Saturday, 31 December 2011

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

I asked Alan the other day (この間) why he says "Happy Holidays" more than "Merry Christmas" in December. He explained that since different people celebrate (祝う) different holidays during this season, he prefers "Happy Holidays" so as not to offend anyone (誰の感情も害さないため).

I then asked him why we never have a Christmas tree. He said that one reason was because he didn't want me to spread my "Christmas cheer" in the house. Then he told me the real reason: Because we're Jewish (ユダヤ人), we celebrate Hanukkah, also known as (a.k.a.) (~の別名でも知られる) the Festival of Lights (光の祭り).

Hanukkah lasts eight days, during which time we light a 9-branched menorah (9本枝の大燭台), starting with two candles on the first night and adding a candle each night. We also exchange presents (プレゼント交換) and eat special food like brisket of beef, latkes (potato pancakes), and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).

Our family enjoyed Hanukkah very much this year, in part thanks to R.T. and his wonderfully-timed present: The menorah in the above photo.

We wish the best for everyone during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays,


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "I'm Only Sleeping"

Hi music lovers,

As many of you know, Alan's favorite band is the Beatles. Of all the great songs by the Fab Four, Alan says that he can't decide on (決定できない) which one he likes best, but MY favorite number (歌) is "I'm Only Sleeping" (僕は眠ってるだけなんだ).

Here are the lyrics (歌詞) from the first verse (序奏部、バース):

When I wake up early in the morning (朝早く目覚めたときには)

Lift my head, I'm still yawning (頭をもたげてもまだあくびしてる)

When I'm in the middle of a dream (夢の中にいるときには)

Stay in bed, float upstream (ベッドの中でふわふわ浮いてる)

Please don't wake me (頼むよ、起こさないで)

No, don't shake me (だめだよ、揺すらないで)

Leave me where I am (このまま放っといて)

I'm only sleeping (僕は眠ってるだけなんだ)

Goodnight Vienna,


P.S. Click on the following link to hear the song (with all of the lyrics):
I'm Only Sleeping

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "Take a nap"

Hi everybody,

As many of you know, my favorite activity (一番好きな活動) is going (for) walkies (散歩連れていってもらうこと). I also love taking naps (昼寝すること). In fact, I love to take a nap or two (or ten) every day. Alan says that taking a short nap every day is good for one's health (健康に良い). Here are some other healthy things that I "take" once in a while:
take a bath (風呂に入る)
take a bite (一口食べる)
take a break (休憩する)
take a chance (いちかばちかやってみる)
take a piss (小便する) (NEVER in the house!)
take a shower (シャワーを浴びる)
take a trip (旅行する) and of course, my favorite . . .
take a walk (散歩する)

Take it easy,


Friday, 30 September 2011

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "Walkies"

Hi everybody,

My name is Chibi and my favorite activity (一番好きな活動) is going (for) walkies (散歩連れていってもらうこと). Alan takes me for a walk at least (少なくとも) twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Sometimes he walks me a third time late at night. I love going for walkies, but when it rains I have to endure (我慢しなきゃ) my least favorite activity (嫌いな活動): Taking a shower!

See you on the streets,


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "Looking Back on the Dog Days of Summer"

Hi everyone,

Well, September is near and it's still hot and humid (蒸し暑い) here in Kagawa. I'm looking forward to the cooler days of autumn, but in the meantime, I'll have to endure (我慢しなきゃ) the muggy (蒸し暑い) weather.

The other day, Alan taught me about the "dog days" of summer (盛夏) between early July and early September. This period is the hottest time of the year and is called the "dog days" because it is when Sirius (the Dog Star) rises and sets with the Sun.

According to Alan (アランによると), people in ancient Rome (古代ローマ) used to sacrifice a brown dog at the start of the "dog days" every summer. This was to appease (なだめる) Sirius because they believed that the Dog Star was responsible for the sultry (蒸し暑い) weather.

Although I may complain of the heat, I am happy that I'm a white dog living in present-day Japan (現代日本).

Stay cool,


P.S. I am Sirius . . . and don't call me Shirley!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Chibi's ワン-Point English: "連続Red Sox"

Hi everyone,

These days (最近), Alan has been driving me crazy talking about the Boston Red Sox. He checks the games' box scores in the newspaper every day and watches the highlights on TV every night. He even had their logo shaven and dyed into my fur during the 2007 season (please see the above photo).

According to Alan (アランによると), the Red Sox have been playing great as of late (最近). He says that just recently (つい最近) they won nine games in-a-row(九連勝した). This got me thinking about the different ways we say 「連続」in English. Here are some examples:

連続3試合負ける - lose 3 games in-a-row
5試合連続で - in 5 consecutive games
連続7人抜きをする - beat 7 opponents in succession
連続9試合 - 9 straight matches
連続して11年間 - for 11 years running

Go Sox,


P.S. Did you notice all the different ways I used 「最近」 above?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Groundhog Day vs. Setsubun and the Coming of Spring.

Well, February is already here. Everyone knows that February is time for Setsubun in Japan. Many people ask if we have a holiday like Setsubun in the US. Indeed, we do! Our holiday is called Groundhog Day. It is celebrated in the US and Canada. It's probably not as big of a national event as Setsubun is in Japan, but it is still well-known by most Americans and Canadians.

In Japan, Setsubun means the divisions of the seasons. It is also called Risshun, and is traditionally the beginning of spring. Well, Groundhog Day is all about the coming of spring, too. This holiday began in Europe. But, people aren't sure exactly when it started. Setsubun is on February 3 and Groundhog Day is on February 2. Since Japan is almost one day ahead of the US, they are on the same day in real time.

In America, on Groundhog Day, a small animal called a Groundhog that usually hibernates (sleeps all winter long), comes out of the ground from its nest, and looks for its shadow. According to folklore, if the Groundhog sees its shadow, we will have 6 more weeks of winter. If the animal does not see a shadow, we will have an early spring. So, if the weather is good on this day, it is bad. If the weather is bad on this day, it is good.

There are many areas that have ceremonies with real, living Groundhogs in different cities and towns around the US. The oldest and most famous ceremony is in a small town in Pennsylvania called Punxsutawney (Punxsutawney is a Native American word). The community keeps the most famous groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil inside an old tree stump. Early in the morning on February 2, in a big ceremony, the Groundhog comes out of his home, and predicts the weather.

If you want to learn more about Groundhog Day, I have one recommendation. In 1993, a famous movie called Groundhog Day was released in movie theaters in the US. (The Japanese title is  恋はデジャ・ブ ). It is a comedy and love story about a New York TV weatherman sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to report about this famous event. The weatherman doesn't want to go, and because of something supernatural, he is forced to relive the day over and over again. You can buy or rent this movie. It's an entertaining look at the holiday and you can learn about Groundhog Day in America.

Also, you can look at the official website for the ceremony in Punxsutawney at this webpage

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year's Resolutions

It's the beginning of another year. At E-Style we are excited to get back and continue our studies. We wish our students and friends all the best in 2011 and we hope to see you soon.

In R.T.'s Advanced class on January 3, still in the midst of the holiday season, the topic was New Year's Resolutions. It is a common practice in many countries, even in Japan, to vow to change something about yourself as you welcome in the New Year. R.T. did some checking and found a list of top 10 New Year's resolutions for Americans living on the east coast of the US. Did your resolutions make this top ten list?

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.

2. Fit in Fitness (This means to make time to exercise more and get in shape.)
The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge (This means to lose weight.)
Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year's commitment to shed extra pounds.

4. Quit Smoking
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good.

5. Enjoy Life More (This means to reduce your stress levels.)
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years. It's an important step to a happier and healthier you!

6. Quit Drinking
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking.

7. Get Out of Debt (This means to pay off your loans.)
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year's resolutions to keep.

9. Help Others
A popular, non-selfish New Year's resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help.

10. Get Organized
Generally speaking, getting things organized around your house and office, and getting your schedule organized, makes you feel a sense of peace. Many people make early plans for "spring cleaning," to follow the New Year spirit of “out with the old and in with the new.”