2012/3/4 didgeridooさんのご指摘で一部修正(having your linens change→changed)しました。ありがとうございますm(__)m。
S: In our current vignette, we take a look at the efforts made by business hotels to charm weary travelers. Susan, you often travel for work. Have you noticed any improvements in hotel services?
I: I do travel fairly often for work, though my schedule isn’t nearly as tough as Ron Walker’s was. I’d say I’m away from home five to seven nights a month on average. Most of that is in Japan, but I have overseas business trips a few times a year, including trips in the United States. I’ve noticed some differences, especially in what is considered to be a business hotel.
S: How so?
I: Well, the business hotels I use in Japan are often very simple, and offering only the basic necessities, a small clean room with a single bed, unit bath, a TV, fridge and free Internet. The prices are reasonable, and frankly, if you’re just looking for a place to sleep, that’s fine. On a longer trip, I’d prefer something a little nicer. But for a quick one- or two-night stay, it’s sufficient. Of course, there are plenty of other options in Japan, especially among the international hotel chains. But often they’re more than my business trip budget will allow. My experience with business hotels in the U.S. is more in line with what Ron and Paul Pearson described. Business travelers seem to be a bit more demanding in the U.S., and as a result, you can get great deals on hotel suites that have a big bed, a sofa and a kitchenette that includes a fridge and a microwave. In fact, I prefer this type of hotel over the more expensive international hotel chains, because many of the business traveler’s needs are included in the price of the room, especially Internet service.
S: Melinda Kinkaid and Jack Wakimoto mentioned discounts offered to travelers who are willing to skip a daily change of linens.
I: Yes, and though I’ve been in many hotels that have the option of having your linens changed every other day, I’ve yet to see a hotel offer discount. Most just tout the environmental benefits.
S: Paul Pearson noted that some hotel chains are upgrading their fitness facilities to attract health conscious travelers.
I: Yes, and I wish Japanese business hotels would follow suit. Of course, more upscale hotels in Japan have fitness centers, but I find that the operating hours aren’t all that convenient. Fitness centers, or just simple fitness rooms with a few running machines and weights, have become standard offerings at business hotels in the United States. I’ve stayed at many hotels with small, unstaffed fitness centers that can be accessed with a hotel room key 24 hours a day. Business travel can make staying in shape a challenge, and a little perks like this make it easier to stick to one’s routine.
S: Melinda mentioned another trend. Some hotels have been getting rid of bathtubs in favor of showers only. Jack Wakimoto wasn’t too happy about that.
I: I’m with Jack on this one. Like many Americans, I’m more likely to start my day with a quick shower instead of a bath. But when I travel, I love to take a nice, hot bath at the end of the day. Somehow it makes my business trip feel more like a vacation. I’ve been to several business hotels here in Japan that offer a selection of complimentary bath salts when you check in. I love that perk and it makes perfect sense in a country that recognizes the restorative powers of a hot bath.
Walker says he never mixes business and pleasure while traveling, while Pearson announces he will try blended travel by combining a family vacation with an upcoming business convention in Las Vegas. Kinkaid asks whether his wife has any objections to such a trip, and Pearson describes how she insists on a strict division between family and work time. Kinkaid says Pearson’s wife is in the right.
make a point of
This means “making sure to do something that you consider important, to treat a certain action as essential. You might make a point of reading a newspaper every day, for example, or exercising three times a week.
street fair / Mexican fair / Portuguese fair
Pearson means containing the latest information, the most recent information available. We all use certain resources to keep ourselves up to date on things, ah, in which case, there’s no hyphen between the words. For example, I try to read a few newspapers on my smartphone every day to keep myself up to date on world events.
up to the minute
give it a whirl
Pearson means he’s gonna try something. He also could have said “I’m going to give blended travel a try”, or “I’m going to give it a go.”
OK with something
Your wife has no objections, Kinkaid is asking, that’s all right with her. We also often say “Something is OK with someone or fine with someone”, fine being a little more formal. If someone asked you, for example, “Could we meet in Ginza on Friday?” you might reply, “Oh, that’s fine with me.”
put a firewall between A and B
Heaven help me if
We often use this to mean “something terrible will happen if”. Another version is “Lord help me if”. For example, “Lord help you if you’re late in my office. Our boss is a stickler for punctuality.”
helps meにならないのは、May Heaven help me / May the Lord help meの省略形であるため
We also use “Heaven help me”, “Lord help me” to mean “Oh, isn’t something terrible?” Like, “I’ve got to finish all this by Friday. Heaven help me.”
more power to her
“I support Pearson’s wife”, Kinkaid is saying, “I encourage her in some endeavor or position.” Imagine a man who took a lower paying job, because it would give him more time with his family. I would say “More power to him, bravo for putting priority on his family.”
lay down the law about
This means “firmly telling someone what they will do”, “saying this is how things are going to be”, as if we’re saying this is the law, and it will be obeyed. For example, “Our boss laid down the law yesterday. No one can use laptops during meetings anymore.”
Pearson says bathtubs are being replaced with fancy big showers that improve the appearance of hotel bathrooms. Walker describes how hotels are also offering blended packages that combine leisure and business travel. And Pearson and Kinkaid agree this is a reflection of the increasing overlap between people’s work and private lives, which gives many business people less and less time for their families.
if it’s any consolation
Another way to say this is “if it’s any comfort”, or “if it makes you feel better”. We also say that “something is no consolation”, meaning it doesn’t make someone feel better or provide any comfort. Imagine an ad agency that lost a competition for a big new account. The client might tell them, “It was a hard decision, you know, your, your proposal was excellent.” But that’s no consolation for the company that didn’t get the job.
This mean to gradually eliminate something, to get rid of it in stages. For example, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in many parts of the world. They’re being replaced by LEDs.
In this case, “go for” means “attempt to achieve”, “aim for”. When writing an email, for example, I might go for a polite but firm tone.
the stake (nail) that sticks up gets hammered down
When we’re harried, we have a lot to deal with, and we’re feeling the stress and the strain of it. We hear about “harried working parents”, for example. It’s also easy to be harried during holiday seasons when in addition to work, we have to attend lots of parties and events.
pull out all the stops to
This means “do everything you can make every effort to achieve something”. Apparently, it originally referred to playing an organ, pulling out all the stops to create the fullest sound.
One common expression using “plug” is “pull the plug”. And the image is of cutting off the power to some device, and it means to cancel something, to stop it. A company might pull the plug on a merger, for example. Or the government might pull the plug on a tax increase.
Kinkaid describes how many hotels are offering lower prices in return for reduced housekeeping services. Wakimoto says this can benefit the environment, but Walker objects to not having clear sheets and towels every day. Kinkaid also says many hotels are eliminating bathtubs as business travelers prefer showers. Wakimoto reacts to this with dismay, saying he gets many good ideas in the bathtub.
“Smart” can be a verb meaning “feel a sharp, stinging pain”. Here, it’s been used as a metaphor for suffering financially. I just saw a headline the other day, “Many investment firms still smarting from economic crisis.”
save quite a bundle on
Kinkaid saved quite a lot of money, in other words. You could also say that someone made a bundle with their new invention. So they made a lot of money.
you can save green by going green
The first “green” in this expression refers to money. I’ve often seen this use of green in news articles. But I don’t think I’ve heard it much in conversation. I have used it mostly in writing. And the second green refers to the environment to the earth. When we go green, we do things to preserve the environment, cause less damage to the earth. So some people might go green by riding their bikes to work. Or a company might install solar panels on its roof.
This is an old-fashioned word. I think nowadays we mostly use it in a joking way. It means someone who fusses, who’s very concerned with unimportant things.
When someone is fastidious, they have very high standards regarding something, and they take a great deal of care with it. People are fastidious about their clothes, about saving money, keeping their desk tidy. Personally, I’m fastidious about words. I write emails and other texts over and over, trying to get the expressions and the nuances just right.
Kinkaid is using scrub to mean “cancel” or “abandon” something. Like, the government decided to scrub the Tabaco tax. Think of scrubbing, you know, washing something so it’s no longer there.
In this case, “soak” is a noun, and it refers to being immersed in some kind of liquid. It can also be a verb. For example, I love to soak in the bath after a long busy day. Soak can also mean to wet through, to permeate completely. So if we get very wet in the rain, it’s common to say “Oh, I’m soaked”.
We use this to mean “enjoy a pleasure, a luxury of some kind”, and, and often, there’s some reason we shouldn’t have it, but we’re gonna let ourselves do it anyway. Like, “I’ve been working very hard so I decided to indulge in some new clothes”. Or “It’s OK to indulge in some pizza now and again.
Pearson says hotel operators believe the time has come to invest as Americans are beginning to travel again. Walker describes some of the services he has been grad to see offered, including free Internet access, breakfasts and meeting rooms. Pearson says hotel staff will probably like their workplaces more as a result of the various improvements which will lead to better customer service.
Walker is using “leading” to mean “foremost”, “ranking first”. If we way “That company is the leading producer of solar panels, then it’s the No.1 producer. You can also say “That company is a leading producer of solar panels, meaning it’s one of the top producers.
A pet peeve is something that annoys a particular person. Here “pet” basically means “personal”, so my pet peeves might not annoy other people, but they get on my nerves. For example, one of my pet peeves is people who slouch on the train and take up enough room for two or three people.
This comes from the word “perquisite”, and it refers to special benefits, privileges that come with a job, membership, that sort of thing. For example, one of the perks of flying business class is a lot more leg room. Or his employment package included such perks as unlimited use of a company car.
Walker is using this to mean “physically tired”, “worn out”. Personally, I’d use this word more when writing than speaking. It can also mean “out of patience with something, unable to tolerate or enjoy it anymore”. You might read something like “Consumers have grown weary of penny pinching and are starting to spend again.”
Yeah, I mean, I would never say “I’m weary of this book”, you know, ah.
Pearson’s referring to people who are optimistic about the prospects for something. So you’ll often read things like “Investors are bullish on gold, real estate, the economy of a certain country.”
full service agency(総合サービス代理店)に対して専門的なcreative boutique / IT boutiqueなどが用いられる
be out of the woods
If we’re out of the woods, we’re out of danger or difficulties. For example, “Sales are up from last month, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We may see more drops in the future.” And a synonym for this is “in the clear”. Kinkaid could have said “Some operators don’t seem to think we’re in the clear yet.”
Kinkaid welcomes Walker back to Great Lakes after a two-week business trip. Wakimoto asks what made an impression on him during his time away. And Walker describes how hotels are doing a great deal to attract business travelers again. Pearson says he has witnessed the same trend during his business trips, and says hotels are improving everything from lobbies and fitness centers.
Touch base with
When people touch base, they contact each other to find out how they are, what they’re doing, you know, or what’s happening with a certain situation. For example, imagine a business colleague who’s just arrived in Japan. You might say “I called him at his hotel to touch base.” So you probably would have asked about his flight, confirmed the time of your meeting, that sort of thing.
This is an old-fashioned sounding word; it’s a bit like a western. Like Walker, we, we usually use it in a joking way to mean an older, somewhat eccentric man.
When something is taxing, it drains resources of some kind, physically, mentally; it wears that person or that thing down. Many people have taxing schedules, for example, long work hours, lots of things to do.
Tax one’s brain
When someone rolls out or puts out the welcome mat, they’re doing things to make someone feel welcome, to create a welcoming, inviting atmosphere. A country might put out the welcome mat for foreign investors, for example, offer tax breaks and such to encourage their business.
Right, so things like toothpaste, shampoo, things we use to clean or groom ourselves.
Trekker, a person who takes a journey, and it’s made from trek which can be a verb or a noun. And all these terms refer to journeys that are long and often difficult. I just saw an article about protesters in the United States who were planning to trek 385km as part of a demonstration. Or you could say something like, “It’s quite a trek from the hotel to the conference center. It takes 45 minutes to get there.”
Jaunt means a short trip, often for pleasure but not always. I think generally when you say “jaunt”, there’s a nuance of energy or activity some kind.
Pearson is using this to mean “refurbish” or “renew”. It can also mean “improve the appearance of something”, “make it look nicer”. Like, “The company’s decided to spruce up its lobby. It’s going to add some nice sculptures and plants, putting more comfortable chairs”.
S: In our current vignette, the team at Great Lakes talks about their reading habits. They have a lively discussion about the impact of e-books and e-readers. Susan, have you made a switch to e-books?
I: Not completely. I’ve been tempted to buy an e-reader in the past, especially after seeing how my friends and family are enjoying theirs. I have a PC, smart phone and tablet computer, and that’s good enough for me at the moment. The dedicated e-readers are better at giving the feeling of reading ink on paper, but at the moment, I haven’t convinced myself to cough up the cash for yet another electronic device.
S: Maria Diaz mentioned that she and her family had become hooked on e-books, and that she rarely visits bookstores any more.
I: Yes, and that reminded me of recent conversations I’ve had with my family and friends in the States. Two of my sisters have been using e-readers for a couple of years now, and it’s had a big impact on their reading habits. My younger sister in Manhattan has a 30-minute subway commute, and she never leaves home without her e-reader. She said it makes the commute much more enjoyable. She has about 70 books to choose from at any given time. My older sister, a lifelong bookworm, also brings her e-reader with her everywhere.
S: Do your sisters get their e-books from online bookstores?
I: Yes, for the most part. They also participate in book swaps. With some e-readers, you can lend books to your friends for a limited time. Many public libraries also offer e-books for two week periods. And my older sister told me she has an application on her smart phone that allows her to search the selection available at a county library. I use online bookstores occasionally myself, although up until now, that has been mostly for books related to work. For novels, I’m more like Paul Pearson and Maria Diaz. I really enjoy going to bookstores and browsing. And I love crawling up on a sofa with a paperback novel.
S: Paul Pearson noted that the availability of free e-books is encouraging many people, especially kids, to get into classics.
I: Yes, and that’s a wonderful thing. I’ve occasionally run into problems trying to access those free classics from Japan due to legal issues. But this seems to be gradually changing.
S: Jack Wakimoto believes the switch to e-books will drive traditional bookstores out of business. What’s your take on that, Susan?
I: Well, it is certainly possible. Just look at what’s happened in the music industry. Once online music took off, many music stores close their doors for good. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD at a store. The same thing happened to me with newspapers. I used to buy them daily, but now only read their online versions. One of my friends has switched to e-books entirely. She says she loves the fact that she can instantly access new books, especially when she’s in the car, waiting to pick up her kids from band or sports practice. When she finishes one book, she can quickly download another. That sort of instant gratification appeals to me. But I’m not ready to give up paper books quite yet.
Diaz says some physical bookstores are assisting in the purchase of e-books. And Pearson describes how the store in his neighborhood has expanded its children’s section and holds many events attended by authors. Wakimoto and Pearson agree that the popularity of e-books is challenging the standard definition of a book. And Wakimoto describes the current situation as one of turmoil and opportunity.
An interesting mix of customers
A common idiom using “mix” is “mixed bag”. And this is often used to refer to a diverse collection of things, people, etc. It’s also used to refer to a group that contains positive and negative elements. Imagine a company that reported good sales figures in some departments, but disappointing results in others. So those sales figures overall would be described as a mixed bag.
Have yet to
This means we haven’t done something yet, or something hasn’t occurred yet. But I think the phrasing makes it sound more serious, it emphasizes the gravity that something hasn’t been done or hasn’t happened. For example,” I emailed him a week ago, but I have yet receive a reply”, or “I have to leave in just three weeks but I have yet to get my plane tickets.”
That’s a big draw for me
Pearson means that’s a big attraction for him, a big part of the store’s appeal. One of the biggest draws of a smartphone, for example, is its versatility. Or “one of the biggest draws of our company could be its generous maternity leave.”
Wakimoto is using “constitute” in the scene of “be something”, “be considered to be something”, “be the equivalent of”. For example, “The company’s profit was $1 million which constitutes a 10% increase from the previous fiscal year. And “constitute” can also mean make up or form something, as in “Home appliances constitute the majority of their sales.”
A hard or soft cover
Books with a hard cover can be called a hard cover, a hardback, or a hard cover book or a hardback book. And a book with a soft cover is a paperback or a paperback book.
And you’ll also hear things like “That book will come out in hardcover in January, and in paper book six months later.”
Pearson concedes that some bookstores are closing, but says cleaver retailers are finding niches in order to survive. He describes how a bookstore in his neighborhood is prized by its customers as a community gathering place. Wakimoto says repeat customers must be crucial to such a business and Pearson says he has spent a great deal there. He also praises the store’s interesting selection.
There’s no denying that
Pearson means that something must be acknowledged as true. It’s irrefutable. He also could have said “It can’t be denied that the number of bookstores is falling.”
Close one’s doors
This means to shut down as a business, to cease operations. You might read something like “The restaurant closed its doors Friday after 50 years in business.” And you could use this term about a store, school, factory.
Permanently, in other words. For example, “Mary’s moving back to the United States for good.” In other words, she doesn’t intend to return.
Pearson is using this verb to mean “be a customer of some business”. And you can pronounce it [peitronaiz] or [patronaiz]. It can also mean to treat someone in a condescending manner as if they’re less intelligent or as if they’re a child. And the adjective would be patronizing ([peitronaizing] or [patronaizing]). You might hear something like “Jenny’s speech was patronizing. She acted as if the audience didn’t know anything about the subject.”
This refers to customers buying a certain product or service or going to the same business more than once. Repeat, of course, is very common as a verb. It can also be a noun meaning a recurrence of something. For example, “Hopefully, next fiscal year will not be a repeat of this one”, someone might say, “We’re looking for higher sales.”
Spend a small fortune
He’s spent a large amount of money, Pearson is saying, a considerable of money. Personally, I’ve spent a small fortune on history books and biographies over the years.
This means “odd”, “peculiar”. There’s also the noun “quirk” which can mean a peculiar trait and idiosyncrasy. One of my quirks is an insatiable love of cheese. As a child, I once ate half a kilogram of Swiss, all by myself in an hour.
For example, a newspaper might say “There were more jobs on offer this fiscal year than last year.” Or “A university might have a number of scholarships on offer.”
A curator is someone who’s responsible for acquiring and caring for the items in a collection of some kind. It’s most commonly used about people who do such work for museums, libraries, galleries.
Wakimoto predicts that when e-books are connected to the Internet, they will become even greater gateways to information. Pearson praises the atmosphere of traditional physical bookstores. And Diaz agrees that she enjoyed browsing her local store. However, she says she now learns about interesting books more through e-mail and on-line forums. Wakimoto and Pearson disagree over whether physical bookstores will soon disappear.
Come into one’s own
This means to fulfill one’s potential to make significant personal achievements in some capacity. If someone came into her own as a manager, for example, then she’ll become skilled, say, at inspiring and motivating her staff.
This refers to a situation where only two alternatives are considered or believed to exist when there are actually other possibilities. For example, you might say it’s a false dichotomy to say you have to do everything your boss tells you or you have to quit. Well, perhaps you can explain that your schedule is full or that you don’t think something is a good idea.
We use this term to describe someone who’s considered too old-fashioned, serious, strict. Imagine a manager who insists that his staff dress very conservatively. He might think it’s important for the company’s image. His staff might think “What a stick-in-the-mud!”
Be in no hurry to
Pearson is using this to mean he doesn’t particularly want to do something or see it happen. It can also literally mean that someone doesn’t intend to do something right away or doesn’t see the need to do it right away. And “be in no rush to” means the same thing. Pearson could have said “I’m in no rush to get to a promised land where all books are e-books.”
This is an electronic retailer, in other words, a retailer who sells things over the Internet.
Go the way of the dodo
The dodo was a flightless bird on the island of Mauritius. And now it’s now extinct. So to say “something has gone the way of the dodo” means that it’s become extinct or obsolete. For example, floppy discs have gone the way of the dodo. So have type writers and cassette tapes.
And you can stick other words in as well. Like, something has gone the way of the typewriter or gone the way of the floppy disc.
Hold your horses
This means stop, slow down, be patient, like you’re pulling the reins tight to stop a team of horses or keep them still.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
Pearson says e-readers are encouraging young people to read classic works as many can be downloaded for free. He also praises the fact that e-books can be easily searched. And Diaz says her mother appreciates being able to enlarge the text. Despite these strength, however, Pearson doesn’t think he will switch entirely to e-books, as he likes the feel and smell of physical books.
Delve means examine a subject in detail or make a careful or detailed search of something for information. Imagine someone digging through a subject with a shovel. For example, a news report might delve into the challenges facing the automobile industry, or a documentary might delve into the fight against drug trafficking.
Be in the public domain
When something is in the public domain, it’s not protected by patent or copy right, so the book, the software, whatever can be freely used by anyone. There’re a number of websites, for example that contain public domain photographs that designers and other people can use freely.
This means free without charge. If you reserve six nights at a hotel, for example, you often receive a seventh night gratis.
This is a book that’s so interesting, so engrossing that you want to keep quickly turning the pages one after another. And you can use this about many kinds of books, a thrilling novel and interesting history book, as long as it’s something that you wanna keep reading and reading, that you can’t put down.
Have the darn(e)dest time
Pearson also could have said “I have the hardest time keeping track of all the characters. Darnedest has a number of meanings. We also use it when we do our best, when we do everything we can. For example, “I’ve tried my darnedest, but I just can’t find the file. And it can also mean the strangest or the most surprising, like “It’s the darnedest thing, I know I put my flash drive on my desk, but I can’t find it.”
This is a person’s name that’s derived from the name of that person’s father or some other paternal ancestor. The Russian novels Pearson likes have characters with names like “Ivan Ivanovich” which means Ivan, son of Ivan, and Ivanovich is the patronymic.
Have a lot going for one
This means someone or something has many strengths, many advantages. You could say “That company has a lot going for it, innovative managers, motivated staff. Or “Toshi has a lot going for him, especially his skill with language and public speaking.”
Tome literary means a book, particularly a big or scholarly book. But it’s often used as an interesting sounding synonym for books in general.
Diaz praises her new e-reader and says everyone in her family now uses one. Pearson describes how such devices were originally popular among older people, but became more widely used as they became less expensive. Wakimoto says the spread of e-readers is a boon for parents who worried their children would never like reading, and adds that teachers are allowing the use of e-readers at schools.
I adore the ground you walk on.
I think so. I would find it a little funny coming from a man.
An e-book versus e-reader
E-books are electronic books that you download, books in digital form. An e-reader is a portable electronic device you can read them on.
Get into the habit of
This is when we make something a habit, make ourselves do something regularly, or it becomes a habit, something we do regularly. Financial advisors will tell us to get into the habit of monitoring our spending. I’m trying to get into the habit of taking the stares instead of the escalator.
So we often use the expression “can’t put it down” to mean that something is really fascinating that we just can’t stop reading it. You’d say “Oh, it’s just an amazing biography. I couldn’t put it down.”
Right, demographics is described as statistical data for a certain population. And it will show things like age, income, education.
Bookworm is often used on its own without the “e” to mean someone who likes reading very much, and who does it a lot. I’m a bookworm, especially when it comes to history. And as far as I know, this is the only common word that uses “worm” this way. For example, we don’t say “carworm” to mean someone who likes cars.
When we despair of something, we think “Oh, it’s never gonna happen.” We’re overcome by a sense of defeat or futility. I had to take French classes in middle school and I was terrible at it. I used to despair of remembering the different genders.
In this case, “get into” means to become interested in something and actively involved in it. You could say things like “She’s really got into the stock market” or “He’s really got into Yoga.”
I’m into reading.
Give the thumbs-up to
This refers, of course, to the actual thumbs-up gesture. And it means an indication of approval. And this can be approval to do something or praise for something that someone has done. For example, “The city has given the thumbs-up for a construction to begin on the new park” or “Thumbs-up to everyone who participated in the charity fund raiser.”
Be drawn to
If we’re drawn to something, it appeals to us. It’s like the appeal physically pulls us toward it. I was initially drawn to Japanese by its writing, its alphabets. I was intrigued by how different the characters were from English letters.