We Call It Bowser

Students guess the names of different Mario characters in English.

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Brenton Gettmann on Feb 09, 2011.

This is mostly a speaking and listening activity that has students saying the target grammar numerous times. Students don't really know that Mario (or Pokemon) characters are called something different in America, and they think that the names are funny/interesting.

Detailed Explanation:

After having students get into lunch and or small groups, explain that Mario characters in America are called totally different things than their Japanese versions. Pass out the activity sheets to each group (usually two sheets per group is fine). Have students repeat the target sentence a few times: "We call it..."

Demo the activity with your JTE:

Take one of the character pictures and fold it over on the dotted line so that students can only see the name. (Don't let them see the picture or they will automatically know the answer. The fun comes from them guessing over and over again. I usually cover the pic with my textbook and let name of the character hang over the edge.)

Say "In America, we call it (the English name)." Then have your JTE guesses what the name is in Japanese by using the target grammar: "We call it (Japanese name)." For example, "We call it Koopa." (Have the JTE guess a couple of times until they get it correct.)

After the demo, have students janken for order. All #1's stand up and show them the name of one of the characters. The fastest student to raise their hand gets to guess the name of the character in Japanese by using the grammar. (If they are correct, they get a point and you have the whole class repeat the correct sentence. Also, place the picture on the board so students can see what characters have already been said. If they are wrong, give another team a chance to guess.

Repeat this process until you are out of character cards. Repeat all of the character names again at the very end using the grammar.


  • If you want to, you can hand out India's worksheet for this activity to include some writing. Just have them write the correct sentence down after somebody has guessed correctly.
  • You can write the name of the characters on the board if you don't want to deal with trying to hide the picture while showing the name. Just show the picture after somebody has guessed correctly.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Make sure that each team guesses at least one time before another team has a second chance to guess because they will guess wrong a lot, but they think it's funny.


  • This is an interesting cultural difference that the students don't really know about.






Total 1

Estimated time: 15-20 min

Submitted by: Englipedia Archive

July 09, 2019


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