Min's Berlitzine (Nov. 2016)
by Min Son
What is 11.11?
It started as a fun party organized by a group of students at a university in China. They may have come from different hometowns, they may have been majoring in different fields, they may have had different outlooks on life, but they had one thing in common; they were all singles. They designated November 11th as the day for singles. They came together and simply had fun. That was in 1993.
Since then, it has spread to other universities in China and abroad. Now, also known as Singles' Day, November 11th is a $14.3 billion day (¥1.5 trillion) according to Reuters. That figure is just from online shopping, and it has already surpassed the annual average spending on Valentine's Day in USA according to Marketresearch.com. Many expect the Singles' Day market to grow at a rate of minimum 30%. By 2020, the figure will surpass the spending on Christmas Day. I wonder if the original group of students who started it all knew they were creating a whole new culture, setting off an enormous trend, bringing changes on a global scale. As some say, "Big things have small beginnings."
 having similar interest, qualities
 decided, assigned, appointed, named
Introduction III: "Turbulent Flight"
When I started writing this newsletter back in April of 2014, I was based at Yokohama Berlitz Language Center (LC). I'm proud to say I have not stopped writing. Fujisawa would be my third LC after Mizonokuchi LC and this would be my third introduction that I'm making in my newsletter, Berlitzine. Can you guess how the name came about? It was actually made by a colleague of mine at Yokohama LC. A hint is it's a combination of two words. Berlitz and................ Please check the footnotes (bottom of the page) for the answer.
November is a special month for me in Japan. Exactly 3 years ago from November 7th, I set my foot on the ground of Narita Airport at around 19:45 according to my itinerary provided by Malaysia Airlines.
Before leaving for Japan, a couple of good friends and I drove to Portland, USA, from Vancouver, Canada. We had never been to Portland and we thought it would be a good farewell trip for me. Also, I had found a cheap connecting flight to Tokyo from Portland. So I was basically killing two birds with one stone. In case you are wondering how cheap, it was a one way ticket with a layover in LA (Portland -> LA -> Tokyo) and the total price was exactly $502.20 USD.
I will never forget the flight from LA to Tokyo. I have flown over the vast Pacific Ocean several times in my life. However, that particular flight is still burned into my memory. I usually have trouble sleeping during flights or when I'm travelling in general. Maybe, I get too excited or I'm sensitive to noise. I couldn't sleep much on that flight, either, but for a different reason.
It didn't take long before I started asking myself, "What if...?" About a few hours after the departure, I felt a vibration on the plane. The vibration turned into a tremble, the tremble turned into a shake, and as I feared in the back of my mind, the shake turned into turbulence.
Well, it occurs time to time during a flight and I couldn't be bothered  at first. My attention was on the movie that was playing on the screen in front of me. Then suddenly, the movie was interrupted by the fasten-your-seatbelt announcement. I was more irritated than scared, but that also quickly changed. I paused my movie some minutes after the announcement. I noticed the turbulence had gotten worse. Since I noticed the first vibration, more than 30 minutes must have passed. 'Why isn't the turbulence stopping?' I asked myself. 'Why is it only getting worse?' I thought to myself. I wanted to remain cool. I couldn't be appeared as a coward especially when I was sitting next to a girl who was about the same age as me. It was a two-seater side. I was sitting by the aisle. She was sitting by the window. I pretended nothing was wrong and I turned the movie back on. To this day, I don't remember what movie it was. My eyes were on the screen, but my mind was overloading with questions arose from uncertainty. One of the questions was how the girl next to me was handling the situation. So I glanced at her screen. The screen was on, but nothing was playing. So I turned my head to take a look at her.
To be continued...
 Berlitz + magazine = Berlitzine
 made, produced, generated
 a planned route or journey, schedule, timetable
 solving two problems at one time with a single action
 A period of rest or waiting
 very big, large, huge, enormous
 can be clearly remembered
 violent or aggressive movement or shake
 couldn't pay attention, be unwilling to do something
 annoyed, angry
 a person without courage, weak like a baby
 Behave, act, show
 thinking of questions because I didn't know what was happening
You can read more of Min's Berlitzine and older issues at WWW.minsberlitzine.DOODLEKIT.COM
In this newsletter, I have used several examples of "Past Modals", for example "They may have come from different hometowns, they may have been majoring in different fields, they may have had different outlooks on life" and "Since I noticed the first vibration, more than 30 minutes must have passed." We use past modals to speculate on past events. Here are some examples:
May have / Might have = something possibly happened (but we aren't sure if it did)
"They may have left early because of the holiday traffic." (= Maybe they left early…)
"They might have taken the train." (= Maybe they took the train.)
The negative form is "might not have":
"He might not have received the message." (= Maybe he didn't receive the message.)
Could have = something was possible in theory
"He could have become a doctor." (= He had the ability to become a doctor, but he didn't.)
The negative form is "couldn't have":
"He couldn't have seen you – it was too dark."
Can't have = something was not logically possible
"She can't have passed the exam – she didn't study at all!"
Must have = we are sure about something
"You must have known that we had a test today – the teacher sent us all a message."
Should have = something was a good idea (but didn't happen)
"You should have told me about the sale. I could have got some new shoes at a discount!"
Would have = something happened (or didn't happen) in the past as a result of something else
"If he had called me, I would have gone to the party."
Now, you try. Complete the sentences using the correct Past Modal. Check your answers at the bottom of the page.
1. If you wanted to stay in that hotel you __ booked before!
1. If you wanted to stay in that hotel you should have booked before!
Do you have a knack for learning English?
Min's Berlitzine (Dec. 2016)