Friday, June 30, 2006

[Study] Choosing, giving and receiving gifts

The following is a kind of simulation for my review of the English lessons I've taken before.

-Choosing, giving and receiving gifts
(What's the best present you've ever received? What was the occasion?)

[ A, B: Both are women. ]

A: It's Bryan's birthday on Sunday. What should I get for Bryan?
B: I think you should get him a Japanese fan. You know, he's into Japanese culture.
A: That's a good idea. By the way it's my father's birthday on Saturday.
B: Did you get him anything yet?
A: No. I have no idea.
B: I know. I never know what to get for my boyfriend, either.
A: Why are men so hard to shop for?
B: I don't know. Why don't you get him fishing rods or something.
A: Yeah, he's into fishing as you know, but he already has hundreds of rods. I really want to him something different this year.
B: Hundreds of rods!? He seems to be really crazy about fishing.
A: You said it. He has only two hands, but he has tons of rods. Exactly crazy! And my family member have to eat fish everyday in summer due to his hobby. I'm tired of having fish!
B: I think you should get him tickets to go abroad.
A: That's a great idea! He must be happy to get it and we would be happy not to have fish!
B: Yup! That's a good way to get two birds with one stone!
A: If I give him one way ticket, we would be much happier... hehe.
B: You're really a bad girl....

* New Words

voucher = credit ?
stuffed animal
camping gear
refurbishment = similar to rebuild?
be delighted with
be believed to

* Others(Tips etc.)

get him -> gedim(pronunciation)
get her -> geder(pronunciation)
so far so good
In the end, I decided to give her a birthday card.
It's not such a big deal.
go with : The red tie will go with his new suit.
I'll pitch in fifty dollars to buy the present.
invite someone over for .....
I'm believed to be a nice guy, but I'm not. :)

- When giving a gift
Here. This is from all of us.
It's just a little something to say thanks.
It's not much, but I hope you like it.

- When receiving a gift
Can I open it now?
Oh, you shouldn't have!
For me? Wow, thanks!

| |

Preparing for exams

June 30th, 2006

My eldest son, a junior high school boy, is in the period of a term-end test. Of course I often try to teach him English. But he sometimes make a terrible mistake. For instance, he wrote a strange composition the other day, "I am my friend." The grammar is correct but the meaning is definitely strange! He might be much funnier than me. :)
Anyway, he has to take three-subject tests a day and the term-end test is going to be executed for 3 days. So he has to take nine-subject tests in total.

I personally think one of the purpose that they take a test is to measure their achievement objectively. But they can prepare for the test on the way of overnight cramming because there are only three-subject tests a day. If I were a person related to education, I wouldn't open the subjects executed on each day in order that students can't prepare for the tests on the way(overnight cramming) and teachers can really get to know more about the skills of their students.
In fact, I hadn't prepared for any exams when I was a junior high school student. My father would often say to me strictly, "Needless to say, you don't need to prepare for any exams if you study on a routine basis, right? So you have to help me in my factory!" Sounds awful.... (ToT)

By the way, I want my children to learn that it's important to concentrate on their study for their future. They will have many chances to get new knowledge in their life, and then have to concentrate on them. From my point of view, preparing for exams is a good way for children to practice the art of concentration.... Wow! I have to focus my English study, too!

| |

Friday, June 23, 2006

Difficult to pronounce

June 23rd, 2006

For most of Japanese people actually it's difficult to pronounce many of English words correctly. Let me introduce some funny stories. :)

One day a former who grows lots of potatoes found out that a foreigner was in his farm and fingered his potatoes. He got angry and shouted out "掘ったイモ、いじるな!(hotta imo ijiruna!)" to the foreigner. The foreigner replied to him, "It's 3 o'clock." Apparently, the pronunciation of his word sounded like "What time is it now?" to the foreigner....

A women got on a train when it wasn't so crowded, so she can sit on any seat easily. She decided to sit on the next to a foreigner, then she asked him if it's OK to sit there. But her English pronunciation was too bad like me. She said to him, "Can I shit here?" He was extremely surprised to hear that, of course. :)

Let me introduce another funny real story which one of my English teacher experienced in a train.
The situation was very similar to the above story. He is good at speaking Japanese, but sometimes makes a few small mistakes. He asked a woman in a train if it's OK to sit there in Japanese. The correct Japanese is "座ってもいいですか?(suwattemo iidesuka?)"; however, he said to her, "触ってもいいですか?(sawattemo iidesuka?)". The word means "Can I touch you?" maybe. She got upset and evacuated from him immediately.
ぎゃははははははは _(_ _)ノ彡☆ばんばん!

| |

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

There's always somebody above you.

June 20th, 2006

I went for a drink to "Murphy's Irish Pub" and "Cinquecento" with two
ladies last Saturday night. They are the nicest ladies I've ever seen! haha. Just kidding. :)
Actually, they are some of study buddies(pals) at the English school which we often take lessons.

Before going get a drink, we took some free conversation classes at a big branch of the English school. There were some high level students in the room then. I could catch the many of what they and some teachers said, but couldn't talk a lot. I got a terrible headache, plus so embarrassed I wanted to die. (ToT) Some of them can speak English fluently as native English speakers, and one of them can speak 4 foreign languages - such as Arabic, German. Amazing! So, I visualized the Japanese proverb, "上には上がいる(ue niwa ue ga iru)", it means "There's always somebody above you." in English, maybe. The proverb warns that it's never enough to look up(stare up?) and that you shouldn't brag about your skills too much if you think yourself that you're one of the best person. But I've just decided to study English harder from now on! Much harder? No, a little bit harder..... hehe. Anyhow, it makes me motivate that there are so many high level students in the English school .

By the way, They told me that it was OK for them to go get a drink with me because they never get nervous with middle-aged men and would get nervous if I were a young man. Should I be happy or sad???
I wanted to post the photo which was taken in the bar, but I can't do that. Because two ladies show up on the photo, which is kind of their personal information, and I didn't get their permission to post it on my blog. That's why I can't post it on this page.

Anyway, I'm so lucky to get acquainted with such a nice ladies! I appreciate your going for a drink with like of me, Misses!

| |

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Copyism the most important

June 17th, 2006

I've introduced a Japanese proverb before, which is "習うより、慣れろ".
Let me introduce another Japanese proverb to you, which is made by myself right now. :)

"習うより、慣れろ" is very important for your study. But I don't know how to get used to what you want to study. So I've just come up with a phrase.
It's "慣れるには、真似ろ!(なれるには まねろ! nareruniwa manero)". If I translate it literally, it means "Copy, in order to get used to it."

I think this phrase is exactly correct in the case of studying foreign tongue.

| |

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Buddhist memorial service

June 13th, 2006

Let me introduce Buddhist memorial services(法事 ほうじ houji) to you.
Most of Japanese people are Buddhists as you know. After someone who is one of our family passed away, we hold some Buddhist memorial services at regular intervals. In Buddhism the late person still exists in this world for 49 days after his or her death. He or she goes to the other world after 49 days, so we hold a memorial service on the day in order to pray that he or she can move to the other world without incident. After that, we hold some memorial services at the prescribed years such as 1, 3, 7, 13 years later. The final service is held 50 years later.
Actually, I went to my wife's parent's home a couple of weeks ago in order to join the memorial service which is held for the late her great-grandmother, who passed away 50 years ago. In Buddhism the last service is sort of a celebration even though it's held for the late person. Because his or her offspring still exist in this world to the point of holding the memorial service, though 50 years have passed by.

I wanted to talk about what I described above in the English school I often take free conversation lessons, but I couldn't do that correctly. So, I've just written down this article to describe Buddhist memorial services next time.

| |

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blood Donation

June 10th, 2006

I went to donate some(400cc) of my blood yesterday. In Japan it's one of common voluntary activities. In my case, I do that every 3 or 4 months.
For me, there are 3 purposes of blood donation.
Firstly, I actually often have a stiff neck due to my bad blood circulation. But I don't have it after blood donation. I guess it makes my blood circulation so good maybe. In fact, I'm super fine today! haha.
Secondly, I can check my health condition for free! The Japanese Red Cross Society send me the results of my blood test in 2 weeks.
And last, it's one of my voluntary activities as other people.

I usually respond blood donation is one of my hobbies when I'm asked what my hobby is by anyone. Most of people who ask me the question react strangely. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Better Safe than Sorry

June 9th, 2006

I learned an English idiom yesterday, which is "better safe than sorry". The meaning is that it's better to prepare prudently for what you intend to do before you regret, I suppose. There are some similar Japanese ones.

- 転ばぬ先の杖(korobanu saki no tsue)

If I translates it literally, it means "Sticks not to fall over."

- 備えあれば憂いなし(sonae areba urei nashi)

If I translates it literally, it means "Sufficient preparation is preventing any trouble."

I'm not sure my translation is correct.....

| | |

Monday, June 05, 2006

You Know

June 5th, 2006

I was watching an interview of my favorite British rock musician on DVD when I heard the phrase "you know" many times and felt something. I thought I shouldn't translate "you know" literally after that. I guessed the meaning of "you know" was a kind of fillers(connection words?) like "well".
I looked up the phrase on my dictionary as soon as I finished watching the DVD.

According to LONGMAN Dictionary, my guess is probably correct. :)

[spoken] you know
a) used to emphasize a statement:
There's no excuse, you know.
b) used to make sure that someone understands what you are saying:
I felt very upset, you know?
c) used when you want to keep someone's attention, but cannot think of what to say next:
Well, you know, we've got a job to do here.
d) used when you are explaining or describing something and want to give more information:
That flower in the garden, you know, the purple one, what is it?

| |

Saturday, June 03, 2006

English Education

June 3rd, 2006

According to yesterday newspaper, many of Japanese children don't have enough capability of their national language and some subjects. On the other hand, the Japanese government is considering if they should make Japanese children take English education in elementary schools or not, in order to improve the children's English skills. Because the English skills of Japanese children are reportedly very bad.

Studying English early is a good way to learn correct pronunciation. But, in my opinion, it's more important to learn our own culture, custom and history, if children don't have enough skills about those subjects. If children don't know most of them, there's no use speaking English fluently. I personally think that genuine cosmopolitans mostly know their own cultures, customs and histories and have their own opinions, in addition, they can discuss various kind of problems. If the parents of Japanese children want to make their children take English lessons, they should make their children attend private English schools. In short, the Japanese government had better not to start English education in elementary schools. The government have a lot of something else to do.

In my case, I can't speak English fluently but I often try to discuss many problems with native English speakers. Because I have a lot of experience in my study, actual life and business. So our children need to have such backbones before learning English. If they can learn those subjects at the same time, it's OK to learn English early. But most of children can't do that, I suppose.

I hope you understand what I mean. Thank you.

| |

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some idioms of "Throat"

June 2nd, 2006

When you know someone's name but can't remember it, you would say like this:

"What is her name? It's on the tip of my tongue. Joan. Joan Simpson. That's it!"
- LONGMAN Dictionary

In Japan, they say like this:

"What is her name? It comes on the point of my throat.(喉まで出かかっている nodo made dekakatteiru) Joan. Joan Simpson. That's it!"

Actually, I sometimes forget my wife's name....

Me: What's your name? I usually call you "mama". I can't remember exactly, but it comes in my throat.... It starts with a M.....
My wife: Miwa!
Me: That's it! Thank you for your teaching!
My wife: Are you in your second childhood, honey?
Me: It might be true, so I study English not to be in my second childhood. Give me some money to take some more English lessons. hehe.

And also, there's a Japanese idiom with the word "throat".
When you really want something, you would say like this:

"I'm eager to have a new car."

In Japan, they say like this:

"I want to have a new car so much as to come out a hand from my throat."
(nodo kara te ga deruhodo atarashii kurumaga hoshii!)

To tell the truth, I wanna have a new wife so much as to come out a hand from my throat! haha. Just kidding.

| | |