Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Japan & England are out of the World Cup

How old are you guys?
I am12 years old and my older brother is 13.
You are both a bit sleepy today. How come?
Because we stayed up until 2 to watch a football game.
Shocking news! Who was playing?
In the match, Japan and Paraguay were playing.
Was it an important match then?
Yes, it was because it decided if we can go through to the quarter final.
What happened in the match?
The game ended 0-0. Japan lost in the penalty shoot out.
Was the penalty shoot out fun? Were you nervous?
I wasn't nervous because I trusted Japan.
How did you feel after that? Are you proud of your team?
I was 50 percent proud and 50 percent not proud.
Would you feel the same if you were English, after 'we' got thrashed by the Germans?
I would feel really disappointed and I would think they could do better.
Better luck next time? See you in 2014?
Yes, definitely.
Thanks fellas!

I can't tell you the names of these football-mad lads because they'll get into trouble at school for staying up late. How sad is that?! Good on them, if you ask me! Crunch games in the World Cup don't come along every night of the week, and something you remember for a lifetime.
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Our next Governor - Jim interviews Takeshi Matsumoto

Our school blog is not the place for a political debate, nor a place for politicians to get up on their soapboxes. However, I think it is very important that we in the international community get involved as much as we can with events and issues locally. Unfortunately, we are not able to vote.That is something that really annoys me personally, having lived here for 20 years or so and been a good boy most of the time...I certainly pay my taxes and sometimes even clean up the neighbourhood at 6am on a Sunday morning.

Anyway, main point here is that I was able to have an hour of Takeshi Matsumoto's time last week. He is standing in the forthcoming election to become the next Governor of Nagano prefecture. He has a good chance of winning, too. He won't admit that but there is a buzz around his campaign and from people who have a 'nose' for these things. I thought it would be a fairly unique opportunity to hear what the man has to say in a non-political environment (we met at Luna over a cup of tea) about his background and his ideas for the future, should he be elected.

Please read a synopsis of the interview and my own opinions at our Podbean site, which hosts our podcasts. You will also be able to listen to the whole interview - unedited and unscripted - or download it if you prefer. It is very important to realise that Mr. Matsumoto was very able to manage this discussion in English, which is impressive itself. Please have a listen to the interview and leave "comments" either below here, or at Podbean. Why not subscribe to the podcast, so you won't miss future exciting installments? Feel free to contact Takeshi Matsumoto yourself with your reactions.

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HOMEWORK The hotel reservations

To The Residence
Subject Reservation for September

Dear Mr' Smith
I would like to make a reservation for a single room for three nights, 25, 26, and27 September.
I would like a room with the same room at Catherine Deneuve stayd, if possible.
Could you send me some imformation about the sea water spa.
Please confirm the reservation.
Yours sincerely
Mutsmi maruyama

Chappers' World Cup Podcasts

This podcast pre-dates England's dreary performances this week, but is extremely interesting listening made richer with 20/20 hindsight, particularly Peter Taylor's diagnosis of our 4-4-2 & how it takes Rooney out of the game.

I think this is one of the better footy podcasts 'out there'; subscribe for the listening practice!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Farmer and the Beet

Listen along in the podcast as Jim re-tells this popular story for children. As you can see, this is our dog-eared copy!

Subscribe to the podcast and you'll be immediately happier! At Podbean...

Monday, 28 June 2010

An inspiring lady

Last weekend we welcomed a candidate to take her Cambridge ESOL CAE examination at Luna. She had travelled up from Tokyo specially, the culmination of six months preparation for Yuki. We'd been waiting for this day nervously for some time.

Usually CAE takes place on a Wednesday, but we were unable to manage the special arrangements necessary to accommodate this candidate on the same day, as she was blind. That required us to source braille editions of the exam materials and to provide separate seating, as she needed to have her answers recorded by her amanuensis (very fancy word for 'note-taker'). She also needed extra time - an obvious necessity even if she could 'read' with both hands - questions on the one, text on the other. It was obvious to me that she needed a very good memory, to be able to remember no just the information she was taking in - but where it was located. Quite a different way of processing language I am sure, and an exhausting one.

CAE is of itself a very challenging level to aspire to, and I am forever disappointed we do not generate more candidates here at Luna - by the time our students are good enough or mature enough they are moving on to something else eg university or studying abroad. We know this examination is intense, and that taking all the papers in one day is draining. I personally would find managing a life sightless inordinately challenging, and something I think would be beyond my mental & emotional capacity. I think I would be frustrated/angry/lost/bruised all the time.

I was proud that we could arrange this exam to be held in special arrangements for this candidate. She did not need any 'help', just the right environment to have a fair chance. I spent the day invigilating/acting as her amanuensis (that is a very tough job for a teacher to do - mark down answers or spell things that I might not necessarily agree with). It was a day I will not forget in a hurry: it was boring watching a blind person take a test in Braille, but it was also a sobering experience to watch a person go for it and not take the easy way out or just give up because it was too hard or she was no longer motivated.

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What did Sammy (rock star) do after school?

posted on behalf of Yumi

I’m an only child my parents were in a famous rock group

When we were young. I hated school and didn’t study hard.

I only wanted to play music and have fun. At 18 I left school

and joined a rock group.

Soon I got married because my girlfriend got pregnant.

But I was fool with another woman. We got a divorce

from her soon. In those days, my parents got a divorce

too. My father made very young girlfriend. But I made

pregnant her. I started solo and got married with her.

We have two children. But she lives with another rock

singer now.

Jim reads "Around the Zoo with Baboon"

Everybody has to make new friends sometimes - it can be very daunting.

Jim narrates Baboon’s progress around his new home, meeting new mates and being made welcome.

Why not get into the swing of things with Baboon, as she climbs around - children (and grown ups) act like the animals she meets. I am sure you can do better voices too!

Available now as a podcast at Podbean - why not subscribe in iTunes?
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Jim reads "Who is in the Pond?"

We don’t actually have a pond in the school, but we do have some very active imaginations :)

We hid toy animals/flash cards under a (fortunately) blue blanket, but told the children to be very careful not to dip their toes in the ‘pond’. We asked them what they thought might be ‘in there’…All kinds of suggestions and it sounded very dangerous indeed - so we moved a little bit further back from the edge and didn’t peek!

Instead, we read along with Jim, checking our guesses off a mental list as we went. There really were some fierce animals to be wary of…as well as some very nice ones that we can find in our local pond in Agata-no-mori Park. And when we finished the book?

Of course, we jumped into the ‘pond’ to see what we could find!

You will find the recording at our podcast site or you can subscribe in iTunes

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Festivals in other cultures - Halloween

This is a picture i took for the Candy article.Image via Wikipedia

Haruka & I had been talking about 'Coming of Age' Day (Seijin No Hi) in Japan - it's a long way off for her! She used to live in Florida, and has first hand experience trick or treating. This is what she wrote for homework.

Every Year - Hallowe'en

In some countries there is Halloween. We go around neighbours in the afternoon and get candy.

It's on October 31st, every kid dresses up as something. Last year I was a witch, and before that I was a fairy. I don't like plastic Halloween bags to put candies in because they will break. My plastic bag broke because of too much candy.

Finally, if it's started, every house is ready to go get candies and give them. It is a lot of fun. I hope you could know how fun it is.

By Haruka (10)
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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Podcast available on your mobile phone

The icon used by Apple to represent Podcasting.
It is very easy! 

Go to this address ON YOUR PHONE's browser to find our podcast in a mobile-friendly format. Never miss us again - how wonderful!

If you have a pencil, write this down instead of clicking the link
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Jim reads "Pam, Pam"

One of young learners' favourite big books is "Pam, Pam". Pam, Pam is a cow, with lots of generous phonetic friends. You can find the recording here or go to the podcast widget on the right.

Jim will be posting more readings of our favourite books soon - subscribe to the podcast (through iTunes) to avoid disappointment!

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"BLOOD DIAMONDS" Which actors do you want?

I read "Blood diamonds" last month.

Everybody say Blood diamonds that it exchanged for the gun.

It is the injustice buying and selling.

This is a story that the journalists in London solve investigating Blood diamonds at the end.

If I am making a film of Blood Diamonds, I think that this actors are good.

Heros journalist: Kirkpatrick: Matt Damon

Because he is good actor. I like him.

He portrays football player in "INVICTUS"

Heroines journalist: Shepherd: Scarlet Johansson

Because she is beautiful. That heroine must lovely.

Owner of a jewellery shop : Sophie Lafon : Eva Longoria

Do you know Desperate Housewives?

She is one of the heroines of this TV program. Gabrielle is her.

She looks mean, and beautiful. She suits the diamond.

A businessman: Van Delft : Sam Worthington

This choice was most difficult.

I think he looks mysterious, because he is Avatar.

Please read the book, and tell me your choice.

How about you?

Oh, It was forgotten to write the name.

By Kazuko M

Friday, 25 June 2010

Night at the Museum - Battle of the Smithsonian

Portrait of Ivan IV by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897Image via Wikipedia

Did you enjoy reading the second "Night at the Museum" book, Haruka?
Yes, it was very interesting.

You also read the first story - which is better?
I like both of them, so I can't decide.

There are some new characters in this adventure. Who is your favourite?
I liked Amelia (Earhardt) because she's cool. She flew over the ocean and wasn't afraid of anything.

Who wouldn't you like to meet?
I wouldn't like to meet Ivan the Terrible or Al Capone, because they were both very scary and killed a lot of people.

Has Larry changed?

No, he is still funny and friends with the exhibits. He was the boss of a big company, but now he started to be the night guard again because he liked the job.

Posted by: Haruka (10)
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Learning thread

I opened a new bag of letter beads and this amazing strand landed right way up on the carpet.

It's a kind of magic?!?!

The girls made necklaces and bracelets with their names on, after a very creative morning painting our papier mache masks, which have dried nicely.

We also remembered to log the growth of our balcony garden - we water them carefully every morning. We've got tall twisty things climbing up the railings; we've got small round leaves and frail shoots; round leaves, pointy leaves, long leaves; smooth stems and rough ones...and that's just the children!

Seem to be a lot of sleepy, smiley people wandering around this morning, needing coffee or genki drinks to wake them up; big congrats Japan on making the next round in South Africa. One report called them the "Blue Brazil" no less!
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Japan vs Denmark - match report (2)

Japan 3 - 1 Denmark

On Thursday 25th of June, Japan now have a chance to go to the Championship final and be in the best eighteen (sic).

The first goal was by Honda's free-kick. The ball went into the left corner of the goal. Honda's shot was not spinning and Honda looked as if he was very good at it.

The next goal was also a free-kick, but this time it was by Endo. Endo curved it into the top right corner.

After half-time, Denmark scored a goal, but Honda made an excellent pass and Japan were able to get another goal.

The match finished and Japan are now able to go to the Championship. Japan is going to play Paraguay next Thursday. If we win it, we will play Portugal or Spain. It is hard to win, butI think they will do their best and we must watch the game and see what will happen to Japan.
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Japan vs Denmark - match report (1)

Japan 3 - 1 Denmark

Japan and Denmark had a nice match. The first goal was an amazing goal. It was by Honda's free-kick. The ball Honda kicked was not spinning and went in straight to the left of the goal.

The second goal was also a free-kick, but this time it was kicked by Endo. He put right spin and curved it in the right goal.

The third goal was not a free-kick. Honda showed us a nice pass and Okubo tapped the ball in the goal. However, we let in a goal, but we still won 3-1.

We thought we would lose against Denmark but we did well then we thought we will do (sic). Now Denmark is out of the World Cup and Japan moved forward.

We have to see if Japan can go through to the finals!?


*This was a 'homework' task after we had used some online resources courtesy of Sean Banville a week or two ago to get in the mood. Check out his extensive resources for football bonkers learners (and teachers!) at Breaking News English Lessons
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