Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays!

With people from around the world living in New York, we don't say "Merry Christmas" very often any more. You can never know whether someone celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa!

Nonetheless, even with the crisis this year, the streets of New York are full of holiday scenes: shopping (for smaller gifts), christmas trees (a bit shorter this year), and chorus groups signing on the street.

I wish you all happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Which means:


I am driving to Boston, about 300km away. But Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest driving days of the year. It could take 5 hours to get there!

Thanksgiving recalls the first harvest by the Pilgrams in North America. The native Indians had taught the Pilgrams how to survive the brutal winters and to thank them the organized a big feast at the end of the harvest season. 

According to legend, turkey was served. However, wild turkey is a very difficult bird to hunt and I read today that they more likely ate goose and duck.

Well, I'm not hunting so I hope there is turkey this year!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Game are available!


If you have watched the development of yappr over the last few months, you might have noticed a link up top that said "games (coming soon)". It was there a LONG time! So long I eventually removed it.

We have finally launched games at yappr! Click on the "play" link and you can try your hand at Bank Robber and Twist List, and hopefully learn a few new words in the process.

I play a few times a day, so see whether you can beat my scores!

The Markets

Living here in New York there is a lot of focus on Wall Street. And these last few months have been quite scary!

The US government is facing a very difficult decision about whether to offer any support to the US  car manufacturers. If they don't, one or more of them will likely fail. If they do, US taxpayers will probably be forced to give money to these companies for many years, and they will likely fail anyway.

Today the US Congress told the car companies to prepare a better argument about why the US taxpayer should support them, and the stock market fell upon hearing that news.

I don't think the bad news is over!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Relief!

The Presidential election is finally finished!!

They have been campaigning for more than 2 years, so it is a great relief to have it over. Now we have 2 years without discussions about the next presidential election; then it will start over again.

People were driving around the streets of NY honking their horns as the results were announced. It sounded like the Yankees had won the World Series of baseball, or Italy had won the World Cup of soccer!

Now Obama has a lot of work ahead of him!

What did people say about the election in your country?


(We have lots of clips of the election coverage at!)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Today is Halloween here in the United States. Kids dress up in costumes and visit neighbors collecting candy. The tradition was brought to the US by Irish and Scottish immigrants, but has spread to other countries as well. Read more on Wikipedia.

Of course, the scariest costume this year would be the stock market!

Happy Halloween to all!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

US Elections

In less than two weeks, the US will select a new president.

Right now it looks like the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, has an advantage over the Republican John McCain. But the campaigning isn't over yet, and things could change.

If you want to follow the election as it is being covered in the US, click here. We have many examples of both news coverage and of the candidates speeches!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Help Check Translations!

Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago we released the ability for anyone in the community to translate videos. My goal was to increase the number of videos on yappr. I still had each translation checked to make sure it was of high quality. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't keep up with all of the videos that everybody worked on! We kept getting further behind in publishing your translations.

So last Wednesday we updated to allow yapprs to check the translations.

So please help out by checking these translations. Each video needs three people (in addition to the person that originally translated the video) to check the translation before it gets published. If you're the third checker, the video becomes immediately available to the entire community with that translation!

Let's get as many videos out to the yappr community as possible!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to Blogging

Hello yapprs!

I was very busy over the summer and haven't had the time to keep up with the blog. I apologize!

We have added many new people to the yappr team, and we are all working to bring new features to as quickly as possible.

More Videos!

One of the directions we are focused on is getting more videos onto yappr. As you have probably noticed, I have asked for your help in both selecting the videos and in translating them. With today's new release of software, the process is getting a little smoother.

Starting today, allows the community to review translations and approve them for release to the main portion of the I don't want to release translations that aren't high quality, but when I was having them reviewed internally I couldn't keep up with the number of videos yapprs are translating!

So if you click on one of the links below you will see a list of videos that have been translated by members of the yappr community. Before a video will appear on the front page, three other yapprs must approve the translation. Please take care in reviewing a translation so that can remain a high-quality language learning tool.

US Elections

One of the biggest topics of conversation in the United States right now is the upcoming Presidential election. I know from living in Japan and Italy that many people abroad follow our elections, and most have their own opinion about who should win! I am always asked about how the candidates are seen by Americans, so I thought I would include an election video a day until the campaings are done. Click on the Election category to see them!

Coming Soon

We are working on some additional types of video that people have been asking for, as well as some features everyone has been asking for.  We'll be telling you about them here as they become available. And if you have any other requests for features, please let me know by writing here.

I'll keep blogging, and will get some of the new members of the team to tell you about what they are working on as well. See you soon on yappr!

chief yappr

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Car Show - Smart Car

This car was quite popular in Italy during the time I lived there. It is easy to park and gets great mileage.


Where the economy is going (by

John Williams, a consultant economist, forecasts where the US economy is going.


James Blunt - You're Beautiful

Blunt said of this song, "It's kind of miserable. It was about seeing my ex-girlfriend on the Underground in London with her new man, who I didn't know existed. She and I caught eyes and lived a lifetime in that moment, but didn't do anything about it and haven't seen each other since."


Saturday, April 5, 2008

P. Diddy, Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You

"I'll Be Missing You" is a song and hit single recorded by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, in memory of fellow Bad Boy Records artist Notorious B.I.G., who was murdered on March 9, 1997.


Jimmy Kimmel explains what Miss South Carolina said

One of our top videos shows Miss South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA competition. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel analyzes her answer.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Talk Talk commercial

A British TV commercial in which people form different figures. It's awesome!!!


Jeep Liberty "Rock me gently" Commercial

Introducing the all new Jeep Liberty.


Friday, March 28, 2008

CNN - Serbs protest in London

With shouts of ''Kosovo is Serbia,'' British Serbs protest in London on Saturday. CNN's Owen Thomas reports.


2008 Oscar Funny Moments

Funny Moments during the 2008 Oscar award ceremony.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Should I keep my mustache?

OK, yapprs!

My wife doesn't like my new mustache. She wants me to shave it off.

What do you think?

Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean 2

Johnny Depp is a three-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, best known for his frequent portrayals of offbeat and eccentric characters such as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.


Greenpeace Angry Kid Video

This is a shocking video attempting to make people to wake up and realize the crimes they commit against their own future, their children's future.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

U2 - One

"One" is widely considered to be one of the band's greatest songs. "One" has many debated meanings. At its most basic level the song is about two people who love each other, yet cause each other great pain. In an interview on "All That You Can't Leave Behind", Bono said on writing the lyrics for One: "I had a lot of things going on in my head at the time, about forgiveness, about father and son angst."


BBC News 24 error, interview job applicant

On May 8th 2006 BBC News 24's Karen Bowerman interviewed Guy Kewney, a respected IT expert. Only it wasn't Guy Kewney. They interviewed a job applicant live on air instead! His expression when he realises their mistake is priceless!

2006年5月8日に、BBCニュース24のカレン・バウワーマンが、業界で一目置かれているITエキスパートのガイ・キューニーにインタビューしました。ただ、その人はキューニー氏本人ではなかったのです。本人にインタビューする代わりに、BBCは、求職者にインタビューしそれをライブで放映しました! BBCの間違いに気が付いたときの男性の表情には千金の値打ちがあります!

Friday, March 21, 2008

CNN - Millenium Seed Bank

CNN's Becky Anderson visits an underground seed bank in England that is connected the "Doomsday Seed Vault" in Norway.

CNN - ミレニアム・シード・バンク

NHL Hits of the Week

Football isn't the only violent American sport!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Bud Light at the wine and cheese party

How to sneak Bud Light into a wine and cheese party.


Sandra Bullock on David Letterman Show

Sandra talking about Jesse James (look at her reaction when David is making the question). She came to fame in the 1990s and has since established a career as a well-known Hollywood leading actress, with comedy hit "Miss Congeniality" and one of her most recent film roles, in 2004's "Crash", receiving critical acclaim.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

FedEx 2008 Super Bowl Ad

I could never figure out how kings planned their military campaigns with carrier pigeons that might fall prey to falcons and other problems. I guess they just sent enough of them to be reasonably sure one would arrive. Now we just use FedEx!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

This Grammy-nominated song became the top airplay song in over 10 countries including Canada, the UK, Japan (later, the band re-recorded "Kiss Me" with Japanese lyrics), Australia, and Israel.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Car Show - Exotic Rides

Expensive cars! However, I couldn't get my kids into them.

高価な車! でも、私は子供たちをこのような外車に乗せることはできませんでした。

Dropped calls announcing marriage

It is easy to get married in Las Vegas, where you can get married in about 15 minutes (actually, I think it may be more difficult now than it used to be). Many people go to Vegas to elope.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sheryl Crow - Run, Baby, Run

Run Baby Run is a 1995 single by Sheryl Crow from the album Tuesday Night Music Club.


WWF - Born to Wrestle

A funny commercial for the professional wrestling league.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Dropped call with your girlfriend

An unnerving silence after that question!

途切れる電話 彼女との会話


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Miss South Carolina Explains Herself

After that embarrassing discussion of maps and helping around the world, Miss South Carolina tries to explain herself.


James Blunt - Same Mistake

This video uses an unusual filming technique, where the camera is attached to a frame worn on Blunt's upper torso and is focused on his face throught the entire video.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jewel - Hands

This song is from Jewel's second album, Spirit. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 4 million copies in the U.S.


Apple Get a Mac Ad: Choose a Vista

There are six or seven versions of Windows available, but Steve Jobs always emphasizes Apple only sells one version of Mac OS.

Windowsでは6つか7つのバージョンを市場に出していますが、アップルではスティーブ・ジョブスの方針により、Mac OSの1つのバージョンしか販売していません。

Sorry I haven't posted!

On my return from Tokyo I lost my PC and my passport. I spent the next two weeks recovering all my data from backups.

New features are available on Yappr, so come by and check them out!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'll try most food, but this...

I look for the strangest item on the menu and order it when I am traveling abroad. The other day I had a frog dish.

This evening I was in a small alleyway of stalls in beijing (right behind the modern mall; a little like quincy market in Boston) with lots of food stalls. Many had shish-ka-bobs of various types. Chicken, beef, squid. While you would have difficulty finding them in the US, they aren't too strange.

Then I looked closer at the selection: starfish perch un-geometrically on the skewer, and sea horses proudly there. Then I noticed what looked like cocoons. Sure enough, silk worm cocoons as large as the last knuckle of my thumb. Next to them were beetles of the same size. I didn't take a picture because it felt too much like uncouth gawking nat having purchased and eaten some. But walking back out of this alleyway I found something I had to photograph: scorpion shish-ka-bob.

No, I didn't eat it to assuage my feelings of voyerism. I just clicked and ran.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the menu.jpg

Here is the menu: just point at the squirming fish.
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Dinner choices

The problem with traveling alone is that I can't try enough food. The menu at tonight's restaurant includes duck tongue, fish balls (probably not testicles), and many other strange dishes not available in your local US chinese restaurant. And the acquarium behind me ha writhing eels, flounder, shrimp...

But I can't order enough to try all these things. It is hard to eat "chinese style" (which in my family meant sharing dishes at a restaurant) when eating alone.
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Medical tourism

A few months ago I lost a lens from my glasses and, at $500 for a pair of glasses (between frames and lenses), I've been using my contacts ever since.

I stopped in an optical store to purchase contact lens solution and I find that frames run $25 to $35. Finally, a reasonable price for a couple of pieces of wire. With lenses I'll have my new glasses for $80.

Ok, now I am out of the store and it cost me a bit more, but only because my perscription is just a bit too strong for normal lenses. This isn't jus a line from the chinese salesman; this happens to me for every set of glasses or contacts I get. $115 total, still a good deal.

We'll see on Friday whether I'm really satisfied, but the equipment was the same as every other optician I've ever been to.
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Here comes the sun

I have arrived in Beijing to the first sun of my trip. Shanghai was socked in with fog and rare snow that is paralyzing much of China.

I can't say much about Beijing yet as I am just arriving from the airport. The road are great shape, unlike New York!

Shanghai was great. From the modern buildings, to excellent electronic and physical infrastructure, to shopping and nightlife, Shanghai appears very livable.

Ok, I just hit the first sign of traffic here in Beijing...

At least it is sunny!
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Sunday, January 27, 2008


The streets of Tokyo are more crowded.
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Fireworks in Shanghai

There seem to be fireworks tonight in Shanghai. Anyone know why?
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( I can't post as a comment from blackberry so they are separate posts)

Lots of electric scooters and mopeds in Shanghai
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Ok, so I made the affirmation that there are only subtle differences between the physical cities of Shanghai and Tokyo. "What are they?" you may challenge. I'll list some I see; everyone else add some.

Shanghai's streets are wider

1920 european architecture near the Bund

Beijing 2008 signs occasionally

still more bikes on the street

More imported car brands
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I am traveling! Now in Shanghai.

Hello all!

You may have guessed from my recent posts; I am on the road.

I was in India last week, visiting Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Delhi. It was my first time in India, in spite of living in Asia for years.

Today it is snowing in Shanghai, a rare event, they tell me. I am taking a break from visiting the city to warm up.

I arrived in Shanghai yesterday. I was last here in 1989, so the city has changed! I find it almost indistinguishable from Tokyo. Sure, I speak and read Japanese so I can figure it out at the first storefront, but the qualitative differences are subtle and someone less familiar may take a few minutes to figure out which country it is were he to suddenly appear in the middle of the city.

I must say I didn't expect such a large development gap between today's India and China. They are so often grouped together as the emerging powerhouses. I only visited the large cities of India, but they have decades of development to catch up to Shanghai. But every Indian with whom I met is working hard to get his country there.

I think my hotel here is now one of my favorite in the world. Beautifully designed room. I have been telling my Italian friends, who are very proud of their country's slick design sense, that they should watch out for designers from China, and this hotel confirms that.

An interesting tidbit: my hotel in Mumbai cost almost 3 times the nicer hotel in Shanghai. A friend in Mumbai who works in a leading hotel put that in perspective. He tells me there are 110,000 hotel rooms in New York City and only 90,000 in all of India. That explains the prices.

I am finding intermittent connectivity problems from shanghai to our site and I want to assure you that we are working on that.

Later this week I will be in Beijing and then next week I visit Tokyo. An interesting and fun trip! but I also miss my kids.

I am writing from my Blackberry, so forgive any typos. I also can't post this in Japanese for the same reason. Other posts I have made while I was walking around are shorter simply because my hands are cold.

See you soon back on yappr,

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-----Original Message-----

Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 06:38:49
To:"Ginevra Dell`Orto" <>,"BJ Greenspan" <>,"Jose Suarez" <>
Subject: lunch.jpg

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not lunch.jpg

Not lunch!
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Changing retail in India

To get a feel for consumerism, this is Reebok store with US$ 200 shoes.

My friend Rohan says rent for 400 sq ft retail shop is now US$ 3000 / month or $7.5/sqft/month or 90 per year, like Greenwich Ave.

75 percent of customers in Reebok right now look Indian.

Indian wisdom

Here is some wisdom I've seen on the streets of Mumbai:

Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression.

Better to make a slip of the foot than of the tongue.

Which is more profitable this quarter?

Which is more profitable this quarter the store on the left or the right?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Horror movies

This commercial refers to famous horror movies such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" from the 1980s. Bud Light is attractive enough for the guy to ignore the obvious signs of homicidal maniacs!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Beatles - Yesterday

According to biographers, McCartney composed the entire melody of Yesterday in a dream one night in his room at the home of his then girlfriend and her family. Upon waking, he hurried to a piano, turned on a tape recorder, and played the tune to avoid letting it slip into the recesses of his mind.

作家によると、マッカートニーは、ある夜、当時のガールフレンドの自宅の一室で寝ていた時に見た夢の中でYesterdayのメロディーを思いついたとい う。目覚めと共に、彼はピアノへ向かい、テープレコーダーをオンにし、メロディーを忘れる前にピアノをひいて録音したという。

Monday, January 14, 2008

Republican Debate: Abortion - 共和党討論 中絶について

The legal status of abortion has been an important topic for the Republican party. Some oppose it because they believe it is unconstitutional, others oppose it for religious reasons.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Paris Hilton and David Letterman

David Letterman interviews Paris Hilton just after she gets out of jail. It looks like the two of them aren't good friends!


Monday, January 7, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Healthcare

Tomorrow the New Hampshire primaries are taking place, and they have become extremely important to Hillary Clinton. People are already talking about her withdrawal. In this clip she speaks about America's healthcare system.


Billy Joel's New York State of Mind

Billy Joel was born in Hicksville, NY on Long Island. This song is from his 1976 album Turnstiles.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Former Mayor Giuliani and Health Care

Mayor Giuliani did not do very well in the Iowa Caucus on January 3rd, so he will have to do very well in New Hampshire to remain a candidate.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Tom Cruise and Flying

I will think twice if Tom Cruise ever asks me to fly with him!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Drunk driving in the US

If you are going to visit the US, remember that American police treat drunken driving very seriously. This policewoman is determined to not let this guy back on the road!