Monday, 24 September 2007

Jim's other "hat"

My day job is teaching, as you all probably know! However, with Luna's growing responsibilities as the busiest Cambridge ESOL Centre in Japan, there is so much more to do in a week!

At the moment we are making sure that candidates can still take First Certificate (FCE), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE) in Tokyo this December. (The British Council shamefully decided to stop accepting candidates from outside its own school.) We are also arranging KET & PET exams to take place in Niigata, here, and in Tokyo in November. We are also arranging Young Learners (YLE) to take place in Hokkaido, Ishikawa, here & Tokyo in November & December.

Is that all? No! As well as running the exam sessions, we are also responsible for training & co-ordinating all the Oral Examiners - who give the speaking tests. That means we run workshops for experienced teachers all over the place. This weekend...Jim ran a two-day course in Kanazawa, training a group of teachers to become YLE examiners.

Fortunately, the people at Hokuriku Gakuin are very well organised, and have already run two YLE sessions at their school. Having local examiners makes sense - it's a long way for Jim to drive! As you can see, everybody worked hard - the training is NOT easy - and managed to enjoy the work as well. I am looking forward to our newest OEs getting the chance to examine soon; after their hard work over the weekend, I'm sure they'll do very well indeed! Next training will be in Tokyo in November.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Living a long way from home

A serious posting today. I'm really unhappy to have to announce that Martin will be leaving us next week. I know - he only just got here. I know, he only just replaced the last guy...what's happening etc?

Martin joined us full of the enthusiasm I welcome at my school, and is quite obviously devastated that he has to leave us before he can even warm up his classes. Martin has had to deal with every teachers' nightmare living/working overseas - bad news from home. It's the phone call we all dread - it doesn't matter where you live. I am sure you will all accept that family has to be Martin's only consideration right now, and that you will join me in wishing him a safe journey home. We all wish he could have stayed; I know he was committed to Luna.

I have no idea right now, tonight, about his replacement; good teachers simply do not grow on trees. The kind of people I want to work at my school, teach my my kids/drive all of you on to better learning...these people are very rare! I'm working on it - it is the hardest part of my job (apart from finding out who broke the doors off my Mini)

Martin: all of our thoughts are with you. Thank you for even your short time with us.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Copyright - Thank you

Very quickly want to thank:
Donn Ogawa at Pearson Longman for permission to post images of Penguin Readers
Paul Riley at Oxford University Press for permission to post images of Bookworm Readers

Luna International appreciates your continuing support. Thank you.

Bye Bye Alex sensei

A sad day for all of us at Luna today, as we say goodbye to Alex Gordon. It is hard to believe it has been 15 months already since she arrived here from England!

Alex settled in very quickly and has become everyone's favourite teacher. She's always cheerful and smiling away :) and students will miss her sorely. I don't think we've ever seen her tired or less than 100% genki?

Alex will be exploring Hokkaido for a short while before returning to the UK. We wish her all the very best for the future, and want to thank her for all her hard work and personal commitment to all of her classes & students. We will really miss her and hope she`ll keep in touch. Please send her your thank yous etc as comments below?

While here, should also welcome Phil...big shoes to fill etc, but with all of Alex's preparation & advice, I'm sure he's going to do just fine.

So, sadly, Sayonara Alex - we'll miss you

Monday, 10 September 2007

"The Moonspinners" OUP Bookworm

Hi Jim. This is my first challenge.

The book title is 'The Moonspinners'. This is a story about people who were accidentally involvet in a case of murder and theft. The heroine is Nicola who came on a trip to meet her cousin at the villege. But she met two guys on the way to the Hotel where she was going to stay. One of them was shot and injured...

The question is:
1 You are a police officer. Write a short report about each of the five people involvee with
the crime: Stratos,Alexandros,Tony,Josef,and Sofia.

Stratos : Stratos Alexiakis. The probable age 48 or 49. He is a owner of the Hotel
'Agios Georgios 'which is in Crete. He had successful restaurant in London. But
came back to Crete 6 months ago. He has a sister named Sofia.
Stratos Stole some gold and Jewels in London with Alexandros,Tony and Josef.
He is a leader of them. They hided the stolen articles at the coast near the village.
He doesn't like Sofia's husband Josef.He kidnapped and imprisoned Colin with Tony
and Josef.

Alexandros : He is an accomplice of the crime. But killed by Josef in a mountain near Crete
when they had argument about things they had stolen in London.

Tony : Tony Camble. A British man who helped Stratos's crime in London.
Probable age under thirty.
He followed Stratos and works at Agios Georgios.

Josef : Sofia's husband. Cretan.He is often drunk. Doesn't work much. He waste Sofia's money
and not very good to her. He killed Alexandros at the mountain near the village. He also
shot Colin's brother Mark. But died accidentally by hitting his head on a rock when
scuffled with Mark's friend Lambis at the mountain.

Sofia : Stratos's sister and wife of Josef. She had money form her father. She helped Stratos
to imprison Colin in a windmill. But she took care of Colin and brought some hood for
Colin. She opposed to kill Colin.

This story was quite exciting. and of course, happy end.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Postcard from Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

"Dear Jim-san, There are so many magnificent views here in Cambodia. Today I visited a primary school at Kompong Thom, which is 100km north of Phnom Penh. Tomorrow, I'll move from Kompong Thom to visit Angkor monuments. I'm very excited. See you soon. Koa"

Technorati Tags:, , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

(Koa was visiting Cambodian schools on behalf of the employees' union, Seiko Epson Corporation. Posted August 6th)

Postcard from Nha Trang (Vietnam)

"Hi! How are you? I'm in Vietnam. I'm going to Ho Chi Minh City from Nha Trang by train. Nha Trang has a beautiful beach. I swam a lot, so I got a suntan! I'll go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia tomorrow. I'll send you a mail again. Best regards, Junko" (posted August 8th)

Which Cambridge exam should I take?

A very good question indeed! First, ask your teacher for their recommendation - you should certainly be taking one or another at the end of the year. These exams are taken all over the world, and allow you to prove how much you can use your English. Do not be afraid - I really want to see you challenging yourselves and achieving something meaningful.

You can find some useful information and sample papers (which you can download) etc at
On the left side of the homepage, find the "For Language Learners", and then find the particular exam you are interested in.

This year you can take the following exams on the following dates at Luna in Matsumoto (with entry deadlines in brackets)
  • K.E.T. Sat. November 24th, afternoon. (Oct 5th) - Y7,950
  • P.E.T. Sat. November 24th, morning. (Oct 5th) - Y9,950
  • Y.L.E. (Starters, Movers, Flyers) Sat. December 1st (Oct 12th)
  • F.C.E. Sat. December 8th (Oct. 5th) - Y18,350
Luna is also organising F.C.E., C.A.E. & C.P.E. in Tokyo, Dec 11/12/13. if you are interested please contact Jim directly.

To get your entry form please email Jim:

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

What? No Yuki?!

Time to panic at Luna - our manager Yuki is leaving us (temporarily) to concentrate on more important having a baby. She has been the backbone of common sense and good organisation at Luna since I bought the business in the previous millennium. Needless to say, it is going to be very strange trying to run the business without her (and if things don't go quite so smoothly for a while please be patient) nor seeing her bright & cheerful face every day.

Yuki, from all of us past & present, the very best of luck & good health to you and your baby. Please take care, and come back when you are ready...we are all really excited to see your child & can't wait for you to introduce us. xxx