Friday, 21 July 2017

Cambridge exams for ALL, with JP004

Over the few weeks or so Luna International has supplied 7 levels of Cambridge English Language Assessment examinations:
CEM Yukari running YLE in Matsumoto

(that looks like eight, right?!)


...to candidates sitting in 5 different prefectures, with speaking examiners from half a dozen different countries. Thank you, each and every one of you, for the work you put into maintaining your examiner status, and for the travel undertaken.

Thank you to the teachers & members of staff who have invigilated or supervised sessions and been ushers/marshalls. All your contributions help make the candidates' days less stressful.

Thank you for your very hard work in organising everything, Yukari, our Centre Exam Manager. Materials, venues, forms, timings, invigilators, entries, takkyubin, labels, colour pencils...you name, Yukari has thought of it!

And same again from September, with all levels available again from Luna JP004 (not just in 'Chubu' as misleading indicated on Cambridge's website) from Yamagata in the north, Tokyo to the south, Nagoya to the west...and of course Matsumoto in the middle.

Entries open, all enquiries welcome.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Lost World - larger than life

Write about a ‘larger than life’ character from your country – fictional or real.

I think All Japanese admit Ichiro Suzuki is the most popular Japanese professional baseball player.  He began his career with Orix Blue Wave in Japan in 1992 when he was 19 years old.  Then, he went to the United States and became a player of the Seattle Mariners in 2001.  Since then, he has been spending his seasons in the United States.


He is the outfielder and can catch long fly balls.  Moreover, he can strongly and quickly throw the ball back to home like a rocket.  When he belonged to the New York Yankees, I had a chance to see the game.  His performance as the center fielder was just outstanding and I was so excited to see his performance in the field.


He also set a new record as a great hitter.  In 2016, he collected the 3,000th hit.  By the end of 2016 season, he played in his 2500th games in MLB in the United States.  This is the greatest record because there are only two players who have achieved such a great record.


He becomes 44 years old this year.  I hope he keeps breaking a record and playing in MLB as long as possible.

Describe your favourite place in Scandinavia - after reading Viking Tales

I have never been to Scandinavia, but want to visit Sweden someday. There are mainly two reasons which have being inspired me.

One is music. One of my favorite pop group is Cardigans, who are based in Sweden. I bought their CD when I was a high school student. Nina’s voice is very cute and their songs are very catchy. And, they sing their song in English. This is the most important point for me. They sing very clearly and it was easy for me to catch their words. Their songs became popular in Japan and it was called Swedish pop. I also love Meja. I bought two CDs and listened again and again until I remembered all her songs. When I had my wedding party, I picked up her song “Welcome to the Fun Club of Love” as the starter. Since then, this song reminds me the happy feeling.

Another is furniture and housewares. In Japan, there are some stores of IKEA. They have some floors to display their furniture. It is fun for me to look around their stores. Their design is very pop and the color and textile is very different from that in Japan. So, I want to go to flea market in Stockholm someday.







Wednesday, 5 July 2017

After reading Viking Tales - Utgard writes to Odin

Dear Odin,

 Hope you are doing well. Thor and Loki with small human boy named Thialfi visited us without any notice last week. Thor said he came to here, our castle in order to fight us all because he was board and had nothing to do. Fortunately, Skrymir told me they were reaching to our kingdom. We wanted to avoid fighting with Thor, Loki and Thialfi. Thus, we had no way but we used tricks.

Firstly, we took the bones from the table and burned them while Loki was eating all meat. Secondly, we put Hugi’s twin brother at the other end of the field and pretend Hugi had already arrived the goal. Then we used the drinking horn which is connected to the sea so that Thor could not drink it up. And we asked Jormungand to change into a cat. The cat could not be picked up by anyone even though by Thor. They believed some of our friends had a special ability and we won all competitions. We did not have to fight each other in the end.

We appreciate it if you keep them away from our Kingdom so that we can avoid any unnecessary fighting each other.

Sincerely yours,

Utgard

The Lost World - the Mystery of Egypt

Egypt is one of the most interesting country which I’ve never been to. There is a TV program my mother loves to watch, it is called “Discovery of the World’s Mysteries (Sekai Fushigi Hakken)”

I also have been watching the show since I was a child. One of the popular topics of the show is the Mystery of Egypt. When I saw the culture of the ancient Egypt, it was very interesting for me that the world is expressing by some pictures, they could make the historic building from the high-level scientific approach and many historians still make researches to try to find out the truth about the past.

If I could go to adventure, I would like to go to Egypt with one of Japanese historian who make researches there because he could guide me where tourist could not go like the inside of pyramid. Then I would like to unravel a riddle of one of the ancient Egypt together with the historian and his team.

Friday, 30 June 2017

An invigilator share: Keys to writing examination failure

If you are taking an examination that requires you to write an extended piece of writing, then there are a few things you really shouldn't do. If you want to know what you should do to give yourself a fighting chance of success, then any good exam preparation textbook will give you a list of tips. My recommendation for success in FCE (Cambridge: First) would be a copy of First Result from OUP.

In no particular order, are ways to make sure you will not pass:


  • Bolt into the writing as soon as you are told to open the question paper & write furiously....good chance you did not read the question properly, certainly no planning or clear construction of an argument.
  • Rewrite everything - do it in pencil first then write over the top in pen....I have seen this done so often while invigilating I want to shout at the candidates! If you've got that much time, make a better plan.
  • Rubbing out your plan/notes....what's the big secret?! All question papers & rough work go in the shredder immediately after the test. And the table knocking on the wall while you do it?
  • Looking for extra questions....if you haven't prepared for the test then there's a good chance you've already wasted the entry fee. 
  • Reading & underlining the instructions...as above - you must know what you have to do, and have a solid battle plan before the day of the test
  • Writing two answers simultaneously....if you can do this then you should be in the circus. Concentrate on one task at a time. Recently saw a candidate write a whole paragraph in the middle of the wrong answer, realise the mistake, panic, copy it out word for word in the right answer (but wrong place) 
  • Go to sleep after blitzing the paper...are you really that good - there are no improvements you could make? Remove repetition maybe, improve vocabulary, elaborate or embellish maybe? At the very least, re-read critically. Inevitably, this is the candidate that did not make a plan.
  • Demonstrative body language while 'brainstorming' or thinking of a word...I'm not impressed, candidate - I don't do the marking!
  • Crossing out a full answer and doing another question....good luck with that against the clock.
  • Doing a Dostoevsky...the first question answered was such a masterpiece, the second one was no more than a post-script. Did you notice both questions were equally weighted? The marginal returns to scale are very limited if you go over
    your time allowance (ie 50%) and certainly counterproductive if you go over the word limit.
  • Counting...1,2,3...167... You should know how many words you can write on a line of A4 already! How many lines will you need to write to be within the target range? How fast can you write? Fine tune at the end when you've finished smoothly producing your work.
  • Leg-shaking...stop it. It annoys everybody.
  • Pencil-twirling...does that help you concentrate? Really?
  • Looking around a lot...relax, there's nobody sneaking up on you. Unless you are cheating, in which case I already caught you.
  • Checking your watch...we are on my time, the clock at the front of the room. It might not be 'right' but it is the one we are all using today.
  • Blanket on your knee...do you want to be disqualified? It's June and it's hot. The a/c will keep you awake at 24 degrees - you won't get frost-bite.
  • Using your favourite erasable pen...did you not read the instructions we sent you/that are posted on the door?
  • Shoehorning in all the must use phrases you could remember...appropriate? Relevant? 
  • I don't do paragraphs...which is a shame, because you just missed out on a load of marks
  • I usually write in the present tense...which makes telling a story kind of hard, and will likely put the reader to sleep. Pity, because the only person reading your work needs to be impressed with a variety & range of grammar & can only drink so much coffee while marking.
  • I just answered the question...so you didn't do all the other parts, like write a greeting, reason for writing, closing, ending? 
  • Plea for help...the marker really won't be swayed by begging. Nor will apologies get you anywhere.
  • Artist impression...this will work in Young Learners, perhaps, but very unlikely to be getting you any extra marks at this level. Pictures, emojis, lines joining ideas together, different colour pens? Not going to work.
Wow. That's a long list already! Obviously, Cambridge English does not mark candidates down, but rather employs a Can Do approach. However, if you set out to pass a writing paper and do any of the above, I guarantee you will not be scoring as highly as you could. 

So, exam candidates, please have another look at your teacher's or textbook's top tips, and use them. Plan. Prepare. Pineapple. Pen.


An IELTS (writing) examiner adds: " I don't invigilate exams but I sure do mark a lot of scriptsHey Candidate ! Know the exam you are going to take ! Not the name of the test but what is required to pass . I see a huge difference between candidates who have studied for their choice of test and those who wing it , as their university teachers cannot be arsed properly correcting their content , style or approach."


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

What I did yesterday

I got up at 5 o'clock and cooked my children's breakfast. Then I woke my children up and served their breakfast. After that, I took my children to school at 7:00 on foot.

I went back home at 7:45 and did up my youngest daughter;s hair. I took her to kindergarten at 8:45 by car. Then I went shopping and did housework.

I had lunch at 11:00, because I didn't have breakfast this morning so I was very hungry.

At 2:45, I picked up my youngest daughter from kindergarten and picked up my eldest daughter from school. Then I listened to her did practice in piano and read aloud the Japanese textbook. After that I took her to swimming class at 4:00.

I made dinner and listened to my son did practice in piano and read aloud the Japanese textbook. At 5:30, I took my son to Luna and Picked up my eldest daughter from swimming class.

After that I went back to Luna. While I waited son's class to finish, I watched the film 'Life in a Day' on YouTube. It was my homework bu it was a very boring film.

At 7:30, I had dinner with my children. At 8:30, I took my youngest daughter a bath and slept. I got up at 11:30 and washed the dishes. After that I had a bath and I went to bed again at 2:00.



Posted for a Luna student.

Amelia Earhart - Inspiring woman

After I read the story of Amelia, I thought how she was treated in the society. It is no doubt that the accomplishment she made was surely great. Was she outstanding female icon or a woman who was out of ordinary?


Here I’d like to introduce Paula Gunn Allen, the Native American feminist/activist. While I read Amelia I thought she was like “Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.” She didn’t act like women from a very old-fashioned point of view with bias. She was independent, natural, active, and sometimes reckless. I like the way she lived but I assume some people might not like it at that time. She risked her life with excitement while others became caregivers.

Paula gives us interesting ways of seeing "self." In her novels, she states that the idealization of a group is a consequence of separation from “the group.” Although Amelia became famous because of her courageous successes, she might be treated as the one out of “ordinary” since many women could not even try. Paula also mentions that in finding self, it is essential for humans to belong to a tradition and to understand the world. Did Amelia grew up in the traditional family and did she know how ordinary people live? I think she did.

Paula affected women’s perspective of how the self can be. Women in the past and present fight against the cultural role models, bias, and stereotypes. I believe that Amelia and Paula taught us how you act is what you are, and that is who you choose to be in the society. Would you like to live like Amelia or stick to the typical and ordinary life of business person? Both are normal, good and right.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

What I did yesterday

I got up at 6:30. I cooked breakfast and had breakfast after I finished housework quickly.

Then I went shopping in Inoue Department store with my daughter. I enjoyed shopping household goods and bedding supplies.

After that, I went back home at 12:00 and I had lunch. It was a ramen my husband made.

I went out to a cafe in the afternoon and met and talked with my friend for the first time in a while.

After that, I had potato and chicken salad for dinner with my family. After dinner did the housework. I had a bath after I watched TV.

I went to bed at 10:00. It was a busy day of coming and going so I got tires and took it early.



Posted for Mie

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School recognises Cambridge English Exams

Press release on Cambridge English website, June 14th 2017

"Cambridge English Exams have been recognised by Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School, the top feeder community school in Japan to the University of Tokyo.

Mr Takamichi Nakamura, Head of the English Department, explained why they have decided to adopt the Cambridge English qualifications Cambridge English: Preliminary and Cambridge English: First.

‘There were a number of reasons for the school’s decision to begin testing students using Cambridge English. Firstly, as part of Tokyo Government’s recent new initiative, Hibiya High School is a “Tokyo Global 10” school, a designation which carries with it a responsibility to focus more on global issues and considerations. A natural extension of this is an increased focus on foreign languages and English in particular, as the tool with which Hibiya students could communicate their ideas on global topics.

With this mind, Hibiya High School was looking for a testing system that utilised a broad framework, allowing students both to easily compare their language skills with other schools and countries, and to supplement their studying with other textbooks at the appropriate level. As Cambridge English uses the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR), it makes it simple for students to achieve this.

Furthermore, Cambridge English certificates have a real world value; they can be used for admission to a huge number of academic and business institutions, which encourages students to engage more actively in their English classes, and rewards their efforts with certification. The use of a variety of accents in the listening section of the test was also helpful, as many textbooks focus only one particular variant of English, often leaving students surprised by the wide variety of English they might encounter in the wider world.

Finally, Cambridge English lends itself more to whole-class teaching than some other testing systems might. The skills tested by a Cambridge English exam are those that our students are mostly likely to need in situations they are most likely to encounter; speaking skills directed at communicating with strangers and gathering information, listening skills aimed at catching details in announcements at stations, or reading both for general themes and specific facts.

With all these points taken into consideration, Cambridge English seemed the most appropriate test to adopt.’

Year 1 students at Hibiya High School took Cambridge English: Preliminary in March 2017 and Year 2 sat Cambridge English: First in December 2016. Over 600 students took Cambridge English exams in the first year of the school recognising the exams."

都立日比谷高等学校がケンブリッジ英語検定を採択した理由

"東京大学合格者数が全国の公立高校のトップである都立日比谷高校がケンブリッジ英語検定を採択しました。
同校英語科主任の中村隆道先生が、なぜケンブリッジ英語検定のプレリミナリー(PET)とファースト(FCE)の導入を決めたのか、その理由について説明してくださいました。

「学校がケンブリッジ英語検定を導入することを決めたのには多くの理由があります。まず、東京都の最近の取り組みの一環として、日比谷高校は『東京都グローバル10』指定校であり、地球規模の課題や考慮すべき問題に重点的に取り組む責任を負っています。したがって、日比谷高校の生徒がグローバルな話題について自分の意見や考えを伝えるツールとして、外国語、特に英語に重点を置くようになりました。

こういったことから、日比谷高校は生徒が簡単に他の学校や他国と語学スキルを比較でき、また、適切なレベルの教科書で生徒の学びを補完できる、幅広い枠組みを活用した試験システムを探していました。ケンブリッジ英語検定はヨーロッパ言語共通参照枠(CEFR)を活用しているため、生徒自身で達成度を測ることが容易にできます。

さらに、ケンブリッジ英語検定の証明書には世界的な価値があります。非常に多くの大学や大学院への出願や企業への就職に活用することができるため、生徒はより積極的に英語の授業に参加し、認定証(サーティフィケート)という形で成果を得ることができます。

教科書の中には、ある特定の英語のアクセントのみに焦点を当てている場合が多々ありますが、テストのリスニング問題ではさまざまなアクセントが使われていることも役立っており、より広い世界で遭遇する可能性のあるさまざまな英語に生徒は驚くことがありました。

最後に、ケンブリッジ英語検定は他のテストよりも、クラス全体の授業形式に合っています。ケンブリッジ英語試験でテストされるスキルは、遭遇する可能性が高い状況で、学生が必要とする可能性の高いスキルです。見知らぬ人とのコミュニケーションや情報収集のための「話す」スキル、駅でのアナウンスを聞くことを目的とした「聞く」スキル、一般的なテーマと特定の事実の両方を「読む」ことができるスキルです。
以上を考慮した結果、採用するのに最も適切な試験はケンブリッジ英語検定だと考えた次第です。」

都立日比谷高校では、2017年3月に1年生がケンブリッジ英語検定:Preliminary(通称PET)を、2年生がFirst(通称FCE)を2016年12月に受検しました。
ケンブリッジ英語検定の活用を決めた最初の年に、600人を超える日比谷高生がケンブリッジ英語検定を受検しました。

英語版(原文) "Why Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School recognises Cambridge English Exams" は
こちら"

Friday, 23 June 2017

Black Hawk Down - film review

Black Hawk Down was directed by Ridley Scott. It stars Josh Hartnell and Ewan McGregor, who plays parts of the soldiers.

The film is set in Somalia in the 1990s. Mogadishu was a war zone and the political situation was unstable. So it was shot in Morocco.

The film is about the war in Somalia. America dispatched its special forces to stop the civil war there. In the beginning, the operation was expected to finish in one hour, but just after it started, two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenades (RPG-7). Other soldiers head into the enemy territory to help their friends, and plunged into violent & dangerous street fighting.

I strongly recommend Black Hawk Down. Each scene is very realistic. The soundtrack is memorable. The acting makes a deep impression on the audience. I think this film should be seen by everyone, as we have to know the facts that are happening in this world, such as war. If you like war films, you'll love this one.

Posted for Tomoro

Monday, 19 June 2017

Plan to build my house - after reading Don't Tell Me What To Do


I have never bought or built any own house, but I would like to describe my process plan how to buy an own house. If I have a child, I will buy the own house when the child enroll at an elementary school to avoid him/her from transferring the school. In order to decide a layout of house, I would like to visit many houses what types of layout there are and what layout/function is convenience for my life style. Also, we should confirm what construction/material have the quality to last long and how maintenance is needed. From seeing many houses, I will get many useful ideas.

I think it is very important to imagine not only current but also future life style and to find a best solution with satisfaction at that timing. My thought mentioned above is caused by my experience. When I bought my current car, I checked many many cars at car park etc to know what internal/external design I really like because I thought it was very important to like the look of the car to ride for many years. Now, over 10 years passed after I bought my current car and I still like it.

When a rough idea of layout/function is made, I will ask some home builders for quotation. Maybe the quotations will exceed our budget, so I will review again what part we can handmade or eliminate and negotiate the home builder to do markdowns.



Saturday, 17 June 2017

So what does Jim do at the weekends when he isn't teaching?

BYOD solution to get SEs talking!
Last weekend I was looking after the Certification of speaking examiners for one of our fellow Cambridge Centres in Tokyo. This is a part of my job I really enjoy a lot, as I am working with professional teachers who are dedicated to the role they have chosen to pursue in their spare time - doing more teachery stuff! Speaking Examiners do not grow on trees; they need looking after, nurturing, and occasionally patting on the back! They need to know when they are doing a good job, and every year they need to freshen up their skills in delivering the speaking tests and to show that their assessment is in tune...matching Cambridge's worldwide benchmark.

We were fortunate last weekend to have half a dozen young CEFR B2 (FCE) level kids studying in the school, who were keen to have a couple of free practice 'goes'. One of the teachers was surprised one of the boys didn't start crying - so well done my team for not being scary & insensitive! Yes, it's a test, but you can still smile and be 'normal'. One thing I really do not want 'my' cadre to do is get all serious and high & mighty. Our job is to provide the candidates with the opportunity to display all that they can do....

This year I have been throwing my examiners into Quizlet Live games, competing with & against each other to tackle tricky topics like feedback commentaries. Rather than me stand there & bemoan this or that, the examiners themselves have to come to some sort of agreement as to how certain behaviour or outcomes should be considered. That in itself generates a lot of discussion - and consensus - and reinforces the message that regardless of location or circumstances, each & every candidate must have the same opportunity to be successful.

Ayako, Jim & Hiroshi - champions!
So I was delighted to be able to introduce the team later to Ayako & Hiroshi Nishizawa, both former Luna students now running a fabulous restaurant in Naka-Meguro ("Yakitori Champion"). Ayako took YLE while at Luna & has since home-stayed & studied in Warwick; Hiroshi was cool throughout our first 10-day farm-stay to Whangarei in New Zealand, 15 years ago. The food? Fabulous lamb, lots of lamb, and then more lamb. Excellent value, if a bit smoky!

For me, this was a 10 out of ten weekend. What do you think?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Smart phones - in my opinion

Almost everybody has a smart phone, but is it a good invention? I think there are both advantages and disadvantages to them.

The first advantage is that we can keep in touch with our friends, for example using SNS, sending text messages or sharing pictures. There are plenty of ways to communicate, and what’s more, we can do it easily with our fingers at any time. Secondly, we can listen to music anywhere. As the mobile phones are very light these days, it is useful to carry them around, so we can enjoy our favourite music on the go and without disturbing others. Thirdly, they sometimes can be our lifeline because we can get an alarm before an earthquake happens. It is well known because of this alarm, many peoples’ lives will be saved by escaping safely, without getting in a panic. Also, in my country Japan, there are many earthquakes every year so this alarm is really helpful.

As for disadvantages, I will give you three. Firstly, we modern people waste our time using them, for instance playing games, watching videos or searching gossip. Of course, it is nice to use them in our pastimes, but I think many people are using them even when they haven’t finished tasks like homework. Secondly, it is bad for our health. Using them causes stiff shoulders and also our eyes get damaged especially in dark situations. It is said that the blue light from mobile phone screens cause injuries to our eyes. Thirdly, sometimes people get bullied by SNS. Being talked about , having a photo shared online which we didn’t wanted to, body-shaming. Nowadays it is getting a serious problem.

In  conclusion, although it is dangerous if we use smart phones too much, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially if we add improved media literacy and free access to information. The smart phone is a wonderful invention.

Posted for Yuya

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

PanSIG 2017 AIU

Ready to rock&roll
May 19-21 saw JALT PanSIG visit Akita International University, with members and non-members coming together from all over the country, and even a few from further abroad, to present, exchange and share ideas. It was my first time attending a PanSIG conference, and I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to present; a poster presentation on using the mobile app Aurasma.

The entire process was very new to me, writing a proposal for my presentation, getting it approved, preparing all of my materials (with multiple backup copies!), ironing out any technical difficulties with Aurasma and finally standing in front of a crowd of people showing the ins and outs of my poster display.

Augmented reality guru Parisa Mehran checking out my work!
The preparation stage was a good opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate what exactly were my aims with using Aurasma, had I succeeded in attaining those goals and to reflect on ways to improve or do differently. It allowed me to view my project another perspective, the perspective of the audience. What questions would they have, what questions would I be asking if I were seeing some new tech for the first time and how I could translate it into my own teaching.

Leading up to the conference it was a mixture of first-time nerves and anticipating some sort of technical failure, but composed and collected knowing that I had put in the time and effort to create a poster display I was confident in showing to a group of language instructors. It was left in my hands to make the presentation a success.


An interactive poster with an interactive audience
One niggle that I did run into was that I had prepared my posters to be held up by magnets, being a modular poster with various segments it allowed me to have a more dynamic and interchangeable display, under the presumption from reading the PanSIG poster session web page that magnetic display boards would be available. You could imagine my disappointment when I reached the venue realised I had to pin all of my posters! I think it would be a benefit to future presenters if the advice on the official web page matched what was available on site on the day.

Contributions from attendees on the day
The day of the presentation was brilliant. There was a lot of interest and it was overwhelming at times with the number of people crowding around my display. I did come away thinking that I would have preferred the Saturday slot as there would have been even more people to get feedback from. Many conference attendees had to catch flights/trains to get back to their respective workplaces (Akita is not an easy place to get to and from!) for Monday morning, which meant that there was a significance turnout between the Saturday and Sunday poster sessions. Nevertheless, it was an amazing opportunity and my first experience presenting outside of local events.

Thank you to all those involved, especially the organisers for putting together a wonderful conference, Akita International University for a gorgeous venue and for the splendid hospitality, and all the presenters for an eye-opening weekend of professional development. A special mention to Jim for driving all the way there and back while I kipped in the front!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Professional Development - PANSIG Conference in Akita

Last weekend Damian & I drove up to AIU to attend the annual PANSIG Conference. Quite a drive, and a very impressive weekend full of presentations, learning & sharing. Damian made a poster presentation, using Luna's experiences with Aurasma to show how we Expand Our Interests at Luna. He put a lot of hard work into presenting your hard work, and I could hear the WOW!!! reactions across the room.

I thought I'd share with you how the Conference played out on twitter, using storify to collate events as they unfolded over the last month, culminating in the big weekend and a lot of really exciting interaction. I enjoyed meeting old friends, making new ones, and connecting with people I've 'heard of' but never met in the flesh before.

I was inspired - I hope you will be too.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Postcard from...Hong Kong

Jim & the Gang

Greetings from Hong Kong, Macau & Lamma Island.

You can speak English with everyone, as well as Cantonese, and in Macao, Portuguese.

From the guy in the red boiler suit who totally made the BBQ a massive success last month with his Green Egg but is not Jim's brother nor in the Red Devils skydiving team, and neither is he very quick over 4 metres, let alone 400m... Michael Johnson

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Chirstmas Carol - A letter to your business partner

Dear Jacob,

I have no words to express my gratitude. If you didn't warn me, I didn't notice what was the most important thing in my life. I didn't imagine what happened to my life. Maybe l went to Hell.

I paid Bob Cratchit only fifteen shillings a week although he had his family to keep. His family! What a nice family was! But poor Tiny Tom! He had not walked since he was born and although he could pull himself and his thin little legs along with the help of wooden crunch. He would die soon. The Cratchit family were very unhappy.

I lived a lonely life and took no interest in other people at all. The only thing that mattered to me was the business, and making money. My heart grew colder and colder until one day I died lonely. I would lay on the graveyard in the cold hard ground and nobody would visit.

But you and three spirits showed me what was the important thing. I did everything that I promised to Bob, did more. Tiny Tim didn't die. I became his second father. Now I can keep Christmas cheerfully and live a happy life. That is what all of us want.

Thank you so much, Jacob. I hope you are already free from your horrifying chain. Your spirit doesn't travel endlessly anymore. Because you helped me and Tom.

See you again in Heaven!



Posted for Olga

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Profile of an admired adventurer: Ayako Imoto


The explorer that I admire is Ms. Ayako Imoto. She has a various face and is comedian and alpinist.

Not a very sensible thing to do
She debuted on national TV and was chased by Komodo dragon at first TV program. The Komodo dragon couldn’t catch Ms. Imoto. After the TV program which she debuted, she experienced many dangerous or hard jobs

One of her hard jobs was marathon at 24-hour TV and she run about 126km that was 3 full-marathon distance.

At a regular program that she was on the bill, she climbed the mountain Matterhorn at a height of 4,478 meters in the year 2012.

And in the year 2014, she tried to climb the mountain Everest at a height of 8,850 meters

But before her party tried to climb, some Sherpas who were expert in the mountain and help the party died due to snow avalanche. So, her party decided to drop the plan to climb the mountain Everest. It is said that this decision was sensible.

The point that I admire Ms. Ayako Imoto is as follows.
  • She is normal/ regular woman like me. 
  • She is unaffected 
  • She is funny 
  • She makes her dangerous/ hard task to the end 
  • She has unbelievable courage 
  • She tried to dangerous tasks which I wanted to withdraw my eyes from TV. 

I want to be a person who always challenge and smile like Ms. Ayako Imoto.

The Wind in the Willows - Toad's apology

Dear Ms. Keeper's Daughter,

I'm sorry I don't know your name. But I want you to say the other day of thanks. You have a very kind heart. If you didn't help me, I would still have been in prison. When I was in prison, I cried and cried. I thought that this was the end of everything. All my friends would forget me, and I shall never get out of the prison again.

But, you were there. You saved my life. You heard my story seriously, you asked my home and my old life, brought me nice things to eat and hot drinks. Those kindness made me sit up and wake up. When you told me the plan to escape the prison, I could 't believe and I suspected my ears. Because your suggestion was so unique. At that time, my heart was beating very fast indeed. I hadn't been able to imagine that I wear dress as an old washer-woman. "That's impossible", I thought. But I did it. I could do it. I owed you a lot.

After I left the prison, I walked out of the wood, jumped into a barge, but the barge-woman pushed off into a canal. I swam in the canal. And I borrowed her horse to ride, and I sold it. I borrowed someone's motor-car, but I lost it. At last, I've met my friend the Water Rat after a long way swimming in the river. Now I'm happy to be in my house. Thanks a lot to your kind cooperation. 

Sincerely Toad



Posted for Naoko

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story - Final words from the 'protagonist'


April 1891 Switzerland
I had enjoyed my life with my best friend Watson for a long time before we left England. I always fought against crime. I always investigated the truth of crime.

Recently I have had some suspicion against Watson. When a woman called Flora White was killed with a knife in Whitechapel, the suspicion became a true. When I found my bedroom door was locked in Watson's house, I tried to hit the man who came in, but he jumped away. And then there was the letter telling Lestrade that I was the Whitechapel murderer. What rubbish! How Scotland Yard would laugh!

I took it from the cook's hand while Watson was calling the cab. Because it wasn't Watson. Moriarty had killed my friend and taken his place. Moriarty is very clever. He looked almost like Watson. I knew this man was Moriarty since I had seen him injecting himself with cocaine. My dear friend Dr. Watson would never, never take drugs.

Moriarty has asked me to walk with him to the Reichenbach Falls, which is a wild and lonely place. Since taking cocaine, Moriarty will be getting weaker and weaker. I know he will try to shoot me there, but he will not kill me because I have put blanks in his gun. He is very clever but he always takes drugs. I can kill him. I must kill him. This is the best way for my life.



Posted for Hiroko

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Rabbit-Proof Fence - An epic journey (Into the Wild)

I will tell you another epic journey. It is about a young American man who died in Alaska in 1992. This story was become a movie directed by Sean Penn. And this movie " Into the Wild" was nominated to the 80th Academy Award.

Cris was born in a rich family. He graduated Emory University with an excellent results. His parents wanted him to go to Harvard law school. But he refused to go there and donated all his money which supposed to spend for study. His parents always gave him only money, not love. They had a different sense of values from him. He decided to go to Alaska by himself to know the truth of the world.

He changed his name and traveled to Mexico, through the US. As he traveled, he met many kinds of people. Sometimes he wanted to stay with them, but he wanted to go to Alaska to find something. He walked, hitch-hiked and finally he went to Alaska. He survived there for a while, but it was very difficult to find foods. So, he decided to leave Alaska. Unfortunately the desolate river of melted snow disturbed him to go out of Alaska. After 100days in Alaska, he died of hunger alone.



Posted for Yasumi

Monday, 8 May 2017

A postcard from Irabu Island, Okinawa

Hey Everyone,

First dive crew
I've just visited an amazing part of Japan, a small island called Irabu which is connected to Miyako Island via bridge. Before you could only get there by plane or boat, but since the end of January 2015, you can drive across.

Irabu is so quiet and peaceful. Even in the middle of Golden Week, there was almost nobody there! The beaches were beautiful, the water crystal clear with plenty of amazing coral and colourful fish to see, the locals were super friendly and the weather was gorgeous.



The fish that bit me!
During my stay, I got to experience diving for the first time (and getting bitten by a territorial fish!), as well as my first taste of Awamori. I went snorkelling almost every day and got to see some amazing sunsets with a beer in hand of course!

I had an incredible week off and I hope that all of you at Luna had a well-earned break and feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

See you all at Luna soon!

Damian
Sunset at Irabu

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Holiday report - Hong Kong

I went to Hong Kong last September with my friend. We flew to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. We stayed for four days in a small hotel near Yau Ma Tei station and we could walk some night markets.

During the day we took the tour. We visited a food market, ate dim sum, took tram. At night we went to Victoria Harbour to see a Symphony of Lights.

It was very beautiful. We didn't buy souvenirs so much, we enjoyed to eat. I bought a lily oil that is like a Tiger Balm. We had a great time. Hong Kong is very interesting city, dim sum is great and beer is cheap.

But there was trouble. We went to Macau from Hong Kong by ferry. We wanted to arrive at Macau but arrived at Taipa. Besides, when we went back to Hong Kong, we arrived at Hong Kong island. We was going to get to Kowloon!





Posted for Megumi

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Three Musketeers - The Hundred Years' War

The Hundred years’ War was from 14century to 14century. The war continued for about one hundred years with several intervals. The beginning of the War was Edward Ⅲ, king of England, pretended to the French throne. And he sent an army to France. It was just one reason of many things. One of other reasons was that England and France had contended for supremacy of woolen industry in Frandre district. First England was strong and superior for many years, but French girl Jeanne D’arc who had heard the words of God appeared, led French army and relieved Orleans from long siege by England. She is a historic heroine in France but her life was very short. She was soon arrested and was execution by burning. About her life many novels and films had been made. At all England lost possessions in France.


Posted for Yoko

Monday, 1 May 2017

Jane Eyre - a letter to your teacher

Dear Miss.Temple,

How have you been? I married. After you left Lowood School, I left too. And I became a governess of Thornfield Hall. Thornfield Hall was a beautiful house. The girl enjoyed my lessons and I was happy. The owner of Thornfield Hall was Mr. Edward Rochester. He was not handsome but he had a strong face. I loved Mr. Rochester. One evening, Mr. Rochester said ‘Will you marry me, Jane?’ I was very happy. But at the wedding day, I knew Mr. Rochester have mad wife. I left Thornfield Hall. But I could not forget him.

One day, I heard Mr. Rochester’s voice. So I went to Thornfield Hall. Then I saw the burnt, black house. Nobody was living there. I heard that there was a fire at Thornfield Hall, The mad woman burnt the house and she died, Mr. Rochester was blind and badly hurt. And I could meet Mr. Rochester again. Mr. Rochester and I got married. His eyes were better. He could see the face of our first child. Now my dear Edward and I are very happy.

I hope to see you soon.

Jane Eyre



Posted for Reiko

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Current Magazine - Nujeen Mustafa

Inspired by reading a snippet of Nujeen Mustafas's 'Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair' in Mary Glasgow's Current magazine, some students wrote about the toughest journeys they've experienced in their lives.


When I was a university student, I sometimes had a part-time job. The university was in Kyoto, so there were some special part-time jobs.

One day, I found the notice of the job with my friend at the student affairs office. It was an extra of a period play. It looked fun and payment was not so bad. We were willing to apply that job. On the day, it was really heavy rain early in the morning. I wonder whether I go there or not. I decided to go there.

The bus was waiting for us at school. After leaving there, it stopped raining. Because of the heavy rain, my friend hadn't come. I went to Uzumasa film studio to wear a peasant costume. I was unhappy.

Everyone got on a bus again for an hour, and arrive at Ado river ibn Shiga prefecture. Around the river was lonely place. There were just only a field and a river. It was a good place to shoot peasants riot. Some professional extras involved in our group. s making a sign, everyone began to run. We did it again and again. Lunch box was served on the bus.

Then we ran in the different field. In the evening another scene was shot. This time we ran with torches. There is no place to go to the restroom. So I gave up to go there. After shooting, they gave dinner box. When I got to my sharehouse, it was nine. It was a unique experience, but I didn;t want to do it again. It was the toughest day trip.


Posted for Hiroko

Friday, 28 April 2017

Current Magazine - Nujeen Mustafa

Inspired by reading a snippet of Nujeen Mustafas's 'Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair' in Mary Glasgow's Current magazine, some students wrote about the toughest journeys they've experienced in their lives.


As a matter of fact, I've never had so tough journey in my life. I was born in a peaceful country and
raised up with a nice family in a middle class, and had never desired to have a tough journey.

When I go travel, it was always well planned getting rid of risks. but in 2004, when I went to Europe alone was an exception. My daughter was already in Rome, so I had to go to Rome by myself. It was the first time for me to go to Europe. I couldn't understand Italian at all, so I learned Italian a little.

In the airplane I chose the seat near the aisle. Next to me were two big young Korean guys. They drank alcohol so often, so they went to the toilet frequently. It bothered me. The cabin attendant recognized the situation. At the end of the flight, she gave me a small present of JAL with an apology.

From the airport to Telmine station, I took a train. It was already night, the train was crowded. I could see many kinds of people, looked like from Africa, the Middle East, Asia or America, talking their own language.

At Telmine station, I didn;t know the direction when I saw the policemen. I wanted to ask them the way to my hotel, but they were so big I just hesitated to do it. I checked the name of the road, and began to walk/ But the area where my hotel looked very dangerous. On the dirty road, people were sitting with blank looks.

Finally, I got to the hotel. When I was checking in, there was a phone call from my daughter. She sad she wanted to be with her friend one more day. So, I had to be at the hotel alone. I couldn't sleep all night because of the noise and the neon light from outside.


Posted for Yasumi

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Current Magazine - Nujeen Mustafa

Inspired by reading a snippet of Nujeen Mustafas's 'Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair' in Mary Glasgow's Current magazine, some students wrote about the toughest journeys they've experienced in their lives.

It was the first time I had been to Hawaii. I was sixteen years old. I went to Hawaii with my brother
and my high-school friends. That journey was hard before leaving Japan.

Before summer vacation, we made a plan to go to Hawaii. I decided saving money to go to Hawaii. I worked in my uncle's factory from Monday to Friday at the beginning of the summer vacation. First my job was very easy. But some old women complained about it. They thought it wasn;t fair so my uncle changed my job. My job was getting harder and harder. Every weekend I worked at swimming school. I liked teaching swimming. I was very tired but finally I saved enough money to go to Hawaii.

We arrived at Hawaii early morning. We wanted to go to Hanauma Bay. It was a fine day. We decided to go there by bicycle. Hanauma bay wasn't so far from Waikiki  but our bicycles were gear-less, so it was very hard to pedal. The road wasn;t flat, it was a slope. If you slipped and fell into the car road you'd have been killed by cars. Finally we arrived at Hanauma Bay. We were all very tired but we were very excited.

Next day we borrowed an open car. It was a nice BMW. We were very excited. It was the first time I had ridden in an open car. In these days there wasn't navigation. We lost our way and wandered into a strange place. It was a beautiful residential area. There were many beautiful houses. When my brother (Lui) was driving slowly, suddenly one big dog appeared. The dog attacked us. Unfortunately our car was an open car! When I screamed, Lui drove at full speed. We were all safe.

Every day I swam in the sea without blocking sun, because in those days a tanned face and body were very attractive for me. So I wanted to get a suntan. But the place was Hawaii, ultraviolet rays were very strong. I got a terrible sunburn. My face grew bigger and I couldn't open my eye. I felt a stinging pain in my body. I was childish and immature, but sometimes I remember those sparkling young days.



Posted for Olga

Monday, 24 April 2017

Postcard from...Pingxi District, Taipei, Taiwan

I traveled in Taiwan for three days last week. I and my daughter went to old towns of Shifen & Jiufen. Shifen & Jiufen were small towns where gold was found.

In Shifen lanterns are blown into the sky, during festivals once a year. Tourists can fly lanterns even if it is not a festival day. We wrote a wish on a white lantern & it flew up into the sky.

Next I went to Jiufen which became a model for the story of "Spirited Away" (Ghibli's animation). A lot of red lanterns lit the sky. It was a really fantastic scene.

We went to the National Palace Museum on the second day. The Chinese Cabbage, which has green & white beads, was a very delicate & beautiful piece. It is made of precious stone & crystal. We found a dumpling restaurant. It was very delicious.

On the last day, we went to a skyscraper called Taipei 101. I could see all the places I went on this trip from the observatory at the top of the tower.

Posted for Kaoru

Friday, 14 April 2017

Postcard from...Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka

Hi everybody!

Last Sunday I took my brother & youngest Aussie nephew, as well as Ceilidh to see some classic Japanese cars whizzing around this racing circuit.

Uncle Mike & damp Ceilidh
It was a nice idea, but the fog and rain defeated everybody - we only saw two laps being raced in anger! Nevertheless, we could enjoy having a good look at a number of cool old cars such as Skylines & Fairladys; there were a few Porsches and a Ferrari and a Ford GT40, but the star car for us was a friend's Mustang, which sounded tremendous 'fanging it' down the hill.

I think we'd all like to come back when the weather is nicer!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Whitechapel - review of Episode One

The TV series is about an ambitious police officer investigating a murder case. It is set in Whitechapel in 2008.

The story starts with a murder scene. A man with a funny hat brutally killed a lady. A young police officer, who wants to be promoted, is in charge of this crime. However, he has never worked in the field, so he clashed with the cops who usually do. Back to the incident, the victim's name is Cathy and she is married to Bob, a butcher, who is suspected by the cops. However, he had a cast-iron alibi that he had already been arrested at the time of the murder. He couldn't be the killer. Moreover, the incident is extremely similar to the crime which Jack the Ripper committed exactly 120 years before.

What's similar? Of course the gender, the way of killing, the place, and even the date & time! In the last scene, the cops knew the crime was a copycat criminal.

I only watched the first part, so I don't know what the story be like, but I'm really curious about it. If I have an opportunity I'd like to watch the next episode.

Posted for Yuya

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A music inspired postcard

Dear everyone,

It has been a month since I visited Chicago in U.S.A. I have great time here.

I watch the sunset over the sea from my room. The view is amazing and nice. It looks and feels different. I feel comforted. I began to listen to the music when I watch the sunset. The song makes me miss you all and Japan.

I'll be back to Japan soon.

See you soon!


Love Yukako


A postcard inspired from DJ Okawari - Kaleidoscope

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Music inspired postcard

Dead everyone in Luna,

I'm traveling in the south coast in France by car. Today I drove beachside of Cannes, which is famous for the film festivals.

The song I was listening during the drive made me excited and happy.

The driving in the beautiful sunshine cool wind from the blue sea was fantastic! I enjoyed very much.


The song that inspired this postcard is DJ Okawari - Kaleidoscope


Posted for Teruki

Sunday, 2 April 2017

postcard from...Chicago, Illinois

Hi Jim-sensei,

I'm in Chicago & saw a TRUMP Tower.
I'm now eating a snow crab (picture).

Ritsuko

I spent a week in the States, and had a glass of freshly brewed beer, good meeting with lots of homework.
Tomoko