Friday, 5 February 2016

How to walk safely in the mountains - a student's report

English: Mountains in the Japanese North Alps ...
Japanese North Alps seen from the top of Mount Tsurugi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You may think walking in the mountains is safe and fun. That's what I thought until I went hiking in the Japanese Alps.

Walking in the mountains could be a very long way. So don't forget to take enough water and food. You should chocolate, bananas and energy bars.

Going on a kike without any equipment is dangerous. Make sure you have a compass, map, torch, first aid kit, a whistle for when you get lost, bells on your bag to scare bears away, mobile telephone, matches, cigarette lighter, and toilet paper just in case.

 The weather in the mountains changes very fast, so you should take spare warm clothes, waterproofs, hat, gloves, sunglasses and spare socks. You should also wear worn-in, comfortable hiking boots because the path might be rocky.

Never forget to plan the route, then you won't get lost. Tell your mates and rangers when and where you are going, and when you'll be back. This is crucial! Make sure you don't walk too far in a day, as you'll get too tired to walk the next day. Finally, check the weather forecast in advance.

English: Toilet paper, orientation "over&...
Just in case
The last and most important thing is to enjoy yourself, and walk safely.


After reading - the true villain

I think the true villain of story was the Duke of Holdernesse. He had deep darkness.The Duke talked to Sherlock Homes to own story.

"When I was a young man. I was in love . I wanted her to be my wife . but she died. She left me this one child. and I loved him because of her. But a goverment minister cannot tell the world about a love-child like this. so to the world ,James is my young secretary, not my son"

Mr James knows that the Duke is his father.and He hate the Duchess and hates his younger son Arthur. Arthur has everything, Arther has a name. a famous father, house, money, everything. James has nothing. and he wants to be the Duke of Holderness one day. That‘s not possible. of course,but James can`t understand

And next he kidnaped his younger son Arthur with Hayes. and unhappy the German teacher followed them. so someone killed him. Hayers? James? Of couse James was a bad boy. Hayes was bad person too! But really, The cause of the kidnapping and murder was the Duke` self-defense. I think so! 

Posted for Yoko

Thursday, 4 February 2016

After reading - a heartfelt letter

I write to you Josef, that your wife is dead.
On Christmas night the guards shot her on the road at the border. She carried Pavel on her back.
I loved my daughter very much.But luckily for your son Pavel was alive. 
You have Jan, and a new life in England.I was very sad and lonely to hear that she was dead. But if it is possible, please come back. 
I want to grow up two grandchildren together.I am lonely. I love my grandchildren Pavel and Jan very much too. I am sorry, I did not like you Josef till now. Please come back, Josef. 


Posted for Reiko

My holiday report

popular pancakes of Hokkaido
I went to Chitose-city, Hokkaido with my family in December. We flew to Chitose with Fuji Dream Airlines.
We stayed for six days in house of mother-in-law. My daughter had a good time because there was a trampoline for children, a massage chair (she likes this very much!) , and stuffed toy which talked.
During our stay, we went to the department store. We bought toys for our daughter, and we went to go eat popular pancakes. Another day, we went to Snow Land in Chitose. We enjoyed tube sledding. On December 31, we had delicious foods of the last day of year. Sushi, Crab (“Kegani”), wine and so on.
We had a great time. It was good that I could meet my husband’s family, and foods of Hokkaido were wonderful.
But we only had a problem: there was little snow, so we could not play much with the snow.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

After-reading - film review of Elizabeth

In England, in the 16th century there was a big conflict between old religion and new religion, Catholicism and Protestantism. English Queen Mary at that time oppressed Protestantism and confined Elizabeth (Kate Blanchett) of the Protestant, sister by a different mother, to the Tower of London.

However Queen Mary died from an illness soon. Elizabeth succeeded to the throne as English Queen at 25 years old. England faced a crisis. The chief minister suggested New Queen to marry the Lord Anjou (French King Henry Ⅲ) or the Spanish King to get through a difficult situation. .Elizabeth was often meeting with Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) secretly, so she didn’t agree it.

The domestic finance of England was tight, furthermore England lost for war with Scotland. Elizabeth got Protestant Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) to her side and decided to unify country in Protestantism. The Pope got angry, Protestant inside and outside never accepted the policy. The situation surround England was getting worse and worse, until an assassination of Elizabeth was attempted.

To break a situation, Walsingham assassinated Scottish Queen Mary who was a strong Catholic. Elizabeth knew Robert had a wife. Elizabeth arrested main Catholisism groups and executed them. Elizabeth had her hair cut and declared in front of the people that she would marry nation.

Posted for Misako

Monday, 1 February 2016

Plenty to do in Matsumoto: Karen's report

English: Matsumoto City Museum of Art in Matsu...
Matsumoto City Museum of Art
What can visitors do in my home city?

  • You can visit Matsumoto City Art Gallery because it has a lot of pieces of work by Kusama Yayoi and other artists. You can see her art outside, a spotty Coca Cola machine, and a spotty bus too.
  • I recommend Joyama Park because it has a lot of beautiful cherry blossom trees, and you can see wonderful views of Matsumoto and the tall mountains.
  • I recommend eating soba in a restaurant called kawa-fune, near the castle. Soba is locally made grey noodles. You can eat them hot or cold - I prefer them cold.
  • You must visit Matsumoto Castle, because it is a National Treasure. It has a long history, and there are many events there eg an Ice Festival in January, a Kendo competition in November, a Craft Beer Festival in August...
  • Nawate Street is next to the Metoba River, and is good for shopping, eating Tayaki (from the Furusato shop), and beautiful views. You can have a coffee & pastry in Sweets, a bakery.
  • Nakamachi is good for souvenir shopping in unique stores, there's a morning market on Saturdays, and it has a lot of restaurants.
  • The film 'Orange' was filmed at the historic Agata-no-Mori building, where there is also a lovely park.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Fukuotoko - An unusual event in Japan.

As one of unusual celebratory event of Japanese New Year, I would bring up Fukuotoko-erabi. It is a religious event held at Nishinomiya shrine on January 10 every year. At this traditional event, approximately 250 runners make a fierce dash from the Omote Daimon, the entrance gate, for Honden, the main shrine hall as soon as the gate is open at 6 a.m. The first three runners who reach Honden are named Fukuotoko, the fortune men of the year. It is a great honor and, needless to say, a fortune to become a Fukuotoko. 

The runway has three curves and a slippery slope just before the goal, and these obstacles make the race result uncertain till the end. Every year this event is broadcast on TV news, and it shows many runners slide out at corners and the winner who is awarded a wooden statue of Ebisu deity for a good luck, sacred rice and sake. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Death in the Freezer - after-reading

Do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you get on well with them?

I have a sister. She's two years older than I. When I was a child, I always wanted the things my sister had. So then my parents gave us two dolls, two bags and so on. And I don't like hand-me- downs. I sometimes had a quarrel with my sister about clothes. So my mother prepared different colored dress and skirt.

We've thought rivals each other for lots of years. Then I didn't get on well with my sister while we stayed our house. But when we became adults, our relationship was good. Coincidentlly I lived near her house after my marrige.We helped each other about child raising. Recently when I felt down my sister helped me. I 've given thanks to my sister.

Posted for Hiroko

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Seasons and Celebrations - after-reading: a popular celebration in your country

Another example of Osechi in three-tiered box
Example of Osechi in three-tiered box
The most famous celebration in my country is New Year's Day. We celebrate New Year's Day with family. Before New Year's Day, se clean up the house, cook traditional Japanese food (Osechi), send post cards and decorate the house for the coming New Year.

New Year's food is called Osechi. We put many kinds of Osechi into Ju-bako which is square wooden lacker wear container.We eat Osechi during New Year's days, so housewife can enjoy New Year's days without a lot of cooking. But now, people tend to buy it at the departmentsore or supermarket.

At midnight 31th December, they ring the watch-night bells 108 times at temple all over Japan.And people go to temple or shrine to pray. We call it Hatsumode. In the morning of !st. Jan., we eat Osechi and Ozoni(Japanese soup with rice cake in it).

We give children Otoshidama(cash) . Children are happy to get it. We receive New Year's cards on 1st Jan. ,not before the day, hopping happiness and season's greeting. At home, we play games (Japanese card etc.). Long time ago, children enjoyed flying kite or playing Hanetsuki and Koma (top)outside.But, now, they play TVgames at home. Anyway, we relax at home or visit relatives or friends. 

Posted for Yasumi

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Piano - after-reading: a letter to Mrs. Lark

Dear Mrs. Lark

Thank you for coming today. 

I was very nervous before my turn. My feet in the tight shoes were cold and hurt. My hands were shaking. When A man called my name, I coudn't recognaized even my name! I was walking like "Charlie Chaplin" I thought everybody would laugh at me!

On the stage, the piano is big and shining, it makes me more nervous. And I can't find someone who I know in the audience. But suddenly I felt the love and kindness from my friends. I played just for you and other friends. If I can't feel that, I couldn't play like that.

Thank you so much.

Posted for Naoko

Friday, 22 January 2016

Return to Earth: after reading

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?

Every year I struggle with my son about flu shot.  Of course, he doesn't like having a shot.  I tried to do every possible effort before the appointment date came.  For example, I tried to explain why flu shot is needed, or negotiate with him I could buy something after having flu shot.  All my efforts rejected unfortunately and he started crying in the waiting room even before seeing his doctor.  All nurses came to hold his arms and legs and the fist flu shot was finished with lots of tear drops.  I still have to be prepared for the second shot this year.

So, I wish the government could get everyone in Japan flu shot without telling us.  I think there are a lot of parents who are facing the difficult time with kids before having flu shot.  A lot of people all over the world die due to flu every year.  If everyone could have flu shot at the same time, the flu will not be spread among people.  I believe this can save our life.  But, before carrying out, I would like to make sure not to have the bad effect from flu shot.  It should be carried out after it is confirmed the flu shot is safe for everyone without any negative impact on life.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A report - Leisure facilities in Matukawa

English: JR East Shinano-Matsukawa Station Fra...
Matukawa station
   The aim of this report is to give an honest description of the leisure facilities, including recommendations for improvements.

   There is a park in the town. It's huge and quiet, but there's not much you can do there. Thus children   overtake the place on weekends so that you can't jog around. Also the fountain in the park is          dilapidated.
Eating out
   There are many restaurants in the town. Each of them serves different kinds of foods and it's well    cooked, but unfortunately restaurants with good quality foods are extortionate for the youth while the  other two restaurant's food is greasy and they are always empty.
   There's a lack of entertainment in this town. The town believes that climbing mountains is the the  entertainment of the town. However, it is said that climbing mountains is very difficult and possibly  dangerous.

Matukawa would be greatly improved by building new entertainment facilities, such as a shopping centre or a game centre. Also, the town should make a new park for limited ages, it's a shame that the park is taken over by children. For me, the priority would be making fast-food restaurants in the town, so it will be affordable for teenagers and we don't have to eat in dreary restaurants.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The children of the new forest - and 17th Century Japan

Civil War 

Dangerous times in England in the 17th century. What was happening in your country at this time?

Here are 3 main affairs in the 17th century in Japan

1) Started Tokugawa shogunate

The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government which existed between 1603 and 1867. The heads of government were the shoguns, and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled the nation at Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is also called the Tokugawa period.

2) The Buke shohatto

The Buke shohatto (武家諸法度) is the Laws for the Military Houses. It was a collection of edicts issued by Japan's Tokugawa shogunate. They were governing the responsibilities and activities of daimyō (feudal lords) and the rest of the samurai warrior aristocracy. This is a code of conduct, which is a description of proper honorable daimyo behavior, and not solely laws which had to be obeyed.

3) Sakoku
Though Christianity was allowed to grow until the 1610s, Tokugawa Ieyasu soon began to see it as a growing threat to the stability of the Shogunate. He influenced the implementing of laws that banned the practice of Christianity. His successors followed suit, compounding upon Ieyasu's laws. The ban of Christianity is often linked with the creation of the Seclusion laws, or Sakoku, in the 1630s.

Stories from the Five Towns; meet the parents

How did you tell your parents/family about your engagement?  How did they react?

Telling my father about my engagement was difficult and a challenge for me.  My parents and husband met first time six months after  I started going out with him.  I took him to my house and introduced him to my parents.  My mother very much welcomed him, but my father didn’t as he was the eldest son.  I am  an only child, so my father wanted me to take a husband.
One year had passed since then, my husband proposed me.  I was very glad, but I hesitated to tell my father about it.  I asked my mother to help me, but she told me I should say to him by myself.  I couldn’t tell my father about the marriage proposal straight, so I told him that my husband wanted to see and talk to him, then asked him when he would be available.  It seemed that he was a little bit uncomfortable and got my message soon.

When my husband came to my house and told about the marriage, my father didn’t accept and asked my husband and me to consider the marriage again.  Consequently, my husband came to the house to have the discussions with my father three times in total and then my father was reluctant to accept the marriage.  I couldn’t say thank you to my father straightforwardly at that time, but I could say that in the speech on the wedding.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Posting a comment - a typical breakfast

Took a bit of courage for my beginners class to post this, their first writing piece being shared to the blog! Mie, Reiko and Hiroaki have posted a comment about what they have for breakfast, where they have it and whether they think it's healthy. Please leave a comment below with your typical breakfast!

English: Natto on rice.
Love it or hate it, the Japanese equivalent of Marmite!
For breakfast I always have rice, miso soup and pickles (nozawana)
I usually have eggs, fish, cheese, natto and vegetables.
I have green tea.
I always have breakfast at home.

I think my breakfast is not healthy.


Miso Soup
Miso Soup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For breakfast I usually have rice, miso soup and pickles. Sometimes I have bread with butter or jam and hot milk. I usually have breakfast at home. But sometimes I don’t have breakfast on a busy morning.
I think my breakfast is healthy.


For breakfast I have cereal or toast.
I usually have cereal and a cup of coffee but I sometimes have toast when I’m late for work.
I usually have breakfast at home, but I have toast in my car. Toast with butter and ham, or blueberry jam.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Daiya writes & draws about his home

In my house, there's a:

In my house, there are:
  • games
  • cushions

In my city (Matsumoto), there's a:
  • station
  • castle
In my city (Matsumoto), there are:
  • convenience stores
  • shrines

In my country (Japan), there's a:
  • Tokyo Sky Tree
  • Mount Fuji
In my country (Japan), there are:
  • mountains
  • schools

Monday, 11 January 2016

My Home - Masa writes & draws

In my house, there's a:

  • black mamba
  • a cupboard
In my house there are:

  • games
  • TVs

In my town (Hata), there's a:
  • station
  • hospital
In my town (Hata), there are:
  • convenience stores
  • watermelons

In my country (Japan), there's a:
  • parliament
  • Mount Fuji
In my country (Japan), there are:
  • mountains
  • hot springs

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Postcard from: Hong Kong

Hong Kong's symphony of lights
Hi Jim-sensei,

I am writing this card at post office in Hong Kong airport.

I stayed two nights and didn't have a chance to eat delicious Chinese food.

I will make sure to grab the chance next time.


Saturday, 9 January 2016

Back with a blast!

Thought you'd like to hear some spontaneous singing, which our lunchtime class erupted into today!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Father Christmas finds Luna kids early!


Contrary to the previous blog posting, Santa (aka Father Christmas) does know where Luna's children like to hang out!

He found us just down the lane at the local kominkan - we can't fit everybody who wants to party with us into the school! Over 60 children and 28 mums & dads?!

With so many party-goers this year, we had to rotate people through four static activities. Marty had drawn a lovely Rudolph sadly missing his nose, which blindfolded rescuers tried to glue back in the right place. Ski gloves make that hard! Damian was multiplying snowmen in the crafty corner. Naomi had again produced a couple of amazing winterscapes for everyone to colour in as a mozaic, and Jim had competitive Christmas colour & paste ladder races for all ages. Everyone was a winner!

Boulangerie Ciel catered for us this year - we have outgrown the abilities of MosBurger to feed us, and Mac ran out of potatoes (can you believe?) when we needed them last time. So, healthy & local option win - win!

Santa found us after a speedy clean up; everyone sat on his knee & posed for photos (iPhones everywhere) before taking a present home.

The Big 2015 Xmas Party Recognise anyone? Please share on twitter, like us on Luna's Facebook page, download pics from Flickr...and tell your friends!

Most of our classes are already full for 2016 - hurry hurry folks!

None of this happened without Yukari's awesome organising skills...thank you xxx

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas in Japan

In class this week, my junior high school class was reading about Christmas for teens in the UK, in their Mary Glasgow magazine "Crown". We decided to compare our own answers, and this is what we found.

Do you like Christmas?

  • Yuta: No, because Santa Claus doesn't come to my house. Maybe I'm a bad boy?
  • Karen: No, because I don't get any Christmas presents.
  • Jim: No, because I don't like working until the very last minute and not having time to buy nice presents or prepare my home.
Did you get what you wanted last Christmas?
  • Yuta: No, I didn't. I wanted a Fender guitar.
  • Karen: No, I didn't. I wanted money.
  • Jim: No, I didn't. I got socks instead of books about cricket in Afghanistan & the West Indies.
What did you do last Christmas Day?
  • Yuta: I went to school, as usual. My teacher gave me some chocolate.
  • Karen: I went to school.
  • Jim: I skyped my brother's family in Australia & talked to my mum. After that, I started cooking with a glass of wine.
What did you eat last Christmas?
  • Yuta: I ate fried chicken (my mum cooked it) at home, with my parents. I didn't have Christmas pudding because I did not know what it is. I'd like to try it this year.
  • Karen: I ate chicken & Christmas cake at home with my family.
  • Jim: We ate a traditional Christmas dinner that I cooked - roast turkey & vegetables, gravy, as well as other things my wife's family brought (pizza, salad, cake...) and of course we drank champagne & wine. I ate too much!
How about this year?
  • Yuta: I want a new basketball, to play with my friends at school - no holiday.
  • Karen: I want a polaroid camera. School is off for Christmas this year. I don't know why!
  • Jim: I don't want socks. I want a gadget to turn my old analog stereo amplifier & speakers into bluetooth receivers. I hope my children do not get toy guns/swords/anything noisy!
Only one of us has a tree in the house (we have a big one outside the school)!

We'd like to know about how you celebrate Christmas.
 If you don't, what do you do instead?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Overcoming challenges - Hirotada Ototake

Write about someone you know who looks 'different', and the challenges they had to overcome.

When I read the above sentence, I recalled Mr. Hirotada Ototake. He is a writer and a commentator. He is a person born without legs and arms and uses an automatic wheelchair to move around.

His most famous book is Gotai Fumanzoku (No one's Perfect – English title) that was published in 1998 and his experiences as the physically challenged are positively described. In the book, he says that “Handicap is inconvenient, but not unhappy”. He considers that his handicap is one of his personalities. When I read the book, I was surprised and moved by his positive message and life style.

After his graduation from Waseda University, he entered Meisei University to get elementary school teacher’s license and worked for a school. He also became an educational board member in Tokyo.

He got married in 2001 and has three children. When the first child was born, he took paternity leave. In the meantime, he is a member of rock band “Cowperking” and vocalist.

He entered a graduate school in April 2015 to study social issues. I expect he plays an important role in various fields regardless handicap.

An after reading task from Anne of Green Gables

Monday, 14 December 2015

Postcard from: Hawaii, USA

Hello, Jim-sensei

I enjoy Honeymoon with my husband in Hawaii!

It is the first time to visit Hawaii, but I love it.

We went to hy's Steak House last night. He was so excited to see and eat T-bone steak as he loves steak.

We don't want to go back to Japan!


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Amelia Earhart - after reading

Welcome back to the States, Amelia

Amelia Earhart was invited to the White House and received a big welcome by the thousands of people last night.

She just made the world record. She became the first woman who flew across the Atlantic. This is really brilliant record and everyone must admit she is a brave woman. Last year, Charles Lindberg did the solo flight from the States to Paris in France. Just one year later, Amelia proved the woman could fly across the Atlantic as Lindberg did.

Amelia joined the project as one of pilot. She flew together with Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. The team left the States by the plane named Friendship and arrived at Burry Port of Wales. It was over 20 hours of flight. The weather was very bad. The plane had to go through the heavy storm and thick fog. They finally arrived in Wales though their original goal was Ireland.

After she arrived in Wales, one of reporter asked how her flight was. She replied, it was the challenging flight but the brave pilot, Stultz did a great job and managed to have a safe flight across the Atlantic. She also said she would like to make a solo flight across the Atlantic in the near future.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Multicultural London - a personal report

A London AEC Routemaster, RML 2473 on route 7 ...
I used the bus to go to the museum
I lived in London for four years about 5 years ago. There I felt that London is a very generous city. It accepts the immigrants from other counties.

The school I used to go to was called "Old Oak". There were students from more than 30 different counties, including me from Japan. We looked different, we had different colored skins, we had a variety of religions, but we had no discrimination. There was respect between each other. When I started to go to the school I couldn't speak English, but a lot of students took me to the play ground and taught me how to play football. I couldn't understand what they are saying, but I was very happy with their politeness.

 My best friends were from Afghanistan, Sudan, London and Morocco. People living in my street were from America, China, Sudan, Ghana and Iraq. I ate lots of different kinds of food, learnt about a lot of different cultures and religions.

English: John Perryn Primary School, East Acto...
John Perryn Primary School, East Acton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I think it will be a difficult thing in Japan to welcome immigrants who can't speak Japanese because the Japanese are shy, skeptical and conservative. In this way, I think Japan should imitate London's multiculturalism. Japan would be a more interesting and exciting place.

By Takuro

Monday, 7 December 2015

Remember remember, the menu of November

I realize we are already into December, but due to a bi-monthly class I haven't been able to share this work until now. With many festivities and celebrations occurring over the months of November and December, there has been a running theme where we have touched on Halloween, Guy Fawkes Day, Christmas to name but a few.
Japanese people tend to be big on food, so I was expecting great things from my class when I asked them to design a night time menu to go along with while watching fireworks on Bonfire Night. Definitely beats a jacket potato or a greasy burger!

Yoko's selection

Reiko's hearty menu

Misuzu' has her priorities right, hot wine only!

Misako's comfort food

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Postcard from Chicago, Illinois

Hi Jim-sensei

I am leaving for Japan tomorrow.

This time I had two full-day meeting and it was very productive one.

I hope I can work closely with my customer for future product developments


Love among the Haystacks - after reading

Under the stars. Write about a night when you slept outdoors

The elementary school that I went had an event to go for camping when I was fourth and fifth grade.
I was excited to go for camping because didn’t have a chance with my family. We stayed lodge when we were fourth grade, but we actually built tent when we were fifth grade.

Nowadays, tent might be light and easy to build. Back then, tent was thick heavy sheet, especially, the rental tent was nothing fancy green tent, but I was so excited to build it with my friends.

The tent seemed that it’s not big when I saw it from outside. However, I was moved when I went into the tent. My group was four people, and it was big enough to chat and sleep for us. The fifth grade camping was held in June. The sad thing is that the day was cloudy. In the night, gentle rain started.

Because of rain, I couldn’t hear much sound of frogs or birds. I only heard the sound of rain drop and river stream far away. I slept soon for that I worked hard that day to do activity, so it was not the problem anyway. The rain finished in the morning, and little bit foggy. It was magical atmosphere in the forest.

While I write this essay, I remember the joyful camp. Someday, I hope to have a chance to go for camp!

Monday, 30 November 2015

My first International JALT Conference

English Central with Charles Browne
I had the great privilege of attending the International JALT Conference in Shizuoka from November 20-23. Nothing could have prepared me for a hectic weekend filled to the brim with presentations, workshops, talking to publishers, networking, hands on learning, sharing ideas, socializing and this list goes on. It was such an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by fellow peers, soaking in the wealth of knowledge and experience available. The weekend changed my outlook on the kind of educator I aspire to be, and armed me with the tools in order to succeed.

I have never attended a conference of this scale before, over 1800 attendants over the course of 4 days, from all sorts of teaching backgrounds. There is so much to see and do, people to meet that there doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything. There were many presentations and workshops I missed out on due to clashes or being preoccupied with something else.  My mind didn’t even have to chance to wander as there was always something that required my full attention.

A huge crowd gathers for Paul Nation
The theme of the conference was: Focus on the Learner, perhaps something that can be, but never should, be overlooked. A lot of the presentations I attended had an emphasis on the importance of needs analysis; who are the stakeholders and what do they want? Are we truly fulfilling our role as a teacher if we fail to meet this single requirement?

With needs analysis also comes the task of identifying problems and solving them: what is not working, why not and how to go about fixing it. Not every problem has a simple solution and you have to be equipped with the suitable knowledge and tools. A major point to keep in mind when it comes to self evaluation and expanding your teaching skills, something I will be keeping at the forefront when it comes to lesson planning.

Publicity Officers' meeting
Another thing that often cropped up, which is something I find myself guilty of at times, is the
teacher taking a step back and doing nothing. Let students do the work and let them figure out for themselves. The less time the teacher spends talking the better. I’m sure all my students would agree! I have a tendency to offer assistance prematurely and it is something that I need to work and improve on.

It was fascinating to get a glimpse of educators from across the globe sharing their insights, ideas and experiences. There was so much to take in that I was furiously scribbling in my notebook the entire time. I came away from the whole experience with a better understanding of how to cater to my student’s needs, my own pitfalls and weaknesses plus a host of ideas and techniques to implement in my classroom.

Research  results on show at a Poster Session
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, I had to share a hotel room with Jim after all! One of the main grumps was that Shizuoka did not lend itself to a good “after-event”. There was a lack of venues to continue the conference into the evening in a much more social manner, gathering ideas together over a couple of beverages and exchanging personal experiences. I guess you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

But in no way did that take anything away from my first International JALT conference. I feel as though I have come a long way since my first day on the job, but this conference has made me realize I still have a long way to go. I am looking forward to every single step of that journey. A massive thank you to all the organizers of the event, the staff involved and everyone who contributed to such a fantastic event.

A special mention to Jim for driving me all the way to and from Shizuoka, (even though I was a lousy navigator!), and introducing me to so many brilliant people. I cannot wait for the next one!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

After reading - Anne of Green Gables

Write a letter to Marilla, from Anne, when she first arrives in Charlottetown.

Dear Marilla,

How have you been, Marilla? Is Matthew going well?
arrived in Charlottetown yesterday afternoon. The college dorm is very nice and clean. The college campus is very large and beautiful but the trees and field of grasses of Green Gables are more beautiful than anything.
Ive been to the center of Charlottetown with my roommate today. There were a lot of stores for clothes, foods and everything! I want to take you and Matthew to show all of them.
I heard that we can go to see another seaside of Prince Edward Island from Charlottetown after taking a bus for 10 minutes. I want to go to the seaside and read books with my classmate. Of course I donforget to study hard in the collage. I will be a teacher in the future and live with you and Matthew happily.
I miss you so much and hope to see you soon in Green Gables.

With best regards,

My favourite dish - nikujaga

Nikujaga (meat and potato stew)
Nikujaga (meat and potato stew) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of my favourite dishes is 'nikujaga'. I alsways made it for my children when they were home. I use a lot of ginger.

First, cut the potatoes, carrot & onions, then slice ginger.

Fry the pork and everything in oil in a pot, add cold water, boil everything and simmer, adding soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake.

Posted for Kaoru

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

After reading - Amelia Earhart

Inspiring woman

I write about Malala Yousafzai as a woman who is the one I was inspired.  She was ranked second as woman who was respected in the world following Angelina Jolie.

She was born in Pakistan in 1997.  Her father ran a women’s school and she studied there to become a doctor.  In the meantime, Taliban started conducting a region of terror in 2007.  They deprived women of their right to take education and sought the life of women who tried to take education or pushed ahead with the action.  Malala criticized those activities by Taliban and continued to emphasize the need of women’s education and the peace.  When she was a junior high school student, she was attacked by Taliban and seriously injured.  She miraculously recovered and was released from a hospital after two and a half months.

Six months later, she made a speech at the United Nations headquarters and insisted on the importance of education.  In 2014, she got Nobel Peace Prize.  At that time, she was seventeen and the youngest person who got the prize.  She said that it was start, not end.

I am very inspired by her extraordinary bravery and hope the chance of taking education is given to everyone in the world.

Film review - World War Z

If you are a big fan of horror-action film, this might be the one for you. The film is called World War Z, and it definitely surprises you.

The plot was sophisticated. It starts with joy and a happy family life, but suddenly it collapses. Then the husband cooperates with the Navy and WHO to produce the vaccine to cure the zombie infection, since he used to be a member of WHO.

In my opinion, the acting was first-rate and unbelievable stunts were included which you definitely can't miss. My favourite part was where the Israeli Wall collapses by noise. It was hilarious to me and couldn't stop laughing, and my least favourite was where the wife phones her husband. It was stupid, but as a film I think it needs something that is unexpected.

Finally, World War Z is highly gripping and thrilling. It doesn't really end with "End", it makes us think and what will happen if the story became true. I can recommend it from teens to anyone.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Luna's monster scrapbook

Cute and cuddly or stuff of nightmares?
Eeek! It's Friday the 13th and there's something horribly frighting I have to show you all! My students have been busy making a monster scrapbook, terrifying enough to give even the most composed of souls the creeps!
We began with a body as a starting point, and used a trusty die to determine how many of each body part we would add to our crazy creations. 6 heads with 1 eye, 4 feet with 4 toes, you name it, we had it! 
For the more advanced students, there was an additional twist where the activity was a dictation exercise, pairing an adjective (short, big, thin etc) with each body part.
Leave us a comment with which monster you think has the most resemblance to either Damian or Jim!

Postcard from the Bourgoyne, France

Hello Jim,

I'm in Beaune now.

It's a beautiful town which is the centre of Bourgoyne wine's distribution.

I'll move to Lyon today.

A bientot!


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Amelia Earhart - missing, presumed dead

Amelia R.I.P.

Beginning approximately one hour after Earhart's last recorded message, the USCGC Itasca took a search north and west of Howland Island. The United States Navy soon joined the search and over a period of about three days sent available resources to the search area in the vicinity of Howland Island.

The official search efforts lasted until July 19, 1937. At $4 million, the air and sea search by the Navy and Coast Guard was the most costly and intensive in U.S. history. But search and rescue techniques during the era were introductory and some of the search was based on erroneous assumptions.
Despite an unprecedented search by the United States Navy and Coast Guard no physical evidence of Earhart, Noonan or the Electra 10E was found.

In late July 1937, Putnam chartered two small boats and while he remained in the United States, directed a search of the Phoenix Islands, Christmas Island, Fanning Island, the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands, but no trace of the Electra or its occupants was found.

Back in the United States, Putnam acted to become the trustee of Earhart's estate so that he could pay for the searches and related bills. In a court in Los Angeles, Putnam requested to have the "declared death in absentia" seven-year waiting period waived so that he could manage Earhart's finances. As a result, Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939.

Love among the Haystacks - stargazing

Under the stars

I love seeing stars.  When I was a high school student, I was a member of astronomy club. The most interesting activity of our club was to see a star shower.  There are two big chances to see the star shower in a year.  One is Aquarius meteor in May and the other is Perseid meteor in August.  There is a good camping site for our activity in Ikeda-machi.  We went up to the hill and had a camp.  When sun goes down, we started the preparation of observation.  Ten members went into each sleeping bag and lie on the ground in a circle.  In the center of circle, one member sat down on ground and took note how much shooting stars we could count in each direction.  We took turns watching all the night.  All of us tried hard not to sleep, but some members went to sleep during the observation.  The member in the center of circle called over the name every ten minute, but some member didn’t reply.  The midnight was the hardest time for us, but it was the best time for seeing stars.  More and more shooting stars can be seen in the midnight toward morning.  It was silent night and stars were very beautiful in the dark.  We felt the sky was nearer to us. 

Posted by Reko on behalf of Tomoko

Amelia Earhart and her airplanes

One of Amelia’s air planes was Lockheed 5B Vega.
It was called little red bus. It was vivid red, and had a single seat.
In 1932, she used it for her famous flight and made a record.
She flew alone over the Atlantic Ocean back and forth without any recess. It was the first record for woman.

The Lockheed 5B Vega was sold into the market in 1927. The designer was Jack Northrop and Allan Loughead. It was first product made by them for Lockheed Aircraft Company. Lockheed 5B Vega was sharp shape and fast. It soon became popular among pilots.

She repaired the little red bus because of an accident. The fuselage was replaced and strengthened in order to carry extra fuel tanks.
It mounted three types of compasses, a drift indicator and a more powerful engine. She accomplished the Atlantic Ocean flight with the modified little red bus.

She sold it to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. It’s presently displayed in Smithsonian museum.

Another air plane was the Model 10-E Electra. It’s also made by Lockheed Company. It was the best known aircraft, but disappeared in the Pacific in July, 1937 with Amelia Earhart and her flight assistant, Fred Noonan on the half way to achieve world record flight.

Posted by Reiko on behalf of Yumi