Friday, 27 November 2020

Traditional Event of Muneage


Most of Japanese houses have building tag. It calls “Munefuda” in Japanese. Building tag is giving not only the building information, name of the owner, designer but also the god’s name written.

In the process of building a house, there is a ceremony when the basic structure such as columns, ridges, and beams are completed. Finally the ridge poles are raised. It is called "Muneage", "Tatemae". In the ceremony, there is an alter which is decorated with a coin skewer in the center and a building tag is set aside. Offerings (fish with head, vegetables, fruits, etc.), rice washing, salt, and water are placed. This ceremony is managed by a master-carpenter to pray safety of construction. After that, the tag is set up in highest purlin and it is facing to south or east like same as many shrines. When the house is completed, it will be hidden in the attic.  

Although we can’t see the Munefuda easily, the tag wishes for the prosperity and protecting from harm.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Some information about Saint-Exupery

"The Little Prince" (1935) is a story by Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944), a Frenchman writer. People know him all over the world today for his "The Little Prince". Lyon, in France, is Saint-Exupery's home town. There are different films of the story, including a movei made in 2015, Director is Mark Osborne.

These days you can go to the Little Prince Museum. There is a building to celebrate the 100th anniversry of Saint-Exupery.


Posted for Moeka  (13) - her own research after reading "The Little Match Girl".

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Enjoy Kyushu

 You think Kyushu is far from Matsumoto, don’t you? It’s true it’s a long way, but if you take a flight, it takes only an hour and a half from Matsumoto airport to Fukuoka, and from there to the Shinkansen station, Hakata, is only fifteen minutes. My plane took off from Matsumoto airport at 15:30, and I arrived in Kumamoto at 18:00. It is not far!


 

Kumamoto is a pleasant city, not too big, not too small; just right medium size. There is a beautiful castle in the center of city, nostalgic trams trundle around, and there are lots of green spaces even in the city centre.

 

JR Kyushu runs some interesting special trains services. These are completely different from regular trains. Most of these kinds of trains were designed by Etsuji Mitooka, who is a great industrial designer. These trains are eye-catching on the outside, and inside have amazing designs and original styling. One of them has a bar in the train car, another has sofas and bookshelves; there are also lovely mummy & kids’ chairs, wonderful viewing decks, etc.


The inside of "Aso-boy"

 

I experienced the journey from Kumamoto to Beppu aboard “Asoboy. As a passenger, you can spoil yourself with original food, buy branded souvenirs and be treated to special service. In the train, there are some play spaces for children and lovely pair seats for children and parent. I enjoyed the panoramic view of Mount Aso from the high viewing seats. The friendly crew offered to take memorial photographs for travelers. It was an exciting, lovely experience. I enjoyed a lot.

 

On this trip I realized again how wonderful Kyushu is, especially abundant with beautiful waters. You can enjoy a wide variety of amazing hot springs, or “Onsen”, in places like Beppu, Yufuin and Kurokawa. You can explore unique cities and see abundant nature. Of course, the food is lovely. As I experienced, the people are calm and kind as well.

Teruki

 

 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Hideyoshi and Nene

Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Kodaiin (Generally, she is called “Nene”.) are the famous couple in early Japan called the Sengoku period. They became a married couple after they had got over the hardship.

They were married in 1561, despite the objections of Nene’s families. Especially Asahi-dono, Nene’s mother, strongly opposed to their marriage, and she had not approved it until she died in 1598. At that point in time when political marriages were the norm, they were a rare case of marriage for love. I think that they are similar to Romeo and Juliet.

On the other hand, there are some differences in love stories of between Hideyoshi and Nene and Romeo and Juliet. The marriage of Hideyoshi and Nene was a misalliance. Hideyoshi was a soldier of low rank, and Nene was a daughter of the royal “samurai” families. Above all, Hideyoshi brought the country under one sway, and Nene supported Hideyoshi secretly. I think they are the happiest couple in the Sengoku period.





Thursday, 8 October 2020

Haunting Story: Banshu Sara Yoshiki

Name of building:
Himeji Castle

Location:
Okayama prefecture

History of building:
Established in 1346, castle towers were built in 1580 by Hideyoshi.

Description of ghost: 
In 1504 Okiku, a young and clever housemade, saved Onodera, the master of the castle, while Aoyama, one of Onodera's retainers, took over the castle. Aoyama's retainer, Danshiro realized her actions, he compelled her to be his mistress but she refused. Danshiro was so angry that he broke one of ten dishes of his master's treasure and blamed her. He strangled her and threw her body into the old well.

Ghost's activity:
Okiku appeared from the old well every midnight and she counted the dishes in her painful voice, 'one, two, three…'. There should have been 10 pieces but one of them was broken by Danshiro,
so she broke down in tears for missing the 10th dish.

People's feelings:
People were sorry for Okiku. This story spread all over Japan and it became a Kabuki play or Rakugo story.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Inventor of Instant noodles – Momofuku Ando

Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles and he is known as the founder of Nissin Food. He was born in Taiwan. He lost his parents at an early age, after that he was raised by grandparents who run the textile industry. That situation gave opportunity him to start up first a business. His business was on track, unfortunately, the World war II was started. After the war, he had to choose between becoming a citizen of China or Japanese nationality. He chose China nationality, however he remained in Japan. 


In 1957, the credit union chaired by Ando went bankrupt. He lost all his property, leaving only a rented house in Ikeda City, Osaka. He inspired himself, and remembered the people lined up at the ramen stalls in the black market after the war. He was convinced that Japanese people likes noodles. He decided to invent “ramen that can be eaten at home with hot water”. After a year of trial and error, he finally invented instant noodles by himself. 

In 1966, Ando naturalized through marriage and became a Japanese citizen.  

He faced hardship many times, but his undaunted sprit carried him over the problems. 


Tuesday, 29 September 2020

“The valiant fighter” Marcus Túlio Tanaka

Marcus Túlio Tanaka is the former football player of Japan’s national team. Although he showed many brilliant activities on the pitch, he passed through many difficulties.

He was born in Palmeira d'Oeste, São Paulo, in 1981. His farter is a Japanese-Brazilian, and his mother is an Italian-Brazilian. He came to Japan for the first time when he was sixteen years old. Of course, he didn't know Japanese, and he suffered mentally.

He studied Japanese eagerly and had been a leading player on the football team of his senior high school. He joined Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2001 after he graduated, and he launched his career as a professional football player. He became a naturalized as Japanese in 2003 and participated in 2010 FIFA World Cup as a player of Japan’s national team. He won many prizes until his retirement in 2019. He was one of the most dominant players in the football history of Japan.



What are people doing under extraordinary situation?

Due to COVID-19, people around the world are forced to stay home.

Under the extraordinary situation, people try to find how they can enjoy at home.  At the same time, there are new business opportunities which can offer solutions for people.

We couldn’t go out for dinner during lockdown.  As people tried to cook meals at home, the demand of kitchen appliance skyrocketed.  For those who don’t cook at home, online food delivery service becomes very popular.

As people couldn’t meet in person, people tried to meet on-line by using web camera.  Internet is the useful tool to enjoy the time with family and/or friends.

Animal crossing is a game soft which is well accepted around the world.  It is a peaceful game with no fighting.  The players have own island and do what they want, such as gathering fruits and fishing.  The players can meet their friends in the game.  People use this game as one of tools to meet their friends.  Here is an example.  In Japan, school was closed in March which is the month of school year end.  The graduation ceremony was canceled or conducted with the limited number of attendees.  I heard students got together and held a graduation party with friends in the game.

Under any circumstances, it is important to have good meals as well as connect with family or friends.



Monday, 28 September 2020

The End of the Phantom: Erik

After a long talk, Raoul and Christine took Erik with them to Norway. They built a large house beside a beautiful lake. Erik was a clever architect so he made their house nice and comfortable and kept their privacy quite well.

There was a small concert hall at their house and Christine sang her beautiful voice from time to time.

With her most generous and loving heart, Christine looked after Erik well, he had the happiest time of his life and passed away peacefully next year.

Raoul and Christine had three lovely daughters. They also had beautiful voices. The Raoul family became very popular for their musical talent, they were invited to the Opera house in Pairs. Their wonderful performance remained in the hearts of many Parisian and Parisienne for a long time.


Posted for Sayuri

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Oni out! Fortune in!

There is an old story in Japan about an Oni which is like a demon or devil. People have been believed that the Oni opens bad things such as a trouble or disaster since long time ago. The traditional Oni’s appearance is that they are blue or red and angry face, and have two horns and an iron rod.

On February 1st ,we throw away beans to Oni to push away it from our houses and hope state of perfect health for one year. When throwing away, we say “Oni out! Fortune in!”. Basically, father wears Oni’s mask to imitate Oni and they are thrown away beans from children. Finally, we eat threw beans of a same quantity as our age.

This event is called Setsubun.

 

Friday, 18 September 2020

Black Lives Matter

I saw Women’s Singles of the 2020 U.S. open tennis with interest because I could know in detail seven terrible cases for black victims printed on Naomi’s face mask for each of her matches. Everyone knows that these seven victims are just a little bit of past numerous cases/things that don’t make sense for black people. 

I saw two social issues for the seven victims. I personally think that people sometimes target at someone/people in specific area at the unconscious level to feel that they are taking a superior position to the targeted ones and to strengthen the relationship with other peoples except for the targeted person/people, and not to be left out of group/organization. The thinking at unconscious level will cause bullying as a familiar example and racial discrimination. 

We should understand completely that black, brown, yellow, and white are same human and have no advantage or disadvantage. Another issue is guns. In the USA, if a police officer gets close to a suspicious person, police may need to adopt the tightest security measures because suspicious person has a possibility of carrying a gun, otherwise police officer may get killed by one shot. If a citizen is not allowed to have a gun, police officer may not play as justifiable defense and may not force suspicious person down to the ground like Mr. George Floyd was. I hope that people who do not have any gun are increased in the future not to cause terrible cases like the seven black victims and gun shooting incident. 

I also hope that countries without guns, like Japan, are kept that way.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

My most exciting journey

 

Our author in Carthage
The most exciting place I have ever travelled around is Tunisia. It is an Islamic country, located in northern Africa, on the coast the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya.I have visited there in 2006.


The Phoenicians came to this land 2,000 years ago, then the country was under the control of the Romans, the Byzantines, Islam and the Ottoman Empire. After its turbulent history, precious ruins can be found everywhere.

First, I visited the ancient remains of Carthage, a world heritage site. A long time ago, the Phoenicians built up their city here, but it was later destroyed by the Romans. Now we can see the Roman ruins there.

Dougga is also one of the sites of an ancient city. I have ever seen such dynamic, beautiful remains. When I visited, it was very quiet. Nobody was there. I could feel the mysterious atmosphere.

Besides Carthage and Dougga, I also visited the Amphitheatre El Gem and the old city of Kairoian. All of them are UNESCO world heritage sites. I was fascinated by all the historical relics.

The landscape in Tunisia is also fascinating. Visiting the Sahara Desert has been one of my dreams. I was able to enjoy camel riding there. It was exciting, but sometimes I felt afraid, because I didn’t know which way to go in a world of sand. Anyway, it was an unforgettable experience. The scenery of the salt lake “Chotto el Djerid” was also amazing. It is a white land, as far as you can see. The Tanerza Canyon is one of the viewpoints you should visit. The characteristic topography is so beautiful. These unique landscapes were used for the impressive scenes in films such as “Star Wars” and “The English Patient “. 

Our author in a camel train - in blue

The most interesting moment for me was walking in the local market, in a desert city. The people who live in the desert, wearing traditional outfits, get together and exchange things like food, information and news of their daily life. It was exactly like a scene of “Star Wars”.

In my impression, traveling in Tunisia is like visiting another planet. It is totally exotic, exciting, amazing. There are so many treasures in their mysterious country. I believe it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

 Teruki

 

 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

I have always liked learning English...a dreamer writes

My first pen friend was an English boy in Portsmouth.  It was so much fun to get a letter from overseas and his European life amazed me.  We both became busy studying for the examinations (O-level for him and high school entrance exams for me), it ended shortly.  Then I was fascinated by the Bay City Rollers: when I spell Saturday, I'm still mumbling their famous song (clever readers could guess my age).   

The author in 1998

I dreamed of English hills covered with daffodils as Wordsworth said and heather, footpath, hedge, afternoon tea, scones, clotted cream, victorian sandwiches, mincemeat, pubs, beers, fish 'n' chips, movies, TV dramas, etc…  Those never ending interests have made my heart wide open and I had a lot of opportunities to see and talk to people from over sea and people who have the same interests, those who were amazing.

At the Nagano Olympics, my American friends introduced me to the US Olympic Committee and luckily I had an incredible chance to work there as a receptionist.  Whole the Olympic time I was in the Americans, I felt as if I were in the US, which I had never been before.  They were very friendly and efficient.  They rented a big building out as their offices and some residences for the senior officers.  There were free Coke machines and free McDonalds, lots of stationery, and their own overseas telephone service in the building.  They also even gave us free tickets for some Olympic games.  I thought I had used all of my good luck for my whole life.

English gives me such great experiences, it makes my world no limit, it frees my heart from a tiny and unpleasant real life. Reading English books brings me extra knowledge and that makes English more interesting: ex found out the original meanings of some rather strange characters' names in Harry Potter's…

So, you young learners, read lots of English books and see a lot of movies,and make lots of friends!  Open seas spread before you!

Posted for Sayuri 


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The Fugitive

This is the story from these film The fugitive (1993), a big Hollywood film with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. The film came from the famous 1960s American TV program, The Fugitive. In this story, Dr. Kimble found his wife was killed when he came home, and tried to find the murder even though he was suspected. Gerard who was chasing Kimble as a detective while he wondered if he was a real criminal or not.

The plot is well organized. It makes us surprised when we reach a final chapter. It isn’t just a story of running away but contains action, suspense and mystery. The story is nail-biter. After Kimble decided to find out a murder, he continues to keep moving around and finding clues in different places. The detective Gerard was kept chasing him and starts thinking about a real culprit. As readers know Kimble is not a murder, we may want Gerard to know it and can feel like we are finding the real criminals together with Gerard.

How Kimble found the murder of his wife, and how he got back his normal life, you must enjoy the whole story without stopping.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Talking about chores - YLE speaking activity

Something to play with for the weekend!

Our teachers have been using Wordwall quite a lot lately, as it's provides a superbly flexible collection of easily created games/quizzes/activities. These can be played in class collaboratively, or at home...or together online - WIN WIN WIN!

This version from a class today, talking about chores. I wanted my students to get their heads up and 'fill in the blanks' ie stop mundanely reading with flat/non-existent intonation, and frequently not getting to the end of a question 'in one go'.

What do you think?

https://wordwall.net/resource/4086244



Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Memo to Leonardo da Vinci

Dear Da Vinci,

As you know, you have not finished a lot of paintings yet. I know you are so busy, but it is better for you to finish your painting. So, let me share my tips to improve your work performance.

1. Grasp your whole work:
To recognize how many works that you should finish.

2. Put priority:
Maybe, a lot of orders come in because you are the famous painter. You should consider a priority as it takes time to complete your painting.

3. Make a check list:
Even if you are a genius, your brain has a limit to memory. If you could have the check list, you don’t need to remember how many works are unfinished. Then you can focus on painting in front of you.

4. Hire some staff:
As a paper is expensive , so it might be difficult to prepare a check list. I recommend you to arrange person in order to organize your works.

I hope the above would be help your work. Please kindly image or invest how to arrange human task easily.

Best regards,
Miyuki

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

After reading of Romeo and Juliet

Marrying is not only their matter, but also the matter of their families. When there are family events, they need to meet. If their relationship is not good, they need a lot more attention not to make trouble. Therefore, I think that Romeo and Juliet should have told their parents about marrying. This is an idealistic theory.

I think that it is not easy for parents to accept a marriage partner soon as parents are worried about child’s big life decision. I believe that parents can accept and understand a marriage partner by marital lifestyle husband and wife build for a long time.

On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet could resign a marriage. They would feel sadness deeply for a while, but it would not last forever. The time will heal their heart.



Friday, 28 August 2020

A soldier Yokoi Shoichi - After reading

You may remember a Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi? He was called up for army activities again in 1941 and combatted at Guam against the U.S. forces.

When Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration in Aug and the war ended, it was announced by radio, newspaper, flyer etc. to all Japanese who stayed/combatted in Japan and territories of America and/or American’s ally. A soldier Shoichi Yokoi and his two brothers-in-arms saw the flyer, but they did not believe that Japan defeated the War and guessed that the flyer saying Japan’s defect was plot created by U.S. forces.

The Japanese were controlled/taught to believe that their country was very strong. Most  Japanese bore starvation, deprivation and a lot of Japanese gave their lives, believing in beating U.S. forces.  Japanese soldiers were taught that it was considered a disgrace to come back alive from the front. It was no wonder that some Japanese could not recognize Japan’s defeat and did not go back to home.

After Japan’s defeat, the brothers lived in the jungles of Guam for two decades. His two brothers-in-arms died by huge typhoon, but a soldier Yokoi stayed more 8 years in jungle of Guam until local people found him.

When he returned to Japan, he said that he stooped to coming back alive from the front, but he believed his return might be of any help. His life in/after war is unbelievable for people nowadays, but we must know how terrible the war is and must do all efforts not to cause any war forever.

"It's examining, but not as we know it, Jim"

Speaking Examiners at arm's length
Cooperating SEs
A couple of months ago, we were able to run a Cambridge Speaking Examiner certification session in Chikusa, Aichi, with participants very aware of the need to be safe - wearing masks throughout, being socially distanced and not sharing materials, as well as sanitising hands etc.

With recent spikes in Nagoya and Tokyo, we've unfortunately had to cancel a couple of these workshops - sensible, if inconvenient, and reassuring to all that safety is at the top of our considerations.

We are hoping that we'll be able to provide all our examiners with the professional support they'll need to safely deliver speaking tests in the next couple of months, as we try our best to run the exam sessions we are commited to. 

For JP004/Luna's YLE open sessions in Tokyo, Nagoya & Matsumoto >> 

For JP004/Luna's A2:Key & B1:Preliminary sessions in Nagano >> 

For JP004/Luna's B2:First sessions in Tokyo & Nagoya >>


Thursday, 27 August 2020

A fictional newspaper report - after reading "Hijack"

OUP graded reader "Skyjack"
- A large plane was hijacked. The hijacker asked the government to bring their brothers and being free instead of the passengers’ safety. They called themselves the People’s Liberation Army.

- The Prime Minister tried to make time for catching them, although she knew that her husband was in the plane.

- I believe there are many types of affection in this story. One is the hijacker’s. They just wanted to help their comrade. Their way of helping them was just wrong, hijacking and bringing guns. The Prime Minister’s husband was looking forward to meeting her. It is essential truth of affection. The Prime Minister could not figure out at first, whether she protected her husband’s life as a wife or if she put priority on the government issue. This is also an expression of love.

- One of hijackers, a 12 year old girl, shot the passenger who tried to run away for her comrade’s freedom. I guess she just felt hatred toward that passenger because her affection would be brokered by him.

- We have affection towards family, friends and everybody. At same time, we have hatred for keeping our own affection. This hijack story exhibits that hatred gives birth to violence and a sad ending. In addition, I would say that affection lies side-by-side with hatred.

- If they, the PLA , had been given a good education, they could have decided to correct their way of life. I hope that by changing society, that all kids have the opportunity of going to school to make correct choices for a happy future and long life.

Posted for Yumi, a Zoom learner with Luna for B2:First prep

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Sayuri's memorable train journey

Join the queue!
When we arrived at the Paris Nord station, we were physically tired after sleeplessly exploring Paris but full in spirits for our first Eurostar. There was a long queuing for the check in but we arrived 2 hours before just in case, so we didn't care for it.

Suddenly there was an announcement that all the operations would stop as the station got a suspicious message from anonymou. They asked to cancel the journeys if it's possible. Some people made a quick decision and left the queues immediately but most of the tourists stayed there still as if they hadn't heard any news, so we kept in line anyway.

We didn't have so much information from the station but no one complained. If it were in Japan, everyone would ask many questions and most of all, the railway would explain in detail from time to time.

As time went by, people here still seemed to care nothing and some people even started singing and dancing. Two girls came up to the head of the lines and showed the cardboard 'Smile!' with their huge smile. Those would never happen in Japan. Thinking about Covid19, those responses were significant of the attitude towers the situation, I reckon.

Several hours had passed, queues started moving at last. First British passports, then EU, Westerners, finally Asian and others. There was no explanation for delaying and immigrants were not friendly of course, but we were just happy and relieved.
Meals on Wheels

They gave us a train swap boarding pass for any seats. Fortunately we could sit on the same seat as we had booked, a table for two. The Eurostar moved quietly and soon an unexpected make-up dinner was served! 

 After over 6 hours queuing, we were thirsty and starving, so those were more than welcomed. Rather good meal and wine for my husband, we had a nice cup of tea and enjoyed French countryside scenery without any mountains. 

The train hour was rather short, but it was a long and unforgettable train journey.

Posted for Sayuri

Thursday, 20 August 2020

New York, New York; so good, I went there four times!

The Statue of Liberty
New York City is my favorite metropolis in the world. I have been there 4 times. The first time was more than 30 years ago. I still remember my feelings I was so excited and happy when I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge for reaching the Manhattan. I explored in Manhattan by myself. I was overwhelmed by skyscrapers, many different kinds of people, lively atmosphere of exciting city. Especially I liked So-Ho district.

At third time, I had a great opportunity to go to the United Nations when my husband Takeshi joined the United Nations
exhibition “The Spirit of The East “ in December 2006 as a curator. At the opening ceremony,

Kofi Atta Annan who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his beautiful wife appeared. (I had been admiring him since 2003, when the Iraq war happened, so I was so excited. He looked gentle and intelligent. His wife was really elegant, like an actress.)
Takeshi at the United Nations

Later Takeshi and I were invited to the dinner at the official residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations. The pick up car was a special stretch limousine! I who immersed myself in the seat liked a heroine in a movie! The cityscape, I watched from the back seat of the gorgeous car was shining and fabulous! It was a perfect dream!!

The last time I visited the wonderful city was last autumn, 10 months ago. When I reached the city, I felt just same feelings as my first visit. Always this fantastic city makes my heart flutters. I visited artists, some of the greatest art museums, and historical jazz clubs. Also I enjoyed great romantic views of New York City from the top of the skyscraper and the crushing river. I don’t know such a beautiful city view like this. I wanted to stay there forever.

Your author in NYC
Posted for Teruki

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Masato's road ahead

A road less travelled - Nikko, Japan
I have many things that I want to do in the future, so I'm going to talk a little about it.

First, I want to create some songs and hold a concert in a year. I'm practicing singing and writing lyrics hard now.

Second, I will travel around the world by myself. In particular, I'll go abroad with a backpack by age 25. I'd like to discover new horizons.

Third, I am going to start a business with my friend after graduate university. I'll sell & buy many things between countries.

Last, I want to make a happy family in the future. I think I need to be more cooler and smarter to make it.

Posted for Masato

Friday, 7 August 2020

“The father of electricity” Nikola Tesla

 Nikola Tesla (1856.07.10-1943.01.07) is an electrical engineer and an inventor from now parts of Croatia.
I think that Tesla’s best achievement was inventing the transmission system utilizing AC. Electricity is something that we cannot live without. It is no exaggeration to say that we can live a comfortable life thanks to his idea and invention.
Tesla emigrated to America in 1884, and he was employed by the institute of Thomas Alva Edison. But, they had opposite opinions about transmission systems and lost his job. In 1887, Tesla organized his company. There was keen competition between Tesla and Edison. Finally, Tesla won, and the transmission system utilizing AC has been become the mainstream of the whole world. Today, the competition between Tesla and Edison is called “War of Currents”.
It is said that Tesla lived in obscurity in his later years. When he was dead in 1943, he was almost flat broke. I think that his inventions and ideas form the basis of many technological innovations of 20th century. Therefore, I feel that his end is really lonely.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

I can virtually dance - Bon Bon with Luna 2020-style!

Massively disappointed our dance cards are BLANK tonight...except they aren't, because we did our homework a couple of weeks ago :)

Please give our highlights video on Youtube  lots of love & likes as well!
Loads more pics on our:



Thursday, 30 July 2020

A postcard from...The Selfish Giant

Dear Cornish Giant,

The spring's here at last. The Hail stopped and the North Wind is quiet. There is a wonderful perfume. The trees are happy because the children are back. The birds are singing happily in the sky. The flowers are coming out of the ground and the children are laughing.

Let's play in my garden!

Mr. Selfish Giant


By Miyu & Aoi

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Japan needs help from immigrants

The Japan Immigration law was revised in 2019 and we are at a turning point regarding this issue now. By revising the law, it was accepted for immigrants to work longer in Japan. 

The fact behind this is that the population of Japanese is decreasing. However, Japan requires to increase production resources and we need help from the immigration. I think that this will accelerate diversity and globalization for Japan and their man power has been already necessary.

On the other hand, this may make a problem. In Canada, there are a lot of immigrants. Canadian have fear of losing job to grate immigrants. Although it may be difficult to get good job, young Canadian does not want to work with low salary. This made young Canadian frustration. Therefore, Canadian government has tightened the regulation not to accept many immigrants.

I hope that acceptance of immigration leads to good result in the future for Japan.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Cambridge speaking tests in Japan - an insight into staying safe

JP026 training Tokyo
JP026's solution to the Covid-19 risks has been to deploy these screens between speaking examiners (SEs) & candidates both, as well as SEs wearing masks & being 2m away from candidates. Each candidate has their own copy of materials, delivered by the interlocutor.

JP029 training Tokyo





JP029's solution to the Covid-19 situation has been to really keep distanced, again wear masks, and give candidates laminated materials which are disinfected after each use.




JP004's response to Covid-19 concerns has been clear screens, clear face masks as well as 2m distancing, separate materials for each candidate beneath clear mats, & disinfectance of these after each pair of candidates.

JP004 in Gunma














I think you will agree, Cambridge English Assessment Centres in Japan are taking the delivery & assessment of speaking tests in this country very seriously, and managing to do so very crediditably & safely.

Caveat - if you do not feel safe, please do not travel/sit your exam. Another exam will be available to you eventually, wherever you are. Your safety is our primary concern. Stay Safe.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

An interview with Jonathan Swift

If I were able to talk to ghosts and ask them questions, I would like to see Jonathan Swift.


Sayuri: Hello, Mr Swift. May I ask you some questions?

J.S: Yes, of course! I've been waiting for this moment for a long time.

S: Thank you! So how did you have those unique ideas for Gulliver's travels?


J.S: I saw many politicians and religious leaders. They were all eccentric really. They were good models of the stories.

S: Right, and are you a Small-Endian or a Big-Endian?
J.S: Well, I am a Big-Endian and a High-Heels, actually. It is practical to break the larger end of an egg. It's easier to eat from a big hole! And High-Heels are more fashionable, don't you think, girls?
S: Well, it's been a big campaign not to wear high-heels nowadays…
J.S: Is that so!

S: Yes… Well, tell me the truth, Mr Swift, can you neigh?

J.S: Ha ha, yes, of course! I can talk to horses, yes!

S: Wow! I thought so! Wonderful! Thank you so much for your time. Your books are very popular here in Japan. Everybody knows Gulliver.
J.S: It's my pleasure to talk to you. Keep reading!

Thursday, 23 July 2020

What do you need - YLE chefs' recipes


A follow up exercise, to a follow up game, to a textbook activity!

Difficult to conceptualise countable/uncountable items in a classroom without going to the office fridge on a raid...and most young learners, certainly here in Japan, do not linger very long in their kitchens & can barely cook instant noodles.

Orchard Toys' Crazy Chefs works to fill that concept gap very nicely, as players take turns to fill their recipe...asking "What do you need?" or "What do you want?" and replying with "I need/want a..." or "I need some ...." if they've turned over a card on their list. Wrong card = "I don't need a ...." or "I don't need any ....."

Now I know this seems obvious, but how often can you get an activity to occupy & excite five players at once and keep the language learning drilling away? We even managed to include a player Zooming in to the class :)

Support for this writing task with unfamiliar vocabulary (spelling - we asked each other during the game) on Quizlet = autonomous work possible and another game on the end of that (Match).