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Have you seen this charming film? If not, you must!  It is perfectly delightful.

Japanese Film: The Hula Girls

Hula Girls was released in Japan in 2006 and, the following year, swept five major awards from the Japan Academy.  That alone might convince you that it is worth seeing.

Then, when you hear that the heart-warming story is based on a real life group of miner’s daughters in a real Japanese village, who reluctantly turn to dancing the hula in an effort to save their small community:  maybe that will make you want to see it.

But, whatever inspires you, see it!

I loved it.

Ellen Ullman By Blood 

And then there is By Blood, written by Ellen Ullman.  I juust finished reading this masterpiece, which was a New York Times Notable Book last year.

You know how sometimes you get lucky and find a book that you can’t stop reading?  Well, for me, this book was all that.  I read it in under a day because I could not put it down. I tried to do other things yesterday, honest I did.  But when I walked away from this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I read a lot, and this rarely happens.

By Blood is a must read for anyone interested in current fiction and great story-telling.  It is written with a fresh, new style that keeps the narrative flowing.  You will be amazed.  I promise.

And, finally, my MOOC.

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The Ancient Greeks
by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak

You know about these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), I presume?  If not, you need to find out about them pronto.  For anyone who loves learning, this is an amazing new resource, a cutting-edge approach to education for the 21st century.  And, it is free.  I am currently enrolled in a history course entitled The Ancient Greeks taught by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak of Wesleyan University.

As a learning or teaching format, this system has some kinks.  For example, if you watch the course videos, and don’t already know a lot about Greek history and name and place spellings, you are going to feel overwhelmed and need to stop the video a bunch of times to look up the spellings.  A word to the planners:  this is not a good thing.  A lot of “students” are going to get frustrated and stop “attending” your lectures.  I also think the “tests” are not currently stressing the most important concepts in learning.  But, again, I want to emphasize that the format is new and being revised, so still try out a course or two.

However, I persevered and overall have been happy that I did. What great access to good professors and new materials in an approachable format.  It is a boon for learners from around the world.  In the online forums, I found myself chatting about the course with people from Hong Kong, South America, all over Europe.

So, try it, I think you’ll like it.

Three more beauties, a movie, a novel and a MOOC.

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