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?