Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Home for Christmas

Winter is my favourite season, especially when it snows. Write an essay to agree/disagree

My favorite season is the summer.

I’m living in Nagano PRF and my old house is close to mountain. Therefore, it is quite cold and a lot of snow in winter. If I put the glass of water at room without heater, it is frozen in one day. Additionally, I need to remove snow from the early morning and usually hit traffic jam by a lot of snow.
Although spring and autumn are also good, it is little bit cold early morning and evening, and a lot of cedar pollen is flying in spring especially at the northern of Nagano.
I have other reasons to think personally that the best season is the summer. It doesn’t rain much at my place in rainy season and is not really hot comparing other prefectures.
The view of the Japan alps, rice field and blue sky are so beautiful.
Additionally, it is the best season for hiking. Many hikers visit Nagano taking a long car trip from the night before their hiking.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Postcard from...Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Jim,

I have been enjoying staying in Boston for almost two weeks since 17th Feb.

Boston is an amazing city! You can enjoy sports, music, culture and academic atmosphere at the same time.

If you haven't, you must visit Boston!


My relationship with my phone - After reading

I use my mobile phone every day to see Instagram and twitter and to send text message like LINE. And I rarely talk on the phone to contact someone except for emergency case because the text message can be read at receiver’s convenient timing. Before I make phone calls, I always worry that she/he may be at silent space where talking on the mobile phone is not allowed like train, hospital, and she/he or her/his baby may stay in bed or may be busy now.It is my reason that I prefer sending text message to contact someone. When I contact hospitals, hair care salon, restaurant etc, I usually use my mobile phone, not fixed line.
I phone the most to my sister to do video chat with my nephew though he is 15 month olds and cannot say any words.
My mobile phone is always set in “Silent mode”, so vibration makes me find that I get a phone call. My ring tong has never been changed after I bought my mobile phone 3 years ago, but when I was high school or university students, I changed the ring tone downloaded by application called “Chaku-melo” and “Chaku-uta” every month.

Friday, 9 March 2018

A day in the life with Megumi - I got a mouth ulcer!

Hello!  I’ve worked hard everyday and drunk much.
One day, I drank whisky with soda.
I got drunk.
And I forgot soda, drank whisky straight.
I thought “!!!!!”.
I couldn’t drink it soon, kept it in my mouth a while.
And I was hungry, I ate green curry.
... I got a mouth ulcer.
It was so painful that I hadn’t be able to eat meals for three days.

It healed now.
I enjoy drinking time!

Monday, 5 March 2018

The place where I live

I live in Iwaki city. It's in the south of Fukushima prefecture in Touhoku region. It's located 150km south from Sendai,200km north from Tokyo. Population is 345,000 over. Iwaki has extensive area. It was the biggest city in Japan until 15 years ago.

There is the pacific Ocean in the east, Abukuma mountains in the west. Using rich nature, people make many kind of agricultural products and fishing industry. on the other hand, industrial production is developing. In the past, Mine development was major industries because there are many mines. We can see coal mine heritage as a historic building. And we can enjoy spa springing from coal mine at "Spa Resort Hawaiians". It's large sightseeing leisure facilities that opened in 1966. It's drawn in the movie "Hula girl".

There are roughly three kind of weather in Fukushima because mountains divides the prefecture into three area. Iwaki is on the seaside. In the summer,cool wind blows from the sea. In the winter, it doesn't snow because mountains are blocking the snow, so don't need statless tires. Sunshine hours are the longest in Touhoku region. It's very comfortable in all year.

There are some famous tourist spot. Many tourists visit to seaside area. There is a beautiful building aquarium and marine tower and big fishmarket where people can buy or enjoy seafoods. Fishing and surfing are also popular in seaside. Hot springs are popular to relax. Ocean view,mountain view, both good. "Spa Resort Hawaiians" is the most famous for tourist. Other famous spot as a religious building, Shiramizuamidado temple is a national treasure that related to Mr.Fujiwara of local ruling family in Touhoku region. It's a beautiful japanese style building. Not famous among tourist, but my recommendation is traditional performing arts. Fukushima has more than 800 kind of traditional performing arts at each area. we have more than1200 kind in showa 30's, but it is decreasing year by year.  The famous one of these is "Jangara" that performing in summer in Iwaki. It has religious meaning for us.

What I like best about Iwaki is beautiful seasonal scenery and seasonal local food. Seasoning Touhoku is the best for me. And I like talk Iwaki dialect with my friends, family or local people. When people talk in dialect, can be naturally relaxed and friendly. I also like to visit retro places and rustic country scenery because it's still many remained in Touhoku. I love nostalgic scenery.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Railway Children - Living near a railway line

If I live near a railway line, I would think about going on a trip often. When I see people on a train, I wonder where they will go and who they are. It is a kind of magic of train that people forget about their real life and dream to go to a new world, just for a while.

When I lived in California, there was a canyon near my house. And under the canyon there was a railway line. Sometimes I saw the trains running and my children were excited to see them. It was nice to see trains running through the canyon.

For people who live in a country, trains associate journey and admiration for the city. But, for the people who live in a city, trains are daily transportation. In the big city like Tokyo, train comes every 5 minutes. It must be very noisy to live near the railway line in a city. When I go to Tokyo by train, I can see many houses very near the railway line. I always think it will be very difficult for me to live near the railway line. Because of noise and light I feel restless and can't sleep well at night.

Posted for Yasumi

Friday, 2 March 2018

The Brontë Story - Jany Eyre explained

To editor of Smith and Elder pubishing company,

I'm so glad to give me your sinsire advice. Along with your advice, I've written "Jane Eyre" in 3 volumes.

In volume one, Jane Eyre lives with an unkind aunt, and then goes away to a school called Lowood. She has lived eight years in this strict school. Enduring a miserable and poor life in this school, she becomes a strong woman.

In volume two, she puts an advertisement and then she gets a job of governess in Thornfield House. The master in Thornfield house falls in love with Jane, and tries to get married, even though he already has a wife who has been mad. Jane runs away from her master.

In volume three, a rector in Moor House helps Jane Eyre while wondering Moors. Coincidentally a rector and his two sisters are Jane's cousins. For the first time, she can gets true family. At last, the story is happy ending.

Jane Eyre is an independant woman. She always says her thought by herself, even though in front of the nobles. She says a genuine affection to the man. This is sensational, but her life will move women in the world.

I want to change my name "Currer Bell" No one thinks women can write good books, so I would like to use man's name. My sister's books, "Agness Grey" and "Wuthering Heights" are dicided to publish from Thomas Cautley Nawby publishing company. Please think about my book "Jane Eyre"

Posted for Hiroko

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Martin Luther King - American Conscience Martin Luther King Jr. Dies at 39

Martin Luther King, an American Baptist minister as an activist fell caused a gunshot head wound on 4 April in Memphis. Just after 6 o’clock in the evening, he went out of his hotel room to fresh air. Suddenly there was the sound of a gun, his friends told. They ran outside and found him lying on the ground. An hour later Martin Luther King died in a Memphis hospital. He was thirty-nine years old.

He was born on 15 January 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia as a child of a minister in an Atlanta church. He became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped SCLC.

On October 14, 1964 King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. Recently he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam war. There were several famous speeches were given. “ I have a dream” “ Beyond Vietnam” and so on. It is certain that we have lost a great person.

Posted for Naoko

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Goldfish - Nazi treasure

It is said the number of art objects such as paintings, sculptures and art prints which Nazi looted from Jews and other countries is 600,000. The art works, Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, etc. which cost 1 billion were discovered in 2012 at the apartment of Munich. But over 100,000 artworks have not been discovered yet.

This book's author is Kouichi Fujita who worked in Berlin as a correspondent of Mainichi news company. He wrote this reportage in April 2011. He wrote about 'Room of amber ', 'Gogh collection ' and Vermeer. Hitler persisted in Vermeer. He wanted to open Linz Museum. But he couldn't do because the war situation became worse for Germany.

I was surprised that 'Astronomer' of Vermeer was looted by Nazi.So, there is Swastika which was symbol of Nazi on the back of 'Astronomer'. I saw it at Louvre Museum. It was a small but very wonderful painting. Most of the artworks which Nazi collected were changed to gold by the help of Swiss Bank and British Bank. Then they were sold and disappeared as the cost of war.I think some people have the artworks which were looted by Nazi. Perhaps they will not be discovered easily.

I hope that all artworks are discovered and can see them at the museums in many countries. The wonderful artworks are not Nazi treasure. They are our treasure forever.

Posted for Olga

Matsumoto restaurant review - Mori Soba

Mori-soba restaurant, Matsumoto.

This restaurant is in Matsumoto station, on the first floor. In the restaurant, there is dark furniture. It has a good atmosphere.

You can eat Shinshu soba and tempura, and drink local Japanese sake. You don't have to make a reservation.

You can see the cook making the soba noodles - it's very interesting. I like this restaurant. It's a little expensive but the food is delicious. I really recommend it.
Mari Soba, JR Matsumoto station

Posted for Yasue

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Phantom of the Opera - A letter from the Phantom

I loved flowers, trees, birds, and all beautiful things in the world.But I couldn`t see them under the sun. People was afraid me, pointed me, and said.``He is a monster``I hated all of people. But Christine was different. She wasn`t afraid me. I wanted to stay with her. When taught her songs, I was very happy. I wanted to walk with her under the sun if I can. But I couldn`t, so I never leave her. I decided to live under the Opera House with her. Her voice was too beautiful. She is a singer. She is a great singer. I wanted to popularize her voice. That was a mistake. I love her. I love her.

Posted for Misuzu

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Last Leaf and Other Stories - Detective's diary

I looked a happening in my presence. May, the sister`s older child, had closed the door of the strong-room. Then she had turned all the knobs. But the other child, Agatha, was inside the strong-room. Agatha is Annabel` sister. Nobody has chosen the numbers for the lock!Jimmy Valentine is now Ralph. D. Spencer. and he is going to marry the banker`s daughter, Annabel. Every family doesn`t know he was safe-cracker. Ralph looked a happening with Annabel`s family. and Ralph became Jimmy Valentine. Jimmy used special tools and cutting into the steel door. after that Jimmy pulled the big handle and the door opened. The child was safe, she was not hurt. Jimmy said to me "Arrest me" But I looked at Annabel and her family.They were all crying quietly. Jimmy helped Agatha and family. Family thanked for Jimmy. Family was confused the happening. So I decided not to arrest he.

Posted for Yoko

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Honnouji Incident - after reading of Rob Roy

Honnouji Incident is one of significant historical event in Japan which had a big impact.  It is an incident that Oda Nobunaga was attacked by one of his vassal, Akechi Mitsuhide at Honnouji temple in 1582.  Oda Nobunaga committed suicide and died.

Nobunaga was lived in the era called “the age of provincial wars”.  There was no centralized government in Japan and were a lot of lords all over Japan who governed their own territories.  His goal was to unify Japan.

Nobunaga changed the old system and rules.  Here is one of example.  There was a merchant association which privileged old merchants and didn’t accept new merchants.  The merchants had to pay tax when they sold goods in the market.  There was another tax system.  People had to pay tax when they went through checkpoints.  He scrapped the merchant association as well as those tax systems.  As a result, it brought a positive impact an economic development.

Mitsuhide knew Nobunaga took rest in Honnouji with his thirty servants and didn’t prepare for an attack.  Mitsuhide led his army to Honnouji and pushed Nobunaga to commit suicide.

After Nobunaga’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa unified Japan in 1600. Honnouji Incident became one of triggers to make the centralized government known as Edo Bakufu.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Northanger Abbey - A letter to a loved one

My dear Eleanor,

Thank you for your letter. I’m so happy to hear that your father agreed our marriage. I’ve been afraid that your father might not permit us. I love Henry and I’ve wanted his father to permit our marriage. 

And You got engaged! Congratulations! Who is your fiancée? What is he like、very handsome, very rich and? Where does he live? When and where did you meet him? Now I have many questions to ask you! When we meet next time you have to tell me everything about your fiancée. We’re all for it that you and we are going to be married on the same day. Maybe we will have a most wonderful wedding ceremony. I am so excited now. You and I are going to be sisters. I hope we are always good friends forever!


Posted for Misako

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Picture Puzzle - Front page news

The sense of justice of Amy

Amy and Pete without the acquaintance solved a certain case. On Tuesday, Amy saw the big man, name’s Wallace talking to a man in the churchyard. Amy knew the other man. His name is Thurber, lawyer. Thurber is Zetter’s lawyer. Zetter is in prison. Wallace works at that prison. Amy heard Wallace talking to Thurber. Wallace said “Bring the money here at nine o’clock on Friday morning. After that, I’ll help Zetter.” And Amy went to the churchyard with camera on the day and took a picture of the two men. But Wallace saw Amy. Amy ran away to the shopping mall. Amy saw a young man, Pete in the mall. And Amy gave Pete the film out of the camera. Amy started running again. Wallace found out Amy. Amy was caught and was put in a bathroom. Pete who solved the puzzle fought with Wallace and saved Amy. Wallace and Thurber were caught.

Posted for Reiko

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Another sixth grader writes...

My favourite day of the week is Saturday. In the morning, I always go to the brass band. After brass band, I usually go to piano at my grandmother's house.

We're shopping at the department store. My mother was a salesperson in Tokyo. She likes nice clothes. I do too!

I'm going to my cousin's home by car. We always have fun. Last Sunday it was sunny. We were at my grandmother's house; if it's sunny, we want to go to AEON.

It's my sister's birthday on February 23rd.My mother & I are making a cake. She's cooking a chicken too. The party is at 7 o'clock. See you then!

Posted for Karen (13)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Matsumoto restaurant review - Reizan

Restaurant review - Reizan

Reizan is a Chinese restaurant, in Kiri, Matsumoto.

It's a small restaurant, with only three tables plus five chairs at the counter. Two people work there, the owner, and his wife. The owner cooks the food. He is Japanese, but he makes traditional Chinese dishes.

It takes twenty minutes from Matsumoto station by car, and I recommend you make a reservation before you go there.

The most popular dish is friend noodles, but my favourite one is shrimp in "wantan" with a secret sauce. It's really delicious.

Posted for Riyo

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

1.      Sports to do in Matsumoto cheaply

If you use public sports facilities, you can do sports inexpensively. You can play tennis at public

tennis courts if you book in advance. And also, you can lift weights in some public gyms. There are some mallet golf courses which are near parks or camping sites. You can play there freely if you have equipment for it. If not, you can rent it for about 500 yen in certain parks.

2.      If you don’t mind spending a bit more

There are many traditional Japanese culture lessons, such as judo, karate or aikido, in a public gym or a private dojo. You can join in if you make a reservation and pay for it. You will have precious experiences.

      There are some ski areas in Matsumoto. You can ski and snowboard in winter. A lift pass costs around 5,000 yen for one day. You can rent outfits, skis and snowboards and boots,

3.      Don’t forget to …

You should clean up the place you used, it’s the Japanese way to use public spaces.

      It’s very cold in winter so you should be tolerant of the cold while you do sports.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Restaurant review - Spice Monster in Akasaka, Tokyo

I noticed this new restaurant in Akasaka because it had an interesting name, and an English menu outside with lamb dishes featuring prominently.

I went in the early evening and it was empty (not usually a good sign) but the waitress jumped into action while I could hear the young chef worrying that he couldn't speak English - but he didn't know I was English even though I was wearing an England rugby shirt! I liked the feel of the place, and I think it would a perfect place for a quiet date - the staff didn't bother me, and the music was quiet.

Spice Monsters - exquisitely tasty
I actually ordered a Black Angus steak, and as I was seated at the counter, I had a bird's eye view as my selection was carefully but quickly spiced & fried, rested, then grilled. Presented to me on a wooden platter with anchovy sauce topped chips (french fries if you like) & an unhealthy but necessary sprinkling of rock salt. Simple is best, but the chef had blended a number of spices into a delicate sauce...which melted with the perfect steak in my mouth. It was fabulous, and exactly what I wanted.

I thoroughly recommend this little restaurant, between Akasaka & Akasaka-Mitsuke stations...actually, within a stone's throw of King's Road School of English. Prices were reasonable, they take credit cards, and in the end I had a good chat with Naoya & Sayumi!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

After reading - My favorite car

When I was a child, I liked sports car and watched the movie, title is fifty seconds.

The story of the movie is that one guy failed the job, which is stealing the car, and his friend tried to clean up friend’s mess. In the movie, one car was appealed. It is Mustang Shelby GT 500 Eleanor. The car was portrayed as special one and sound effect portrayed the car fantastically. However I was interested in the car unabiding.

The next car I am interested in is Veyron. The maximum speed is 400km. When I knew this car, I had dreamed to drive autobahn in German. If I win the lotto, I would buy it.

Now I have a car, but not sports car. I am not so interested in the car and am satisfied my car. Because I can go to somewhere with my car.

City profile: Vancouver in Canada

North Vancouver and sea from downtown
Vancouver is in western Canada , in the province of British Columbia.
It is a cosmopolitan city where immigrants from places such as China, the Middle East and South America live.

It is a popular destination for American sightseers and movie stars for a vacation.
There are mountains and the famous ski area ‘Whistler’, and the coast is close to downtown.

Vancouver has a rainy season, half of the year from November to April, but it does not get much snow due to the maritime climate. In summer, it is very comfortable as there are plenty of sunny days with dry air.

Downtown Vancouver has an art museum, a popular shopping center, an aquarium and a big park. Although there are no famous Canadian dishes, there are a lot of international restaurants because of Vancouver’s cosmopolitan population.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Entertainments of Matsumoto city

Cheap amusements

Matsumoto city offers free rental bicycles, so you can explore the town with them.
Luckily, it easy to get most of the sightseeing spots, like the Matsumoto castle,
Kaichi elementary school, Agata no Mori park, by bicycle. Then, if you are thirsty,
you can drink fresh spring water which is clean and tasty in the town. There are
some wells in the town. Making a tour round these wells is also popular. You can
get the map at the city information.

If you have flexible budget

Enjoy the tour of the Matsumoto castle. Visiting the inside of the old historical
castle will be an amazing experience and the view from the top is wonderful.
Also there are some interesting unique museums in the city. 

Try high class entertainment

Matsumoto is well known as a cultural city. Some famous festivals, like the Seiji
Ozawa Music Festival, Kabuki are really popular. Many people visit here from
all over Japan in order to appreciate them. If you have plenty of money, you should
try them.

Matsumoto Museum of Art

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Film review "Your Name"

I saw the film called 'Your name'. It's a Japanese fantasy and relationships animation.

One of the main charactor is the girl who is bored of her life in the country-side, and another one is the boy who lives in Tokyo. They are suddenly exchanged. They gradually find out the reason and enjoy the situation.

The accidents and the miracles happen a lot. It makes the film attractive, and also teenagers feelings and emotions are expressed very well
I think not only kids but also adults enjoy this film. I really recommend it!

Posted for Kazumi

Monday, 29 January 2018

After reading - "Dummy Invitation to Class Halloween Party"

This is dummy invitation as homework and the party below is not held actually.
Dear our classmates,

It’s that time of the year again!  We are going to have a Halloween party in the night of Oct. 31, 2018 and would like to invite everyone to attend. This may be last Halloween party for this senior class, so we would appreciate if all classmates can attend and enjoy much.

Please see the details of party as below.
Date:  October 31 (Wed)  Time:  18:00 – 20:00  Location:  Café & Bacaro il nido  Address:  2/F, 1-3-18 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano Japan  You can see a map in the site below for your easier understanding.  Cost:  JPY4,000 per person  Dress-code:  Put something of Halloween-esque
We are going to have a Bingo party and you may be able to get wonderful Halloween present!!  We really hope to see you and to spend funny time there!

If you are not able to attend the party, please let me know before Oct. 23 (Tue). Party organizer:  Yuri Kojima  & Ritsuko Ozawa

P.S.  If you have time before party, we are welcome to come to the restaurant around 16:30 to do setting together.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

City profile - Nakayama, Matsumoto city

City profile: Home town – Matsumoto, Nakayama

  • Geography

Nakayama is located to the south-east of the urban district of Matsumoto City.
It is under the Hachibuse mountain. My home town is a laidback country town.

  • When to go

Nakayama has an ancient tomb “Koubouyama”. You can hike there by walk. The most popular time to visit is Spring, when cherry blossoms bloom and it looks stunning.

  • What to see

Nakayama is surrounded by mountain.

  • Autumn leaves: When you come to here in autumn, you can see changed leaves. It is stunning.
  • Garbage mountain: Dismantling Operator handle industrial waste treatment
  • Archaeological Museum: There is a house in Jomon period. It has Stone tools in the Jomon period.

Tristan and Isolde - A weekend sightseeing trip in Cornwall

Cornwall is a county and duchy in South West England in the United Kingdom. Cornwall has a lot of fascinating spot. 

If you like history, Tintagel castle ruins is recommended. The legendary birthplace of the King Arthur who is the hero of Celt. Earl Richard of Cornwall and King of Romans built the present medieval castle.

Also, St Michael’s Mount is recommended. Maybe you have seen this view. This is miniature St Michael’s Mount. St Michael's Mount had come into the possession of the monks of its sister isle, Mont St Michel in Normandy. The building is interesting but the garden is also stunning. Many of visitors it is astonishing that a garden.

Finally, I recommend the Eden Project Biomes. It is one of the largest green house. You can see unique building. It has been opened since 2001 as complex facility, so you can enjoy it.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Happy time in the center of Shinshu

Aeon Mall Matsumoto was opened as the largest shopping center in Matsumoto city last
year.  The concept is “Happy time in the center of “Shinsyu (Nagano)”.  It means the 
Aeon Mall serves the comfortable and exciting place to customers.  Even if you are with
children, you can spend time comfortably and do shopping reasonably by using the
services.  We are going to introduce you main three services.

Firstly, there are many places that kids can play safety.  If kids are tired of shopping, you can let them play in the spaces.  In that case, please do not forget to keep a close watch on your kids.

Secondly, several events for kids or family are available periodically.  You can participate most of events with your kids without reservation and for free.

Lastly, if you show courtesy passport for child-rearing family when you buy anything, many stores make a discount or provide you small gifts.

Have a happy time with your family in Aeon Mall by using these services!

The dream I gave up

When I was at high school, I bothered what I want to be in the future. One of my dream was to be a person who restores an old western painting. Because I was good at to restore colors, interested in western culture and like painting.

When I was a child, I have been to Europe as a family trip. Although I had looked the western and oil paintings on the pictures or watched on the TV, it was first time to look the paintings actually and genuinely. I was very impressed when I looked them at museum. The real paintings were totally different from the pictures.

However,  only few people can get the job. I needed special high skills for the job such as knowledge of the painting tools and materials, restoring technique.One of professor who engages for the job of restoring a painting had invited me to enter to his university. It was few occasions and a big chance for me. I had considered what I want to do really and I refused his proposal. Because I did not have a confidence to engage the job and I thought I could not be. If I become, it would be difficult to earn a money for a living.

Although I went to the university relevant art, I hadn’t dreamt the job already.
I am not sure that it was correct not to accept the proposal. But what I can say one thing is what I did not try and escaped from the dream.

What is mobile phone for me

The mobile phone is essential goods for me. 
I have moved to the new place about one year and half ago. When I came here, I didn't know any places where I can buy the basic goods , the hospital and so on. That time, I always googled and used a google map navigation. Additionally, as I like a travel by car through local road,  I would be got lost if I had no mobile phone.

I usually use a text message to contact someone as the receiver can see and reply for my message at their own convenience. However, when I want to confirm something with someone immediately, I ring someone.

When I lost the mobile phone, I am really upset and look for until I find it. However, when I forgot to bring it, I feel better as I don't need to check and reply for messages.

City profile: Suzaka city, Japan

Geography and history:
Suzaka city is in the north-eastern parts of Nagano prefecture. Chikuma river flows in the western side of Suzaka city. The east-southern part have Minenohara highland, Yonago great falls and Gomiike-habu highland. And it is surrounded by the rich natural environment.

When to go:
Suzaka city has a typical inland climate. We can feel the feature of each season there. The most popular time to visit is spring, when the cherry blossoms have a lot of flowers. Garyu-park in spring is especially stunning.

What to see:
Suzaka city is infamous, but has a lot of nature spot and hot spring. You would be surprised to see them actually.

Hilights include:
 - Garyu-park: famous for cherry blossom view and chosen as one of the best 100 of the beauty spot in Japan.
- Yonago great falls: Chosen as the deep mountains and dark valleys in Japan. Famous TV program, Sanada-maru use the view as its opening movie.

What to eat:
Suzaka city has a lot of agricultural products, grape, apple and mushroom.
Strawberry picking and grape picking is famous. You could eat strawberry and grape just after picking from the field. It is very tasty.

Where to stay:
Suzaka has Suzaka-hot spring inn. The appearance of the building look boring, but you can feel relaxed and nostalgic there. Definitely, hot spring would also made you relaxed by itself.

Friday, 12 January 2018

The Secret Garden - Mary writes to Jane

Dear Jane,

Your letter brought back memories of a time in my childhood which changed my life. When I arrived at Misselthwaite Mannor from India, I was so rude and spoilt girl. At first, I didn’t listen to the housemaid, Matha, but then I began to like her because of her friendly attitude.

One day, I heard from Martha about the secret garden which locked up ten years ago after Mrs. Craven died. When I was watching the robin in the garden and found the door under the leaves when the wind blew the ivy on the wall.

One night I heard the crying noise. I followed the noise and met with Colin. After I came to Misselthwaite Mannor, I could have my garden and also have some friends who are Dickon and Colin. Not only Matha’s friendly attitude changed me, but also these friends made me strong through the gardening physically and mentally.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - a highschool student's film review

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a fantasy film. It came out in 2005. The director was Tim Burton.

The story is about the factory's manager Willy Wonka. Five children has Golden Tickets and they are invited the Factory. Bad things happened naughty children but Charlie is very serious boy so he is safe.

I thought the film was very interesting and feel happy. But I think there were two problems with the film. Firstly, the characters were scary. Characters are very real. Secondly, I thought the film music was terrible. It's not a good film for young children.

Posted for Karen

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Back to the Future - a highschool student's film review

Back to the Future is a science fiction film. The director was Robert Zemeckis.

The story is about Marty McFly Jr sent 30 years into the past in a time-travelling DeLorean by Emmett Brown. He must make sure his parents get married to save his own existence.

I think the film was very exciting because Dr. Emmett Brown was crazy but it's very fun. Firstly the song is very cool. I can play the guitar this song. Secondly, I thought the film was difficult for young children.

Posted for Yuta

New Young Learners - Certification workshop

Quick announcement for any Cambridge YLE speaking examiners who need to re-certify with 2018 materials - certification workshop being held in Matsumoto Jan 28th

See link for details

NB Only available to SEs who have already trained for YLE and examined within the last 2 years

Contact Jim to register (free to JP004 SEs)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Welcome to Matsumoto, Japan - City Profile

City profile – Matsumoto, Japan

If you’re interested in Japan, then you must visit Matsumoto in Nagano prefecture.  Along with Tokyo, it’s one of the most fascinating cities in Japan.  You’ll find an ancient temple, rich natural, the changing seasons, excellent views of mountains in Matsumoto.

Geography and history

Matsumoto Castle - over 400 years old
Do you know Nagano prefecture where Winter Olympic was held in 1998? Matsumoto is in the central part of Nagano and Japan’s main island Honshu and you can visit it by 2-3 hours traveling from Tokyo, Nagoya.  Many tourists and climbers are pleased to visit here to cool off in summer, to enjoy the autumn colors, to enjoy winter sports, and to climb mountains like Yarigatake all year.

When to go

Matsumoto has four clear seasons and we recommend to visit it in summer.In summer, daytime is as hot as Tokyo, but is comfortable because it is less humid, and feel cool well before the sun rises and after sun goes down. Many people are surprised to know that there is big range in temperature within a day.

What to see

serene hiking in Kamikochi
Matsumoto has a lot of interesting places to visit and to do:

  • Matsumoto castle is a national treasure.  You will be able to take amazing photos of the beautiful black castle against the Northern Japanese Alps.
  • Trekking in Kamikochi National Park  
  • Kappa Bridge, Taisho Pond, Myojin Pond in Kamikochi National Park
  • Matsumoto Art Museum

What to eat

If you’re feeling tired from climbing the 6 flights of stairs to the top of the castle, or bored, I recommend eating Tempura Soba, mushrooms, or apples. Try the local speciality – a bowl of traditional soba Hot or cold, it’s really delicious.
Kasumi Yoyoi's signature spots

Where to stay

There are many hotels with hot springs.  You will fell refreshed and relaxed after a good soak in a hot pool.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Science fiction helps you to learn new vocabulary.

Re:Genesis is a Canadian TV series about the scientists. NorBAC, "North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission," is the science lab which police ask for help when weird and struggling cases occur. Topics are what we are facing in the real world. NorBAC investigates wide variety of cases such as bio-terrorism, infectious diseases, sudden and massive fatalities of people or animals due to sudden mysterious changes in environment.

David Sandstrom, the leader of NorBAC team, has many issues like alcoholism and family issues. He is rather human-like character when comparing with Holmes. But sure you can enjoy thrilling action, love romance, family bonds, and the latest science technology in Re:Genesis. NorBAC team utilizes the most advanced equipment identifying much smaller details. A magnifying glass or a microscope cannot do that much.

Let me introduce one episode. Multiple blackouts in cities occurred and police started investigating for possible terrorism. However, police failed to find a single evidence which shows the presence of human being on sites and they asked NorBAC for help.

NorBAC team finds weird traces on power cables in power plants and further conducts DNA examination. As the results, the team identifies bacteria which eats artificial and synthetic substances causing blackouts.

When I watched this series during high school years and themes seemed unrealistic, yet we are now actually identifying various issues including strange climatic variation, radical shifts in ecosystem, and ethical issues in accordance with rapid developments in science like artificial gene synthesis.

In real world, Japanese scientists find bacteria eating plastic in 2016 and they expect to largely reduce plastic wastes. But what if such bacteria expands in public? The story can be realistic.

Re:Genesis is the one you need to learn science, math, medical science, politics and to gain your knowledge and vocabulary! Moreover, this drama is also good for someone who wants to improve your pronunciation and listening skill. Main characters speak Canadian, American, British, Latin and Asian English since the NorBAC lab has many staffs with different nationalities.

Star Wars - The Last review

I saw a very popular film recently called “Star Wars“

It’s a series of science fiction film about galactic wars. Daisy Ridley is the heroine of the film.
She plays Ray, who is looking for her parents and realizes she has force.
One day she find BB-8, which is a important robot of resistance when she collect scrap iron and she is getting involved with the fight.

The most exciting scene is Ray becomes conscious of her force and beats her enemy.
It’s a war movie but the film is very amusing , the action is exciting and CG is much more better than before.

I can't wait to see the sequel.

Posted for Miyuki

Sunday, 7 January 2018

My favorite film - Kiminonawa

I saw a film "Kiminonawa" (Your Name) with my daughter at a movie theater.
It's a Japanese animation film directed by Makoto Shinkai.
It's a kind of fantasy and drama.

There are a highschool boy and a girl who live far from each other.
They never met before.
Suddenly, their bodies are exchanged!

Through the exchanging,they can understand each other deeply.
However,a tragedic fact turn out.....

Pictures are very beautiful and amazing.
I would like to recommend this film for adults.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

One of my favorite films - Star Wars Episode VI film review

 I saw a nice film recently called"Star Wars Episode VI"
It's an action science fiction film and star-studded film.
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg.

 There're many alien on some planets.
Some of them look funny.The others are ugly!
I like Chewbacca(he is 200years old!!) and Yoda.

 Basically some grops of alien are fighting.
But some scenes are thrilling and emotional.
The best point is ... finally, hero and his father understand each other.

BGM alco famous and nice.

I want to see the sequels.
But...honesty I like old ones.
Anyway it's a good film!
I'll really recomend this film for everyone.