The Links - everything

Monday, 2 March 2015

Pronunciation and misunderstanding; is it me?

I thought I had figured out how to maximise student participation with Quizlet, in & out of the classroom, but I happened across another cool angle during the week.

Students finishing tasks quickly while their buddies are still working presents the teacher with a micro management problem; give them a new task that will overlap? Let them kick their heels and wait? Doing a quick task on Quizlet on an iPad is a solution - extra practice or review on related vocabulary for example, without having to relocate (to a PC). It's quiet, so not about to distract the others, but looks fun and encourages to others to hurry up & potentially have a go too.

Working with full phrases (rather than single words) also brings in punctuation - capital letters, apostrophes, spaces - to simple spelling. Typing takes time, counter-intuitively, as learners are not familiar with a keyboard layout. Still, a relevant skill to acquire.

This is where the "Aha!" moment arrived, though (I was trying to help from upside down & failing!) Use the mic and dictate the response.

And then the fun started, as the programme's interpretation of what it had heard produced other than what the students had said. Or thought they had said. Their reaction = the iPad must be deaf, or it can't spell, or it's just stupid ("We've said the same thing 5 times already, and it is wrong again!").

I let them keep trying until it was obvious there was quite a bridge missing. Students' pronunciation (elision or not, hard consonants 'missing', misplaced stress, false starts, intonation?) and my acceptance/perception of their usual utterances (ie my ear tuned to them & our shared context) perhaps allowing less than ideal output? The software second guessing utterances into grammatical structures (with no contextual base, obviously!) - its initial interpretations did 'adjust' as the speaker finished a phrase...

English: logo of quizlet
English: logo of quizlet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"You do it then!" was the 'we've had enough'
and to their satisfaction, my attempts were equally mangled!

So, what's the problem?!



Sunday, 1 March 2015

A time to travel - Palace of Versailles

Château de Versailles, vu des jardins
Palace of Versailles - it's massive!
I have used a magic watch to travel to the Versailles Palace in 1780.
I want to see beautiful dress and if it will be possible, I want to sleep in the Marie Antoinette's bed.
Someone find out me, I turn on magic watch!

Misuzu

Saturday, 28 February 2015

A time to travel - Edo Japan

天璋院または篤姫。Tensyoin AKA Atsu-Hime. 第13代将軍徳川家定御台所。
Atsu-Hime, no tea however
I have used a magic time-travel watch.travel watch.
Im travelling in the Edo period in Japan. Now is 1860. There is Edo castle.
I'm drinking Japanese tea with Atsu Hime. She was the thirteenth Takugawa shogun's wife.
Her tea manner is very elegant and tea things are wonderful. I can listen to her story half in a dream.

Youko

Friday, 27 February 2015

A time to travel - Machu Picchu

English: Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu - not a bad view
If I have a magic time travel watch, I go to Machu Picchu in Peru in 16 century.
I meet people who work at terraced fields and there are about 40 stages and 3000 stage stairs through them.
There are a lot of stone buildings, they are various designed.
Machu Picchu is located in high mountain. So the view is very beautiful and in mist I feel mysterious atmosphere.

Misako

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A time to travel - Tokiwa apartment

Some of the writers who used to live in Tokiwa apartment
I have used a magic watch to travel to the Tokiwa apartment in Tokyo in 1953.
Because there were many famous comic writers in Tokiwa apartment.
For example. Tezuka Osamu, Fuziko Fuzio, Akatuka Fuzio, Ishinomor Syoutarou.
So I would lie to work and live with them. And I want to see it how these wonderful works were born.

Reiko.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Food for thought with Aurasma - our story so far

Reflections on first attempts at embedding AR in our school. Short arms, analog mums, crayons vs pencils, and other minor issues explained.



Following a channel on Aurasma - the nitty gritty

Creating your great content is only part of the deal - making sure people can then find it is crucial! Clear "how to" from Damian at Luna International.



Saturday, 21 February 2015

Film review: ”DRACULA” directed by Francis F. Coppola



I saw a film the DVD shop near my house.It was called 'DRACULA' from the famous old story.

Gary Oldman is the star of the film. He plays Marques Dracula who has lived alone for 400 years. 400 years ago, he had found a treasure who had been his wife. His life had been happy. The reason why he has been vampire is he changed his character for getting back at God after his beloved wife had died. One day, he meets a woman who looks just like his wife. He doesn't want to bite her and turn her into a vampire. However she wants to be vampire to stay with him.

The most romantic and sad moment is at the end of the film. However the film is also very large scale directed by Mr.Francis Ford Coppola. His directing is amazing. I sometimes have the illusion of flying in the sky like a vampire.

Friday, 20 February 2015

What's wrong, Kaede?

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad, to add a lot of Oomph to student exchange. Sudden need to rehearse, respond quickly, remember lines and help each other out!



ET3 U6 dialogue

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad.



Introducing yourself, as a superhero

Getting to grips with self introductions is an integral part of learning a language, particularly early on on your learning journey. However, self introductions and personal questions can get boring and repetitive in a small class. As there are only three of us, including myself, in our new beginner's class, we tried a slightly different approach once we had grasped the basics. We came up with our own super hero identities; thinking about our alias, cover job and super powers. It allowed us to recycle familiar language while spicing up the usual monotonous self intro. Have a look below at Chiaki and Mie's alter-egos.

Sky Berry the taxi driver (Chiaki)

Pink Peach the ninja teacher, not a very conspicuous cover job! (Mie)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Augmented calendar - Luna's wall of names

So in the previous instalment, I spoke about what Aurasma actually is and how it works, leaving you all with a bit of a cliff hanger. This time round I will make good on my promise and demonstrate how we have integrated the app in our learning hub. Time for the “Tourasma” Don’t worry, what we’ve used it for isn’t as remotely lame as my puns.
            You may have already seen our Rationalefor using AR in school  and “Howto” videos (really recommend watching these as it shows our finished product) if you frequent our blog. I will be going into a bit more detail of the ideas touched on in the first video, plus the process of our journey with Aurasma. Also, there will be more videos to follow so make sure you subscribe to Jim’s YouTubechannel so you don’t miss out on any more future content.
            So the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Jim’s big idea. We needed something to brighten up the empty wall space in our waiting room, plus we wanted a way of remembering all of our students' birthdays. But we didn’t want just your typical run of the mill birthday display, we went all out for an interactive birthday calendar, with the help of Aurasma to bring it to life.
            Having settled on an idea, we got to work on our new project. Jim did the donkey work of making a lovely calendar with everyone’s names and birthdays tagged on. There was a fear of a lack of wall space, but a bit of ingenuity from Jim and we just about squeezed in all 12 months. The next step was adding the Augmented Reality. Let the fun commence!
            As we wanted this to be a student orientated project, we counted on them to provide us with some good quality content. We set about drawing self portraits, accompanied with a video recording during lesson time. Self portraits are fairly self explanatory, but for the videos we tried to add some spice and variation. We recorded some of our young learners playing a game or singing a song, with the older ones building up to a short self introduction using familiar language. For teens and adults, we had a bit of fun getting them to record and interview each other as an alternative to a monologue self intro.
            Having assembled all the pieces to our puzzle, all we had to do was put them all together, with Aurasma being the glue. We added everyone’s drawings to the calendar in order to create their “Auras” (If you don’t know how to make your own "Aura", you can read the previous blog post or watch the how to video) A lengthy process overall but well worth the effort. What we are left with is a display that shows what our students get up to during lessons, what they are capable of and how much fun they have, on top of serving as a birthday calendar. It’s a great feature for when we have visitors, as it allows them a peak at what goes on in ALL of our classes. Can’t come to observe one our classes due to time restrictions? No problem, you can have a look at what those students get up to with our birthday . The look of shock and wonder when parents and visitors alike see one our students pop up and their device and starts talking/singing never gets old.

We had a blast putting together our project and we would highly recommend you trying something similar. I will be following this up with another post on some of the difficulties we faced, and things we would do differently with a little hindsight. If you would like to see the display yourselves, don’t hesitate to swing by Luna to witness the magic of Aurasma.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Making your first "Aura"

With practice, making an "Aura" is easy. Damian shares our "How to" experience with clear & concise directions.



Postcard from Hanoi, Vietnam

The view from my hotel's terrace
Hi Jim,

These are my best photographs when I visited historic city of Hanoi in Vietnam.

Vietnam has holiday mood. Because It will be “TET” which is Vietnam’s New Year, in 3 days. Half of shops on the street have already closed and I found so many people in an open-air market. They took flowers and display goods for new year. The town was very busy however I relaxed at a very nice hotel near West Lake in Hanoi. It is a peaceful place and I just head birdsong and the sound of ripples on the lake. 

I had some Vietnamese wine on the hotel terrace and grateful times with my old friends. (although Vietnamese wine tasted awful…I recommend you try
Open-air market in Hanoi
French wine, if you have a chance to visit there and want to enjoy drinking).

Posted by Yumi

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Rationale for using AR in school

School owner Jim George explains what he wanted to achieve in his language school's waiting room, that would really impress visitors and parents - by having a roomful of cheerful learners hanging around on the walls 24/7, introducing themselves and singing songs etc.



Monday, 16 February 2015

About Vikings - My homework project




Mending bridges - after reading "In Sarah's Dreams"

When I was a high school student, I belonged to a brass band club. I played bassoon and Akiko played clarinet. My best friend Yuka played clarinet, too. Yuka and I used to talked and practiced together. Sometimes Akiko was around us, but she had never spoken to us. And I had never seen her smiling. I thought that I didn't know what she thought. So I didn't like her.

At the time, I liked to read mystery novels written by Yukito Ayatsuzi. None of my friends had read his novels. I talked to Yuka about the novel I read and about Yukito Ayatsuzi passionately! Yuka smiled and said “It sounds very interesting!” “I have read this novel, too.” Suddenly I heard a whisper from behind me. I was surprised. Akiko was there. She had said “I love his novels, too!”. “Really! What is the best for you?” We talked with Akiko for the first time. And we couldn't stop talking about these novels. She smiled all that time. I changed my image of her after we talked. She was just shy. And she was funny!

We have been good friends ever since.

Posted for Mio

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Passing Cambridge P.E.T. Our success story with JP004







My students in a Business English class were finally persuaded to prove to themselves how good their skills have become. They were obviously delighted to be presented with their certificates, and more than happy to share the secrets of their success.

I suggested they brainstorm ideas & map out a general plan on the board, and the video is the outcome. I think they're making superb progress, and passing P.E.T. (Cambridge Preliminary) a very solid milestone for them to chalk up.

Looking forward to them updating their profiles on LinkedIn! Comments very welcome - and why not subscribe to Luna's YouTube channel?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Postcard from...Chicago

Hello Jim-sensei,

I just finished the meeting with our customer!

I was very happy as I could have a productive meeting and delicious steak!!

Chinasa

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Augmented Reality (AR) - introduction to Aurasma

Have you heard of a really cool app called “Aurasma”? I used to be one the unfortunate souls who had no idea about the magic of Aurasma, until Jim kindly stepped in and enlightened me. So one cold December afternoon Jim calls me into his classroom as he has something to show me. He tells me to point his iPhone at a large drawing of Father Christmas on the wall. I was dumbfounded by what followed, I suspected witchcraft. The drawing came to life as an animated version of Santa popped up on the screen and began singing. After racking my brains, all I could muster was “How?” Jim, looking quite smug my reaction, then proceeded to fill me in on the magic of Aurasma.

The secret to Aurasma is that there are 2 key components; a video overlay and a trigger image. The video overlay can be anything you want, something you have recorded on your phone, any video format created through another app such as SockPuppets or ChatterPix Kids, even record something on the fly directly through Aurasma. Simple. On the other hand, setting up a trigger image can be a little trickier, especially if the resolution on your older phone camera isn’t up to scratch. The app is rather clever and is able to recognise images/drawings/patterns, and can then store them in its memory to be used as a trigger. Through experimentation, and getting fed up with spending more time than I would care to admit waving my iPhone around without much success, larger images with distinct outlines and plenty of colours helps with the recognition process. Having a steady hand doesn’t do any harm either.

Once you have prepared your overlay and set your trigger image, the final step is to combine them. Once you have made an “Aura”, you have the choice of making it private, which will only allow your phone to view your Auras, or public, which will enable followers of your Aurasma profile to access your content, as long as they have your Aura trigger on hand.

Now that you’re up to speed with Aurasma, you might be starting to form some ideas yourself on how to implement it into a learning environment. It was on the forefront of our agenda for a while too, and thanks to a bright spark idea from the man himself (Jim), we found a pretty cool way to show off our students’ work. His idea? Well, what I can tell you that is that you should tune in next week, where I will reveal our big idea to make Luna a truly interactive school. Watch this space! For the time being you can have a sneak preview of one our Auras starring Taisei.

video

Thursday, 29 January 2015

After Reading - The Key

My grandfather was the stamp collector.  After he died, the collection was handed over to my father and he decided to collect stamps as his father did.  My father buys every new stamps which are released from Japan Post Office every week.  He usually files four pieces of stamps as a set.  His file is well organized and puts those files in the shelf in order.  When I was six or seven years old, the stamp collecting was popular among my friend.  My father bought a file for me and gave me one or two stamps for my own collection.  At that time, almost all stamps were rectangle or square shape.  I was very excited to see the different shape, like round or wider rectangle.  The lowest value of stamp was one yen and the highest one I had was five hundreds yen.  I put those stamps from low to high and looked my file many times.  Sometimes I could get foreign stamps and it made me feel special.  And... I don't know where my file is now.  I don' remember clearly when I stopped collecting stamp, but I don't collect stamp any more.  My father still buys stamps every week and wants to hand it over to my brother in near future.

A letter to your teacher - Shoko

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Postcard from Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dear my sensei Mr. Jim and Yukari san,

Greetings from country of wonder Cambodia!!

This is my last day in Cambodia.
There are many changes during 1 year after my leaving. But I;m really happy to see my friends :)

It is very short stay and I still haven't completed yet my "What I want to eat" list! Mango, watermelon juice, cocnut juice, wonderful Indian food etc...Ahhh...And I need one more stomach...

See you on next Monday :)

Maki

A letter to your teacher - Rie

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My favourite mountain-top

When I was a child, I often went to the top of Small Mountain with my friend who lives near my house. There was a shrine in the mid of the mountain. It was easy to go there as we go to the shrine 3 to 4 times per year for taking part in the annual event with our family. There were steps from the bottom of the mountain to the shrines, one is the small one and another is the big one.

In order to go up to the top of the mountain, we have to climb a trail without maintained. Although it was not maintained, we could enjoy to climb up as it doesn’t long way. The mountain has a lot of pine trees and the other trees, but there were small space without trees in the top of the mountain. It was filled with the silky white sand there. We could play with the sand, find some strange shape of stones and enjoy beautiful scenery. Sometimes my mother stopped me to go there as there was some cliffs, but I often went there as I could see a lot of sceneries in four seasons.

Posted for Reiko

After reading "Gone" - an interview with silent Timmy

[Reporter]  I am here to interview 10 years old Timmy.
Do you remember that you were in trouble which was taken from supermarket?
[Timmy]  Of course! No!  But I heard it from Dad and Mum and I know that Jenna rescued me.
And I saw a blue hat which my grandmother made for me and I put in that trouble once.
[R]  Only once?
[T]  Yes, Mum housed it not to remember that trouble.
[R]  Did you hear that another boy was in the trouble as well as you?
[T]  Yes, I know Ryan well.  We live close to each other and we are friends.
He is prone to illness a little, so when I met him, we played game in Ryan's house and sometimes played football in garden of his house.
[R]  What are you doing after school or at the weekends when you doesn't meet Ryan?
[T]  I am taking with Jenna my dog Pocket,  Buster, and Bounce to the park and play them with ball.
Jenna likes to walking very fast with dogs, so sometimes I am doing running with Dad and Pocket.
[R]  What do you want to be when you grow?
[T]  I want to be dog trainer.
[R]  Thank you for taking your time for my interview.
[T]  Thank you.

Reporter - Ritsuko

Monday, 26 January 2015

A school project about Shinano no Kuni

When I was a high school student, I belonged to a broadcasting committee. We participated in the broadcasting competitions outside of the school.

There were two competitions for high school students every year and the bigger one was NHK broadcasting competition. If we win at local convention, we can go to the national convention.

When I was the third year, my team made a radio program and won in Nagano’s convention. The title was “The Greatest Hits of Nagano”. We dealt with “Shinano no kuni” that was the song of Nagano prefecture. The song was born one hundred years ago at that time. It was popular in Nagano and elementary and junior high school students sang a lot in the schools. I believed that the other prefectures had also their own prefecture songs, but we found that there were few prefectures that had their own songs or the songs were known and sung by people.

English: Nagano prefectural symbol Created und...
 Nagano prefectural symbol  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We interviewed the experts to research the reason. There were two main reasons. The one was the melody was rhythmical and approachable. The other one was that the people weren't forced to sing, but sang to solve the conflict between north and south of Nagano old days.

For your information, the program was No. 1 in the national convention in 2000!!

posted for Chinasa

Friday, 23 January 2015

Luna's student resolutions for 2015

A new year, a fresh start, a perfect opportunity to get your butt in gear, set some goals and make good on your promises. People always bugged me about my resolutions so my go to was always "Make a resolution next year".

My adult students conducted a survey in their classes this month to discover which of their classmates they shared similar aims with for 2015. We had a template of your usual run of the mill resolutions, plus a space for students to write their own ideas. After completing our surveys I was able to tabulate the data to then produce the following graph:


The results are in, and we may have a school full of alcoholics according to our data! I prefer to interpret it as our students having their priorities in the right place. It would be great to see our students travelling more, as they say they are going to. Being able to speak English really does open up doors when travelling abroad. Plus we get a lovely postcard to add to our collection.

What resolutions did you make this year? It's usually around this time many people start to go off track, don't be one of those people!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Yuto explains an ancient Viking boardgame

Check out How to Play Hnefatafl by Jim George on Snapguide.

I held the camera! Yuto's homework last week was to read a good chunk of his reader about Vikings, use the vocabulary to figure out a puzzle which then explained how to play this traditional Scandinavian board game. Please watch him explain the steps in the game - I think you'll agree he did his homework really well!

We were both surprised that when we Googled this, a gazillion sites popped up...but then again, we shouldn't have been. It's an unusual game in that the two sides are unequal at the start, and obviously very strategic. I'm retiring as a champion (yes, beating a ten-year old lad does it for the 'competitive Dad' in me!), but I am sure Yuto will be playing all his friends now with his homemade board (also part of this homework) which was a lot cheaper than the boards we saw advertised at $29.50

Follow Yuto's excellent directions, and try the game for yourself? And please share your feedback his homework?

(You can make your own Snapguides by the way, online or with the app. Clearly very easy, if I can make it during class!) 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

My first journey - after reading "Gone"

My first journey I ever made was to go to meet my uncle's family who live in Nagoya.

I was 6 years old at that time. It takes about 3 hours from my home to his house by train. It was my first time to get train by my self. My mother worried and let me have some food, drinks, clothes and souvenior for my uncle's family. They are heavy but I was much more anxious about how I get to there.

Not the Eiffel tower or the Tokyo tower, this ...
Nagoya TV tower, the oldest TV tower
 in Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fortunately, there was only one time to transit the train at Matsumoto station as my uncle was waiting at Nagoya station. As I have often been to Matsumoto station with my grandmother, there was no problem to transit the train. 

After reaching Nagoya, he take me to TV tower which was famous in Nagoya at that time. I was impressed everything I watched as most of things were that I had never seen. Especially for the experience to watch the movie. That was my first time to watch the movie. Although the story of the movie was a bit of heavy for me, I enjoyed my first movie in my life.

Posted for Reiko

Friday, 16 January 2015

Getting lost - trusting my car navigation

This is a kind of lost story on the way to Ueda city although it is not lost in the mist and the completely lost.

I went to a hotel in Ueda city to attend a seminar by my car. It was the first time to get there by myself, so I used the car navigation system to find the route. My plan is to use two toll tunnels, not highway. I set up the car navigation system without using the toll road because I believed it meant highway, but it was wrong. The system showed the route without using not only highway but also toll tunnels. I should have realized it before I left my house.
The TomTom One in-car navigation system.
Photo credit: Wikipedia

I was still confident that I could get to the destination on time as the car navigation system showed that the arriving time was still good for me. I followed the route that the system showed. I drove through the mountain road and it was harder than expected as I wasn’t good at driving such a road. In addition, there were very narrow roads and a few tunnels without lights. I was worried if I could get to the destination. 

Fortunately, I could arrive at the destination on time, but I was exhausted. I learned that I should check the overall route before the departure.

Posted for Chinasa

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Miyuki's recurring nightmare - after reading "In Sarah's Dreams"

Recently I had a bad dream. It was really realistic because the situation was driving.
I drive my car which I always use everyday. The situation is at in my junior high school's parking. I'm not sure why I was there but I think I went to the election. After the election, I tyied to go to somewhere. Unfortunately, the parking was crowded, as well as the road also crowed. Furthermore, the path was narrow, it was difficult to pass each other. Then my car was moving slowly and slowly, I paid my attention to avoid any accidents.. Almost my car could go out the parking and road, I hit other car. 

I had experienced ca accident before, so I was not panicked. I got out my car and talked the car driver. The car driver was women, she seems really angry.. She said something like "what did you do?! Your car was hit my car. Look! My car was scrunched." I heard that kind of words. I said to her " I'm really sorry. I'll fix your car using my insurance.. So could you please tell me your name, address and telephone number?" When I asked her, I was wake up.
Result of a serious automobile accident
Result of a serious automobile accident (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This dream tells me that be careful to drive your car! If you are hurry, you should drive safely. 

After dreaming, I try to drive safely.

Posted for Miyuki

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

My photo essay subject would be...dolphins

If I enter a photo competition, I would choose sea creatures, especially dolphin as my subject. 

I have seen on TV that when a dolphin breathed out in the sea, bubbles from its lip looked like angel rings. I thought what a beautiful that is! So I would like to get a picture of it. But it is difficult because this does not happen very often. Therefore I need to get advices from two professionals. One is a photographer who gets pictures in the sea mainly. I think it needs specialized technique to get pictures in the sea. And the other is an expert on dolphin. I have to learn about dolphin and where and when high probability of happening it is. 

Dolphin show at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium
Dolphin show at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I want to take pictures from front of dolphin because angel ring was seen the most clearly. If someone is allowed to wish so much, I would like to get a picture a beautiful-looking fish pass through the angel ring. If I can get a picture of this situation, I absolutely would be able to win a photo competition! Oops! Above all I have to take out my fear of diving into the sea.

Posted for Mio

Sweet watermelon home, Hata

English: Water melon slice
Water melon slice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hata is about 250㎞ north west of the capital,Tokyo. Hata is in a region called the Shinetsu and Japanese Alps. It is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. There are big Water Melon fields, bueatiful mountains ,transparent blue Azusa river.

The Watermelons from Hata are very very sweet and they are expensive.
Our winters are very cold and dry, and it snows less than Hakuba. Our Summers are quite hot and dry.

I'm sorry, there is not a photo of Hata.

Thanks

Aoi

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Sweet Home, Nagoya

English: The keep of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城, Nago...
Nagoya Castle Originally built around 1525, destroyed during World War II. Reconstructed in 1959 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nagoya is about 400km west of the capital,Tokyo. Nagoya is in a region call Tokai or Aichi. Nagoya's fine old castle and famous for Toyota car's.

One of the biggest cities in Japan.
Our winters are cold and wet,and it sometimes snow.
Our summers are very hot and wet with tempertures around 30°. Here's a photo of around Nagoya castle. I got the photo from the internet.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Best wishes
Kie

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Some fantastic place for a photo shoot - after reading What Rose Saw

I recommend to visit one mountain several time a year. You can see/enjoy nice view of contrast of green wood and lingering snows in spring, of verdant wood in summer, and of autumn leaves in autumn. Even if it is same day, you can see very different view in a bit difference of temperature, weather etc. I experienced every time that the view utterly changed in a few minutes.

Also, I recommend to see alpine plants which are very tiny and tough and can not see them in areas near human dwellings. It is alarmed not to collect and damage alpine plants, so most of people can't see them until their lifetime end.

I want to ask photographers to take photos of alpine plants and upload them to social network like Facebook, twitter etc. to show them to many people.

Posted for Ritsuko

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lost in the Mist - after reading The Rainbow Girl

This is a kind of lost story on the way to Ueda city although it is not lost in the mist and the completely lost.I went to a hotel in Ueda city to attend a seminar by my car. It was the first time to get there by myself, so I used the car navigation system to find the route. My plan is to use two toll tunnels, not high way. I set up the car navigation system without using the toll road because I believed it meant high way, but it was wrong. The system showed the route without using not only high way but also toll tunnels. I should have realized it before I left my house.

I was still confident that I could get to the destination on time as the car navigation system showed that the arriving time was still good for me. I followed the route that the system showed. I drove through the mountain road and it was harder than expected as I wasn’t good at driving such a road. In addition, there were very narrow roads and a few tunnels without lights. I was worried if I could get to the destination and Fortunately, I could arrive at the destination on time, but I was exhausted. I learned that I should check the overall route before the departure.
Posted for Chinasa

Friday, 9 January 2015

After reading The Rainbow Girl - a similar story from my culture

In Japan, calligrapher "Shoko Kanazawa" is famous and she has a Down syndrome. There are 50 thousands of patients of Down syndrome patients in Japan. I have image that their understanding is slow and limited, but they have supple mind and special ability in one field. Some of them has special ability especially in the art/music field.

Ms. Shoko Kanazawa is active on calligraphy field and her special ability is as per my image/understanding.

Nowadays, she wrote the title "平清盛" of annual famous drama played by NHK which is public television. Her calligraphy doesn't pretend to ingratiate to people (=to be famous? to make money?) and her supple mind is shown on calligraphy. I have never seen her calligraphy, but I saw a article that most of people who saw her calligraphy, were moved and her pernal exhibition or events were increasing.

At a feature segments of Mr. Shoko Kanazawa, I found that I had incorrect understanding and prejudice for Down syndrome. There are so many patients of Down syndrome, so incorrect understanding causes big problem. I think that various success of people having Down syndrome will decrease people like me.

Posted for Ritsuko

Thursday, 8 January 2015

About my school - an informative poster

Remi has been covering the topic of school and education, learning a lot about different education systems in place all around the world. I asked Remi what she enjoys about the high school she attends, probably an unfathomable concept for many students, and why she would encourage other high schoolers to study there. To get the word out, or at the very least attempt to convince me, about how awesome Remi’s school is, we set about making an informative poster through Glogster.

I gave Remi all the necessary tools for her project to make her poster as informative, appealing and fun as she saw fit. She even added photos of some of her school events, which was a nice touch. I must confess though that I would have liked to have seen a much more eye catching poster with a bit of snazzy editing. Also including her school’s name may have been useful.

Please tell us what you think as Remi would love to hear your feedback. Would you think about attending or sending your kids there? I think the 8 exams a year would throw me off!

Lost & Found - after reading The Rainbow Girl

I am bad at directions. Therefore I often get lost. The latest was two month ago. It was happened when I drove my car to my parents’ home for two hours at night. At that time, I was very tired after work, and very sleepy. So I had to go to convenience store a few times to rest and to buy some foods to open my eyes. Because of that, I could wipe the sleep at last. But next, I had been lost in thought about our work. I have driven same way to my parents’ home many times, so I got careless. “Where am I?” The next thing I knew I drove on an unfamiliar road. I noticed I had to turn left the previous crossroad. But I thought when I would turn left the next crossroad, I also would be able to get home. But it was too naïve. I completely got lost. I tried to use navigation of cellphone, but that area is too poor cellphone reception to work well. I started to feel heat. “Don’t freak.” I said to myself. When I got a main street, the navigation of my cellphone started to work. And then I could get my parents’ home 30 minutes late. I thought even if we would used to do something, I would have to be alert.
Mio