The Links - everything

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Noisy 'see you later' song!

Shopping for Trouble - a shopper writes

When the going gets tough, I go shopping... 

I like shopping! Because I like looking many things for clothes, grocery, shose, etc.. So i like looking something but also buying something. When I buy new things, it makes me happy and excited. My favorite place is Karuizawa outlet and Isetan, which is famous department in Shinjuku.

Regarding Karuizawa, there are many shops. I can buy anything with cheap price. I also like to touch the high brand clothes. Of course I'm not able to buy them but it is exciting. And for the Isetan, I can look and buy latest stuff there. Sometimes, it is hard for me to get some products in Matsumoto, but if I would go this department store, I can get them.

For me, it is exhausting sometimes but I like looking goods and imagine how to use them in my life style. Furthermore, if I can buy a goods after researching, looking, it is very happy!

My learning biography :)

I'm studying English at the moment. It's the second most important language in Japan, and I want to travel to the Olympics in Brazil & Russia.

I go to English classes once a week. We have a coursebook, and I always study it if I have got a free moment, in the car for example. I'm going to read English books and watch English DVDs.


Here's my Voki!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Postcard from New York, New York.


Hello from New York! I stayed in NYC for two days and I really enjoyed. I watched the baseball game (Ynakees x Red Sox), got on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and had a great dinner at Grand Central Station. It was so excited city.


After reading Death at Hadrian's Wall...

What 10 things would you put in your backpack for a long hike?

1 a tent: We can be out of winds and rains in a tent. And if we will sleep outside without a tent, it will very dangerous!
2 a torch: we can walk in the dark night safer.
3 a mobile phone: People who reads this book will understand it is necessary to walk for a long distance. If we will get into danger, we will be able to inform it to others quickly. As I am bad at directions, I want to confirm where I am by GPS.
4 raincoat: we need not wet clothes and ourselves if we wear it. So we can keep feel well.
5 matches: They are very useful to set fire when we cook.
6 a pot: If we take it, we can eat hot meal.
7: a map: This is one of the most need things. We can confirm the course to goal.
8: batteries: When the battery of torch run down, we can change it with new one.
9: money: We can buy foods, clothes and other need things. And we can stay a hotel or youth hostel and we can take a bath there.
10: medicine: If we have a stomachache suddenly, we need it.

Posted for Mio

After reading Mystery at Lion Rock - my trip to France & Italy

Write about a (school) trip...

I went to Italy and France with my friends after the graduation from the university in 2005. It was good for me to have two weeks trip with the cheap price as we were still students.
We visited a lot of famous and beautiful buildings like church and museums.

In Italy, we were very excited to go around the locations of Roman Holiday like Spanish Square, The mouth of Truth and Trevi Fountain. We enjoyed doing the same action as the movie.

In France, the most impressive one was the Louvre. I was not very familiar with the arts, but there were many arts that I learned in the text book. Especially, I was moved to see Mona Lisa. It was much smaller than expected, and there were many people around the art, but I felt the great presence from the drawing.

I was also looking forward to seeing the Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay, but it was cloudy, so I hope that I can see it in sunny day next time.

We also enjoyed eating many delicious pizza and sweets in those countries. I can eat most of them even if I am in Japan, but I felt they were special when I had in Italy and France.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Want to be a better teacher? Become a Speaking Examiner...

Delighted to report that Luna's most recent Speaking Examiner training events in Tokyo were a resounding success. This makes sure we are able to have a good rotation of top-class examiners for the coming sessions and beyond, at all adult levels (we are offering all levels of Cambridge English Language Assessment exams for adults - KET, PET, FCE, CAE, & CPE - this autumn, at various locations which can be found via our exams-specific website ).

Experienced teachers prepared to listen & learn
Big slap on the back to the team, giving up two Sundays in succession to tackle some very demanding professional development, and a fairly demanding trainer to boot!

Thanks always to Trevor at King's Road, for hosting us & rearranging classes.. Actually pretty pleased he didn't thump me, after nominating him for the A.L.S. ice bucket challenge!

Certification for all examiners will be taking place on October 19th in Tokyo. Anyone considering becoming an examiner should contact Jim directly.

After reading Daeth at Hadrian's Wall...

Write about an historic structure or building in your country, that you have visited. Include photographs.

 There is a Zenko-ji temple in Nagano city, Nagano prefecture. It was built in seven century.
The main temple was designated a national treasure in 1953. It is the 3rd biggest wooden building in which was designated a national treasure.

Its honzon (the principal image of Buddha) is Amida Sanzon-zo (the image of the Amida Triad). But we can’t see the honzon. We can see the copy instead of honzon once in seven years. The period is called Gokai-cho. The copy is an important cultural property built in Kamakura period, made of bronze.
Zenkoji in Nagano, Nagano prefecture, Japan
Zenkoji in Nagano, Nagano prefecture, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pillar called Eko-chu is built in front of main temple when Gokai-cho. If you touch the Eko-chu, you will happy in your next world. When I went to Zenko-ji in Gokai-cho, there are a lot of people. So I got in the line to touch the Eko-chu over one hour.

There are some idioms including “Zenko-ji”. For example, “Ushi ni hikarete Zenko-ji mairi” = Never see me as just a cow, the mind of mine let you to go to Buddhism. It mean you are unexpectedly brought to somewhere with others. And an invitation from someone or unexpectedly chance will lead you good or lucky.

I think Zenko-ji temple look very beautiful. I like it.

Posted for Yuri

Write about the best 'bad' guy from a movie

English: The British actor Jeremy Irons presen...
The British actor Jeremy Irons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My favorite baddy is Simon Peter Glover acted by Jeremy Irons in Die hard 3.

I fell in love with Jeremy Irons when I saw him in the beginning of this movie. He looks full of intelligence. He is tall and thin. He shows up in the movie, wearing dark blue suit and a pair of sunglasses, and walking through the babel of Wall Street. He looked really cool. The way of his speaking is also attractive.

In the movie, he was setting to have German accent. I couldn’t really tell the difference of English accent. To me, he sounded British accent, which gave me an noble impression.

In the movie, he asks John McClane riddles, saying “Simon says…” He was teasing John, and his elegant and mysterious “Simon says” attracted me because of his coolness.

However, as the movie goes to the end, he becomes just a human being, so I don’t like him so much in the end of the movie. He loses his temper because John McClane brakes his perfect plan. He dies very easily, so I felt something missing with his ending, but I think it is good for the end of bad guy that Justice have to win always!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

After reading The Show Must Go On...

When I was a high school student, I belonged to a brass band club of my school. I played Bassoon. This instrument is not famous. But I liked to play it. Our coach, Mr. Matsui was very good conductor. And he coached us very harshly.

We wanted to make our debut at a national convention. Therefore we had to get a gold medal at each three conventions. To rehearse, we always went to school by first train, and we went home by last train. And not only that, we rehearsed every weekend. Mr. Matsui always said “ If you don’t practice for a day, your skill will return back to three days ago!”

We could get a gold medal at two times every three years. But it was hard for us to get it at the third convention. My last year, we got very nervous by the side of the stage at the third convention. We cheered up each other. And we enjoyed to play there. At last we could get a third gold medal! But we could not go to the national convention. Gold medal was given seven teams, and four upper teams of them could go to the next convention. Our team’s rank was seventh. We were unhappy then, but it is my good memory!

Open week - happy mums everywhere!

A big thank you to all our parents who made the effort to get involved during Open Week. It means a lot to us, that the job we are doing with your children means a lot to you. It is great to see so many of you wanting to see inside the classroom & get a first-hand glimpse of the classroom dynamic.

Importantly, we do not ask our teachers to prepare a finely crafted demonstration that has been rehearsed and drilled down to the last minute; this used to happen when I was an assistant language teacher at Fuzoku junior high school. Every last detail of the class was choreographed (even down to which students would be asked which questions...). Our teachers' brief is to "get on with it", teach a class as usual and highlight how/what the kids can do as well as how you 'do it' along the way - don't play to the gallery.

Obviously the children behave differently with mums hovering, but they quickly forget the audience once engaged with class tasks and it's business as usual. Some issues of course with distractions (little brothers & sisters, mostly) but time flies and a high quality lesson delivered smoothly means no one was watching the clock/surprise that it's already time to wrap things up & set homework.

We will be taking note of your feedback and look forward to fine-tuning things with your comments in mind. 

Anyone is welcome to observe a class at Luna - please do contact Yukari to ask/give us the chance to find you an extra chair etc.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Black Night - after reading

There is a very valuable painting on display in a local gallery. 

Describe your plan to steal it without getting caught.

I ask my friends to be a member of my robbers’ team. At least I want four or five people who one can
trust in my team. To get down safety with this job, we need for more than one year. I think the local gallery borrows very valuable paintings for art exhibitions from a famous gallery. So we will steal it when the paintings would be carried back to the famous gallery.

First, one of my team will work for this local gallery as part-timer for about a year. And he has to earn the trust of the staffs. And he will say the boss that he knows the very high-grade and low cost transport company to carry art. That is our team! Others of my team will learn method of packing for art for a year. On this day, we will wear disguise. We will pack for art perfectly. And we will carry back them except for the painting we want. This plan is perfect …Oh! This is not perfect. When the staff notice the one of paintings was stolen, our friend who works this gallery will be suspected… I think I can not steal it without getting caught!!

Posted for Mio

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Alphabug soup - There's a fly in my soup!

s...s... soup!
I was looking for an open ended vocabulary game to test some of my YLE students when I stumbled upon “Alphabug Soup”, which was tucked away in our vast boardgames cupboard, right next to the gateway to Narnia.
The essence of the game is to get your critters around the board, and back into your soup pot, by naming words that begin with the letter displayed on the letter disks that you pick up after rolling the die. The aim of the game is to collect as many disks as possible, NOT get around the board as quickly as possible. Repeated words are strictly forbidden!
Rather than focusing on a specific vocabulary set, this game provides the students with freedom to choose their own words. I was especially pleased when “Union Jack” was uttered during game play! The game also helps clear up some common mistakes with words beginning with "l" or "r" and "b" or "v". One of my classes was struggling with differentiating between b and d, the competitive aspect of the game soon straightened out those errors.
I’ve also experiment with some variations to the game and upping the difficulty. Instead of only picking up 1 letter disk per turn, players pick up the amount of letter disks as shown on the die face, moving forward 1 space for each correct answer. For hard mode, the number you roll is the number of words you must say beginning with the letter shown on your chosen disk.
“Alphabug Soup” is fun, versatile and basic enough to suit classes of ranging abilities, whilst allowing for a broader range of vocabulary to come into use. The students also don’t seem to mind the collections of critters bobbing away in their soup pots!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Making a mobile - butterfly flutter

"This is fun!"
In a bid to brighten up the classroom a little more, Ceilidh and Koutarou gave a helping hand in creating a butterfly mobile to hang up in the classroom (it was also another excuse to bust out the paint brushes and get our fingers dirty!).  We used folded card to draw on 1 wing, then by the magic of mathematics we were able to cut out perfectly symmetrical butterflies with half the work.

Following on from the symmetry theme, instead of painting these butterflies willy-nilly, we painted a pattern onto 1 wing of each butterfly with the intent of pressing the wings together while the paint was still wet to transfer our patterns over onto the opposite wing. It took a couple of attempts before the idea of painting only 1 wing sunk in, while some patterns transferred better then others.

Pressing the wings together
The class was also disturbed by Jim’s ALS ice bucket challenge, which meant we didn’t have the time to assemble the mobile during class. On the other hand, we did get to tip ice cold water all over Jim!

The mobile is now complete and on display by the window, with the butterflies fluttering merrily in the breeze. They can now serve as a reminder to the prospect of spring and sunshine when the cold winter months set in.

The finished product

Monday, 1 September 2014

After reading Rip Van Winkle...Nanako predicts 2034

Happy graded reader!
This is what I think I will see if I wake up after a 20-year sleep!

In people's houses...all the things have 3D screens, like your TV and computers. If you say "Lights on", the lights will come on.

In people's can go to work by a clean bus for free. People wear 3D shirts, and everybody prints their own clothes. You can decide the colour & design and everything on your computer. Life will be better.

In the way people work...some people work at home using their computers and the internet. People work more, because they do it at home - mums can work.

In what people do in their free-time...they can go to space for $1. People will play other new sports and you can do sports in the house with a special helmet. 

I would like to go the future now, cos. I want to see what I will be doing right now. I will not be married, and I will be a doctor in America and in Japan too.  My brother will be married, living in America and be a doctor too. My dad will be retired. My mum will be a normal mum, living in a small house in Matsumoto.

Nanako (7).

Can you do the vocabulary games on Quizlet for this story? Have a try!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Friday, 29 August 2014

Damian's ALS ice bucket challenge

Damian's guerilla style ALS ice bucket challenge, storming the castle grounds with buckets of ice cold water for a very good cause.
Remember you can either donate some money to us (which we will be forwarding on ourselves) or donate directly at at

phonics; Masa. Long/short /u/

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad.

At the supermarket

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad.

I can't find my mum (Kaede/Daiya)

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad.

Jim's Ice Bucket challenge

Thank you Steve Bond & Katie Malins for nominating me; proud to revisit Rag mentality! ALS a very worthy cause no matter how many of these you have seen - cough up a coin for charity please. Trevor Joseph, Anthony Hogan & Patrick Jackson are my nominees: get wet gents!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mobile phones - a great invention?

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...
The not so complete mobile phone evolution
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Almost everybody has a mobile phone. But is it a great invention? I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.
First I would like to introduce some advantages. Firstly, a mobile phone enables us to contact our friends anywhere. We can meet friends even if we don't set the meeting place specifically in advance. Secondly, we can search a lot of things by using the Internet. We can search and get information when we want to. Thirdly, a mobile phone has a high definition camera. A mobile phone makes it easier for everybody to enjoy taking or sharing photos and movies.
On the other hand, there are also disadvantages. For instance, we are spending too much time with a mobile phone. We use it with no purpose to kill time and sometimes we spend a few hours a day by surfing the net. Also, a mobile phone is not good for your eyes. Watching a small display definitely damages your eyes. In addition, some crimes happen by using a mobile phone.
In conclusion, I believe a mobile phone is a great invention and it has changes our lives dramatically. It is true that is sometimes causes bad effects. However, if we take care of the way to use it, it's a very useful and safe tool for us.


Almost everybody has a mobile phone. But is it a great invention? I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.
The first advantage is that people can contact other people easily anywhere, anytime they want. Secondly, they can use the internet to check something, book a hotel and buy something online. The current mobile phone can do almost everything. Thirdly, in case of emergence, they can use it to call.
On the other hand, there are also disadvantages. For example, people need to pick up their phone or get messages even if they take their holiday. Also, it is bad for their eyesight. We get addicted too easily a lot of using mobile phones.
In conclusion, there are some disadvantages, but the mobile phone is a great invention. I think that people need to think about how to use the mobile phones themselves.


Almost everybody has a mobile phone. But is it a great invention? I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.
I think mobile phone is very useful item. Firstly, we can always contact with our friends. In an emergency, we can call the police easily by it. Secondly, everywhere anytime we can research everything by Internet. If you went out with your girlfriend, your mobile phone would recommend a nice café. So it is a nice item.
On the other hand, I think mobile phones are dangerous. For example, we can receive call or e-mails from our office or business. So, we can't relax on holiday. Some people get crazy about mobile games and lose creative or family time.
In conclusion, the balance is important. It is very good items with good use.


Almost everybody has a mobile phone. But is it a great invention? I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.
The first advantage is that we can use our mobile phones anywhere and anytime. Secondly, we can use many functions with mobile phones like e-mail, photos and listening to music. Thirdly, incase we are in trouble, we can call our family or emergency call (110, 119, etc)
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages. For instance, we also have a chance to get annoyed with unexpected calls. in addition, we must keep the battery on charge all the time!
To sum up, we need to switch off this great invention at least while we are asleep.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Kamikochi information requested

English: Kamikochi in Matsumoto, Nagano prefec...
Kamikochi in Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture, Japan  上高地   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kamikochi is about 40km west of Matsumoto.  It is one of the most beautiful mountain parks in Japan. There is a beautiful green forest, an icey cold river, waterfalls, beautiful old lakes, and massive tall mountains, many over 3,000 meters high.

There is a lot of wildlife in Kamikochi. There are friendly wild monkeys, secretive rare Ptarmigan, dangerous black bear and shy quiet deer. There are also pretty chirpy birds.

Our summers are lovely and cool, with clear blue skies. You can go camping in safe cheap camp sites and hiking along easy enjoyable tracks. You can go boating in interesting small boats, and  take photographs of beautiful natural scenes.

In winter, there is heavy snow, with good snow-shoeing spots. 

I hope this information is useful for you.

Best wishes, 

Tomoro's summer holiday report

English: Mount Jōnen from_Mount_Akaiwa 日本語: 赤岩...
Mount Jōnen from Mount_Akaiwa 赤岩岳から望む常念岳 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In my short summer holiday I went to climb a 2986m mountain called Jonendake with my mum. It was very easy to climb because it wasn't so high. At the top of the mountain we took some photos of the beautiful mountain scenery. The weather wasn't so bad but, it was raining a little bit. We stayed for one night in a lodge at the top of Jonendake, and we ate a good hot dinner of hunberger, rice, miso soup, vegetables and jelly for dessert.

I also went to my grandmothers' houses in Chiba and Kanami. In Chiba I saw a Japanese samurai film called Ruroni Kensin. It was really enjoyable because the samurai Kensin, the star, was a very cool killer. The rock music was super and the fighting was very glory. In Kanami I tidied my grandfather's room, which took a long time as it was really untidy. I also watched a lot of the high school baseball tournament on TV. All of the games were good. My grandmothers were very happy to see my face and I was happy to see them.

I had a very good time this holiday, but next year I will have a high school entrance exams so I won't be able to play much then.

My camping experiences in Japan - a student writes

When I was young, I experienced several camps with my family and as a member of school student and Girl Scout. The places were different every time, but I always used dixie to cook rice and had dinner outside.

In the camp with my family, the camp place was sea side. We enjoyed playing fireworks and doing BBQ. The tent was very narrow and a little bit hot. However, I was happy as my mother fanned me until I felt into a sleep.

In the camp as a member of school student, we hiked to Utsukushigahara highland and stayed in a lodge. I was happy, as a boy who I liked and I were in the same group. I could cook and had curry with him. In addition, I danced with him by the camp fire. It was my one-way love, but it was good memory.

The camp as a member of Girl Scout was more complicate than other two camps. Especially, building big tent was analog (physical?) and hard work. I remembered that talking with other members was fun in the tent, but next day, we had to unbuild and fold the tent…

I haven’t done camps for a long time, but they
were good experience for me. If I have children in the future, I want them to experience unusual life like camp.

(Posted for Chinasa, after reading "Stranger Danger")

Sunday, 24 August 2014

My favourite possession - my iPod drip!

Ipod touch 2gen
Ipod touch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's got two high quality cameras at the front and back, the one at the back has flash which also can be a flashlight. It's got a big 32GB memory can hold lots of apps, music and photographs. It's got a clear big touch screen.

I like to use it to text chat with friends and family, phone them, send pictures and videos. I also like to listen to my music, take pictures and videos. I can play games, watch videos on YouTube, check quizlet and search for some answers for my homework. I check the weather every day and use it as an alarm clock which has various ringtones. 

I accidentally dropped it in the river last week, so I'm really sad.

Takuro :(

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The most idyllic place I have ever visited is....

The most idyllic place I have ever visited is Ohshika-mura in Nagano Prefecture.

I lived in Nagano Prefecture for a long time, but I didn't know Ohshika-mura until one of my friend worked for elementary school there. I visited her together with my friends. It is located in the southern part of Nagano.

We drove to south by express highway and exit from Matsukawa IC. It was a long winding road to the village. It took over 30 minutes into deep valley to east. There were neither houses nor shops along road. Sometimes deer and/or monkeys jumped out from valley.

After coming out of a tunnel, there is a small village. There are dotted with houses. There is only one grocery store, but no convenience store. I love the hot spring spa there. It was located in the middle of mountain. It is a small facility and has only open-air spa. In the spring, I could enjoy the beautiful green landscape down to the village.

 Ohshika-mura is famous for Kabuki which is the traditional Japanese performance art. The people living in Ohshika-mura play some famous story every spring and fall.

Well, I love to visit there but I don't want to live there. I am living within walking distance from the convenience store as well as bus stop. Also our parents live near to our house. It is very convenient environment for me.

Posted for Tomoko, after reading "Double Trouble"

The Secret in the Farmhouse - writing about being brave

I have three dogs. The accident happened to one of them nine years ago. It had past several months since I had her. I had taken her for a walk every morning.

One day, I changed the lead to new one for her as the previous one was a little bit complicating. It, however, was too loose to hold her. When she stopped to sniff a tuft of grass, I pull the lead and moved forward. Then, she came out from the lead. When I tried to catch her, she was surprised and ran away! I chased her, but she continued to escape from me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have mobile phone. In addition, there were no any other people around there. Therefore, I could not ask anyone to help and I had no way but to keep chase her not to lose her. I had been struggling with the situation for twenty minutes.

After that, I found a dog in the backyard of a house. I suddenly recalled that my dog liked other dogs. I thought that she came close to the dog if she saw the dog and I could catch her.

I didn’t know the owner of the house, but I knocked the window from the backyard to call the owner. The owner was surprised, but when I talked about the accident, she took her dog to me. When my dog saw the dog, she was pleased to come close and I finally caught her. I was very relieved and appreciated the owner and the dog.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Voice in Silence - Shigeki Tomura’s Drawing and Drypoint etching Exhibition

Shigeki Tomura's work
Shigeki Tomura’s Exhibition “Voice in Silence” will be open on September 11 at Trattoria Gallery Matsumoto. Shigeki Tomura was born in east-northeast in Japan and he lives in Morioka-Iwate, now. Since 1984, he has been dedicated to drypoint etching. Drypoint is a printmaking technique, in which an image is incised into a traditionally copper plate with a hard-pointed needle. He has received some international prizes since 1989. His works are extremely delicate and sensitive. They are in monochrome silence world. You can feel real air and deep atmosphere in the works. His works are very quiet but they have great presence. His works are really popular for people. It will be his first exhibition in Matsumoto city. 
The gallery restaurant “Torattoria Gallery Matsumoto” is a unique style gallery restaurant in the city. Many kinds of homemade pizza and pasta are popular.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

World flag - design and describe

A recent little project some of my adult students have been doing, which at the time coincided with the FIFA World Cup, is a lesson plan from Beyond: Knowledge: Geography. The website offers a variety of resources and fully prepared lesson plans with materials for free, with even more to be unlocked from joining their "Staff Room". The lesson plan focuses on identifying and describing flags, alongside giving students an opportunity to design and create their own world flag. For this task I asked my students to be as original and inspiring as possible with their designs. So I would like to present to you a collection of "world flags", accompanied by a brief description.

Misako's design
I imagine everlasting world.
Pale blue part means sky.
Blue part means sea.
Read part means the sun.
Four leaves clover is a symbol of peace, hope, human love, fortune.

Misuzu's design
The green part is an earth.
The pink part is flowers covering the earth.
The blue part is sky.
Please imagine if you go to space, you can see the earth like this shape from spaceship window.

Yuuko's design
This flag has on green background.
It's football field.
In the middle, there is peace mark.
This year is FIFA world cup year.
FIFA world cup entertained all over the world people.
Sports games makes a world happy and peace.

Reiko's design
This flag has black background.
There are a big blue circle in the middle and olive leaf on the big circle.
And this have one big circle and one medium circle seven small circles slantingly and straight.
One medium circle is on bottom left.
The big circle is between one medium circle and seven small circles.
In left side one medium circle and 2 small circles.
In right side five small circles.
The medium circle's color is orange.
The small circle's color is yello.
The olive leaf's colour is yellow green.
The olive berry's color is olive.
Background black mean the Space.
The big blue circle mean the Earth.
The olive leaf is a symbol of Peace.
One medium circle in bottom left mean Sun.
Seven small circles mean the solar system planet.
From bottom left Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
The flag mean the peace of all of the world and all of the space.

Rie's design
In the middle, there is a symbol. A symbol that looks like a snake. This flag has gradation background. The meaning of the gradation is the variety of people on earth. There are various races, but it is connected like slow gradation. The ring formed snake represent the state that without opening and ending.

Shouko's design
The Earth is full of dreams.
I was represented by a star that dream.
Big dream, a small dream.
There is a dream of various shapes.
All its wonderful.
That dream come true and Holding Hands is people from all over the world.
The message "Holding Hands".
Blue is the color of the earth.
Also easy to match the skin of any color is purple.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Postcard from Dusseldorf, Germany

Hi Jim,

I arrived in Dusseldorf, Germany. It's a sunny day. There's a nice breeze coming through the window.

Tonight, I'll have a good beer with my company's staff.

Tomorrow's meeting will be tough, but I will enjoy my business trip.


Monday, 11 August 2014

Post Card from Ayres Rock, Australia

Dear Mr Damian Gowland,

Hi, I am in Ayres Rock, Australia. Do you know Ayres Rock Uluru? That located the middle of Australia
island. I have stayed for three days. Then, I am going to visit Cains. This picture is Uluru - Ayres Rock, second biggest Rock in the world. Yesterday I climbed up this Rock. I was too tired, because this Rock is very steap. My leg muscles have pain. Tomorrow, I will swim in the ocean. I want to enjoy and relax.
See you next class,

Muraki Takashi.

Friday, 8 August 2014

In the Garden - homemade flashcards + Quizlet

Lethargic students with thunder & rain rolling around the valley, my good readers quickly made this set of key words for a Story Tree book they read/listened to at home. A change of pace, and plenty of disagreement about which pictures to use. Like?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bon Bon 2014 – Let me see your Union Jacks

Ready to start
This year was my first ever experience of the Matsumoto Bon Bon, I don’t even know how to begin describing this immensely monumental occasion. The streets were jam packed with different companies, groups, organizations, schools, clubs, and anything else you could think of, in their various unique uniforms, happis or kimonos. Everywhere was hustling and bustling in preparation for the 3 hour dance marathon, the crowd was buzzing.

Home-made fans
We had a great turnout, with many of our students taking part including their parents and family as well as friends, both new and old. This year we got to show off our own custom fans to use for the Bon Bon, which our students worked very hard to make themselves. We were armed with our very own Union Jack design fans as we paraded the streets of Matsumoto, chanting and dancing, fuelled by the atmosphere of the occasion with the “veterans” of Luna leading the march.

Having never participated in the Bon Bon before, I thought it best to
In full swing
prepare myself and learn the Matsumoto Bon Bon dance. So I took it upon myself to search the dance on YouTube in order to familiarize myself with the steps to avoid cluelessly flailing my arms around when the fun begins. However when 6 o’clock rolled around and the dancing began, it became apparent that I had learnt the wrong dance! D’oh!  For the opening few minutes I was in a complete state of panic, I had no idea where my arms where going or where they were meant to be going. I found myself in the exact circumstance I was trying to avoid. What made the situation worse was the fact that the students were looking to me so they knew what they were supposed to be doing. I tried my best to stay calm and observe the participants around me, attempting to compose myself and fit in with the dancers around me. The initial few minutes were nerve-racking to say the least. Nevertheless, I soon became accustomed to the Bon Bon dance, and as the evening continued I enjoyed myself more and more. It was fantastic fun rallying up our group, I was very fortunate not to lose my voice from all the chanting.

Finishing troopers
A huge thanks goes out to everybody who took part, even those who joined us briefly or part way through, and a huge congratulations to those that made it to the end. An extra thanks to Kento’s granddad, who helped distribute drinks for our young dancers so they could remain refreshed and energized. Also a special mention must go to: Naomi, who without any obligations helped us set up, get organized and lead from the very beginning, Jim, for making sure everyone was safe and enjoying themselves, and more importantly made sure there was never an empty beer cup in sight, and Yukari who was the star of the show as she was responsible for all the behind the scene jobs of organizing such a successful event. I hope even more of you will be able to join us next year, I guarantee it will be another cracker!

Now, who has a spare pair of legs I can borrow for next year?

Suzuki Method's rather large violin lesson

Jim popped along to hear how the very big lesson was going at the gymnasium; and reports 'very well'. There must have been about 750 children of all ages joining in! Some more than others, one or two asleep, but by & large mostly on the same scoresheet.

So what do so many enthusiastic fiddlers sound like all playing at the same time?

listen to ‘Suzuki violin gig’ on Audioboo

Eleanor was playing in her favoured ambassadorial role, making friends and networking, but our Miyu & Saki were also there from Luna's YLE ranks. Anybody else I couldn't see?

Alphabet song sung well!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Yuto's amazing minibeast

I like ants because they can lift 50 times heavier than their body.

I like beetles because they are cool and they fight. 

I don't like spiders because they are disgusting. They eat mice & frogs' liquid.

I don't like flies because they are annoying and dirty.

This is my "kabuto" or Stag Beetle. I like it because it is big - about 10cm long. It eats syrup from wood  & banana. Mum says it smells bad, and it makes a noise like pencils clicking when it moves.


A place of interest - Melbourne

Great Ocean Road Cliffs-Beach-12=
Great Ocean Road Cliffs-Beach-12= (Photo credit: Sheba_Also)
Dear Chen

Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia. Melbourne was capital until 1927. The climate is dry. There are beautiful long beach called "Great ocean road". It is very confatable to drive there. And we can find Coara bears in forests.

"Ayres rock" is the biggest rock in the world.

In 1956 Olympic game was held. Japanese Takagshi Ono won the Iron rod game.

In the morning lets fly in a hot air balloon. You can look over the Melbourne city and natural park.

I hope this information is helpful to you.


Posted for Mieko

My home town - Azumino

DAIO Wasabi Farm (Azumino, Nagano, Japan)
DAIO Wasabi Farm (Azumino, Nagano, Japan) (Photo credit: t-mizo)
Dear Marcello,

Thank you for your inquiry.
Azumino is located in Nagano prefecture.
You will come to here in about three hours by express Train from Tokyo.
In the recommended spot, hot springs, museums and wasabi garden.
Wasabi garden is the most popular tourist place in Azumino.
I think trip's best season is early summer.
It is almost sunny and temperature is around 20 degrees in May.

Winter is very cold. Sometimes temperature becomes -10 degrees.
But you can enjoy in winter.
Because you can watch swans, and enjoy illuminations in national park in Azumino.
Please come to Azumino.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

K Maruyama

Posted for Kazuko

Monday, 4 August 2014

In the Ocean with Nanako!

The ocean is deep & clear. There are many differents kinds of fish and mammals in the ocean.

In this book, the biggest animal is the whale, and the smallest is the clownfish. I think the scariest animal is the lionfish. I think the cutest animal is the dolphin, and the strangest is the lionfish. 

My favourite animal is the dolphin, because they are cute & active.
One day, I would like to go down into the ocean and explore, because I
would like to see lots of animals.

Friday, 1 August 2014

My teacher can't read properly - The Dolphin Pool with YLEs

One of the things I like to do with my YLE classes is to review a graded reader by reading it badly. Sounds a bit daft I know,  but for my way of thinking, if the teacher's making mistakes, it's alright if the kids do too!

This works as a listening exercise, as well as a (mostly) model for pronunciation, and gives learners time to think about the words & be reassured with how they will say them. No more than one 'mistake' at a time is challenge enough.

Importantly, reading out loud is not 'a test' or final proof of understanding, internalising the vocab etc. It is hard to do, as we are doing different things to reading silently (eg skipping words we are not sure about, just like the teacher told us to do!). Of course, I would like the higher frequency words to have gone in & be recyclable by now, but new ones (eg met for this first time in this book such as 'whale') or hard ones (eg 'through') ain't no biggie if we need help. Help provided to if, as in this case, we are a weaker class and struggle a bit with confidence. Nudging along and finishing is an important landmark for us all - no need to sweat on the hurdles.

listen to ‘The Dolphin Pool’ on Audioboo

Would love to know if other teachers have tried this and if it was successful/fun?

Rui's trip back to London

I went to London 2 Fridays ago. We flew from Haneda to London. It took 11 hours on ANA. We had Paella for dinner. I saw Captain America , Hunger Games and more. 

We stayed in Hilton near the airport for 1 night, then we went to an apartment near my old school. After that  my mum went to see her old friend and me, my dad and my brother went to shopping in Brent Cross. We bought books, a school uniform for my school. 

In my best day I went to my old school and surprised all of my class. They were very  happy to see me. At school I played and watched a movie. I was very happy to see my friends again. After that We did barbecue with are class because it was end of year. I also had sleep over with my best friends. We went to a park and played football. 

We went to Harrods for some shopping but it was so so so boring ! Nandos was better. English food is rubbish compared to Japanese. 

I want to come back to London soon because my best friend is there. I enjoyed my trip a lot !

(Written by Rui on his cool iPad mini!)

Workshop No. 6: Using Activities Effectively

My final (a sigh of relief for both me and you I imagine) report of the series of IIEEC Teacher Training Workshops I attended, entitled "Using Activities Effectively" and presented by Miki Sakai. I have learned a great deal from attending these workshops as well as mulling over my experiences and writing them down in the form of these reports. I intend to continue to progress and develop as an English teacher, applying all that I have learnt during these workshops as well as taking some well needed self reflection time every step of the way. Enjoy my final rant and as always any feedback is appreciated.

Leaning activity: complete the alphabet
As teachers, using our time in the classroom efficiently is crucial. In most cases we are limited to 45 to 60 minutes (or even less!) of contact time a week with our students, further emphasising the importance of putting effective teaching methods into place. In this workshop we were taught the importance of implementing “learning activities” and effective review activities, as well as using the students’ mistakes as a way of highlighting the weaknesses in your teaching methods.

First on the agenda was differentiating between the use of games and “learning activities” in the classroom. Learning activity can be another name for a game but in this instance they are implemented with a specific purpose; either reinforcing vocabulary, correcting pronunciation or providing context to what you are teaching etc. Games tend to be more orientated about having fun and not necessarily practising for fluency (even though you can adapt almost any game in order to suit your students’ needs or build on the main focus of your lessons).

Reviewing numbers by matching
Learning activities should be short and repeated many times. I know from experience that some games can seem to go on for an eternity, with minimal speaking time for the students. A short activity that is repeated many times is going to be much more effective than a long drawn out game. It’s important to consider when planning and introducing learning activities that you yourself are familiar with the activity. How are the students expected to know what to do if the teacher is stumbling over their words? On top of that, always, always, always demonstrate the activity rather than attempting to explain it in detail. You are wasting your time! Students will learn much more quickly from doing rather than listening. Also don’t forget to revert back to the 6-second MAT drills if the students are struggling, (this was drummed into our heads continuously throughout all the workshops) or are in need of straightening out the kinks in their pronunciation. And if all else fails, abandon ship immediately and resort to “plan B” or move onto the next activity.

Something's a little off...
The next thing to consider; student’s mistakes. We must acknowledge that mistakes are unavoidable. We should expect our students to make mistakes and in turn learn from them through trial and error. Although mistakes (especially repeated mistakes) may become frustrating at times, avoid blaming the students, instead reflect on your approach to teaching them. Student’s mistakes can be used as a tool to analyze aspects of your teaching that need developing, perhaps the way you introduce the language is not clear enough, maybe your learning activities are not up to scratch, or your students’ concentration levels are dropping due to the lack of engaging classroom tasks. Try changing your teaching style to see whether you evoke a different response from your students.

The final area to consider during this workshop was effective review activities. Review is hugely important, especially when it comes to younger students as they have a knack for forgetting things quickly. The easy part is getting information stored into short term memory, but difficulties arise when embedding new information into long term memory. This is why we must review EVERY LESSON. No exceptions. This does not only mean reviewing what was covered in the previous lesson, but reviewing everything covered from lesson one, book one. In order to do this effectively, we must be creative in our review activities by combining as much of the previous language as possible. Otherwise your hands will fall off from attempting to review previous vocabulary by cycling through flashcards. Another significant point to take away from this workshop was to alter the way you review something from how the students initially learnt it. This provides an alternative means of students to express themselves, whilst adding much needed diversity in your classroom 

Since attending this workshop, I have been making more of an effort to include more learning activities during my lessons, even something simple as rolling a die to elicit vocabulary from the textbook or throwing a ball to each other in order to practise the question and answer form of a sentence. I have always made it a point to vary activities, as conveyed in this workshop it is important to differ how you review a topic to how you introduced it. This prevents lessons from stagnating by repeating activities over and over again as well as allowing students to use English in a different context.