Happy New Year! – Jan. 2022

Hello everyone,

On the evening of December 31st every year, my wife’s mother takes a poll. “How many omochi do you want in your breakfast tomorrow?” My kids ask for one, I ask for two, grandpa asks for five (!!!), and she gets them ready for the morning.

I imagine that most families have small things that they do each year around the holidays. Perhaps it is going to a shrine at midnight, or ringing the bell at the temple. Or, maybe it is lining up for happy bags on the morning of the first! These small traditions are comfortable, and help make up family life.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoyed time with people you love. Now it is a new year, and a new opportunity. Make the most of your time, good luck, and God bless.

Merry Christmas! – Dec. 2021

Hello everyone,

I am writing this message in November, but because I am going to be in Canada soon I wanted to make sure I planned a note. It has been a long year, so I hope you can enjoy some time with your family now. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, soo you in January!

Allen

Lunar Eclipse – Nov. 2021

Hello everyone,

Did you look up at the sky last night at about 6pm? There was a lunar eclipse and we were lucky to have a clear sky in Wakayama. In English we use the word “lunar” to talk about the moon, and “solar” to talk about the sun (like solar power). This was a lunar eclipse, so the moon disappeared for a few minutes, and then reappeared. Here is a terrible picture I took with my phone, maybe Mr. Morikawa took a better one!

Good luck on your tests!

Women in the space industry – Nov. 2021

Hello everyone,

Yesterday I read an interesting article about women running their own space companies. One of them, Naomi Kurahara, works with people who want to launch their own satellites. The other, Lena Okajima, has a company that makes man-made shooting stars. They are both good examples of the possibilities for women to work in the space industry.

Our school has our Rocket Girls club which launches a rocket in Kada every year. That is a great project, and perhaps the role models shown in this article can help our students see a way to use their experience in the future.

Final tests are coming soon, good luck!

Allen

Nagasaki Presentations – Oct. 2021

Hello everyone.

Wow, the weather has really cooled down this week. Jackets are on at school, and soon the leaves will start decorating the sidewalk in front of our school. It also means that the time for our school trip is near. Last year my class could not go to Nagasaki because of covid-19, but this year it is ok. So, in homeroom time, we have been studying about Nagasaki. On Monday we made group presentations and shared our knowledge with each other. Now we can all go together and enjoy! We leave in two weeks, so I hope we can be safe and healthy before we depart. Take care of yourself!

  • Allen

Bible Talk – Oct. 2021

Hello everyone,

Sorry that I am late to post Saturday’s bible talk. It was a crazy busy day! I hope you understood my message and can practice it in your daily life at school. Here it is:

Good morning, today’s reading is Hebrews 10, 23-25

23   Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Last time I spoke to you I talked about three words that could mean “一緒に”: together, cooperation, and unity. Today I want to add one more work to this list: fellowship.

When I was a boy in Vancouver I went to church every Sunday. Of course, I listened to the sermon in church, as well as the Sunday school lessons taught in the children’s center. But, my favorite time was the tea and coffee hour at the end. It was my chance to meet church friends that went to different schools, and also meet my parent’s friends and grandparent’s friends. We all met on Sundays to share the message of God. Fellowship.

During these days of covid-19, meeting together has been difficult. We are told to “stay apart” and “stay home”. However, we shouldn’t forget the importance of fellowship. Like the bible says, when we are together we can “encourage each other”, and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”. Right now, school is probably the best place to practice this. I hope all of you take the chance you have everyday, to fill our school with good deeds, and to fill our friends’ hearts full of love.

Why is it called October? – Oct. 2021

Hello everyone,

Your mid-term tests are finished and now we have started October. In two weeks we have sports day, go red team! (That is my color this year…)

Have you every wondered why the months in English have names? After all, in Japanese they are just numbers, one-two-three-four-five-etc. Actually, the names for the months come from Roman times. That means October has been called October for more than 2000 years!

But, if October is the 10th month, why is it called October? Shouldn’t it be the 8th
month? An octopus has 8 legs and an octagon has 8 sides. Well, 2000 years ago, the Romans only had 10 months, and October was the 8th. Over time, two more months were added, and October changed position (but kept the name).

December has the same story. Decimus meant “10th” to the Romans. That one is easy to remember because “deca” words mean ten. A decade is ten years and a decathlon is an event with ten sports.

Other months are named for gods, such as June (for Juno, the queen of the gods) and March (for Mars, the god of war… and also the red planet in the sky).

The history of words is very interesting, and useful when you study a new
language. You never know when the topic will appear!

Have a good week,

Allen.

Passports – Sept. 2021

Hello everyone,

It has been a busy couple weeks here as we get ready for mid-term tests. Teachers are making tests and students are studying hard afterschool. Next week we have two days, a refresh day on Wednesday, and then two more days after that. Good luck and do your best!

Today a friend of mine came to school because he needed my help. His three sons were getting their Canadian passports, and he needed me to sign as a witness. That reminded me to check my family’s passports too.

My family members all have Japanese passports, and they look nice, but I think that Canadian passports are some of the best in the world. Every page has a different design, with a story about some Canadian culture or history. But, once you put the pages under a UV light, the passports are AMAZING. Check it out:

This is my favorite page. It features Terry Fox, one of the most famous people in Canada. I taught you about Terry Fox in your M2 English lessons.

These are the parliment buildings in Canada. On July 1st, Canada Day, there are fireworks there.

There are many other pages and interesting picture. Search for them if you are interested. Do Japanese passports have any secrets inside? If so, please tell me about them. Have a good week, good luck on your tests!

9/11 – Sept. 2021

Hello everyone.

For every generation, there are days and events that are “turning points” in life. For many people in Japan, the Hanshin earthquake in 1995 or the Tohoku tsunami in 2011 are major events. For people my age in Canada and America, the terror attacks on Spetember 11th, 2001 is an event we will never forget.

I was living in Canada at the time, studying at university. On September 11th we had just started a new school year. I remember that I was in the cafeteria buying breakfast when the cook told me that something had happened in New York. All the students that came to school watched the events on TV that day. Nobody went to class.

9/11 actually involved 4 airplanes. Two hit the World Trade Center in New York, one hit the Pentagon building, and one more crashed in a field because the passengers, who learned of the first three planes, fought the terrorists. Their heroic actions saved lives.

All other airplanes flying to America had to land somewhere else. Many of those planes came to Canada. The tiny town of Gander, population 12,000, accepted 38 planes and almost 7,000 passengers and crew. People opened their homes to strangers in need. It is now a famous story of friendship between Canada and America.

After 9/11, America went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only recently did they leave Afghanistan, making the 20 year war the longest in America’s history. A whole generation of children in both countries have never known peace. The image of muslims around the world was damaged by these events, leading to prejudice and fear.

Even though it was 20 years ago, every 9/11 I wake up thinking about that day. I probably will for the rest of my life. For you, it is something from your history book. Today, covid-19 is the defining event of your generation. You will remember pre-covid and post-covid, how things were before, and how they were after. Hopefully if we all work together, it is something that your children will only read about in their history books.

May the peace of the lord be with you.

Curling … in summer? – Sept. 2021

Hello everyone,

The topic in our M3 conversation book this week is “Sports”. In the reading section, it mentions curling, which was the sport I played when I was in high school.

Most of my students don’t really know how to play curling, or what the rules are. So, I thought this was a good chance to teach them a new sport while using English. First we watched a short video about the rules. Second, we watched some professional curling shots. Third, I gave them a little quiz about how to count points. For example…But, all of that doesn’t matter if we can’t play. Unfortunately, there are no curling rinks near our school. With a little imagination, some paper, tape, and some poker chips, we managed to find a good solution.
It is fun to learn new English, and it is easier to remember if you use it in action. Have a good week!