Browsing Tag: language

    Traveling Iran Tehran City Middle East Azadi Square Road View 2019
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    Traveling Iran Tehran City Middle East Azadi Square Road View 2019

    November 27, 2019


    I am traveling in Iran in this video, Tehran City road view at Azadi Square. Tehran is the capital of Iran. its population is over 9 million. Tehran is also the biggest city in Iran, and it is the cultural, economic and political center of Iran. Its major language is Persian. It is rated as one of the world’s polluted cities. Freedom Tower was built in 1971. Iran is a very safe place and very cheap to travel and live.

    China train journey: 2,000km from Shanghai to Chengdu, interviews & pandas!
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    China train journey: 2,000km from Shanghai to Chengdu, interviews & pandas!

    October 20, 2019


    Welcome to Nanjing! This was the first stop on my 2,000km train journey, starting from Shanghai and ending up in Chengdu. A few days after this, I started the longest leg of the trip of a 16 hour train ride from Wuhan to Chongqing. The best part of this trip was using my OK Chinese to make some really cool new friends, even though they spoke no English. Check it out! Do you travel by train every week? Every week? No, we are traveling for work. We are on a trip, a business trip, for a meeting. We went to Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province for the meeting. They traveled to attend a friend’s wedding. We traveled to attend our friend’s wedding taking place yesterday. We left home for Wuhan. And today we are traveling back from Wuhan to Jianshi County of Hubei Province. It is adjacent to Chongqing and it is a place of beautiful scenery. Just now you said you didn’t know any other foreigners while traveling by train. Right. Am I the first? You are the first that I’ve sat in a carriage with. You are the first that I’ve talked or chatted like this with. We are very happy to have such close communication with you. In fact, I could have just fallen asleep, but I don’t want to. I want to seize this opportunity and have a nice chat. Before we have chatted with foreigners, “laowai” as we call them, but this is the first time ever that I’ve talked like this on a train. You foreign people don’t like to be called as “laowai”. Just now they called you “xiongdi” which sounds affectionate. It’s as if you were their own brother or sibling, so they called you “xiongdi”. However, when we Chinese people meet a foreigner, we usually use the term “laowai”, Then, I got the camera out of their faces so we could speak more naturally. What are you doing? I’ve already paid for it. It doesn’t matter. But are you sure? Sure, I’m sure. He’s treating you to bananas. OK. Thank you. What blood type are you, A, B, or O? Blood type. I get it. I’m type O. People of type O blood should fall asleep very easily. I’m type O, too, universal blood donor. But now I have a different job. I’m a travel writer. I hope that you will write about this trip and us as your friends. What’s your name? My name is Benny. I don’t have a Chinese name. Betty. Benny. We may understand it in our own way and see him as a person with “benling”, which means he’s very good, impressive and capable. Benling. Yes, that works! Hehe. So it’s Betty. No. Betty is a female name. Your name is the best among us all. “Benling”. Most capable, “Benling”. OK, I see. It’s easy to remember and understand. So after they had given me my official Chinese name, we went to the train restaurant to eat together, and I ordered a simple, but tasty tomato fried egg meal. It was a really long trip, but to be honest, since I was chatting most of the time, it actually flew by! To pass a few hours of the evening train journey, since she was very curious about my story, I let my new friend Lihui read a copy of my book, The Language Hacking Guide. The two dozen translations of it include Chinese of course! After she had read it for several hours, I asked her for opinion. I find that some of your ways of language learning are very helpful. You say that learners should improve their efficiency in a scientific way and work hard, and you also offer some specific ways of learning which I find impressive. One way that I like the best is that the learner should give up using their mother tongue while picking up a new language. Communicating with the natives in the spoken language including using slang is particularly effective in improving language competence. This is what I like the best. What’s more, the second opinion about being persistent is also useful. Without persistence, you’ll achieve nothing. We used to envy others and say, “Wow, he’s so good at foreign languages. He’s a great language learner.” But the truth is, we are too lazy to make the effort ourselves. If people do try hard and find an efficient way of learning, they can all succeed, right? Right, yes. Thanks! Yeah so… this is me, ready to go to sleep. I had a great time with the people I was sharing the room with. They are going to be replaced with somebody else at the moment. It’s 11 o’clock at night, and I’m ready to turn in. We are from Enshi of Hubei Province, you know? People from Enshi speak relatively good Mandarin. I’m from Chongqing and I can’t speak Mandarin very well. I’m a Sichuan girl. It’s alright. I’ve been living in another place for a year and I often speak Mandarin, which is why I speak better Mandarin than you. Besides, we need to speak Mandarin at work. OK. Here’s the stop. After 16 hours, I had finally reached Chongqing! I took a taxi ride to my stopover room, and we picked up someone on the way to work who I chatted with for some advice of things to do in this city. Is the night view here beautiful? Yes, very beautiful. There’s a particular place for night view here called One-tree Viewing Stand. He can’t understand. I can understand. You can understand me, right? You can go there at night by taxi at around 8 or 9 p.m. There you will see an amazing night view. I find it even more beautiful than that in Hong Kong. I have seen Hong Kong night view before. Ah, thanks for your advice! Next, it was time for the last train to Chengdu. Up to now, I had been buying the ticket for the following trip in advance, and since I was stopping in Chengdu a whole week, I thought it was plenty of time ahead to buy a ticket to Xi’an, to continue this train adventure a further 800km, and meet some people in the hard-sleeper carriage this time. But after getting in line an entire hour and a half, this is what I finally heard at the ticket stand! 386, yes. There’s no ticket left for No. 386. Oh there isn’t… And it turned out that the whole of next week was booked out except for standing room, since I was travelling around a holiday. I didn’t fancy standing for 17 hours, so sadly, I had to buy a flight to Xian, and board the last train on this entirely by-land part of my journey. This train was just a two hour trip, most of it travelling really fast! But I was lucky enough to make a new friend here too! Liu Zhe. Liu Zhe. Right. OK. So we are going to Chengdu now. Chengdu, yeah. What will you do in Chengdu? I’m a university student in Chengdu. I go to school there. Which place in China do you think I should go visit? Are you asking me for advice? Yes. I think China is a great country. First, I have never been abroad, but I’m very glad that this friend has been visiting our country China. I hope you will visit Yunnan and check out some minority groups there. There are 56 ethnic groups living together in China, most of which are minorities. So we Chinese people are made up of a huge group. I hope you will visit Yunnan because it is the place where most minorities gather, so you can experience their ethnic cultures. I also hope that your friends will visit China, too. You are all welcome here! OK. Great advice. Thank you! OK. So, bye bye. Bye bye. Liu Zhe and I actually hung out while I was in Chengdu and chatted for several hours, and will be keeping in touch and meeting up again some day for sure. While it was great to meet so many interesting people on the trains, the last thing I did before continuing the second half of my China trip was to meet some interesting Pandas of course! In case you were wondering, the Chinese word for panda is Xiongmao, which literally means “bear-cat”, which I think is appropriate as they are bears that seem to lounge around like cats! Chengdu is host to a famous Panda Sanctuary, and you can get pretty close to quite a lot of them and see families together, watch them eat bamboo, and even see them play around with one another. Getting to know China has been great so far and I look forward to all the upcoming interesting experiences and cool people I still have yet to meet, but I’ll certainly never forget this first train-based part of my trip! Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for more updates soon!

    Learn  Shapes and Carve Pumpkins with Shawn the Train! πŸŽƒ
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    Learn Shapes and Carve Pumpkins with Shawn the Train! πŸŽƒ

    October 14, 2019


    Hi, I am Shawn.
    I want to teach you different shapes. Then we can carve Halloween pumpkins with those shapes. Let’s see what shapes we have: SQUARE, CIRCLE, TRIANGLE,
    RECTANGLE, OVAL, RHOMBUS, OCTAGON Now it’s time to carve pumpkins with those shapes. Let’s carve a robot pumpkin. We need two SQUARES for the eyes. One OCTAGON for the nose and one RECTANGLE for the mouth. Good job! Now let’s carve a cartoon pumpkin. We need two OVALS for the eyes. One CIRCLE for the nose. and a HALF-CIRCLE for the mouth. Well done! And now let’s carve a Halloween pumpkin. We need two TRIANGLES for the eyes. One RHOMBUS for the nose. A HALF-CIRCLE for the mouth. And three SQUARES for the teeth. Thank you! Now we are ready for Halloween! Ah! Oh!

    The Legend of the Haunted Railroad Tracks in San Antonio, Texas!
    Articles, Blog

    The Legend of the Haunted Railroad Tracks in San Antonio, Texas!

    August 13, 2019


    In this area, it has a legend haunted story! In 1940s or earlier, There was a school bus carrying around 10 kids to the school. The engine was broken down while the bus was on the railroad! A bus driver was puzzled and tried to figure out a way to solve the engine issue. Apparently, a bus driver didn’t realize the bus was on the railroad. Then, he saw a train coming and it was too late to save kids or himself. The train crashed the school bus and everybody were killed. So what’s happening next now? Now, I’m getting a baking soda. What is this for? We’ll take a car on the railroad, then we will wait and it will eventually move. Maybe a car was being pushed by kids who were killed in the train crash. You might see kids’ handprints on those baking soda. Maybe they’re trying to save us from getting killed. You see the sign says no stop on the railroad, which means they know people do come here to confirm the experience. Now, I’m taking my car on the railroad. Justin will set a camera tripod to capture the entire action. I’m here to make sure that we’re not getting hit by a train. It’s what terrified me the utmost right now. I have that imagination what if it will hit us or not. You funny. I know you’re doing it. I’m parking here. We’re giving it a try again. Now it’s moving backward. I have to admit it’s the ideal spot for feeling tension or terrifying a bit. We were nervous about cars driving through us. I think it’s moving on its own. I didn’t do anything lol. Let’s check the baking soda. What! It’s true! We did several tests. Some did move on its own. We just had to see if there are any kid hands. And hands are right there! The total is 10 hands. I think it’s more than just ten hands. (Joking: not true about hands) (There are two cars testing the railroad now. I just learned that there is 2 inches horizontal off. When you park on the railroad, it will stay a while but it will move later. Why? It has a steep a bit. Once it’s moved, then everybody immediately assumed it is pushed by kids!

    The (mostly) true story of hobo graffiti
    Articles, Blog

    The (mostly) true story of hobo graffiti

    August 11, 2019


    It ranges from elaborate murals … to crude scribbles on bathroom walls. Leaving your name, or “tag,” on things
    that aren’t yours is an age-old practice in bragging rights – just to say, “I was
    here.” And the more intricate the tag or more challenging
    the spot, the better. But, this story isn’t about the type of
    tag you’ve probably seen. It’s about this one. The tag of the hobo. “Hobos,” or “tramps,” were workers
    and wanderers that once roamed the countryside by illegally hopping freight trains. Peak Hobodom in America began in the 1890s,
    continued through the 1930s, and usually coincided with periods of financial crisis and mass
    unemployment. Around the same time, the expansion of the
    railroad opened up new work opportunities in the West. This kind of classic late 19th century hobo
    was someone who kind of navigated between jobs and not having jobs. You know, a lot of these jobs are temporary,
    like seasonal agricultural work, or you know, “Thanks for building the bridge, now get
    out of here.” I’m Bill Daniel, I’m a photographer – I
    work in film, photo, and tall tales. By 1911, the number of hobos in America was
    estimated at 700,000. Being on the road wasn’t easy. Hobos were unwelcome in many towns and were
    constantly chased by both local police and private railroad police. And despite their reputation for being bums,
    100 years ago, a skilled hobo was called a “professional,” or, “profesh.” So a profesh is someone who’s, like, good
    at what they do, they’re able to not get caught by the law, and you know, leave the
    camp clean for the next guy. And maybe most importantly, they didn’t
    draw attention to wherever hobos were. A profesh, you know, does not blow up the
    spot. Hobos were constantly on the move, but they
    found a way to communicate with each other — through graffiti. Search “hobo graffiti” online, and you’ll
    find these mysterious icons that hobos supposedly used as a sort of coded graphic language. Symbols that they would scratch or draw onto
    houses and fence posts to let fellow wanderers know things like “kind lady lives here,”
    “there are thieves about,” or “good place for a handout.” Stories surrounding these signs have been
    circulating for a long time. Tramps have a sort of touch-and-go code. This sign, for instance, means “no good.” They show up in the original hobo literature,
    too. Like in the books of Leon Ray Livingston,
    also known as A-No. 1, once the world’s most famous hobo. In the early 20th century, A-No. 1 published
    several books about hobo life and lore, and included symbols like these. And news articles at the time even claim to
    decode the “secret hobo language.” This St. Louis Star article from 1921 even
    includes illustrations of how the signs were supposedly being used. The problem is, all this information came
    from hobos, a group that took pride in their elusiveness and embellished storytelling. The truth is, there really isn’t any evidence
    that these signs were as widely used as the literature suggests. It’s hard for us to know what the facts
    were because I think hobos used their mythology as kind of a cover. And so the tall tales, and the drawings, and
    even the books by A-No. 1 were ways to project an image of themselves that both kind of,
    like, blew them up, but also kind of kept them hidden. Hobo graffiti was actually rooted in a graphic
    representation of their road persona, called a “moniker.” Any hobo has a moniker that rides the rails. And different monikers fit different ’bos. Monikers usually said something about the
    person. Where they were from. A physical trait. If they were young or old. How hobos used their monikers sort of falls
    into two camps: leaving their tag on boxcars moving across the country, and something Bill
    calls “tramp writing.” Early original tramp writing has to do with
    addressing the issues of mobility and travel – announcing your place and direction and
    where you are. The original graffiti included arrows and
    letters indicating which direction that hobo was heading next. Sort of like a hobo tracker. Tramps are generally making these marks on
    water tanks or stationary things, you know, where they were camped out. So it worked as kind of a personal telegraph. You know, like, “I’m here, is anybody
    around?” Tinder for tramps. And it wasn’t long before the drawings moved
    from stationary objects like water tanks to railcars. I think there was just an evolution, kind
    of like what happened in New York, with, like, “Oh I can write on my street corner, but
    if I write on this train, boom it’s going everywhere.” And hobos weren’t the only ones doing this
    kind of graffiti. Rail workers, stuck in the same trainyard
    for years, marked passing boxcars with monikers of their own. I started doing it October of ‘68. A lot of them guys would go on vacation, and
    they’d say, “Well I seen one of your damn drawings in Canada, or Mexico, or California,
    you know? I thought well, I’ll never get there, might
    as well send something. Monikers aren’t used for communication anymore,
    but they do still exist in freight graffiti. And it’s kind of come to mean specifically
    this type of drawing. You know, usually oil stick or chalk-based
    drawing that’s usually an identity proclamation, usually a sketch, a lot of times a self portrait. “Moniker” just kind of is the perfect
    word to describe this type of art writing. At its core, all graffiti is a messaging system,
    even if the message is as simple as “I was here.” Tramp writing, you know, tramp marking, has
    that in common with graffiti that it has a little bit to do with making a connection
    with somebody in a really remote place, even when they’re not there. Just this ability to say, like, “Whoa, you
    got here too.”