Wednesday, 31 October 2007

My home town - Suwa

I live in Suwa-city, which is located in the middle of Nagano prefecture. It has a population of 52,850 people.

It has a lake, called Suwa-ko, which is not only famous as a sightseeing place, but also notorious for its dirty water.

The altitude of Suwa-city is 761m, and it is very comfortable in summer season. However, in winter, it is colder than Matsumoto-city. Sometimes Suwa-ko is frozen and a mysterious phenomenon called "Omiwatari" appears. This is not an annual event.

Suwa-ko is well known for its fireworks festival. It is held on the 15th of August every year. The fireworks are very beautiful and have a powerful sound. They really impress to the crowds. The number of spectators is approximately 450,000. It causes heavy traffic jams for all of Suwa-city. You can see the fireworks on the website below on demand.(Sorry, this website is written only Japanese.)

There are five Japanese-Sake cellars. In spring and autumn, they have a festival called "Kamisuwa kaiko nomiaruki." It means "Drinking and walking on the Kamisuwa-street."
You can drink as much as you like, and the fee is JPY2,000.(The year before last, the fee was only JPY1,000. It was a very reasonable price.)
You can taste many kinds of Japanese-Sake. You may feel very happy.
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My hometown - Matsumoto

I live in Matsumoto, which is a city next to the mountains in the middle of Japan. It has a population of 228,814 people and it's a normal sized city in Japan.

It's a beautiful city, and it's great for walking around. There are lots of narrow streets, and it's full of shrines and markets. There's an area called Nawate where is a lot of outdoor markets and yatai-restaurants -people go there at the weekend to buy something for everyday use and eat something.
The weather here is very different from Tokyo. The winter is very cold, and it sometimes snows for days. The summer is wonderful - it's sunny but not usually too hot, and it's great for going to the mountains.

Matsumoto is famous for a castle, which is a national treasure. The most tourists visit there. It's a beautiful black colored castle. There's a festival in Auguest called Matsumoto Bon-bon, with a dancing people in the streets, and everybody competes their dances each other.

But I think the best things about Matsumoto are the people and the atmosphere. It has a clear air and water. It's a working city and it has a real sense of history, and that's the main reason why I like living here so much.

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

My home town - Ikeda

I live in Ikeda-machi, which is a small town in middle part of Nagano-ken.
It has a population of 10736 people.
It's a small town on countryside. So, there are much rice field and a few shops. But it's a peaceful and calm place.
It's cold place because its altitude is about 600m. In winter, usually it's fine day, but it sometimes snows.
Ikeda is famous for flowers and herbs. There is a big herb garden and shop named Herb Center. And at Omine highland in Ikeda-machi, there is a famous big maple tree that shows beautiful colored leaves in autumn.
The best thing of Ikeda-mach is the view of mountains called Kita-alps. You can look very beautiful view of mountains from a lot of place places in Ikeda-machi. My house is one of them.
The best place to see nice view is CraftPark. There is a large lawn field and some playground for kids in that park as well.
( This picture is what I took, on 28th Oct.)

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Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Arrival in Japan

Wow! What a beautiful city this Matsumoto is!!
I've spent the last few weeks enjoying the beautiful scenery and fresh air as I cycle here and there around the city.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to spot the first snowfall which just covered the mountain peaks in the distance and has already melted, only a few days later. I've been told to expect much more snow and to get my winter woollies ready! "But," I ask, "how cold can it really be?" Come on winter!!
I had an insight into traditional Japanese culture when I went on a sake tour at two breweries in the Nagano prefecture. Besides being interesting it was also a lot of fun as we were invited to taste the many different types of sake afterward. Mmmm, yummy!
Of course, no visit to Matsumoto would be complete without a visit to the castle. With it's beautiful terraced roofs and pointed arches it really took my breath away! That and the beautiful scenery which surrounds it, the parks, walkways and flowers. I love the way the trees grow here!!
And with winter on it's way I may even try my hand at skiing down a mountain or two! I'll keep you posted of course :-) In the meantime there are still so many things to do in Matsumoto. There are museums and art galleries to visit, shops and restaurants to go to.
Until next time! Tana

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

It's all (N) OVA - open letter

Dear students,

In the very near future you will be seeing a nationwide English school going out of business & closing its doors. I think there will be a lot of unhappy students – people who have spent good money for English classes which they have lost.
If you have friends or colleagues in this situation or your children at school have friends without classes to go to, please tell them to contact us at Luna. We feel ashamed that another English language school has behaved so badly, to its teachers and its students.
Luna International is prepared to offer “2 for 1”. That means if an unhappy student wants to get an English lesson that they have already paid for at another school, they can have the value of those lessons at Luna – every 2 points they had unused = 1 point at Luna. For example, a person with 40 points (= 10 x 40’ classes) can get 5 classes at Luna “for free” – and remember, our adult classes are 60 minutes.
In order to claim this offer:

· Adult students need to take a placement test (one hour) to help us find their level.

· Children we will place according to age & length of study.

· Proof of the number of points unclaimed (a recent printed out receipt).

· Join Luna (usual fee applies) before Dec.1st , 2007.

In return for introducing a student to us, we would like to give you a token of our thanks – so please make sure your friends mention you! Thank you as ever for choosing Luna International and for you continuing support.

My home town - Shiojiri

I live in Shiojiri city, which is in the center of Nagano prefecture. It has a population of 70,000 people and it's the 8th biggest city in Nagano prefecture. (I found this information at  )
There's a beautiful view of mountain chain called Japanese Alps. The height of those is about 3,000 metres. If you want to know more information about Japanese Alps, please visit web site, .
The winter is very cold. It's usually under subzero in the morning. It needs careful driving, because the road freezes!
Wine is famous, but I can't drink alcohol, so I don't know good point of Shiojiri's wine.
The best thing about Shiojiri is atmosphere. I like living here, because I feel the time goes slow (except work...).

Monday, 22 October 2007

Luna - open house

This week we make a special effort to encourage parents to come & see how our classes are taught, and how their children are developing in class. We feel it is very important that parents' are involved as much as they want to be; some are rather wary as they "can't speak English", others double-check homework and want to know in detail how each class has gone.

I hope as many mums and dads as possible take advantage of the opportunity this week - of course, we are happy to welcome observers any time - and that you can see for yourselves the thoroughness with which our classes are conducted, and that yes, money well spent.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

It's a boy!

Brilliant news from Yuki, who gave birth to a healthy and bouncing baby boy on October 10th.

We are all thrilled for her, and are looking forward to welcoming them to the school just as soon as they are over all their exhausting experience. "Hijiri" doesn't know it yet, but he's joined a large family with loads of friends!

Congratulations Yuki & Taka.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Rugby World Cup Final - open invitation

Anybody who would like to watch the rugby World Cup final next Sunday morning (yes, it really does start at 4am) can come to Luna & watch on the big screen. School will be open from midnight, and we'll be watching some comedy/sport to get us in the mood/keep us awake. Friends welcome.
Please email me if you're coming - very important, BYO!
(Bring Your See you in your white England shirts?!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Best blog I have found

I found this blog through listening to Broadcasting House (BH) podcast from the BBC, one I listen to regularly and recommend thoroughly.

It is difficult to explain, but I'll try. Ninety years ago a young Englishman went off to fight in the 'Great' War - as did hundreds of thousands 1914-8. A generation of letter writers - mostly dead. I visited a couple of WWI cemeteries in northern France when I was a boy - and I can remember them vividly now. Seeing them had an enormous impact on me.

Anyway, this young man's grandson found an old pile of dusty brown letters in his parents' cupboard when they were cleaning up. They were going to be thrown away, but he read a couple.

He didn't throw them away. He is posting the letters to this blog, on the day and date 90 years after they were written from the trenches. I guess the English will appear rather 'formal' by modern standards - not a bad thing.

I don't find personal blogs interesting at all - instant biography? - but this is what the internet does best. Please have a look, and report back?

Monday, 8 October 2007

Love story

"Love Story", this movie was a great hit in 1970. It's an old-fashioned love story and a predictable ending. I don't think today's young people are interested in this kind of story, but there's another love story in it. It's a deep love between the father and the son.

The son was born in a rich and famous family and he always feels it tightly, but he can't change his background. As a result he is unkind to his father. The father is a rich banker and always behaves kindly and tenderly to his son. He accepts everything of his son even if he knows that he is disliked by his son. The father just loves the son and wants to help the son, but the son wants to live without the father's support.
When the son needs a lot of money for his wife's serious disease, at last he asks his father to lend it without the reason. The father says nothing and helps his son. After the death of the son's wife, he accepts his father, because his wife leaves a message and he learns that "Love means you never have to say you're sorry."

I' ve finished !!

Since beginning of this year, I’ve been reading a series of English books that are the most popular books in the world today. I finished that challenge at end of September after nine months effort.
I had never read Japanese version of that book.
Soon after starting, I was fascinated the magical world, however, because I looked up every unknown words in a dictionary, it was troublesome work.
After that, I got used to the way to cut corners not to use dictionary so much, so it sped up.

Now I am feeling a sense of achievement and slight sadness for finishing.
I intend to read again carefully because I skipped a lot of details.

(Jim sensei, I'm sorry it's not original version, it's US version.)