. Turn on captions for lyrics in English or Japanese.

五月天 can also be found on Spotify at their artist page and on iTunes (link to UK store).

Parce que 五月天 sera en Paris le 24 septembre, je voudrais écrire en petit peu en français. Il y a longtemps que j’écris en français. 五月天 (nom anglais Mayday) est un groupe de rock avec cinq musiciens. Ils sont Taïwanais. 阿信 (Ashin) est le chanteur principal, 怪獸 (Monster) et 石頭 (Stone) sont les guitaristes, 瑪莎 (Masa) est le bassiste, et 冠佑 (Ming) est le joueur de tambour. Les chansons de 五月天 sont la langue mandarine et la langue Taïwanais. Ils composent la musique et 阿信 écris les paroles. 五月天 a chansons avec paroles profonde et significative. C’est la poésie avec musique. Les mots et la musique sont une combinaison parfaite. Les guitares et le tambour sont incroyable.

Here’s what I was trying to write in French: Because 五月天 will be in Paris on September 24, I want to write a little in French. I haven’t written in French for a long time. 五月天 (English name Mayday) is a rock band with five musicians. They are Taiwanese. 阿信 (Ashin) is the main vocalist, 怪獸 (Monster) et 石頭 (Stone) are guitarists, 瑪莎 (Masa) is the bassist, and 冠佑 (Ming) is the drummer. The songs of 五月天 are in Mandarin and in Taiwanese. They compose the music and 阿信 writes the lyrics. 五月天 has songs with deep and meaningful lyrics. It is poetry put to music. The words and music are a perfect combination. The guitars and drums are incredible.


Translation: I didn’t think helping 五月天 spread the word about their European tour would result in using three languages. It’s been a long time since I’ve written in French, but using this opportunity to practice is pretty good. 五月天, I’ve helped you spread the word, good luck in Europe!


Foreign education in the U.S.

One thing that I’ve always wondered is the possibility of learning the curriculum of a foreign country in the U.S. This would not be possible in the public school system, but would certainly be possible in some private schools. Are there schools in the U.S. that provide the curriculum of a foreign country?

One distinction that needs to be made is the difference between a foreign education curriculum and a bilingual (or multilingual) school. Although a bilingual school often teaches subjects other than language in dual languages, the school still follows the U.S. curriculum. Another distinction is that the curriculum would not only teach a language. The focus of these classes are only in use of the language, such as reading, writing, and speaking. There is not an emphasis on learning other subjects in the language. These learners are able to take exams meant for foreign learners of the language to assess their levels. They are not expected to achieve native-like level of fluency.

Much more, after the jump.

Boontling, and foreign words in Quebec (link)

I’ve read two interesting language-related articles. The first article is about Boontling, a dialect of English from Boonville, California. Unfortunately, it is slowly disappearing as the younger generation shows no interest in learning it. The other article is about Quebec, where the government has gone a bit far in making sure French is the dominant language. The offending words are foods that have foreign names.

Word of the week #46: firefly

We’re back to the original format for “Word of the Week” posts. Once a week, I explore a word in different languages.

The word for this week is firefly, the little insect that lights up.

Chinese: 螢火蟲 [ㄧㄥˊ ㄏㄨㄛˇ ㄔㄨㄥˊ]
Japanese: 蛍 (ほたる) (hotaru)
Korean: 개똥벌레 (gae ttong beol le)
French: une luciole

Reminder: if you want to learn Chinese characters, visit the blog Learning Traditional Chinese Characters.

In memory of Steve Jobs: the language friendly Mac

I grew up in a Mac and Windows household. We had a pizza box Mac and a PC. I can’t remember why – probably a combination of what was used at school and what was needed at work. Now, I use a PC and have an iPod Touch. I was in shock when I learned the sad news that Steve Jobs had passed away. He was a genius and an innovator. He will be missed.

One thing I want to share is Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. It has lessons everyone can learn at any time in his or her life.

In remembering Steve Jobs, I want to celebrate the beauty of the Mac. I distinctly remember always using the Mac to write my French homework because it had the ability to produce letters with accents regardless of the font. I also remember it was not that difficult – something I just had to remember once and it worked on all the vowels. There was no need to go back after the paper was printed to put in accents with a pen. It was already there. I believe it helped with my use of French because I was able to type in French just as I would write in French. There was no disconnect in the mind. Each letter in every word was typed the way I would have written it. And that’s a sign of a good word processing system: when the emphasis can be on the actual words and not how to format the words.

With the latest generation of Apple products, typing in different languages could not be any easier. The little globe button on the side of the iPod Touch keyboard switches between the different international keyboards. I was so happy to see two different types of keyboards for entering traditional Chinese characters.

The first way of entering Chinese is the handwriting characters. More than half the keyboard is an area to write the character with a finger. A column of suggestions appear on the right. The “123” button is used to access numbers and punctuation.


The second way of typing Chinese is using 注音符號 (zhu yin fu hao). The initial keyboard is smart: it only shows the characters for the starting sounds. To access the characters for the other sounds and the tone markings, hit the shift (arrow) button. Again, the numbers and punctuation can be accessed by the “123” button. After entering the entire 注音, different character choices appear.


The first time I tried these keyboards, I was absolutely elated. The design was elegant and clear. Both keyboards are easy to use. It was so intuitive that the second I started using it, I felt like I had always used it.

Thank you Steve, for introducing us to elegant design and for teaching us to think differently. Your reach extends beyond the physical existence of Apple products. We will continue to be touched by your genius. Rest in peace.