Monday, 30 May 2016

After reading – King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Evil women: Which is the worst woman in the story? Why?

I think that Morgan le Fay is the worst woman in the story.  I felt fear when we knew that she could do magic, but she only used her magic for bad things.

Morgan le Fay pretended to be King Arthur’s kind friend, but actually she hated him and she wanted him to die.  He and his wife Queen Guinevere believed her, so did not realize her evil plans.  She used an evil knight Sir Damas and King Arthur’s knights to try to kill him.  His knights could not realize that they fought their king because of their helmets.  What is worse, King Arthur’s Excalibur was replaced with a sword from Morgan le Fay’s magic.  Therefore, King Arthur could not hurt the knights and was hurt badly by his Excalibur which the knights had.

King Arthur, however, was very brave and did not stop fighting.  Fortunately, King Arthur was safe although he was wounded badly.  I think it is not expected by Morgan le Fay.

However, Morgan le Fay knew that King Arthur was staying with the nuns to get the treatment.  She visited the nuns and stole his magic scabbard from the end of his bed.  King Arthur realized that and followed her, but the scabbard was thrown into the black lake and he never found it.

I was afraid of Morgan le Fay’s implacableness at the end of Chapter 4.

After reading - Stories from the Five Towns

Which was your favorite story? Why (or why didn't you like one of the other stories)? The most favorite story of the five stories is “The burglary”. Sir Jee was neither good man nor bad man, he just had a lot of money and used it for himself ,not for the other people. We can easily imagine such kind of man around us. So, it is very funny that sir Jee was trying to bluff but got taken easily in by the thief conversely. This story is a good lesson for us. In case we got a lot of money, we should use it for the other people, not only for my own. The worst story for me is “The silent brothers”. I could not like all characters in this story. The brothers are so adamant and stupid. They can talk each other if there is any chance to get lots of money. They should have recognized how they wasted their time earlier than Annie tested in love for her. Annie and Powell looks good people, but they tested the brothers and put them in one room finally… I could not understand why he did. If he was a good friend of them, I think there is another way to guide them back to the right path.

Friday, 27 May 2016

A successful presentation - Informative posters

Ever get butterflies in your stomach or a sense of dread when asked to give a presentation? Hate public speaking? Then here are some posters to help you settle those nerves and shake off any anxiety.

Having studied how to give a successful presentation, I thought it would be a good idea for my students to put everything they have learned into an informative poster so others may benefit also. Four very different approaches and styles, which did you find the most useful/helpful?

Friday, 20 May 2016

After-reading - robots in Japan

Aibo and Asimo are the personal robots that Japan can boost to the world.

Aibo was introduced in 1999 by Sony and created a new market of “entertainment robot” or “pet robot”. It was the first robot that made people to think to have a robot at home and the sales of it went quite successful. Some people even now keep their own Aibo at home and feel as if it is a part of their family. While many people got bored with their pets, some people are facing “pet loss” when their Aibo “dies” for not being able to get fixed as Sony stopped producing the parts any more.

Introduction of Asimo in 1996 also surprised people for its high technology that Honda had achieved. Walking on two feet, Asimo was the first biped robot designed to be a multifunctional mobile assistant. It is said that before marketing in Europe Honda wanted to ensure Christian countries would not resist man-shaped robot, so they sent delegates to the pope for his opinion. The answer from the Pope was “Honda’s invention is one of God’s will”.

After the introduction of Asimo, many makers around the world started to develop humanoid robots. It seems that we will soon be able to make robot friends in next few decades, and possible have C3PO and R2D2 as member of our family.

Posted for Naomi

Thursday, 19 May 2016

After-reading - Eastern Europe in the 1950s

In the 1950's in Eastern Europe was dark age. It was communism government. There was a secret police. There were spies all over the country. If someone said "communism was not good" we were arrested by secret police. The seacret police and spies were our neighbor, our friends, our teacher. They didn't have free in the 1950's.

Western Europe and American culture were bad culture. Jazz, rock, they were tipical of rotten Western culture. They couldn't listen Western music. If they want to listen to Jazz. They dealed at black marcket and listen very quietly sound.

They couldn't talk by telephone freely. The secret police listened their conversation. It was bugging! If they send letter to Westrns, it would be opened by secret police. It was terrible age. There was no freedom. It is just like North Korea now.

Posted for Misuzu

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

After-reading - An e-mail to Queen Elizabeth

Dear Queen of England Elizabeth

You are afraid to let me go free because I have friends in England. The English Catholics want me to be Queen of England. not you.
But I don't want to so.
Before I asked you for help, but you didn't give me your army. Then the Earl of Moray told lies about me. Bothwell and I didn't kill Darnley! It's true! Really true!!
Scotland people don't want a Catholic Queen. They want a Protestant king, a king like James.
And Moray and his friends killed Riccio and stole my husband Bothwell and my son.
Elizabeth!  Do you know what to do?   Really to do?
Would you please talk James the true story?
Please think about England and Scotland. we are Queens.
Please let me go free!
I want to go back to Scotland!
and I want to see James alive!


Posted for Yoko

Postcard from Astana, Kazakhstan

Dear Jim,

An apartment block in Astana
I went to Astana in Kazakhstan. There was Asia rhythmic gymnastics competition and I was working as Japan's judge. Our team won the gold medal. There were a lot of great performances over five days. I was very busy. 

Astana is a very beautiful city. There is a lot of development, with big buildings and apartments in the center. My hotel was lovely my room was large and the bed was really comfortable. At night there was a big light show.

Kazakh people eat a lot of horse meat. I did not like it very much, but other food was ok. I could eat egg-plant, gherkin, and coriander.

I made a lot of new friends, from Iran, Singapore, Thailand, India, North Korea, and Taiwan.

The weather was great - sunny every day but nice and cool. I like Kazakhstan but it is a very long way; I had to wait for seven hours in Tashkent.

From Aoi

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

After-reading - Misako imagines planning a trip to England

First I'd like to go to Lake District, and visit  Grasmere, William Wordsworth's  home and Beatrix Potter's musium.
Then go to Liverpool, see  Cathedral and visit some places of "Beetles".
I'd like to go to Stradford-upon-Avon, pretty town, visit William Shakespeare's house and watch the stage play at Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Last I stay in London one or two days and visit some famous places.

If possible I'd like to stay at manor house, but I'm afraid it is inconvinient or uncomfortable.

Posted for Misako

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

After reading - The Year of Sharing

The Happy Ending
We leave Richard in a dangerous situation. He survives - how does he do it?

It is the end of my life, I thought.  The wolves were waiting and I had nowhere to hide any more.  But, at the same time, I was happy to be sacrificed for my deer family.  They didn't talk much like human being, but I could feel the family closer than my real family.  The deer father thought how he can keep the family out of danger.  He didn’t talk, but I could feel his big love by his attitude.  The deer mother always made a little noise to me and kept asking me “where are you?”.  I was her baby and she watched me softly.  I liked brother and baby, too.  I liked playing with them.  All those memories came to my head and I cried aloud.  I really wanted to meet my deer family again.

The next morning, the gang of wolves were still there. I was tired and hungry, and the wolves looked tired and hungry, too. Suddenly, I found a group of animal was coming towards hill.  It was goat.  Right after, some wolves also found goat and began running after goat.  The other wolves ran after and, in a minute, all wolves went away from the bottom of hill.  While they were away, I quickly climbed down the hill and ran as quickly as I can.  I ran all the day and swam across river.  Then, I took a short rest.  I kept running away next day and finally found the smell of my deer family.  Thanks to goat which were sacrificed for me, I could survive and meet my deer family again.

After reading – Return to Earth

Drewitt’s Project X
Sometimes people do not know what is best for them.  The government should just do things like Project X without telling anybody.  Do you agree, or disagree?

I agree that the government is responsible to tell people about the project like Project X.  I think people should have the right to check and review whether the project is really needed or not for them as it must cost a lot of money for the researches and studies.  The government will come up with the finances from their taxes.

However, I think that the report timing about the project from the government to people is important.  It should not be too early but too late.  The project should be checked and reviewed very well by the experts and the relevant people before the report in order to gain the sufficient evidence about the efficiency and safety of the project.  It is generally difficult for people to judge whether the project is really needed or not without the supporting evidence.

I am not sure if the Japanese or any other countries’ governments may consider or have already proceeded with some projects without telling people or not, but I hope the projects should be helpful and safe for people and the future all over the world.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

My favourite day💕

My favourite day of the week is nothing special. It depends.
A day without work is my favourite day.
Because my work doesn't have a day off.

I usually stay in bed and watch TV until I feel hungry.
Then I have breakfast.
After breakfast, I have a shower and I often go to piano and saxophone lessons at Matsumoto PARCO.

I often have lunch at a restaurant.
After lunch, I usually walk along Susuki river.
Then I go to the supermarkets and bookstores.

In the evening, I often make dinner.
After dinner, I always drink beer and watch TV.
Sometimes I go to the Manga Kissa to read many comic books.

Monday, 18 April 2016

My Favourite day!!

My Favourite day of the week is Saturday,because it's the weekend!

I usually get up late.Then I have breakfast and watch TV.
After breakfast I often do housework.
I often do the cleaning and the wasing.

I usually have lunch in my house,but I sometimes have lunch  with my friend at a restaurant
or at my parents' house.
After lunch I often go shopping or take a nap.

I often cook dinner and eat with my husband.
But I sometimes go to drink with my friend or husband.
In the evening I drink beer!
After dinner I watch TV.Then I take a bath before twelve o'clock.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Recent Weather in Matsumoto

My garden's strawberry plants
The recent weather in Matsumoto is very changeable. Sometimes it was freezing and snowy, and sometimes it was really warm. Even if it snowed, the snow would start to melt soon after. Actually, it snowed in the night on Wednesday 23rd but the next day became sunny and mild.

And also there is a big difference in temperature between the day and night. This might be bad for our health, so I must be cautious of my family’s shape and me.

My neighbor cherry blossoms 
Sometimes there’s a breeze and there are gale-force winds too. There is a proverb, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.” I remember this proverb during this season and I feel that spring is just around the corner these days.

I like this season because I can sense the beginning of spring and I’m excited somehow. On the other hand, I dislike it because I suffer from hay fever. A running nose and itchy eyes are terrible for me. I wish I wouldn’t have these symptoms!

Anyway, I would like to enjoy this weather to go somewhere with my family.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Spring has come!?

There is a warm breeze. Some small birds are twittering around my house. They enjoy the mild weather in early spring too. Last week we had snow here, but now it is getting warmer. This warm and sunny climate will make bloom cherry blossoms.

Typical Japanese Spring weather is changeable. At first, people know the coming spring by gale-force winds. People call it “the first spring gale”. It is a signal of the coming spring. Beginning of the spring, cold, chilly, sometimes freezing days and warm days come alternately. From ancient times, the climate is called “Sankanshion”, which mean alternation of three cold and four warm days. I recognize that it makes sense every year.

People eagerly wait for the coming spring every year and they feel certain about it by the news of the blooming cherry blossoms. Now cherry blossoms are starting to bloom from western areas of Japan. It will soon be here.


Minobusan Kuonji 身延山久遠寺 Shidarezakura 2012.4.11

Friday, 1 April 2016

Easter egg hunting

Spring seems to have finally arrived, with the sun beaming down and winter coats finally making their way back to their rightful place in the back of the wardrobe. And what better way to welcome spring than stepping outside for an Easter egg hunt!

Where's number 8?
For the 'eggs', I went the route of using colourful origami paper, with numbers 1-10 marked on. I felt that they would be much more versatile when it came to putting them in creative hiding spots. All you need is a bit of Blu-Tack and they can go anywhere! The reasoning for the numbers was that it meant that there was a clear distinction between each egg, and I could also keep track of where I had hidden each one. Flashbacks to Easter egg hunting when I was younger, where we managed to lose a fair share of chocolate eggs to the overgrowth in our garden.

I prepared a worksheet for students to keep track a of which eggs they had found by colouring them in, with the more capable students writing down where they were using the prepositions of place we had studied. Once all the eggs were found, we went around together while eliciting where each egg was and confirming their colours.
It was so much fun that even the adults joined in. Although the kids were much quicker at finding the eggs!

Have a look at the photo album of our Easter egg adventure on Facebook.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Postcard from...Sweet Home, Chicago, USA

Hi Jim-sensei
La Chambre de Van Gogh a Arles

I came to Chicago to see International Housewares Show.

I got a chance to go to Chicago Museum. There are a lot of fine arts & I was inspired by Van Gogh's paints. It was a really good experience for me.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Golden Game - Super Bowl 50

On February 8th the NFL Super bowl was held. In Japan, it wasn’t noticed that much and I didn’t know before I read a magazine. It was great fun watching it on YouTube.

Denver Broncos logo
Denver Broncos logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, successive generations of MVP came out whom I didn’t know. When Tom Brady came out, there was booing. I wonder what had happened. The Entrance performance was very flashy with fireworks and it was cool. The person who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” was Lady Gaga. She was Fantastic.

I didn’t know the rules, but after kick off, the Broncos quickly scored and I couldn’t believe the speed of switching offense and defense. The Broncos defense was so good that Panthers couldn’t do what they wanted, but I think both defenses were very aggressive.

The half time sow was great. Beyoncé and Bruno Mars sang. It was great for them to sing in front of that huge number of people.

In the third and fourth quarters, the Broncos gradually left the Panthers behind and the Broncos finally won. I learnt that offense is important, but defense is more important. I want to learn more about it and enjoy watching NFL games much more.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Recent Weather in Ina

Japan has many “four-character idioms”.“SanKanShiOn” is one of them. It means alternation of three cold and four warm days.This March I can feel it more than ever before.
It snowed every 10days. But usually by the next day, the highest temperature is around 15 to 20 degrees…like spring! I don’t need a winter coat on a warm day. But I need it in the morning, night time and cold days. So I can’t change my wardrobe for the new season yet. And I cannot change my car tires.
Recently I can see some flowers have started blooming even weeds.
Just the one unfortunate thing …there are gale-force winds as seasons change.I don’t like chilly and windy weather.  But I’m enjoying seeing Japanese plum tree and snow in my garden.
Takato park in Ina is very famous for cherry blossoms.So I’m looking forward to visiting there in April.
Have you ever been to the park? You must visit there in the beginning of April.
If this weather like this month continues you can see cherry blossoms and snow at the same time. If so what a wonderful view!
But anyway I hope spring comes soon! Can’t wait!

Monday, 28 March 2016

After reading - a short history of religion in Japan

There are 8 million gods in Japan long long ago. For example, there is a god in the river, forest, and
mountain. The ancient people believed those natural gods in Japan.

The middle of six century, the buddhism came from Korea. The religion war happened with Mononobe and the Imperial Court. It was the first religion war of the Japanese history.

Mononobe supported traditional Japanese gods, the Imperial Court supported the Buddhism. At the end the Imperial Court won. But Japanese traditional gods never died out. The Imperial Court supported Buddhism and Japanese gods.

After that, Buddhism had many religion. They never had big troble with each Buddhism religion.

But 19 century, revolution happened in Japan, new government commanded Buddhism change to godist. After that, Japanese emperor is living god till the world II war finished.

Now, Japanese family have a 'Kamidana' and a 'Butsudan'. Kamidana is godist, Butsudan is Buddhism.

Both religion have been staying in Japanese people now. It is very rare case all over the world. Japanese love ambiguity. I think that both religion suit Japanese.

Posted for Misuzu

Saturday, 26 March 2016

After-reading - 10 day trip to England

I am planning on going to England this summer. I have not been to England. Therefore after all I will go to the biggest city London first.

I want to go to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s London home in London. And I want to see the palace inside after making a reservation beforehand. I will take a photograph with the soldiers outside.

I will go to the various places in London, beautiful Westminster Abbey, famous building the Tower of London, solemn St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, etc. I want to see many artworks which were collected from all over the world in the British Museum. So I will have enough time in the British Museum.

My plan is ten days. I do not have enough time. Next to London, I am planning on going only another one place to Corn Wall. I want to go to St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.

I will walk there when the sea goes out. And I will visit the old castle and church in there. Next, I want to go to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. I will watch plays in the theatre-it is outside. 

I have a lot of things what I want to do during the trip. I want to go English pub, and I want to drink in stylish clothes. I will buy nice tea in tea shops in towns all across England for a souvenir. And I want to go to Harrods in London. So I will buy stylish dress and bag, for me.

Ten days trip is short. I will choose the places that I can’t go this time for next England trip plan.

Posted for Reiko

Friday, 25 March 2016

After reading - a summary of another Sherlock Holmes story

The Red-Headed League

One day a man visited Sherlock Holmes. He was confused by his recent mysterious experience. He was a master of pawnshop with red hair . He told the whole story to Holmes and Dr. Watson.

He employed a salesclerk who worked well and don’t mind working for low salary. A couple months later the salesclerk came with a newspaper and showed him a notice in the papers. It said an association of red hair man was looking for a member and member could get much salary for easy work. The salesclerk suggested him frequently to apply for membership of the association. A lot of red-hair men applied and he was adopted only. He had to stay an office from morning to afternoon and do boring job(to copy an encyclopedia? I’m not sure.) At the end of the week he received special much money. He went to the office and worked and got money every week. (Two or three months went by) one morning he found the office shut. There wasn’t any contact from the association and nobody knew about it. So he visited Sherlock Holmes.

The big project was attempted. Robbers tried to make an invasion upon a large safe of the basement of a bank. They digged tunnel to the safe and it went along just under the pawnshop. They had to make him go out not to notice the noise of construction.

Of course robbers were all arrested before stolen.

Posted for Misako

Thursday, 24 March 2016

After reading - an angry letter

I write to tell you, Josef, that your wife is dead. On Christmas night the guards shot her on the road at the border. She carried Pavel - your baby son,and my grandson- on her back.

Pavel was saved by a miracle. I thought Lenka protected her son. I loved Lenka very much - my valuable daughter. I was bereaved of my beloved daughter. Your 'friends' came and told me yesterday. 

You have Jan,and a new life in England. You took one grandson away from me and now my daughter is dead - because of you !! I never liked your work for freedom. I didn't understand. You were dangerous person for us. I just wanted a quiet family life.

Now What do I have? I only have Pavel!! I can't live after this without Pavel. I want live with Pavel as long as I live!! Don't worry about Pavel. Don't worry about me.

Don't write to me, and Don't write to Pavel, and Don't come back to Prague. I never want to see you or hear from you again.


Posted for Yoko

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The curse of the Black Pearl: after reading

「the Black pearl book」の画像検索結果

Write a letter

...from Elizabeth to a friend the day after she found Will in the water

Hello, Clare.

It’s been a long time. What have you been up to?
There was an exciting story for me recently. I would like to tell you about this above all.
On the way home in England by ship, our ship was wrapped by very dark fog suddenly.
When the fog cleared off, to be impossible, we found the boy in the right middle of sea. We saved him in haste and took him to our ship. However, I have no idea why he was in the sea then. Where did he come from? There was no ship except our ship then.
I knew his name was Will later. He is a very beautiful and attractive boy. However, he didn’t remember anything but his name. He wore the medallion when he was saved by us, but I took it from him when he was asleep. I don’t know why I did such a thing then. But I feel like that the medallion is the key to find his secret.
I will try to find his secret from now on. So I would like you to help me with it. This is the secret between only us. Don’t tell anyone about it.

If you accept my proposal, why don’t you come to our house to meet him once?

Best regards,


Aftrer reading_King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table

The Grail

Many stories have been told about the Grail. What do you think it is?

I think the Grail has ever been told in a lot of story. However, the stories I know except “King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table” are the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Da Vinci code”.

In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, the Grail was described as what makes perpetual youth and longevity possible. The purpose of the story is to find the Grail. In the climax scene, the hero of the story, Indiana received from the knight of the Grail and saved his father in the cave. He was able to escape from the cave which is collapsing by forsaking taking the Grail in the end.

In “The Da Vinci code”, the Grail was described as the symbol of the lady. The ground father of Sophy who is the heroin of the story was killed anyone. She and cryptologist who is a friend of her ground father try to find who killed him. On the way, they find the Grail is related with his death. In the end of the story, it turns out that the heroin of the story, Sophy is the person who is descended from Jesus Christ and she is exactly the Grail. The Grail is not even material in this story.

The Grail was described as various thing as per the above two stories. However, I’m sure that the two stories are very interesting. I think the Grail is like spice which makes the story very interesting.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Letter from the future

Dear Harl,

When you read this, I would not be in the earth but I am happy if you could find this letter.

Now the world has been changed… not as I thought but nobody could image current world. As I said, the project X could be successful by us, the group of Drewitt’s. All Children and animals could have the telepath. I was very glad that all humans and living could know each other. But the tragedy had been started from that moment. Most of children could not live until 20 years old. Perhaps one in a hundred grew to be twenty. Do you think why they could not live for a long time? They killed by the telepath itself. Some of them shot themselves or jumped off buildings and many children have been dead.

I thought the world might be brilliant because of the telepath, but now the world seems to be going to dead, suicide by them. I understand I was wrong, but we could not stop the telepath… I am really sorry and miss you so much now, but I know it is too late.

I hope we could meet again future generation after we died.


After Reading - Five Famous Fairy Stories

“Love can make everybody stupid.” 

Is this true?

I think this is true. Because love can make me stupid. If I love a man who is in a trouble, I try everything I can do to help him.

Sometime we can’t see everything except lover, and we can’t hear everything except lover’s. So sometime we make mistakes.

Some people received violence from their lover, but they don’t escape from them. After they received violence, the lover say sorry or they won’t using violence from now, they can forgive them. On the contrary they believe that they are only person who can understand about lover. If someone say they should part from their lover, they wouldn’t like to part more and more.

If people are asked to lend money from their lover, some people lend money. Sometimes they are in trouble when they decide to part from their lover.

On the other hand, people love their lover too much, they distress their lover. For example, they too worry about their lover to restraint upon the freedom of their lover. Not to meet the other (sex), not to talk with other (sex), not to found attractive…

I think everybody feel jealousy if their lover talk with other too friendly. I think love can make everybody stupid. Only some people represent their feeling and behave their feeling directly but everybody is same in our heart, I think.

The Black Pearl - Shiver my timbers

「the Black pearl book」の画像検索結果What is good/bad about a pirate’s life?

My imagination of pirate is as the pirate in this movie. There are a lot of difference between my life and pirate’s.

I think the worst thing about pirate’s life is they have no home on the ground. So if the weather is bad, they have to stay in the ship on the sea. Maybe they have a lot of stock of food and alcohol. But they are not live alone, so they can’t eat or drink a lot anytime. And they don’t have time to spend alone.

I don’t have good impression for the pirate, but they may lead a well-regulated life. For example, every day they get up, have a meal, and go to bed same time. They look free, but actually they aren’t free, I think. They have rules and if someone break them, it is a matter of life and death to him/her. And they have a lot of dangerous in their life.

When they take something from other ship, the other ship’s crew may attack them to stave off a danger. And also sea is sometimes dangerous as I wrote before.

I don’t think they buy what they need in a shop like us, so sometimes they may not be able to take the thing they want to.

I think there are a lot of bad things about pirate’s life. I think my life is extremely better than them.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

An inspiring colleague - I wish I was that good

I have had the wonderful privilege of working with this fabulous young teacher for the last two and a half years, at Sasabe kindergarten (in Matsumoto). Had to say goodbye today, but only after she melted the hearts of everyone at final assembly announcing her departure. And bless, Encho-sensei asked all the gobsmacked children "Can you hear that?" looking around. "I can hear a heart beat. We are not losing Ikuko-sensei, we will have a new little friend". Awesome.

Most recently Ikuko has been senior teacher (and therefor my boss), responsible for absolutely everything from making drinks for visitors to dealing with parents, managing first aid emergencies, setting out chairs & making decorations, filling bags & co-ordinating rotas, organising parties & moving drums, jumping in at a moment's notice to cover teachers and backing up everybody on the staff. I think she maybe even changed the tyres on the school's buses!

Momo-gumi champion
When I was very new to kindy teaching, I was overwhelmed with the idea of spending a day with the teeniest ones - and a teacher who boldly told me "No English!"...she was more or less right about that, but her attitude & style was anything but - come on Jim-sensei what's this, and 'help', and...and...bowled me over with her enthusiasm, calmness in the centre of eternal storms, and love. I christened a new style of teaching after her: Smile Deprivation. The very last thing her class wanted was for her radiant smile to fade into a frown and her cheeks to puff out (a brilliant bit of body language I'd never seen deployed before in a class!) - not because the frown was a portent of teacher losing her rag, but that her happy full-face smile missing was like the sun being eclipsed. And how her little class managed each other to get that smile back asap?! And I still don't think she knows how hard that is for the rest of us triers to pull off even half as well - let alone convincingly!

It is very hard to describe how magical teachers can glide through a room shedding warmth & love without distracting everyone or putting off the room teacher. Add to the vibe in the room without being a magnet for attention? One hell of a trick. I try to slip into a room and pandemonium breaks out - kids pointing at my paunch & sotto voce "baby" until I want to clout them!

And to become a senior teacher within a very close-knit staff, some of whom peers from college and still keep that smile working? Still remember every child's name and be wonderful? A class act.

Luckiest young man alive!
I've seen loads of demo classes, countless presentations, workshops with genki this & TPR that, up & down the country. I've been in classrooms from universities & corporate HQs, high schools, you name it. I would be struggling to think of a teacher who has impressed me more, without appearing to try at all, than Ikuko-sensei. A teachers' teacher, and an absolute gem. I learned heaps watching her cast her spells.

Thank you Ikuko-sensei for sharing your classroom with me, and for being so enthusiastically wonderful. You truly are an inspiring educator. Sniff sniff!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A postcard from Kaivalyadhama, India

Dear Damian,

Hello. How are you?
I have stay in India 1 weeks ago. I feel comfortable here. Everyday, early morning to until evening, I have to study yoga method. So hard but I was satisfied with learn here.
When I will come back to Japan, I want to restart lesson.

See you again.

From Rumi

Friday, 18 March 2016

After-reading - a letter to one of Henry's wives

Dear Katherine
Thank you for sending me a letter. When I read your letter, I remembered our wonderful times.After my brother Arthur died, I became your husband. I was so happy because you were graceful and dignified. I enjoyed horse-riding, playing teinnis,writing and playing music together.

But you were religious Christian.So you were too strict to your life. And then you miscarriaged mamy times.We have only a daugther.

Once there had only ever been one Queen in England and that was a terrible time, with a lot of fighting and killing. I don't want that to happen again after my death. If we have had some sons, our future would absolutely change.

I really want to have a son in this terrible time.

Even the Catholic Church and you will never agree this dovorce,I won't care this. Because I am the King of England. I can do everything.

I'll send this neclace with a gold cross to my daugther Mary.

King of England
Henry VIII

Posted for Hiroko

Thursday, 17 March 2016

After-reading - Sally's column

Today I want my readers to know one miracle person. His name is Anthony Evans.

He is a very famous pianist. I thought he started to learn the piano when he was three like Mozart. But he was forteen years old before he touched a piano for the first time. It is a very strange and exciting story.

Tony Evans was the name when he was a boy. Tony wasn't a clever boy but he liked only music lessons. His family was poor so he had to work Mr Wood's farm from he was thirteen. He worked very hard for Mr Wood. Mr Wood was kind to him. Tony was happy.

One day Tony found an old piano. His fingers began to move when he touched the piano. He could play an old song from then. He practised the piano very hard, and he became a very famous pianist.

Perhaps I can say that the didn't find the piano but that piano found him.

Posted for Olga

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

After-reading - A farewell letter

Dear Ellen,
When you read this letter, I will be frozen. I know you are surprised very much. But, please do not cry for me, because I am not died. I am just sleeping in the freezer.

I did not tell you that I was very sick. But to tell you the truth, I was HIV positive, AIDS. Doctor told me I was going to die in a year. I was shocked. I did not know what to do. And I could not tell you about this, because I did not want you to worry about me and nobody could help me anyway.

After my father died you were the only my family, and you helped me so much. I was happy to have a sister like you. Thank you for everything you did for me.

One day, I met Dan Future and his wife Linda who worked for the cryonic company. Their business was very interesting. They said I could be frozen till someone's going to find a cure of AIDS. I had 2 choices. One was doing nothing and die soon, another was sleeping in the freezer and alive again. Fortunately, I had enough money to do it. I decided to be frozen. You do not have to worry about me and my house. They will take care of both. They save my life. And if you want see me you can visit me anytime.

I think I can not see you again, but I hope you will have a good happy life. Good-by Ellen.

I love you.

your brother AL

Posted for Yasumi

After reading - The Children of the New Forest

Write about a time you have spent on a farm


My parents have rice field next to their house and the farm work is annual event for my family.  


In spring, we start the farm work after long winter.  We plow the fields and spread fertilize in the field.  We used to grow the rice seedlings by ourselves.  My parents needed to take care of rice seedlings according to temerature.  It needed a lot of efforts because the weather is changeable in April.  The temperature goes up like early summer, then it snows sometimes even in middle of April.  So, we finally decided to buy the rice seedlings from the professional farmer.


In early May, it is the season for rice planting.  The fields are filled by water and shine in the sun.  My brother operates rice planter and all other members help him to pass the rice seedlings and wash the pots at the river.


In September, we harvest rice.  The rice harvest is harder work than planting.  The relatives come and help us to collect the tied rice and put them on the bar for dry.  It takes all day long.  After drying for about two weeks, we thresh the rice and all farm work is finished with newly harvested rice.


I always feel the bonds with my family through farm work and am glad to have my son help together.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

After reading – The Year of Sharing

The Naked - There's a 'reality' TV show of people being left in very remote places, without any clothes, tools etc with an unknown partner, to survive for 21 days. Imagine this was you, in a forest like Richard. How would you survive - or fail?

     It is very difficult for me to imagine if I can survive without any clothes, tools etc with an unknown partner for 21 days as the current life is full of tools and very convenient.
     Anyway, imagining I am in a forest, I will look for the place that I can stay safety and comfortably first.  It should be like a cave on a higher place to avoid the attack by foreign enemies.  In addition, I learned from the book that smells are lost in water.  So, it is better to near river or lake.
     Secondly, I will find something that I can eat.  I like fruits, so I would like to get them as many as possible.  However, it will be not enough to survive for 21 days.  Therefore, I will try to catch fishes in river.  I prefer to meets, but I am not sure I can kill animals.  Moreover, I will have to build a fire to grill the fishes.  It should be very tough job.
     Finally, I want to find a friendly partner.  If I have a partner like monkey, I can learn about the forest more and must be encouraged in the life without people.

Friday, 11 March 2016

After reading_Apollo 13

・Man has not walked on the moon for nearly 50 years.
Should we try to return there?
Why/why not?

I think Man try to return the moon because there would be big discovery in the moon for the Man! There might be an alien. Man could become friend with an alien. An alien might be tell us new technology which human don’t have the technology and human technology will be improve.
In addition, we have a problem. Human popularity is growing and food will not be enough to full the growing people in the near future. So, the Moon would be become field grow the food if human find way to grow in the Moon. Also, I heard that living space is becoming limit under current human growing. If human find way or improve technology to live in the Moon, the Moon would become human place to live.
If we can live in the Moon, it is easy to travel from the earth to the moon. The moon will be very close planet for us. If we can go the moon easily, many vehicle like airplane, train and space shuttle would be more improve than current things. It will be give us good benefit to our life.

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