English

#771 The ability to ask, think and express from the age of 10

I read the book named 「10歳から身につく問い、考え、表現する力」(“The ability to ask, think and express from the age of 10”).

I just want to keep a memo about this book for myself.

According this book, the best age to start studying English is at 10, because kids at this age can understand grammar.
And the author doesn’t recommend going to international school if the parents don’t speak English at home. Mother language is the most important language for kids. It’s not too late if high school students go abroad to learn English.

Regarding how to speak English, you need to speak clearly with abdominal breathing, so that other people can hear your voice better. Small voice is not good.
Reading aloud is a good practice to train your spoken English.

Make them ask anything

Don’t say “Why don’t you understand?” to kids.
They wouldn’t ask you anymore. Let’s compliment and admit their questions. You should say “You noticed something interesting.”” I didn’t have that idea.”

My thoughts on this book

My students are around 10-year-old. So it’s a perfect time to start English.
Under the pandemic, kids in my school are wearing masks. The masks are making it a bit difficult for them to speak English. Since their voice is very small, I can’t hear them. I might say that you don’t have to speak loudly, just speak clearly.
On the other hand, some students are talkative and speak up in class, but in Japanese. I think this book is probably targeted for parents. In their case, they have a lot more time to spend on just one child. In my class, it is quite different. I am just one teacher versus 10+ students in the classroom. I do not have the time to pay attention to each kid equally. Maintaining order is more important in a large class. Otherwise, everyone will get so loud and the class simply cannot carry on.

Small joy!!(2021.3)

2021-03-19 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#772 People are unusually kind and treat us well when we are in kimono. Maybe.


↑My friend made me this mask to pair the haori-kimono.↑

Kimono lunch

Recently I met with two other friends for a “kimono lunch”. A “kimono lunch” means everyone who attends the lunch must be wearing kimono.
The weather was sunny. It was a perfect day to wear kimono outside.

We had lunch at a nice restaurant at Namba. The food and atmosphere were great but the staff made a mistake in the order and served a different dish to my friend. She had ordered a salmon rice pot, but they gave her a sea bream rice pot. The server said, “Sorry, we’ll make another one, but it’ll take some time.” My friend said, “Well, it’s okay. I’ll take the sea bream.” After a while, the server brought us three salmon sushi as an apology for the mistake. We shared the sushi and they were delicious.

When we left the restaurant, a casher apologized sincerely about the mistake.
We talked about that people are unusually kind and treat us well when we are in kimono. Maybe.

At a Chanel boutique

We stopped by a Chanel boutique which I’ve never been in. My friends like Chanel. We were just looking in the crowded store. I was wearing a mask which has the same pattern design as my kimono.
Three store staff at different corners said to me, “Your mask matches with your kimono! They are stunning!” “You look gorgeous!” “Three of you were so outstanding when you entered the store”
I was so happy because I was praised by the Chanel staff. And I didn’t feel that they were just trying to flatter us.

We talked about how incredibly kind people were when we were in kimono again after leaving the store.

Small joy!!(2021.2.12)

2021-02-19 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#773 A front-loading washing machine came in my home.

The newcomer has a drying function.

A new washing machine came in my home last Sunday.
It is a big brown front-loading washing machine.

Since the old one was already 25 years old, although it could still run fine, I decided to say good bye to it with a big thank you. The old one’s brand was National and the newcomer is Toshiba. The old one didn’t have a drying function but new one has it.


↑This is the old one. I said good bye to it with a big thank you.

A happy thing & a bad thing

The first day when the new washing machine came I did a lot of laundry. Although it took more than 3 hours, I was happy when I opened the washing machine’s door to touch and feel the warm laundry.

On the other hand, I had a bad experience. The fuse was blown because I used the washing machine, oil heater and a hair dryer at the same time.

I need to get used to its big size. It makes the laundry room feel small.
I haven’t finished reading the user manual yet. I have to do that.
I hope I can eventually master this advanced machine just like the old one.

Small joy!!(2021.2.5)

2021-02-09 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#774 The sound of singing bowl may relive your stress.

Have you ever heard the sound of singing bowl?

The vibration of the sound is really interesting. You can make the bowl sing by holding the bowl with one hand, and pressing a mallet against the bowl’s edge in a circular motion with another hand. It’s fun to hear the sound getting louder.

I was told that singing bowl is originated from Tibet and is one of the ritual implements. It is also being used as a healing tool these days and is popular among yoga practitioners in Europe and America.

Strangely, I feel hot when I make the sound.

Singing bowl is used for stress relief and to clear one’s mind. I heard that it also has some other potential benefits. In my case, I use it when I want to change my mood before doing something. Or when I have nothing to do.
Strangely, I feel hot when I make the sound. Maybe I was so focused on making the sounds. An Indian shop owner that sells singing bowls said the vibration of the sound go through from your hand to bloodstream and improve blood flow. I am not so sure about but I think it is interesting!

“The sound will bring us the power to live in a beautiful tomorrow!” with a description

The singing bowl comes with a description: “The sound of this bowl will remove the anxieties and annoyances in our lives, and bring us the power to live in a beautiful tomorrow together with the sound.”

I hope this sound help us in these tough times.

Small joy!!(2021.1.15)

2021-01-21 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#775 It feels like a good start of the year by getting a McDonald’s lucky bag

A McDonald’s lucky bag

Do you buy a lucky bag every New Year?
I don’t, but I got a McDonald’s lucky bag which was collaborated with Coleman this year.


↑There are two designs of the front and back.

It includes a tote bag, a clock, a mug, a porch and free meal coupons for 3160 yen. Moreover, if you were lucky, you had a 1/10th of a chance to get an extra meal card for 500 yen. The price of the lucky bag was 3000 yen (tax included).
It took a little bit of work to get this lucky bag. First, you had to enter an online lottery in December. If you won, you could buy at the McDonald’s which you designated beforehand.

Actually, I lost the lottery.

I was disappointed it at the beginning of this year. But my husband didn’t give up. He checked the internet and found that sometimes customers can still buy lucky bags, because some lottery winners don’t show up and there are usually leftovers. So we went to 2 McDonald’s in our area by our car before 11pm to see if there was any leftover bag. Both didn’t have any left.
Although we are not big fans of McDonald’s, I felt like we were playing a treasure hunting game, so it was quite exciting.

The game was finished and happy ending.

Although I almost gave up, he didn’t. Finally he bought it at the McDonald’s inside Namba station the next day.
He looked very satisfied since the game was over.
For me it feels like a good start of the year, in which I missed my chance but eventually I got it with the help of my never-give-up husband.

Anyway, the bag didn’t have an extra meal card. But I feel I am already lucky enough.

Small joy!!(2021.1.8)

2021-01-12 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#776 “Gacha gacha”(capsule toy machine)~nostalgic confections~

“Gacha gacha”(capsule toy machine)

Sometimes I want to try “gacha gacha”(capsule toy machine) when I find something I really like, or when I just want to kill time. I also like checking capsule toys on Instagram and one day I found some really cute capsule toys.

Wow, this feels so nostalgic!


They were famous confection’s miniatures. The series have 5 kinds of confections. I especially want the “Izumiya Tokyo-ten special cookies.” This cookie box reminds me of my childhood because I ate a lot at home and at my grandparents’ home.

This is “otona-gai”.

I have never seen this capsule toy machine anywhere, so I thought my chance of getting this toy was quite small. Then I found out that I could buy capsule toys directly on the internet. This was “otona-gai”「大人買い」(spending a lot of money on things. Splurge on things that we couldn’t get when we were young)! Each item was 400 yen. There were 5 kinds of them but the total was only 1900 yen. And plus 340 yen for shipping. The total was 2240 yen.
Wasn’t it good for an “otona-gai”? Sometimes it is great to be an adult.


↑My Barbie and “gacha”.

Small joy!!(2020.12.18)

2020-12-28 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#777 You can listen to the audio book “My friend Hitler” voiced by Mishima.

This year is 50th year anniversary of Mishima’s death.

Mishima Yukio was a famous novelist in Japan and was once nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. Some of his novels were adapted into movies. He committed suicide by seppuku 50 years ago.
Recently some book stores set up a Mishima’s book corner for his 50 years memorial.

The audio book “My friend Hitler” voiced by Mishima

Since I’ve never read his book, I bought one named 「サド公爵夫人・わが友ヒットラー」(”Madame de Sade / My Friend Hitler”).
The book was probably a script written for a drama play, because it contains only lines of dialogues. Luckily, this book has a QR code and customers can listen to the audio book “My friend Hitler” voiced by Mishima. (The link is only valid until January 31, 2021)
Then, I listened to the audio book “My friend Hitler” (It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes.) I really enjoyed the book because I could hear Mishima’s vigorous voice.

I probably wouldn’t have finished the story without Mishima’s voice

If the book didn’t come with the audio, I think I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish the story.
First of all, it is a difficult book. It doesn’t come with any background information. The story starts right away in the middle of an event. On top of that, the dialogues are also not the common day to day Japanese. I was listening to the audio while reading the book. Sometimes it was difficult to tell which person was talking because it was always Mishima’s voice. I could only tell by following the lines in the book. It was a “team effort” by my ears and eyes. It was quite a special experience.

I’m not telling the story here. But I highly recommend this book and I want you to have this same experience. It’s truly fun.

Small joy!!(2020.12.11)

2020-12-17 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#778 Refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason


↑There was a notice of cancellation of the event in the park.

Refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason

The Osaka government declared on Thursday that the occupancy rate of the prefecture’s hospital beds set for serious cases in COVID-19 is expected to soon reach 70 percent. So the officials asked all residents to refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason until the middle of this month.

I decided not to go to a kimono party.

I am supposed to take part in a kimono party on Saturday. It is a large event. Over 100 people, all wearing kimono, are going to attend a banquet in a hotel in Osaka. I had already prepared my kimono and I also paid the party fee.

However, upon hearing the announcement from the government, I decided not to go to the party. I feel sorry for the host of the party because of my cancelation. But I think I should take responsibility in helping the government to stop the spread of COVID-19. With such a large event, it is quite likely to run into someone infected with COVID-19 in the party.

Nobody has the right answer under the pandemic.

Under the pandemic, all over the world, we are losing our freedom. Some cities have forced lock-down the second time this year. There are protests between the government and the citizens about the lock-down policy.
Everybody has his or her own ideas and I try my best to understand different views. Someone doesn’t wear mask and someone travels and someone goes to parties. Nobody has the right answer.

Let’s focus on what we can do moving forward!

Now, under the pandemic, our personal choices and actions towards the virus are revealed to the public.
How would you look at the people who are making choices different from you?
I’m afraid that the society would be further divided, and this gap would get deeper to a point that may not be repairable in the future.

We should stick together, find our common ground and create a well-balanced solution for everyone in the society.
Let’s focus on what we can do moving forward!

Small joy!(2020.12.4)

2020-12-09 | Posted in English4 Comments » 

 

#779 “Chano-ma” cafe for moms with newborns

Mom’s cafe, it’s like in heaven.

It’s been about a year since I met my friend who had a baby this May. We met together at “Chano-ma” cafe where she chose. She showed up carrying her baby and she looked fantastic.
I heard the cafe was very popular among young couples, young girls, and mothers with newborns. One side of the cafe has a big window and the cafe was very bright from the sunlight that came in through the window. All the things in the cafe and even the staff’s uniforms were just pure white. I felt like I was in heaven. Customers can choose to sit at the table or on the elevated podium on the mat by the window. My friend requested the elevated space because her baby could lay down on the soft mat.

We had lunch on the wood plate table that has no legs. It was quite a strange style and it was not very easy to eat, but we had a nice conversation. Although sometimes her baby was fussy and cried, it was OK, nobody cared because other groups were also moms and babies and we were in the same boat.

We were so relaxed and we stayed in the cafe for four hours! She fed her baby three or four times there. It was like magic when you are with babies, you tend to forget the time. Moreover, people tend to be nicer where there are moms and babies around. This time I had a new experience with my friend’s baby and found a cafe that I usually don’t go to. It was such a nice cafe for moms and babies.

Two mitten hats

I gave her baby two mitten hats with French braids that was custom-made in Thailand. They suit to her baby very much! She looked like a very cute 3-year-old toddler with those hats, even though she was only 6 months old.


↑”I can’t sit up straight yet. I am still 6 months old!”

Small joy!!!(2020.11.26)

2020-11-30 | Posted in English2 Comments » 

 

#780 “Wife of a spy”「スパイの妻」

“Wife of a spy”「スパイの妻」

I went to see a movie called “Wife of a spy”「スパイの妻」, which won the Silver Lion award at the 77th Venice International Film Festival this year.

The story started in 1940s before the Pacific War during World War 2. A Japanese merchant went to Manchuria in China for business. There he witnessed the uncivilized behavior of the Japanese army towards the local villagers. After he returned to Japan, he decided to reveal the awful secrets to the world. Then he and his wife tried to flee to America from Japan.

I was satisfied to watch the actors speaking old-fashioned Japanese.

Although this movie was based on a serious subject about the war, it was filled with many romantic and beautiful scenes, so it was not as dark and solemn as one would expect. I felt like watching a stage performance. The story unfolded at a good pace and the dialogues were long but intense. The performance of actress Aoi Yu was amazing. The way she spoke in the movie makes me feel like I was watching a movie star from the Showa period. I was very satisfied to watch the actors speaking beautiful and old-fashioned Japanese.
I especially liked a line that she shouted “Omigoto!” meaning “Bravo!”. With only one word, she was able to express how sad she was, but at the same time she remained strong and cool in the scene.

This movie was thought-provoking to me.

It has been a while since the last time I went to watch a movie in the theater due to the pandemic. It was a wonderful movie that taught me a lot about the Pacific War and the unit 731, which I didn’t learn much when I was a student. It was thought-provoking and the ending remains an unsolved mystery to me. Nevertheless, I like this movie and I hope you will enjoy it too.

Small joy!(2020.11.13)

2020-11-25 | Posted in English2 Comments »