Study Night 175


Hello, everyone. This is Naoki. It was good to see you again. Happy Lunar New Year!! February 5th is the Chinese new year (春節/しゅんせつ). Japanese people don’t celebrate it. In fact, I didn’t know what the lunar year was until I came to Canada. But it is good to know about other cultures that you can’t experience in your country. Benkyokai is one of the ways to do just that since people who join have different backgrounds.

Benkyokai is a language exchange event that connects, through conversation and activities, those who want to learn Japanese with those who want to learn English. For the first 15 minutes, participants have casual conversations. Then, for the next hour, we have an activity to help you learn something new. We try to do different activities each time to study in different ways. Native speakers of both Japanese and English attend the event. Actually, the first time I joined Benkyokai as an attendee was the 33rd Benkyokai in April of 2016. Since then, I have tried to participate as many times as possible. You know why? Because it is one of the best places not only to exchange languages but also to learn about other cultures, lifestyles, and more!!
Benkyokai is held every Wednesday at JP Canada (890 West Pender) from 5:45 pm to 7:00 pm.
Please register yourself either on our website or Facebook to participate.

This time, the activity we did was Brainteasers (頭の体操/あたまのたいそう). Brain teasers are my favourite type of puzzles. They are fun, clever, and challenge your problem-solving skills in unique ways.
In the first section, there were quizzes written in either in English or Japanese. We made groups that consisted of both Japanese speakers and English speakers so that they could help each other understand the quizzes and solve them. The attendees struggled with them but once they got the answers, they happily shouted “whoa!” I was glad to hear that.

Before taking a closer look at the activity, I must apologize to the participants. What I said at Benkyokai was “I won’t tell you the answers now. If you want to know them, please go visit our website.” I said this because I would like you to read our blog posts. Sorry for being mean. But since you read this, it is success, isn’t it?

Thank you for waiting. As I promised at Benkyokai, here are the quizzes and answers. For those who haven’t tried them, I will write the answers at the end. Don’t cheat before you try. Here we go!!

Solve the following brain teasers.

a. A man needs to cross a river in a canoe.  With him, he has a bag of grain, a chicken, and a fox.  He can only carry one of the three at a time. If he leaves the grain and the chicken, the chicken will eat the grain.  If he takes the grain, the fox will eat the chicken. How does he successfully cross the river with his load?

b. You have two empty water jugs in your hands. One holds 3 gallons of water, the other holds 5 gallons of water. You need to use these two jugs to measure exactly 4 gallons of water.

c.   部屋の中に3つの電気のスイッチがあります。この3つのスイッチは、別の部屋にある3つの電球にそれぞれつながっています。一度スイッチのある部屋から出ると、もうその部屋には戻れません。どうすれば、一度だけ電球のある部屋に行き、各スイッチがどの電球をコントロールしているか確かめられるでしょう?

There are 3 switches in a room. The switches control three light bulbs in the other room. Once you leave the room where the switches are, you can’t return the room again. Also, you can go to the room where the light bulbs are only once. How can you definitively tell which switch is connected to each of the light bulbs?

d. What comes to in ? (Each quiz has nothing to do with others.)


(1) O  T T F  F   (2) S  M T W  T  S  (3) S    H D  W M Y

(4) America = D, Germany = E, Britain = P, France = E, Brazil = R, Japan =

(5) Moon  Fire Water  Tree  Soil  Sun

(6) 8889 = 7  7711=0 2172=0  6666=4 1111=0 3213=0  7662=2 2581=

(7) 東京 青森 岡山 富山 □□

Answers are below.

Click to reveal the answers (don't cheat!)

a. The man and the chicken cross the river, (the fox and corn are safe together), he leaves the chicken on the other side and goes back across. The man then takes the fox across the river, and since he can’t leave the fox and chicken together, he brings the chicken back. Again, since the chicken and corn can’t be left together, he leaves the chicken and he takes the corn across and leaves it with the fox. He then returns to pick up the chicken and heads across the river one last time.

b. You fill the 5-gallon jug, then pour it into the 3-gallon jug until it is full (leaving 2 gallons in the 5-gallon jug). You pour out the 3-gallon jug completely. You then pour the 2 gallons from the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug. Lastly, you fill the 5-gallon jug and pour it into the remaining space of the 3-gallon jug (1 gallon), leaving you with 4 gallons in the 5-gallon jug.

c. Turn on the first two switches. Leave them on for five minutes. Once five minutes has passed, turn off the second switch, leaving one switch on. Now go through the door. The light that is still on is connected to the first switch. Whichever of the other two is warm to the touch is connected to the second switch. The bulb that is cold is connected to the switch that was never turned on.

(1) O T T F F S: The first letters of the numbers. One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six …

(2) S M T W T F S:  Day of the week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

(3) S M H D W M Y: Unit of time. Second. Minute, Hour, Day, Week, Month, Year

(4) America = D, Germany = E, Britain = P, France = E, Brazil = R, Japan = Y:  The first letters of Currency in each country. Dollar, Euro, Pound, Euro, Real and Yen.

(5) Moon  Fire Water  Tree Gold(Money)  Soil  Sun:  Day of the week in the Japanese version. 月、火、水、木、金、土、日 represent the above.

(6) 8889 = 7  7711=0 2172=0  6666=4 1111=0 3213=0  7662=2 2581=2: The number of circles. For example, the first one 8889, 8 has two circles and 9 has one hence there are seven circles.

(7) 東京 青森 岡山 富山 山口: This is not geography. Look at the shapes. Every Kanji is symmetrical.

That is all for this time. I prepared the second part for participants to create quizzes by themselves but they were so excited in the first part that I gave them the entire hour to solve them.

What do you think ? Are they difficult to solve? Don’t worry. The objective of this activity is not to solve all quizzes but to improve your language skills though the activity. We have both native English speakers and Japanese speakers. Feel free to come and enjoy.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any request for things you would like to learn about language and culture, please talk to us during one of our Benkyokai sessions! We suggest you register as soon as possible! We are looking forward to seeing you all next time! 🙂

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