Are you for or against?

Yesterday afternoon I took an online lesson. This time the teacher who regularly teaches me game me the following article: Death Penalty

Are you for or against it?
I'm for it without any hesitation. Let me explain the reason why.

First, the existence of the penalty absolutely deters crimes. In fact, the crime rate in Japan is much lower than in other developed countries even though we can't say there's no crime here.
Second, there's a life sentence in Japan, but it's somewhat different from those of other countries. Those who are given a life sentence and serving time could get out of the prison under certain conditions. A minor, for example, killed several people in cold blood. The minor's face, name or whatever aren't unveiled because he or she is a minor. The judge pronounced a life sentence on the minor, but the minor could get out of the prison with mercy. It could be possible.
Third, some insist that no one violate human rights. Right then, how about victims' ones?

I can't deny, of course, that it's possible to take the risk of judging innocent people. As such we shouldn't judge lightly based on our emotions but conclude based on firm evidence.
In addition, the criminal law like a life sentence in Japan should be changed in accordance with the situation or days.

For the above reasons, I think that capital punishment shouldn't be abolished.

That's a long way to go!

When you're reading an article, which way is easier for you to grasp the content, reading it silently or reading it aloud?

In my case, it's the former. I make a point of reading the papers to improve my English skills. During that time, I usually read them silently. If I read them aloud, I'm apt to focus on my pronunciation and intonation rather than grasping the contents. As such I have difficulty grasping the contents as I'm reading them loudly.
I think I need to improve that point, so I try the latter way when I take online lessons and take part in the English workshop where I belong.

Today I took two lessons. In the course that I'm taking, I have to discuss or speak in a logical way about articles from the news such as CNN, BBC, VOA and so forth. The articles my teachers gave me weren't hard to understand, but because of the previously mentioned reason I was often lost in the articles.

Do you have any ideas to understand easily? Rather than that, should I just practice and practice?

Thank you for coming over!!

This morning I headed for the nearest station with excitement to pick up a friend of mine. The reason why I went to the station was because the friend, who is one of my fellow English-overs, came over to the English workshop where I belong.
It was the first time for her to take part in our meeting, so she was also thrilled to take part in it.

This time luckily there were 8 of us, including the native English speaker who regularly takes part in it. To add to the friend, another visitor came over to our confab as well. She seemed to have a lot of butterflies in her stomach and a wee bit overwhelmed. However, shortly after that, she looked calm down.^^
After introducing about ourselves briefly and catching up on each other, we got down to reading and discussing the article which one of our members had prepared.

It was about "Earworms: Why catchy tunes get trapped in our heads."

As you may know, time flies. In addition, schmoozing is in my DNA, as such it wasn't enough for me.^^ However, I spent quality time at the confab! Thanks all my friends!!

3月のスケジュール ~~マムズ~~

Here's our next English meeting.

Day and Time: 13th March 10:00~12:00

Participation Fee: ¥500 a participant (Cuz, a native English speaker will take part in it as well. If there's no guest speaker, it's ¥200 a participant.)

Place: Onojo North Community Center, Meeting Room 1(On the second floor)
We've been endeavoring to improve our English. We discuss the topic or article prepared by a leader. (We take turns being a leader.)

If you're interested in our meeting or have any questions, please feel free to ask me. We always welcome you!

Did I drive a hard bargain!?

My car inspection will expire next month. My current car has been used for a decade, so it's high time to buy a new one. However, we can't afford to buy a luxury one such as VELLFIRE or ALPHARD. I like these kinds of cars, though.... My hubby is interested in cars in the sedan category because our current car is a station wagon and he seems to want to change the type, but I definitely need plenty of space for work every day. As such I persuaded him to buy a station wagon again.^^;

Luckily one of his biggest customers works for TOYOTA as a manager, so my family visited one of its branch offices last Sunday. The manager and one of the staff helped us to choose a new car.
When they showed the final estimate, there was room for cutting costs. Then, I made my entrance into negotiation. I managed to cut costs to the lowest price. It was still over our budget. At that time I just jokingly said "Well, why don't you round down the fractions? Rounding down the figures makes it clearer to see."
Then, the manager said, "Haha! OK, you win. The price you gave me will be fine!"
"WHAT!? REALLY!?" At that time we all looked at his face surprisingly.

It's well worth giving a try even if it seems impossible.^^ Talk about luck!!

The first online lesson

I don't want to stick to the topic, but I'd like to talk about online lessons again this time.

Simply put, I decided to take the online lessons of the teacher I talked about yesterday. This afternoon I talked with one of the staff about the procedure I should follow and then I right away made an appointment. In fact I was wavering when to take her lessons, but I did it tonight.

After our short chat, she sent an article and we discussed it. There weren't words I didn't know, but I learned more details. It was intriguing and helpful to me.
I'm looking forward to the next lesson.^^

Finally I met!

Last Tuesday I had the worst experience in learning English I've ever had as I posted on this site. In fact, ever since then, I'd been overpowered and somewhat afraid of speaking in front of native English speakers. Luckily I could share the story with my fellow English-lovers. Their comments were a great comfort to me.

To overcome my hesitation and boost me confidence, I visited a English cafe that a British woman runs. On entering the room, we started catching up on each other. Then, I talked about the story. She told me that you should ignore that kind of person and take it as your life experience. She also told me that she completely understood what I said and meant. After that we moved on to our usual chat, including discussion on current issues such as corporal punishment.

After I went back home, I got ready to talk to another teacher on Skype. I had made an appointment to take her trial lesson.
This time I didn't tell about my job or my skills at the beginning of the lesson in order to see her reaction or how much she understood my English. During the lesson, she asked about my job and then I told her. Her attitude was still polite and kind. As such I could feel relaxed and speak as usual.
At the end of the lesson, I asked her about what my English was like. She said, "Your vocabulary and grammar are no problem although there were some rudimentary mistakes in some sentence structures." Then, I asked, "Did you understand what I said and meant?"
She answered, "Yes, perfectly I understood, VibrantRose."

What a relief! I'll slog at my English study.^^

Is my English so bad!?

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been curious to take online lessons. I have difficulty finding the best school or teacher, so I try to take the lessons getting my attention.

This afternoon I took a trial lesson. The teacher, who is from America, lives in Japan and runs his own English school, including online lessons. I thought our Skype condition would be good and clear. In addition, the tuition is reasonable compared to other schools who have native English speakers. As such I thought I would sign up for the class if I would be satisfied with the teacher and his (trial) lesson.

At the beginning of the lesson, we started to chat. At that time, he said "Oh, you're an English teacher, right? (I had sent E-mail to him beforehand, so he knew my job.) Actually I didn't understand what you said. Your pronunciation is not so good."
What!? On my gosh! Actually I was shocked because it was the first time that someone told me like that directly. Furthermore, just after the lesson began.
I know, of course, my pronunciation isn't perfect as I'm not a native English speaker. AS SUCH I've tried to practice!
During the lesson, he also said "When you're saying something slowly, your pronunciation is clear and good, but when you're `talking`, it's fallen apart." Oh.......I see....--;
I told him that many Japanese have difficulty pronouncing, so we're keeping learning. Then, he said, "That's why because many Japanese don't take the job as English teachers. haha"

Uh....I understand he has a point, but I was miffed at his attitude. I mean I'm not an English teacher but a student in front of him.

Well, as if I received the harsh baptism... It goes without saying that I was overpowered for a while....^^;

What do you think--"Corporal Punishment"

These days a serious issue got our attention-Physical Punishment.

A high schooler, who was a captain of the basketball team, killed himself after an unbearable agony, repeated physical punishment, from his coach. As for corporal punishment, sadly it might not be surprised and it's true it could happen here and there.
It's been evoking controversy as one of the social problems.

Shortly after that, fifteen judo athletes, who are promising players, accused their coach of his power harassment. They had called on Japanese Judo Federation at first, but the issue was clouded and wasn't revealed. As such they addressed accusation documents to Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC). Finally the issue came to light and has been in the vortex of fierce controversy.

Indeed, the media might stir up. Corporal punishment might be the common practice in the old age, especially the time of "Do-or-die spirit". However, it's highly time to rethink what coaches or teachers should be primarily. To add to that, we should know there's a big different notion in the generation gap.

Online lessons

This morning I took an online lesson through Skype for the first time. It was a trial lesson, so I was a little bit nervous in front of my computer.

I was supposed to take it last Monday, but there seemed problem with my computer or something, before the lesson I didn't manage to get the message from the teacher I had signed up for. As such unluckily I had to pass it up.
This time I could do that without problem and the teacher, who was different from the last time, punctually called me just on time.
As I don't have a web-camera, she seemed surprised somewhat. However we started having a natter right away and my tension was gradually thawing out.

During the free conversation lesson, I occasionally didn't catch up the sentences she said and vice versa. However, I didn't have difficulty communicating with her overall. At the end of the lesson, I asked her about what my English was like.
She said, "Your speaking and grammar are no problem, but your accent is sometimes Japanese one. Please practice and practice, taking heed to pronounce more appropriately."

I felt fulfilled and signed up for the next trial lesson which is supposed to exchange each opinion about an article from the papers.

I'm not sure if I'll sign up for the school as a regular student, so please feel free to tell me your suggestions and recommendations for schools.

She tried to talk

This morning I gave my regular lesson to a woman who is in her 60's. I've written about her a few times on my blog, though, I'd like to do that again because I was amazed at her improvement in English.

Well, she got a call from her relative last Wednesday. The call was that her aunt who lived in Oregon, America had passed away.
She, my student, loves her so much because she was always kind to her and gave her warmhearted advise all the time. Not only was she, but her hubby was also kind and sincere, she said. They've stayed in touch for a long time.
She told me, however, she didn't manage to contact them. She had been worried about them, but she got it now.
The other day she tried to call him, having a lot of butterflies in her stomach. Whenever he answered her call, he right away said "Here is your aunt". As such she didn't need to speak English. However, this time she had to talk to him in English.

She told me she was so glad he understood what she said. She hadn't managed to communicate in English before even though she wanted to do so. Then, she thought her English has improved little by little and the experience gave an impetus to her, she added.

In fact, I was relieved to hear that because I'm always seeking for the best way to improve her in English. At that time, I felt my advice wasn't off the beam and I'm honored to be a teacher.^^
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Author: VibrantRose TOEIC 925 (2017.4)

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