Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Monday, 30 March 2009

Florida - postcard from Keigo

Hi Jim-sensei,

I'm in Florida on business trip.It's sunny & warm.

I'm jealous that a lot of people (especially young people) are coming here on vacation, beacuse it's spring break now.

I wish I had free time to go to the beach. By the way, there was a lucky thing. I saw space shuttle launching. It was 130 miles away, but clearly.


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

We are the champions!

Yes, England won the Women's Cricket World Cup last weekend in Sydney, beating the Kiwis in the final.

All the details here

Apparently there was a bit of drama in Los Angeles yesterday as well, something about a baseball match? Did Japan win something important? If it was in America, wasn't America supposed to win?

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Examiners in action

Saturday saw eight of our recently trained oral examiners get the chance to examine 'real' candidates as Luna International conducted the first session of KET & PET exams at Meijo University in Nagoya.

It was an early start for Yuki & Jim, leaving the office at 4am in order to avoid traffic problems. Another early start is becoming a bit of a routine. Supervisor Jun managed things calmly all day, and I am pleased to say that with an abundance of invigilators and ushers, everything went very smoothly. The amount of paperwork and sorting, checking, securing can be stressful, so it was important that everyone was shown what was expected of them nad how to handle 'what ifs?'

Thank you Yuki for being on the ball all day, and to Jun for 'being the boss'. Thank you and well done OEs, invigilators and ushers, and fingers-crossed for all the candidates that they did as well as they hoped. Results will be available to them in about six weeks, online.

Next KET & PET session will be on June 6th at various venues - enter now!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Amazing sheep

How about this for some creative farming?!

Japan's National Insurance System

All Japanese and registered foreign people accept equal public health insurance in Japan. But it is not free. You have to pay an insurance fee every month, in accordance with your income. The minimum fee is 13,800 yen.

When you go to the hospital or clinic, the Japanese National Insurance System requires co-payment; patients pay 30 percent of the fee.
If you work at a company, the premiums for an insured employee amount to 13.5% of the employee's income. One half is paid by the employee and one half by the employer.
Sometimes it is difficult for senior citizens and people with a low income to pay their premiums.

Private Doctors are very expensive and you can't use any type of medical insurance for Private Doctors in Japan. But they supply the newest cures or experimental ways. They also can use unauthorized medicines. Rich people go to their private doctors and choose many cures and medicines, whichever they want.
I think the Japanese National Insurance System premium is expensive. Ten years ago, people paid only 10 percent of the fee. The main reason for the raise in premium is that many old people go to the hospital or clinic almost every day. They do this to communicate with other old people. It's like a cafe. Most of them aren't sick. They enjoy seeing their doctor and other patients.

Now the Japanese government has restricted access to the hospital, especially for old people. I hope it works. When young people go to the hospital or clinic, they can wait for two or three hours, because many old people go there early in the morning even though the door is closed. When the door opens, they rush to place their name on the waiting list. This drives many young people mad.

Anyway, the National Insurance system is good. When I feel sick, I don't have to pay the full amount. But it's very important and necessary to be operated on in a fair manner.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Fugu - the Japanese Puffer Fish, so ugly it's cute.

Do you know any delicacies in your country?
There are amazing delicacies in the world.
Those foods are often looks grotesque, smelly and even risky.

To take an instance, insects are quite common.
Originally, they might had been an essential nourishing food as good protein source for those who are in poverty or starvation, and gradually they got into the habit.

Another example is poisonous fish, called puffer fish which is quite popular in Japan
What they call Fugu contains tetrodotoxin which could kill a person at once with a very small amount.
To serve this fish, Fugu license is necessarily for the chef. They've got to divide all parts of Fugu's body into edible and poisonous.
Sashimi is the most popular way to eat it. Every chef slice the flesh so thin to be transparent that the design of serving dish could see through it and form shape of a chrysanthemum.

I have experience in eating Fugu in my youth without knowing about the risk and the chef had my life in his hands.
Now, I'm not sure if I would go to Fugu restaulant again, and yet, I'm sure I couldn't put my chopsticks down in front of beautiful translucent chrysanthemum formed on a tasteful dish.


Postcard from Australia!

Dear Jim and Tana,

I'm having exciting time in Australia! Today I went to "Australia Zoo" in Sunshine Coast. And I took a photo with a big snake! Please take a look when I back to Matsumoto.


Saturday, 14 March 2009

Reading club - Old Rock meeting

I met "my lads" last night in the pub for a pint; they have earned a drink because of their very hard work in my class the last six months - well, two years now...

I have to say I am really impressed with this bunch because they are forever challenging each other to 'speak English' - and they really do try hard. Last night was no different, and we had a really good chat (some topics we really can't do when I am 'on the clock') about all sorts of stuff. For example, are Osaka girls hotter than Yamagata beauties? Shikoku - backwater or home of mental matsuri? Should Satoru come back and study with us - or concentrate on his 19 year old playmate? Serious things to ponder as we monitored the quality of the Guinness.

Naomi joined us and the tone civilised; she also works in IT so the boys had a lot to chat about, especially as her daughter and Ya-chan's son study at Luna. Just to cap things off, one of my ex-students from NHK told everyone (quite rightly) what an amazing guy I am! (Actually, I was a bit embarrassed)

In April 'my lads' will recommence their studies; I am sure they will continue to make great progress and read everything that is put in front of them. Classes like this (which started from scratch, I need to add) make my day. Every now and again they make my evening too! Thanks lads!

Macduff's diary - regicide?

Misaki has finished reading her first Shakespeare, and really enjoyed it (despite all the bloodshed). Macbeth can be heavy going! As a follow up to the book, Misaki was asked to write Macduff's diary for the day of (King) Duncan's murder:

That morning I arrived at Macbeths's castle.

At the door I met Macbeth's servants. He said "Everyone is sleeping, I think. Shall I wake the general?" At that time, Macbeth came downstairs.

I said to Macbeth, "Macbeth! Good morning my friend." And I asked him where the King was.

Macbeth and I went to the King's room. I went into the King's room and saw that the King was dead! He was killed by someone. This is murder!

All of the people who were in Macbeth's house were surprised, and Lady Macbeth cried out and fainted.

Who did kill the King? I want to know the truth.

A confession - high school cat burglar

A career of crime comes crashing to a close: Ayako willingly confesses!

"I stole a million-dollar necklace because I wanted it. It was bright and beautiful.

I stole it from a jewellery shop on EkiMae Street, at two o'clock in the morning, yesterday. I am a robber so I picked the locks. It was quite easy.

My big brother Hiroshi helped me. He drove the get away car.

The police discovered my identity because Hiroshi was speeding."

Ayako is not helping police with their enquiries - she's gone shopping.

Not just "A Pretty Face"

Jim: Mai, you have just read "A Pretty Face" - well done - did you enjoy the book?
Mai: Yes,I did, because it's exiting.
J: How?
M: A woman had wig and glasses
J: I see. If I wear a wig and glasses will I be exciting too?
M: May be.
J: Do have a wig I could borrow?
M: No,I don't.If you go to a wig shop,you can get one.
J: Tell me more about the story, please.
M: The main character is Zoe. She is a student, and actless. She was angry with a boy, so he wrote a bad story about her.
J: That's not very nice! Would you do that?
M: If I were in her place, I'd be angry too.
J: Is Zoe a cool person?
M: Yes, she is, because she is wonderful. She can do lots of things, like work in a book store and act on stage.
J: Would you like to be an actress?
M: No I wouldn't, because I don't like standing in front of people. I want a job where I don't meet a lot of people. I want to work in a small breadshop.
J: That sounds lovely - can you bake?
M: No, I can't...
J: Yesterday was Friday 13th - did anything bad happen to you?
M: No, it didn't.
J: Are you superstitious?
M: No, I'm not. I am a little bit crazy though.
J: I think you are very sensible! Thank you for talking to me today - I will let you get back to your studying; have a good class with Tana next week :)

Monday, 9 March 2009

Rugby - on the big screen

A quick invitation to any rugby fans - we will be watching the last round of Six Nations matches at Luna on the big screen on March 21st, after the movie night (see Tana's posting below).

Feel free to invite friends, bring snacks and drinks - it'll be a late finish!


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Moroheiya - what's that???

I was talking to my students about food today, a topic I can usually cope with easily.
However, one of them said he like Moroheiya, and I had an utterly blank expression on my face!
I had absolutely no idea what that was. Keigo went and Wiki's it for us here is what he found.

Here is a description of the vegetable that we talked about today.
The name "MOROHEIYA" we call in Japanese is from Arabian language.
It's getting popular in Japan, but I hate it as well as any other sticky and slimy foods.

Thanks Keigo for that, and thanks all of you boys for making Wednesdays a lot of fun for me.


MOVIE CLUB, Sat, 21st March 2009

Hi everyone,

The event we've all been waiting for... Movie Night at Luna International!

We'll start at about 8pm with time for a bring and share meal before hand. The film hasn't been finalised but we've had a few suggestions... how about we vote on it? And of course any suggestions are welcome!
So far we have: Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Wallace and Grommit, The Mask, Million Dollar Baby, Forest Gump, The Green Mile, Chance, Taxi, The Negotiator, and A Kramer Kramer.

And for the rugby fans out there, Jim will be in at about 11pm to watch the tri-nations rugby and I'm sure he'd love a little like-minded company!!

It's a double booking not to be missed!!

So bring your popcorn - or snack of preference - and soda/beer/whatever and join us for an evening of light entertainment.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Avid readers and bloggers from one of my business classes, deserve a pat on the back for their hard work and imaginative use of this extensive reading opportunity. As you can see we have mostly used CUP Graded Readers this time around, supplementing our catalogue with some OUP Factfiles (the new edition ones are excellent). Students have generally really liked the titles; this group has produced a posting each on six titles over the last twenty weeks. Well done lads, proud of you!

My second group has produced fewer postings overall, but the quality of those generated has been high...and there has been a flurry of last minute postings in the last couple of days. Thank you for your hard work in and out of class; look forward to seeing/teacing you again soon.

I think we will have to choose a new series of readers, and maybe go up a level?


Within High Fences

Q1,Which character(s) did you like best and least in Behind High Fences?

I like Harriet. She is a very thoughtful woman.
She always worry about Nancy and stay with her when she needs help.
Also she can cook well.
I respect the woman who can cook well.
Therefore I like the Harriet the best.

I don't like Tom.
I think that his behavior and opinion to Nancy and a asylum seeker are selfish.
I think that's why he lost everything.

When Summer Comes

I thought this book is common types of love story. It was true. But the last phrase of this story, “Anna’s heart froze”. My heart also froze. Actually this book was boring for me, but I really want to know what happens to Anna, Stephen and Tristan after the end of the story.

It seems Cornwall is a good place for holiday. Click here.

After reading

5. On page 80, Stephen tells Anna: ‘I’ve just seen Tristan. He’s just told me something.’ Write the conversation between Tristan and Stephen.

‘Thank you for your check, Stephen. Then Dolphin Cottage is yours. I’ll go to the bank to exchange this check for cash for buying new boat. Thank you, Stephen” said Tristan. “By the way, did Anna tell you about our affair on Wave Dancer yesterday? Please say thanks to her.” added Tristan with a laugh. “What?” said Stephen. “I don’t know. Please ask Anna.” Tristan leaves there with his check.


My comment for the readers book (5)

I haven't read this book yet, but I have listened from CD. It's been nice listening with this story.Would you like to live and work in a city like New York ? Explain your answer.
Yes , I would. It would be very exciting. It's my dream. I have thought about going to central park which is very famous as big concert place since high school years. And I want to see the statue of liberty. It reminds me popular TV program in Japan "Ultra Quize". I loved it.


After reading #2

Tilly's story
In December 2004, ten-year-old Tilly Smith and her family went on holiday to Thailand
Tilly was on the beach one day where they stayed in a hotel on the coast.
She had learned all about the signs of a tsunami at school, so she immediately warned her family and other tourists about the danger when she saw the sea was moving back very quickly from the land. Tilly returned to Thailand a year later, and She spoke there to thousands of people about kindness and bravery.

Edith's story
On 10 April 1912, Edith Brown and her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth, left England on the Titanic because they wanted to start a new life in the United State.
When the Titanic suddenly hit an iceberg on the night of 14 April, Thomas immediately ran to his family and told them to put on warm clothes.
Edith and Elizabeth found seats in the lifeboat, but sadly there weren’t enough places for everybody.
Poor Thomas died in the water along with many other people, so Edith never saw her father again.

My comment for the readers book (4)

Questions What is your opinion about these ideas from the story ?
EPPIE "I don't want to be rich , if I can't live with the people I know and love ! Is EPPIE is right ? Is money ever more important than happiness ? If so , when ?

I think EPPIE is right and agree with her thoughts. Some time yes , some time no. Thinking about the milestone event of our own life. The time of getting to need big money must come.
At the timing of this I strongly think that money is more important than happiness.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Korean School students graduate

Congratulations to these students from the Korean School who graduated this year and will be entering High School next month.

They have been such a delight to teach, always gave of their best and keen to practice their new skills. We had such fun!

All the best,
Tana xx

Monday, 2 March 2009

Postcard from Singapore

Hi Jim,

I'm now in Singapore. It's a little hot, but in the evening temperature become down as feel good.

Town is very clean and beautiful. Dishes are very very delicious for me.

It would be best if it isn't a business trip

Yuji T

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Oral Examiner training in Kanazawa

Some familiar faces in the line up to train up for KET & PET Oral Examining - four of our half-dozen inductees are already approved to examine Young Learners, and I was delighted to be asked back for the weekend.

As with the previous weekend, we spent Saturday concentrating hard on the nuts and bolts of delivering the exam as scripted; getting familiar with the phases involved and handling transitions as smoothly as possible. Dealing with two candidates at a time, is not as easy as you'd think, even for experienced teachers; sticking to the script and not 'being a teacher' is actually counter-instinctive for many.

Examiners also need to 'change hats'; delivering the exam as interlocutor is half the deal. The second examiner in the room has to deal with mark sheets and assessing both candidates' performances. Sounds simple? Not!

Sunday we developed peripheral skills key to making our delivery of the speaking tests work better. Putting ourselves in the candidates' shoes; critiquing each others' performances; trying to control the exchange with simple, non-verbal direction - which was very illuminating...and thoroughly worthwhile.

Under-pressure to give accurate marks late on a Sunday afternoon, the team came through with flying colours. Good job Kanazawa, good job - thanks for having me over again.

The Lahti File

Q3. What skills do you need to be a spy?

I'm very interested in spy, for example when I am watching the spy movies. I think that I need a lot of skills to be a spy. At first, 'language'. I think that even if it is the lowest, five national languages are necessary. Next, 'physical strength'. It is necessary to fighting someone. I need training everyday. Next, 'knowledge'. I need many kind of knowledge for example, chemistry, biology, history, computer, etc. And, 'Willpower'. Willpower that any situation can fight is necessary. I need a lot of skills to be a spy. Conversely, I don't have any skills to be a spy. I can't be a spy.

Nothing but the Truth

Have you ever been lost? where ere you ? what happened?
Yes,I have lost my road in TOKYO.IT was first time visiting at that building.
I checked it in a map,but I didn't found.SO I asked a man who has been cleaning the building.
At least,I found it and I had know en that the conference stopped.