Tuesday, 26 January 2021

My favorite artist - Alfons Maria Mucha

 I like Alfons Maria Mucha’s painting. Mucha was a painter representing “Art Nouveau” from Czech Republic. Art Nouveau means "new art" and it was the international art movement in Europe from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The style is a luxurious and decorative design.

Mucha was decorative artist, most well-known for his images of women. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements and designs. His works frequently featured beautiful young women surrounded by lush flowers with pastel colors.

I think above style gives mystical images to his works.

When I was a junior high school, I saw his painting first time. At that time, I obsessed with “Final Fantasy” which was a video game kind of role-playing game. This game was a fictional story and characters use magic, summon beasts, so I thought that the world view of the game was similar with Mucha’s painting. I look his picture sometime after that and I feel drawn to it.

His works remains popular today. The women who draw by him still fascinates people.


Monday, 25 January 2021

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Takeshi's Blog Profile

 About me

I'm Takeshi Tachikawa and live in Tokyo. My age is 37.

Likes and Dislikes

I like to spend time with my family. I dislike arguing with everybody.

Hobbies and Interests

One of my hobbies is playing smartphone's games. I play the game for 3 or 4 hours a day. However, I think I should get interesting in outside activities.

My New Year's Resolution

I think I should use time effectively. it's why I spend 3 or 4 hours a day to play the game. So I decided the two resolutions, which were reading books and listenning to English programs on the radio. I want to replace two hours from playing the game to that.

Posted for Takeshi

Kanako's Blog Profile

About me

My name is Kanako. I was born and raised in Chiba prefecture. I have a 4-years-old son and a 6-years-old daughter.

Likes and Dislikes

I like listening to music and taking a walk and doing yoga. I hate cold places and noisy it.

Hobbies and interests

I've played the flute since I was ten years old. I'm interested in cooking and making cakes.

My New Year's Resolution

I make opportunity to perform the flute. At a first step, I played the flute last month at Christmas party of children's center. It was performance after long time. I'm planning the recital for close person with a pianist of my friend.

Posted for Kanako

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Yuming's New Year appearance & TV special - super fan's review!

 Every New Year's Eve, NHK has a special music concert, with many Japanese artists performing on stage.  

The 2020 concert involved Yumi Matsutoya (‘Yuming’), who sang two of her original songs; 'Mamotteagetai', a famous hit, and her latest release 'Kiminotameni Superman', which was featured as the theme song for a non-NHK TV program called 'Small Three' (the three small comedians).  The Superman song was a big surprise which even the MC didn't know about.  I believe all Yuming fans, as well as all the audience, must have enjoyed the unexpected staging enormously.

Shimkai no Machi - Yuming's new album
As for the Yuming TV  special on 15 January, we were shown the process of making the Superman song, which included the first opportunity to see inside of Yuming's home.  She has a brilliant high quality recording studio, which under this Covid19 situation meant she could record her new original album by herself.  It was also the first time for us to observe how to create a new song, which really amazed me.  Yuming's husband, who has produced and arranged her work, had quite a power and always provided accurate advice.  On the other hand, Yuming was very humble and rather quiet, but claimed her opinion in a gentle way.  She even cared for the nervous three comedians and helped them relax.  

Yuming was supposed to hold her annual concert in Naeba ski resort in February, but it has been postponed.  I was going to go there with my famous new iPhone, so it is very very disappointing but Yuming said her new year resolution was 'Never give up!', I believe that we can go to her fabulous annual concert, and her new album tour, someday soon.

Posted for Sayuri

Sunday, 17 January 2021

The big father of the nation


Nelson Mandela was a social rights activist, politician and philanthropist who became South Africa’s first Black president from 1994 to 1999, after spending 27 years in prison for political offenses. Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in the tiny village of Mvezo, in Transkei, South Africa. His father was a local chief and councilor to tribal chiefs. Mandela's African name "Rolihlahla" means "troublemaker." He studied at Wesleyan College, University of London, Clarkebury Boarding Institute, University College of Fort Hare, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

At the start of his career, he believed in only peaceful and non-violent protests. In 1942 Mandela became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress. In 1961 he led a three-day national workers strike. For this, he was arrested. He was accused of treason against the government and put in prison. He was released 27 years later, in February 1990. 

 For 18 of his 27 years in prison he was on Robben Island, which is now a very famous tourist attraction. He lived in a small cell with no bed and no plumbing. He had to work very hard breaking limestone all day. While in prison he caught tuberculosis, but he received the worst kind of treatment and medication, being a black prisoner. In prison he continued his political work, corresponding with a worldwide audience. During this time, a global movement to have him released grew. There were demonstrations and protests in many different countries and the international community became more aware of the South African government’s apartheid laws.

In 1990, the new, non-racist South African president, Frederick de Klerk, ordered Mandela’s release. Mandela was at last a free man. The symbol of opposition to the repressive South African regime was welcomed by throngs of supporters - over half a million people, in Cape Town.

In 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk, won the Noble Peace Prize. Eventually, in 1994, South Africa held its first fully democratic election which was the first-time people of all races could vote. It was also the first time Mandela had ever voted in his life. Mandela became the first black president in the country on May 10th, 1994 at the age of 77. He tried to reconcile a united South Africa. In 1996 he signed a law which guaranteed and protected the civil rights as well as protecting the freedom of speech for all minority ethnic groups, and all races. He helped South Africa become more democratic, helping to give citizens a voice.

After he had retired, he raised money through his foundation to build schools and hospitals across the country. The foundation also tried to fight poverty and HIV. Additionally, he founded an organization called “The Elders “, which was a group of world leaders who worked publicly in trying to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

 Mandela died on December 5, 2013 at the age 95 in Johannesburg. In South Africa. He is revered by people today as the “father of the nation”.


We like our veggies - meet the munchies!

 Created with Chatterkids on iPhone, in no time at all!

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Spooky places in Japan


After reading Wonders of the World (OUP Read & Discover graded reader), this high schooler wanted to share a couple of lesser-known places (to avoid?!) in Japan. 

Friday, 15 January 2021

Super fan Sayuri - biography of her pop idol

Yumi Matsutoya, “Yuming”, is a top Japanese singer-songwriter, who has brought a new sensitivity to the Japanese pop music scene.  She was born in Hachioji on 19 January 1954, the daughter of a draper, and she has a lengthy backstory.  

As student at Tama Art University, she released her first single "Henjiha Iranai" on 5 July 1972, and her first album "Hikokigumo" in November that year, working with many famous musicians who considered her to be a brilliant artist. 

Yumi Matsutoya
On 29 November 1976 Yuming married Masataka Matsutoya, a member of a popular band who had produced and arranged her work.  Since " Delight Slight Light Kiss" in 1989, she made eight consecutive million-selling albums, and became the first female artist to sell over thirty million CDs.  

Yuming’s tour concerts are always very distinctive, creative and outstanding so it is always very difficult to get tickets.  She has appeared on a real elephant, performed with a Russian circus and sung with synchronized swimmers in a swimming pool on stage, as if in a miraculous dream.  She has also held an annual concert at Naeba ski resort since 1981; 2021 will be the forty-first edition.

'Shinkainomachi' , released on 1 December 2020, is her thirty-ninth album, featuring the notable songs '1920' (about the year of Antwerp Olympics, after the first world war and the Spanish flu epidemic) and 'Notre Dame' (related to the tragedy of the unforgettable blaze in Paris).  Even though they are serious and deep themes, her lyrics are simple and philosophical, but weaving artistry and pop as well.  Her music will be listened to for another hundred years.

Posted for Sayuri - who bought an iPhone just so she could get a digital ticket to join a TV Special tonight (15/1/2021)!

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Biography of Vasco da Gama

I’m going to introduce Vasco da Gama, the voyager and explorer.

He was born in Alentejo, Portugal in 1469. His father was an official and his mother was from a famous family of British Columbia originally. There is no certain record of how or where he learned sailing as most of his records were lost by earthquake and tsunami.

It was the Age of Exploration that Christopher Columbus lived. The voyage by Columbus was the challenge to the unknown territory. On the other hand, the voyage by Vasco da Gama was carefully planned.

His group of ships left Portugal in 1497. Although it was usual to voyage along the land before, he went south through the Atlantic Ocean. It was bold voyage at that time. After three months, he arrived southern shore of Africa and went to India. He is the first person who found ocean route to India.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Recycling a song - and avoiding having to sing?!

What do you do with a young learners song, after they've sung it once?

Milk it to death!

An idea sprang to mind - Adobe Spark Video - as a way to recap/replay/rework one of the songs from our Young Learners' text book (Everybody Up Starter from OUP). Chicken, fish, rice & beans works very nicely as a back and forth (question and response), and it's easy to switch parts half way through. So we did. I like this exercise as it gets the students to read the words - a catchy tune helps them bounce it along with proper intonation as well.

The #Edtech a bit too much for my little learners to manage alone, but they were very quickly directing me what to do - how to spell things, which icons or images they wanted, and counting each other in to record their panels, and putting panels in the correct order. Then they decided when they'd recorded their voices to their own satisfaction (after practice goes) and completed with big smiles.

Adobe Spark Video is great for this kind of 'challenge', as the sections are ideally short, and you can re-record until you are happy to move on. Looks great, seamless transitions, and piece of cake to do on your iPhone or iPad.

Your welcome!

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Let the kids think!

Getting started - sorting
Sounds a bit obvious I know, but this was one the quietest lessons I've been involved with for a while!

Silly Sentences is just what it says it is, a silly little game...except it isn't! Learners quickly realise that the words will only fit together in a certain order - due to the jigsawing - so a good opening strategy = sort the words into groups. Colour coding & shape helps, then realising what 'kind' of words they all are eg 'doing words (ie verbs) or little words (articles) etc...

Then with a sentence or two we can see there's a definite pattern with word order - and some verbs need an extra word (a preposition) after them to indicate direction of movement. We've got all these describing words left over (adjectives) so where can we put them? In front of nouns, maybe?! So, a load of subliminal grammar going in (no need to explain, just guide towards some observations!). 

Satisfied student!
Another realisation was that beds or hats, and other inanimate objects don't usually 'do' things eg jump or eat - but animals/people can. I know this makes the sentences less 'silly', but a reasonable teaching point!

So, first class back after the New Year break - and with best buddy missing for the class, a change of style with no books today...but a whole heap of learning without too much "grammar" clanging around :)

What I'm struggling with is finding ways to adapt this kind of very hands on activity to a) trying to prevent any hands on/sharing of frequently touch surfaces b) deliver online...

Any ideas out there?!

Friday, 8 January 2021

Life of wild animals and the role of Zoos

I think that the zoos are especially importance for children to see/know animals and to learn how important it is to treat the animals gently because animals and humans cannot communicate easily. From my experience which had two dogs before, I think that if we have chances to see/know lots of animals, the ability to think how someone feel or to care a lot about someone is improved. However, it is not necessary to keep wild animals in zoos. It is ideal to keep the animals injured or neglected by their parents in the zoos in semi-natural enclosure, but we will not be able to see and enjoy a wide variety of animal in zoos and to let them have a friend/partner to spend/play together. Unfortunately, I have no solution to keep current wide of variety of animals in zoos and not to take wild animals, but hope that zoos are improved to have wide semi-natural enclosure for their animals so that the animals live happily without stress in wide semi-natural enclosure and the family will grow.