KA VOICECAST for Tuesday, April 15th (2014)

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KA TOP PICKS with Olwen Bartlett


STORY TIME  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card


KA News for Tuesday, April 15th

The KA Meidaimae and Jyugaoka schools will be offering special early summer courses throughout June and July for students who reside abroad returning to Japan for the summer holidays.  This is an eight-part course that runs during the early afternoons and is ideal for students who would like to either “jump ahead” or get “caught up” while Japanese schools are still in session.  International school students are also welcome.  For more information, please contact the KA Jyugaoka school at +81 3 3723 2380, the Meidaimae school at +81 3 3324 9903, or follow the link below.

Early Summer Courses Information (In Japanese) 

Early summer private lessons are available at all KA schools for students who reside abroad returning to Japan for the summer holidays or international school students.  90-minute long “man-to-man” lessons are available Tuesday to Friday from June 10 through July 18th between 13:30- 15:00.  Private lessons are tailored to fit the need of each student. For more information and to check availability, please contact your nearest Kikokushijo Academy school or follow the link.

Early Summer Private Lessons Information (In Japanese)

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is now available as a correspondence course for students who live abroad or outside of the Kanto area. This is a serious, results-oriented program for students who wish to pass essay exams for junior high, senior high, university or the EIKEN, TOEFL, or SAT exams. Distance Learning students will write and revise weekly essays, complete grammar assignments, and build vocabulary to raise the register and effectiveness of their writing. Each student will correspond with a Personal Writing Tutor, who will guide the student through the course by email.

Students wishing to participate in the Distance Learning course must have:

• Access to the internet

• A computer with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

• A strong desire to improve their writing.

For more information about this exciting new program, please contact Kikokushijo Academy or follow the link.

(In Japanese)

The KA Kids International Preschool officially opened its doors in September 2013 and applications for children aged 3-6 are still being accepted. Children who sign up for the KAIP program will be introduced to the fast-paced, advanced reading and writing program with teachers trained in the Read Write Inc. Phonics method, currently exclusive to Kikokushijo Academy. For general information and answers to frequently asked questions, please follow the link to the KA Kids International Preschool Page.

KA Wordcast: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs is now available for those of you interested in improving your knowledge of English vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and phrasal verbs.  Be sure to tune in every Tuesday to take advantage of these extra English lessons available now on the KA Voicecast website.



KA TOP PICKS! with Olwen Bartlett

Ender’s Game BOOK/FILM/DVD

Some critics have described it as Harry Potter in space.  Others have hinted that the young Ender Wiggin is a lot like Luke Skywalker— a Jedi in training.  In his introduction to the novel, author Orson Scott Card discussed the influence of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series as well as historian Bruce Catton’s work on the American Civil War on Ender’s Game, the novel and film we will be looking at today.

The book originated as the short story “Ender’s Game” in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, some twenty years before Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone ever saw a book shelf.  Star Wars IV A New Hope only hit the big screen in the same year.    While both the Harry Potter and Star Wars series saw huge success at the box office, Ender’s Game, which was released as a full-length novel in 1985, was only made into a film in 2013, despite having sparked the imagination and curiosity of thousands of boys of the X Generation. 

The story’s plot is far from simple.  In the near future, a hostile alien race has attacked the Earth, nearly wiping out the entire human race.  If it hadn’t been for the heroic acts of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackman, the “Buggers,” an insectoid alien species, would have taken over the planet and destroyed us all.  Years later, and in preparation for another possible invasion, young Ender Wiggin, who had been identified as the “chosen one” by the highly esteemed Colonel Graff, is recruited by the International Military.  Ender is a shy but brilliant boy, and after arriving at Battle School, he quickly and easily masters difficult challenges and simulation activities, distinguishing himself and earning the respect (and envy) of his peers and fellow trainees.  He is promoted to Command School, where he is trained by the great Mazer Rackman himself, to lead his team of young soldiers into an epic battle that could ultimately decide the fate of the human race for good.

Although at the time, I hadn’t read the book myself, when the film was released here in the UK late last year, I recognized the title and knew at once that it was based on the book my younger brother and his friends had read while they were in their early teens.   I promptly booked tickets to take my eight-year-old son and his friend to the movie theater, knowing that anything described as “Harry Potter in space,” would be of interest to him.

And I was right.  Although, the film wasn’t in 3-D—it would have been even more brilliant, had it been—it was a thrill to watch.   There were issues, obviously, as most films-based-on-books tend to have.  A lot happens in the two hours and the pace seemed to move a bit too fast on occasion, but the story was gripping right from the start, the special effects and visual effects astounding, and it was, for lack of a better word, exciting.  All of us sat at the edge of our seats throughout the film, mesmerized by the “zero gravity” sequences and video-game like battle scenes.   The film also starred Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff—an added bonus for those of us who grew up watching the young Ford in Star Wars and other blockbuster films of our generation.

The moment we stepped out of the darkened theater, my son insisted that he needed to get a copy of the book.  We went straight to the nearest bookshop—luckily there was one in the same complex—and got each of the boys a copy of “Ender’s Game”—the book.  And for the next couple of weeks, it became an obsession in our house.  The “what-if” questions, the “could something like this really happen?” comments, and “how cool would it be to…” remarks that I was bombarded with for the time it took him to finish reading the book.   And imagine his excitement when I told him that there are sequels—several in fact, which should keep him busy for the next few months.

Ender’s Game, starring Asa Butterfield (The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas) as Ender, Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, the Fugitive), Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Iron Man 3), and an all-grown-up Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) is now also available on DVD.    If you missed it in the cinemas, here’s your chance to see one of the most exciting made-for-young-boys movies to have come out in recent years.

The story does deal with some mature emotional issues, and for this reason, the recommended reading age for Ender’s Game is twelve and above according to Common Sense Media.  Parents are advised to read the novel first and decide whether the content is acceptable for their younger child.

Ender’s Game is available for you to check out of the KA Library.



JUVENILE:     In the passage, JUVENILE is used as a noun to mean a young person who is below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.  In most countries, anyone under the age of eighteen is considered a JUVENILEJUVENILE is also used as an adjective to describe something for or relating to young people such as in juvenile crime.

INSTINCTIVELY:         INSTINCTIVELY is an adverb that means to do something automatically, without conscious thought.  Some synonyms include intuitively, automatically, spontaneously, impulsively, and inherently.

MONSTROUS:     The adjective MONSTROUS has several uses, but in today’s passage, MONSTROUS is used to describe someone’s character, rather than someone’s appearance.  It means to be inhumanly or outrageously evil or wrong.  Synonyms for this usage include appalling, heinous, evil, wicked, abominable, horrible, atrocious, and villainous.

EXTENUATING: As a verb, to EXTENUATE means to excuse or lessen the seriousness of guilt or an offence.  The adjective form EXTENATING is used similarly to excusable and justifiable. EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES, as you will hear in the passage, are unusual, extreme, or special factors or situations that may be considered when handing down a sentence to someone who has committed a crime.

Ender’s Game

By Orson Scott Card

Chapter Three:  GRAFF

Ender wasn’t hungry during breakfast.  He kept wondering what it would be like at school.  Facing Stilson after yesterday’s fight.  What Stilson’s friends would do.  Probably nothing, but he couldn’t be sure.  He didn’t want to go.

“You’re not eating, Andrew,” his mother said.

Peter came into the room.  “Morning, Ender.  Thanks for leaving your slimy washcloth in the middle of the shower.”

“Just for you,” Ender murmured.

“Andrew, you have to eat.”

Ender held out his wrists, a gesture that said, So feed it to me through a needle.

“Very funny,” Mother said.  “ I try to be concerned, but it makes no difference to my genius children.”

“It was all your genes that made us geniuses, Mom,” said Peter.  “We sure didn’t get any from Dad.”

“I heard that,” Father said, not looking up from the news that was being displayed on the table while he ate.

“It would’ve been wasted if you hadn’t.”

The table beeped.  Someone was at the door.

“Who is it?” Mother asked.

Father thumbed a key and a man appeared on his video. He was wearing the only military uniform that meant anything anymore, the I.F., the International Fleet.

“I thought it was over,” said Father.

Peter said nothing, just poured milk over his cereal.

And Ender thought, Maybe I won’t have to go to school today after all.

Father coded the door open and got up from the table.  “I’ll see to it,” he said.  “Stay and eat.”

They stayed, but they didn’t eat.  A few moments later, Father came back into the room and beckoned to Mother.

“You’re in deep poo,” said Peter.  “They found out what you did to that kid at school, and now they’re gonna make you do time out in the Belt.”

“I’m only six, moron, I’m a juvenile.”

“You’re a Third, turd.  You’ve got no rights.”

Valentine came in, her hair in a sleepy halo around her face.  “Where’s Mom and Dad?  I’m too sick to go to school.”

“Another oral exam, huh?” Peter said.

“Shut up, Peter,” said Valentine.

“You should relax and enjoy it,” said Peter.  It could be worse.”

“I don’t know how.”

“It could be an anal exam.”

“Hyuk, hyuk,” Valentine said. “Where are Mother and Father?”

“Talking to a guy from I.F.”

Instinctively she looked at Ender.  After all, for years they had expected someone to come and tell them that Ender had passed, that Ender was needed.

“That’s right, look at him,” Peter said.  “But it might be me, you know.  They might have realized I was the best of the lot after all.”  Peter’s feelings were hurt, and so he was being a snot, as usual.

The door opened.  “Ender,” said Father, “you better come in here.”

“Sorry, Peter,” Valentine taunted.

Father glowered.  “Children, this is no laughing matter.”

Ender followed Father into the parlor.  The I.F. officer rose to his feet when they entered, but he did not extend a hand to Ender.

Mother was twisting her wedding band on her finger.  “Andrew,” she said, “I never thought you were the kind to get in a fight.”

“The Stilson boy is in the hospital,” Father said.  “You really did a number on him.  With your shoe, Ender.  That wasn’t exactly fair.”

Ender shook his head.  He had expected someone from the school to come about Stilson, not an officer of the fleet.  This was more serious than he had thought.  And yet he couldn’t think what else he could have done.

“Do you have any explanation for your behavior, young man?” asked the officer.

Ender shook his head again.  He didn’t know what to say, and he was afraid to reveal himself to be more monstrous than his actions had made him out to be.  I’ll take it, whatever the punishment is, he thought.  Let’s get it over with.

“We’re willing to consider extenuating circumstances,” the officer said. “But I must tell you it doesn’t look good.  Kicking him in the groin, kicking him repeatedly in the face and body when he was down—it sounds like you really enjoyed it.”

“I didn’t,” Ender whispered.

“Then why did you do it?”

“He had his gang there,” Ender said.

“So? This excuses anything?”


“Tell me why you kept on kicking him.  You had already won.”

“Knocking him down won the first fight.  I wanted to win all the next ones, too.  So they’d leave me alone.”  Ender couldn’t help it, he was too afraid, too ashamed of his own acts; though he tried not to, he cried again.  Ender did not like to cry and rarely did; now, in less than a day, he had done it three times.  And each time was worse.  To cry in front of his mother and father and this military man, that was shameful.  “You took away the monitor,” Ender said.  “I had to take care of myself, didn’t I?”

“Ender, you should have asked a grown-up for help,” Father began.

But the officer stood up and stepped across the room to Ender.  He held out his hand.  “My name is Graff, Ender.  Colonel Hyrum Graff.  I’m director of primary training at Battle School in the Belt.  I’ve come to invite you to enter the school.”

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