2015 USA

Posted: 2015 年 08 月 19 日 in Backpacking

Time: 20150701~20150728

Cities: San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia

Expenditure: 100000 NTD 


 San Francisco

  1. 聯合廣場:The Heart紅心, Maiden Lane仕女巷, Powell St. Cable Turntable叮噹車總站
  2. 貴族山:Grace Cathedral慈恩堂, Cable Car Museum叮噹車博物館
  3. 市政中心:Civic Hall市政廳, SF Public Library舊金山總圖書館, United Nations Plaza聯合國廣場
  4. 下城區:Cartoon Art Museum卡通藝術博物館, Yerba Buena Gardens芳草地花園, SFMOMA舊金山現代美術館
  5. 漁人碼頭:Alcatraz Island惡魔島, Pier 39海獅碼頭, Musee Mecanique機械博物館, USS Pampanito潛水艇, SS Jeremiah O’Brien戰艦, Ghirardelli Square巧克力廣場
  6. 濱海區:Golden Gate Bridge金門大橋(Vista Point/Baker Beach/Lands Ends/Marine Headlands/Fort Point), Legion of Honor榮譽廳, The Walt Disney Family Museum華特迪士尼博物館, Palace of Fine Arts藝術宮
  7. 中國城:Chinatown Gate中國牌坊, Old St. Mary’s Cathedral聖瑪麗古教堂, Portsmouth Square花園角廣場, Tien Hou Temple天后宮
  8. 金融區:TransAmerica Pyramid環美金字塔, SF Railway Museum舊金山鐵路博物館, Ferry Building渡輪大廈, Justin Herman Plaza赫曼廣場
  9. 北灘電報山:Lombard St. 九曲花街, Peter & Paul Catholic Church天主教教堂, Washington Square Park華盛頓廣場, Sentinel Building黑手黨大廈, Coit Tower科伊特塔, Filbert Boulevard費爾伯梯
  10. 嬉皮區:Red Victorian Bed, Breakfast & Art紅色維多利亞旅館, Six Sisters六姐妹維多利亞屋, Golden Gate Park金門公園
  11. 卡斯楚與教會區:Harvey Milk Plaza Harvey Milk廣場, Harvey’s哈維爾餐廳, Castro Theatre卡斯楚戲院, Twin Peaks Tavern雙峰酒吧, Precita Eyes Mural Arts壁畫藝術(Balmy Alley巴米巷, Clarion Alley克來爾巷, Women’s Building仕女大樓)

Las Vegas

  1. Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA)百靈宮藝廊
  2. Hot Rod City Car Museum 車子博物館
  3. Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix 郊區遊樂園
  4. Madame Tussauds Las Vegas Wax Museum 蠟像館
  5. Stratosphere Tower Observation Deck 觀景台
  6. Big Bus Tour 巴士導覽
  7. Hotels along the Strip 沿線酒店
  8. South Rim of Grand Canyon大峽谷南緣

New York

  1. 中城區:Time Square 時代廣場, Empire State Building帝國大廈, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)紐約現代美術館, The NY Public Library紐約圖書館, Chrysler Building克萊斯勒大樓, Grand Central Terminal中央車站, Patrick’s Cathedral聖派屈克教堂, Rockfeller Center洛克菲勒中心
  2. 上西城:Columbus Circle 哥倫布圓環, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Dakota Apartment達科塔公寓, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine聖約翰大教堂, Columbia University哥倫比亞大學
  3. 上東城:Church of the Heavenly Rest天堂長眠教堂, The Jewish Museum猶太人博物館, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral東正教教堂, Temple Emanu-El猶太教堂
  4. 中央公園:Central Park中央公園, The Metropolitan Museum of Art大都會博物館, American Museum of Natural History自然歷史博物館
  5. 中城區:Carnegie Hall卡內基音樂廳, The UN聯合國, St. Thomas Church聖湯瑪士教堂
  6. 西村/格林威治/東村:Stonewall Place石牆廣場, Jefferson Market Library傑佛遜圖書館, Washington Square Park華盛頓廣場, NYU紐約大學, The 8th第八街, Christopher Park克里斯多福公園, Carrie’s Home凱莉的家
  7. 中國城/小義大利:Canal St., Mulberry St., Doyers St.(Bloody Angle), Mott St.
  8. 雀爾喜區:Union Square聯合廣場, Strand書店, Flatiron Building熨斗大樓, Madison Square Park麥迪遜廣場公園, The High Line空中鐵道花園
  9. 下曼哈頓/金融區:Statue of Liberty自由女神, Battery Park炮台公園, Charging Bull銅牛雕像, Bowling Green滾球草地, Wall St.華爾街, Federal Hall聯邦國家紀念堂, NY Stock Exchange紐約證券交易所, Trinity Church聖三一教堂, Paul’s Chapel聖保羅禮拜堂, 911Memorial & Museum世貿紀念碑, South St. Seaport南街海港, 8 Spruce St.雲杉街八號, City Hall市政廳
  10. 布魯克林區:Brooklyn Bridge布魯克林大橋, Brooklyn Height Promenade布魯克林濱海步道, Flea Market@Williamsburgh跳蚤市場
  11. 哈林區:125 St. Harlem哈林125街鬧區
  12. 歌劇:The Phantome of the Opera @ Majestic Theater歌劇魅影, Les Mesirables @ Imperial Theater悲慘世界


  1. 下城十字區:Public Garden公眾花園, Boston Common波士頓公園, The Holocaust Memorial大屠殺紀念碑, Quincy Market昆西市場, Hay Market乾草市場, Union Oyster House全美最老餐廳
  2. 郊區賽林:Salem Heritage Trail賽林歷史步道, Salem Witch Museum女巫博物館, Salem Dungeon Museum女巫地牢博物館, Friendship友誼號帆船, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie美國最老糖果屋, The House of Seven Gables七尖角閣之屋
  3. 後灣區:John Hancock Tower漢考克大樓, Trinity Church聖三一教堂, Boston Public Library波士頓市立圖書館, Prudential Skywalk Observatory普天壽大樓觀景台, Christian Science Plaza基督教科學廣場, Mapporium @ Mary Baker Eddy Library彩繪玻璃地球儀, Fenway Park波士頓紅襪芬威球場
  4. 南角區:SoWa Open Market夏日戶外市集
  5. 比肯丘區:Acorn St.橡子街
  6. 劍橋區:Harvard University哈佛大學, MIT麻州理工學院
  7. 觀光步道:Freedom Trail www.thefreedomtrail.org 美國獨立自由步道, Black Heritage Trail www.nps.gov 黑人人權步道
  8. 美食表演:Boston Cream Pie@Omni Parker House 波士頓派, Twin Lobster@ Mount Vernon波士頓龍蝦, Blue Man Group @ Charles Playhouse藍人劇團, Summer Festival @ Boston Common夏日慶典

Washington D.C.

  1. 中國城與賓恩區:Spy Museum間諜博物館, Chinatown中國城
  2. 阿靈頓區:Arlington National Cemetery阿靈頓國家公園, Arlington House李將軍宅邸, Kennedy Graveyard甘迺迪墓園, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier無名烈士墓, Iwo Jima Memorial硫磺島紀念碑
  3. 國家大草坪區:Washington Monument華盛頓紀念碑, WWII Veterans Memorial二戰紀念廣場, Lincoln Memorial林肯紀念堂, Reflection Pool鏡池, Korean War Veterans Memorial韓戰紀念碑, Vietnam Veterans Memorial越戰紀念碑, Thomas Jefferson Memorial傑佛遜紀念堂, Bureau of Engraving & Printing印鈔廠, White House白宮
  4. 國會山莊區:Union Station聯合車站, Capitol Hill國會山莊, Supreme Court最高法院, Library of Congress國會圖書館, National Archives 國家檔案館
  5. 聯邦三角:Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI聯邦調查局, Ford’s Theater& Peterson House福特戲院
  6. Smithsonian Institution史密斯森尼城堡館: Smithsonian Air & Space Museum國立航太博物館, National Museum of Natural History國立自然歷史博物館, Holocaust Memorial Museum猶太大屠殺紀念館


  1. 舊市區:Liberty Bell Center自由鐘, Independence Hall獨立廳, Elfreth Alley艾爾佛雷斯古巷, City Hall & Tower市政廳, The US Mints鑄幣廠, Reading Terminal Market瑞丁車站市集, LOVE Park愛公園, Benjamin Franklin’s court and post office 富蘭克林故地, Betsy Ross House 羅斯故居, Penn’s Landing賓恩登陸處, Benjamin Franklin Bridge富蘭克林大橋
  2. 市區:The Mutter Museum馬特博物館, Edgar Allan Poe’s Cellar愛倫坡故居
  3. 郊區:Amish Culture @ Lancaster County蘭卡斯特郡阿米許文化

I. Alien Invasion (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

I. Alien invasion:

This activity comes from “Digital Debris,” which embodies language teaching, locative media, games and technology in ELT. The activity is actually named “INVADER” with an aim to infiltrate  a human community, and collect anthoropological reconnaissance data for the imminent full-scale invasion. Well goes the warning: “Do not, at any cost, alert the humans to your actions.”

Practically, teachers may apply this GPS-based game to your speaking-training course. If you are not familiar with locative media or have problem dealing with technology, just skip the GPS mapping task, get your students find a place to shoot a film. They will find a way out by themselves.

This game works wonders for students to practice describing objects or scenes. In this case, teachers may teach them a set of adjectives before the game so as to boost their performance. Somehow, this game arouses students’ creativity and intrinsic motivation, which goes a long way toward successful language learning.

Website of INVADER with a sample video.


Step-by-step instruction


Alien Invasion I (瓊儀/榆方/佳家/婉琳/絜茵/珮彣@TCGS)

Alien Invasion II. (育慈/幸檥/芳瑀/潔儀/彥淇/妤婷@TCGS)


II. Lip Sync (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

II. Lip sync:

By definition, lip-sync is to move the lips silently in synchronization with a pre-recorded soundtrack. Practically speaking, it can be adapted into a creative speaking activity. In this way, learners may not only memorize the lyrics pretty well but also get themselves fully involved in the scenario created by the song itself.

1. Play the lip-sync sample video to motivate students and explain how lip-sync works.

2. Group students in twos and ask them to choose a song of their own.

3. Video the performance and upload it to a teaching platform.

4. Vote for the most entertaining videos and ask the winners to perform in person.

If students are too shy to do lip-sync, teachers may ask them either to pick an easier/slower song or focus on doing lip-sync and facial expressions. Students can grade one another in terms of lip-sync correctness, facial expressions, body languages, creativity, popularity, etc. In this case, low-achievers may have an incredible performance that makes teachers’ chins hit the floor. Hopefully, low-achievers’ motivation is highly-enhanced as a result. For advanced levels, English teachers can work with IT teachers to engage students in collaborative teaching and learning.

Sample lip-sync videos:


Lip sync–Mix (依霖/潔/思瑩/雅文/語庭/依廷@TCGS)


Lip sync–2012popdanthology (宜蓁/翊儒/亭誼/子函/子耘/季佳@TCGS)


III. MV Shooting (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

III. MV shooting:

For most students, reading is a boring task because all they need to do is just “read.” Therefore, efficient teachers often mix the reading task into interactive activities. In my case, MV shooting is a way out.

To make an impressive music video, students have to fully understand the lyrics and the context of the song. Therefore, not only do they “read” carefully but also “think” logically because they have to arrange the events of their MV. Apart from the verbal part, they also learn non-verbally from facial expressions, body languages like postures or gestures, and so on. The best part of theMV shooting is the FUN.

For students of different levels, the target song can be as easy as a birthday song or as challenging as a piece of rap music. Leave it to your students. Have faith in them.

By the way, movie trailer shooting can be another choice. It works the same as MV shooting.

Self-made MV–Bad day (羽莛/滌華/維妮/昀頡/培瑜/礎安@TCGS)


Self-made MV–The man who can’t be moved (悅芳/珉/佳樺/佩柔/宛儒/郁儒@TCGS)

IV. Singing (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

IV. Singing:

Few people hate singing. Even the worst singers can sing a song because singing itself is fun.

Practically, students may have a hard time memorizing reading texts of a book, but they find it much easier to recite lyrics of songs. Therefore, incorporating singing into language learning is an effective strategy, particularly for underachievers. Specifically, teachers can start from easier songs to build their confidence until they are ready for the challenging ones. For advanced students, personally I would love to encourage them to sing faster songs, songs with extensive vocabularies, or even a piece of rap music.

Through singing, students not only learn some new words and repeated grammatical patterns, but also imitate the singer’s way of singing and speaking, which may help themselves to sound more native. Besides, as students listen to the songs, they do listening training unconsciously, too. Most importantly, they have fun because singing is interesting and the learning process is painless.

In my class, I often introduce two songs to advanced students.

1. The Mom Song


2. It wasn’t me (Be careful when introducing this song because of its “mature” lyrics, though the song is great for practicing diverse accents.)


Singing–Where is the love (凱琳/曼欣/沛儀/怡君/芝羽/采倪@TCGS)


Singing–Just a dream (玟瑾/昕儒/之綺/可微/語晴/函@TCGS)

Asia’s animal zodiac: 1. Introduction

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Asia’s Animal Zodiac (The Asia Magazine; January 31, 1982)

Written by Robin Dannhorn; edited by Ben

The Asian zodiac, based on the lunar calendar and a cycle of twelve years, rather than the Western system of twelve monthly signs within each fixed calendar year, presents a rich combination of astrology, folklore, legend, and Oriental mysticism.

No one seems to know how, where or when the Asian zodiac system, using six wild and six domesticated animals, originated. Ancient Chinese ritual carvings of the Shang Period (商朝, 18-12th century B.C.) grouped some of the animals together but the custom of associating the years with specific animals certainly was well established in China by the Tang Dynasty (唐朝, 7-10th century A.D.).

The Chinese always have been fascinated by the relationship between numbers and the secrets of the universe, from the fundamental yin and yang, representing the positive and negative forces in everything. They believe in the four seasons and four directions of the universe; the five elements and five cycles of twelve years which make up the sixty years considered as a man’s normal life span.

The Chinese calendar depends on the moon, rather than the Roman system based on the sun. Under the Chinese system, the sixty-year cycle is created by the interrelationship of the Ten Heavenly Stems and the Twelve Earthly Branches (十天干與十二地支), producing in a complete revolution, the Cycle of Cathay (甲子). Within the complexity of a Chinese horoscope, all these elements must be considered, but the most important single factor is the animal sign of the individual for this lands him, or her, with certain basic characteristics, advantages (and faults) of personality which are taken very seriously indeed in such questions as choosing a marriage or business, partner.

Legend has it that as he lay dying, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to bid them farewell and to leave them final gifts. Twelve animals turned up. In order of arrival at this side, these were the rat, ox (or buffalo), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The Buddha gave them all immortality by naming a year after each of them in the order in which they had arrived. Legend also tells us why certain other animals are not included in the cycle. The cat, for instance, was believed to be too independent, according to one story, preferring to sleep rather than go to the Buddha. However, there are some Asian zodiacs, as in Vietnam, for instance, where the cat is used as a sign in place of the rabbit.

Whatever the origins of the whole arrangement, it is studied with great care and seriousness throughout Asia, but particularly by the Chinese who are, perhaps, more concerned by horoscopes, fortune-telling and the like, than any other people in the world. Any Asian knows the sign for his birth year, its characteristics and the ways in which his main personality features are likely to fit in with the other animal signs. Westerners might scoff at the system, but it is amazing how accurate these traits of character can be for the individual.

The good and bad features of every animal sign can be modified by such factors as the five different elements (五行) under which they were born—metal, wood, water, fire, earth. An earth tiger will, for instance, be quite different to a water tiger, but there are certain basic characteristics which may be identified within each of the twelve signs.

Note that as the lunar calendar usually starts between January 20 and February 29, one has to know the exact date of Chinese New Year for one’s particular birth sign.


Asia’s animal zodiac: 2. Rat & Ox

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Rat People (1924-1936-1948-1960-1972-1984-1996-2008-2020)

People born in a rat year show conflicting characteristics. Outwardly, appearing generous, cheerful and hardworking; inside they can be greedy and unscrupulous. A rat person born at night will tend to be the more adventurous than if born during the day. Rats hate routine and want to succeed at all costs. They are profit conscious and prepared to take advantage of others, especially in business. They also can appear aggressive, small minded or mean and are often grumblers and gossips.

On the good side, they are extremely charming and attractive, hardworking, thrifty and honest. These characteristics cause the rat to be greatly admired by the Chinese. People born under the rat sign are not usually good scholars, but are often creative. They make good writers, critics or consultants. They are generally individualistic rather than organization-minded, although they are socially gregarious. As lovers, they are seductive, sentimental and generous. The rat women like to be married, but can combine this successfully with a career. They are, however, worriers and hoarders and also tend to attract men weaker than themselves.

In marriage, the rat person tends to show both good and bad features more openly than in business. Rats should seek marriage with a dragon, for its strength; an ox, for its security, or a monkey, by whom the rat will be charmed. The independent-minded horse should be avoided at all costs.

Among well-known rat people are Richard Nixon, Marion Brando, Mata Hari, Lucrezia Borgia, Mozart, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Jules Verne and Charlotte Bronte.

Ox or Buffalo People (1925-1937-1949-1961-1973-1985-1997-2009-2021)

The buffalo is the central character in many Asian legends and inspires confidence due to his basic stability and peace-loving sense of industry. Ox people are mentally and physically strong and alert, hardworking, patient and quiet, yet eloquent. They are loners, but tend to make good, reliable leaders or executives. They strive towards material success through hard work rather than brilliance, but they can be creative or good orators. A bad point of ox-people is their tendency to be stubborn, slow, and sometimes mean, jealous or vindictive. They are often lacking in charm and are not passionate. It takes a lot to rouse them, but they can be hot tempered when wild, and are then likely to act foolishly.

In the house, a buffalo man is family and security loving, but authoritarian towards wife and children. Buffalo women are at best in the home, where they are good managers and have a strong sense of duty. They are strong-willed, and usually unromantic and need security around them. In love, the ideal partner for a buffalo person is the charming rat, flashy, but conservative rooster, or the snake. In business, they work well with the ambitious rat, but should keep clear of tigers or dragons. Worst partnerships, whether social or business, are with the superior-minded horse or capricious goat personalities.

Napoleon and Hitler were both ox year people, as were J. S. Bach and actors Charlie Chaplin, Vivien Leigh, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Jane Fonda and Jack Nicholson.