年別アーカイブ: 2015年



Tim’s Blog – Christmas Films


I think that most of you have realised by now how much we at Kensington like Christmas. One of my favourite parts of Christmas is watching Christmas-themed or Christmas-set films.

This year I am planning to spend the festive season watching a selection of such films together with the non-Christmas related Star Wars Episodes IV,V and VI in an effort to initiate my daughter to the Star Wars universe so she may agree to watch Episode VII in the cinema with me. Never was a crazy Star Wars fan but I can remember how fascinated I was when I watched the earlier films when I was a young boy. If I could recreate a small part of that magic for my daughter, that would make me a very happy dad indeed.

Following are some of my favourite Christmas films. They are all related to Christmas with the exception of “The Great Escape” which is neither Christmas-themed nor Christmas-set but is very usually aired at Christmas in the UK.

The reviews are taken from “The Rotten Tomatoes”

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.

Elf (2003)
A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell’s funny and charming performance as one of Santa’s biggest helpers.

About a Boy (2002)
A winning comedy that benefits from Hugh Grant’s boyish charms.

A Christmas Carol (1963)
A great and eternally heart-warming film that can stand an appreciative viewing every year through every decade.

The Great Escape (1963)
With its impeccably slow-building story and a cast for the ages, The Great Escape is an all-time action classic.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!


Jaimie’s Blog – Christmas Eve!


The big day is almost upon us. I have a few nice memories of Christmas from when I was a child. My mother is quite inventive with the truth sometimes and she fooled me into believing that on the day of a firstborn child’s birth the mother is handed the secret number to Santa Clauses’ phone and she can use it to phone him at any time during the year to tell him to cancel Christmas gifts for bad children such as myself. This number is known to all mothers and kept a fierce secret between them. This shocked me to my core and I suddenly looked at my mother and all my friends’ mums in a new and mysterious light.

We also had a fireplace in my house and used to leave some things out for Santa and his reindeer, these included mince pies and brandy for Santa, carrots and other vegetables for the reindeer and a stocking to be filled for me and my brother (despite being bad all year round). In the morning, surprise surprise everything would be gone, the stockings would be filled, and just to add to the drama there would be a big pair of boot prints in the ash below the mantlepiece.

This final touch blew my young innocent mind and also terrified me half to death, Santa being basically a housebreaker who comes in the middle of the night and sits in your living room drinking and eating while you are asleep. The image always unnerved me slightly.

Bad kids in the U.K receive nothing more than a piece of coal in their stocking. Here is a little more information on what Christmas eve means around the world.

Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions. The most widely practised one that still exists today is going to a Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, especially Catholic ones such as Spain, Mexico, Poland and Italy, this is the most important Church service of the Christmas season. People might fast during Christmas Eve (not eat any meat or fish usually) and then the main Christmas meal is often eaten after the Midnight Mass Service in these countries. In some other countries, such as Belgium, Finland, Lithuania and Denmark the meal is eaten in the evening and you might go to a Midnight Service afterwards!
クリスマス・イブには独自の習慣や伝統がたくさんあります。今日もなおもっとも広く行われているものといえば、真夜中に教会で行われるミサでしょう。多くの国、特にスペイン・メキシコ・ポーランド・イタリアといったカトリックの国々では、このミサがクリスマスの時季、教会での一番大事な儀式です。こういう国々では、イブには断食 (肉・魚を一切口にしないのが通例)をすることもあるでしょう。そして、クリスマス・ディナーは、真夜中のミサの後にいただくというということがよくあります。ベルギー・フィンランド・リトアニア・デンマークといった他の国々では、クリスマス・ディナーは夕方・夜にいただき、それから真夜中のミサに出かけるということもあるでしょう!

The Midnight Mass Communion Service (or ‘Christ-Mas’) was a very special one as it was the only one that was allowed to start after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so it was held at Midnight!

Christmas Eve is also the day when people in some countries, like Germany, Sweden and Portugal exchange their presents. I think Santa must have those countries on his extra early list! Christmas Eve is also Santa’s busiest day of the year when he has to travel over 220 million miles (355 million km) to get to every house on earth! You can see where Santa’s got to on www.santaupdate.com
クリスマス・イブは、ドイツ・スウェーデン・ポルトガルといった国々では、プレゼントを交換し合う日になっています。サンタは、この国々のために特別に早めのプレゼントのリストを作っているに違いない、と私は思います!クリスマス・イブはサンタにとっても1年で一番忙しい日で、2億2千万マイル(3億5千5百万キロ)を移動して地球上の1軒1軒を訪ねなければなりません!サンタの位置は www.santaupdate.com から確認できます。

In many european countries including Germany, Serbia and Slovakia, Christmas Eve is the day when the Christmas Tree is brought into the house and decorated.

It was also traditional to bring the Yule Log into the house and light it on Christmas Eve. It was lit using a piece of the previous years log and then would burnt non-stop until Twelfth Night (6th January). Tradition also said that any greenery such as Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe should only be taken into the house on Christmas Eve.

It’s also the time that the wonderful book ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens is set and that going out Carol singing was and still is very popular. In the past, if you weren’t carol singing, in parts of the UK, you might go out wassailing or mumming.

There were lots of superstitions in the UK that said girls could find out the initials, or even have visions, of the person they would marry on Christmas Eve! This was often done by cooking a special cake called a ‘dumb cake’. You were supposed to make the cake in silence and prick your initials into the top. When you went to bed, you left the cake by the fire hearth and your true love was supposed to coming in at midnight and prick his initials next to yours!

Other Christmas Eve superstitions included that farm and wild animals would kneel at midnight in honor of Jesus being born or that they could even talk!


Tim’s Best of the Year


Everyone that knows me knows that I love making lists and with the end of the year coming, it’s a perfect time for a “Best of the Year” list.

Best Film I watched this Year
Truth is that I couldn’t really watch many films this year and most of the films that I could watch needed to be family friendly to protect my daughter from any possible traumatic experiences. I did manage to watch a few good films though some of which were “Mad Max”, “Inside Out”, “Whiplash”, “Birdman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” but the best film I watched in 2015 was “Interstellar”, a gripping, incredibly ambitious Science Fiction film that I think will be regarded as a masterpiece for decades to come.
実のところ、今年はそれほどたくさん映画を見られず、見たものはほとんど、娘が怖い思いをしないようにと、家族向けのものにならざるを得ませんでした。しかしながら、いいものも何とか数本は見ることができました。『マッド・マックス』 『インサイド・ヘッド』『セッション』『バードマン あるいは無知がもたらす予期せぬ奇跡』『ガーディアンズ・オブ・ギャラクシー』などです。でも2015年で一番よかったのは『インターステラー』。心をわしづかみにする、非常に野心的なSF映画で、今後数十年にわたって、名作とされることでしょう。

Best Album I listened to this Year
Unfortunately I couldn’t really listen to much new music either this year, though I was able to revisit some classic albums I hadn’t heard for ages such as Miles Davis “Sketches of Spain” and John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”.  In regards to new music I listened to this year there was one album that really stood out, and that was D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”.

Best Book of the Year
This one is pretty hard. I always try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction and I’ve read some wonderful books in both categories so far this year. The best non-fiction book I read was the “Steve Jobs” biography by Walter Isaacson and the runner-ups were “Creativity, Inc” by Ed Catmull, a book about how Pixar cultivates and sustains an environment of creativity, and “The War that ended Peace” by Margaret MacMillan, a book about how Europe stumbled onto the First World War.
これはかなり難しいですね。いつもフィクションとノンフィクションをとり混ぜて読むようにしていまして、今年はこれまでにどちらのいい本も読みました。一番よかったノンフィクションは、ウォルター・アイザックソンによる伝記 『スティーブ・ジョブズ』、次によかったのは、エドウィン・キャットマル『ピクサー流 想像するちからー小さな可能性から大きな価値を生み出す方法』、それと、マーガレット・マクミラン『平和を終わらせた戦争』、これは、ヨーロッパの、第一次世界大戦によるつまずきを描いたものです。
As for fiction the best book I read this year was “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, an almost 1000 page novel exploring themes of loss, grief, friendship and the timelessness of art. I absolutely loved every page of it. Runner up is “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht.

Best Food of the Year
Food. I love good food. And Japan is a paradise for good food. This year I ate some marvellous Vietnamese food in our hotel in Vietnam, I ate great food at reasonable prices at my favourite Italian near my house, enjoyed eating at various of Fukuoka’s great restaurants, a number of delicious hotpot dishes at home but the undisputed champion of this category is the Kaiseki restaurant we went to in Shiga. The best place I have eaten in my life. Every single dish was delicious. This is the websitehttp://kiyomoto.to.

How about you? What were your best of the year? Please feel free to share with us at Kensington as our last classes for the year are approaching.


Jaimie’s Blog – Marathon



Did it.



After 5 or 6 months of inadequate preparation I finally finished the Fukuoka Marathon.



Thank you to the people who came to support me that was very kind and much appreciated. One of our kind students came to see me off at the start and another provided me with a much needed cola and some words of encouragement at the 30 km point. It’s a big shame that Tim couldn’t run this time due to an injury, hopefully we can do it again some time in the future.



I have never been so underprepared for anything in my life. I assumed that all the 20-25 km runs would accumulate to make it not so difficult to finish. This and my idiotic belief that I am superman made me run the first 30 km too quickly for my level and it took me almost 2 hours to run the last 12. A big thank you to the meteorological agency too who managed to predict the weather completely wrong, forecasting heavy rain all day when instead it was blazing sunshine all day leading me to dress completely wrong and leaving me with some serious sunburn.



All in all though that was a pretty cool experience, I liked the encouragement from all the people watching from the side of the road, all the high fives and gaijin gambare certainly helped and I would probably do it again just to get the feeling I got at the end when I could see the finish line and people are screaming for you to make it. (I ran the last 750 metres or so as fast as I could to try and look cool)



For sure the 35-40 kilometre section was maybe the toughest thing I’ve done so far, I had to stop a couple of times to because my legs were starting to shake, my feet were starting to blister badly and honestly I thought seriously about giving up more than once or twice.Then I noticed that almost all the people who were in the same starting block as me were running at about the same pace and seemed to be suffering the same as me, had a chat with a couple of guys from a running team and we made a decision to finish slowly but surely together.

35〜40km区間が、今までの経験で一番きつかったものと言ってもいいでしょう。2, 3回は立ち止まらなければなりませんでした。というのも、脚が震え出し、ひどいまめができてきたので、実際のところ、リタイアしようと何度も真剣に思いました。ですがそこで、スタート時に自分と同じブロックだった人達のほとんどが、自分とほぼ同じペースで走っており、自分と同じような状態で苦しんでいる様子であるのに気づきました。ランニングチームの人達の2, 3人と言葉を交わし、ゆっくり、でも必ずゴールしよう、と一緒に決めたのでした。


Had an interview for some local T.V station at the end too but I doubt it was used because I was feeling a little pleased with myself and I tried to be funny but quite possibly just came across as a little weird, the pretty announcer girl that interviewed me didn’t look pleased with my answers!



I’m not in as bad a condition today as I thought I would be and this will not be my last marathon I think, I can’t forget the feeling at the end. So I will look for another one to run in the near future and plan to take part in next year’s Fukuoka Marathon too so if anyone wants to join me let me know and let’s start training now, going by my performance this year I think the earlier the better.





Mariko’s Secret Notebook


Mariko’s Secret Notebook

   Henry Kiryowa


1 Riku Stars in a Cartoon Show

2 At the Movies

3 Riri in the Mirro

4 What Were They Thinking?

5 Car Talk!

6 At the Library

7 The Photograph

8 Squirrel Looking for Lunch

9 I Meet the THUNDER BOY!

10 Shadows

11 I Know What They Think!

12 Played by the Digital Games

13The Most Beautiful Person…I Know

          Mariko’s Secret Notebook

  Shsssh! my name is Riku Tanabe. I’m going to be 10 next week. I’ve just seen my big sister, Mariko, tossing this, in the trash can…Oh, yikes! It looks like some kind of a diary…a thick notebook full of notes! Wonder why she’s throwing it away!

 Uh… I shouldn’t do this, but I CAN’T stop myself from doing what I’m about to do…reading it!

It looks kind of old. Look, it says “Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 10-” Wow! She was 10 when she started keeping this diary! Now she’s 14 maybe 15.

I can’t believe I’m reading my sister’s secret notes. But hey…she’s just thrown them away.

 I’m gonna need a safe and quiet place before I start devouring it. Here we go…

  Mariko Tanabe is my name. My family, friends and not so friends call me Mari chan. I’ve been alive for ten years, one day and some hours. I live in a two-storey house on a street that doesn’t have a name somewhere in the prefecture of Shizuoka Japan, with my mom and dad and an annoying younger brother named Riku. Oh and… seven gold fish all of them named Kin chan. I wish we’d something bigger in form of a pet.

Yesterday, I bought this thick Notebook at a stationery store. My mom asked me what it was for and I told her that I wanted to write some important notes about my life. “Are you starting to keep a diary?” she asked.  “I’m not really sure. I just want to jot a few things down. May be it’ll be fun to read it in the future when I’m older,” I said.

I’d like to keep my notes absolutely secret! I don’t know for how long, though. If you’re reading this short preface note, STOP! Put my secret notes notebook back where you’ve found it. It might be too late to stop you from reading it anyway but… please don’t ever tell my mom and dad, friends or teachers about it. There’s no doubt if my parents get to know some of the things I’m about to put on these clean sheets of paper, socks will fly off their feet and land on the neighbor’s roof!

I may be ten years and a day old with piggy-tails and ribbons and secret crushes on fifth and sixth grade boys but I’m not your average, regular ten -year old girl. I see, hear, feel and imagine things that I’m sure most of humanity doesn’t. I tend to be more observant and think about stuff that regular kids of my age and a little older, wouldn’t ever bother themselves with. This is the first time in my life I’m attempting to make a record of stuff happening in my young life. Part of me says that I should not do this. And the other…why not? It might be fun even if it may get me deep in a pile of trouble.


toss                …を(軽く)投げる、放る

I can’t stop myself from        自分が…するのを止めることができない

turn 10              10歳になる

devour               …をむさぼり読む

two-storey house            2階建ての家

annoying             うっとうしい

thick notebook           ぶ厚いノート

stationery store               文房具屋、文具店

jot a few things down      いくつかちょっと書き留めておく

absolutely secret             絶対内緒に

preface note                    前書き

no doubt                         疑いなく

secret crushes                 片思い、ひそかな恋心

tend to              どちらかといえば…する方だ

observant            目配りの利く

stuff                ものごと

deep in a pile of trouble 山のようなトラブルにどっぷりと



Jaimie’s Blog – Mood idioms



I’m in a bad mood!!



It’s the weather. I can’t stand too many rainy days even though it rains most of the time in my home town. I lived in Australia for a year and traveled around India and southeast Asia for three months too, so I kind of got used to the sun.



Here are a few different ways to talk about moods/ feelings.



On cloud nine. (extremely happy)



He’s on cloud nine at the moment, his wife is pregnant and he just got a promotion.



Keep a cool head. (stay calm)



If you don’t panic during the test and just keep a cool head I’m sure you will be fine.



Scared stiff. (very frightened)



I was scared stiff when the earthquake happened. I just froze up and couldn’t move.



Have a sinking feeling. (feel like something bad is going to happen)



I had a sinking feeling that I had failed the test, but I got the results yesterday and I passed.



Down in the dumps. (depressed)



I’m a bit down in the dumps recently. My job is really stressing me out.



Hopping mad. (really angry)



I was hopping mad when I came out of the shop to find that someone had stolen my umbrella again. It was the second time this week.



There are plenty more but that’ll do for now, please don’t be shy about using these idioms I know they may sound a little strange but trust me we do use them in everyday conversation.






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Park Yoga in Ohori Park


6/5 金曜日 7:30 – 8:30am

大濠公園 スターバックス横道を上がった広場

ヨガマット持参 (レンタルマットがありますのでご連絡ください¥100)



※ケンジントンヨガの仲間は 1 レッスン分として、もしくは追加分としてどちらでもOK!


太陽に向かってSuryanamaskaraA & B(太陽礼拝A & B)、そのほか代表的なヨガアサナ(ポーズ)を呼吸とともに取りましょう。自然の下でするヨガは、最高の気持ち良さを味わえますよ。大地を、空を、雲を、太陽を、風を、、身体も心も開いて細胞で感じましょう!





Yoga is for everyone.


Kensington Yoga






Briefing: clean, simple and British

Based on the briefing, the front page was page on the poster “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster.

The poster was produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War to raise the morale of the British public.




More details:








The layout of the back page was based on the British flag shape.

The pictures of the school students, staff and classroom on the top, and the address at the bottom (taking advantage of the “T” shape of the flag in resemblance with the Japanese postal code “〒”)

In the middle, as if the horizontal stripe opens up, the location of the school is revealed. It is “sandwiched” to convey the best part of a sandwich, the filling of a pie.

And the last but not least, Sherlock Holmes: “Elementary, my dears!”






(注:”Elementary, my dear Watson.”「初歩的なことだよ、ワトソン君。」は、映画作品中の名探偵ホームズが、助手のワトソンに掛ける言葉として有名)

About me

English Teacher, Graphic designer and a passionate illustrator. I love the challenge of turning words into images and I’m currently studying sumi painting (水墨画)

Oscar Wilde once wrote:” Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”  So, to know me in details, please check: https://tamiyohashimoto.wordpress.com/







Tim’s blog – One year anniversary


Hello everyone, as you may know this month marks the one year anniversary since we first opened the school. This is a very good opportunity for me to share with you a little of our corporate culture.


1) Student First – Pursuit of Excellence

   生徒様第一主義 - 良質さの追求

From the day of our school inception the Kensington team has always tried to put first and above all the needs of our students. We want to create the perfect school for you starting of course from the lessons themselves and extending to our school location, atmosphere, services and support. Said perfection is naturally unattainable as there will always be some room for improvement and as such, as we speak, we have many on-going projects to make sure we improve your overall experience even further. We believe that the only way for our school to grow is to always focus on our students’ needs and constantly remain in a continual pursuit of excellence in every aspect of our business. This leads to our second defining characteristic which is:


2) Zero Complacency – We Think Different

   自己満足との決別 — 既成の概念を越える

We should never be satisfied with what we do and how we do it. There is always something we can improve upon and some way we can make our classes and services better to improve your overall experience. Innovation is not always coming up with fancy products but also looking at what everyone else is seeing and seeing something different. We expect every member of our team to share this way of thinking and to always strive to improve so we can offer you the best service possible. Every Kensington team member should share that “get up and go” motor in addition to being a little crazy enough to believe that we can change the world. I wholeheartedly believe we can.


3) Equal Opportunities – Zero Discrimination

   機会均等 — 差別を許さず

This is something very very important for me. We will never make any hiring decision based on anything other than our prospective teachers’ or staff members’ skill and willingness for hard work. We will never discriminate against a teacher or a staff member because of his or her sex/age/religion/race/nationality or sexual orientation. I’d personally rather shut down the school that join all the other schools advertising for only “Native” teachers. It is racist, discriminatory and it is 100% plain wrong. Of course we employ and will continue employing native teachers but we are not only looking for “Native” teachers, we are always looking for “GREAT” teachers and as long as they can speak English at a native level, are friendly and professional and are willing to put in the hard work for you; we do not care the least how they look and where they are from.


We are an equal opportunity school, will always remain so and will try our hardest to change the prevailing English industry perceptions.


4) Thankful to you


Finally I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for choosing our school,

I  always look forward to meeting and teaching you; I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of Kensington and I can’t wait to see what we can together achieve in the future.


Thank you






Jaimie’s Blog – One Year Anniversary


 It’s been a year since Kensington first opened its doors!


A big thanks to all of our team members for all their hard work and dedication, and our teachers for their excellent, well prepared lessons, but most of all thank you to our students because, ,without you we wouldn’t be here.


It took a lot of time, blood, sweat, and tears, (not to mention a few beers) to plan out the school’s system and come up with ideas for the website but after about 6 months or so of meetings it was finally time to open.


Our first location was far from perfect and for those of you who stuck with us through last summer in that tiny sweltering room, once again, thank you. I also have to admit that during the first trial lessons I was probably the most nervous person in the room, but we have moved on now and I have managed to get my nerves under control.


It’s a real pleasure to go to work in Akasaka, I’ve had plenty of teaching jobs in Fukuoka and I’ve enjoyed most of them but I look forward to going to work at Kensington and I think anyone who can say that is a lucky person indeed.


It’s our first year, and just like anything that you are doing for the first time it won’t always go smoothly, but through a lot of perseverance and huge amount of effort from our team members we are doing better and better. I think that can be said for our students too, I see a lot of effort being put into your studies and it’s producing results which I have to say I feel very proud of.So let’s stick at it together who knows how far we can go!


Thanks for this year and good luck for the next one.