Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Old Friend

I talked with my old friend who lives in Aichi prefecture for the first time in 25 years today. We were in the college table tennis team. 
He called me about club OB association issue. We talked several minutes for the matter. And after that he said that if we go to a spa or somewhere with our team mates, it would be great. I really want to do so next year. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Struggling for Eiken

I can see a red light for Eiken Pre-1st. I've  solved work books twice and I made the same mistakes. I haven't progressed. 
That is because simply I don't have enough skill in English reading. But that is not all. I often misunderstood the meaning of the article even I read it in Japanese transcripts. That's a very big problem. 
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Monday, December 29, 2014

On-line English Lesson

I joined JDH, an online talk show, yesterday. The hosts were English lovers Jun and KiYo. I don't think I could express my thoughts well, but I really enjoyed it.
After the show we talked about learning English. I was encouraged to study English by the hosts. They have Eiken 1st grade and 990 for TOEIC. I want to catch up with them someday. 
I'm going to take Eiken and TOEIC next month. After taking these tests, I'll take on line English lessons. I used to have Skype lessons, but I haven't took that since last year. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I'll join a private online radio show called Jun's Diamonds Hour, JDH, tonight. The host is "Queen" Jun who is a passionate TOEIC lover. She is always studying English and encouraging other English learners. Maybe she doesn't sleep. If you don't follow her Twitter account, follow @Jun_toeic now. 
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kuroda Returns to Japan

A Japanese Major League Baseball player Hiroki Kuroda of Yankees will come back to Hiroshima Crap next season. He had played for Carp until eight years ago and then moved to America. 
He'll sign with Hiroshima less money than major league teams. He really likes his old team. 
I really look forward to seeing his pitching and I hope Hiroshima Carp will get the Japanese series champion flag next year.

Friday, December 26, 2014


2014 is almost over. Time flies. 
This year, my older son has got a job. I took three TOEIC tests and write a blog everyday. I'm glad that family members have stayed healthy.
I've been studying English grammer and structures since April. I think I should focus on vocabulary building next year. And I want to read English magazines and news articles easily. 
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shohei Otani

I watched a TV show yesterday. On the program, the next Softbank Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo interviewed with major league players Yu Darvish of Rangers and Masahiro Tanaka of Yankees. 
They talked about a Japanese baseball player Shohei Otani of Fighters. All of them said that Otani should focus on pitching because his pitch is really nice. Darvish and Tanaka also said that if he learns the way use his body more effectively, he can perform well in the major league. 
I agree with them. He is good at batting, but do not surpass others. If he decides to concentrate on pitching, he would attract Major League Baseball fans. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One Month to Go

I'll take Eiken Pre-1st test next month. I really think I'm behind on vocabulary building. There are still lots of unfamiliar words in Eiken Pre-1st work books. These words might be super basic words for English speaking people. I couldn't read English magazines and news articles without getting any stress unless I memorize whole worlds in Eiken Pre-1st work books, or maybe 1st grade words. 
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Please Drive Safely

An 18-year-old school boy has passed away due to a traffic accident. He and I happened to know each other this October and he was my older son's classmate at elementary school. 
He rode a motorcycle and crashed into the side of a car which was then turning to right at a intersection. The driver was an 81-year-old man. 
I'm not sure what made the collision, but riding a motorcycle is of course dangerous. Riders don't have any protectors except helmets. But even a helmet can be a lethal weapon. 
And I think 81 year old is too old to drive. Authorities should consider about old drivers.  
May his soul rest in peace. 
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Monday, December 22, 2014

High School

I have payed a high school entrance exam fee for my son today. He has chosen the school because he wants to join the school's table tennis team. 
He only needs to pass an interview for the school. So, he doesn't need to take math or English tests. He is not good at studying so that would be better for him. 
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Air Bags and Seat Belts

The TIME issued air bags. 
Air bags have been saving lives since 1973. But after 20 years, air bags disappeared in the U.S. because the Big Three thought that air bags wouldn't cost-effective. 
Now, many cars equipped air bags, but there are some problems. For example, air bags don't adjust any height of people. Short persons often get troubles. 
An expert said that air-bag technology is mature and it has sort of done what it is supposed to do. More important matters that save your life is to fasten seat belts. In America, air bags saved 2,213 lives in 2012, but seat belts saved 12,174 lives. 
Don't forget to fasten your seat belt and hope you drive safely. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

President Obama's Press Conference

I listened to the U.S. President Obama's year-end news conference this morning. 
In the conference, he criticized Sony's decision on canceling a controversial movie. They made a parody film about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and got cyberattacks from North Korean agency. 
The end of the conference, the reporters there asked Mr. Obama some questions. The questioner the President pointed were all females. Was that unfair for men? I'm not sure. 
President Obama is going to take a vacation in Hawaii. I really want to go there for winter vacation. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Boko Haram Killed and Kidnapped Again

Nigerian Islamic extremist group Boko Hatam killed at least 33 people and kidnapped about 200 villagers, a survivor said. They also kidnapped over 200 school girls in April. 
The extremists are against western education. If they believe Islamic education is the best, they should establish their own schools. If they made decent schools, many people would support their activities. But instead, they have been killing and kidnapping innocent people. 
Media reported that Nigerian military couldn't prevent extremists well because the government's soldiers can't get enough equipments and wages. International aides are needed to the country. 
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nishikori the Most Googled

Google Japan announced that Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori was the most googled person in Japan in 2014. He became the first Japanese man to reach the U.S. Open final this year and his ATP ranking has jumped up to the 5th place. He also advanced to the ATP tour finals and reached the semis. 
Former French Open champion Michael Chang became his coach this year and since then he performed really well. I believe he would get a grand slam title in the near future. 
The second googled person was a figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and the third was an actor Ken Takakura. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taliban Killed 141 People

Taliban terrorists attacked a school in Pakistan and killed more than 141 people, most of them were school children. The extremists have shut the hopes of innocent children. I feel anger towards their brutal acts. Their targets are always weaker people. 
Some media said that the massacre might be a revenge for Malala's Nobel Peace Prize. Malala was shot by the same group of Taliban. 
Taliban would call themselves ideal Muslims, but it's obviously not. They have been acting as if they want to make hell on the earth. No one wants to live in the world they made. 
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Person of the Year

TIME magazine has chosen the Ebola Figfters as 2014 Person of the Year. The fighters, doctors, nurses and others, mainly come from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and they are from all over the world. 
Ebola is a fatal infection desease. Currently 6,346 people out of 17,834 cases have died in this epidemic. More than 99% of infections have originated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the virus traveled to many part of the world including Germany and the U.S. 
Fighting Ebola seems a war. We have to thank the fighters. Without these brave people, Ebola would have killed more people all over the world. 
"To not do that is kind of a shame", one of the doctors said. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

LDP Won the Election?

The voting was over and media said the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, won the election, but is that true? 
The LDP has got 291 seats. Of course, it looks a complete victory, but they lost two seats compare to the previous one and the number of the seats of the Communist Party has increased almost tripled. 
I don't think The Communist Party gained popularity these days. Voters might simply disappeared in other opposition parties. I want these parties especially JDP to become mature political party. They were fighting each other in their parties. Ridiculous! 
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Japan's Lower House Election

I'm going to vote for the Lower House election today. December is one of the busiest months for many Japanese and the weather conditions are getting worse in wide area of Japan. And there are no good reason for the election, so I think it's a waste of tax money.
The media said that Japanese voters have to judge so called Abenomics. If Abe gets majority of the seats, he will rise the sales tax and the economy grows would fall again. I'm against the plan and I also oppose his nuclear policy. But on the other hand, I support him on some issues. 
If only opposition leaders have the right views for Japan's future, I would be happy to chose one of them. 
Who should I vote for this election?
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Anthem

According to the BBC news, Chinese goverment has banned the national anthem from non political events such as weddings, funerals and commercials. 
They made the new rule because they wanted to standardize the proper etiquette for the anthem. The officials said the anthem could be performed for example when Chinese athletes won medals or at schools. 
For whom the Chinese anthem played? The anthem is for Chinese Communist Rarty and the government, not for the people. 
Speaking of the anthem, some kind of people criticize Japan's anthem performing at schools. I want to know how they feel the Japanese anthem being performed when Japanese athletes won gold medals at international sports events like Olympics. Do they feel disgust?

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Friday, December 12, 2014

China To Ban Islamic Veil

The Islamic face veil will be banned in Xingiang region in China. Xingiang is the home of Uighur Muslims. It might fuel tensions in the area. 
Uighurs are originally Turkish Muslims and they were trying to establish their own country, East Turkestan but failed because China began to control the region in 1949. 
After that, a huge number of Han Chinese have migrated to Xingiang and the oppression had started. Since then, the Chinese goverment has been trying to extinguish the Uighurs culture. The authorities have arrested and killed not only Muslim ethnic activities but also ordinary people. 
The similar tragedy happens in Tibet. Recently, they occupied foreign territories illegally in the Philippines and Vietnam. Once they have advantages, they will be aggressive. It's like they want everything in the world. 
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Boycott Campaign on Winter Olympics

I happen to read an article about dog meat. An animal protection group is against the Winter Olympics in Korea and has held a boycott campaign because Korean people eat dog meat.
They said an estimated 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered and eaten as health food each year in Korea. In addition they import millions of dog meat from China. This kind of anti campaigns were held some times before, 1988 Olympics and 2002 FIFA World Cup. 
I really like dogs as pets, so the article is disgusting to me. It's easy to criticize the custom, but come to think of it, we couldn't. 
You might eat beef, pork, chicken and even some Japane eat whale meat. What's the difference? Even abandoned pets are killed in many advanced countries. 
You cannot live on without taking in living things. You mustn't forget the fact. 
But dogs....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Macadamia Nuts Made a Plane to Return

A Korean airplane returned to the gate at a U.S. airport because an angry woman ordered to do so. The female passenger was a daughter of a family-run conglomerate chairman in Korea and the airline is operated by the company. She was also an executive of the airline and was so angry with the service at the first class in her own company's plane that she was on board. 
What made her so furious? That was a pack of nuts. A cabin attendant gave her a pack of macadamia directory instead of these on a sheet. She made the plane back to the gate and got a member out of the jet. 
Many people criticized her order because there was no need to return. 
But please forgive her. She simply didn't know wha to do to open a pack of nuts because she was born in the rich family. It was the most embarrassing moment she ever had, I guess. 
I learned how to open a pack of nuts or snacks when I was a kid. Thanks to Calbee, potato chips and kappa ebisen tought me that. 
It's tough to being a rich. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This Week's TIME

I've read a TIME's article about Japan. It said that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had to decide to call a snap election now because if he waited the election until 2016, the LDP would get a result in worse. The rival parties are disarray that would help Abe's victory. 
It also said that Japan is still the world third largest economy and a healthy Japan is good for the U.S. and the word. 
The economics is so difficult to
understand to me that the only thing I can do is to watch and wait the result. When the election is over, the new Diet members should work together for a bright future. Everyone wants hope for tomorrow. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Xi Arrests Zhou on Corruption

A Chinese former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, has been expelled from the communist party and arrested for corruption. This was a historical event because retired security chiefs had never been arrested for corruption since 1949 when Chinese communist government established. President Xi apperently wants to show his attitude for anti-corruption campaign to the public. Can he drive it well? 
As many people have already known, Chinese politics is heavily tainted by corruption. High ranked communists and officials can collect a huge amount of money from Chinese related companies easily. They have enormous power to do so. They invest the dirty money overseas. In addition, they put their families overseas too. President Xi is no exception.  
I think someday in the near future, Chinese decent citizens would fight against the communist party and politicians. As history illustrates, such a rotten government cannot last so long. 
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Sunday, December 7, 2014


This blog is the 400th post since 2008.
I've applied an English test, Eiken Pre-1st grade. This is the first Eiken for me.
In order to prepare for the test, I'm working on some Eiken workbooks now. The major problem of studying for Eiken is lack of my vocabulary. I could get only 10 to 13 point of the first 25 vocabulary questions. That's a huge disadvantage for me. I need to get at least 20 points for the section. And because of my poor vocabulary, I often misunderstood the meaning of problem articles. Words, words, words!
The test is held on January 25. Wish me luck.
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Phobia or Fear?

I wrote a blog about phobias the day before yesterday. After that I checked some articles about phobias and I found that I had overlooked the difference between phobias and fears. I thought a phobia is just a strong feeling of a fear, but I was wrong. 
Fear is normal feeling and it even prevents us from dangers. Fear makes our quick response for protect ourselves. 
On the other hands, phobia is unreasonable feeling of fear that you yourself already realized it and you cannot control it. 
For example, if you face a big snarling Doberman without a leash, you would be afraid of it. It's a normal feeling of fear. But if you fear a cute chihuahua or a friendly poodle on a leash in a distance, you might have a dog phobia or cynophobia. 
Another example is that if you are afraid of being high placeses like being on the top of a high ladder, it's normal. But if you reject a good job because the office is on the 10th floor of the building, you might have a phobia. 
I don't like standing at a high placeses, but I would be normal. It's just a fear of heights.
Do you have any problems of fear?

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Election in Japan

Japan's Prime Minister Sinzo Abe has dissolved the lower house and the election is held on December 14. 
The primary issue of the election might be economics. Japan has been suffering sever depression for several decades. The hike of consumer tax has prevented economic recovery. To accelerate Japan's economic growth is a big challenge for politicians. 
It's obvious that these candidates speak out economic issues for their campaign, but when the election is over, these representatives should consider Japan's national security first. Japan has been exposed to security risks. If Japan were invaded, no one could guarantee your life, family and property. 
Be careful to watch candidates' policy of foreign affaires and national security. You shouldn't vote a candidate like Alien Yukio Hatoyama. Politicians can destroy a nation easily when they take a wrong policy. 

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Thursday, December 4, 2014


I think everyone has an irrational fear of something or has many of it. I also have some. 
In English, a fear of something is called a phobia. I don't like being high places. It's called acrophobia. I don't like to imagine I'm in too tight places and it's called claustrophobia. 
When you check phobias in the dictionary or on the web, you can find lots of them. 
I like toads because they are cute. But someone fears them and they are bufonophobia. Few, only a limited population, I believe, Chinese and Korean might be Japanophobia that protest against Japan. I'm not a shinophobia, but I'm sometimes angry with their behavior in politics. 
As developing the modern civilization, new phobias would be founded. For example, there are some people suffering from nomophobia. They are not dislike Hideo Nomo, but fear of no mobile phone. I gess you might be one of them. Be careful! 

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I listened to the VOA radio news the other day and I got a new word from the news. That was xenophobia. It means a strong fear of people from other countries. The news was about a survey that found a rise of xenophobia in Turkish people. 
There are some reasons on that feeling of fear. 
Turkey is surrounded by countries with strained relationship, Siria, Iraq and Iran. Its border is exposed in danger. It is one of the reasons of the fear. 
But the feeling is nothing new. Turkish schoolchildren were taught that their country was surrounded by enemies from ancient times to present time.  
They might be afraid of another Lawrence of Arabia. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Catholic Population Decreases in South America

South America has almost a half of Roman Catholics in the area. But the number of people who goes to the Catholic Church has been decreasing in the past few decades. 
I thought the reduction came from because younger generations dislike the strict religious rules such as anti abortion, same sex marriage. But, according to some articles, the reality is different. 
A lot of people have been converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. Most people who becomes Protestant said they did so because they were seeking more personal connection with God, according to the NYT. 
I think religious policies should adopt the life of modern society little by little. I'm not a religious person, so it's just my opinion. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Volunteer Guiding

I've thanks to joined an English volunteer guide group in my city, Matsue, without taking any English tests since last year. I also wasn't asked my TOEIC score or Eiken grades. Looking around the other members, there are many retired English teachers or majored in English. I have to study English and the castle more. 
Our main work is guiding foreign visitors to Matsue Castle in English. Yesterday was the last time this year because we are off in the winter. I was at the information desk almost once a month. But in my turns, I didn't have any opportunities to guide a visitor to the castle. Of course there are lots of foreign visitors here, but many of them are come from Taiwan, Korea and China. 
Matsue is an inconvenient city to come from big cities in Japan because of lack of traffic facilities. But other than that, my city is a good place to visit. We have historical remains, buildings and tasty food from the Japanese sea, Lake Shinji and farmers around the city. 
I would like to do something to increase the number of visitors here from around the world. What should I do for that?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Smoking Ban in China

China's capital city Beijing officials said that they are going to ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces. They are also considering a limit on tabacco advertising. 
China has its about 300 million smokers and smoking is a social custom in the country. Cigarettes are used for an ice breaking item when people meet. 
That strong habit once broke the previous smoking ban law which started in 2008. Even schools were recommended smoking to their students for relaxing, most people had ignored the regulation. 
The new law would set fines of up to $33 for a single violation as the current $1.60 fine. I'm thinking that the fines would be reduced its price and would disappear to officials pocket as a bribe. It would end up in failure again, just my imagine, though. 
A part of the fatal air pollution in China's big cities would come from the puffing cigarettes of the republic people. It might be a long way to reduce smoking in China. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Japanese Reporter on Trial

A Japanese reporter Tatsuya Kato of the Sankei-Shinbun was prosecuted in Korea for defaming South Korean President Park Geun-hye. He denied the charge. 
He posted an article which said the president was out of contact for several hours when the Sewol ferry disaster on 16 April killed more than 300 people, mainly high school students. 
Kato said that his article was based on a Korean news article and he just wanted Japanese people to know about how South Korean people think of President Pak. 
I think if Kato's article was against the law, the Korean newspaper writen the original article also should be accused. How come they prosecuted only Japanese reporter?
Any governments should not suppress media and people's voices. Freedom of expression must be protected under any circumstances. In addition, Korean authority has banned Kato to go back to Japan. As free world is watching the Korean prosecution in this case, I hope they withdrew the prosecution and to be free the reporter as soon as possible. 

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Friday, November 28, 2014

One Year Anniversary

Today is one year anniversary of my blog post. I've been writing a blog everyday for exactly one year. I've been doing this for the sake of my English. I want to express my thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions or whatever about myself and about the world. 
At first, it was difficult to write a blog everyday because I'm not used to writeing anything in English. I have relatively poor English skills, so I've borrowed some expression from articles and dictionaries. I believe it might work for improving my English skills. 
Finding topics was another problem for me. To pick a topic, I would read newspapers and search articles on the web. Sometimes I choose a topic by listening to radio programs.  But now, I really enjoy not only writing in English but also selecting topics. 
Anyway, writing blog in English is great fun for me. You should try it. You'll find it interesting. 

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Child Marriage in Africa

Child marriage is a bad tradition in African nations. At least 30% of girls are married under age of 18. The rates are even higher in some countries, the rates are above 70% in Niger and Chado. Many of them are forced to do so due to their tradition and poverty. 
Child marriage causes mental and physical problems because of young age pregnancy. They also can't get enough education. 
African Union is trying to end child marriage. They started a two years campaign this year. I don't know the details, but I think two years seems too short to end the tradition. Education for both adults and girls is the primary for reducing young age marriage. 
Old generations might hard to change their thoughts. But as educated people including girls increase in Africa, the bad tradition will come to a period at the end of the day. Education, like Malala said, can change the world. 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Living Funeral

When someone knows that he or she doesn't have much time left to live, a living funeral might be performed. It's not popular, though. 
A Japanese singer held his living funeral concert in September. The singer is Ogura Kei, 70. 
He sang 25 of his songs in a day and the concerts were held four days in a row. He is a survivor of a cancer, but he looks well for now. I think the experience made him to have living funeral concerts. 
I don't want to do my own living funeral, but I want to say farewell to all of my friends before it comes. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The President Takata

Akira Takata is one of the best known person in Japan. He is the owner of a famous and successful online shopping company, Japanet Takata. I've bought some electronic products at the shop.
Takata worked for a machinery company as an interpreter of sales department after graduated from college, then he returned to his hometown Nagasaki where he started his own business.
I watched a YouTube video that Pakkun interviewed with him. They talked about communication. The most important thing for communication, Tkata said, is always to be as you are. Do not have an inferiority complex. Do not feel superior to others. If you talk with people like that way, you can communicate with others well, Takata said. 
He is definitely a great communicator. We can learn from him how to convey your thoughts and ideas to others. 
Takata has announced that he will retire from his work in two or three years. I'm really sorry for his retirement.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

It Happens

A big earthquake hit in Nagano on Saturday. The 6.7 magnitude earthquake has left 41 people injured. 
Scholars can explaine what made the earthquake on news shows and newspapers, but no scholars could predict when and where there will be an earthquake. 
We have to prepre for the earthquake any time. Of course it is necessary to store some food and water at your house, but to know what earthquake is a critical matter. That means an quake might happen on you someday, whenever and wherever. Your mind can save your life. 
Recently, many Japanese people were killed by natural disasters. Some of them were too late to escape from the dangers. For example, when a volcanic eruption occered at Mt. Ontake, some victims were taking pictures with their smartphones or cameras instead of escape to a safe place. They didn't think they were in a dangerous situation. 
Don't stay in danger when it happens.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Judgement

I translated a story. 

At a night, a man walked along a street of a town, looked back now and then. Suddenly, someone stopped him. 
"Hey. Wait!", said the unknown man. 
"What? I'm in a hurry."
"I'm a cop. Money thief incidents have been happening in this town recently, so I'm patrolling here. You look strange. I'll ask you some. You have to answer my questions or I'll drug you to the police office."
"I don't want to go to police station. I didn't do anything wrong."
"That's what I decide."
"I walk awkward, but that's the way I am.", he explained. And he let the unknown man searching his clothes and pockets. Nothing had founded. 
"Ok. You may go."
The man walked away there and after walking while he met a waiting person. 
"I think it went well."
"How was he? What is your judgement?"
"He's insane. I'm a psychiatrist. I'm sure he is."
The police officer nodded as he listened to the psychiatrist. 
"I'm sorry to bother you. We were not sure if he was a gangster pretending a directive or simply a crazy man who believes he was a police man. There was no clue. Then we should send him a hospital. Thank you doctor. Our police department will pay for you...."
The end. 

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Saturday, November 22, 2014


I think using prepositions in English is one of the most difficult things for Japanese English learners because Japanese language doesn't have any of them.
Prepositions faction many ways. They describe the position of something, the time when something happens, the way in which something is done and other ways. 
Prepositions also play an important role for making phrasal verbs. I often misunderstand the meanings of phrasal verbs, so I need more practice for familiarize with prepositions. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Committed Suicide or Ending One's Own Life

Shimane Prefectural government officially ended to use a word 自殺 or suicide in their documents in 2013. Since then the government began to use 自死 instead of 自殺. It's hard to translate into English, but someone tried to do it like "ending one's own life". Let me know any good ideas for it. 
Anyway, that was because a mother who has a son died by suicide in Shimane requested to the government to change the word 自殺 to 自死. She had been suffering to say 自殺 or killed oneself for her son's death. She preferred to say 自死 because it sounds kind to her. 
Some people have agreed with the idea. They say the word 自殺 sound hurt the relatives' mind because of the caracter "殺" that means kill. 
On the other hand, some people have opposed it because the word 殺 might prevent someone to commit suicide. 
I think the changing is ucceptabl because 自死 is not a new word but a common Japanese for a long time. And I don't think the word 殺 can prevent suicide. What do you think of it? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Japanese English Teachers

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced that most Japan's English teachers don't have enough levels of English tests results. The Ministry said teachers should require at least TOEIC 730, Eiken Pre-1st grade or TOEFL iBT 80. Only 53% of high school teachers and 28 % of middle school teachers have these qualifications. 
I don't believe all Japanese English teachers have poor English skills. Of course there are many teachers required good English skills. And there would be many teachers who never took English test. But once they take an English test, I hope they can easily pass the previous levels. 
Nevertheless I have to say, I've never taken Eiken and TOEFL, TOEIC 730 is not a level of teach English at school. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ken-san Died at 83

A Japane actor Takakura Ken died at age of 83 on November 10 in Tokyo.
I have two favorite Japanese actors, Atsumi Kiyoshi and Takakura Ken. Now two of them have passed away. 
Takakura became famous after he acted yakuza, Japanese gangster, movies. I did not watch any of them, though. My first encounter with him was "Siawase no kiiroi hankati" and then, "Yasei no shounmei". I didn't know much about him at that time, but I was impressed his way of acting in the movies. I really like his eye expressions and voice. Since then I watched many of his movies. 
He has been acting a guy who has dark past like killed someone, involved some crimes or too strict his job. But he was honest, warm, merciful and silent in these movies. 
So many Japanese people feel deep sorrow at his death. 
May his soul rest in peace. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Japan's Maglev Train Reaches 500 km/h

The Central Japan Railway Company held the first public ride of their new super-fast train in Yamanashi Prefecture.
One hundred lucky passengers experienced utmost a 500 km/h speed during the test run. I can't imagine how fast the train. 
If the levitating maglev train line runs between Tokyo and Nagoya, it would tied the two cities in only 40 minutes. According to the company, they have a plan to commence a commercial line between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027.  
If it realizes the two cities' residents would easily commute each cities. And it also could be a new major sightseeing spot in Japan. I would like to be on board  the floating train. It might be an exciting experience. 
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Abe Calls an Election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to disband the Diet and the election would be held in December.
Some newspapers and the opposition leaders say Abe should not use the right to dissolve the Diet because he does not have any decent reason to do so.  In spite of their critics, the day will come in the near future. 
I also can't understand why the Prime Minister would call for an election now. The only thing we can do is to judge candidates and vote in the election.
I do not think the Liberal Democratic Party has took the best directions for our nation, but we have poor opposition parties here. Oppositions should be more realistic in poritical affeires otherwise I have no choice but to vote to the LDP everytime.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kei Couldn't Stop Djikovic

Kei Nishikori was defeated by Novac Djikovic by 1-2 in the semifinals at the ATP Tour Finals on November 15 in London.
"When he's playing well, I don't think anybody can stop him," said Nishikori. 
Nishikori lost the match, but the advanc to semifinals was an astonishing event for Japanese people. No Asian tennis player could ever take part in the year-end big tennis tournament before. Only the top eight players are involved the event. 
It has been a memorable and a sensational year for the 24-year-old Japane because he has risen from 17th to fifth in the world tennis rankings. And of course he almost reached one of four major championships, the U.S. Open title. 
He has made Kei fever in Japan. His models of rackets and outfits are often sold out in shops. He made Shuzo Matsuoka, a former top Japanese tennis player, busy. He even made an extra value for his favorite fish, nodoguro. 
Thanks, Kei. I really look forward to your performances next year. Get a major title!
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kei Goes to Semifinals

Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori won the last match of the first pool at the ATP Tour Finals against Ferrer.
I was able to watch Kei's game only a little on a news show. He showed us astonishing play in the last game. 
Nishikori is going to face the top ranked player Novac Djokovic at semifinals. He got a victory over Djikovic in the previous major tournament, the U.S. Open. I hope he will win the next match. Yes, he has a great opportunity to get a finalist in this year-end big event. 
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Violence in Mexico

On September 26, 43 students at local teachers college in Mexico went missing. The students were heading to Iguala to take part in a protest action. The police force there attached the buses they were on board and killed six stuents and kidnapped 43 students. After that the students disappeared.
Officials investigated the incident that the mayor of Iguala ordered the attack. The officials said that the police arrested the students hand over the young men to a crime syndicate in the end. The mayor, the police and the local gangsters are all in a group there. 
This kind of violence happen everywhere in Mexico. Governments, the police and crime groups including drug cartels are deeply tied for their profits. They can kill citizens and proper authorities so early for money. 
At a rate of 61 per 100,000 people have been killed each year by criminal violence in the country. It seems like actual hell on earth. You can't hang out without paying attention. 
The Mexican president and government are trying to eradicate violent crimes especially drug related ones, but it might need for a long time because these corrupt officials and police is helping crimes. To sweep out these rotten authorities might be the first thing what they have to do. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Xi Brings Ivory to China

A British nongovernmental group, the Environmental Investgation Agency (EIA) accused that Chinese officials traveling with China's president Xi Jinping last year purchased tons of ivory tusks illegally in Tanzania. Both countries denied that report.
Ivory trade has been banned all over the world to protect wild elephants in Africa. Despite the rule, tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their tusks. China is the largest market for snugged ivory tusks because these tusks consider fortune tokens for Chinese people so ivory products can be sold in high prices in the country. 
If this report was true, it seems Chinese and Tanzanian president talked about business trade including illegal ivory at that time and the Asian big country might destroy not only Asian atomosphare by exhausting polluted gas but also African wild environment by killing elephants.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Federer Defeats Nishikori

Tennis legend Roger Federer beat Nishikori at the ATP Finals. Nishikori has won against Federer two times, but he found difficult to win this time. Federer, the six-time champion of this tournament, might progress to semifinals. Two of four players in the first pool is going to the next stage. 
Nishikori didn't perform well in this match, but he still has a chance to be alive in this big event if he gets a win next match against Raonic. 
I hope Nishikori beats Federer in the final of this tournament. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Abe and Xi Hold a Meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting in Beijing on November 10th. 
Before the meeting, even though Abe was a guest, he was standing and waiting for Xi in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. I watched the moment on a TV news show yesterday. I have to say Xi was too rude to greet a foreign government leader. As the whole world watching it, Xi showed the fact that he was an intolerant person. Xi even ignored Abe's greeting when they were shaking hands. 
I understand a little about Xi's political situation for Chinese authorities and citizens, but at least he had to share a welcomed atomosphare with Abe. That's the right way for a nation's leader. Or if he was too nervous to talk to Japan's Prime Minister? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nishikori Beats Murray

Kei Nishikori has got a good start at ATP World Tour finals with a 2-0 win over British Andy Murray. 
Only eight top tennis players are allowed to join the ATP finals, Nishikori became the first Asian player to participate the year-end big event. 
As he won four ATP tour tournaments and advanced US Open final this year, I'm sure he deserves this title. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hanyu Crushed in China

The Japan's figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, the Olympic gold medalist, crushed into Chinese skater while practicing at Chinese skating event. He hit his head and blood was shed over his head and chin.  
Despite the accident, he took part in the competition. He fell down to the ice several times in the performance, but he managed to finish his skating. He finished at second place in the competition. 
Although doctors had changed his damage before he skated, many people criticized Hanyu's team stuff because it was too dangerous to skate after hit his head so hard. 
It might difficult to withdraw the competition, but I wanted his stuff to make a decision to retreat the event. Brain damage can cause severe after effect. Hanyu is the treasure of figure skating, so he should be protected by such an account. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sendai Nuclear Plant to Restart

Kagoshima governor gave a final approval to resume Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima prefecture on Friday for the first time under Japan's new nuclear safety law. The new law was established after the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami caused Fukusima Daiichi meltdown. 
In my opinion, Japan should withdraw nuclear power generation as soon as possible. That is because no one can control nuclear fission and no one can handle nuclear wastes forever. 
We shouldn't cast our responsibility to our children otherwise we would be called the destroyer of the earth. 
There would be many resources for generate electricity without using nuclear plant or fossil fuels such as wind and solar power. Japanese government and scientists have to focus on to create such  alternative power generators. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

World Cup 2022

According to some sources, FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar would likely to be held in winter. That is because Qatar is too hot to play soccer in summer. 
Everyone knows that Qatar is a hot country especially in summer. Why on earth are FIFA executive members talking this issue now? 
They should have discussed this condition problem when Qatar made the presentation for inviting the event. Didn't they believe they can hold the big soccer event in summer at first? If so these FIFA executive members never play soccer in the heart. Or they didn't know where Qatar is. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

U.S. Midterm Elections

The United States midterm elections have just finished. The general elections are held two years after American presidential election which is held every four years. 
Republicans have occupied the majority of the seats this time. President Obama will have a hard time to control the nation his left two years. 
This two years term general elections and four years term the United States presidential election are routinely taking place over 200 years since the nation was established. During the long period of the time, the political power are shifting so many times peacefully. It's a miracle. I really admire American people for the reason. Many countries sometimes get in trouble when the government power changes. I know there are many conflicts in the United States and there are some people don't like America, but the oldest democratic country always shows human's miracle to the world. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Berlin Wall

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. At that time, Germany was divided into two nations, West and East. East Germany built The Berlin Wall in 1961 to surround West Berlin completely, so no one could escape from the East to the West. 
Many eastern people tried to escape from the East to the West for their freedom, but many of them failed it. Some were killed and others were arrested. After The Wall was opened, I once visited the point Charlie where many people died for freedom. I felt dizzy thinking of the tragedies when I looked around the place. 
The American President Ronald Reagan made a historic address in front of the Wall in 1987. In the speech, he said to the Soviet Union leader strongly, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" And it realized two years later. 
The Wall collapsed only over a night. I couldn't believe it immediately. The Eastern world looked strong enough at that era. It was the very moment I could watch the changing of the world. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Michael Jackson

My younger son, 14, has got interested in Michael Jackson.
 I don't know where and when he found Michael's music so nice. He says Michael is the coolest singer ever. He is watching his music videos everyday. He mimics Michael's dancing in the videos like Thriller, Beat It and  Bad. He's not really good at dancing, but he imitates well, so I laugh a lot. 
He even tries to sing Michael's songs. He is a little bit out of tune, but it's ok. At least, he's got interested in English. He would study English seriously someday. I really hope so. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

IS Killed More Than 300

According to some news, more than 300 people were killed by Islamic States members in the IS ruled area in Iraq. 
There are so many events happened in the area that I can't understand thes IS related issues anymore. There are too many factors in these conflicts. I need to organize information in order to understand the issue. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Commercial Spacecraft Crushed

A commercial space flight company Virgin Galctc lead by British billioneller Sir. Richard Branson failed its test space flight on Friday, killing one of two pilots. 
It never been identified the reason of the crash, but some said it happened because of the changing of its fuel. 
The company has planned that they will commence its commercial space flight in 2015, and Branson and his family will be on board the first one. 
Although they already have got 700 future space passengers, the plan will be a huge set back from the schedule they first planned. 
Space flight is one of our dreams, as I understand, but I don't think it worth to risk human's life. I doubt a private company can take responsibility for such a venturesome project. 
If a government failed a test space flight like this, the dead pilot would get a higher honor from the government at least. 
It's just a bold project. If Branson wants to go to space, he should try to do it all by himself alone. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ichibata Marathon

My son took part in a road race event last week. The race, the 36th Ichibata Yakushi Marathon, has 5km and 10km course. Just before the goal line, the participants have to run up 1138 of stone stairs. It seems a kind of torture. 
About 1500 people enjoyed the torturous running course. I don't want to run that course. I prefer flat one. Those runners have quite strange habit.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chinese Fishing Boats Invade

Over 200 Chinese fishing boats have invaded Japan's EEZ to steal coral illegally. I watched some videos on TV about the incidents. There were many rusty iron boats searching and stealing valuable red coral. 
How many miles do they travel for the coral? I don't know they can get enough money for the fishing. 
Japan's coast guard's vessels are too busy to arrest them or make them away from the area. 
I think they come to the area not only for stealing coral but also for the will of Chinese authorities' to annoy Japanese government. Japanese government should enlarge the number of coast guards for protect Japan's sea areas. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Congratulations, Hawks!

Fukuoka Hawks won the baseball Nippon Series against Tigers. Congratulations, the players, fans and of course head coach Mr. Akiyama!
Speaking of the Hawks, I sometimes went to see baseball games of the Hawks when I was a college student. I didn't go to Fukuoka Dome, but Osaka stadium. Yes, I watched Nankai Hawks' games at Osaka stadium. 
I was not a fan of Nankai Hawks at that time. I just wanted to kill the time. When the bottom of the fifth inning finished, we could watch the rest of the game for free. So, I never bought any tickets for the games. 
There were hundreds of people, literally some hundreds, including kissing couples watching the games. I could hear drunk fans shouting some indecent words. It was a nice memorie for me. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I'm making word cards for expanding my English vocabulary. While I make the cards, I check phonetic symbols. I'm so disappointed that I have memorized a lot of wrong pronunciation before. I need to be more carefully when I try to memorize new words otherwise no one can understand what I'm trying to say. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Word Cards

I've decided to make word cards for extending my English vocabulary. It's not an easy work to make them, and of course hard to memorize them. I hate my poor ability to memorize new words, but I have to over come it. 
This way of vocabulary building is a very traditional way. Many learners recently use PC or some of other IT devices for memorizing new words, but I believe using paper cards is still an efficient method of that. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Score Card

My TOEIC score card has arrived. It says I've improved grammatical knowledge a little and my level of grammer became obove the average for the first time. I've been studying English sentence structures and it works well. 
I got 840 this time, and I'll try to get over 900 next time. I need more practice indeed. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I went to a world heritage site, Miyajima in Hiroshima. This was the first time I visit ther. I supposed to be there for school trip when I was in elementary school, but I wasn't able to go there because I had a high fever. It was one of my sad memories. 
There I studied guiding for foreigners with a volunteer group I join in. The teacher was a professional tour guide. I had a great day today. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Go to Miyajima

I'm going to go to Hiroshima with volunteer guide members tomorrow. We will take part in the Miyajima tour with English guide. We can learn how to guide in English there. 
After that we will visit Hirishima Atomic Bomb Dorm. I've been there several times before. I feel really sorry for these victims. The atomic bomb attack was definitely against humanity. I just feel angry when I think about the tragedy. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

War Dogs

War dogs became famous when they succeeded in finding Saddam Hussain of Iraq in 2003 and the Osama bin Laden mission in 2011. 
They play an integral role for U.S. military operations overseas. They can protect soldiers, search dangerous things, attack enemies and so on. 
Their breeds are mostly German Shepards and Belgian Malinois because these breeds are highly intelligent. 
And they also play another important role. They heal soldiers' mental feelings especially in the battle fields. The soldiers can release their tension when they touch these military dogs. 
But like many soldiers, some of war dogs develop PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Unlike U.S. soldiers, dogs are not volunteers. Only human beings can make them working in the military fields. Thinking of that I feel sorry for these dogs. Are they happy working with human in that conditions? I'm not sure. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ebola Infection

The Ebola virus causes serious desease. Scientists first found the virus in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Although the virus has been recolonized for more than 35 years, no efficient vaccine or drugs were invented. That was because the desease has been occered in a limited area, so pharmaceutical companies though they could not get enough profits from the vaccine or drugs. 
But now, the situation has been changed. The virus is traveling to many countries now. It's obvious the desease would be found in Japan sooner or later. 
I believe scientists and pharmaceutical companies have the potential to invent anti virus production. They need to accelerate that development for helping people. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Indonesian New President

Mr. Jokowi has taken over the office in Indonesia, the world largest Muslim community, on October 20th. 
Just a decade ago, he was only a successful furniture company owner and besides he was raised in a poor family. In 2005 he became a mayor of Solo and then governor of Indonesian capital, Jacarta. 
He governed these regions so well and became a popular politician in the Muslim country despite he is a Christian. Unlike former presidents, he is not from political elite family, so lots of Indonesian people thought he could change the country to the good direction. 
There would be many controversial issues to solve in the largest democratic Muslim country. I hope his governing goes well and be safe from anti government extremists. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Minister Obuchi Quits

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industrial Minister Yuko Obuchi has stepped down over her financial scandal. She provided some tours for her supporters and it might be against the law. In addition, she might spend political money for her own family. For example, she bought her child's baby buggy using her political fund and spend the money at her relatives' shop so often. 
I think she is guilty of Political fund control law, but like many other cases she would escape from the prosecution at the end. Some of her secretaries or supporting stuff might get punishment instead of the former minister. That's the way it is with ruling party. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


I've got a 840 point from TOEIC test in September. I'm really glad to get over 800 score this time. I want to get 900 within a year. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Tigers Goes to The Final

The Hanshin Tigers won the climax series against the Tokyo Giants and they are going to the Japan Series for the first time since 2005. The Tigers finished regular season at 2nd place behind the Giants, but upset the regular season winner. 
Some of The Tigers fans are enthusiastic or rather crazy. They have a habit to dive into the Dotonbori river form when the team won a historical game. Or even the Colonel Sanders statue of KFC was forced to dive into the river in 1985.  
Two teams finished the second and the third place at the regular season won the climax series since it had started and the two teams also won the Japan series. Will the Tigers win the series like these two teams? 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola Pandemic

Ebola virus desease is spreading many places. According to the World Health Organization, the number of deaths from Ebola has hit over 4,500 now. 
Political and religious conflicts are everywhere in the world but aside from that we have to cooperate with each other for solving this problem. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pay Attention More

I have to be more careful when I read English articles. Even an article can make different meanings. Remember, don't hurry. 
I didn't use the dictionary before, but now I'm trying to use it when I have time. I even checked 30 times in a page. I should have used it more often, but it's not to late. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Without You, There Is No Us

I listened to the Diane Lehm Show this morning. One of the guests was a Korean-born American writer Suki Kim. She was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. when she was 13. She published a book about North Korea where she stayed for six months in 2011 as an English teacher.
She taught English at a missionary school. The staff there were missionaries, but they never mention Christianity openly. They even had to say J for Jesus, M for Minister. In addition, the students were watching each other so no one can talk about Christianity and even their leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. But they sang songs to honor the Kim families. One of the songs was titled "Without You, There Is No Us."
They didn't know what the Internet was even they learned computer science. They only asked questions to the author like what is your favorite color or what is your hobby. She said they were so pure. 
She came back to the U.S. and when she was about to publish the book, some North Korean authority asked her to stop publishing. She said "No."
I'm really interested in such a mysterious totalitarian country and their life. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Victims of ISIS

A VOA reporter interviewed with several survivors escaped form kidnapping by ISIS soldiers. They said, ISIS have abducted many young people including children and young girls. They are not only forced to be soldiers but also become sexual victims. Some young girls have been sold as sexual salves and others are forced to get married with ISIS soldiers or others. 
Whenever political or religious conflict occurred, children and women are facing severe circumstances. I understand there would be complicated issues, but we need to save these people first. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

First Sight Project

According to TIME, India has an estimated 12 million blind people in its nation. Some of them are suffering congenital cataracts. Their lens of the eye is clouded from the moment of birth. 
The patients need an operation to open their eyes. It takes 15 minutes and costs $300. But because of their poverty, most patients couldn't get a surgical operation.
An American NGO group is trying to help these blind people. The project called First Sight makes their lives literally brighter. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Eiken Reviews

I can see lots of Eiken reviews on my Twitter timeline. There are many useful tips for me. They said vocabulary section in the reading part is getting harder recently. I think world book can help me to develop only limited vocabulary, so I need to read lots of articles and stories. Checking new words in the dictionaries is also needed. 
To examine new words, I ordered an English-Japanese dictionary for the first time after graduate from college. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Keep Good Habits

Memorizing new English words is not so much fun, but I'm trying to do that everyday. Through this practice, I've encountered many words that I recently memorized from word book. Vocabulary makes reading easily. That's for sure. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Word Book

I bought an English word book for my son. My son is a middle school student and he isn't good at English. He is going to take a high school entrance exam next year. He doesn't have much time to prepare for the exam but he doesn't care much about that. 
I told him to memorize about 400 essential words. If he remembers these words, he would get 50 points in the English test. I really want him to be serious for the exam. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Happiest Childhood Memory

What is your happiest childhood memorie?

My happiest childhood memorie is a family trip to Hiroshima when I was in the sixth gread at elementary school. That was a special travel for me. 
It was not only the first family trip for my money but also the last one for my family.
Shortly before the trip, I was supposed to go to Hiroshima for school trip, but I couldn't. That was because I had a high fever at that time, so the doctor didn't allow me to go to the trip. I was really disappointed. My parents felt sorry for the absence, so they gave me a family travel to Hiroshima instead. 
Before the travel, our family went trip several times, but since I was little I wasn't able to remember anything about the events. The travel to Hiroshima was a special memory for me. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kohei Uchimura

Kihei Uchimura won The 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics men's individual-all-around six times in a row including the Olympics victory. He has not only astonishing gymnastic skills but also has strong mental power. Although he didn't satisfy himself, his performances today were so beautiful and steady. I think no one could surpass him before his retirement. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Nobel Prize

Two Japanese and a Japanese-born American won the Nobel Physics Prize. They invented the blue LED lamp, which nobody couldn't create it for a long time. 
LED lights are environmentally friendly products because the ramps use only a little electricity and last for a long time. 
Their work has transformed into many devices which enhance our lives. 
I'm really proud of them and I hope many Japanese researchers follow these Nobel Prize winner. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Typhoon Has Gone

A big typhoon has passed and the next one, Vongfong, is approaching. These series of typhoons might cause floods and landslides. I hope people live in the dangerous area should be careful and be sure to protect themselves from danger. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vocabulary Building

I feel uncomfortable to my poor vocabulary in English. I thought only I had to do was to guess the meanings when I met unfamiliar words. I didn't have any problems at first, but now I understand how important vocabulary building is. Because of lack of vocabulary, I can't understand exact information in English articles and books so often. 
To expand my vocabulary, I'll use knowledge of roots, prefixes and suffixes. It a never ending journey but I believe it worth to do. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Might Have a Problem

The administration ticket for Eiken hasn't come yet. I think I forgot to apply Eiken, maybe, possibly, definitely. I checked the website, but I couldn't find my name or ID. 
Ok. I'll take the test next time on January. I'll never forget to apply any English test. Sigh. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tea and Sweets

Today, I'll tell you about tea in my city. I live in Matsue, Shimane prefecture. Matsue is not a good place to cultivate tea trees, but we drink a lot of green tea. In fact, we consume the second largest amount of green tea next to Shizuoka. 
We usually drink green tea at 10 am and 3 pm. At the tea time, we have not only sweets but also have pickles and nishime, boiled veritable dishes with tea. 
Many families drink maccha green tea casually. We usually drink matcha without tea ceremony form. 
Since we drink a lot of green tea, there are many good Japanese sweets shop here. According to a survey, we spend the largest amount of money among all over Japan on wagashi, Japanese sweets. Of course the sweets here are so nice. Why don't you come here to have delicious sweets and tea?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Nine Days To Go

I'll take Eiken for the first time next Sunday. I've solved a workbook for preparing for the test. It was harder than I'd thought before. Of course there are many problems, but lack of vocabulary is the biggest problem for me. It takes a lot of time to get enough vocabulary for the test, but I'll do my best until the day of the test. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Good Result

I had an ear examination by CT today because I felt awkward on my left ear. I was worried about the result, but I got a good news that there was no sign of the recurrence of the illness. 
According to some articles, the illness that I had an operation eight years ago often causes a recurrence. I'm a quite lucky person. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Japan Won the Silver

Japanese women's table tennis team was defeated by China at Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. 
Ai Fukuhara upset world No. 2 player at the first match, but after that Japan lost three matches. Japanese team was not able to win the final, but they played quite well. I believe they will win against Chinese team in the near future. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preparing for Eiken

I'm preparing for an English test, Eiken pre-1st grade. I've never taken the test, so I bought a workbook for the test that I will able to get used to the form of the test. 
Lack of vocabulary is a big problem for me. There are many words in the book I've never seen. 
Another problem is that I don't read articles carefully. I don't need to be hurry. There would be plenty of time for solving problems. 
Reading these articles for workbook's problem, I've found there are many interesting topics in the book. I didn't really like preparing for English tests, but not so bad. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ontake Volcano

The eruption of Mt. Ontake killed and injured many hikers. I'm really sorry for the victims. Unfortunately, no one predicted the eruption this time. I think it's hard to predict when and where there will be a eruption. 
According to the newspaper, there are about 100 active volcanos in Japan. Some volcanic mountains are popular sightseeing spots. To prevent another victims, authorities should announce the risk of visiting active volcano areas. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I took TOEIC test today. I listened to radio in English and read English reading comprehension text book for preparing the test. 
For reading section, it worked well for me. I think I could get the best score for me this time. On the other hand, I don't think I could not get my own highest point for listening part. I was confused to choice suitable answers many times. I should listen wide range of listening materials more. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I went to see a doctor because I felt uncomfortable on my left ear. The doctor said I have to go to the major hospital to have specific examine. I had an operation several years ago. I think I've got the same illness again. I hope not, but possibly. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Texting While Driving

Today's topic on the Diane Rhem Show was texting and driving. It's very dangerous to text while driving. About 1.2 million driving accidents in the States come from phone use and 280,000 come from texting. A study showed that 3,000 teens die a year for texting. 
During the show, they took a pole and that showed 35% say they read and respond to text messages while driving. And 42% of who experienced accident or close has not changed their behavior. 
Those who texting drivers are close to killers. If you have a habit to texting while driving, you have to change the behavior  immediately. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Bluest Eye

Today's topic on The DR Show was a book titled The Bluest Eye written by Toni Morrison. The book was published in 1970's and the author later won the Nobel literature prize. 
I'm not familiar with the book and the author. According to the show, the story is about a black girl who faces domestic violence, sex abuse, self hate and other tragedies. Some schools and libraries though about the book as a pornography so that they were not allowed to read it. Even now some schools ban it form their libraries. 
I've got interested in the story, so I think I'll read it someday. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Virgin Way

Today, The Dyane Rhem Show involved Sir. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, as a guest. 
He talked with Diane a lot of topics during the one hour show. I was really excited to listen to the conversation. 
He talked about how he dropped out high school at age 16, and launched his own business. How he started the wonderful aviation company, or what he thinks about recent world problems such as huge conflict in Syria and the Ebora pandemic.
One of the most impressive things for me  in his idea was that listening to others is more important than speaking to others. He has 70,000 workers in his empire, and even though he's been busy, he is trying to listen to their thoughts as much as he can. Of course he listens to his customers' voice, too. I think that made him a successful business person. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Google Hangout

I listened to The Diane Rehm Show in this morning. The studio is in Washington, D.C. Today's guest, a former Google executive, was in New York. 
In the show, before they took a short break, Diane said, "we are talking on Skype. We will take a short break and right back soon."
After the break, she apologized for making a mistake. They were talking on Google Hangout because the guest was a former Google executive. 
Of course he forgive her with laughing. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

300 Days Anniversary

I'm writing this blog everyday since last November. Today's blog is the 300th day in a row. 
I don't think my writing skill has been significantly improved. I should use more and more new expressions or new sentences I have learned. 
Now I'm used to write in English compare to before. That's a prize I've got from everyday writing. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Learning English

I'm reading an English text book. I think I'll finish it in two or three days. The book is quite difficult to understand, but it helps me to read English.  
After reading the book, I'll read lots of books again. I have so many books to read in my bookshelf and kindle. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver is an American writer who is famous for short stories. I've read his novels in both Japanese and English. 
Of course, I read his novels in Japanese first. A Japanese famous writer Haruki Murakami translated Carver's novels. His stories are simple but deep. He wrote them with simple English. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dazai Osamu

Dazai Osamu is a well known Japanese auther. He wore the dark side of humanity. He seemed to be destroyed himself. He drawn alcohol and women. He sometimes committed suicide, and finally killed himself with his partner. 
He was so popular when I was a middle school student that I was also hooked on his novels. I read all of his books and I even wrote some short stories imitating his way. After graduated high school, I've never read his books again. I feel a little bit scared of reading his books now for some reasons. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

John le Carre

When I was in my twenties, one of my favorite auther was John le Carre. He's famous for spy novels. 
The background of his books are mainly the Cold War era. My first one was The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. He described spy activities between Eastern Block and Western Block and the story went in Berlin. The plot was twisting and twisting. Yon need to read carefully otherwise you'll be getting lost. 
My favorite series of his books are George Smiley's one. He is retired MI6 member but he often works for Britain. You can't find lots of violence or action in his novels, but I bet you would be excited and thrilled by the stories. I think I'll try to read his spy stories in English someday. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roald Dhal

Roald Dahl is a famous English auther and I'm a big fan of him. He wrote lots of popular children's books and many excellent short stiries. 
His best short storie for me is Man From the South. The story is strange and weird. I bet you would shiver when you read the last sentence. 
I think his most famous children's novel is  Chrlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was the first children's story for him. The story was filmed twice. Johnny Depp was took part in one of them. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Allen Say

I picked up and read some picture books from my book shelf the other day. One of the auther was Allen Say. He is a Japanese American and lives in the U.S. 
I have two of his books, Grandfather's Journey and Tea with Milk. The two books are alike that both of them dealt with Japanese American who came back to Japan from the U.S. 
I like both his illustrations and stories. He wrote his first picture book when he was 50 years old. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

8 Hours Studying

I took part in a online monthly English learning event called Eight Hours Studying Club, 8勉部. Only you have to do for it is simply to study English for eight hours in a day or two days and to tweet it with the hashtag #8勉部. But you don't need study hard on that day; Watching videos, listening radio, reading novels and whatever in English can be good for the event. 
Many English learners on Twitter join the invent. You can get lots of energy from othe learners and their tweets. Why don't you join us!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scotland Independence

Scottish independence referendum is approaching. It will take place on Wednesday, 18th, September 2014. 
An opinion poll showed 51% of people would vote for independence, so PM and other U.K.'s political readers went to Scottoland to say stop to indispensce. 
If the independence came true, would the union flag make a change?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reference Books

It's been cool early in the morning. The temperature is below 20 degrees these days. In the day time, even the weather is good, but I feel cool wind. The summer is finally over here. 
I'm going to take TOEIC in this month and Eiken in next month. I don't study English with TOEIC materials, but I use English reference books for high school students. I can read and listen English just like in Japanese, I can easily solve TOEIC questions. That's I'm thinking now.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Asahi President Apologizes

The Asahishinbun, one of the leading newspapers in Japan, apologized for their wrong articles about the 2011 accident of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The paper said the workers who worked at the Daiichi plant refused to the plant manager's order that the workers had to stay there and escaped to the Daini plant. But the reality was different. The plant manager didn't say like that. 
The president of the newspaper apologized only to their readers about the wrong reports. He also apologized for the wrong confort women's reports and refused Mr. Ikegami's column. 
They don't have to apologize non-readers,I don't want to, but explane it to the world. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Asahishinbun Withdraws Articles Again

The Asahishinbun will reportedly withdraw other articles that related with interviews of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclea Plant by Mr. Yoshida, the same name but different person on so called confort women which they already withdrew their wrong articles.
How come they made such ridiculous mistakes. They even denied to apologize their wrong articles before. Reporters in the company have to check each other's articles when these reports are suspected wrong. It's easy to do, but difficult to do for the major long-history-company. It's really sad. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Undocumented Children in Japan

According to the VOA radio, about 135 million young children in East Asia and the Pacific have not been registered with any government agency. 
How about in Japan? The similar cases happen in Japan. A TV documentary show said, about 500 children are born without documents every year. When pregnant women who escaped from their  husbands due to domestic violent secretly give birth. That would be the main reason for it. These undocumented children can't go to school nor go hospital. 
The law should be changed so that escaped wives never be caught their addresses by their violent husbands. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cilic Wins US Open

Crostia's Marin Cilic won the U.S. Open Tennis title. It was his first grand slam title. Kei Nishikori was not able to make historical victory for Asian male tennis player this time, but someday he can get the major title. Today, Cilic just played tennis better than Kei did. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Waiting for the Historical Event

Kei Nishikori will fight against Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open Men's Final. Many Japanese people are looking forward to hear the good news, to get the first grand slam title for Japanese. 
Our prefecture's tennis association will hold a public viewing event in Matsue where Kei was born early in the morning. I want to go to the event, but I have to work at that time. I'll be busy to checking the final match on the web tomorrow morning. 
His coach Michael Chan, former French Open Champion, said, "He's hungry, he's eager." He'll do everything he can. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kei Goes to the Final

Kei Nishikori upset No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a U.S. Open semifinal. I got the news on the web a little past four am today. I was really excited and proud of him. I could only watched the game on some news and YouTube videos. He looked very concentrated and with full of confidence. 
Only one win ahead of him, I believe he will play with his full effort and grab the grand slam title. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kei Faces World No. 1

Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori is about to fight against Novak Djikovic at the U.S. Open Tennis semifinals in NY. 
He was born and rised in my city Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. He moved to the U.S. when he was only 13 years old to be a professional tennis player. At age of 18, he won the ATP taurnament for the first time, and after that he got other four titles, but he never win a grand slam title. 
The next match must be a tough game, but I hope he performs as much as he can and reaches final in the U.S. Open. 

Friday, September 5, 2014


I checked my English vocabulary on the web. The site Weblio indicated my vocabulary around 4000 to 4500 words. So, I don't have much English vocabulary, but I have to expand it at least 10,000 words because if I have that, I would read TIME easily. Should I use vocabulary building books? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kei Goes to the Semis

Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the US Open semifinal since 1918. He won over Stan Wawrinka in five sets on Wednesday.
I didn't watch the whole game, but watched the moment he reached the semis. I was impressed because he only smiled and waved his hands to the audience. He was so modest at that moment. I really like his attitude. 
I hope he will perform well at next match and gets the ticket to the final. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is Asahishinbun a Newspaper Company?

The Asahishinbun has possibly denied to print a series of Mr. Ikegami's essay and Mr. Ikegami addmited the denying. He also has withdrawn to write essays for tha news paper. 
Mr. Ikegami wrote an article about Asahishinbun's withdrawing so called confort women articles which many people had doubted long before the paper company withdrew, but never apologize, them. 
I'm against the attitude of Asahishinbun. They are no longer a media company because they denied freedom of expression. They need to bear criticism when they made mistakes. That's the way medias are. Tokyo Sports, or Osaka Sports, has far more journalistic spirit. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kei Nishikori at U.S. Open

Kei Nishikori won the 4th round of U.S. Tennis Open against fifth-seeded Milos Raonic. He's reached not only his first U.S. Open quarterfinal but also for the first time in 92 years for Japanese player. 
I really want his next victory because if he win the next match, he will be the first Japanese semi-final player of Grand Slam tennis tournament. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tokyo Marathon 2015

According to the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, 304,825 people have applied for Tokyo Marathon 2015, but only 28,400 runners can take part in the race. If you really want to participate the race, you need to donate 100,000 yen for charity's sake. 
I'm not really interested in running Tokyo Marathon, but if I could run the race, I might feel nice. That is because the streets for the marathon are usuall very busy, but runners can occupy the metropolitan roads only on that day. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fireworks Festival

Matsue Suigosai Fireworks Display was held yesterday. The event was postponed due to the approaching of a big typhoon in early August. Thanks to the good weather, 290,000 people enjoyed the 9,000 of fireworks. 
There were many yatais, or food stands, in the square near the city hall where people were watching the fireworks. My two sons went to see the display with their friends and enjoyed it. 
The summer events is over and autumn is just around the corner. Time flies. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I watched a TV show featered Shinkansen-line in Japan. I'm really proud of Shinkansen because the trains are safe, comfortable and of course, fast. 
At first, the government and critics didn't think Shinkansen was effective because they thought air planes would bcome more important transportation system. But Shinkansen made a big success. 
Many countries have learn from Shinkansen transportation system and many European cities tied with the high-speed rail lines like Shinkansen now. 
Several years ago, Chinese high-speed trains were crashed and many people were killed by the accident. If the Chinese railway company had learned high-speed railway technology from Japan, the accident wouldn't have happened. I feel sorry for the victims. 

Friday, August 29, 2014


A Buddhism term 苦 doesn't mean pain, but unsatisfactoriness. Buddha wanted to get rid of unsatisfactoriness and succeeded. He didn't want to let anyone else know how to do that at first, but he changed his mind and tought that for someone who wanted to know it. He didn't think everyone can understand it. That is, of course, my understanding. I really interested in Buddhism. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sanrio Shook the World

A famous Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty is not a cat, according to Sanrio. This news has spread out all over the world. She is a girl and a friend, so that she never walk like a cat. In addition, she has a pet cat called Charmy Kitty. 
She is a British and her real name is Kitty White. Her mother is Mary and father is George. She was born 40 years ago, but she is forever-third-grade girl. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Milk at a Hot Spa

I went to a public hot spa the other day. After taking a nice hot spa, I found a milk vending machine. Drinking a bottle of cold milk after taking bath would be a happy moment for many people. But it cost 170 yen! I couldn't believe the high price. I couldn't resist to buy it, though. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Name of a Place

I've read an article about the name of a place in Hiroshima where the massive landslid has occered. The place is simply called Yagi, but it used to be called Yagijarakujiasidani, 八木蛇落地悪谷. Looking at the kanji, it doesn't seem a good place to live. 
They said, the name of a place is a fossil of the history. If you want to have a house, I think you should look up the name of the place carefully. The name would tell you something. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Visual Eibun Kaisyaku Part 1

I've read an English grammar book. This was the first grammar book for me that I've ever read from cover to cover. I'm not familiar with English grammar rules, so I couldn't understand the book. But still I was able to learn lots of tips about how to read English sentences from the book. I'll move on to the part 2. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cool Summer

Usually, August is the hottest month in Japan. It's hard to survive without air conditioner here. But our family had to survive without using AC for several years because our AC had been broken. 
We finally bought a new air conditioner in this July. I thought the new AC would work hard for my family, but I was wrong. It's been cool this summer, so we rarely turn the AC on. We can save the electricity cost. That's good. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

To Shot Cram Schools

Yoyogi Seminar, one of a major college preparing school in Japan, will shut down its branch schools all over Japan, according to the school official. They have 27 schools now and will close 20 schools next spring. 
The birth rate in Japan has been decreasing. That would be one of the reasons of the closing. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sentence Structure

I'm trying to analyse English sentence structure when I read English articles. I didn't do that before, but I'm doing it as much as I can recently. It helps my understanding of English. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Death Tall 39 in Hiroshima

Landslides in Hiroshima left 39 people dead while 51 people are still missing, according to the police. 
I watched a news show and it said that the soil of the disaster areas' surface is mainly masado. That kind of soli can absorb rainwater easily compare to others. And after holding enough water, the soil would slip down unexpectedly. 
Rescue workers are struggling to help victims because the bad conditions which prevent using heavy machines. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Landslides in Hiroshima

At least 36 people were killed by landslides early in the morning in Hiroshima today. The deadly landslides were caused by intense rain in the area. I'm really sorry for the victims. 
I've heard about the similar disasters caused by heavy intensive rainfall at many places in Japan. Residents living near the mountain area should be careful when it's raining hard.