British and American English

When we hear the word English, we often think of one language but English is spoken by many different people all over the world. The English spoken in Australia is different from that spoken in Canada, just as the English spoken in Ireland is different from that spoken in India.

Two major types of English are British and American. In my travels to both countries, I have come across many differences. For example, if an American friend and a British friend arrange to meet on the first floor they would probably be waiting a long time. In America, “the first floor” is the same floor as here in Japan, but in Britain they call it “the ground floor”. Also, in America, they fill their cars with “gas” at a gas station but in Britain they get “petrol” at a petrol station. In Britain, chips are large slices of fried potato (Fish ‘n’ Chips) whereas in America chips are potato chips. Once I told an American friend that I got my fringe cut and she laughed and asked why? She thought I was talking about my curtains! In America they say bangs. Below is a link to some common differences. How many did you know?



★Come across~: 出くわす、見つける、という意味です。ここではhaveをつけて、[have come across]と過去完了の形をとっています。ここでは、それぞれの国の色んな違いが旅行を通して発見されたのですね^^

★Whereas: ~であるのに対して、~に反してという意味。よく耳にする単語ですが、イマイチ使い方がピンとこない方も多いのでは?「英国でフィッシュ&チップスを意味するのに対して、米国ではポテトチップスのことを指す。」このように対照になる節を用いて使います。

★Fringe: 日本語でもおなじみのフリンジ。英国では前髪のことを言うんですね!ここでは、アメリカ人の友達は「前髪」ではなく、フリンジカーテンを切ったと勘違いしてしまったようです(@[email protected])!!

New staff at Wordwise





My name is Aya Nakanishi. I was a teacher for many years, teaching English and Japanese. I started working part-time at Wordwise this April, and the extra time allows me to focus on raising my young son.

I’ve lived in the U.S, Australia, and England. I have also travelled around Europe, visiting many countries including Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and Turkey. I have  wonderful memories of all these places. Experiencing the cultural differences, enjoying the local dishes, and spending quality time with the local people were special times that I will always cherish. During the time I was abroad, I realized the importance of being able to communicate in a common language, English. I appreciated the freedom and enjoyment that I could get because of English.

I believe all students here at Wordwise have individual reasons for studying, such as for business, travel, or passing a test, and are determined to work hard to achieve their goals. I would like to help and support you in your efforts. Please ask me any questions, and I look forward to assisting you.


Do you have a nickname?







Do you have a nickname?

What were your nicknames when you were little back in elementary school, high school, and after graduating? I feel that there are so many fun nicknames in Japan. Anything could be a nickname, so sometimes some of them don’t mean anything, which I think it’s really funny. But it’s still a very fun way of referring to good friends.

In English speaking countries, as far as I know, some nicknames are abbreviations of names (E.g., Elizabeth is shortened to Beth or Liz, William is Will or Bill, and so on) and people call their husbands and wives “honey” or “sweetie”, etc. I am sure there are more interesting ways of referring to people but I feel their nicknames are a little different from Japanese “Adana”.

I remember having some conversations with my friend about how we make up random nicknames for people in Japan but not in English speaking countries. We ended up coming to the conclusion that in English we use “I”, “You”, “He”, and “She” to refer people but in Japanese this sometimes sounds unfriendly and even a bit rude, depending on the situation. That’s why people in Japan give friends fun nicknames without noticing it. And it could be one of the many ways to show affection for good friends.

By the way, here at Wordwise, the staff members call me “Y” sometimes.
It’s the initial of my first name.




さて、またクリスマスの時期がやってきました。大通公園では、先月からホワイトイルミネーションが始まり、ミュンヘン・クリスマス市も始まりました。皆さんはもう行きましたか?外はとても寒いのですが、私はこの寒さの中、ミュンヘン・クリスマス市でホットワインを飲み、一緒においしい食べ物を食べるのをとても楽しみにしています!もちろん、かわいいクリスマスグッズもいいですが、私はほぼ食べてばかりです。^^ 皆さんのお勧めの食べ物などありましたら、是非教えて下さい!

第13回 ミュンヘン・クリスマス市 in Sapporo
 11月28日(金)~12月24日(水) 11:00~21:00


It’s already December. It feels like each year passes more and more quickly, and this year will be over before you know it again. “Is it December already!?” is my recent catch phrase!
So, it’s Christmas season again. The White Illumination started last month in Odori Park and The German Christmas Market as well. Have you all been there yet?
Although it’s really cold outside, I am really looking forward to having a hot wine and eating nice food there. I like the cute Christmas goods too, but my main focus is usually food. ^^ Please let me know what you recommend!

The German Christmas Market in Sapporo
November 28 (Fri) – December 24 (Wed) 11:00-21:00


Summer Events in Sapporo






Summer has come to Sapporo (I hope)! After spending a too-long winter, finally we have the most fun season.

What would you like to do this summer? Do you have any plans to attend events? The fireworks at Toyohira River are a very famous summer event in Sapporo, as you probably know. But for me, I have only seen the firework at the river side just once in my entire life. I’m more interested in eating rather than seeing pretty things, so I always get excited about going to shrine festivals so that I can eat my favorite “Choco Bananas”!

The most well-known and most fun festival for me is the Sapporo Festival in Nakajima Park and Hokkaido Jingu. When I was a little kid, my parents used to take me to the park and let me scoop up the goldfish (Kingyo-sukui). And of course they got me a Choco Banana every time we went. It is one of those things that every kid probably experienced when they were little. But I still clearly remember those summer festivals with my family. I think it is a quite big event that kids never forget even after they become adults.

Unfortunately the Sapporo Festival will be over by the time this blog is up. But the fireworks at Toyohira River take place on the 25th of July. This summer, I hope I can see the fireworks while eating a lot of delicious Omatsuri food!








We are going to have our 2nd Conversation Group on June 7th (Sat) at WORDWISE.
This time the theme is “Summer.” We all participate in various kinds of events in Summer. What is your favorite one? Let’s talk about your good/bad memories!

A BBQ is one of my favorite summer things. I know that some parks have already opened for BBQs but I haven’t had a chance to have a BBQ yet.
I recommend something very simple and good, maybe English style of lamb with mint sauce!
I usually use mint from my garden and just chop it up and mix it with apple vinegar!
Cook the lamb with just a little salt and pepper and put some mint sauce on it. It’s very simple and easy, so please try it out!

Please tell me your favorite BBQ items!


English is a tool








Recently English seems to be essential everywhere. Every company seeks bilingual staff. I see a lot of ads for jobs with English requirements and ads for English schools on TV and subway trains. These days I see people talking in English in towns. I feel English is spreading across Japanese society finally and becoming a big part of our lives. It is so wonderful that all the people in the world can communicate in a common language!

So, if I hear a lot of English everywhere, it should mean that people are now studying the language and mastering it. So what’s the next step? With English what would you like to do? This has been my question for the last ten years.

To speak English had been a goal in my life throughout my childhood. It felt like I crashed into a huge wall after having to come back to Japan from my language school. Nothing else interested me. But in the last few cold and snowy months, my passion for knitting has come back again. Knitting has been one of my favorite things since I was little, and I’m so eager to be a better knitter. So why not learn it in English?! I’m starting to think that this might help improve my English.

It would be nice to learn more complicated techniques on top of the basics I already have. And if I could do all that in English, I will be learning the techniques meanwhile learning English. Getting English knitting lessons in Sapporo seems pretty impossible (unless I have an English-speaking grandma!), so I think, first of all, I’m going to start off with reading English knitting books and hope I can learn new knitting patterns.

If you are learning a language, it might be better to pursue your hobby in an English language-speaking environment, because it’s sometimes hard to continue unless you can enjoy doing it.

Being able to speak English doesn’t seem to be enough these days. The important thing is what you can do with the language. English is a common tool around the world; however, it’s not just a language, but a tool for use in learning how to do other things.




Q1 : 何語を勉強しましたことがありますか?
A : インドネシア語、日本語

Q2 : 語学学校に通ったことはありますか?
A : あります。

Q3 : 外国語の本や映画はよく読み/みますか?
A : 年に何度か程度。

Q4 : 外国語のテストは受けたことがありますか?
A : ありません。

Q5 : お勧めの勉強方法は?また、勉強にお勧めの本や映画を紹介してください。
A : 語学の勉強を優先にして、勉強する日を決めます。よほど大事な理由がない限り、その勉強時間や復習の時間を、キャンセルしたりスキップしてはいけません。

- 単語と文法の勉強に専念してみてください。これらの要素は、多くの生徒が退屈だと考えられています。;しかし、これらは言語の基本的なことなのです。これらの知識を広めることで自分の言いたいことをよりはっきり、完璧に外国語で表現できるようになるでしょう。

- 学習用読本はどれもいいです。私の妻のお気に入りは「マディソン郡の橋」でした。とても効果的に英語を上達することができたと言っておりました。以前の徒たちは、映画「Stand by Me」を楽しんでいました。

Q6: 機会があれば、これからトライしてみたい言語は?
A : 日本語かスペイン語

Q7 : 英語を勉強している方へのアドバイス
A : 雑誌や本、歌や映画を通して、出来る限り多くの英語をインプットすること。言語はただ学ぶことだけではなく、楽しむことの道具一つにもなります。



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…….Adrian!

Q1: What languages have you studied before?
A :Indonesian, Japanese

Q2 : Have you ever been to a language school?
A : Yes.

Q3 : Do you often read foreign books or watch foreign language movies?
A : Not often. A few times a year.

Q4 : Have you ever taken a foreign or second language exam?
A : No, I haven’t.

Q5 : Do you have any tips for studying languages? Also can you recommend any books or movies for study?

- Make your language study a priority and set a regular schedule for study. Do not cancel or skip lessons or review session unless it is for a very important reason.

- Look for opportunities to apply the language outside of class. That can be as simple as reading a book or visualizing daily conversation in a foreign language.

- Dedicated vocabulary and grammar study. These elements are often considered dull and boring by many students; however, they are the fundamental building blocks of language. Developing your knowledge in these areas will allow you to express yourself more clearly and completely in the foreign language.

- Any of the graded readers are good. My wife’s favorite was Bridges over Madison County. She has commented on how effective it was in improving her English. Previous students really enjoyed the movie Stand by Me.

Q6 : What language would you like to study next if you have a chance?
A : Japanese or Spanish

Q7 : Do you have any advice for English learners?
A : Get as much English input as you can through magazines, books, songs and movies. The language becomes a tool for entertainment rather than just something to learn.

I hope this help you with your study!


Sapporo White Illuminations









Christmas is just around the corner. People are all excited and the town is getting pretty and decorated with lots of lights and smiling people.

The other day after work, I was going back home walking through Odori Park and I saw many fascinating illuminations. “Sapporo white illumination” had started! Being too oblivious, though I was born and grew up in Sapporo, I had no idea by then that this event takes place every winter! The lights were all gorgeous. I stopped in front of one of them and admired it for a while. Then, I realized there were quite a lot of people around and many of them were couples and foreign tourists.

“Oh, I’m in a sight-seeing spot now.”

On my break that day, I passed by the Tokei-dai to grab some lunch. There were again many people with nice big black cameras taking pictures of the scenery or themselves in front of the building. “Oh, I’m in a sight-seeing spot.” I thought the exactly same thing again.

I’d forgotten that I live in one of the nicest tourism areas in Japan. I felt that this is so special that while at work I get to see two sight-seeing spots without spending any money or taking any time. Not so many people can enjoy this kind of experience. I felt very lucky wandering around the town.

The illuminations in Odori Park will continue until Christmas. I think that not only tourists, but Sapporo residents should attend events like this and make Sapporo a more cheerful and loveable town!




Q1 : 何語を勉強しましたことがありますか?
A: 英語と韓国語とフランス語を少し勉強したことがあります。

Q2 : 語学学校に通ったことはありますか?
A: はい。カナダと韓国の語学学校に通ったことがあります。

Q3 : 外国語の本や映画はよく読みますか?
A: 読書は苦手なのであまり読みませんが、勉強の為にたまに本を手に取るようにはしています。映画や海外ドラマは好きなので休みの日によく観ます。

Q4 : 外国語のテストは受けたことがありますか?
A: TOEFLとTOEICを過去に数回受験したことがあります。

Q5 : お勧めの勉強方法は?また、勉強にお勧めの本や映画はありますか?
A: どのタイプの学習方法が向いているか、探していくのがいいと思います。私は文字を書いてその形を覚えるという、“見る”勉強方法が一番頭の中に入って来やすいです。自分に合った勉強方法を見つけるのが一番の英語への近道だと思います!勉強になるかは分かりませんが、“How I Met Your Mother” という海外ドラマがおススメです。ストーリーがシンプルで分かり易いので、楽しく観ることができると思います。

Q6: 機会があれば、これからトライしてみたい言語は?



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…….Yukie!

Q1: What languages have you studied before?
A: I have studied English, Korean and a bit of French.

Q2 Have you ever been to a language school?
A: Yes. I have been to language schools in Canada and Korea.

Q3: Do you often read foreign books or watch foreign movies?
A: I don’t enjoy reading much, but I try to read books for learning languages. But I love watching movies and sitcoms. I often watch them on my days off.

Q4: Have you ever taken a language exam?
A: I have taken TOEFL and TOEIC tests several times.

Q5: Do you have any tips for studying languages? Also can you recommend any books or movies for study?
A: I would recommend find what type of learner you are. I think every person has a particular way that fits them. For example, I am a visual learner, so it is easier for me to learn languages by writing words and looking at them. I think finding your own particular way is the fastest way to master a language! I’m not sure my recommendation is great for studying, but my favourite is a sitcom called “How I Met Your Mother”. The story is quite simple so I think everyone can enjoy watching it.

Q6: What language would you like to study next if you have a chance?
A: I would love to learn French! I’ve tried to teach myself how to speak but I failed… I’m hoping someday Seba will give me some free lessons…!

I hope this help you with your study! My next blog will be…..an interview with Garry! Hope you enjoy it!