Thursday, 29 January 2015

After Reading - The Key

My grandfather was the stamp collector.  After he died, the collection was handed over to my father and he decided to collect stamps as his father did.  My father buys every new stamps which are released from Japan Post Office every week.  He usually files four pieces of stamps as a set.  His file is well organized and puts those files in the shelf in order.  When I was six or seven years old, the stamp collecting was popular among my friend.  My father bought a file for me and gave me one or two stamps for my own collection.  At that time, almost all stamps were rectangle or square shape.  I was very excited to see the different shape, like round or wider rectangle.  The lowest value of stamp was one yen and the highest one I had was five hundreds yen.  I put those stamps from low to high and looked my file many times.  Sometimes I could get foreign stamps and it made me feel special.  And... I don't know where my file is now.  I don' remember clearly when I stopped collecting stamp, but I don't collect stamp any more.  My father still buys stamps every week and wants to hand it over to my brother in near future.

A letter to your teacher - Shoko

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Postcard from Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dear my sensei Mr. Jim and Yukari san,

Greetings from country of wonder Cambodia!!

This is my last day in Cambodia.
There are many changes during 1 year after my leaving. But I;m really happy to see my friends :)

It is very short stay and I still haven't completed yet my "What I want to eat" list! Mango, watermelon juice, cocnut juice, wonderful Indian food etc...Ahhh...And I need one more stomach...

See you on next Monday :)


A letter to your teacher - Rie

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My favourite mountain-top

When I was a child, I often went to the top of Small Mountain with my friend who lives near my house. There was a shrine in the mid of the mountain. It was easy to go there as we go to the shrine 3 to 4 times per year for taking part in the annual event with our family. There were steps from the bottom of the mountain to the shrines, one is the small one and another is the big one.

In order to go up to the top of the mountain, we have to climb a trail without maintained. Although it was not maintained, we could enjoy to climb up as it doesn’t long way. The mountain has a lot of pine trees and the other trees, but there were small space without trees in the top of the mountain. It was filled with the silky white sand there. We could play with the sand, find some strange shape of stones and enjoy beautiful scenery. Sometimes my mother stopped me to go there as there was some cliffs, but I often went there as I could see a lot of sceneries in four seasons.

Posted for Reiko

After reading "Gone" - an interview with silent Timmy

[Reporter]  I am here to interview 10 years old Timmy.
Do you remember that you were in trouble which was taken from supermarket?
[Timmy]  Of course! No!  But I heard it from Dad and Mum and I know that Jenna rescued me.
And I saw a blue hat which my grandmother made for me and I put in that trouble once.
[R]  Only once?
[T]  Yes, Mum housed it not to remember that trouble.
[R]  Did you hear that another boy was in the trouble as well as you?
[T]  Yes, I know Ryan well.  We live close to each other and we are friends.
He is prone to illness a little, so when I met him, we played game in Ryan's house and sometimes played football in garden of his house.
[R]  What are you doing after school or at the weekends when you doesn't meet Ryan?
[T]  I am taking with Jenna my dog Pocket,  Buster, and Bounce to the park and play them with ball.
Jenna likes to walking very fast with dogs, so sometimes I am doing running with Dad and Pocket.
[R]  What do you want to be when you grow?
[T]  I want to be dog trainer.
[R]  Thank you for taking your time for my interview.
[T]  Thank you.

Reporter - Ritsuko

Monday, 26 January 2015

A school project about Shinano no Kuni

When I was a high school student, I belonged to a broadcasting committee. We participated in the broadcasting competitions outside of the school.

There were two competitions for high school students every year and the bigger one was NHK broadcasting competition. If we win at local convention, we can go to the national convention.

When I was the third year, my team made a radio program and won in Nagano’s convention. The title was “The Greatest Hits of Nagano”. We dealt with “Shinano no kuni” that was the song of Nagano prefecture. The song was born one hundred years ago at that time. It was popular in Nagano and elementary and junior high school students sang a lot in the schools. I believed that the other prefectures had also their own prefecture songs, but we found that there were few prefectures that had their own songs or the songs were known and sung by people.

English: Nagano prefectural symbol Created und...
 Nagano prefectural symbol  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We interviewed the experts to research the reason. There were two main reasons. The one was the melody was rhythmical and approachable. The other one was that the people weren't forced to sing, but sang to solve the conflict between north and south of Nagano old days.

For your information, the program was No. 1 in the national convention in 2000!!

posted for Chinasa

Friday, 23 January 2015

Luna's student resolutions for 2015

A new year, a fresh start, a perfect opportunity to get your butt in gear, set some goals and make good on your promises. People always bugged me about my resolutions so my go to was always "Make a resolution next year".

My adult students conducted a survey in their classes this month to discover which of their classmates they shared similar aims with for 2015. We had a template of your usual run of the mill resolutions, plus a space for students to write their own ideas. After completing our surveys I was able to tabulate the data to then produce the following graph:

The results are in, and we may have a school full of alcoholics according to our data! I prefer to interpret it as our students having their priorities in the right place. It would be great to see our students travelling more, as they say they are going to. Being able to speak English really does open up doors when travelling abroad. Plus we get a lovely postcard to add to our collection.

What resolutions did you make this year? It's usually around this time many people start to go off track, don't be one of those people!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Yuto explains an ancient Viking boardgame

Check out How to Play Hnefatafl by Jim George on Snapguide.

I held the camera! Yuto's homework last week was to read a good chunk of his reader about Vikings, use the vocabulary to figure out a puzzle which then explained how to play this traditional Scandinavian board game. Please watch him explain the steps in the game - I think you'll agree he did his homework really well!

We were both surprised that when we Googled this, a gazillion sites popped up...but then again, we shouldn't have been. It's an unusual game in that the two sides are unequal at the start, and obviously very strategic. I'm retiring as a champion (yes, beating a ten-year old lad does it for the 'competitive Dad' in me!), but I am sure Yuto will be playing all his friends now with his homemade board (also part of this homework) which was a lot cheaper than the boards we saw advertised at $29.50

Follow Yuto's excellent directions, and try the game for yourself? And please share your feedback his homework?

(You can make your own Snapguides by the way, online or with the app. Clearly very easy, if I can make it during class!) 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

My first journey - after reading "Gone"

My first journey I ever made was to go to meet my uncle's family who live in Nagoya.

I was 6 years old at that time. It takes about 3 hours from my home to his house by train. It was my first time to get train by my self. My mother worried and let me have some food, drinks, clothes and souvenior for my uncle's family. They are heavy but I was much more anxious about how I get to there.

Not the Eiffel tower or the Tokyo tower, this ...
Nagoya TV tower, the oldest TV tower
 in Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fortunately, there was only one time to transit the train at Matsumoto station as my uncle was waiting at Nagoya station. As I have often been to Matsumoto station with my grandmother, there was no problem to transit the train. 

After reaching Nagoya, he take me to TV tower which was famous in Nagoya at that time. I was impressed everything I watched as most of things were that I had never seen. Especially for the experience to watch the movie. That was my first time to watch the movie. Although the story of the movie was a bit of heavy for me, I enjoyed my first movie in my life.

Posted for Reiko

Friday, 16 January 2015

Getting lost - trusting my car navigation

This is a kind of lost story on the way to Ueda city although it is not lost in the mist and the completely lost.

I went to a hotel in Ueda city to attend a seminar by my car. It was the first time to get there by myself, so I used the car navigation system to find the route. My plan is to use two toll tunnels, not highway. I set up the car navigation system without using the toll road because I believed it meant highway, but it was wrong. The system showed the route without using not only highway but also toll tunnels. I should have realized it before I left my house.
The TomTom One in-car navigation system.
Photo credit: Wikipedia

I was still confident that I could get to the destination on time as the car navigation system showed that the arriving time was still good for me. I followed the route that the system showed. I drove through the mountain road and it was harder than expected as I wasn’t good at driving such a road. In addition, there were very narrow roads and a few tunnels without lights. I was worried if I could get to the destination. 

Fortunately, I could arrive at the destination on time, but I was exhausted. I learned that I should check the overall route before the departure.

Posted for Chinasa

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Miyuki's recurring nightmare - after reading "In Sarah's Dreams"

Recently I had a bad dream. It was really realistic because the situation was driving.
I drive my car which I always use everyday. The situation is at in my junior high school's parking. I'm not sure why I was there but I think I went to the election. After the election, I tyied to go to somewhere. Unfortunately, the parking was crowded, as well as the road also crowed. Furthermore, the path was narrow, it was difficult to pass each other. Then my car was moving slowly and slowly, I paid my attention to avoid any accidents.. Almost my car could go out the parking and road, I hit other car. 

I had experienced ca accident before, so I was not panicked. I got out my car and talked the car driver. The car driver was women, she seems really angry.. She said something like "what did you do?! Your car was hit my car. Look! My car was scrunched." I heard that kind of words. I said to her " I'm really sorry. I'll fix your car using my insurance.. So could you please tell me your name, address and telephone number?" When I asked her, I was wake up.
Result of a serious automobile accident
Result of a serious automobile accident (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This dream tells me that be careful to drive your car! If you are hurry, you should drive safely. 

After dreaming, I try to drive safely.

Posted for Miyuki

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

My photo essay subject would be...dolphins

If I enter a photo competition, I would choose sea creatures, especially dolphin as my subject. 

I have seen on TV that when a dolphin breathed out in the sea, bubbles from its lip looked like angel rings. I thought what a beautiful that is! So I would like to get a picture of it. But it is difficult because this does not happen very often. Therefore I need to get advices from two professionals. One is a photographer who gets pictures in the sea mainly. I think it needs specialized technique to get pictures in the sea. And the other is an expert on dolphin. I have to learn about dolphin and where and when high probability of happening it is. 

Dolphin show at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium
Dolphin show at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I want to take pictures from front of dolphin because angel ring was seen the most clearly. If someone is allowed to wish so much, I would like to get a picture a beautiful-looking fish pass through the angel ring. If I can get a picture of this situation, I absolutely would be able to win a photo competition! Oops! Above all I have to take out my fear of diving into the sea.

Posted for Mio

Sweet watermelon home, Hata

English: Water melon slice
Water melon slice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hata is about 250㎞ north west of the capital,Tokyo. Hata is in a region called the Shinetsu and Japanese Alps. It is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. There are big Water Melon fields, bueatiful mountains ,transparent blue Azusa river.

The Watermelons from Hata are very very sweet and they are expensive.
Our winters are very cold and dry, and it snows less than Hakuba. Our Summers are quite hot and dry.

I'm sorry, there is not a photo of Hata.



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Sweet Home, Nagoya

English: The keep of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城, Nago...
Nagoya Castle Originally built around 1525, destroyed during World War II. Reconstructed in 1959 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nagoya is about 400km west of the capital,Tokyo. Nagoya is in a region call Tokai or Aichi. Nagoya's fine old castle and famous for Toyota car's.

One of the biggest cities in Japan.
Our winters are cold and wet,and it sometimes snow.
Our summers are very hot and wet with tempertures around 30°. Here's a photo of around Nagoya castle. I got the photo from the internet.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Best wishes

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Some fantastic place for a photo shoot - after reading What Rose Saw

I recommend to visit one mountain several time a year. You can see/enjoy nice view of contrast of green wood and lingering snows in spring, of verdant wood in summer, and of autumn leaves in autumn. Even if it is same day, you can see very different view in a bit difference of temperature, weather etc. I experienced every time that the view utterly changed in a few minutes.

Also, I recommend to see alpine plants which are very tiny and tough and can not see them in areas near human dwellings. It is alarmed not to collect and damage alpine plants, so most of people can't see them until their lifetime end.

I want to ask photographers to take photos of alpine plants and upload them to social network like Facebook, twitter etc. to show them to many people.

Posted for Ritsuko

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lost in the Mist - after reading The Rainbow Girl

This is a kind of lost story on the way to Ueda city although it is not lost in the mist and the completely lost.I went to a hotel in Ueda city to attend a seminar by my car. It was the first time to get there by myself, so I used the car navigation system to find the route. My plan is to use two toll tunnels, not high way. I set up the car navigation system without using the toll road because I believed it meant high way, but it was wrong. The system showed the route without using not only high way but also toll tunnels. I should have realized it before I left my house.

I was still confident that I could get to the destination on time as the car navigation system showed that the arriving time was still good for me. I followed the route that the system showed. I drove through the mountain road and it was harder than expected as I wasn’t good at driving such a road. In addition, there were very narrow roads and a few tunnels without lights. I was worried if I could get to the destination and Fortunately, I could arrive at the destination on time, but I was exhausted. I learned that I should check the overall route before the departure.
Posted for Chinasa

Friday, 9 January 2015

After reading The Rainbow Girl - a similar story from my culture

In Japan, calligrapher "Shoko Kanazawa" is famous and she has a Down syndrome. There are 50 thousands of patients of Down syndrome patients in Japan. I have image that their understanding is slow and limited, but they have supple mind and special ability in one field. Some of them has special ability especially in the art/music field.

Ms. Shoko Kanazawa is active on calligraphy field and her special ability is as per my image/understanding.

Nowadays, she wrote the title "平清盛" of annual famous drama played by NHK which is public television. Her calligraphy doesn't pretend to ingratiate to people (=to be famous? to make money?) and her supple mind is shown on calligraphy. I have never seen her calligraphy, but I saw a article that most of people who saw her calligraphy, were moved and her pernal exhibition or events were increasing.

At a feature segments of Mr. Shoko Kanazawa, I found that I had incorrect understanding and prejudice for Down syndrome. There are so many patients of Down syndrome, so incorrect understanding causes big problem. I think that various success of people having Down syndrome will decrease people like me.

Posted for Ritsuko

Thursday, 8 January 2015

About my school - an informative poster

Remi has been covering the topic of school and education, learning a lot about different education systems in place all around the world. I asked Remi what she enjoys about the high school she attends, probably an unfathomable concept for many students, and why she would encourage other high schoolers to study there. To get the word out, or at the very least attempt to convince me, about how awesome Remi’s school is, we set about making an informative poster through Glogster.

I gave Remi all the necessary tools for her project to make her poster as informative, appealing and fun as she saw fit. She even added photos of some of her school events, which was a nice touch. I must confess though that I would have liked to have seen a much more eye catching poster with a bit of snazzy editing. Also including her school’s name may have been useful.

Please tell us what you think as Remi would love to hear your feedback. Would you think about attending or sending your kids there? I think the 8 exams a year would throw me off!

Lost & Found - after reading The Rainbow Girl

I am bad at directions. Therefore I often get lost. The latest was two month ago. It was happened when I drove my car to my parents’ home for two hours at night. At that time, I was very tired after work, and very sleepy. So I had to go to convenience store a few times to rest and to buy some foods to open my eyes. Because of that, I could wipe the sleep at last. But next, I had been lost in thought about our work. I have driven same way to my parents’ home many times, so I got careless. “Where am I?” The next thing I knew I drove on an unfamiliar road. I noticed I had to turn left the previous crossroad. But I thought when I would turn left the next crossroad, I also would be able to get home. But it was too naïve. I completely got lost. I tried to use navigation of cellphone, but that area is too poor cellphone reception to work well. I started to feel heat. “Don’t freak.” I said to myself. When I got a main street, the navigation of my cellphone started to work. And then I could get my parents’ home 30 minutes late. I thought even if we would used to do something, I would have to be alert.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

After reading "The Key" - a walk in a secret garden

Imagine you could open a door to a secret garden, just for you. 
Describe a walk though it, with a ll the sights, sounds and smells...

I used to have a puzzle. It had a company’s name on it, so I guess it was a free gift from them.
The size is about Length 10 x Width 15 cm.  I have no idea, but I liked the picture on the puzzle a lot.
I broke and made the puzzle again and again.

The picture was a beautiful idyllic view. I’ve never been to Wales, but it’s like Wales that I imagine. I wish to have the kind of garden, so I’d like to describe it here as my secret garden. Green grass which length is about 10 to 15 cm glows when you open door. A couple of groups of broad leaf trees glow. Those trees are not too high.

In the end of trees, there is a clear lake. It may be about 100m ahead from the door. There is a red boat with oar. We can smell green grass and a little bit mud. Wind shakes leaf and grass, and rustling sound give you great feeling. Sunbeams come through leaves. There are wooden chairs and a wooden table with a red and white checked table cloth. I sometime have a lunch there.

This is my ideal secret garden! I wish to have such a big garden...

Blue LEDs & Nobel Prize winners

English: led_blue
led_blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I usually see 2 lightings at least in Winter. During this winter season, I saw the lighting at TOKI NO SUMIKA (時の梄) in Gotenba, Shizuoka and at ALPS Azumino national goverment park in Azumino city. Those lighting were very beautiful because the lighting of various colors were used, and it really got to me.

When I saw them, I remembered 3 doctors who invite Blue LED and won a 2014 Nobel Prize. If they don't invite Blue LED, I can't see a part of the colors we saw in the lighting and the lighting can't touch me or other viewers emotionally. If they don't invite Blue LED, we can't see clear electronic signboard for easy understanding at station and on road etc.

A few years ago, I saw a news that professor Nakamura went to court for asking his recompenses of inviting Blue LED to his previous company. When I saw that news, I surprised its amount (60 billion yen) as his recompenses and didn't know whether the recompenses were suitable, or not. But this time, I learned what effect Blue LED has for our life and industries and was glad that 3 doctors' research was recognized and was known very well.

An after reading task, by Ritsuko (graded reader "CHOIR Boy)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Nobel prize winners

I should write about three scientists who won Nobel Prize this year. They are three Japanese, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura. They invented blue LED which is brighter and more energy efficiency than standard red or green LED. Moreover, by combination of red, green and blue LEDs, white LED becomes available.

First of all, from the point of commercial view, blue LED is a good eye catching item. I believe more consumer would notice the product in the shop or online store. In recent years, blue LED started using for illumination. In this season, we can see many Xmas trees illuminated by blue LEDs.

English: Blue LED Christmas lamps and reflecti...Secondly, a lot of manufacturer produce and sell white LED bulb in the market. They encourage us to replace with white LED bulb and it becomes very popular among us. It needs less energy than red or green LED, so it can provide us with longer life and cost saving. I think this has very important meaning especially for developing countries where the literacy rate is still low. A lot of children are living in poor village where have no electricity. They cannot study at home after it gets dark. If electricity and LED bulb becomes available in those areas, the literacy rate could be higher. This would help those countries for economy growth.

After reading "CHOIR Boy" graded reader, by Tomoko