End of 2006 Review

On the last day of 2006 I have decided to look back at this blog.

The reason for this blog is to help my students with their English. It’s hard work learning a language, but I hope my students are able to read this blog and enjoy the English language.

It started on Sept 22nd, and in ‘I can’t read’ (Sept 29th) and ‘Funny story: glasses disaster’ (Oct 6th) I wrote about my bad eyesight, and my need for glasses. Well, I still have my 98yen glasses and I use them from time to time, but I think my eyesight is getting a little better. I’ll probably buy a real pair of glasses next year and I’ll just use them for reading very small print (like the answers in the Teacher’s Book).

On Sept 30th, in ‘Murphy’s Law No.1, I wrote about my umbrella problems. One of my umbrellas is still hidden at Abekawa Station. I’ve used it two or three times, it’s been a great success.

In ‘How does Masako feel?’, Oct 4th, I asked if the Japanese government have made a decision whether a female can become the Head of State, and at the moment no-one seems to care.

Now my students seem to realise that ‘very delicious’ (Pizza isn’t very delicious, Oct 23rd) is not a good combination of words, and that ‘really delicious’ is much better, and I’m really happy about that.

But not so many people read ‘Rose tea’, Nov 10th, which I thought could help you with another important point about adjectives.

From Nov 2nd I followed my favourite football team, Tottenham (Spurs) in their UEFA Cup matches. They have won all six games so far and are now in the last 32, and will play Feyenoord (Holland) in January.

On Nov 17th I found out that one of my students is a banana, but I have some bad news: bananas are in danger. I’ll give you some more information later.

There was another grammar blog on Dec 7th (Singular and Plural) which many people read. This is an area of grammar that is different in the Japanese language, so I guess it’s pretty tough for you.

And on Dec 8th one of my students told me that Harry Potter was the star of the Indiana Jones movies. Now I hear there will be a fourth Indy Jones movie; I look forward to seeing Harry Potter using his magic power on his enemies.

There were a few blogs about Santa, and on Dec 17th I wrote about ‘Silent night, holey sock’ which I thought would be very interesting but unfortunately nobody read it, what a shame.

There were many other articles (I should say posts), in fact I have written 70 so far and there have been 162 comments, for which I would like to say a big thank you. The blog has been viewed about 2,500 times which is far more than I had imagined.

I hope this blog is enjoyable and that it helps with your progress in English. Please continue to read next year, and also please continue to read after our course has finished.

Happy New Year, and I hope the white team wins!

Blook

As you probably know the word ‘blog’ comes from the word ‘weblog’. Web is the last word of www, World Wide Web, and log means diary or journal.

It’s not a very nice sounding word, but it has become very popular in a short time, and there are a few related words which are now also used, for example: to blog (the verb), and blogger (someone who writes a blog).

And recently another new word has appeared: blook. This has a slightly better sound. It is a mix of blog and book. Some people are now writing their own books onto their blogs. It’s a nice idea.

One of my friends, who uses the blog name ‘dragonlife’ has just started his blook. The title is ‘The life of a Dragon’ and it is a fantasy story in three parts. You can easily find it in Links, which is on the right side of this blog. I wonder if the writer of a blook is called a blooker?

And I am also writing a book (not a blook). This will be made with paper and ink in the normal way. It is not a fantasy book, it is a book for children, and comes with a CD. I’ll let you know more later.

Snowmen v Santa

Yesterday I didn’t do anything on this blog; it was a Christian holy day (holiday).

There are many Christmas decorations in my house and I decided to count the number of snowmen and Santas that I have. I counted every picture, figure and decoration in my living room, and which one do you think I have most images, snowmen or Santas?

The score is 38 Santa images and 35 snowmen. So Santa wins. But there is no Santa, and there is no chance of making a snowman round here.

Then I counted the number of images of Jesus Christ. One.

Snowmen

A snowman is man-like figure made from balls of snow. The image of a snowman is connected with Christmas in Western culture. Building a snowman is a popular winter activity for children. There are many styles of snowmen across different cultures.

A snowman can be made by rolling a large ball of snow for its body. A second (and often a third), smaller ball is placed on top, as its head. Eyes and a mouth, are added using coal, small stones, or buttons. A nose may be added, using a piece of fruit or a vegetable, such as a carrot (but no bananas please!); sticks are sometimes added as arms. And snowmen often are given a pipe and a hat.

In the United Kingdom and Japan snowmen are usually built with two balls of snow, whereas in the United States the ‘three-ball method,’ is much more popular.

But there is no snow round here. I wonder if people build snowmen on Mt Fuji?

Beautiful Sunday

Last Sunday I took my family to a park next to the Abe River, just north of Kano Bridge. It was a beautiful sunny day.

This park is completely covered in grass, just like a gorgeous green carpet. And on the grass I saw lots of young children smiling and laughing and enjoying themselves. They were playing cricket.

A friend of mine has introduced cricket into a few elementary schools in Shizuoka City, and the children love it. I tried to help coach the children, and my children joined in too.

It was really great to see these children (and some of them are pretty good players) trying their best and following the traditions of this noble sport.

miwa-shizuhata-dec17th.jpg

Flying reindeer

Does man know everything there is to know? Of course not. Has man discovered every living thing on this planet? Again, of course not. One of the reasons that there is no Santa (see There is no Santa) is that flying reindeer don’t exist. But perhaps man just hasn’t seen one yet.

In the wild snowy Himalayan mountains lives a legendary animal, the yeti. It stands on two legs like a human, it is huge and scary, and it is covered with long white hair. Perhaps it really exists, and perhaps it doesn’t.

In the deep dark Pacific Ocean (more than 2.5km deep) lives another strange animal. It is a crab which is covered by long white hair. This animal is not a legend, it is real. It was first discovered in March this year, and it is one of the most unusual animals known to man.

This crab has been given the name yeti crab, and scientists still don’t know the reason for the mysterious hairs. It shows that there are many more unusual animals which have not yet been discovered. You never know, we might find a flying reindeer one day.

060309_yeti_crab.jpg

Silent night, holey sock

Went with my family to a very pleasant Christmas party with some other families at a community centre in Yaizu City. Near the end of the party was the time for Santa to arrive and deliver gifts to all the children, and I was Santa!

Before Santa’s arrival there had been lots of really delicious dishes to eat, a few party games and, of course, the Christmas songs. Everyone was singing, ‘Silent night, holy night,’ when I suddenly realised that it wasn’t a holy night, it was a holey sock.

Inside the community centre everyone had to take off their shoes. There were some green slippers, but my feet are much too big so I didn’t bother. But during the song I looked down at my foot and saw a hole in my sock. It wasn’t a big hole, but it was a hole, and anyone could see.

I couldn’t waste time worrying about it since I was just about to change into the Santa suit. So I quietly left the room and got changed in a private room. I put some cushions round my waist to look plump, and wore some white gloves and some dark glasses so none of the children, including my own, would recognise me, but there was still that hole in my sock.

I thought I would try to wear a pair of green slippers when I entered the party-room, but someone asked me to enter by a side door to surprise the children, so no chance of any slippers.

It was very enjoyable to be Santa, watching all the smiles on the childen’s faces, and the excitement in their eyes. I gave a gift (bought by the parents) to every child, and by chance my daughter was last. And she saw the hole! And she knew it was me. Fortunately she didn’t say anything so none of the other children knew, but she told my young son later, so now he knows too.

So if anyone ever asks you to be Santa make sure you check your socks.


Another victory

It’s unbelievable. Thanks for your support, Spurs won again, 3-1 against Dinamo Bucuresti (Romania), with one goal from Berbatov (from Bulgaria) and two goals from Defoe (from England).

Spurs now finish top of their group and will play against Feyenoord (Holland) in the next round.

Spurs’ next game

Tonight my team, Tottenham (nickname Spurs), play another game in the UEFA Cup. This time they are at home to Dinamo Bucuresti (Romania).

Spurs have already qualified for the next round so this match is not as important as before, but if they win or draw this game then they can finish top of their qualifying group. This will give them an easier game in the next round.

So far Spurs have won every European game this season, let’s hope it continues.

I am Santa

Last year I was invited to take my family to a Christmas party. We were very happy to go. Then I was suddenly asked to be Santa. I wasn’t keen but I couldn’t refuse.

Halfway through the party I went to the toilet and changed into a red and white Santa suit and hat, and a black belt. I put some cushions around my waist to make me look plump, and I had a long white beard, and I also wore some sunglasses.

The children seemed very excited to see Santa. I said “Ho, ho, ho,” many times and gave presents to all the children, including my own. And my children didn’t know I was Santa. It was weird to see their faces from behind the dark glasses. They looked at me as if I were a stranger, they thought I was still in the toilet. I could see a different side of their character.

When I changed back to my normal clothes and returned to the party my children were disappointed that I had missed Santa.

This year I have been invited to the same party again, and once more I am Santa. A few of you have commented that Santa is in the minds of children, but I think my children will recognise me this year, and then they will realise that it was also me last year, and their dream of Santa will be gone.