Saturday, October 17, 2015

I hear America singing

One book in my life is Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
What image do you have about America? It was jazz that originally attracted me to America. The sound of American music amazed me when I heard it on the radio. I was a high school student.
I was born and raised in Tokyo. I was studying English at a local university. I’ve been interested in American literature and wanted to go to America. I couldn’t realize my dream during my university days, but two years ago when I was 41, I went to New York City for the first time. One of my destinations was the Brooklyn Bridge. Looking at cables up and the Statue of Liberty far away, I walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
The first edition of Leaves was published in Brooklyn. “I celebrate myself,” starts Whitman’s long poem called “Song of myself.” When I met this poem in the classroom in my 20s, I felt freedom voiced through more than 1,300 lines. And walking on the streets of New York City, I remembered the saying, “jazz and freedom go hand in hand.”
Whitman expressed himself without considering the limited form. It seems to me Whitman’s free style is like the adlib or improvisation of jazz musicians. I am 44 now and still have a desire to read his lines again and again.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Freddie Mercury (Queen)

Freddie Mercury was born on September 5, 1946. He was the lead vocalist of the rock band, Queen.

Queen had lots of hit songs. Radio Ga Ga was one of them. I was a junior high student. I was listening to foreign music through FM radio. It was 1984.

Are you listening to radio in the age of the Internet?

Radio be praised!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Richard Wright

Richard Wright.jpg

Richard Wright, a black American writer, was born on September 4, 1908.
He coined the phrase of “black power.”
In his Native Son, a big rat appeared in the room from the morning.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Beatles & Black

With the Beatles is their second album.

8 songs are their originals. 6 are cover songs.
Among 6 cover ones, 5 tunes are from “black music.”
I’d like to write on this topic.

The Beatles were the first white artists to ever admit that they grew up and honed themselves on black music. (Smokey Robinson)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Twist and Shout

The Royal Variety Performance,
November 4, 1963, Prince of Wales Theatre, London.

John Lennon said before the performance,
“For our last number, I’d like to ask your help.
Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands?
And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.”
The audience laughed.

Dickie Henderson, an English entertainer, said after the performance,
“So successful. So young. Frightening.”
The audience laughed again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There's a Place

There is a place where I can go /
When I feel low, when I feel blue /
And it’s my mind.

Our mind is not an empty space.
It is a place.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Taste of Honey

The fact that The Beatles covered various songs showed they were fans of music.

This is a pop standard written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow. It was originally an instrumental track (or recurring theme) written for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play A Taste of Honey (which was also made into the film of the same name in 1961).

Herb Alpert also covered the tune in 1965.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Do you want to know a secret?

The word “listen” attracts listeners’ attention.

The same word was used by Whitman as follows:
Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Baby It's You

The Shirelles, a girl group, released this song in 1961.
This group had four African American female singers.
They were schoolmates.

Friday, August 28, 2015

P. S. I Love You

“P. S.” is the abbreviation form of “postscript.”
It indicates the beginning of a postscript to a letter.
In an age of SNS, “P. S.” gives this song a kind of warmth.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Love Me Do

This is the first single of The Beatles.
How can we describe the sound of harmonica?
Bluesy? Lennon himself said it was “rock ‘n’ roll.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Please please me

The first “please” is an adverb, and the next one is a verb.

One of my students wrote:
“The Beatles makes me want to dance.”

In another place, I found the saying, “To live is to dance, to dance is to live.” (from Snoopy and the Peanuts gang)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ask me why

Our English textbook introduces example sentences:
This is (the reason) why they want a device to keep their food cool.
Do you know (the reason) why Mike is absent today?
Kate studied hard. That is (the reason) why she passed the exam.

John didn’t say “Ask me the reason why.”
This is a song.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Ringo took the lead vocal.
He said “All right, George!” during singing.
His voice is full of “bundle of joy.”
He was a boy.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


George took the lead vocal.

George Harrison (February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001) was a member of The Beatles.
According to Simple English Wikipedia, he worked with other musicians including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan. George was also interested in Eastern mysticism.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


This song gives good examples of “S V O + to~”.

You ask me to set you free.

I want you to know that I still love you.

They want you to know that they are with you.
The last one is from our English textbook.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The world is treating me bad, misery.

The subject word ― “the world” sounds big, but this is an impressive English sentence.

I’ll remember all the little things we’ve done.
Could you sing it in one breath?

The sound of piano sounds beautiful.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I saw her standing there

As an example sentence of “S V O + ~ing”, our English textbook introduces a sentence like this:
You sometimes see ants marching in a line on the ground.

Have you seen ants marching in a line?

How about listening to the very first Beatles’ song?
I saw her standing there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ticket to The Beatles

This book covers all of the Beatles’ 213 songs.
And they are all in my Walkman.
But am I really listening to them?
Let’s listen to the Beatles!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I think, therefore I am.

According to a book, 「日本人のための英語学習法」(松井力也), the cogito proposition of Descartes reflects the way English-speaking people see the world.
In this sense, “I” in English and “私” in Japanese are different.
This is an interesting but difficult topic.

Monday, August 17, 2015


The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, now in its 29th year (started in 1987), is aimed at promoting grass-roots international exchange between Japan and other nations. The number of countries sending participants has risen over the years, as has the number of participants. In 2013, the Programme welcomed 4,372 participants from 40 countries. Since the beginning of the JET Programme, there have been more than 60,000 participants from 63 countries around the world.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"remorse" and "guilt"


According to Oxford Essential Dictionary, the word “remorse” is “the feeling you have when you are sorry for doing something wrong.”

And another word “guilt” is “the feeling you have when you know that you have done something wrong.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

a hint from a trumpeter

The vibration of your lips makes the trumpet sound.
But the vibration only through your own muscle cannot make the sound.
When your breath and the mouthpiece hit against each other, your lips will vibrate.
The balance between your body and the instrument matters.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Buddhas and the Beatles

In Mongolia, statues of Lenin and Stalin are out, Buddhas and the Beatles are in.

This is the sub-headline I found in The Japan News, August 10, 2015.
From communism to democracy.
I think it’s interesting that Buddhas and the Beatles, the East and the West meet in this country of 3 million sandwiched between Russia and China.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday with the trumpet


I went to the Sumida riverbank to practice the trumpet.
The open air told me that I need more air.
Pedestrians and runners passing me revealed my vulnerable mind.

I went to Karaoke-box alone to practice the trumpet.
The room wall reflected the sound which seemed better than in the open air.
Karaoke music told me that I need a singing mind.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's tough ~

This case might remind you of Torajiro’s suitcase in the Japanese film series, but has a trumpet inside.
It’s tough being a man.
It’s tough blowing the instrument.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A picture caption

A picture caption can be a good reading material for high school students. For example, I found this picture and its caption in The Japan News, August 5, 2015.

Never forgetting
Yoshitoshi Fukahori, 86, prays at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki on March 9. Fukahori was a victim of the bombing when he was 16 years old and working under a student mobilization program during World War Ⅱ. The workplace was located about 3.5 kilometers from the blast’s hypocenter. On the ninth of each month he offers prayers in front of the church altar in the morning and the evening. “How is it there? Do you feel at ease there? I’m doing fine, by some means or other,” he says, addressing his elder sister Chizuko who died near the hypocenter. “I never forget the ninth of the month. If I forget it, my sister will hit me.”

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Peace Declaration ― The City of Hiroshima

In our town, we had the warmth of family life, the deep human bonds of community, festivals heralding each season, traditional culture and buildings passed down through history, as well as riversides where children played. At 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, all of that was destroyed by a single atomic bomb.

Full Text

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Read and go!

“Throw away your books, rally in the streets” was a kind of agitation. People felt the energy to move and take action from this phrase.
But it was dangerous for us to do something without reading books.
The meaning of the phrase, “throw away your books” is not “don’t read your books.” Rather, “READ your books AND throw them away.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Terayama Shuji

It was in my university days that I read Terayama Shuji.
“Throw away your books, rally in the streets” and “jazz and freedom go hand in hand.”
What was I looking for in those days?

Monday, August 3, 2015

"go hand in hand"

“Ghostly spirits and summer go hand in hand in Japan.”
This sentence reminds me of another sentence.

“Jazz and freedom go hand in hand.”
I met this sentence in Terayama Shuji’s book a long time ago.

Terayama Shuji

Sunday, August 2, 2015

88 cards

This year’s summer class starts tomorrow. I was busy making materials today.
I’ve made 88 reading cards for my students. My first plan was 100 cards, but time’s up. I should have started earlier.
88 is a lucky number, however, and it is the topic of my 88th card.

Printing paper

Saturday, August 1, 2015

1945 - 2015

by enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable

You can listen to Emperor Showa’s voice from the master recording used to announce the end of the war.

The Imperial Household Agency also released other materials, including photos and video of an underground air-raid shelter called “御文庫付属室” on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A runner

I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba set a world record in the women’s 1,500 meters. Dibaba, who clocked 3 minutes, 50.07 seconds to eclipse the long-standing mark of 3:50.46 set by China’s Qu Yunxia in 1993.

The 24-year-old Dibaba crushed her own personal best of 3:54.11.
“With the training I did in Barcelona, I knew I was going to break it,” she said.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Energy is everywhere!

I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

Energy can be found in many different forms: in light, heat, motion, and more. There is energy in everything, even in a book sitting on a table. All energy can be lumped into one of two categories: potential energy and kinetic energy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shichimi (Seven flavors)

I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

Shichimi is a blend of spices that is served at the table as a condiment for noodle dishes such as soba and udon, but many people sprinkle it on other foods, including gyudon and yakitori. It is more properly called shichimi togarashi (seven-flavor chili pepper) after the main ingredient that gives it its heat: togarashi, or capsicum, which is a type of chili pepper. A shop in Tokyo’s Asakusa district called Yagenbori has been making shichimi for almost 400 years. Their original chukara blend contains black sesame seeds, roasted dry capsicum, the dried peel of the unshu mikan (Satsuma orange), sansho (Japanese pepper), poppy seeds and hemp seeds. Other companies may substitute one or more of these ingredients for other spices, such as ginger or seaweed, and some blends don’t have exactly seven ingredients.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Akita Inu (Dog)

I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the death of Chuken Hachiko, the Japanese dog famous for his unshakable loyalty to his master. Hachiko was an Akita dog, a breed that has recently gained great popularity overseas for its intelligence and faithful nature.
“Akita dogs are amazingly popular in foreign nations these days,” said Kenro Nagoshi, a specially appointed professor at Akita International University who specializes in Russia and media studies.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aji-no-Moto or Aji-no-Tomo?

I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

Ken kaiko (開高健) saw Ajinomoto  an artificial condiment developed long ago in Japan and whose name literally means “stock of flavor”  being sold under the name Ajinotomo (“friend of flavor”) in Peru during a visit to the South American country.

But according to the novelist, Ajinomoto means “Don’t park your motorcycle there” in a local language. “Aji” means “there,” and “no” means “don’t park” and “moto” is “motorcycle,” Kaiko said.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I’m making “reading cards” for high school students.
This is one of them.
Could you enjoy reading?

Japan Post Co. launched a campaign Thursday in which those who purchase 10 summer greeting cards get another greeting postcard with a coupon attached for a “Garigarikun” frozen treat.

The campaign aims to revive the declining practice of writing letters with help from the very popular ice candy brand in Japan.

The postcards are available in 86 post offices in Tokyo, for the first 10,000 people. Purchasers of 10 summer greeting postcards can get a postcard exchangeable with a soda-flavored Garigarikun ice candy in Lawson convenience stores across Japan.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Introduction to playing Jazz

A Jazz club OB came to our school. He wrote as follows:


“On fundamental feeling”
It is the human emotion that causes all actions, so let’s start from here.