Skating Rink Featuring 5,000 Frozen Fish Closes

February 13, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. suspend / səˈspɛnd / (v.) – to keep something displayed and motionless
Example: The airplane model was suspended in the air with several invisible strings.

2. talk of the town / tɔk ʌv ðə taʊn / (idiom.) – Something that is being talked about by a lot of people
Example: Those new shoes are the talk of the town.

3. uproar / ˈʌpˌrɔr / (n.) – a state or condition where people are upset or angry about something
Example: The recent events have caused an uproar among the citizens.

4. refute / rɪˈfyut / (v.) – to prove that something is not true
Example: The management was quick to refute rumors of a new CEO.

5. mainstay / ˈmeɪnˌsteɪ / (n.) – a significant part of something
Example: His musical performances are a mainstay in the show.


Read the text below.
A theme park in Japan has faced criticism for displaying dead fish in its new attraction.

In an attempt to offer a new and unique attraction to its customers, Space World opened a new skating rink with a controversial feature: over 5,000 frozen dead fish suspended in ice. According to the park’s management, the design was supposed to make the visitors feel like they are skating on an ocean while observing the marine creatures.

However, the rink immediately became the talk of the town after the attraction was featured in a local TV report. People took to social media to criticize the new attraction and complained about the theme park’s harsh treatment of marine life.

According to the park’s officials, the uproar might have been due to false information that spread online that the fish used in the skating rink were frozen alive. The officials immediately refuted this misconception and explained that the fish, which were bought from a local market, were already dead before being placed in the rink. Nevertheless, the park quickly suspended the rink’s operations and promised to conduct a memorial service for the fish.

Due to the controversy that the amusement park faced, a group that holds an annual display of frozen fish in the Sapporo Snow Festival considered cancelling its exhibit.

Since 1984, the ice sculptures of the Susukino Tourist Association have become mainstays in the Snow Festival. Their ice sculptures, which feature seafood such as crabs and salmon, aim to show tourists the specialties of Hokkaido. The officials of the tourist association hope that they would not be associated with the skating rink incident, as the objective of their displays is very different from the theme park’s goal.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is your view on the theme park’s skating rink? Discuss.
·         What could have been done to improve the skating rink? Provide as many examples as you can.

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is acceptable to put animals on display for people’s entertainment? Why or why not?
·         What other examples can you think of where animals are put on display?

February 13, 2017