Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Holiday brain food

I came across this interesting article in the Guardian today and thought my keen students would be interested in checking out some new vocabulary. Follow this link to find out what snollygoster means.

Then there's the challenge to remember what happened in 2009! Try this.
Too hard/too easy? Try an interactive quiz from the BBC.

OK, so you think you know a few things about sport? Beat my score (12) if you can, here.

Remember, you are supposed to be cleaning the house or tidying something up, so this is called 'doing your English homework' - you need a cup of tea or coffee to help you concentrate...Enjoy!
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Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing Day

So, what is it all about then, "Boxing Day"?

The original logo of The Premier League (1992–...Image via Wikipedia

Personally, it's about picking up the pieces after a hectic Christmas Day - wrapping paper still everywhere; trying to find batteries that fit; there's the smell of Turkey soup in the air, simmering all morning and munching on tasty left overs/turkey sandwiches; finding time to edit some pictures from the previous day, and catching family on Skype if we couldn't during yesterday's mayhem. We also need to go for a walk, and get some fresh air to blow away the cobwebs!

Later tonight it'll be about trying to catch some football from the Premier league as the kids sleep, and maybe sneak a peak at the Boxing Day Test Matches (in Australia & South Africa) online.

What else do people traditionally do on Boxing Day (besides freezing in a queue for the Sales to open)? Well, in Britain they get up to some fairly daft activities - check a few out here.

Hope you all had a super Christmas - Santa found you & didn't get stuck in the chimney etc? Enjoy Boxing Day just as much!
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Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Town Like Alice

This is a story of Jean, a prisoner lady, who was caught by Japanese army in World War II. She and other prisoner ladies and children are forced to march for long long distance in hard environment of Malaya. They were starved and Many ladies and some children dead of disease like malaria. However Jean endured and lead the group to live. At last War was over and she lived in piece and became rich in her home country England, but she went back to Malaya...

This is so impressive story. I recommend this for everyone who loves piece and hate the war. In this story, Japanese is hateful nation. It was true in the war. We all Japanese must realize it again. This story gives us a chance to do it.

Points for understanding 15

1 Why did Jane decide to go to Australia?
Because she wanted to see if Joe Harman was all right. Australia was his
home country.

2 What did Jean learn from the nurse in Kuantan?

She learned from her about Joe. He was well and sent to Singapole.

3 Jean began to think that she would like to live in Alice Springs. Why?

Because Alice was Joe's home town and comfortable to live.

4 Jean had a big disappointment in Midhurst. What was it?
There was a dull place to live.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Late announcement - OE Training

Last minute announcement before the school closes for the holiday. There will be a training and co-ordination session for new Cambridge ESOL Oral Examiners at KET & PET level in Nagoya, over the Jan 30-1 weekend.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Jim directly asap for details, minimum requirements, pre-training & enrollment.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Brave Heart

Writing #33
How much do you know about Scotland? What is the capital city? What are the top football teams? What is the highest mountain?
Find out some facts. Write questions. Test your friends.

I don't know so much about Scotland. I only know that Scotland is in Great Britain Island. So I studied about Scotland with internet.

# The capital city of Scotland is Edinburgh that is the second city of Scotland. The national flag is the St.Andrew's Cross, and the national emblem is a lion rampant.
The national flag:

The national emblem:

# The population is about five millions, and the language are English or Scottish Gaelic. The weather of Scotland is comfortable, because of a flow of the ocean and the westerlies, winter isn't very cold, summer isn't very hot.
# The highest mountain is Mt.Ben Nevis. It's altitude is 1,343 meters and it is in the Grampian Mountains.
# The top football teams are Celtic Football Club and Rangers Football Club. These teams belong to the Scottish Premier League.
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Sunday, 20 December 2009

“A” is for Alibi

This is first time for me to read Sue Grafton’s detective story. I like her story, because it was unpredictable and exciting. I couldn’t find the real culprit until the end of the story.

What’s interesting is that she is going to write Kinsey Millhone series with one for each letter of the alphabet. “A” is for Alibi was published in 1982, “B” is for Burglar in 1985, “C” is for Corpse in 1986 and so on. In 2009, this year, she have published “U” is for Undertow. Definitely, she’ll write remaining five stories, “V” to “Z” in the future.

Why don’t you click here to know her and her stories?

Points for Understanding

Q14: Kinsey looks at John Power’s black Lincoln car. One headlight and part of the fender were broken. What does this tell Kinsey about the death of Gwen Fife?

A14: Yes, it means John Power has killed Gwen Fife by his car to protect his alibi.


The Darling Buds of May

Imagine that you are Mr Charlton. Write your letter to the tax office. Explain why you can't go to work. Don't give the real reasons!
Dear my boss,
I'm sorry that I have been absent from the tax office, because I had a big trouble.
Last Friday, I went to Mr. Larkin's house to get tax from him. On the way the tax office from his house, I was caught by a robbery.The robbery had put me under house arrest for several days.
I'm getting away now and posted this letter. but I will be caught by the robbery soon.
Please don't search me. If you found me, you would be dangerous too.
By the way, I checked that Larkin's family doesn't earn money. Therefore, you don't need to visit Mr. Larkin's house again.
written by Yoichi

Dangerou Game

Writing 26
Julie was your best friend. She wrote to you just before her death. What dis she say? Was she well? Was she happy? What did she say about William? Write her letter.
xxx street 1234
10 February

Hi Yuji,

How are you? I haven't met you long time. Everyone (include you) believe that I'm very ill. Maybe, William said to everyone. I'm not ill.
A few months ago, I was very happy. I went to dance party every weekend. I enjoyed dancing and chatting with my friends.
Recently William said to me, 'Don't go dance party. Don't go outside alone.'. I guess that he was jealous of my friends.
He is kind to me, of course I know that he loves me. I love him, too.
I want to go to the dance party. I want to chat with my friends. Please write to me about New Year dance party. I'm looking forward to hear about my friends Claire, Emma and others.

Best wishes

PS.I made my new dress, but I haven't worn it yet.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table

I’ve read this story when I was a child. Now that I almost don’t remember the story, I enjoyed it. I found the story has not only adventures, battles but also love, romance, unfaithfulness and so on. When I was a child, maybe I couldn’t understand all of the stories.

Sir Gawain and the Green KnightImage by litmuse via Flickr

My favorite story is chapter 6, ‘The Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. One day, a green knight came to Camelot and said ‘Cut my head by my axe and then I cut your head.’ If you hear it, it might sound awful or strange, but Sir Gawain tried to cut the green knight’s head. After the green knight’s head rolled onto the floor, surprisingly the green knight was not dead! Then he picked up his head and held it by the hair. Next turn, Gawain should be cut his head by the green knight. He had to made a long journey to a castle where the green knight lived in order to die, but he didn’t escape from deadly event. I found it knighthood like Bushido. (I will stop explaining this continuation because I don’t want to disturb someone who didn’t read it.)

I like adventure like this. For example, ‘The load of the ring’, I became to want to see the movie. I think the final battle between Arthur and Mordred would be very exciting if I watch it on a movie. I also want to see exciting scene which Morgana changed her figure to dragon. I searched the movie on the web site and I found some. I want to watch it some day.

Posted for Masao K.
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Thursday, 17 December 2009


本日、Nagat WAON様のご厚意により、明日(12月18日(金))松本文化会館で行われる、爆笑スペシャルライブのチケットをいただきました!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Unquiet Graves

Four children go across the past time and the present time to help a poor phantom airman. They are brave and cooperative. If I was Regan, I couldn't do same as her. I'm too scary to talke to a phantom.

Many mysterious things happended through this story, but at the end, these are all clear and you can understand everything.

The four children had mysterious experience in Unquiet Grave story, too. I think they have a sense of recalling dead people from their sleep. I prefer this story to Unquiet Grave because the four children cooperated each other to understand Glen's message.

Unquiet Grave
I think many sad stories like this are sleeping under the ground in every graveyard, and many people who had dead wanted to say their wishes. Franki happened to hear the voice because she found a half of coin. Althogh many horrible things happened to her and her friends, Frankie did right thing. Thanks for her, a sad couple could gain their happiness.

Many mysterious things happened in this story, but at the end, these are all clear except one thing. It's the meaning of the picture, a wolf with a small boy, which was carved in the stone above the doors. If you underatand or know this meaning, please let me know.

Posted for Tomoko

Posting number 1000

Just a little incentive for contributors - in just over two years, you have made 970 individual postings to our blog. THANK YOU !!! Whoever posts the 1,000th will be celebrating (New Year) with a nice bottle of red wine from me.

So, get your pencils sharpened and blog away!


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Last of mohicans

Q6 is interesting question.

If I will make the Japanese film about 'Last of mohicans'.
I think make the "YAKUZA story".
Those compositions similar very well,because small organization implicated in unified struggle of large organization. And, scrambling for the woman is also the same.Location is Tokyo in postwar Japan.Music is Ryuichi Sakamoto. His sound is the tension, and is magnificent.

Japanese actors is as follows.

Hawk-eye is "Etsushi Toyokawa",His masterpiece is "New Battles Without Honor and Humanity".He is typical of the serious character at Japan,and performed the powerful man by "21th Century Boy"

Magua is very important character,because he has relationship with all happening. So difficult.

I think choose to" Tatuya Fujiwara".His masterpiece is "BATTLE ROYALE".

Chingachgook is "Bunta Sugawara", He performs in a quietly refined way.

Cora is"Koyuki",She is beautiful and strong feeling.

About Uncas and Alice,I will choose the popular young actors at that time.

And,Tamenund is"Hisaya Morishige".But he recently dead.

What do you think this direction?


Monday, 14 December 2009

The Perfect Storm

This is a true story. I re-realized "The leader should behave carefully on carefulness" by reading this story. The captain of the Andrea Gail rushed into the storm because he had a ploblwm with ice machine and he had to get back to Gloucester as quickly as possible.
The captain of the Sayori didn't throw away the ship though his ship was too small to withstand storm, and he jeopardized his crew.
The leader should know that his decision dominates the life of his related people. After the storm, a lot of crew families see and feel the ghost. I think the crew could't help saying something to tell their falimies.
How do they feel now about that sail?
Question. 11. What has happened to the Terri Lei? Make a guess.
Answer: There are the ghosts of men who died at sea around the Terri Lei. I think that they caused the surge, and draged Terri Lei to the sea. Because Adam Randall was a marked man.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. This is very strange story.
Basil painted Dorian's portrait. This was a very fine portrait. Then he had feared that he get older so he wished the portrait get older instead of him and his wish came true.
Dorian have never get older. he had been evil more. he had killed another man and he had beat up another person. He had been young ever but his portrait had became older and eviler.
At last, he had broken his portrait and he had became old and evil. I thought that he have get tried himself. If I were him, I couldn't bear up because my friend will become older but I never become older. I don't think I want to be young forever.

Massive deja - vu: Akihabara station

I had one of those "hair prickling on the back of my neck" moments this evening, walking along the platform in Akihabara station towards the Sobu line for Shinjuku. It really was a "wow, I have done this before" feeling. Unlike deja-vu, I can actually remember when I did this before: exactly twenty (yes, 20) years ago.

Akihabara, Chiyoda-ku, TokyoImage via Wikipedia

Do you want to know something that makes it extremely weird? I was wearing the same jacket (rarely worn since) that I bought for interviews - always wore back then as my 'teacher uniform' because I didn't actually know how to teach but figured I needed to look the part. Yes, the jacket is a bit tighter now than it used to be...maybe I should wear it more often?

I used to grab a bowl of noodles on the opposite platform after my last class, once a week, teaching Phillipina hostesses on cultural visaes, just around the corner on Showa dori. I didn't have to speak to get food - it was one of those vending machine jobs outside; coins in, ticket out, noodles on counter. Just enough time to wolf that down, before making the last train 'home', all the way around Tokyo Bay Kemigawahama (nr Makuhari) in China, with the drunks and the porno manga reading losers.

Strewth. 20 years? Same clothes. That says a lot doesn't it?! My last trip to Akihabara then had been to buy a 'ghetto blaster', before I escaped the crap job, crap money, crap flat-mates, crap lifestyle to get "gaijinned" constantly in Suzaka. Consolation prize there was discovering a beer machine outside my apartment; drawback was the Arctic blast delivered from the long-drop khazi in a very cold winter, and the even colder flatmate Barbara I had to pretend I didn't hate. God, she was a miserable cow!

Absolutely twenty years ago, pretty much to the weekend. Thanks Dad, for lending me the cash to survive that first week in Tokyo - bought that jacket down the side of tracks in the famous markets beside Ueno station. Serious decision then was "food or clothes?" - so, again, nothing new!
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Thursday, 10 December 2009


☆★☆★ クリスマスパーティのご案内 ☆★☆★




会場  ルナインターナショナル 松本教室
日時  12月23日(水) 14:00~16:00
持ち物 500円相当のプレゼント(プレゼント交換用)
会費  一人1,000円 (写真CD-Rは別途 500円)






Today is Thursday - must be CPE

This is my third day invigilating and supervising Cambridge ESOL exams in Tokyo. Once again we are grateful for the facilities available to us at ILC.

The Old Speckled Hen logoImage via Wikipedia

On Tuesday I was curious to realise that all the FCE candidates were very careful drivers - all had gold licences! I was trying to figure out how old everyone was, but I still get confused on Showa & Heisei years. Don't you? I was not at all impressed when the nationalist nutters started blaring their 'patriotic' music & insults at the Prime Minister and the's rude to shout, especially when some people have got better things to do, like taking a serious examination. I the evening, I had a nice meal with an old colleague in a Turkish restaurant. I think the Raki was a bit strong, but the food was great!

Wednesday is CAE day, and I recognised several candidates from last year. We had a chat after their written papers had finished to figure out if they were optimistic about passing this time. Obviously, I can't comment, but it is a nice way to warm up and get in the mood for the speaking test - not easy if you have been silently concentrating, reading and writing all day.
One candidate had travelled all the way from Okayama to sit the exam. That's dedication! I had an interesting evening banging heads on the low ceiling of a Spanish restaurant with my hard-working examiners. Fantastic spare ribs and cold cerveza.

So Thursday is CPE day - the really really creme de la creme of English examinations! I take my hat off to anyone attempting this level, and suggest a lot of native speakers would not pass. How many people actually write with paper and pen much these days? The writing paper alone have candidates scribbling like fury for two whole hours. Once our admin is all taken care of, I hope to test the Wychwood ales in the Hobgoblin locally, and maybe an Old Speckled Hen or two as well. No, I shan't be on my own. Meeting up with another old friend of mine to chat about IT solutions for Web 2.0 learning. I really hope he doesn't buy any Tequila!

I wonder if my regular students missed me this week? Thanks Magnus & Jai for covering.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Grey Owl

Writing #29: Describe an animal or a beautiful area that is in danger in your country. What is the problem? Is there a way of saving it?

We can know the animals in danger in Japan by reading RED DATA BOOK that is published by Ministry of the Environment. We can read that in below URL.

The reason of danger is almost development and overhunting. A golden eagle that is one of animals in danger is damaged by the development. For example, a development of ski resort will cut a lot of trees that golden eagle needs. A otter is in danger too, because people have done overhunting. A otter's fur is very beautiful.

To save these animals, when we develop something, we should research animal's life enough. And we have to follow the rule, study the danger of animal's.
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Matilda is a little girl at the age of 5 who has an extraordinary intelligence and an amazing ability.

(There is a hint of her ability on the image of cover, can you find?)

The point I was interested in weren't only her amazing ability ,but also her character.

In fact, her situation isn't good.

Her parents aren't interested in her, they don't give her any books ,her school's principal is almost enemy among the students and she(principle) hates her.

Regardless of such a situation, she is very sensible and kind to her friend and her homeroom teacher too.

This is my opinion,I think such kind of ability doesn't effect on her mind good influent.

For example she may use it for making a trouble...

In this story she just used it for helping her classmate and her homeroom teacher from their enemy principle.

(Although Matilda used the ability once to her parents who were doing bad business for preparation of the battle toward the principle..)

Anyway,her amazing ability is great and exciting, but I don't know it's necessary on this story.

Because at first, I imagined Matilda would fight to the principle using only her courage and intelligence

and I thought it would be good experience for her in her life.

I think her nice character gave me a stronger impression than her amazing ability.

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Sunday, 6 December 2009

A is for Alibi

"A is for Alibi"

Sue Grafton

This is a crime detection novel written by Sue Grafton. The main character of this novel is Kinsey Millhone, famale private detective.

I enjoyed this novel very much, because this main character is so attarctive for me.
Wise and active, good-looking (maybe). And the story has a lot of doubtful characters, I can't solve the murder case.
And I was in trouble to remember all of their name! But I recommend this novel (taking note of their name and character).

Points for understanding 2

1 They had been law pertners for seven years.
2 Gwen thought that there are so many people who hate Laurence.
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Bilingual - article in Sydney Morning Herald

Multicultural diet is great brain fodder
November 27, 2009
Pathways involved with language.

Pathways involved with language. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

IT'S an excellent party trick: un, two, trois, four, cinq, six, sept … counting while switching languages. It has also been the subject of plenty of serious research in the past decade - how the bilingual brain stores multiple languages, and retrieves the information without confusing cross-talk.

Hundreds of hi-tech scanning experiments have located brain activity associated with language use. For example, bilinguals use larger and different areas of the brain when switching between languages, and different areas of the brain are activated depending on the age a second language is acquired.

Exactly how two or more languages are wired in the brain is not yet fully understood. But current brain research can answer many questions about the role of bilingualism in education - particularly for Australia's indigenous communities, which are among our most linguistically diverse.

Laura-Ann Petitto is a senior scientist in language, bilingualism and childhood development at the University of Toronto.

She directed a study that showed monolingual and bilingual people had similar brain activity in the classic language regions of the brain - the left Broca's area and the left prefrontal cortex (PFC) - when speaking in one language.

However, when bilinguals switched rapidly between two languages, brain activity increased in both the left and right Broca's area and the right PFC. "Bilinguals appear to engage more of the neural landscape available for language processing than monolinguals, which is a very good thing," says Professor Petitto.

It is good because the brain has an amazing ability to restructure itself according to experience and learning.

"One of the major benefits of learning a second language is the straight brain power, the cognitive power, that arises," says Sydney University's Brain & Mind Research Institute director, Ian Hickie. "You end up with better overall brain function as a consequence of the challenge of learning an additional language in those early preschool to primary school years."

Not only does brain power increase in bilinguals, but those who learn a second language at a younger age are more likely to have more advanced grey matter than those who learn later.

"Childhood is most suited to acquiring language, because there is an open system for learning in the brain," says Professor Hickie.

"When you are young, the brain is forming millions of new connections every minute of every day. How you organise information cognitively is quite different to later periods of development."

While earlier is better for language learning, can it detract from learning other things?

Key experiments in which people were required to learn an invented language revealed those who were bilingual mastered twice the number of words than the single language participants.

"All of the scientific evidence points to a bilingual advantage, rather then disadvantage," says Professor Matthew Finkbeiner, neurocognitive psychologist at the Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences at Macquarie University. ''Learning a second language does not confuse children. This is an extremely unfortunate, albeit widely held, belief."

The Eye of the Tiger

Dear all,

Do you know this story?

Harry Fletcher was almost killed for valuable treasure.
why was he almost killed?

Chubby and Angelo have searched the treasure.
If Harry Fletcher refused this suggestion, he wouldn't be injured.

Because, silver and jewels,which was lying in the wreck of a ship which was sunk in a

The diamond was size of a chicken's egg.

At last He lost his friend Jimmy North.

By the way, this title is famous for a music.

While I read it ,I have been considering the same title of music.
and I will watch the movie of "Rocky" with this music.

by keiko

Saturday, 5 December 2009


This story is set in America. The main characters are Tom and Anastasia. Tom is an artist and
Anastasia is a movie star's daughter. One day they are kidnapped. There are three kidnappers and they took them to the woods. But Tom and Anastasia survived because the girl's bodyguard called the police. The police found them and they could catch the kidnappers. So it had a happy ending.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday, 4 December 2009


Attention bloggers - please check out this article and have some fun?

I would like all our blog writers (yes, you!) to update your profile with either
  • a picture of yourself
  • an avatar (computer animated 'version' of you)
As I guess most of you are shy, please have some fun making yourself an avatar. The article has lots of different website recommendations. Become a superhero, manga, lego, whatever.

Check it out!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Which is your favourite story? Why? What did you like about the main character? If you made a film, who would you cast in it?

The best interested story is "THE GOLD BUG". It is because this story is most difficult to for me to guess the ending. I like mystery and horror, but almost all the story is easy to guess the ending. I also like happy end story. When I read successful ending story, I feel very good.
The most impressive character is Mr. William Legrand. He is a little mysterious but curious man. It is because I prefer him.