Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Markets in Germany

Today I'm going to Germany. I'm going to visit the Christmas Markets in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. I'll post some pictures soon.
Merry Christmas, Joyeaux Noel!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Toyo Gakuen University FE-3 Listening Assignment 4

Here is your last assignment. Follow these steps:

  1. Preview the tasks on the assignment sheet that was e-mailed to you.
  2. Look at the pictures. Think about the topic.

  3. Go to

  4. Read the instructions. Read about the key vocabulary.

  5. Watch the video and do the tasks in the assignment sheet that was e-mailed to you.

  6. Submit your completed assignment by Sunday 16 December 2007 11:59 pm.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Human Rights Week in Japan 人権週間

This year Human Rights Week is from the third of December to the tenth of December. The characters above are the mascots of Human Rights Week in Japan. Here is a link for more information in
The tenth of December is International Human Rights Day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Toyo Gakuen University
FE-3 Listening Semester 2 Assignment 3

In Unit 9 of our textbook, American Headway 2, we have been listening to people talk about the future. For your third assignment you will watch and listen to a video about a trip to Mars. This video was made by my friend Paul Carr and it is available from his website ESLpodTV. It is an animated video that Paul made by himself. perhaps in the future all teachers will be animators too.
Here's how Paul introduces the video:
Topic: Astronauts start journey to Mars (火星までの新しい冒険)
upper intermediate (中上級)
Language: listening (聞く)

This is an upper intermediate lesson introducing a new
series about a group of astronauts on a two year mission to Mars.
There are some useful words and expressions to learn below.
More are in the text.
mission - a task or job
specialist - somebod
y who is very good at one job
on board - to be on a ship, airplane or spacecraft
countdown - to count backwards - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
habitation - a place to live

For Japanese and Spanish translations please go to transcript.
( せりふの訳はこの
Watch the video and complete the task sheet that was e-mailed to you. Submit your assignment by e-mail. The due date is Monday 18 November 2007.
If you would like to see further episodes of Mars 1, please visit ESLpodTV.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Describing People:
Personal characteristics 個人的特徴{こじん てき とくちょう}

Here are two videos from Real . The words below are used to describe Americans and the British. Watch the videos. Which words are used to describe the British? Which words are used to describe the Americans? Some other words are used to describe the Americans. What are they?

Fair - 公平
Bossy - 偉そうな
Reserved - 〔性格{せいかく}が〕控えめな
Arrogant - 尊大{そんだい}な、ごう慢な、無礼{ぶれい}な、横柄{おうへい}
Snobbish - 俗物{ぞくぶつ}(根性{こんじょう})の、上にへつらい下に威張る、紳士気取
Sophisticated - 洗練
OK in small doses - OKだが、あまり一緒にいたくない
Awful - 嫌な
Well educated - 十分な[立派{りっぱ}な]教育を受けた、教養のある、教育の行き届いた、
Stuffy - 格式{かくしき}が高い
Pompous - 思いあがった
Self confident - 自信のある、自信過剰{じしん かじょう}
Outgoing - 社交的
Outspoken - 率直{そっちょく}
A bit over the top - 少しやり過ぎる
brash - 性急{せいきゅう}
Over confident - 自信過剰{じしん かじょう}
Over weight - 太り過ぎ

What are the British like?

What are the Americans like?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life in Tokyo: A music video by British Pop group "Japan"

Here's a video from a British group called Japan. The singer is David Sylvian. David Sylvian has made music with Ryuichi Sakamoto.
There is an extended version of this video too. The extended version shows scenes of Tokyo in the late seventies.
You can watch the extended version be clicking this link:

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I just found a great powerpoint presentation made by Professor Charles Darling of Capital Community College. The presentation presents the rules of spelling for American English. Most of the rules are the same as the rules of other Englishes too.
Here's some vocabulary to help you understand. The Japanese translations come from Space ALC. If you want a simple English definition click on the word. Then you can see a definition from Simple English Wikipedia. Also, don't forget to try the Simple English Wiktionary. Ok them, here's the vocabulary:
Vowel - 母音{ぼいん}、母音字{ぼいん じ}
Consonant - 子音{しいん}
Plural - 複数形{ふくすう けい}
Proper noun - 固有名詞こゆう めいし}
In order to view the presentation, click the arrow on the player that is pointing right .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Famous People: Utada Hikaru
Toyo Gakuen University FE3-Listening Homework Assignment 2

In American Headway 2 Unit 7 we have been listening to people talk about fame and famous people. Here's a homework assignment to practice the listening skills we have been learning in class.

Watch the video. Answer the questions on the task sheet that was e-mailed to you. This assignment is due Wednesday 24 October.

After you watch the video please post a comment. Please tell me:
  1. if you liked the video.
  2. why you liked the video or why you didn’t like the video.
  3. which listening strategies you used before you watched the video, and which listening strategies you used while watching the video.
  4. If you liked this homework assignment.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shibaura Institute of Technology Listening Comprehension Assignment 1

The topic of your first assignment is music. You will hear three interviews. Listen to the interviewers and do the tasks on the worksheet that you received in class.

Task 1
Click this link:

Task 2
Click this link:

Click this link:

These interviews come from a great website called ELLLO. ELLLO means English language Listening On-line. The interviewer is my friend Todd Beuckens. You can hear more of Todd's interviews by clicking here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Even More Pronuciation Practice: Hard and Soft "th", "l" and "r"

In American Headway 2 Unit 10 we have learned a new word, "through". "Through" has two difficult sounds.

Here's a funny cartoon showing how to pronounce "th". This cartoon was originally posted by an English teacher called Rafael de Carvalho Pullen Parente on his blog, Teacher Rafael.

Now, here are two videos to help you pronounce "through". The "th" sound in "through" is the soft "th" (/θ/) sound. The hard "th" (/ð/) sound is the "th" sound in "this".
These videos were made by an English teacher and soccer coach from Glasgow, Scotland called Brian Gallagher. He has a unique school in Japan called Fair Play Soccer School. Students at Fair Play Soccer School learn English and Soccer.
Since Mr. Gallagher is Scottish, his accent is a little difference from mine. However, it's close enough.

Watch the videos. Look at the speaker's mouth. Use a mirror and practice the pronunciation of "th", "l" and "r".

Hard and Soft "th"
l" and "r"

Watch again! Practice! Enjoy!

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Visit to the Doctor

Here's a video to help you with American Headway 2 Unit 8 p.65, Everyday English: A visit to the Doctor. This video is in English and Korean. So, by watching it you can learn a little Korean too!
Below is some vocabulary to help you on a visit to a doctor in an English speaking country:

1 diarrhea 下痢
2 food poisoning 食中毒
3 flu インフルエンザ
4 hurt 痛む
5 swollen glands リンパ腺がはれた
6 nauseous 吐き気を催させる
7 swallow のむ、のみこむ
8 sneeze くしゃみをする
9 runny nose 水洟。鼻水を出ている
10 ankle 足首
11 ache 痛む
12 temperature 気温、体温
13 examine 診る
14 pharmacy ファーマシー、薬局
15 infection 伝染
16 medication 薬物
17 prescribe しょほうせんを書く
18 symptom 病気の徴候、症状
19 illness 病気


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Autumn: the season of English language teaching conferences and other scary things

Every year in Japan, October and November are busy months for English language teachers. Almost every week-end a workshop, seminar, or conference is held.

Today I'd like to tell you about some conferences coming soon.

Every year English Teachers in Japan (ETJ) holds ELT Expos all over Japan. You can find the expo nearest you on by clicking this link. The ETJ Tokyo Expo is at Toyo Gakuen University (Hongo Campus) this year.

The Japan Association of Language Teaching (JALT) is holding many events in October and November. One of these events is the JALT Second Annual Joint Tokyo Conference.

This event will also be held at Toyo Gakuen University (Hongo Campus). Also, JALT's annual national conference is being held in Tokyo this year.

You can find out about more English Language Teaching events in Japan by visiting the ELT Calendar. There is alway a list of upcoming events on the right side of this blog. Scroll down and look for "ELT Calendar".

I will be presenting at the ETJ Tokyo Expo and the JALT National Conference. I hope to see you there.

photo taken by OiMax on 28/10/06

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Pronunciation Practice: /Th/, /s/ and /z/

Here are two videos from Action Language Academy. Watch the videos and practice.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Special Occasions and Dates

This is a video from Real In this video people talk about their birthdays and other special occasions. Listen. can you hear the dates? Listen and practice saying the dates.

Practice pronouncing "th" in dates, for example: fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on. Look at the picture below to help you. The picture below shows the shape of a mouth making the "th" sound. Look at the tongue. It's between the teeth.

Click the image in order to make it bigger

Many student make the "s" sound instead of the "th" sound. For example, some students say, "tense" (緊張した)when they want to say "tenth" (10th).

The picture below shows the shape of the mouth making the "s" sound. You can't see the tongue.

Practice the dates that you hear on the video using a mirror. Then you can see if you are making your mouth the correct shape.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Comparison of Canada and Wales

Toyo Gakuen University FE3-Listening Semester 2 Homework Assignment 1

In Unit 6 of American Headway 2 we have been practicing listening to comparisons. There are two videos below. The first is about Canada, Mr. Stout's native country. The second is about Wales, Ms. Birchley's native country. Watch and listen to the videos. Answer the questions that follow the videos.

Some facts about Canada

The image of the Canadian dollar in this video was created by
The audio comes from

Some facts about Wales

The photo of the castle ruins in Wales is by Sayaka Eguchi, University of Wales Aberystwyth.
The audio comes from

  1. What is the population of Canada?
  2. What is the total area of Canada?
  3. What is the population of Wales?
  4. What is the total area of Wales?
  5. Which country has a larger population?
  6. Which country is bigger?
  7. Which country's time zone is closest to zero GMT (グリニッジ標準時) ?
  8. Which country has more time zones?
  9. Which country has the most valuable currency?
  10. If you had to choose, which country would you like to visit and why?

Monday, September 24, 2007


I went fishing yesterday. I went fishing with my friend Mr. Ibrahim. Mr. Ibrahim is a teacher at Kanto International High School. Mr. Ibrahim teaches the first year Study Abroad Class. I used to teach the first year Study Abroad Class. Mr. Ibrahim loves fishing. So, I went fishing with him.
We went fishing in Sagami-wan (相模湾). "Sagami-wan" is Sagami Bay in English. Sagami Bay is a great place to fish for Japanese mackerel (さば) because the Black Current (黒潮) flows through Sagami Bay. Japanese mackerel swim in the Black Current.  

We went to Hiratsuka (平塚市). HIratsuka is a city on Sagami Bay. In Hiratsuka we joined a three hour fishing trip. I rented a fishing rod from the shop in the picture below.

We fished from a boat called the Asa Hachi Maru. There were many other people on the boat. It was crowded.

I was lucky. I caught a fish. As you can see, I was very happy to catch the fish. Mackerel is my favourite fish. It is very delicious. Tonight I am going to have grilled mackerel for dinner. I'm looking forward to it.

Do you like fishing? Do you like eating fish? What's your favourite kind of fish? Do you like sushi? What's your favourite kind of sushi? Please leave a comment?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I spent the last day of my trip to Ishikawa in Kanazawa. Kanazawa is a great city. It has many interesting things to see.

I visited the East and West Geisha Districts. These areas were known as Higashi Chayamachi and Nishi Chayamachi (ひがし茶屋町, にし茶屋町).

This is a street in Nishi Chayamachi. Nishi Chayamachi is small.

This is a building in Nishi Chayamachi. This building looks new.

This is a street in Higashi Chayamachi. Higashi Chayamachi is bigger than Nishi Chayamachi. These days, almost all of the buildings in Higashi Chayamachi are privately owned. However, one building called Ochaya Shima (志摩) has been designated a National Important Cultural Asset (国の重要文化財に指定されています). The pictures below were taken at Ochaya Shima .

I also visited Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園). Kenrokuen Garden is considered one of the three best gardens in Japan.

I went to a teahouse in Kenrokuen Garden. The picture below is a picture of the teahouse's exterior (御茶屋の外壁).

The type of tea served at the teahouse was matcha (抹茶). Matcha is delicious. I love it.

I also visited Kanazawa Castle. There is a lot of grass there. I like grass very much. In the picture above I'm touching the grass because I like the feel of grass very much. I miss grass. There isn't much grass in Tokyo.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Adventures in Japan Part 6: Ishikawa

I went to Ishikawa Prefecture last Friday. I stayed for three days. Ishikawa is in the Hokuriku region of Japan. As you can see from the map below, Ishikawa is on the Sea of Japan.

Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui, a famous Japanese baseball player, is from Ishikawa.

I arrived in Kanazawa at about noon and picked up a rental car. The car was a special type of car. This type of car is called a keijidosha, K-car (軽自動車). Many people in North America would be confused by this name because Chrysler used to make a car called K-car. My mother had a K-car. The Japanese K-car is different. It's a very small car. It has a small engine. It can't go very fast.

The first place I visited was Notojima. Notojima is part of the city of Nanao. Nanao means "seven tails". I went to the Notojima Aquarium. Business was very bad. Only a few people were there. All the exhibits wee closed. Perhaps people are afraid to visit this area because of the 2007 Noto Earthquake. There were many signs that said 「がんばっています!」, "Ganbette imasu!". This is very difficult to translate into English. In this case, "ganbette imasu" is closest in meaning to "we are persevering" in English. I felt badly for the people of Notojima but I was happy that it was it was so peaceful and quiet.

This picture was taken near the Notojima Bridge.

After I looked around Notojima I went to Wakura onsen. The picture above is a picture of the room I stayed in. My hotel had a rotenburo (露天風呂). A rotenburo is an outdoor bath. I could see the sea from the bath.

I drove around the Noto Peninsula. Along the way I saw the building below. It has a thatched roof. The interior is very nice too. It is in a place called Mitsui no Sato.

The picture above is a picture of an irori (囲炉裏). An Irori is a cozy place to have tea.

The country-side in Ishikawa is really beautiful. There are many rice paddies. The rice is ready for harvest now.

You can see a lot of traditional Japanese architecture in Ishikawa. In fact, many of the buildings are new but built in the traditional style.

The landscape of Ishikawa is very dramatic. You can see many interesting rock formations.

I took a short boat tour around the coast of Genmon. The rock formations were amazing.

Some of the rocks along the coast of Ishikawa were formed by lava flows. The picture above shows rock made from hardened lava.

After the boat tour I went to Nagisa Driveway. Nagisa Driveway is a beach. Cars are allowed to drive down Nagisa Driveway. This beach is a great beach for swimming. The water is warm and there aren't any rocks in the sea so you don't hurt your feet if you walk out into the sea.

More about my trip to Ishikawa next time!