Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Halloween

This is a little late, but a few weeks ago my wife and I had a Halloween party for her students (she teaches elementary school kids). We do this every year and the children really seem to enjoy it.

We played games based around Halloween characters and gave out sweets (candy). My wife also came up with the idea of a Halloween piñata (pictured above). The piñata is originally from Mexico and is a paper shape usually filled with candy. The children hit the piñata to break it and the sweets fall out. You can read more about piñata here.

Halloween is a big event in America but is actually not that popular in the UK . My wife and I only started celebrating the event since coming to Japan. The roots of Halloween are however from the UK. It is a pretty interesting history and you can read more about it here.

Click here to read a full report about our party from my wife's blog.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Keep It Simple

Something I always tell students is that in English you don't need to know "big words" to make interesting phrases. Using very small and simple words you can make many different expressions.

One good example of this is the phrasal verb (句動詞).
We usually make phrasal verbs using a verb (動詞)and a preposition (前置詞) or an adverb (副詞).

Here are some examples using the verb to go:

go out - 出掛ける、付き合う、消える、人気がなくなる などなど...
go on - 進み続ける、起こる、時間がたつ、しゃべり続ける などなど...
go off - 立ち去る、~に興味を失う、腐る、爆発する などなど...

As you can see, using 2 very short words we can make many different phrases with many different meanings.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Exhibition Report

My exhibition finished last week. I'd like to thank all of the students who visited the gallery. I hope you enjoyed the show.

As always there were many different things on display. This time I mainly exhibited paper toys. It was a challenge to display the toys in an interesting way, but I think I was successful in the end.

Here are a few pictures of my papercraft and you can see the full photo gallery by clicking this link:

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "Japanese Holidays"

Hi everybody,

I hope that you had a good "Silver Week," which included both "Respect for the Elderly Day" (敬老の日) on the 21st and the "Autumnal Equinox" (秋分の日)on the 23rd.

Here is a list of several holidays that we celebrate in Japan. Do you know when they are and how to say them in English?

(1)節分、(2)元旦、(3)七夕、(4)ひな祭り
(5)天皇誕生日、(6)文化の日、(7)昭和の日
(8)アランの誕生日、(9)みどりの日、(10)こどもの日

How many did you know? Here are the answers:
(1)February 3rd or 4th - The Bean Throwing Ceremony
(2)January 1st - New Year's Day
(3)July 7th - The Star Festival
(4)March 3rd - The Doll Festival
(5)December 23rd - The Emperor's Birthday
(6)November 3rd - Culture Day
(7)April 29th - Showa Day
(8)February 8th - Alan's Birthday (VERY IMPORTANT!)
(9)May 4th - Green(ery) Day
(10)May 5th - Children's Day

What's your favorite holiday? I like "Respect for Dogs Day" (敬犬の日)best. It's on April 1st.

Later,

Chibi

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Scrabble

The other week I introduced my intermediate class to a popular English board game called Scrabble. In the game you have to make words from a limited number of letter tiles. Each letter has a different score with unusual letters like "x" scoring the highest.

The rules are not that complicated but would be difficult to explain without looking at the board, so please follow the link below for an explanation of the game and its rules in Japanese:

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/スクラブル

After reading that if you feel like giving it a go, click the link below for an online Scrabble game:

http://macsinfarlands.com/scrabble.htm

I think that Scrabble is a fun game both for native and non-native English speakers and is a great way to build your vocabulary (and test your brain!). My class certainly seemed to enjoy it and I highly recommend it to all English learners.

If you are interested in buying the real game, it is available from Amazon Japan with both English and Japanese instructions:

Thursday, 13 August 2009

上級クラス復習(8月7日)


Last week in my advanced class we discussed an article called "Movie stars bring sparkle to gaming", which talks about how many film stars are now appearing in video games. Games are big business and are starting to appeal to a much wider audience than before. Companies often put in as much time and money into producing games as movies these days, and the appearance of real world stars in their games is a useful selling point.

The article can be found here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/8176894.stm

Useful vocabulary:
  • blockbuster - 大ヒット
  • spin-off - 副産物、テレビの続編番組
  • wunderkind - 〈ドイツ語〉神童 (wonder child)
  • avatar - アバター、ネット上での仮の像
    例、掲示板に書き込むときいつもその人が自画像のように使うアイコン
  • first-person shooter - 主観視点のシューティング・ゲーム
  • vanguard - 文化や活動の先駆者、先導者
  • potty-mouthed - 口汚い
  • become de rigueur - 絶対条件となる
  • kudos - 名声、栄光、栄誉、称賛、賛辞、褒賞、威信
  • bragging rights - 自慢する権利、得意げに話す権利
  • Tinseltown - 〈米俗〉金ピカの町、ハリウッドのこと
  • Hollywood A-lister - ハリウッドの大物

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Art and English

As some of you may know, in my free time I like to do art and design. I have my own art blog where I introduce my artwork and other interesting topics from around the world. I write my blog in both English and Japanese to help with my studies. If you are interested please take a look at my blog; I think it could help with your studies too:

http://horrorwood.info/blog

My main interest at the moment is papercraft. I have made many paper toys that you can download free from my papercraft website. I think it is a fun activity for all ages:

http://horrorwood.info/horrorwoodhills

Next month I will have an art exhibition with 7 other artists in a small gallery in Kitahama. There will be many different kinds of art to see, including papercraft, illustration, photography, jewellery, bags and sculpture. Please come along if you have time. For more information about the exhibition please look at the poster below or visit my art group's homepage -> The Art of Gravity

Friday, 24 July 2009

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "How often do you~?"

Hi everyone,

Sorry that it's been so long since my last entry, but I've been suffering from the summer heat (夏ばて) recently and have been feeling sluggish (だるい).

Anyway, Alan promised to take me swimming if I reviewed "How often do you ~?" (どれぐらい~をしますか。) with you. So, here are some sample questions:

1. How often do you study? (どれぐらい勉強しますか。)
2. How often do you exercise? (どれぐらい運動しますか。)
3. How often do you get a haircut? (どれぐらい散髪しますか。)

You can answer these questions in a few different ways. One method is to say "Every day/week/month/year." (毎日、週、月、年). Another way is to say "Once/Twice/Three times a day/week/month/year." (日、週、月、年に1、2、3回). You can also answer by saying "Always." (いつも); "Often."(しばしば); "Sometimes."(時々); "Rarely."(めったにしない); or "Never."(ぜんぜんしない).

I hope this helps you. If you want to know MY answers to the questions above, please ask Alan in class next week. Of course, you will need to change the question pattern from "How often do you ~?" to "How often does Chibi ~?"

Good luck,

Number 8, Chibi

P.S. Corre ocho!
P.P.S. Do you know "8000 Hams" in Shibuya?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Vocab Builder - At School

Every week at the start of my beginners' class we play a vocabulary building game. One of the students picks a card, and then everyone has to say one word connected to the picture on the card.

This week's card is "At school" (学校で)
Here are some useful school words for you:
  • Biology - 生物
  • Chemistry - 化学
  • Physics - 物理
  • Art - 美術
  • Craft - 図工
  • History - 歴史
  • Geography - 地理
  • Mathematics (maths) - 数学
  • Music - 音楽
  • Physical Education (P.E.) - 体育
  • Social Studies - 社会
  • Home Economics - 家庭科
  • Calligraphy - 書写
  • Ethics - 道徳

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

上級クラス復習(6月26日)

This is a little late but I'd like to review the article we looked at in my advanced class 2 weeks ago. The article is titled "Would you work for nothing?" and is about workers at British Airways(英国航空) being asked to work for nothing for a short time to help the company survive the economic crisis(経済危機を克服する):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8104924.stm

Here as usual is a list of useful phrases featured in the article:
  • economic meltdown - 経済的メルトダウン、経済破綻
  • feel the pinch - ~の苦しみを味わう、~の厳しい影響を受ける
  • mire - 沼地、泥沼、ぬかる、窮地、苦境
  • lowly worker - 平社員
  • juggle -
    何とか帳尻を合わせる、うまく調整する
  • in someone's good books -
    (人)に気に入られて
  • step up to the plate -
    進んで物事に取り組む
  • onus - 負担、重荷、義務、責任
  • axe - ~を解雇する、首にする、(人員を)削減{さくげん}する
  • two-way street - 相互的なもの、相互的関係、相恵的関係
  • casual employment - 一時雇用
  • high turnover of staff - 離職率が高い
  • dust off - 引っ張り出してくる、探し出してもう一度利用する
  • spur - ~を刺激する、~を促進させる、~を励ます
  • economic turmoil - 経済混乱
  • altruism - 利他主義、利他的行為
  • belt-tightening - 金融引き締め、倹約、減量経営

Thursday, 2 July 2009

It wasn't my fault!

The other day in Chibi's ワン-Point English lesson, Chibi talked about "It's not my fault." Sometimes, we can use that in the past tense (過去形). Here is a great example from a 1980 American movie called The Blues Brothers. In this scene, the man is making many excuses (言い訳) for not showing up at his own wedding. Push play on this video to have a listen. See if you can understand all of his excuses.

Good luck,

R.T.



Honest!
I ran out of gas!
I had a flat tire!
I didn't have enough money for cab fare!
My tux didn't come back from the cleaners!
An old friend came in from out of town!
Someone stole my car!
There was an earthquake!
A terrible flood!
Locusts!
It wasn't my fault! I swear to God!!!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "Boss~around."


Hi guys,

Alan's at the gym right now, so I'll use this time to drink one of his beers and give you some more advice.

If you want to boss someone around (もし誰かに偉そうに命令したいなら), try using the imperative form (命令形) of verbs (動詞). Please say "Hey Alan, get me another cup of coffee!"「おいアランちゃん、コーヒーもう一杯くれ!」OR "Turn on the A.C.!" 「エアコンをつけなさい!」. It's easy to use because the verb forms are just like the dictionary forms. So feel free to boss Alan around from time to time. Remember, it's good to be the King.

Of course, if you want to be polite, please use "Please" before the verb, as in the following: "Please turn on the A.C."

Next time, I'll teach you more about verbs and how to mow the lawn.

Peace out,

Chibi

P.S. STUDY!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Nicknames

Hello. My name is R.T.. Many people ask me about my name. R.T. did stand for Roger Todd. I went to court and legally changed my name to R.T. The name on my passport and my driver's license is now R.T.. Please call me R.T..

But, do you have a nickname? When I was growing up, many people called me Rowdy. Rowdy was my character. If you don't know what the word "rowdy" means, please look it up in a dictionary. One of my teachers in elementary school called me that a couple times as a joke. Then, some of my friends started calling me Rowdy.

There are 50 states in the US. Did you know that every state in the US has a nickname? It's true. We were talking about this last week in one of my classes at E-style.

There are a couple of famous examples that you may know about.

Have you ever heard of the Empire State Building in New York City?

Well, New York's nickname is "The Empire State." So, the Empire State Building is named after The Empire State.

What about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California?

If you look at this photo carefully, you will notice that the bridge is not gold. It has never been gold. California's nickname is the "Golden State." The Golden Gate Bridge stands at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The bridge is at the mouth of the bay, next to the Pacific Ocean. As you come out of the Pacific Ocean by ship, you must sail under The Golden Gate Bridge to enter the Bay Area of San Francisco. So, The Golden Gate Bridge is like the gateway to California State.

America declared itself an independent country on July 4, 1776. The country will be 233 years old next week. Since that time, some states have had a few different nicknames. This site lists the "official" state nickname in bold letters, some "old" state nicknames, and some "unofficial" state nicknames. It is very interesting. I hope you like it.

>>>>Click here<<<<

Sunday, 21 June 2009

上級クラス復習(6月19日)

Last week in my advanced class we looked at an article about Iran called:
Iran: Rap, blogs and the political mix.
It is about how young people are fighting against the oppressive religious regime (圧政的な宗教体制)through fashion, music and the internet etc.
You can see the article here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8088042.stm

Here is a list of vocabulary that you may find useful:
  • make overtures -
    ~に提案する、~に対して有利な申し入れをする
  • savvy - 実際的知識、手腕、機転、常識
  • push the limits - 限界を押し広げる、現状を打破する
  • lurking - 潜んでいる
  • religious decree - 宗教令
  • keep a tight lid on -
    ~を厳重に取り締まる、~をひた隠しにしておく
  • decadent - 退廃的な、衰退期
  • stoning - 投石による死刑
  • bear fruit - 実を結ぶ、成果をもたらす

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "I'm good at~."



Hi everybody,

I'm still a little sleepy because Alan just woke me up from my afternoon nap to ask me this question:

"Hey Chibi," he said, "How do you say 「得意なものは何ですか。」 in English?"
I was angry that he woke me, but told him the answer anyway:
"What are you good at?"

This is a good question to ask your classmates. You can also be more specific (具体的)by asking "What ~ are you good at?" Examples include "What sports are you good at?" and (過去形の場合) "What subjects were you good at in school?"

As for me, I'm good at sleeping.

Goodnight,

Chibi

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Basic Grammar Words


I have been teaching in Japan for a few years now, but I still have trouble remembering some basic grammatical terms (文法用語).
Therefore I have decided to introduce a few useful words here to help you (and me!) in class:
  • Noun - 名詞
  • Verb - 動詞
  • Adjective - 形容詞
  • Adverb - 副詞
  • Preposition - 前置詞
  • Subject - 主語
  • Object - 目的語
  • Sentence - 文
  • Paragraph - 段落
Next time I will introduce some basic words connected with verbs (動詞)and tenses (時制).

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "It's not my fault!"


Hi everyone,

I'm Alan's dog, Chibi. I was born and raised in Kagawa. My hobbies are going for walks, watching TV, and having my belly rubbed.

While my master is busy teaching, I'd like to explain a very useful phrase to you:
"It's not my fault!" means 「僕のせいじゃないよ!」 in Japanese.

I use this whenever Alan is angry at me for barking at strangers or when I have an accident in the house. Feel free to use it in class or whenever you have an accident of your own.

See you on the Streets of Takamatsu,

Chibi

上級クラス復習(6月5日)


Last week we looked at 2 news articles in my advanced class both connected to the internet. The first article is about how President Obama is planning to deal with cyber terrorist threats to the USA (サイバー・テロへの対策). The second article is about how millions of people in the UK regularly download illegal files using file-sharing networks (違法ファイル交換ネットワーク).

Here are the links to the articles with a list of useful vocabulary below:
"US launches cyber security plan"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8073654.stm
"Seven million 'use illegal files' "
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8073068.stm
  • Digital infrastructure - 情報社会基盤
  • Cyber - サイバースペースの、コンピュータ・ネットワークの
  • Tsar/Czar - 権威、大家、第一人者、専門家
  • Malicious - 意地の悪い、悪意のある
  • Air traffic control - 航空(交通)管制
  • Power grid - 電力網、電力供給網、配電網、分電網
  • Espionage -
    スパイ行為、偵察、スパイ、諜報
  • File sharing network -
    ファイル交換ネットワーク
  • Intellectual property -
    知的財産、知的所有権
  • All you can eat -
    バイキング形式、食べ放題
  • Illicit - 不法な、違法の、不義の、無免許の

Monday, 1 June 2009

上級クラス復習(5月29日)

Every Friday I have an advanced class in which my students and I discuss 1 or 2 recent news articles, usually taken from the BBC news website.

It is a very high level discussion, but from now on I would like to review the article here on the blog and add a list of key vocabulary to help those who want to have a go.


Last week's article was entitled "Long before the rod was spared" and can be found here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8047541.stm

It is an article about child cruelty (児童虐待) and the history of the U.K.'s biggest child protection charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC、国家児童虐待防止協会), which was formed 125 years ago.

Here are some key words and phrases from the article to help with your reading:
  • "Spare the rod and spoil the child" -
    《諺》かわいい子には旅をさせよ。/むちを惜しめば子供を駄目にする。
  • sobering -
    酔いを覚ます、酔いも覚めるような、人をまじめにさせる、ありのままの、冷静な
  • bleak - 暗い、希望のない
  • deprivation - 貧困
  • rife - はびこって、流行する
  • humane -
    人間味のある、人道的な、思いやりのある、人情のある、慈悲深い、心の優しい
  • repercussions - 反響、影響、余波、波紋
  • watershed -
    出来事の流れを変えるもの、重要な分岐点、転換点、重大な時期{じき}、重要なヤマ場
  • philanthropy -
    慈善、慈善活動、社会奉仕事業

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Welcome Part III from R.T.

Hi there! It's very nice to meet all of our new and continuing students at our new spot in Takamatsu. My name is R.T. and I am from the US. I have lived in many places in the US, but I now call Tennessee State home. It's my father's home state. Originally, I was born in Niagara Falls, New York. It is just across the river from Canada. It is a VERY beautiful place, and I hope you can visit there someday. I grew up in a small town in Washington State. Usually, when people ask, "Where are you from?" I like to answer, "I am from Washington State." That's because I went to elementary school, junior high school, senior high school and two years of college in Washington State. Don't confuse Washington State with Washington D.C., though. Washington D.C. is the capital city of the US, and it is the 11th largest city in that country. Washington D.C. is on the east coast of the US, and Washington State is on the west coast. I lived for 3 years in California, and graduated from college there. My degree is in International Relations. My main job is working as an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Takamatsu University. I enjoy teaching at E-Style very much. The new location is great. The classroom is very spacious and a wonderful place to make friends. I hope to see you there.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Welcome Part II

Hello this is Jack here.
I would like to add my words of welcome to Alan's message below.

I hope that this blog will grow into a useful resource for studying and also be fun and interesting to read.

I am intending to post regularly on a variety of topics so please keep an eye on our blog.

Hope to see you at E-Style soon.

Jack

Monday, 11 May 2009

Welcome to E-Style!

Hi everyone,
Welcome to the E-Style English Blog. From now on, RT, Jack and I will be posting on a variety of topics to help with your English studies. Please feel free to send us your comments and ideas. We hope this blog will become a fun and useful place to visit.

See you at E-Style,
Alan