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.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Japanese art

This is an Ukiyoe 浮世絵 (Nishikie 錦絵?)
I found it and took 2 pictures at the Sumida river bank.
Do you know why I was there?
I went there to practice the trumpet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Ron Hornbaker launched the website, BookCrossing in 2001. It is defined as “the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

from a university entrance exam

There is an old saying, “If you love someone, set them free.” Ron Hornbaker was a man who thought that this was true about books as well. He didn’t want to see the books he loved become dusty on his shelf. He dreamed of sharing them with others. His goal was to make the whole world a library so that people could share their books for free. Hornbaker wanted to encourage people to leave their books in public places for others to find.
(Chuo University)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marine Day

なみだは にんげんのつくることのできる いちばん小さな 海です (寺山 修司)

Tears is the smallest ocean human beings could make. (Terayama Shuji, a poet. 1935-1983)

The third Monday of July is a national holiday, Marine Day.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Bancho Sarayashiki" (The Story of Okiku)

A young girl named Okiku worked as a maidservant in the house of Shogun Aoyama Harima in the mid-17th century. The Aoyama clan possessed 10 precious plates as an heirloom and the maidservant was instructed to ensure these remained scratch-free. On Jan. 2, 1653, Okiku accidentally broke one of the plates. Furious, Aoyama ordered his guards to cut off the middle finger of her right hand and confined Okiku to her room until the punishment could be carried out. The maidservant managed to escape, however, fleeing the house before throwing herself into a disused well. The next night (and every night thereafter), a woman’s voice could be heard counting the plates from the bottom of the well…

A short time later, Aoyama’s wife gave birth to a child that was missing a middle finger on its right hand. News of this reached the Imperial Court, which ordered Aoyama to forfeit his territory. And yet, the woman could still be heard counting. The Imperial Court sent a priest to intervene. Upon his arrival, the priest waited inside the house for the woman to finish her count before adding a “10” at the end. Released from her sorrow, Okiku’s ghost disappears.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Hibana" (Sparks)

「言葉の最大瞬間風速が吹いているのは、文学の世界かもしれない」(又吉 直樹、お笑い芸人)

“The realm of literature is perhaps where the winds of language blow at their highest speed.” (Matayoshi Naoki, a comedian. 1980- )

Friday, July 17, 2015

a high school jazz club

You played 3 tunes in front of others, “c jam blues,” “bags groove” and “my favorite things.”

What are your favorite things?

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When you’re feeling sad
You simply remember your favorite things
And then you don’t feel so bad!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

Through the experience of conducting “Integrated Study,” I came to think of English class again.
And I found an article about CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning).

4 characteristics as follows:
・ Attaches importance to both English and content from other subjects
・ Activities structured to involve group or pair work between students
・ Lessons given in English, in principle, but Japanese also used to ensure thorough understanding of content
・ Encourages use of newspapers and magazines, as well as audiovisuals, as teaching materials

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Integrated Study

I conducted two classes (Not English!) on Monday and Tuesday.
107 and 55 students (162 in total!) came to the auditorium.
Why did so many students come?
It is because two classes were not the usual English lesson, I think.
They were among the periods of Integrated Study.

Monday, July 13, 2015


One of the memories with my father is watching baseball with him. He was a fan of Yokohama Taiyo Whales. We sometimes went to three stadiums, Yokohama, Jingu and Korakuen in the 1980s.
It is said that Giants vs Tigers is the golden card. But for us it was Giants vs Whales. I remember waiting in a long line around Korakuen in the summer of 1986. I was a junior high student who wanted to be strong.
Whales were not a strong team, so we complained rather than laughed after their games. But I didn’t feel uncomfortable watching Whales with my father.
Why did he shout for players of Whales? Looking back at those times, I think it was the spirit of fighting the powerful and supporting the weak. And Whales have impressive players such as Endo, Tashiro and Ponce. And Giants were powerful.
Times have changed. Where have Whales gone?        

Sunday, July 12, 2015

4 pieces of music

It was difficult but exciting for my wife and me to select pieces of music.
We spent Sunday full of music.

It’s for you.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


I went out to get one at FamilyMart today.
I should have bought two of them yesterday.

It’s for you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

like a song

It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all.

Pronounce the strong and weak parts of English, and it might sound like a song.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Break Out of Your Shell!

In college, I (Mr. Kojima) took on one challenge after another. I made new friends, got a driver’s license, and ran in a marathon. My life became busier but happier than before. “It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all” became my motto.
I went to New Zealand to study English. At a local elementary school, I wrote my name by holding a pen between my toes. “Unbelievable!” said the students. I was surprised that I could impress others. To me, writing with a foot was completely natural.
I wanted to encourage young people by telling them about my experiences. To be a teacher became my new dream.
Now I am a teacher. I sometimes ask, “What is the opposite of success?” Is it failure? No, it’s “not trying.” If you have a dream, don’t be afraid of failure. Go for it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

sound and words

Let’s listen to the sound and see the words at the same time.

Thanks, YouTube!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

what goes on?

“I wonder how he feels about me. I wish I could read his mind.” Such a wish seems impossible to fulfill. However, an American psychologist claims it isn’t.
In communication, nonverbal factors, such as facial expressions, play an important role. Following his experiments, the psychologist said, “Even if a person tries to hide his or her real emotion, a very brief facial expression often occurs unconsciously. If you notice it, you can tell what the person is really thinking.” Facial expressions last for only a fraction of a second, so you need to develop special skills to perceive them. With these skills, you could know others’ hidden thoughts.
Suppose you had a new hairstyle and your friend said, “That’s cool!” With your new skills, you would know her real thoughts: “Her old hairstyle was cuter.” Do you really want to know others’ thoughts? Oh, never mind, I already know.

I underlined the phrase, “read his mind” and asked my students to look for 4 phrases which have the same meaning.

The answers are:
“tell what the person is really thinking”
“know others’ hidden thoughts”
“know her real thoughts”
“know others’ thoughts”

And I introduced the Beatles’ phrase, “what goes on in your heart, what goes on in your mind.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

the music club

I started practicing the trumpet again this school year. Starting from blowing only with my mouthpiece, I have tried to make a sound. And today, I joined the students’ group and blew my trumpet. Of course, I couldn’t follow the whole score, but I felt a little bit of “music.”

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Sumida River and the small school yard

1983 was a bad year for me. So I wanted to start something new when I entered Kuramae Junior High School in 1984. I joined the track and field club and started running. My target was mainly 1000m, 1500m and 3000m. I wanted to be a long distance runner. Van Halen, an American rock band, gave me power. It was 1984.
The Sumida River runs near my school. Our school yard was small, so we sometimes went out of school and ran along the river.
It was perhaps July in 1984. On that Saturday afternoon, we were running in the school yard. Our yard was so small that we had to make 10 rounds to complete 1000m. All I could do was just running. Other boys looked big. 1000m seemed too long.
After 10 rounds, I fell down on the ground. Above me only sky ― No, there was our school building. And then, I saw a girl looking down at the ground from the window above. That moment might have been the beginning of my bitter school days.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Comparative form


Tokyo Sky Tree is taller than Tokyo Tower.
This is a sentence in the English textbook.

Which is taller, a lamp post on Kuramae Bridge or Tokyo Sky Tree?
Oh, never mind, you already know.

Friday, July 3, 2015

attract (verb)

attract (verb) : to make somebody like somebody or something

Seeing this definition, I ask myself:
Am I making you like English in my classroom?
I don’t care whether you like me or not, but if you don’t like English, I need to attract you.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Textbook, students and me

Lesson 4 is a story of Mr. Kojima, a junior high English teacher.
He lost his arms in a traffic accident when he was four.
But in elementary school days, . . .

I ask my students,
“How was his elementary school days? Was it good or bad?”
“How was his junior high days? Good or bad?”
“How was his high school days? Good or bad?”

And then I ask another question, “how was YOUR school days?”
I also tell them about MY school days.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July has come

And the pamphlet came to me today. I have taken part in this event two times.
What shall I do? What shall we do this year?
Summer is coming.