Tragedy in Hawaii

Hawaii

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.


~~~これ知ってた?~~~


★tragedy: 「悲劇、惨事」などを意味するこの単語。楽しいはずのハワイでどんな悲劇が!?comedy「喜劇」の反語として覚えておくと良いですね!

★chill:  名詞で使うと「冷え、寒気、冷たさ」などを表します。動詞でも「冷やす」などの意味で使いますが、口語ではこのように、「リラックスする」と意味で良く使われます。chill outは「のんびりする」、また、ちょっと感情が高ぶっている人に”Chill out!”「落ち着いて!」と声をかける時にも使います。覚えておきましょう!

★swell: 「ふくれる、はれあがる、増大する」などの意味を持つこの語。ここでは歩くのも大変なくらい足が腫れ上がってしまったのですね!いたいっ>_<

★going forward: 「進み続ける」という意味と「今後」という意味を持っています。これからもビーチでのんびりすることはやめないとのこと。でも今後はその時に“必ず”日焼け止めをぬる!そうです^^

New staff at Wordwise

A Pic Fpr Tomokos Blog

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.

I look forward to meeting you all!

Tomoko

~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★industries : 「産業」や「工業」などを意味し、music industry「音楽業界」などのように「~業界」と使うこともあります。これまでにいろいろな業界で翻訳のキャリアを積んできたのですね!

★crusty:「皮の部分が硬くて厚い」意味を持つこの単語をfrench breadにつけると、外がパリパリでしっかりしたおいしそうなフランスパンが思い浮かびます!パンやスープ、いろいろなものを作ることが好きなのですね!食べてみたい!

Advent Calendar

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!

~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★advent:「出現、到来、キリスト降臨(こうりん)」を意味するこの単語。文中にあるように、advent calendarは12月1日からクリスマスまでカウントダウンをしていくカレンダーで、最近ではその日の部分の扉をあけるとキャンディーやおもちゃなどが入っているものや、オンラインでゲームやパズルなどが楽しめるものなど色々楽しいものがいっぱいあります!

★Nana : 「おばあちゃん」を呼ぶ時に子供が使います。ちなみに「おじいちゃん」を呼ぶ時はPoppyと言っています。 彼のいとこは、もう片方のおじいちゃん、おばあちゃんをGrandma Grandpaと呼んでいたりして、日本語で言うお母さんとママ、おばあちゃんとばーばの違いのようなものなのでしょうね。

★activate:「作動させる」という意味で、ここでは一番初めにIDやCodeを入力してそれを使えるようにすることです。Activateしたことで、オンラインのカレンダーが使えるようになり、ゲームやパズルができるようになったのですね!

★overloaded:「積みすぎた」という状態を表します。以前飾っていたクリスマスツリーが小さく、オーナメントでいっぱいの状態だったのですね!

My best teacher!

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!


~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★reunion: 高校を卒業した今でも、この「クラス会、同窓会」は少なくとも一年に一回はするのですね!「結合」や「合体」を表すunionに「再び、さらに、新たに、・・・し直す」などの意味を表す接頭辞のre-がついたこのreunion、このようにre-がついた語は多くあります。チェックしてみて下さいね!

★to catch up: 主に「追いつく」の意味でつかわれるこのcatch up。このように使われるときは「近況(会っていなかった期間の今まで)について話す」という意味です。カジュアルな表現で、友達に「会おう!」「会って話そう!」と言いたい時”Let’s catch up!”と使ったりします。

★properly: 「適切に、きちんと、礼儀正しく」などを意味します。英語の上達のためには日本語でも何かを説明する時に適切に伝えられる能力が重要なのですね!

★last: 「最後の、この前の」という意味の形容詞ではおなじみですが、このように動詞で使うと「続く」という意味になります。先生との友情が永遠に続きますように!と願っているのですね!

Interview

今このブログを読んでいる方は、きっとこれまでに語学学校に通ったり、色々な本を買ったりなど、たくさんの努力をしながら英語を勉強している、もしくは、勉強したことのある方たちでしょう。

そこで、語学を勉強することの楽しさと、苦しさを理解している、ワードワイズのスタッフと講師に外国語の勉強についてのインタビューを行いました!
今回は….Maiのインタビューです!

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!

~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★rarely: この単語は 「めったに~ない」という意味で、否定の意味を含んでいます。Maiは、アメリカのドラマや外国の映画は観ても、本はめったに読まないのですね!このように一つの単語で否定の意味を含むものは他にもあります。hardly, seldom, scarcelyなどもチェックしてみて下さいね!

★besides:  このように前置詞で使うと「~のほかに、~に加えて」という意味になります。否定文や疑問文で「~を除いて」というような意味になることもあります。そして副詞として「そのうえ、おまけに」などの意味でも使えます。使いこなせるようになるとライティングスキルのレベルアップに貢献してくれますよ!

★fantasize:  頭の中でいろいろなことを空想したり、妄想することを表します。会話を想像しながら、自分で言いたいことを言うためにはどんな単語が必要かなどを考え、ネイティブの人ならこんな風に言うかな?などイメージトレーニングすることは会話力をぐんぐん伸ばしてくれます!

★subtitles:  映画などで画面に出る字幕のことです。字幕なしでフランス映画が見られたらとてもステキですね^^ 

Language through young eyes

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!

Aya

~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★mannerism: この単語には、物事のやり方が決まり切っていることを表す「マンネリ」という意味に加え、「(話し方・身ぶり・動作などの)独特の癖、さま」という意味があります。4歳の子が自分のお父さんの話し方や身振り、顔の表情からイントネーション、使う言葉まで真似するのですね(^v^)

★attitude:  「態度、心構え、気持ち、姿勢、身構え」などの意味のあるこの語は、ここでは強調するために斜体になっています。ここでもお父さんになりきって真剣な様子で‘Just gotta do some stuff’と言ったのですね!

★immune: 「免疫の、免疫(性)があって、」という意味を持つこの語は、ここにあるように「 (…を)受けるおそれがなくて、(…に)感じないで、動じないで、影響を受けないで」という意味でも使います。 

★uncertainty: 「確実、確信、確実なもの」を表すcertaintyの反意語で「不確実性、不安、不確実なこと」を表す名詞です。-tyをとった形容詞certain「(…を)確信して、確実な」、uncertain「確信が持てなくて、不安定な、不確かな」も合わせて覚えられると良いですね!子供は不確実なことに動じることなく言語を次々と吸収していくのですね!子供のころのように冒険心を持って言語習得を楽しめたらいいですね!

Nice to meet you!

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^^

Mai

~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★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。

★mostly:「主に、大部分は、たいていは」という意味で、ここではたいてい温泉に行くために北海道をドライブするということですね!同義語のmainlyも一緒に覚えておきましょう!

★hesitate: 「ためらう、躊躇する」という意味です。上記に挙げたfeel free to と同様「遠慮しないで!ためらわないで!」と言いたいときに「Don’t hesitate to ~」の形を使って表現します。ここでは 「遠慮せず、何でも聞いて下さいね!」という意味になりますね。

Interview

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!


I hope this help you with your study!

Etsuko

CAN Japanese people speak English?

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!

Aya

~~~これ知ってた?~~~
★Perspective
この単語には色々な意味がありますが、ここでは「視点、観点」という意味で読み取れます。 英語を話せるということはどういうことなのか、この経験で今までとは観点が変わったようです(^v^)

★Being excited
分詞構文の付帯状況の用法です。 「わくわくしながら、笑って会話を始めた。」というように、「~しながら」と訳します。主節の動作を補足します。 この他にも分詞構文には様々な種類がありますので、是非チェックしてみてくださいね!

★Determination
「決意、意志の強さ」。 動詞形はDetermine。 名詞形も動詞形も合わせて覚えましょう!

★Half-hearted
「気乗りしない、中途半端な、生半可な」という意味の形容詞で使われています。 このタクシーの運転手さんに出会ったことで、自分の生半可であった英語に対する思いを見つめ直すことができたようです!

Baking

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.


~~~これ知ってた?~~~
★Baking
「Bake」は焼くということですが、ここではお菓子作りの意味です。ここで紹介しているレシピは、アメリカの計量カップを使用しています。日本とアメリカ、イギリスにオーストラリア。どの国も若干計量カップの大きさが国々で違います!また、オーブンの温度の表現にも摂氏と華氏で違いありますね。外国のレシピを使う時はぜひ注意してみてください!

★Fold
「折る」という意味ですが、お料理のときにも使える単語です。「(へら等で)混ぜ合わせる」という意味があります。ぐるぐるかき混ぜるというよりは、包み込むように混ぜるといったニュアンスです。

★From Scratch

「最初から、はじめから」という意味。例えば、ホットケーキを焼く時、ホットケーキミックスを使わずに作った場合、”I made some pancakes from scratch!”と言えます\(^o^)/