New Wordwise staff

2013年 10月 15日 スタッフブログ

Hello! My name is Yukie! I’m a new staff member at Wordwise, and this is my first blog. I’m going to introduce a bit about myself, and also a little about my life in Canada. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

I lived in Victoria, which is a small city in Vancouver Island located right next to Vancouver. Though it is a quite small city, it is the capital city of British Columbia (one of the provinces of Canada). And the city is famous for its beautiful harbors and great natural scenery.

I was a language student and also worked in Victoria, and I loved spending time in nature. When I had free time, I used to go to the mountains or parks just to take a walk or go on a picnic with my friends.
My work place was downtown and very close to the harbor. So on my breaks, my coworkers and I would grab some coffee and take a walk to the water and enjoy some chit-chat. Time goes very slowly there, which is so different from our busy country! That’s how people there enjoy their time and I loved the atmosphere.

I still can’t forget how nice all those times were and sometimes I think back to all good experiences I had. But, of course, I love my hometown as much as I love Victoria! During my stay, I sometimes had trouble with not being able to understand/communicate with people in English and I often felt sad and lonely because of it. But here, in my country, that kind of thing hardly happens and I realized how nice it is to be able to communicate with people without trying! My experience in Canada made me realize the importance of appreciating what I have and nothing should be taken for granted.

I also believe that being a staff at Wordwise is something special that’s happened to me and I appreciate the opportunity! If you see me around, please say hi! I would love to get to know you all!











2013年 09月 05日 スタッフブログ




Q1 : 何語を勉強しましたことがありますか?
A: ドイツ語、英語、イタリア語、オランダ語

Q2 : 語学学校に通ったことはありますか?
A: ありません

Q3 : 外国語の本や映画はよく読み/みますか?
A: ほとんどの映画や本は英語ですが、時々ドイツ語やイタリア語の本や新聞なども読みます。

Q4 : 外国語のテストは受けたことがありますか?
A: 学校でたくさん受けたことがあります!大学で英語のコースの一環として、TOEFLテストを受けなければなりませんでした。

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: 興味を持つこと!子供が大人より簡単に言語を学ぶ傾向があるということは、良く知られている事実ですよね。この一般的な説明として、子供の頭はより「柔軟である」と言われています。子供たちは常により多くのことを知りたがり、質問し続けているのです。これは、言語を学習している大人たちもすべきことなのです。例えば、あなたがどこへ行ったとしても、周りを見渡し「英語で何というのかな?」と自分自身に尋ねてみたり、最近の出来事の中で、同じ状況があったら英語でどう処理するのかな。と英語で考えてみましょう。これを癖にしてしまえば、勉強しているつもりでなくても力がついてきますよ。

Q6: 機会があれば、これからトライしてみたい言語は?
A: 中国語とスペイン語



People who are reading this blog at the moment have probably studied at a language school or have bought various books, etc., and are making/made an effort to learn another language. So, 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…….Seba!


Q1: What languages have you studied before?
A: German, English, Italian, Dutch

Q2 Have you ever been to a language school?
A: No

Q3: Do you often read foreign books or watch foreign movies?
A: Most of the movies I watch or books I read are in English, but I also sometimes read in German or in Italian – mostly newspapers, but also books.

Q4: Have you ever taken a language exam?
A: Plenty at school! In addition, I had to take the paper-based TOEFL test at University, as part of our English course.

Q5: Do you have any tips for studying languages? Also can you recommend any books or movies for study?
A: Tips: Be curious! It’s a known fact that children tend to learn languages more easily than adults. A common explanation for this is that children’s brains are more ‘flexible’. Although I don’t question this, I also think it has a lot to do with kids’ insatiable curiosity. They always want to know more and keep asking questions. It’s something that adult language learners should be doing, too. For example, anywhere you go, take a look around and ask yourself, “How would I say that in English?” Or think of a situation you’ve been in recently and try to imagine what you could say if you had to handle the same situation in English. Very often, the answer is just a click away on your cell phone or computer, so don’t be lazy. And while you’re at it, try to think about it in English! If you get into the habit of doing this, it will make your language study more real and concrete, and actually, it won’t feel like you’re studying. Nonetheless, you can learn a great deal from doing that.

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

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


Eucalyptus oil

2013年 06月 26日 スタッフブログ


色々な使い道がありますが、私は主に洗濯やお掃除に使います。洗濯の際にオイルを数滴入れて使うと、消臭効果deodorizer が期待でき、ウィルス除去にもなるそうです。鼻づまりなど、呼吸が苦しい時には加湿器に数滴入れて使うと効果的です。人により好みが分かれると思いますが、私はユーカリのミントのような香りが大好きです!虫が嫌う匂いということで、アウトドアでの活動の際にもよく持っていきます。

オーストラリアのスーパーマーケットや薬局では、100%のピュアユーカリプタスオイルが50mlで1,000円程度ですが、日本では、10mlで2,000円くらいします。これだと洗濯や掃除に使うには、ちょっともったいない感じがしますよね? オーストラリアで売っている物と同じようなものが日本でも手に入るといいのですが。



I often use Eucalyptus oil at home - it’s one of my favorite oils. Eucalyptus is famous as food for koalas, but have you ever used eucalyptus oil?

One of the common uses of the oil is as a sterilizing agent. It’s also good for hay fever or a stuffy nose and you can use it as bug spray. It’s poisonous, so you need to dilute it before using it.
There are various uses, but I mainly use it for laundry or cleaning. I put several drops into the washing machine when I do the laundry. It works as a deodorant and eliminates viruses. You can also put some in a humidifier when you have a stuffy nose, and it makes breathing easier. Some people may dislike it, but I like its minty smell.

You can usually find 100% pure eucalyptus oil for around 1,000 yen in supermarkets or pharmacies in Australia. But it’s about 2,000 yen for only 10ml in Japan, so I feel like I’m wasting it if I use it for washing or cleaning. Luckily, my boss is a great guy and he bought me some on his last trip to Australia.

By the way, I also recommend Tea tree oil, which has similar uses to Eucalyptus oil! They are both natural products, so why not try one!


Personal Space

2013年 06月 14日 スタッフブログ








親密な距離 男性60cm、女性58cm
個人的距離 男性72cm、女性69cm
社会的距離 男性89cm、女性107cm
公共的距離 男性108cm、女性118cm




Do you know the term “Personal Space”? We always keep a certain distance from others to maintain a comfortable space around us. We call this space “Personal Space”. Edward Hall, an American anthropologist, divided Personal Space into 4 areas.

Intimate space (45cm)
Intimate space is reserved for lovers and children, as well as close family members. You would feel uncomfortable if someone who is not your lover or family member came into this space.

Personal space (45~120cm)
This space is used in conversations with friends so you can reach out and touch your friend.

Social space (120~360cm)
Social space is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances.

Public space (360cm~)
Public space is used for speeches, lectures, and theater, and is essentially the range reserved for larger audiences.

The size of Personal Space may vary by country.
You might think that Japanese Personal Space is greater than that of other more friendly countries, because Japanese people are shy. Actually, Japanese Personal Space is comparatively small. It seems that they need greater personal place in a county where:
・ There are many residents from different races
・ Residents are allowed to bear arms
・ Residential space is greater

Japanese Personal Space, based on experiments, is as shown below:
Intimate space: Male 60cm, Female 58cm
Personal space: Male 72cm, Female 69cm
Social space: Male 89cm, Female 107cm
Public space: Male 108cm, Female 118cm

When you communicate with foreign people, you need to remember not to invade their Personal Space and maintain a comfortable distance.
In this picture, people in Finland are waiting for a bus at a bus stop.
This shows the social distance they need to feel comfortable!



2013年 05月 07日 スタッフブログ


ある日、英語の会話の中で、「イースト(酵母)=Yeast」と言いたかった私。何度言っても通じませんでした。なぜならそれは、私がYeast [jíːst]ではなく、East [íːst]と発音していたからでした。“Yes”や“Yesterday”と言う時は、きっと皆さん問題なく発音できていることと思いますが、“Year”や“Ear”の時はどうでしょうか?





Do you remember our previous blog about how to pronounce R and L? It’s hard for us (Japanese people) to pronounce R and L, but it’s also hard to pronounce Y and W, don’t you think?

One day, during a conversation in English, I was trying to say “Yeast”. But my friend couldn’t catch what I was saying because I was pronouncing it as [íːst] East, instead of saying Yeast [jíːst].
I guess not many people have a problem saying “Yes” or “Yesterday”. But how about “Year” or “Ear”?

It’s hard to explain and represent these differences using Katakana. There’s a small “i” and then “Ya” but it’s just one sound, so you need to make both sounds at once—like saying “Yay✌”

The sound of “W” is also difficult to pronounce. I used to have a goldfish named “Wolf”. I always have trouble saying “Wolf” when I tell my “Wolf” story. You need to purse your lips, similar to when you make an “O” sound.

It’s hard to understand these differences using Katakana, but if you listen carefully and try to pronounce these better you will improve your pronunciation!



2013年 02月 28日 スタッフブログ






How much coffee do you drink a day?

I often drink too much coffee so I try to keep to just one cup of coffee a day. I suppose many people drink too much coffee at work as well.

Because of the effects of caffeine, you can probably concentrate well and better deal with sleepiness after having some coffee. It also helps burn body fat too. Due to its stimulatory effect, coffee seems to have originally been drunk as a form of medicine.

The caffeine in coffee is absorbed into the brain in approximately 30 minutes, and it has a half-life of 3-7 hours (that is, it takes 3-7 hours for the level in our body to be reduced by 50%). However, the stimulatory effect can’t be increased even by drinking coffee twice or more during that time. On the contrary, tolerance to the effects of caffeine builds up if you drink too much, and you should be careful not to have too much coffee as it may cause a headache. So be careful and just enjoy your coffee!



2012年 12月 07日 スタッフブログ



まず “River”。
これ、どうやって発音しますか? 「リバー」? ブー!違いますよ!

ではこれはどうですか? “Right”





Do you find that it’s difficult to correctly pronounce the letters R and L?

I would like to introduce the easiest way to pronounce the letter R.
This is especially effective for words with starting R. All you need is just a small “u”!

How do you say “river”? “リバー”? Buzz!
Please try to pronounce the letter R with a small “u” at the beginning.
So it’s “ゥリバー“ from now on.

What about this? “Right”.
It’s “ぅライト”, not “ライト”
The chips you eat on the couch are not プリングルス, they are “プゥリングス”.

So how about the letter L?
Just sing ラララ. Do you feel your tongue tapping the upper gum ridge?
Now you can say la li lu le lo.

I found these tips when I was a high school student and all my English teachers liked my pronunciation.

And, of course, the better you can pronounce R and L, the easier you can catch R and L when listening to spoken English.



2012年 04月 29日 スタッフブログ

数年前、私がオーストラリア ブリスベンの友人宅に遊びに行っていた時のことです。その友人の家庭では、裏庭で1羽のニワトリをペットとして飼っていました。毎朝たまごを産むニワトリは、子供たちの遊び相手でもあり、とっても大切にされていました。






Let me tell you a story about something a little odd that happened while I was visiting a friend who lives in Brisbane, Australia, a few years ago.

In my friend’s family’s house, they had a chicken in the back yard as a pet. It would lay an egg each morning and my friend’s son and daughter often played with it. They all took good care of the chicken.

One day, all of us were about to leave home to go camping, but we couldn’t find the chicken anywhere. We searched everywhere but we couldn’t find it. Her kids became upset and then started to cry.

We decided to leave home anyway, and a little later we found a notice in front of a house that said “Found chicken 0412-345-378” We all thought “Could it be…!? So my friend went to the house to get the chicken back. A guy came out and started asking about the chicken. “What color was it? Does it have any special features?” “What’s the name of the chicken?” Although this was quite unexpected, she answered all the questions. Then he finally gave her the chicken. We felt so relieved!

He was being very cautious, but he was very kind. What would you do if you were him? What would you do if you found a chicken walking on a street? It was a very interesting experience for me!



2012年 02月 19日 スタッフブログ

友達とワイワイ楽しんでいる中、誰かが飲み物の買い出し。 「何飲む?」と聞かれた時、あなたは何と答えますか?きっとよく口にしているのが「なんでもいい」ではないでしょうか?同じ状況で英語では“Anything” や “Whatever” という言葉をよく耳にします。(頼まれた人は、その答えが一番面倒だったりしますが!?)

そんなよくある状況を考慮した!?おもしろい飲み物を私はシンガポールで発見しました! それは・・・缶の表面に大きく書かれた「?」のマークと “Anything” もしくは “Whatever” の言葉。中身の表示がないため、選ぶことができず、飲むまでわからない。。。まさに「なんでもいい」と答えた人向け!のドリンクです!?

種類は色々あり、“Anything” は炭酸入りで6種類。 “Whatever” は無炭酸で同じく6種類です。
シンガポールでは、誰もが知っている大人気の飲み物で、フードコートや売店等どこででも見かけます。また、“Anything”には “Colors” というバージョンもあり、同じデザインですが、缶の色が黒・オレンジ・黄色の3種類あり、コーラ・オレンジ・ハニーレモンの味があります。

ある日お店にて -
私:「Anything ください」
店員さん:「Anything? Anything 黒? Anything オレンジ? Anything 黄色?」。。。 (なんだか味がわかってしまうような!?)

その他に友人と -
私:「じゃあ私は Anything で。」
友人:「Anything? それともなんでもいいの?」




While you are having a good time with your friends, sometimes your friends go get more drinks. And they ask “What do you want to drink?” In this situation, what do you usually say? Probably…“Anything”, isn’t it? In English, I often hear “Anything” or “Whatever” in the same situation. (This answer is probably the most annoying answer though!?)

In Singapore, I’ve found an interesting beverage which is considered in this common situation… It shows a “?” symbol on the can and the words “Anything” or “Whatever”. There is no other information on the can so you won’t be able to find out what’s in it until you open it…This is absolutely the drink for the person who wants to have “Anything” !

“Anything” is a carbonated soft drink that comes in 6 varieties. “Whatever” is a non-carbonated drink that also comes in 6 varieties. This is a very famous drink in Singapore, available at any food court or shop.
“Anything” has another version called “Colors” which comes in 3 different types; black, orange and yellow. The flavors are cola, orange, and honey lemon.

One time at a shop I said, “I’ll have Anything.” The shop staff replied, “Anything? Anything black? Anything orange? or Anything yellow?”… (I think that it kind of misses the point being given a choice with “Anything”.)
Another time with my friend I said, “I’ll have Anything, then.” To which my friend responded, “You want “Anything” or anything?” Confusing, isn’t it? LOL

There are strict rules regarding labeling in Japan so we can’t have drinks like this. But I think that it’d be interesting if we did!

Check this advertisement out on youtube!


ハイコンテクスト文化 v.s ローコンテクスト文化

2012年 01月 13日 スタッフブログ

みなさんは、ローコンテクスト (Low context) ・ハイコンテクスト (High context) という言葉を聞いたことはありますか?



ハイコンテクスト文化として代表的な国は、日本・韓国・中国・アラブ圏・イタリア・ギリシャ・ロシアなどが挙げられます。一方、アメリカ、ドイツ、スイス、北欧(アイスランド、スウェーデン、デンマークなど)は、ローコンテクスト文化と言われています。 ローコンテクスト文化の特徴は、異なるバックグラウンドを持つ人々が多く共存していること、ハイコンテクスト文化は単一民族である傾向があります。




Have you ever heard the words “low context” and “high context”?

Context here is used as a measure of cultural back ground. When you refer to a “high context culture”, it means a culture where everyone shares and understands common concepts, whereas in a “low context culture” members share few common concepts and prefer to express things specifically. In other words, you don’t need to voice what other members are presumed to know from context in a high-context culture. However, in a low-context culture, the listeners can’t rely so much on context to understand what you say, so you can’t expect them to understand without specific information.

Typically high-context cultures include Japan, Korea, China, Italy, Greece, and Russia and so on. Typically low-context cultures include America, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries (such as Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark). One of the features of low-context culture is that many people from different backgrounds coexist in the society. High-context cultures often tend to be mono-cultures.

Here is one example, the sentence “Please give up these seats to those who need them.” When we are on a train, we can easily imagine exactly who “those who need them” refer to. But in a low-context culture, you need to define “those who need them”; i.e., the elderly, the handicapped, the pregnant and passengers with infants”

If you experience communication problems with your foreign colleagues, you might need to think about this. Next month I will give some tips on how to deal with such situations.