Kobe Bryant 1978 – 2020

Hello everyone,

Today was a sad day in the world of sports, 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!