Thursday, 28 February 2008

game of the week

Need a new challenge? Try practicing a dialog in a group with a timer. The rules are as follows: each person says one line of the dialog, CORRECTLY, before passing the timer on. The aim of the game is to not be the one holding the timer when the time runs out. This is not as easy as one would think, especially with the extra time pressure, so be warned. We had great fun with this one in class. Well done to those who managed to say the lines correctly and not get caught out!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Shakespeare - His Life and Plays

Now I can post my first one.

I, with my wife, have been to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon several years ago, and this book at first reminded me of the memory. The backyard of the house was a quiet garden with complicated path with a mood of countryside, as I had expected for such a historical old house, but in front of the house there was an urban street with certain traffic.
The author referred to The Seven Samurai in light of similarity of stories. It's no surprise of any similarities between them because Korosawa loved Shakespeare so much that he borrowed stories from many plays of Shakespeare. But this book told me that Shakespeare also was such a writer who refurbish old stories very well. Interesting.

(To find out more about the area Tetsuro is writing about, please click If you want to change the langauge, go to the flag icon in the top corner! It's a beautiful part of England. Jim)

Dear Anne, I am acting in a theatre in London and also have wrote some plays, which were very succesful. Are you, Susanna, Hamnet, and Judith all doing well? If something is going wrong, write me. I will come back to you.

Saw "Twelfth Night". Heard an interesting story, obviously a joke, about Shakespeare and Burbage, both casted in the play. Burbage saw a beautiful woman in the audience and arranged to meet her. But when knocking on her door, Shakespeare was already making love to her, saying "William I came before Richard III". Brilliant.

S: "So, Mr. Hall, what are you doing?"
H: "Sir, I am a doctor. You may have heard of a doctor who uses plants to cure the patients."
S: "Oh, are you that Dr. Hall? What a pleasure to meet you!"
H: "I came here today to..."
S: "Of course, no problem!"

I would like to read or see A Midsummer Night's Dream because I always like comedies. According the book, this play looks to have a complex structure of three stories affecting each others. This kind of complexity in dramas, I also like.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Goodbye Matsumoto - Hello Waseda!

Absolutely magic news for everyone associated with Luna today, as one of our students has managed to get himself into Waseda University. We are all jumping up & down with pleaseure and pride today, totally thrilled to bits, enjoying some champagne with his mum.

I don't usually name names on the blog, but Mitsuya deserves a massive round of applause for his achievement - a lot of hard work has paid of, at last. As I have personally known Mitsuya & taught him over the last six years, I feel especially chuffed and pleased for his family.

He has come a long way too; in 2002 he passed YLE Flyers as baby-faced kid, and was bullied shamefully on a homestay in New Zealand (by me!). Now he has FCE under his belt, a TOEIC score better than most teachers could get, and is too big to push around anymore.

Obviously, my Monday evening schedule is going to change now. Any really bright students with a lot of ambition want to get into a good uni? Give us a call!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

How to make Frogs squeek

Ah, this is a rare sound, best enjoyed in Paris.

  1. petite grenouilles (Frogs), fifteen
  2. Les Grandes Ros Bouef, fifteen
  3. Slight pinch of deja vu/disbelief (to taste)
  • Shake grenouilles with bone-crunching tackles a la Noon
  • Batter with explosive volcano-like south island dressing
  • Stir in some old-school hooking & rucking
  • Apply pressure with reliable left boot of Wilkinson
  • Serve roasting hot, accompanied by a rendition of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariots", on a bed of trampled blue shirts
NB May be hard to swallow for some.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

A Scandal in Bohemia

Why are the Sherlock Holmes stories so popular?
There are a lot of people who love Holmes.
Some people send fan letter to 221B Baker Street.

Why is Holmes loved?

The Stories and person have a lot of charm. But I think another reason. The Sherlock Holmes stories has a huge volume of information that helps the reader's imagination and a space that reader can imagine freely. As a result, some creators made many movies, dramas and cartoons by own interpretations. Each works produced the fun, consequently the stories have became popular.

Why are the Sherlock Holmes stories so popular?
The stories has a huge volume of information that helps the reader's imagination and a space that reader can imagine freely.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Postcard from Tahiti

Hi, Jim & Everyone, How are you?

I'm in Tahiti, French Polynesia. There are so beautiful lagoon, the horizon & cobalt blue sky. weather is wonderful, it's around 25C. I feel fresh everyday. I can see many tropical fishes from my aquatic cottage. And then, I played dolphins which were extremely clever & cute, you know. It was an amazing experience for me. I wish I could stay here longer.

From Akane. See you.

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Meet the readers

With a couple of weeks to spare, my lads have polished of their reading books and are ready for more! In a 20 week span, they have read 6 graded readers - the first time any of them have ever picked up an English book. They have blogged their written assignments (see previous postings) and seen the benefits of their labours - better vocabulary retention, interesting stories or biographic information, reviewing grammar points; faster reading (itself a very valuable skill), skimming & scanning; becoming independent learners & tossing away the electronic dictionaries; and the writing component as well.

This my boys have managed on top of busy jobs - we study in company - and on top of their regular homework tasks...which this week is to find a podcast they might want to listen to (starting at BBC) and to report back. I'm hoping my champions will sign up for more punishment (classes oops) from April and that we can continue to do great stuff together!


16 You are one of Captain Nemo's men. Write about your captain. Do you like living and working with him on the Nautilus? Why(not)?

He is brave men. Hi loves all of sea and knows about animals, food and the neture very well.
I usually don't understand him decision. Becouse He doesn't explain the purpose details. But He has definite pourpos of adventure.

He is dependable for me. His decision is always help which we have troubles.

I like livind and working with him and love this adventure.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Shakespeare, His life and plays

This book is very educational, so I could view his 37 works along his life. If you want to see your favorite classic human story with beautifull English, this ( a littile serious ) books must meet your need.

#15 Hello, I am working as dramatist to make new type of plays about English history, comedies and tragidies. I am doing well. In case of hearing bad rumor, please don't be care of criticizing for me. How are Hamnet, Judith and you doing? Don't you have any cold? I will back soon. #16 (I don't know John Manningham because I can't pick that name up from the book, but) I may feel jealous about the talent of Shakespeare. His works are all coping from other writings being on fasion. He is just actor, not writer. #17 "You must be serious and intelligent man, my daughter is happy with such a good hasband." "I will live with Susannna in your hometown Stratford, please meet sometimes together." #18 I would like to see King Lear, because I am one of fathers and feel a lot about my child. If I have the social position, I am a father, I am a man at the same time. I must be feel something form that works.

Postcard from New York

Dear Jim,

How are you? I'm having a very good time here!
I don't want to go back to Japan...anyway,
I'll see you soon. bye!


(posted for Takako, from my NHK class...hand delivered 5 months after her trip!)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Marcel goes to HOLLYWOOD

Dear my friend,

Hello. How are you? I’m now visiting Los Angeles with Celine on holiday.
It is a very good place and we are staying in a beautiful house. Everything was going well until an accident occurred.

We saw a little girl taken away by kidnappers. We chased the kidnappers, and found out where they were staying. We also found the girl. We decided to help her. We telephoned the police to come and help her.

Finally, the police caught the kidnappers. The girl went back to her home. We did very good job! We are feeling very good to be able to help her.

I look forward seeing you.


Saturday, 16 February 2008

Mike's Lucky Day

What is Mike going to do after this story? Is he going to be a student again?

Mike and Jennifer are going to become a lover. They are going to out on date every week. However, her father doesn't admit the relation between them. Mike is going to study hard and graduate from the university. Mike is going to work hard because to become independent and to admit to her father. His father is going to admit him.They are going to marry. Lucky them!


Friday, 15 February 2008

Talking the talk

I had a couple of fun lessons today which I'd like to share.

This morning I was up at Daiichi, where we were learning some more adjectives - enthusiastic, jealous, frustrated and some other juicy ones. As usual, Chihiro & Nomado got really into it. Always helps when you have a couple of performers in a class, as they give the quieter students a bit of cover - as well as a level of participation they can try to rise to. I've noticed lately some of the very reluctant girls have been trying harder, which is great. Last week we built adverbs out of the adjectives we already knew (mostly adding -ly) and mimed out some strange sentences eg tap dance confidently, kiss your grandmother angrily etc, which turned out to be rather hilarious!

Later in the day, I was with my cool class at the Korean school. This class are soooo much fun. They learn really quickly, and help each other out which I really respect. I only see them once a month or so, so we have to motor through stuff; nevertheless they 'get' it. They can now confidently tackle short /a/, /e/ & /i/ sounds. From this launch pad, reading & spelling is a breeze. Sadly, our year together is nearly finished...and another class I taught ten years ago graduates next month.

Getting old :(

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

This is supposed to be a romantic day! A day of hoping for that special person to notice you and send you some lovely flowers anonymously, or for some chocolates to arrive on your desk mysteriously, a trinket to appear for you, or a poem handwritten & dedicated to you in an unsigned card...

Ladies: you do not have to do anything today except look lovely, expectant, and lovely again.

Guys, you've got it all wrong. There is NO "Giri Choco". YOU should be busting a nut doing something special for the lady (or ladies) in your life - or for that one you've had your eye on but not been brave enough to act yet. Today's the day. Strike while you have the golden opportunity! Go for it!

There is NO White Day. This is a rubbish invention to sell more chocolate. This 'day' does not exist anywhere else on this planet. If you can't be romantic & spontaneous today, forget it. White Day is for losers!

"But what happens if I forgot?" Well, you're in the dog house! Only an expensive restaurant with a decent bottle of wine, flowers, a present, and you all dressed up posh will save your bacon. Don't panic; be cool, pretend you had a surprise all planned out...

So get your act together gentlemen (and I do mean "gentlemen"). Top Ten Tips:
  1. Ladies first today (should be everyday, anyway, right?)
  2. Open doors for ladies (ditto above)
  3. Make her day - say it with flowers (a dozen red roses the norm)
  4. Do something unusual - buy her something cute...or sexy?
  5. Cook dinner, or book a table somewhere nice. (Got kids? Get a babysitter!)
  6. Send an I.L.Y. text message
  7. Candles & incense tonight, turn the TV off (and her on!)
  8. Say "I love you" in another language!
  9. Put a heart on her desk/car/pillow/dog
  10. Don't wait - do it NOW. Go on. NOW.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

What do you think?

What indeed?

We recently added this ad to the Town pages. Please have a look & tell me what you think?
What? Where?

Click on the title to be redirected!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Young Learners Exams

This evening I have been checking speaking test scores for children who took YLE over the weekend in Hokkaido, where 3 schools altogether entered candidates in two separate locations (Sapporo & Obihiro). My job is to upload scores to Cambridge online, and return the papers by mail (which is expensive!)

In order to arrange all of this, the process started over 7 weeks ago when the schools sent us applications to have the exams. I contact Cambridge & arrange for enough papers, CDs etc to be sent, and ask for (qualified) Oral Examiners to volunteer to conduct the speaking tests. Once we receive the material in Matsumoto (from the UK), we forward it to the schools with personalised mark sheets, interview schedules etc. which we print out.

Once our parcel arrives in the UK, qualified examiners mark the reading/writing, and listening papers; results are calculated and then certificates printed for ALL the children who took the exams - there is no pass/fail. Instead, their certificate shows how well they did. This is less competitive & generally makes all candidates feel as though they have achieved something...which indeed they have. Taking an exam in English is a brave thing to try!

We recommend schools make a big fuss about the certificates - arrange a formal ceremony to mark the occasion etc.

Meantime, I have 6 schools who have already applied to have their YLE sessions in March...

Monday, 11 February 2008

One Hundred - not out

Just a quick word to note that the 100th correspondent signed up for the blog in the last day or two -woo hoo!

I should also note that we had the 1,000th 'hit' over a month ago - we're now about 1,500. All of which is excellent news and means that your good work is being noticed - according to the map, in about 39 countries!

Keep up the good work and remember, you don't have to be asked before you start writing! Jim

Girl meets Boy

Do you like dancing and discos? Yes,I like dancing. Why/why not? Because dance make me happy and feeling so fine. I like hip hop dance very much and started learning at dance school last spring. But I don't like discos. Because I like dance only as sport and don't want another things.

Do you like holiday on boats? Yes I do. Why/why not? Because I hanker for luxurious holiday very much. Holiday on boats is the most luxurious for me. It needs many days to make a voyage and spend a lot of money.

Are you shy? When? No, I am not. I can become a friend easily if I meet somebody whom I have never meet. I think friend are important treasure. Friend make person happy and support and help each other.

(Posted for Shin)


Today is January 11,
Dear Dico,

How are you?
Your father and I miss you every day, but we hope you are very well. How is the life with Santos? Do you have many friends? I’d like to see you and live with you.

If you have any trouble, inform us immediately. We can help you. If you would like to come back home, please let me know. You are always welcome.
Anyway, we will support you, so do your best.


Friday, 8 February 2008

Postcard from San Francisco

Hi Jim,

How are you? I'm writing this card in San Francisco. I walked around at center of the city. It's so nice place, because the old buildings harmonize well with the modern, and there are many public transportations (not so much cars). When I can come back here, I want to take a cable car. See you in next class.

Cordially, Jun

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Thursday, 7 February 2008

Michael Jordan

I write ten questions for Michel Jordan.

1)When did you start basketball?
2)Why did you chooes basketball?
3)Do you think basketball's appeal?
4)How long did you play basketball every day?
5)Which did you like basketball or baseball?
6)What is your shoe size?
7)What did you like to do except baseball and basketball?
8)How many times did you visit to Japan?
9)What is your hobby?
10)Do you have a dream of your life?

HANA (Noriko Yada)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

I think Tom is a really good boy, because he is very kind and extrovert. He told Huck to go to school and shared money with his friend. He hoped to make his friend happy.I like him very much.

Posted for Shin

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Exam Results - November

Late November Luna organised Cambridge ESOL's KET & PET exams at two venues in Niigata & Tokyo (see previous posts).

Unlike other exams (that shall remain nameless), Cambridge ESOL results do NOT give candidates a numerical breakdown of their performance. Rather, Statements of Results show how well or poorly candidates did in each paper - including speaking. Personally, I think this is a much more realistic way of interpreting a person's particular & overall abilities to understand, use and function in English. I'll get off my soapbox!

Just wanted to share with you how our candidates fared (though I take no credit for successes nor blame for disappoinments, as I taught none of the entries - which is annoying!)

KET : 20 candidates.
  • 14 passed, 3 "With Merit". (2 "Narrow Fails")
PET candidates: 26 candidates.
  • 22 passed, 4 "With Merit". (2 "Narrow Fails")
Which I think deserve a round of applause, don't you?

Of course, I encourage all of our students to prove how good they are...KET & PET are both available in Matsumoto, on June 7th. Why not have a go? Who knows, you might surprise yourself!


Monday, 4 February 2008

Six Sketches

Writing: There are some nervous people in these sketches.Why are they nervous? When are you nervous?

"I'm Right"
The ticket inspector is nervous when the old man and women are talking about their thicket. Because the old men and women are always wrong.

People are nervous. People come to a photographer for their photographs and they're nervous.

"A good Match"
David is nervous when United lose a game. David supports United.

"Wedding Day"
David is nervous. He puts on the wrong shoe.


Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Full Monty

The Full Monty is a very popular and funny British file!
Gaz and five others decide to form a strippers’ group. None of the men has stripped before. Gaz must make sure the local women come to the show, so he tells them that the group will take all their clothes off. Will these unlikely strippers dare to go for the ‘full monty’?
Click here to find the story in Japanese.

Writing #24
Imagine you are a reporter working on the Sheffield Star. Write about the show for the paper’s front page.

Male strippers “HOT METAL” coming soon!
Six unemployed men have formed a male stripper group, HOT METAL. They were worker at steel factory in Sheffield and unemployed, because the factory was closed by competition. They got to know each other at the job club while they are looking for a job, and decided to form the male stripper group to earn the money. They exercised their dance at their factory warehouse. Gaz who is the leader of this group said they will take all their clothes off. It means "The Full Monty".

Michael Jordan biography

Dear Larry,

How are you? I think you are very well.

As you know, I'm now playing baseball in Chicago White Sox.
But I can't play now because of money trouble in our team.
I love baseball but I can't play now. I'm now 31 years old, and it is not very young to play. So I can't wait the day that I can play baseball.

I'm now wondering whether I should wait for baseball or not.
Larry, what do you think about it?


Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Black Cat

A detective novelist "Edogawa Ranpo" is well-known in Japan. Do you know his name comes from an American novelist "Edgar Allan Poe" who wrote about terrible people with strange lives? "Black Cat " is one of his masterpieces.

There's a man who loves animals and keeps a beautiful and intelligent black cat. At first he lives happily with the black cat but he changes slowly to be unkind, selfish and violent because of alcohol.

Eventually he cruelly kills the black cat. Some days after he finds another black cat and keeps him. One day he kills his wife because she stops him killing the new black cat. He buries her dead body in the wall but it is found by the police because a voice like a child crying comes from inside of the wall. When her dead body appears, the black cat is standing on her head covered with dried blood.

This story will frighten you!

Friday, 1 February 2008

The Adnentures of Tom Sawyer

Is Tom a good boy or a bad boy? Why? Write about it.

I think he is a good boy.

He showed a courage to confess innocence of Muffy Potter.
He loves a friend.(Huck and Becky etc..) He is masculine.(He protects Becky.)
He is a mischievous boy, but he might be clever because hit on a lot of mischief.

I had good feeling in innocence and an adventure spirit of him.
I feel envy it. I lost....