Club Alpha

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  • 2018.11.16
  • Essay
  • 中&上級

Aw nuts!

2つの木の実

2つの木の実© Getty Images

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英文を見る

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” begins The Christmas Song, the 1961 Nat King Cole classic that is heard without fail every winter throughout America. Not everyone has a fireplace in their home, but chestnuts can usually be found in markets and shops. I buy roasted chestnuts every year, just after being hit by those lyrics over the radio or in the malls.

In Japan they are called “kuri,” a word completely different in both sound and form to “tochi.” This is as it should be, as these two nuts are unrelated, at least as far as Mother Nature is concerned. However, they do look a bit alike, being brown, round and bigger than an acorn. This is probably why their names are similar in some languages. In English, for example, kuri is chestnut while tochi is horse chestnut. Why “horse”?

Maybe it was because people in 16th century Istanbul fed the seeds to horses to help them with coughing, and so used the word “horse” to name them. Of course, farmers today know that horse chestnuts are bad for horses. They can also make a person seriously ill, unless they are prepared in a special way. But I think a better explanation is that “horse” as a prefix can mean “big,” and horse chestnuts are pretty big.

We had plenty of horse chestnut trees where I grew up in New Jersey. In autumn, they would rain down onto yards like there was no tomorrow. We’d collect them, trade them, kick them around. And we’d take turns throwing them at targets for accuracy. Many a pitcher’s arm was developed this way. The nuts were smaller than a baseball so you couldn’t practice throwing curves, but they sure were plentiful and cheap. If you weren’t careful you might miss the target completely and hit something ? or someone ? else. Not that I ever did, mind you. Not even accidentally.

Why were there no edible chestnut trees in my town? I wondered. In fact, the American chestnut was extremely common once, but it was almost totally wiped out by a tree infection imported from Japan in the late 19th century. That must have thrown a wrench into Japan U.S. relations at the time.

The good news was that the Japanese chestnut trees were resistant to the disease, and that it was possible to cross-pollinate the species to raise stronger trees in the U.S. Those new, stronger trees have been spreading across the landscape for a few decades, and kids in my neighborhood are probably collecting real chestnuts by now. They fly through the air just as well as horse chestnuts, I’m sure, but you can eat them, too. That’s a good deal.

重要ボキャブラリーを見る

roast
(動)(オーブンなどで)焼く、炒る
(名)焼くこと、ロースト肉
(形)焼いた、ローストした
◆roast chestnuts(栗を焼く)
◆The children roasted marshmallows at the campfire and had a good time.
(子供たちはキャンプファイヤーでマシュマロを焼いて楽しい時間を過ごした)
☞roaster(名)焼き器、焼く人

feed
(動)餌を与える、食物を与える、養う、飼う
(名)餌、食事
◆feed a bird(鳥に餌をやる)
◆This park has a sign that says not to feed the birds there.
(この公園には鳥に餌を与えないようにと書かれた看板がある)

unless
(接)~でない限り、もし~でなければ
◆You will fail the test unless you get a score of at least 70.
(少なくとも70点を取らない限り、試験に落ちるだろう)

collect
(動)~を集める
◆collect old stamps(古い切手を収集する)
◆My hobby is collecting all kinds of coins from many countries.
(私の趣味はたくさんの国のさまざまなコインを集めることだ)
☞collection(名)集めること、収集
 collective(形)集合的な、集団的な

accuracy
(名)正確さ、的確さ 
☞inaccuracy(名)不正確さ、ずさんさ
◆The manager held a workshop to increase the speed and accuracy of the employees.
(マネージャーは従業員のスピードと正確さを向上させるためにワークショップを開催した)
☞accurate(形)正確な、的確な
 inaccurate(形)不正確な、ずさんな

plentiful
(形)有り余るほどの、豊富な、たくさんの
◆plentiful harvest(豊作)
◆I’d like to live in the countryside where space is plentiful.
(私は広大な土地がある田舎に住みたい)

edible
(形)食べられる、食用の
☞inedible(形)食べられない、食用ではない
◆edible flower(食用花)
◆The seeds of that fruit are edible, so you don’t have to remove them.
(その果物の種は食べられるから、取り除く必要はないよ)

infection
(名)伝染病、感染
◆Be sure to wash that cut on your hand well or you’ll get an infection.
(必ずその手の傷をよく洗いなさい。さもないと感染症になりますよ)
☞infect(動)病気をうつす、感染させる

resistant
(形)耐性がある、抵抗力がある
◆resistant to ~(~に耐性がある)
◆heat-resistant glass(耐熱ガラス)
◆Although that new smartphone is resistant to water, it’s not completely waterproof.
(その新しいスマートフォンは水に強いですが、完全防水ではありません)
☞resistance(名)抵抗、反抗

和訳を見る

Listening Comprehension Check

Q1. What almost wiped out the American chestnut?

  • A) A tree infection.
  • B) Logging.
  • C) Overharvesting.

正解を見る

正解は、A
A tree infection.

Vocabulary Review Quiz

Q1. "Chestnuts ( ) on an open fire" begins The Christmas Song, the 1961 Nat King Cole classic that is heard without fail every winter throughout America.

  • A) roasting
  • B) singing
  • C) eating

正解を見る

正解は、A
roasting

Q2. Maybe it was because people in 16th century Istanbul ( ) the seeds to horses to help them with coughing, and so used the word "horse" to name them.

  • A) fed
  • B) food
  • C) feeding

正解を見る

正解は、A
fed

Q3. They can also make a person seriously ill, ( ) they are prepared in a special way.

  • A) only
  • B) due
  • C) unless

正解を見る

正解は、C
unless

Q4. We'd ( ) them, trade them, kick them around.

  • A) confide
  • B) collect
  • C) correct

正解を見る

正解は、B
collect

Q5. And we'd take turns throwing them at targets for ( ).

  • A) accuracy
  • B) sympathetic
  • C) enjoyable

正解を見る

正解は、A
accuracy

Q6. The nuts were smaller than a baseball so you couldn't practice throwing curves, but they sure were ( ) and cheap.

  • A) spoonful
  • B) plentiful
  • C) shameful

正解を見る

正解は、B
plentiful

Q7. Why were there no ( ) chestnut trees in my town?

  • A) believable
  • B) logical
  • C) edible

正解を見る

正解は、C
edible

Q8. In fact, the American chestnut was extremely common once, but it was almost totally wiped out by a tree ( ) imported from Japan in the late 19th century.

  • A) inheritance
  • B) infection
  • C) interchange

正解を見る

正解は、B
infection

Q9. The good news was that the Japanese chestnut trees were ( ) to the disease, and that it was possible to cross-pollinate the species to raise stronger trees in the U.S.

  • A) resistant
  • B) redundant
  • C) ridicule

正解を見る

正解は、A
resistant

Speaking practice

Q1. Do you like to eat chestnuts? Why or why not?※この問題に解答はありません

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