As I always say, I like beaches and being in the sun very much, and I really enjoyed my vacation in Hawaii last month. However, today, I would like to write about a little painful memory of it with the hope that this terrible event will never happen to any of you this summer.
When I go to the beach, I usually don’t put on any sunscreen or oils, especially for these past few years, and I have never had any problem with it or even thought that anything might happen to me. So, this time also, I didn’t take anything with me but a small towel to protect my face. Yes, I do not like getting a suntan on my face.
In my opinion, ★chilling at the beach is the best way to spend time in summer, so it was not easy to pick up on the fact that I was not sun tanning but sun burning myself badly for the whole time I was there. Can you imagine that you can’t even walk from too much ★swelling? My legs were extremely hot, turned blood-red and I could hardly bend them.
This could be the worst travel experience of my life, but I’m already healed physically or, should I say, mentally, so I decided to write this blog to tell you all about the risk and hopefully I can put this event behind me.
P.S. I won’t give up going to the beach but I will make sure to put sunscreen on★going forward.
Hello! My name is Tomoko, and I am a new staff member at Wordwise.
Born in a small town in Tokachi and raised in Sapporo, I am a third-generation “Hokkaido-ite”. Since graduating from college, I have worked in the communication field in various ★industries; managing technical translation projects, creating bilingual advertisements, and localizing websites for non-Japanese clients in and out of Japan and so on. Whatever the client's product or service is, my job was to get the client's message across to the end users or consumers. Here at Wordwise, I will work for all the students and clients to help meet your language needs.
When I am not at the office, I am usually thinking about creating various sorts of things. From making soap or hand cream using vegetable oil to baking ★crusty French bread, I love making things and sharing my creations with family and friends. Recently, I have been making soup every day and I bring it to work in a thermos food jar. Let me know if you’ve got a good soup recipe.
My four-year-old son just received an ★advent calendar as a gift from his ★Nana’s friend. An advent calendar is a Christmas tradition that basically counts down the days until Christmas Day. These days, you can see a variety of advent calendars at sweets shops here in Japan, too. It’s very exciting for kids to open a little door and get a treat or candy every day until Christmas Day. This year’s advent calendar is a bit different – it’s an online calendar that presents him with a new game, puzzle, or an animated story every day! We have already ★activated it and can enjoy some activities, including puzzles and decorating trees.
Like most Japanese people, I look forward to New Year’s holiday, during which families get together, eat a lot and (for some) drink too much! So when I explain Japanese Oshogatsu to people from other countries, I often use the Christmas celebration as an example. I remember that my mother-in-law once said “Oh, it’s 6 months to Christmas!” in June and I thought it was interesting. I think it would be really fun to have a similar thing to this advent calendar for Japanese kids to countdown to their Oshogatsu.
My family moved into our new home this year that is more spacious than our old apartment, so we decided to buy a bigger Christmas tree. We decorated it yesterday with lovely ornaments and shiny tinsel. Each year, we buy one special ornament to add to our collection. Our previous little tree was starting to get ★overloaded, but from this year, we have started to add them to the new tree. I think it looks great! I find all these days before Christmas really fun and exciting! How about you?
I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
My class teacher from high school was an English teacher and we all loved him very much both then and now because he always tried harder than other teachers to understand us (He loved us too, although he never said that kind of thing because he didn’t want other students to feel bad. Still, we all knew that we were his favorites. We could feel it. lol).
Even though we graduated years ago, our class has a ★reunion at least once a year -- not only some groups of students but “everyone” is invited, including the teacher, every time or we often call him ★to catch up when a few students get together.
This summer another student and I had a chance to see him. We talked a lot about what we had been doing and recalled tons of things from our school days. It is always heartwarming to have such a reunion.
At that time, I remembered one thing that he told me when I was a student learning English from him; “What you can’t explain exactly in Japanese, you won’t be able to say in English, so please remember to speak Japanese with accuracy all the time.”
I was not convinced about that at school, but now I believe he was quite right and how important it was.
This situation reminds me to talk ★properly and consciously so that I can be better at English too, hopefully.
By the way, I am pleased to still be friends with my teacher and hope this friendship will ★last forever and ever!
Q1: What languages have you studied before? A: I have studied English and Korean.
Q2: Have you ever been to a language school? A: Yes, I have been to English language schools in America and Australia.
Q3: Do you often read foreign books or watch foreign language movies? A: Yes, I watch American dramas and foreign movies a lot but I rarely★ read books.
Q4: Have you ever taken a foreign or second language exam? A: Yes, I have taken Eiken, TOEIC and TOEFL when I was a student.
Q5: Do you have any tips for studying languages? Also can you recommend any books or movies for study? A: What I used to do when I went abroad was imagine every kind of situation in English and find out what vocabulary is needed to describe what you want to say. Additionally, you have to copy somebody who speaks English fluently. I was doing this while taking the bus or before going to bed, and then you will even dream about it in English. I think this is a pretty good idea for extra study besides★ classes, because you don’t need money, a specific place, teacher or anything. What you have to do is just fantasize★.
Q6: What language would you like to study next if you have a chance? A: If I have a chance, I would like to study French so that I can watch French movies without subtitles★ or go to Paris and pretend I am a Parisienne.
Q7: Do you have any advice for English learners? A: I would like to say “Love it!” because the more you enjoy learning, the faster you can improve your English!
My four-year-old boy has recently started trying to speak like an adult. He tries to copy everything from mannerism★ to facial expressions, intonation to vocabulary. It’s very entertaining and makes us all laugh out loud. This morning at the breakfast table, perfectly copying how his daddy speaks, he said, “I’m coming home early today. Then I’m going to Odori.” When his dad inquired, “Why are you going there?” He answered with some serious attitude★, “Just gotta do some stuff.”
Strangely, this reminded me of how I improved my pronunciation and accent. One day, after a long chat with my English roommate, I noticed that I had started to sound like her. After that, I tried to pretend I was her talking on the phone at work, and it worked really well!! Obviously, children are more flexible and more open to new words and other aspects of language. They are immune★ to uncertainty★ and adventurous in trying anything we adults do and say. I believe this is the most effective attitude to have when it comes to language learning. As adults, we tend to panic when we encounter a word we don’t know or miss what someone has said. Instead of doing this, maybe it is better to continue following the conversation and trying to guess the meaning as we go – maybe we can pick up again what people are talking about.
When it comes to learning a language, as with many things in life, we can learn a lot from kids!
Hello everyone! My name is Mai. I’m a new staff member here at Wordwise. Nice to meet you all! I will be working full time so please feel free to★ talk to me any time!
Today, I want to share a little about my travel experiences so that you can get to know something about me. I like traveling all over the world and have been to many countries, especially America and Europe. I also enjoy driving around Hokkaido -- mostly★ to visit hot springs, so I would love to talk to you about it some time. My favorite place in the world is Hawaii, because of its beautiful beaches and delicious food. However, there is one more reason why I love Hawaii so much -- I went to high school there when I was sixteen, living abroad for the first time by myself. It was only a year, but I had lots of fun with new friends from many countries and, of course, I learned English!
I wish to know more about all students here at Wordwise and I hope to help you all as much as possible, so don’t hesitate★ to ask me any questions. I will be waiting for you at the counter. Thank you^^
★feel free to: 「遠慮なく、遠慮せずに、気軽に」という意味です。ここでは「気軽にいつでも声をかけて下さい！」と言っていますね。
I’d like to introduce our staff and instructors, who know the fun as well as the difficulties associated with studying other languages. This time is…….Aya!
Q1: What languages have you studied before? A : I've studied English.
Q2: Have you ever been to a language school? A : Yes, for about three months at a community center in the US.
Q3: Do you often read foreign books or watch foreign language movies? A: I watch American or English TV dramas and movies all the time.
Q4: Have you ever taken a foreign or second language exam? A : Yes, I've taken TOEFL and TOEIC.
Q5: Do you have any tips for studying languages? Also can you recommend any books or movies for study? A : To think in English - I know it's hard! But using my imagination and pretending I were a fluent English speaker and copying a native speaker's pronunciation that I really liked the sound of were effective techniques for me. I also recommend enjoying English versions of books and movies which you already know the storylines to.
Q6: What language would you like to study next if you have a chance? A : Spanish. I've tried to start studying it once and bought some books, but never actually started...
Q7: Do you have any advice for English learners? A : Enjoy learning!
Most Japanese people tell English speakers, ‘I can’t speak English.’ or ‘I speak English a little.’ I was one of them before I visited US for the first time when I was young...young enough to change my perspective★ of ‘CAN speak English’.
One weekend, I visited my host mother’s sister in New York (NY) and I took a taxi in Manhattan. I was taking ESL classes in Cambridge and thought it was one of precious chances to try some of phrases I had learned. I said hi and told him where I wanted to go. Then the taxi driver said, “Hi. How are you?” Being excited★, I smiled and tried to start the conversation with, “Great, thank you. It’s a nice day today, isn’t it? Busy day?” But he didn’t say anything and the “Hi. How are you?” were the only words he said until he told me the fare at the end of the ride… I was so disappointed and thought, “Was it because of my pronunciation? Or wasn’t he in the mood to talk to his customers? Or what?” When I told this to my host mom’s sister, she said, “That’s rude!” But when I told my host mom, who grew up in Manhattan, she said, “That’s probably only because he’s new and doesn’t know much English. There are many taxi drivers who come to NY just to earn money and send it to their family in their home countries.” I was kind of shocked to hear this and did a lot of thinking after that. “People live and work in NY knowing just a few words in English? Wow, that would take a lot of courage and determination★. That’s what survival is!“ Then I felt ashamed of myself for having been lazy and half-hearted★ with using English. This was one experience that changed my mindset towards English from a subject of study to a communication tool. So I strongly believe Japanese people CAN speak English and should have confidence using it!
Do you like baking★? I like baking because I don’t need to think about anything while I am baking. Also the results are usually yummy. Although I’m not always successful, I still feel good when I see good-looking muffins come out of the oven! Today, I will share one of my baking experiences.
I became interested in baking when I started to live on my own. I shared a house with a landlady named Denise and 2 international girls. Everyone was pretty good at cooking, but Denise was particularly good. My favourite moment was watching Denise baking chocolate chip cookies from the Hershey’s chocolate recipe book. I liked how she delicately folded★ the cookie dough with her wooden spatula and made perfectly round shapes with the dough. Needless to say, she inspired me to bake and, since then, I have started to bake a few things and also started to collect good recipes in English so that it helps me learn the language as well.
Of course I’m not successful all the time. One time, my friend made me some pancakes from scratch★ for breakfast. I loved them so much that I tried to make the same thing again at home. However when I tried all I got from the flying pan was a piece of super hard rubber! That was a very funny moment, but I still remember what Denise told me while looking at the rubber pancakes – you need a bit of adventure and invention to be a good baker.
I still fail quite bit but I don’t care so much as I believe that failure leads to success in the end!?
Here’s one of my favourite recipes that I’ve baked for my friend’s birthday. Abby baked us some carrot cakes the other day and it reminded me of this recipe. (And of course her cake was amazing as it always is!) So I baked it again a couple of months ago and it turned out pretty well. Anyway, here’s the recipe.
Hope you enjoy baking!
[Carrot Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting] *Makes 10 cup cakes (I recommend size L paper cups from Daiso!)
-INGREDIENTS- -FROSTING- 2 eggs 1/4 cup Butter, softened 1/2+1/8 cups Vegetable oil 4 ounces Cream cheese, softened 1 cup White sugar 1~2 cups White sugar 1 teaspoon Vanilla (Change the amount as you like) 1 cup All-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla 1 teaspoon Baking soda 1/2 cup Dried cranberries (alternative) 1 teaspoon Baking powder 1/4 teaspoon Salt 1 teaspoon Cinnamon 1 1/2 cups Grated carrots 1/2 cup Chopped pecans (alternative)
*The recipe measured with an American measuring cup.
-INSTRUCTIONS- Pre-heat oven at 180℃ (350 Fahrenheit ). In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into paper cups. Bake about 35~40 minutes.
For frosting, mix all the ingredients except cranberries. Stir in the berries last. Cool the cake completely and then frost.