Friday, May 23, 2014

Children's NHK News

Many people have a trusted new outlet.  The Times of any given nation, Huffington Post, Slate, the Onion.  I often enjoy listening to PRI and find the 10 minute news updates in English from NHK to be very concise and informative.  But recently, if I'm going to read the news, I try to do it at NHK's children's new source.  Here there is a video of the news story, as well as an easy-reader version with simplified kanji, and an option to listen to the written story read by a gentle if not electronic women's voice.  There is also a link to the adult written news version of the story.  All of these provide great resources for practicing and learning grammar, kanji and new vocabulary.  And I also slowly find out about important things going on in the world.  Pipelines between China and Russia, maritime problems in Vietnam's seas.

But because this is often my first news outlet and because I often must run a great deal of it through google translate, slowly deciphering the sentences word by word, shocking world events often hit me in slow motion.  Today's news of the coup d'etat in Thailand, took about 5 minutes for me to read and understand the headline.  And then to sit wondering if I had taken the information in correctly.  I still wonder.  The rest of the world is such a story.  Even when we read it in our native language do we really understand what is happening, what it means?  The electronic woman reading it to me in Japanese never seems the least bit concerned.  A string of mysterious characters to translate into reason. Somewhere between the lines is the meaning, somewhere there is a way to make sense of the world.

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