Jan 27


Mice are probably the most famous rodents. Rats are a lot like mice but bigger. Another rodent that makes a good pet is a hamster. The biggest rodent is the capybara. All rodents have long front teeth and must gnaw or chew on things to wear them down.

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Dec 09


Did you know that spiders are not insects? Insects have six legs, and spiders have eight. Spiders, along with scorpions and mites, are arachnids. They don’t have antennae, which insects do. They also don’t have wings. The word “arachnid” comes from the Greek myth of Arachne, who turned into a spider.

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Nov 11


The English name for the chrysanthemum comes from Greek for “gold” and “flower”. Chrysanthemums originally come from China, where they were grown as early as the 15th century BC. They came to Japan in the 8th century (Nara period), but didn’t arrive in America until 1798. In Australia, white chrysanthemums are used to celebrate Mother’s Day.

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Sep 30


Most bees would rather leave you alone than sting you. The honeybee has an especially good reason not to want to sting anyone. Other bees and wasps have smooth stingers, but a honeybee’s stinger is barbed, and gets stuck in the person or animal it stung. After the bee stings, some of its organs stay behind with the stinger, and the bee soon dies.

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Aug 19


Bees are important insects that pollinate flowers, and some make honey. Bees usually don’t want to sting, because they will die after stinging. Wasps are similar, yellow-and-black insects that can sting, but they can sting more than once. Wasps can pollinate, but their main benefit is eating other insects. Bees are fat and hairy, while wasps are slim and smooth. A wasp’s legs hang down in flight. The biggest wasp in the world is the Asian giant hornet.

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Jul 01



Hermit crabs are known for living in the discarded shells of other animals. They trade their shells for bigger ones as they grow. Sometimes they fight over the best shells. Sometimes they use other objects when no good shells are available. They have ten legs, but only six are used for walking. The others are inside the shell.

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Jun 03


Many cats have stripes, but only a few kinds of cats have spots! The Egyptian Mau is a very old breed. They are small, slim, short-haired cats, and very fast. Their voices are said to be very beautiful. Sometimes you can see a scarab beetle in the markings on a Mau’s forehead.

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Apr 15



An auto-antonym is a word that is its own opposite. “Auto” means “self” (an autobiography is a book you write about yourself; an automobile is something that moves itself), and “antonym” means “opposite”.




One example of an auto-antonym is “oversight”. It means watching over work to make sure it is done correctly, but it also means failing to see something (overlooking it). Another is “clip”, which means both “attach” (if you clip papers together) or “cut” (for example, when cutting hair).

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Mar 25

uehonmachi_mar25“I told him it was for school, but he saw straight through me.” 「学校の宿題だと言ったが、彼にはお見通しだった。」

誰かが「sees straight through you」とは、嘘をついていること、企んでいることが全部バレバレだという意味です。考えていることがすべてお見通しだというわけです。

If someone “sees straight through you”, they know if you are telling a lie or planning something secret. All your thoughts are visible to them.

“He was looking straight through me. It was creepy.” 「こちらを見ているのに私が見えていないという感じで不気味だった。」

「Look straight through you」の場合は、顔がこちらを向いているのに目が自分に向けられていないということです。まるで自分が透明で相手が後ろの何かを見ているように感じるかもしれません。相手がこちらを向いているのに自分を見ているわけではないときにこうなることがあります。例えば、考え事をしているときなど。

If someone “looks straight through you”, they are facing you but their eyes are unfocused, as if they are looking at something behind you. This sometimes happens when someone is looking toward you but not actually paying attention, perhaps because they are lost in thought.

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Feb 25


The fastest land animal in the world is the cheetah. Cheetahs can accelerate to 96 km/h in 3 seconds. But they can only run for about half a minute. They cannot roar like lions, but they can purr like housecats. They can’t retract their claws or climb trees like other cats.

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