Sunday, 31 January 2010

Brave Heart

Q. It is a year after William Wallace's death. Princess Isabella has had her baby. She write to a friend. She tells her about the baby and her life now. Write her letter.

Dear Nicolette,
I haven't seen you for along time.
Since I divorced with Edward, I have lived in Lanark with my pretty son "John". He is 7 months years old and begin to crawl. He will be a brave man like as my husband "William".
Now, I am working on a farm and we live in a small house. We are happy though we are poor. If I earn enough money, I'll go London again. I would like to meet both you and your daughter "Malia". I am looking forward to seeing you at that time.
Best wishes
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Dangerous Game

28. Imagine that you are Louis. Write a letter a friend in Australia. Explain what has happened. Tell the story and your feelings about it.

Dear Jim
How are you?
I have sorrow news about my friend. His name was William Harris, who was a writer. I’m a writer, too. I’ll tell you about his story.
William died on the night of January 25th, 2000. He had no family and I was his only friend. I usually went to his house at eight in the evening and we played chess for about three hours.
I went to his house, at the night of Wednesday, January 26th, 2000. The house was completely dark. I knocked at the front door and waited. There was no reply. I found a small window that was open. I climbed through it. When I went into the bedroom, I felt a strange fear. I felt someone was watching me. Perhaps I only imagined it. There was a pillow at the top end of the bed. It was over the head of the person in the bed. It was right over William’s face. I realized he was dead.
I noticed something strange on the pillow. There was a clear on it – like the shape of a hand.
I thought “something” led William to die. How do you feel that is true or not?

Best wishes
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Girl in red shoes

The statue of Kimi Sano (“Girl in red shoes”) in Yokohama

She was born in 1902 in Shizuoka, Japan. She migrated to Hokkaido with her mother. She became American missionary's adopted daughter because their life was poor.

Her mother thought that she went to the United States. However, she died of tuberculosis in Tokyo in 1911.

Her mother didn't know that.

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Saturday, 30 January 2010


Q. Write a list of some of the rules at your school.

There were a lot of strict rules at my junior high school. Some of them are below.

First, boy had to be clean-shaven head. We were checked our head at the morning meeting by teacher. If a teacher found a pupil who went against this rule, a teacher shaved his head.

Next, all pupils had to wear uniform. There were two type of uniforms. One type was, as we say, 'the uniform'. Another one was 'jersey'. We usually used to wear 'jersey'. We wore so-called uniform only when we had a ceremony.

Third, there were some rules when we rode bicycle. We had to wear a helmet and we had to apply a registration plate that indicated class to bicycle.

Finally, we had to belong to any club activity. I belonged to a baseball club.
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GEOS Bankrupt?

The original drawing of the Australian coat of...
Australian newspapers (Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald) are carrying the news on front pages.
2,300 students & 390 staff in Australia found out yesterday (Jan 29th) when they arrived for classes in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Gold Coast, Cairns, Brisbane: school doors locked with a notice to contact the Administrators Ernst & Young.

Does this affect GEOS Japan? Yes. It is fairly common knowledge that GEOS has been in trouble for ages; wages of local staff has been late/unpaid since at least September 2009 in Japan. Has the company denied this? Yes. GEOS website is silent, and GEOS head office in Tokyo responded tonight "What are you talking about?". Question is, why are they in the office at 9pm on a Saturday night?! Financially, GEOS relies on overseas income (especially from Australia) to pay the bills in Japan.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Very good link with up to date news here. Have a nice weekend!

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Zenkoji Temple

The most beautiful building in Nagano city is Zenkoji Temple. This is oldest building in Nagano city. This temple is made of wood.
This temple was built the seventh century. This temple has suffered from fire manytimes. The present building was made in 1707. I don't know who it was designed by.
Zenkoji Temple has three big buildings. "Hondo", "Sanmon" and "Niomon"."Hondo" is national treasure, "Sanmon" and "Niomon" are important cultural properties.
Inside Hondo is quite dark. There is a dark maze. People go into the maze to touch a big key. This key is connected to "Honzon". People touch a big key to receive"Goriyaku"(grace).
Zenkoji Temple has a big event every six years, called "Gokaicho". It happened last year.Many people came to Zenkoji from around Japan. The next "Gokaicho" is in 2015. Why not visit Zenkoji Temple?

Friday, 29 January 2010

Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle is the most beautiful building in my hometown.
The castle is in the centre of Kanazawa city, in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan.
There was a big castle in the past, but there is a gate of castle and a part of building here now, becouse Kanazwa castle was destroyed by fire in the past.
The gate of castle is Ishikawamon. A part of the building is 30kennagaya. 30kennagaya has been restored recently.
Kanazawa castle has very popular park near Ishikawamon, called Kenrokuen. Kenrokuen is big Japanese garden. The garden is as famous as the Korakuen of Okayama and Kairakuen in Mito. They are called the "Big three" gardens in Japan.
You can see a beautiful garden and Japanese buildings here for three hundred yen.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Shinichi Suzuki - statue in Matsumoto

Violin family
This statue of a little old man and two young children stands very quietly under a tree, tucked away behind the NHK building in Matsumoto. He is not the most widely recognised of men, nor the most famous - even in his adopted home town of Matsumoto. In the musical world, his name is synonymous with teaching children the violin. He shared the stage with then President Carter at the Carnegie Hall.

He was born in Nagoya, October 17th, 1898. He lived to the ripe old age of 99 - with plans unfulfilled for the decade after his centenary! He was a plucky old codger when I met him, chain smoking & carrying on three conversations at the same time. He had a reputation for being a bit of a tyrant in the classroom, but seems universally loved. He would notoriously turn off his hearing aid at recitals if he thought the performance was not up to scratch.

Suzuki's father was Japan's first violin maker. The young Suzuki spent eight years in Berlin, where he married Waltraud Prange. He had a long, and noted history of achievements which you can read about here. A living monument to Suzuki is the Talent Education Research Institute (better known as the "Suzuki Method"), the headquarters of a network of Suzuki teachers numbering 1,400 in Japan, with tentacles spreading to 38 countries. The main instruments taught are violin, 'cello, piano & flute.

Victoria Harkness teaches violin in Whangarei, New Zealand. Belinda Yourn, in Australia now I think, teaches flute. I wonder if Pablo teaches 'cello in Chile to children?! (Yes, friends of mine!) In all, 400,000 children follow Doctor Suzuki's Method - "All children grow, it depends how they are raised" he said. Every year Matsumoto has a 10 Piano Concert which is charming; March 30th will see the 52nd Annual performance of 3,000 young musicians at the Budokan in Tokyo.

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Nagoya Castle

The keep of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城, Nagoya-jō) lo...
The most traditional building in my hometown is Nagoya Castle. It is in the centre of Nagoya-city.

On top of Nagoya Castle there are two gold statues of fish. Usually, the statues are called the "kin-no shachihoko" by most people.

If you go up to the "tenshukaku" of Nagoya castle, you can see all of Nagoya city, and airplanes departing form Nagoya airport.

If you go into Nagoya Castle, you have to pay JPY500.
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tourism 101 in Azumino

Location Map of Azumino in Nagano Prefecture, ...Image via Wikipedia
Luna was asked recently to help the good people of Azumino get a step ahead in their ambitions to develop tourism locally. Jim has been involved with the Yokoso Matsumoto project for a couple of years now (as has Tana more recently), and is glad to be contributing to our neighbouring "city's" outreach too.

This evening 20 local business operators in the local tourist industry took part in a two and a half hour introductory workshop with Jim. All participants were self-declared "beginners" (some more so than others). The aim this evening was to give a lot of encouragement, as quickly as possible, in genuinely useful situations. For Jim, it was actually unusual to have a group of people in such urgent need of even basic English - and therefore very challenging to provide relevant, simple language.

How do you satisfy 20 people from different sectors of the tourist trade with little in common other than location and a large 'fear of English' factor? Not possible. What you can do is facilitate their latent learning (8+ years through school for a start) & in-service experience to speak up - with a template. Give them a pattern to form their language around, show there is a place to start and that they 'can do'.

Today, speaking was top priority - overcoming that "Oh my God. A foreigner has rocked up & wants to check in" syndrome. Name, rank & number. Observe, practice, do!

Some useful language - counting is 'different' in Japan. Foreigners don't know katakana (the most useless script ever) so "How do you spell that?" has to be Q1a at a hotel/ryokan, doesn't it?

Time flew; the Shimin Times lady came, flashed, and went. Everyone made new friends, English questions and answers in the air (Jim's threat to charge Japanese usage with a beer tax was taken seriously). Everyone got the chance to practice some simple exchanges, and it looked like everyone relaxed and got a lot out of the evening.

What do you think?
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Matsumoto castle

The most famous building in my town is Matsumoto castle. It is in the center of Matsumoto, Nagano.

I don’t know the architect of the castle. It was built about 600 years ago. It is nominated as a Japanese national treasure.

Matsumoto castle has black walls, so people call it “Crow-castle”. There is a garden around the castle. Cherry trees bloom there in spring. Matsumoto-Bon Bon Dance festival is held in summer, a buckwheat noodle festival is held in autumn, and an Ice festival held in winter (last weekend).

Inside the castle it is dark. There are a lot of old things.

The view is fantastic from the top floor of the castle. We can see Matsumoto city and the Japan Alps.

You should go to the castle because it is a valuable building.

One of seven - what do you do?

Attendance isn't usually a problem I have to worry about much with my business classes, so I have gradually relocated my stock of 'emergency' activities to more likely places (back of the car, mostly!). By about 8.40 this morning I was wishing I hadn't been so complacent.

The one student who did turn up, of the seven I was expecting, has just come back from a lengthy placement ie has missed the last two months because he was on Yamada denki skivvy duty ("researching sales outlet & consumer behaviour"). So, plan A went flying out the window (closed, it was bracing this morning)...

I did not want to wade into 8 weeks catch up, in case stragglers turned up. Luckily these days I have internet access in the classroom, albeit limited. Fortunately the book we are using has a variety of rather good resources online (becoming a very important component of any materials package). Thank you OUP & Clive Oxenden!
Got to say I am a flag waving fan of the English File series :)

Blended learning then, initially teacher directed until he figured out the parameters and started challenging himself. He self-diagnosed a weakness with prepositions, so we found an activity to practice them. After that, a text completion exercise (by which time a colleague had wandered in to join us), a fiddle with some past tense verb patterns, collocation practice and identifying stress patterns in longer words.

I enjoyed seeing my students realise they could do an awful lot more out of class if they have the inclination. I hope they catch the bug!

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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

House & furniture - speaking practice

In class today my Magic Time 2 team managed to keep talking for the entire class, stimulated into action by a fairly simple game and the need to win. They were practically pelting each other by the end, trying to get each other to hurry up and have their turn!

We have done all the groundwork in previous classes, talking about where we live after drawing sketches of our flats/houses. Somehow, I doubt this group includes a future architect! We labeled the pictures and talked about the things we have in various rooms - cultural tip for Japan is that often there is not a designated bedroom, as futons replace beds and are put away during the day as the space becomes the dining/living room.

Aim of the game = get home with a van full of furniture. Land on a space, take the piece of furniture. Some one else lands on the same spot later, rock/scissors/paper for ownership. However, a lot of language along the way, where the children are asked about the item they are picking up...excellent practice for the last part of the Cambridge YLE Starters speaking test.

Sample item = sofa
"What's this?  What colour is it?
 Have you got a sofa in your house?
 What colour is it?  Is it big or small?
 Where is the sofa in your house? (Is it in the bathroom?)
...Here you are..."
Of course the players want to focus on the game & get to the end as quickly as possible, so they want to get the questions done asap. My aim is to get as much 'extension' out of the mini-dialogues as I can, without flogging it. At the end of the day, my students probably think they goofed-off for a lesson! Brilliant - all that revision, recycling and activating took place subliminally :)

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Monday, 25 January 2010

The Phantom Airman

Is this story SF? or adventure? The characters is the same as Unquiet Graves. Dis children do time-srip in World War II days? I think that this story is "Children is led to a ghost of airman and found the truth". I did not feel fear especially, rather I was interesting.
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Unquiet Graves

This story is strange story and fearful story. I hate fearful story. Even if a ghost appears, there is the story that is not fearful. The story that is not fearful does not have a problem. About this story, I did not understand it well.

The Mark of Zorro

This story is hero story. I have the memory that I saw by TV or a movie a long time ago. However, I do not remember it about contents well. Therefore this book was fresh for me. The gentleman that appear normally becomes a hero. It is very interesting. And I have 2 fevarite points. One is a behavior of governor that he admitted the freedom of Zorro. Second is that Zorro take off his mask and Lolita is surprised to see it.I didnt think that the background of this story is California. I thought that is was Spain or South America. And, in a foolish thing, I misunderstood a title of this story. It was "Mask of Zorro" not "Mark of Zorro".
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Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Darling Buds of May

Imagine that you are Mr Charlton's boss. You call him into your office before the story begins. You explain why he must see Pop Larkin. You tell him what he must to do there. Write your speech.

The man, named Pop, lives in country. He has a car, farm, and some farm animals. I think he must earn a lot of money, but he doesn't pay a tax. We've sent some letters about liability to a tax to him, but he hasn't paid tax ever. So can you see him and talk to him about liability to a tax?

The perfect storm


This is a true story.
The author Sebastian Junger is a writer and traveler.

He was living in Gloucester, a small town on the cost of Massachusetts.
He heard that many fishermen from the town of
Gloucester were on thier boats during that storm.
He decided to write a book about the events that happended in that terrible storm.
The perfect storm was published in the 1997 and it became an international best seller.
In 2000 a successful and exciting film (The perfect storm )was made from this story.

I love this story.
So I red it twice.

He expressed person's inside.
I think that Bobby wished to came back for his girlfriend.
She waited at the pier,where the fishing bots came in for along time.
She couldn't really belive that Bobby was dead.

I would like to watch this film.
by keiko.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Fish & chips

Fish and chips, photographed Norfolk, UKImage via Wikipedia
People often ask me what I miss about the UK, and a good podge out on steaming fish & chips is very high on my list. No plates or knives & forks - no table, not even in the house! Walking home on a cold night after a couple of pints in the pub. Enough salt to give my doctor a heart attack, and evaporating malt vinegar filling the air. Keep having to change hands because the newspaper wrapping is too hot...greasy fingers and just enough loose change for the last bus.

I am so hungry! OK, we can get "fish & chips" in some "English" or "Irish" pubs in Japan (Old Rock in Matsumoto for example) & I had some the weekend before last in Okayama. However, a cold plate, silver cutlery, a hint of salad, and a dollop of tartar sauce is not the same thing at all, and certainly not when you can count the chips and get bugger all change from Y1,000!

What is good fish & chips all about then? Well, apart from the obvious in the first paragraph, it involves things like responsible food sourcing, hygiene & staff training. Check out this article on Britain's best chippy.

Geographically there is an important point in the article too. Students of mine always come back from their three-day trip to 'England' (ie Harrods, Baker St & The British Museum) with complaints about the food. Of course it's rubbish - it's London. And if you went to a pub, the beer's flat and yugh as well. For a decent serving of fish and chips you have to go north, and the further north the better!

POLZEATH, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 10:  People qu...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Lastly, how do you find a good chippy? Easy, look for the one with the longest queue. The waiting is worth it, the anticipation grows, your tummy rumbles...Enjoy!

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Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Mark of Zorro

When I finished reading this book, I remembered “Nezumi-kozo” and “Abarenbo shogun”. They are Japan’s historical characters. Many TV shows are made about them.
“Nezumi-kozo” is a thief like Zorro. He steal some money from rich people and then give the money for poor people. He put a hood on his face so that anybody knows who he is. He is a hero of poor and weak people.

17th Century goateeImage by ijiwaru jimbo via Flickr
“Abarenbo shogun” is a samurai and he has many friends in Edo town. He visits them some time, but anybody knows where he lives. In fact, he is a shogun(king) of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He watches people in the town and if he finds bad people like the dealer and the judge who getting money in wrong way, he punishes them as a shogun.
I think all people need a hero who fight against bad people and help them. There is no difference between America and Japan, the past and the present.

Posted for Tomoko

Japanese historical figures

My class today was discussing, slowly, famous people and their statues. I have been teaching in Japan long enough not to assume my charges will know all that much about the big wide world across the seas...Still, took a long time for the penny to drop on Chopin, Garibaldi, Nelson & Joan of Arc. Where were they born, who were they, why were they famous, where were their statues? etc

The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the v...Image via Wikipedia
Last week we had the same faltering exchange over the four US Presidents (Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt & Jefferson) who feature on Mount Rushmore so prominently, and had some bearing on US/world history. My concern last week was rhythm & intonation, getting some bounce into sentences and not pausing after the was/were (and thereby stressing them inappropriately). I actually had them up & swinging their hips to the beat of the sentences - daft? Yes! Did it work? World of difference for one student who 'got it' 100%. (Others just proved you can't dance with your arms folded/hands in your pockets/leaning on a wall/holding a book 3 inches from your face!)

We came to the conclusion that Japan isn't the kind of place where you trip over statues on every corner - at least not of famous people. Matsumoto has an awful lot of iffy ones of semi-naked children...Anyway, as that conversation petered out I asked for their top 5 of historically important Japanese people (each made a list) and from that vote on a top three after describing them a bit. This was their final list.
  1. Ryo Sakamoto
  2. Tokugawa Ieyasu
  3. Hirofumi Ito
(Also in the running were Hirohito, Himeki, Ono Komachi, Shotoko Taishi & Tadataka Ono)

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Silver Blaze and Other Stories

This book is mystery.Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solves the mysterious cases called "The Blue Carbuncle" "Silver Blaze" and "The Six Napoleons".

The Blue Carbuncle
The Blue Carbuncle was discovered inside a goose. Who put the Blue Carbuncle inside the goose?
Holmes sets the criminal free at the last. I can't understand though it might be Holmes' gentleness.

Silver Blaze
The racehorse had disappeared immediately before an important race. Holmes discovers the recehorse, and solves the murder.
I like this story. I think they can discover the racehorse early because it does the DNA test now....

The Six Napoleons
Why is the Napoleon bust destroyed?What criminal is looking for?
I was confused because there were a lot of characters this story. I doubted what Holmes had done the acquisition at the end.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Love by Design

I read the book whose title is Love by Design.

This story is a love story for young man and woman.Young man's name is Tom. Tom wanted to be photographer.And so he wanted to go to college, but he couldn't enter college because he haven't be studying.

Young woman's name is Rita. She wanted to be model.They met at library where Tom work.He cooperated her to be model.

All that time they fall in love together.In the end of story, Rita changed her dream from model to designer.

This book wasn't describe the reasen of change.I couldn't understand her mind.I want to know why she changed your dream.

Billy Eliot

Writing 30
You are Billy's teacher at school. He is acting strangely and is often unhappy.
He doesn't want to play sport but he keeps spinning in circles. Write a report for the head teacher about Billy. Tell him everything you know about Billy and his family.

Dear head teacher,

I have a problem about my student. His name is Billy Elliot you know.
His father is coal mines and earns not so much. It isn't problem. Billy is not good at maths, history, literature, especially gym. I don't know how to teach him each subjects. I tried any method, again and again, but he didn't change a little.
Last Sunday, I saw him alone at the park outskirts of town. Do you think what did he do? He was dancing, 'ballet dancing'. At first I surprised very very much. I saw a little time, he jumped very high, he spinning in circles smooth. It looked like flying a butterfly in the field. It was a beautiful show.
I felt he has a talent, special talent of dancing. I try training of dance in gym, next week. How is my idea? I want you to approval about it.

Best wishes
Billy's teacher

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

I have known the name King Arthur and the sword Excalibur. I might read the book or watched TV program about King Arthur when I was a child but I've already forgotten most of this story.
There are lots of characters who helps Arthur and makes great achievements on their quests. I enjoyed reading their episodes. However each personality of these characters are almost alike. Almost all characters are faithful and there aren't any difference among their personality. Only a few characters like Merlin the magician and Mordred who cheated on Arthur showed us different personalities. Except these a few particular characters, all of the knights seemed to be described as well as King Arthur's own character. This helped me to understand the whole story and concentrated to read.
Meanwhile I found that Arthur is the greatest as a King, but he is not good as a husband. He left his wife Guinevere and became caught up in listening stories from his Knight. This caused the parting from his wife and he also lost his champion knight Lancelot. It is difficult to keep balance between work and conjugal life old times and now.

Chapter 11
1. Why did Mordred not go on the quest?
Because he offered to care Bedivere who was wounded and to serve the king at court.
2. Why could Lancelot not enter the Grail Chapel?
Because he was not worthy or pure enough.