Junior High School Chorus Contest

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, after many weeks of practice, we held our chorus contest. It was a nice afternoon of music. Even though prizes were handed out at the end of the day, I enjoyed each class and their efforts. Good job!

Verb Tenses – Feb. 2020

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a good weekend. On Saturday the new students for next year came to our school to try on their new school uniform. They had to make sure they got the right size, with a little room to grow in to. How about yourself, did you enjoy your two days off?

This morning I was checking some writing homework, and one of the common mistakes I saw was about tense. It can be difficult to decide what tense to use in English, because you have to think when something happened, and if it is still continuing.

Anyway, I found an interesting video on the TED education youtube channel that I thought was cute. Watch it a couple times and maybe it will help you decide what tense you need when you are using English. Watch and enjoy!

The Mars 2020 Rover is ready to go!

Hello everyone,

Today there was an interesting picture in the newspaper of the next Mars rover getting ready to go. Check out this big box:

So what is inside the box? It looks like this:

Very cool. The last two rovers lasted much much longer than anyone imagined. Opportunity landed in 2004, and sent its last transmission in 2018. It traveled 45km in that time! The next rover, Curiosity landed in 2012, and is still going strong today. These little robots were designed to work for two years, but have showed a lot of spirit.

Now, the only thing left to do it find a new name for this next rover. Right now there is a contest on the NASA homepage with some different ideas and essays about them. They essays were written by young people in America, so check out the page and read some of the reasons why!

Which name would you choose?

The Home Stretch – Feb. 2020

Hello everyone,

This morning we had a few snow flakes fall from the sky. I was worried I wouldn’t see an snow at all this year. It is late to see it, because we are almost half way through February.

This July the Olympics start in Tokyo. Just like our H3 students who are studying hard in their final days of high school, athletes are training hard for their chance at a medal this summer. I am sure we will all enjoy watching the events on TV (or live?). When you watch, try to think about this picture. Please check some of these words:

Behind every champion are many hours of training and struggle. Behind every music star are hours of practice and writing. Behind every successful test is time spent studying and reviewing.

No matter if you are a famous athlete, a girl studying for the center test, or a freshman doing her first small test. If you do the work people don’t see, then you will reach your goals too. Good luck!

A palindrome date!

Hello everyone,

Yesterday we had the high school entrance exam. Many girls came on a chilly Sunday to take the test. I hope you all did your best!

The day was also special because of the date: February 2nd, 2020. Or, if you write the date in numbers, it is:

That’s right, it is a palindrome date! That is a date that you can read from left to right and from right to left. A palindrome is like a “kaibun” in Japanese. Probably you know the famous one: 竹薮焼けた. English also has single word palindromes, like racecar or kayak but also sentences like this: “Never odd or even”.

As for the dates, well, this will probably be the last one I see in my lifetime. However, you are all still very young! If you stay healthy, eat well, and are happy, maybe you will think of this day on December 12th, 2121, or 12/12/2121.

Enjoy your day off on setsubun, and see you on Tuesday.

Kobe Bryant 1978 – 2020

Hello everyone,

Today was a sad day in the world of sprots, as Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter accident in Los Angeles. He was taking his daughter to her basketball game, as well as another family. He was only 41 years old, and had recently retired from the NBA after playing for 20 years. I was still in high school when he started his career, so it feels like I have been watching him play for most of my life.

He is one of the rare athletes who only need one name. “Tiger”, “Ali”, “Messi”, and “Kobe”. He was actually named for Kobe beef, which his parents saw on a menu! As a child he lived in Italy because his father was a basketball player there. Later he jumped directly from high school into the NBA, something that was very uncommon. He is also a rare athlete that played for the same team his whole career.

However, that doesn’t mean he was only important in Los Angeles. He was a worldwide star in basketball, and yesterday showed that. After the news broke, there were many tributes from around the world.

Nick Kyrgios wearing his original number 8 at the Australian Open.
Neymar flashing Kobe’s second number, 24, after scoring a goal.
An arena in the Philippines, where basketball is very popular.
A picture of Kobe and his daughter Gigi on a court in the Philippines.
Madison Square Garden, the most famous stadium in the world and home to the rival Knicks, lights up with Los Angeles Lakers colors and Kobe’s picture.

He was famous for his focus and training. There is nothing that shows this better than the famous clip of Matt Barnes trying to make him flinch in a game.

No Flinch Kobe Bryant GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. He won’t be able to make a speech, but he released this video a couple years ago that won an Oscar Award. It is probably the only speech he needs to make.

Ceneter Listening 2020 – part 1

Hello everyone,

What a crazy week! Last weekend was the center test for our grade 3 students. Then, on Sunday evening, the water for half of Wakayama was turned off to repair a pipe. Of course we didn’t know how long it would take to fix, so there was no school on Monday. The pipe was repaired very quickly (good news!) but then a lot of teachers came down with the flu (bad news!). Now it is Friday and it finally feels like things are getting back to normal.

As I mentioned, the center test was last weekend. As usual, the final test of the first day was the English listening. Let’s take a look at the first 6 questions!

This is a question Kita-sensei would like! An easy question to start the test, you need to listen for the preposition (behind or in front) and vocabulary (back or stomach).

When you see a time question, you need to prepare for time words. Early, late, morning, afternoon, before, after, etc. In this case “the afternoon one” is your hint, and you just have to be careful not to confuse the price (17,000) and chose number 4.

This is a question where you can cross out two answers the first time you listen, then double check the answer the second time you listen. “We have the text and photos” means 3 and 4 are out. After that, listen carefully for the word recipe at the end. This is probably the easiest question in part 1 this year.

This question is more difficult. Make sure you read the question carefully to know that you need to listen for the woman. The difficult part is connecting “opening remarks” with the “start of the party”. This is more difficult as the request comes from the man “taking his place.” With so many teachers out with the flu last week, there were many of us “taking the place” of others during the entrance tests!

There is almost always one math question in part 1, and here it is for this year. When approaching these questions, watch out for words like “half, a third, a quarter” as well as “double, triple, five times as many”. The other thing to be careful of is the last sentence: I’m thinking of…” He hasn’t yet bought the DVDs, so don’t include that in the answer.

(On a side note, who still buys DVDs? Everyone uses Netflix or Hulu these days. Come on test-makers, get with the new generation!)

Lastly, the most difficult question to look at. There is a lot of information here, with the year on the x-axis and the number of fish on the y-axis. A couple difficult words such as “continuous trend” and “exception” are here, but the most important word is “lower”. After that, you just have to find the correct path in the time provided. Fortunately you have a few extra seconds as the test explains part 2 to double check your answers.

If you have any questions about these 6 problems, or anything else on the test, let me know and I will help you through it. Don’t get sick! Stay healthy!

Center Test 2020

After months of preparation, our third grade students are headed to Wakayama University to take the center test today. This is the last time the center test will be taken in the current format, as next year there will be big changes. As I arrived to school today, I met some of our girls at the convenience store getting ready to leave. Chocolate? Check. Hand warmers? Check. Nervous smile? Check.

Good luck to everyone over the next two days. I look forward to seeing you Monday when you are finished.

Deca-… Jan. 2020

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to school! I hope you enjoyed your time off, whether it was long or short. On January 1st we celebrated the new year… but it was also the start of the 2020’s. It is the start of a new decade!

Deca- is an English prefix that means x10. For example, at the Tokyo Olympics there is an event called the decathalon, which has ten sports. When we talk about time, a decade is ten years.

It is common to use decades in English conversation. I enjoy sports, so I might say “Michael Jordan was the best basketball player in the 90s,” or “I grew up in the 80’s in Vancouver.”

Last decade saw the rise of the smarthphone around the world. What do you think will happen this decade? Let’s find out together!


M1 and M2 English Contest Practice Videos

Hello everyone,

Winter vacation starts today! I hope you have a great time. Part of the homework for M1 and M2 students is to remember an English story for the English contest next year. I have made some videos to help you practice. Listen and read along with me. Good luck! Merry Christmas!

M1 – Red Demon and Blue Demon


M2 – Friendship Across Time and Borders


M2 – Education First: Malala’s Story


M2 – Stevie Wonder – The Power of Music