Sunday, July 30, 2006

Take TOEIC test

July 30th, 2006

Some of my friends are going to take various tests anytime soon - such as a test to enter graduate schools, a test for the qualification to look after challenged people. They motivate my intentions a lot. Their motivation may be what makes me tick. Plus I think I have become more confident when it comes to having a chat in English.
I've written on this blog space before that the purpose of my English study isn't to get a good score of exams, but I've just got interested in taking English tests. You know, TOEIC is the most famous one in Japan(in the world?), so I've just decided to take it next month. My English school give a discount to their students when they take it. The service is called "TOEIC IP test". I can take it cheaper! IP... stands for "Internet Protocol"??? Of course NOT! I usually guess IP stands for "Internet Protocol", "Instruction Pointer register" in intel 8086 processors, or "Image processor" because of my previous job, computer system engineer. haha. In this case, IP is the abbreviation of "Institutional Program", according to the TOEIC web site. I'm going to take it next month....maybe. :-p
Either way, I intend to take it without any preparation in order to measure my real English skills. In my case, it's no use getting a good score with hard study, as the purpose I study English is to have a lot of good communication.
There're nothing to lose. I'll give it a go! Ummm.. I'm too cool. :)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Paint the town Red

July 29th, 2006

I hanged out with some of my ex-coworkers last night and visited Cinquecento, a nice bar in Osaka, with them again.

We painted the town red!!! haha. I had 5 mugs of beer at the first place, also 2 mugs of beer and at least 3 cocktails at Cinquecento. I wasn't able to drink so much last night because I had to take some English lessons this morning; however, the teacher told me that I looked kind of in a jam(pickle) when taking an English lesson. I responded him I wasn't in a jam but just had a bit of hangover.

At the first place they brought along a nice lady to let me get to know her. She is one of the greatest ladies I've ever seen! Actually, she has a disability, cannot walk.... So she always has to go everywhere with her wheelchair but belongs to the ski club of the company which I used to work for, in spite of her disability. And she intends to take part in the next Paralympics(para-Olympics) with a gold medalist, who works for the same company. I had never heard of the medalist before, so it sounded exciting and amazing to me. I'm definitely so lucky to meet her and would like to have such a good time with them again. I'm right about keeping in touch with them, despite I don't work for the company now. She taught me without any words that it's the most important to try anything you want to do. I got much energy thanks to her. I intend to have much more time to study English from now on. I'll give it a go! I'd appreciate that, Ms.K.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rainy Season Has Ended

July 28th, 2006

The rainy season in Osaka has just ended up! It had been humid but not been so hot during the season. So I could work easily in my factory but won't be able to do that any more. TOO HOT in it! I usually have a lot of beer after work, but need much more from now on!

And now, I have a nice plan today, which is going get a drink with some of my ex-coworkers in Namba, in the south part of Osaka city. All of them are still computer system engineers. Of course they are at home in computer and I used to be, but I've lost my touch.(ToT)
Anyway, I've been alive only for going get a drink this evening as the purpose of life over this week. I'm going to shoot the breeze with them and expect to have the very best time for us. I haven't seen them for one year or so, therefore we have such many things we want to talk that the party must be crazy and fantastic!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ability of Debate

July 23th, 2006

I suppose I've posted some articles like this on this blog before. But I'd like to post one more article about this theme - "Why are Japanese people poor at English conversation?"

Some intellectuals say that Japanese people tend to dislike too assertive and aren't used to debates. So they say Japanese education system needs to be changed, and Japanese children should practice debates earlier so that they get used to discussion and expression of their own opinions and claims. It's more important than studying English.

I 100% agree on their view. In fact, Most of my English teachers, all of who are native English speakers, often require me to express my own opinion and claim. So I think it's necessary for Japanese children to have not only English skills but also such abilities, in order to take part in international activities someday.

Therefore, the Japanese education system must be changed right now. - That's my opinion, my teachers! :)

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[ Study ] Getting help from strangers

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

- Getting help from strangers
* What might you have to ask a stranger to help you with?

(They are talking in Osaka, Japan.)
A: Excuse me, but ... I was wondering if I could use your cell phone. It's just that I need to make an urgent phone call to my wife.
B: Well... Why don't you use yours?
A: The battery of mine seems to run out. Would that be OK with you?
B: Maybe OK, but ... Could I possibly ask you a question?
A: Of course.
B: I'd like to know where your wife lives.
A: Ah.....
B: What's wrong? Is there any problem?
A: Actually... My wife live in the U.S.A.....
B: Sorry. I absolutely can't help you! BYE NOW!
A: (I should have told him that my wife lived in Osaka....)

*New Words

hesitate : [intransitive] to pause before saying or doing something because you are nervous or not sure
pharmacy : chemist(British)
prescription [noun] : a piece of paper on which a doctor writes what medicine a sick person should have, so that they can get it from a pharmacist [prescribe]
convince [transitive] : to make someone feel certain that something is true
interact [intransitive] : if people interact with each other, they talk to each other, work together etc. [interact with someone or something]
awkward [adj] : making you feel embarrassed so that you are not sure what to do or say [=difficult]
untie [transitive] : to take the knots out of something, or unfasten something that has been tied

*Others(Tips etc.)

Could I -> couldai
Would I -> Woodai
How convenient!
drag store : used in the USA ONLY
have got = have ex)I've only got a ten dollars on me. Sorry. ex2)I've got to = I have to

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Magic Word

July 21th, 2006

According to a Japanese book, whose title is "魔法の言葉(mahou no kotoba)" - means "Magic Words", it's the most important for having a good life to always think positively.
The book recommend you to say "Thank you. I'm lucky!" even if you have some terrible incidents or accidents.

For example:
You have just had a bad car accident and your car has just gotten a lot of damage. But you had better say "Thank you! I'm so lucky as I didn't have any serious injuries, even though I can't drive my car for a while and have to pay lots of money to repair it."

I saw some English idioms on the email newsletters which I often read on my cell phone.

One of them is "Every cloud has a silver lining." According to my English-English dictionary, it's used to say that there is something good even in a situation that seems very sad or difficult. I remembered the above magic words the moment(as soon as) I saw the idiom.
Another one is "That's water over the dam.(American) That' water under the bridge.(British)" It's used to say that what happened in the past should be forgotten.
And the other one is "batting a thousand" - means to be very successful.

Let me make a composition with those phrase to express "Magic Words".

This past Tuesday I had a terrible hangover; however, I had to take some English lessons. I had a lot of beer this past Monday with my friends.... I regret drinking too much whenever I have a hangover. But that's water over the dam! On the other hand, I was able to have a great time with my friends instead of getting a hangover. Speaking of "instead", every cloud has a silver lining! I'm so lucky as I had a great time and a hangover. :) Anyway, I took some lessons... I could speak English more fluent than usual! I guess the reason is thanks to the hangover, because there's no barriers in my mind [at] any time [when] I'm drunk or have a hangover. :) I was batting a thousand during my last lessons! Thank you! I'm so lucky! I could do well thanks to the terrible hangover! Plus it's Friday today. Thank God it's Friday! \(^o^)/

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006


July 18th, 2006

When I woke up this morning, I felt having a headache due to a terrible hangover. I had at least 8 cans of beer, 350ml, at the BBQ party which I had with one of my Australian friends and some of my Japanese friends at the garage next to my house where my factory used to be, if my memory serves me correctly. But I had a super great time thanks to them, especially a couple of nice women. :)
My Australian friend and I decided to invite some young girls when he sent me an email to have a BBQ party. He seemed to be worried about picking up other girls with my wife(missus) near. haha. Of course, it's OK for me.
Anyway I'm taking a few English lessons from now. I still have a little bit headache, though. I'm used to having a hangover, I could do well tody. :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

[ Study ] Talking about exciting sports

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

- Talking about exciting sports
* Have you ever tried an exciting sport? Which sports would you like to try?

A: Do you like summer sports?
B: Yes, in a way, I prefer winter sports nowadays.
A: Do you? Why is that?
B: Actually, I'm really worried about not only getting bald but also getting fat. So I don't show anyone my naked body and my hair wet, which is as thin as my wallet.
A: Oh, come on! Don't worry about those things. By the way, why is it OK for you to do winter sports?
B: Because I can have on a lot of clothes and a hat or a helmet in order to hide my ashamed parts.
A: ha-ha... ROFL. But I can't stand cold weather. Maybe I can't make it if you ask me to do the sports together - such as skiing, snowboarding. I love summer sports - such as scuba diving and paragliding.
B: Aren't afraid of heights and water?
A: No. I don't mind them. Have you ever tried them?
B: No never. I'm not afraid of heights, either. So I've tried bungee jumping several times. Would you like to try it?
A: No, not really.
B: Why not?
A: To tell the truth..... I'm worried about getting bald as you.
B: Heeey, you don't look getting bald. And also, what relations are there between getting bald and bungee jumping?
A: Actually... I'm really worried about coming off my WIG due to the strong wind when bungee jumping!
B: Wow! You're wearing a WIG! I've never noticed that for a long time!
A: But the wig is super great. It's OK to get soaked.
B: Awesome! I was wondering if you could tell me where I can buy the one. And then I'd like to do summer sports with you, Mr. m(_ _)m
A: That's more like it! (^o^)/

* New Words

snap : to break with a sudden sharp noise, or to make something break with a sudden sharp noise
encourage : to give someone the courage or confidence to do something
trapeze : a short bar hanging from two ropes high above the ground, used by acrobats
disposal : when you get rid of something (ex.)bomb disposal experts
quadruple : four times as big or as many
somersault : a movement in which someone rolls or jumps forwards or backwards so that their feet go over their head before they stand up again
plunge : to move, fall, or be thrown suddenly forwards or downwards
spectator : someone who is watching an event or game
despite = in spite of
death-defying : a death-defying action is very dangerous
cage : a structure made of wires or bars in which birds or animals can be kept
blow : an action or event that causes difficulty or sadness for someone (ex.)body blow
senseless : happening or done for no good reason or with no purpose
swallow : to make food or drink go down your throat and towards your stomach
regain : to get something back, especially an ability or quality, that you have lost [= recover]
overall : considering or including everything
landmine : a bomb hidden in the ground that explodes when someone walks or drives over it
grenade : a small bomb that can be thrown by hand or fired from a gun
glamorous : attractive, exciting, and related to wealth and success
assessment : a process in which you make a judgment about a person or situation, or the judgment you make
seasick : feeling ill when you travel in a boat, because of the movement of the boat in the water
glide : to move smoothly and quietly, as if without effort
bounce: if a ball or other object bounces, or you bounce it, it immediately moves up or away from a surface after hitting it

* Others(Tips etc.)

some similar phrases(be scared of, be terrified of, be afraid of)
S+(be willing to)+do : It's OK for S to do and S don't have no reason to not want to do it.
I could never do it. -> I cou neva do it.
Better you than me. : You are better than me.
when it's over : when it finishes
You're as white as a sheet = extremely pale

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July 17th, 2006

Sometimes simple questions bother me...

I found out a strange sentence for me in my dictionary when I was looking up the meaning of the word "be willing to". According to the dictionary, it means "prepared to do something, or having no reason to not want to do it". I can understand what it means, but had a little bit strange feeling after looking at the part, "to not want to do it".
In Japan, most English language teachers teach the children of their nation that the negation of "to infinitive(to不定詞 futeishi)" should be written down as "not to do". That's why I felt a little bit strange feeling at that time. After that, I searched out the correct usage of the negation with some search engines on the net - such as Google and Yahoo!, and realized that the form of "to not do" is correct in many cases and the Japanese education is wrong.
I'm so lucky because I could make sense of the correct English grammar thanks to my English-English dictionary.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

A new package for Skype

◆ ノバック、「どこでもTV for Skype」発売,2000056025,20164007,00.htm

(CNET Japan)

Last week one of my acquaintances, who studies English at the same English school as mine and whose English is much better than mine even though whose age is on the wrong side of 60, asked me if there are good applications to watch Japan's TV programs from other countries.

Actually, one of his relatives lives in Australia and wants to watch our country's TV programs, because she misses Japan. He sometimes send some VHS-format videos to her by airmail, but he said that the way looks old-fashioned. I think so, too. :)
So he has tried some "Remote Desktop Applications" before, but he has never done well from what I know of it.

This week a new excellent software for Skype, which was developed based on "Voice over IP" technology and which is one of the most famous and popular Internet tools in the world as you know, has just been unveiled. It's called "どこでもTVパック for Skype", literally translated into English as "Everywhere TV package for Skype" maybe.

Let me tell him about that later. :D

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Persistence pays off

July 14th, 2006

I restarted studying English last April, so one year and a few months passed already. Some teachers sometimes tell me my skills become much better. I'm so glad to hear that, of course. But that might be kind of flattery(お世辞 oseji). Can I say "Flattery will get you nowhere." ? Anyway, I received the compliments directly at that time. :)

And now, I'd like to introduce a Japanese proverb today. It's "継続は力なり(keizoku wa chikara nali)", literally translating to "Continuation is power." According to some web sites, it means in English like this - "Persistence pays off. So don't give up. Just keep trying."
I'm already on the wrong side of 40; however, I'll keep going as much as possible.

By the way, I don't understand why the phrase "on the wrong side of" means "over". I'll ask my teacher the question tomorrow...

Let me indicate new words in bold letters from now on, which I'd like to memorize.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Too Delicious BEER!

July 12th, 2006

It's been too hot and humid in my factory even though it's still the rainy season as of today. The temperature in my factory is usually over 40 degree Celsius after the rainy season, though.
Anyway, I broke a lot of sweat yesterday, so I got exhausted from working. It was so hot and humid that I almost melted away(down?) yesterday. :(
On the other hand, there're no more delicious drinks than a cold beer in such a season. In fact, on a day like this, I would do anything for a cold beer. That's why I can work hard even when it's too hot and humid in my factory. :)
However, I'll have to watch out for my weight, because I get fat every summer due to such a refreshing beer. I couldn't be alive without BEERRRRRRRRR!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The meanings of "plow7010"

July 10th, 2006

I've never mentioned the reason my handle(network nick name) is "plow7010". Let me introduce it to you today, but it has sort of sad meanings.

My handle in Japan is "Prowler7010". I know the word "Prowler" has a bad meaning, but the name derives from my favorite rock band "IRON MAIDEN". "Prowler" is the first song title of their debut album, so I decided to name myself it then. But one of my English teachers recommended me to change it because of the bad meaning. He told me that it means a kind of "stalker". But I've used the name on the Internet for a long time, therefore, it's difficult for me to change it. I came up with an idea at that time. I decided to continue using it on domestic networks. and change it into another one on global network. :)
Actually, my ancestors were farmers and would often plow a field for rice. For me, the word "plow" looked sort of similar to "Prowler" at that time. So I named myself "plow" as one of my handles. And also I try to plow my brains every time(whenever) [I'm] studying English. :)

And now, the part "7010" has two meaning. Actually.... my second son, whose name is "Naoto(直斗 なおと)", was a Down syndrome child and had a congenital heart defect. He passed away on July 10th 1997, when he was 11 months old.
July is the 7th month as you know. So "7010" means "July 10th". Plus in Japan "7" is pronounced as "nana", "0" - "oh", "10" - "tou". Do you understand what I want to say? "nana"+"oh"+"tou" is nearly equal to "Naoto". I'm not kidding. I named myself the name "7010" in order not to forget him.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cool Slideshows!

July 9th, 2006

I've just found out a cool web service thanks to one of my American friends. It's
You can embed some slideshows easily in your blogs, web sites and so on as below. Amusing! :)

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Apples, grass and Tanabata

July 7th, 2006

About one year has already passed since I resumed my English study and started posting articles in English on my blog space. I'm not sure if I could improve my skills on those ways. Actually, these days any English idiom sounds interesting to me. It might be a proof that I cound improve my skills. :)

And now, an American guy often visit my blog and post some comments on it, who showed me an interesting idiom, which was "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree". After that I found out an idiom with the word "apples" when I was browsing my dictionary.
The saying with "apples":
"The apples on the other side of the wall are the sweetest."

I came a Japanese idiom into my head at that time, which is "隣の芝は青い(となりのしばはあおい tonali no siba wa aoi)". If I translate it literally, it means that your neighbor's grass always looks greener than yours. Those idioms have the same meaning as far as I consider. I think that they mean "The stuff which another person have always looks better than yours."

After a while, I dug up another English idiom at the time when I was browsing the Internet without any special purpose. It's "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Wow! This phrase is completely the same as the Japanese one I wrote down above! Amazing! What a coincidence! I'm so lucky to find out it!
But.... my neighbor's wife doesn't look more beautiful than mine. Mum's the word. :p

By the way, it's 七夕(たなばた tanabata) today in Japan. If you wanna know about it, I recommend you to access the following web page.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Somewhat similar words

July 6th, 2006

Some of English words which have somewhat similar meanings sometimes bother me.

For example:
able, capable
ability, capability
exactly, definitely
way, method

I usually google with those words and "違い(ちがい chigai means difference)" - such as "able capable 違い". But I'm not able to get the details once in a while even though "google" is the most killer application of search engines. Actually I bought an "English-English dictionary" recently for my study. The dictionary is really excellent! It has an extra CD-ROM, in which includes an excellent application, in addition to a printed dictionary. I know it's more effective for my study to use printed dictionaries than to use electronic dictionaries. But I often use my electronic English-Japanese dictionary because of my short temper. I'll use my new printed English-English one from now on as much as possible. I expect to improve my English skill by that way(method?). I suppose I'll be able to understand the details of the difference among the words whose meaning I don't figure out exactly.

my dictionary

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Like father, like son

July 5th, 2006

Yesterday I posted the good result of my eldest son's English test. After that I found out an English idiom, "Like father, like son."
Sounds nice! My eldest son got a good score on his English test, and also I'm good at speaking English.... No, no.. I'm not so good at it. I can speak it after a fashion. :)

There are some similar idioms in Japan. They are "蛙の子は蛙(かえるのこは、かえる kaeru no ko wa kaeru)" and "この親にして、この子あり(このおやにして、このこあり kono oya nisite konoko ali)", which mean that any behavior of children tends to resemble the one of their parents maybe.

I'm so lucky! I've just been able to study the idiom thanks to my eldest son! Thank you, son! :) Anyway let me keep teaching him English even though my English skill is awful. (^o^) In addition, I have to study harder not to lose to him in English study. He's sort of my rival from now on.

By the way, I saw another English idiom on an email newsletter, "put one's foot down". According to my dictionary, the idiom has 2 meaning. One of them is "speed up", and the other one is "refuse firmly".
I guess my wife's mother must be stubborn, because she always puts her foot down about anything I want to do and insists on her strict opinion. Like mother, like daughter. :)

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Perfect Score

July 4th, 2006

My eldest son brought back the results of the term-end tests which he took last week for the first time at junior high school. Most of the results are over the averages, but only the score of Japanese was under the average of it. I don't usually care about the scores, because from my point of view, the process of studying is more important for children than its result. However, I was so glad to look at the result of his English test.

perfect scoreHe got a PERFECT SCORE!!!
(100 points)

It was really excellent as his teacher wrote down. I was so wired that I couldn't fall asleep easily last night. (^_^:)

I praised him and expressed my pleasure with all English phrases I knew.

For instance:
You did it!
Good job!
You made my day!
I couldn't be happier!

I absolutely think that he is my son. Actually, I had been worried that he might not be my son sometimes. haha. Just kidding. :)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

First time in person

July 2nd, 2006

I went to Kansai international airport yesterday in order to meet a friend of mine, who is Japanese but works in Vietnam. He got back to Japan temporarily on vacation. We got to know each other last year on mixi, which is the most famous and popular SNS(the abbreviation of Social Networking Site) in ones provided by Japanese IT companies. So it was our first time to meet in person.
The reason that we made friends with each other is that we both are into English study and networking. He is really a nice guy as I expected. We had a chat at a coffee shop(STARBUCKS) in the airport for half hour. We mainly discuss how to improve our skills. It was so happy a time that I couldn't stop talking easily; however, he had to visit his friend's house. So we said to each other, "It was a great time, see you soon on the Internet."
I'm so happy whenever I meet in person those who made friends with me on the Internet. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk with you, Mr.M. I hope you have a nice vacation!

This is the picture of coffee which he gave me as a souvenir and is made in Vietnam. Thanks again! :)

coffee made in Vietnam

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Nothing but good score

July 1st, 2006

I read an interesting English phrase on an email newsletter, which introduces a witty remark(witticism, maxim, or famous saying?) of the world every day.
It was "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.", said by Henry Ford, who is the founder of a big car company in the USA as you know.

The phrase means that a company doesn't exist only to make money. Sounds great! It's typical of him, I think. After reading the phrase, I came up with an English phrase right away.
It was "A study that makes nothing but a good score is a poor kind of study." Most of studies should be useful in the future, not to make a good score at school or other places, I suppose. But my wife often told our children to study hard in order to make a good score. Why are mothers nervous about the scores which their children make? In fact, most Japanese mothers tend to be education-minded mothers. It' called "教育ママ(きょういくまま Kyouiku mama)" in Japanese. :)

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