How timely!

My husband had to work today. Every year He works until a few days before the end of the year, but for this year, today was his last workday. That's why my son and I stayed at home and have preparing for the next year. Luckily, I managed to have some time to do for myself due to bad weather. hehe I surfed the Internet such as BBC, CNN or VOA.

Yesterday, I learned some idioms through the BBC. One of them was "cut the mustard". (It's an interesting idiom, isn't it.) In the morning, while transcribing the vignette I had recorded, I found out the idiom was used in it. How timely it is!!
Thanks to that, the idiom was impressed into my mind. haha

My work aside...

I finished my English lessons for this year on 25th Dec. Since then, I've felt relaxed with my son althogh I've been doing household chores for the new year.

Yesterday, we (my son and I), his close friends and their moms met up to watch a Power Ranger movie. My son and his friends had been looking forward to watching the movie together. When we met in the morning, they were excited and seemed to get out of control...^^;
While our kids were watching the movie (It was for approximately an hour and fourty five minutes.),all moms decided to have lunch at a stylish cafe, which was recommended by one of us. hehe
Getting out of the theater, they were basking in the afterglow of the exciting movie.

Today, I met my colleagues to have lunch with my son in tow. There were five of us, plus my son this time. We had quality time together and I got some useful information thanks to my sinior teachers. :D
After that, my son and I headed for a shopping mall to buy his school bag as he would go to elementary school next year.
He was pleased with the school bag. ^^

I'm supposed to stay at home called "巣籠り" in Japanese tomorrow.............Maybe...........haha

What are you doing for the holiday season?

What are you doing for the holiday season?

Here is my story....

My son believes in Santa Claus, so he wrote his message to him on Christmas Eve. In addition, going to bed, he put a cup of milk and a few cookies for him beside his bed.
Waking up on Christmas morning, he seemed to be half asleep. Then, he came to himself and checked his message and cookies, of course, presents.
You can easily imagine, the milk was gone, there were half-eaten cookies and his message was also gone, but there was a mail instead.

The mail said,

" Dear, **** (his name)
Thank you for your presents. I'm so happy and love you. I'm giving you a special present and wish you all the happiness in your life.

From, Santa Claus"

He was jumping up and down with joy, and shouted "Hey! Mom! and Dad!, He came!! he came!! Hurray!!!" He was in the seventh heaven. As for the mail, it was English, of course, so he didn't understand it. Then, he asked me to translate.

I had prepared for all of this, but I translated it. (It seemed a little strange, though..haha)

Well, I think nothing is purer than kids' hearts...





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Once again

I've kept burshing up on my English skills by using periodical English radio textbooks and listening to the program. I usually transcribe every vignette and memorize the vocabulary. To add to the program, I try to listen to another English program, which is intended for businessmen as I can learn practical expressions and phrases in the program.

I used to use periodical English magazines called CNN English Express for about three years to reinforce my ability of English. However, I hardly use them these days. You can say when it comes to building up the natural expressions, idioms and slangs native English speakers use, it's a waste of good materials not to use them. ^^;
Yes, that's why I decided to use them once again. haha The first magazine I bought dates back to January, 2006. Wow! I'll reveiw the vocabulary used in the magazines again and see how much I'll be able to comprehend them as compared to what my skills used to be.

Having a natter with my friends

This morning I invited some English leaners of my friends to have a natter over coffee. (We regularly have that kind of meeting to practice speaking English.)

The members and I hadn't met for about one month, so I was thrilled to meet them and have quality time together. To be honest, I hadn't managed to have much time to practice speaking recently. As you can imagine easily, I had a load of topics I wanted to talk about. lol

As soon as they arrived at my house, I started to speak English and couldn't stop talking. haha (I hope they weren't caught short...)
Well, during the meeting they asked me about some English expressions. These questions are very helpful for me to build up my vocabulary or expressions every time.

I had to wrap up the meeting earlier than usual because my son's classes for this year ended this morning, so I had to pick him up.
Needless to say, I felt fulfilled thanks to the members; however, I still need some time to chat with others in English. lol

As I had expected...

As I mentioned before, I took the TOEIC test last month. The primary reason I took this was because I wanted to be certain of my reading skill. (The previous score on the Reading section was over 400, but I doubted whether my reading skill was really verified. That's why I took it again.)

Today I checked the result on the Internet. (In the morning I had to attend a meeting at my company. During the meeting, I was being on tender hooks. lol)

The result is here.....

Listening>>>>> 460
Reading >>>>> 405


Total>>>>> 865

As I had expected, it was around the previous score this time. It's gone down, though. However, I felt a different sense from the last time: my English skills were verified, especially my reading skill. I can also say my current skills range in score from 850 to 900.
I barely got over 400 on the Reading Section, but I used to get around 380 and I had thought like the score this time, so it was true I was relieved a little bit and encouraged.

Having said that, I'm shooting for the moon: over 900 and the 1st grade of the STEP test. I should keep brushing up on my English skills anyway.

At an English cooking workshop for kids

As I had mentioned before, my son and I took part in a workshop today. It was an English cooking workshop for kids and was held at a cafe. There were seven kids, including my son.

When we entered the cafe and our kids got ready to wear aprons, my son was sobbing. He told me he was very nervous and didn't understand what we were talking about because our conversation was all English. In fact, he'd never taken part in that kind of workshop before and his English vocabulary was quite limited. That's why he seemed to be overwhelmed.

Well, during the workshop, he seemed to be getting used to the atmosphere. He and another kindergartener (The other kids were all elementary-schoolers) were left up to write and draw the menu. To add to the organizer, who regularly takes part in our English club, his friends were also there, of course, they're native English speakers.

As for the dishes, I'd like to insist they be amazing! I'll make dishes for Christmas!!
Some pictures are here....


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After the workshop, I asked him about today's event. He said "Yes! I want to join again!!!"
Wow! He was excited on our way home. lol







Bad weather, but....

It snowed and was very cold today. I was frozened to the bone.... Usually I take part in the class we can have a free and easy conversation in the morning of Thursday. As you can imagine easily, I was wavering whether I would visit the class....To add to the bad weather, I had my business, so I was undecided till just before the time I had to go out to take part in the class in time.

I ended up taking part in the class. haha I'm always, of course, craving to practice speaking English. In addition, it was the last class this year and recently I hadn't had as enough time as I hope to speak English, so it was the severe weather; nevertheless, I visited there. I also guessed I would be able to monopolize the teacher as nobody wouldn't come due to the weather.

There were only two of us, (Oh, I missed my guess. haha) but I had a natter to my heart's content.

2011年 1月スケジュール~~マムズ~~

早いもので、今年もあと半月になりましたね。師走だけあって、年賀状作りやら、来年度新規生徒さんを募集したり、在席生の成績表つけやら、会社での研修やらで毎日をバタバタと過ごしております。性格上、何か動いてた方が楽しいというのもありますが、、、^^;

来年は学校や園が始まって、ひと段落した日ということで、1回のみですが奮ってご参加頂けると嬉しいです^^
ネイティブゲストは、現在アポイント中です。(多分参加して頂けると思います。)
また、今回彼のレクチャーのみならず、ある一テーマについてディスカッション形式にてスピーキング力を鍛えてもよいかな、、、と考えています。自分の意見を英語できちんと言える、、という目的です。

1月19日 (水曜日)10:00~12:00
大野城北コミュニティーセンター 研修室1
参加費:¥500

At a stylish cafe

My fellow English-lovers and I met up to have lunch together yesterday. One of them had recommended a stylish cafe, which was featured on TV, and made a reservation.
When we arrived at the cafe, all tables were occupied except for our table. @0@

Well, the reason we got together at the cafe because it was the last meeting this year and we had decided to have like a small year-end party. As we're all wives and it's relatively hard for us to go out at night, we had the meeting at noon.
As for the cafe, as I mentioned, it was a very stylish and its dishes were reasonable and tasty. We were quite pleased with them. I got some hints to make dinner for Christmas from the dishes. hehe
Concerning our meeting, we didn't speak English at the beginning...Xl Aw...However, we, of course, started to have a natter in English. To my sadness, I left the cafe early because I had to pick up my son.

I spent quality time with my fellow English learners. I'm looking forward to the first meeting of next year.

"Get to enjoy"

I regularly listen to an English radio program which is intended for an advanced level of English. To get new expressions and vocabulary, I've kept learning English through the program and its text book.
I often face the expressions I usually don't say or write in the text book. Although these expressions occasionally take some time to comprehend, they're very helpful and broaden my knowledge of English.

The other day, I came across a sentence: How was your week off? Get to enjoy some quality downtime?At that time, as for "get to enjoy", I had a question: I wondered if there was some meaning. As I usually say, "Did you enjoy~??", so I was a little bit confused.
I asked my fellow English-lovers about my question last week. They were thinking about it hard by checking dictionaries, grammar books. Then, we reached the answer: to have or get opprtunities to do something.
Oh! I got it!!! (That's why we can also say "get to know each other">> 知り合う機会を得る、持つ>> 知り合いになる.)

However, another idea also came up: to manage to do something or succeed in doing. In my opinion, the former is the closest because "manage" is to succeed in doing something hard or to solve problems with a difficult situation. In fact, some native English speakers told me the meaning when I had my English journals checked.
Anyway, I asked some native English speakers about the question to clarify. One of them gave me the following answer.. (including my question)...

What's the nuance of the sentence?

When you hear the following sentence, what kind of nuance do you have?
"Hey, (Did you) get to enjoy some quality downtime?"

A> Did you succeed in enjoying...
B> Did you manage to enjoy...
C> Did you reach the point at which you feel fun?
D> Did you have some opportunities to have fun?

I feel C or D is the closest... What do you think?


The answer is....

A and C seem too analytical. B suggests it may have been difficult to enjoy something due to some known circumstance such as your fear of heights on a balloon trip.
I prefer D here.

The other native English speakers also said like that.
Thanks to the time we discussed, I learned the clear meaning of it.

The Christmas event

My son goes to kindergarten based on Christian beliefs. We're not Christian, but I thought its beliefs would be helpful for him to grow up mentally. That's why I decided to enter him to the kindergarten.
Actually, thanks to the beliefs, he seems to have learned divine benevolence and to be kindly and friendly to others.

Yesterday, my family visited his kindergarten because they held their Christmas event. After our worship, they sang Christmas songs, played some musical instruments such as triangles, side drums etc. At the end of the event, the oldest kids, called "年長", performed the Nativity play. (Every year, the oldest kids play the drama.) At first, I thought the story would be relatively complicated to understand. However, their performance was understandable and moved me to tears.

After the event, he was exhausted (Maybe, he was keyed up..), but I saw his growth...

An English-lover's meeting

Some of my fellow English-lovers had called me to study English together by using an English radio text book. They also belong to the same English club I reguarly take part in.

We usually listen to the radio program and learn an advanced level of English through it. As I'm not good at reciting the vignettes, if anything I hate to do, I don't usually participate in the workshop. ^^; haha

However, one of our close friends, who had moved to the next prefecture (to our pref), was going to visit us this time and she and I hadn't met for a while. That's why I was willing to take part it today's workshop!
When all members assembled in the house of one of us, we weren't able to stop talking in English. lol Then, we got hit the ground running. At first, we got down to recitation of the text book. I managed to recite the vignette we had to memorize anyway...^^; After that, we answered the vocabulary quiz. Incidentally, I love to memorize vocabulary. hehe

After the study, we had lunch together. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because I had to pick up my son....
I spent quality time with my friends. Thanks, all!!!

A medical check-up

Ever since I gave birth, I haven't gone to hospital for a check-up. I know, of course, I have to take a medical check-up at least once a year. However, I take our household expenditure into account, I'm reluctant to see any doctors.

Having say all that, if I find any problems with my body, it will be too late or the cost will be an arm and a leg.
I decided to go to see an obstetrician and gynaecologist this afternoon. The reason I went there this time was, as a woman, I'm afraid of female disorders such as cancer of the womb. Although I hadn't planned to go there today, I had a whim to think of the diseases and decided to go.

Although the doctor found a tiny polyp as small as a grain of rice, there weren't any problems with me.The detailed result of the check-up will be available a week later.

I'll try to take a medical check-up once a year....

An informative meeting

I took part in the English club I belong to this morning. The club is held twice a month and it's indispensable for me to brush up on my English skills.

Today's theme was "Writing E-mails", including e-mail salutations and sign off variations. As I very often write E-mails in English, it quite intrigued me. The native English speaker, who regularly takes part in, had prepared the topic. He had planned we would talk about the topic for the first half of the two-hour meeting. (As for the second half, he had also prepared another topic.) However, many questions came up one after another and his talk was interesting, so we ended up spending two hours about the topic.

At the end of the meeting, he gave us his handmade honey. The smell seemed tasty! Regularly he holds workshops for cooking in English. Some of the culb's members, their kids, my son and I are going to take part in his workshop next week!

Painstaking work

Today is my son's birthday! I've been preparing for his birthday such as presents, dishes etc.

This morning a present arrived for him. It was the pair of shoes he had been longing for. My mother had sent it to him. He was so happy that he romped around the room. Needless to say, he went to kindergarten in the shoes although it was raining. haha

As for other presents, we gave him a game called 仮面ライダーオーズ Wii.
To be honest, I didn't want to buy it for him because I had realized he would get too into the game and let it get out of control.....However, my husband gave the green light, so I bought it as a present subject to promise the length of time he can play.
(At first, he wanted the Power Ranger's belt, but they were sold out. That's why he decided his second wish.)
The present from me is here....
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It was one of the items of the Power ranger he's absorbed in. It looks like a big glove. As you can see, I made it by hand. lol Of course, he can make believe as the Power Ranger by putting on the glove.
It was my painstaking work...haha

Well, after my work, we're supposed to have a small party for him. :D (I hope my husband will come home early..)

The last lesson

As I mentioned before, I gave the last lesson to the members of the workshop I took over. I'm very sorry I won't be able to manage the workshop due to my work. However, I hope all members will keep learning English in a variety of ways such as Skype or attending another English club.
In addition, when I have some time, I'll call the members to get together and natter away. Of course, in English! Till then, good bye and thanks a bunch!

先日記事にも書きましたが、今日最後のワークショップを行ってきました。今後定期的に続けられなくてとても残念に、また申し訳なく思います。しかし、メンバーの皆さんにはこれからも、様々な方法でずっと英語学習は続けていってほしいと願っています^^また、時間が取れた時には、メンバーの皆さんをお呼びしてチャットタイムを設けたいな、、とも思っています。勿論英語のみで(笑)それまで、お互いに頑張っていきましょう!
短い間でしたが、本当にありがとうございました!

The purpose of taking language tests

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended a meeting at my company today. It was a stormy day, but the room I stayed was very lively. Whenever I attended, I got energy from other teachers and spent valuable time together.

As an English teacher, I stand firm on my principle: to be a highly qualified teacher. In other words, to raise my consciousness as an English teacher. That's why I'm willing to attend meetings which are related to English. (This time, of course, I had to attend.)
To add to that, taking language tests is one of the ways. There are a load of the reasons you have to take the tests. In my case, to confirm or see objectively my current level and encourage me in keeping brushing up on my English skills.
Some occasionally say "your current score or certification is enough, why are you sticking to take the tests or to get high score?"
It's an interesting question to me because I often ask myself about it. haha Uh....maybe if I weren't an English teacher, I wouldn't do that. When I get moderate score, I might be satisfied with it.
However, I decided to be an English teacher as my job and want to live off it in my future. That's why I'm always shooting for a highly qualified or a sophisticated teacher: to be a professional teacher.
To be that kind of teacher, my English skills or level shouldn't be moderate. In my opinion, the line is over 900 on the TOEIC test and the 1st grade of the STEP test. Another reason I'm sticking to 900 on the TOEIC test so far is that I'll start to learn for the 1st grade if I get over 900.

Finally I managed to finish my chores, but...

Every end of the year brings me restless days although I'm just imagining things.

Finally I managed to finish my chores and get some time to write my journal in English. Ever since I decided to write my daily life in English, I've tried to find some time to write my English journals.
However, when I don't manage to find enough time to write like these days, I can't deny it's relatively hard for me to retain my motivation for keeping learning English. To avoid that kind of situation, I try to read a few pieces of English news, transcribe the English radio program I usually listen to or take part in the English club I belong to and whatnot. Thanks to these ways, I'm keeping brushing up on my English skills. Yes, I'm sold on English as ever. lol

Well, although I've been a busy bee (especially, for the last two weeks), I took the TOEIC test last Sunday. :D Luckily I got over 400 on the Reading Section of the previous test, but I didn't have any confidence my score was justified. To make sure of my reading skill, I took the test again.
I dropped by some blogs to check my answers. If I didn't miss any questions but the mistakes I found out, this time's score will be around 900. However, I guess this time my score will be around the previous one more or less...maybe...

Anyway, I'll have to attend a meeting at my company tomorrow and keep advertising my class for the next year. No rest for the wicked!
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Author: VibrantRose TOEIC 925 (2017.4)

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