年別アーカイブ: 2016年

Tim’s Blog Level 1/2 Best of the Year

Tim’s Blog Level 1/2 Best of the Year

This week at the Yakuin and Akasaka schools we are going to talk about our best experiences in 2016. Here are some of the questions that we are going to practice and my own answers.

What’s the best drama you watched this year?
I didn’t watch many dramas this year but the best drama  I watched this year was “Stranger Things” on Netflix. I’m looking forward to the next season.

What’s the best film you watched at the cinema this year?
The best film I watched at the cinema this year was maybe Zootopia. I watched it with my daughter and it was smart,cute and funny!

What’s the best book you read this year?
The best book I read this year was the “Buried Giant” by Kazuo Ishiguro.I read it in three days at a beautiful hotel in Vietnam. It was a very interesting book.

What’s the best place you went this year?
The best place I went to this year was Vietnam. I went there in November with my family and we stayed at a very beautiful hotel. I’m going to write a future blog about my travel there.

What’s the best experience you had this year?
Well that’s easy. The best experience I had this year was the birth of my son Alexander. He is a really cute guy!

How about you? What were your best films, dramas, books and experiences of last year? I am looking forward to hearing them in our classes.

See you soon,


Jaimie’s Blog Level 3/4 Journeys

Jaimie’s Blog Level 3/4

Since my next lesson topic is “ At the train station” I thought I might introduce 2 pretty cool journeys I made quite some time ago, the first one by train and the second one by bus.


Sydney to Alice Springs 2001 Australia.

As quite a few of you already know I stayed in Australia for a year and traveled around Asia for a few months before coming to Japan.

I decided to travel out to see Ayres Rock and meet my friends by train. It took 3 and a half days and I was in economy class but the trip was unforgettable and I met some real characters on the way including a professional kangaroo trapper, and full blown painted aborigine complete with digeridoo.

The train, as you can see is huge and has a dining car, bar, and shared shower rooms. It rarely stops throughout the journey except to refuel and the smoking area( I still smoked then) was a non stop party any time of night and day.

I saw the most amazing sunsets and clearest night skies on that trip plus about a million kangaroos, emus, camels and the world’s most dangerous snake.

Australia is big! And Flat!
A cool journey but once was enough. I never thought it was going to end and the scenery doesn’t change much over 3 days.

Manali city  over the Rhotang Pass. 1990 something. Kulu valley India.

Did this trip with my mum, she loves India and has been there many times.

This journey is hard to describe. Both heaven and hell all at the same time.

Here is a little hint the word Rhotang means ground of corpses ( dead bodies) due to the number of people who have died trying to cross it. The pass is covered with smashed up cars trucks and worst of all buses. It is closed half the year and is just under 4 kilometres high in the Indian Himalayas. I swear I have never been so scared in my life it was a long journey straight up, in an old bus with wooden seats and people hanging off the sides and roof, the road is so narrow you can’t see the edge and it requires about a hundred 3 point turns to get round the tight corners. I sweated buckets on that journey and my mum got sick because we were up so high.

On the other hand the views are unimaginably beautiful and getting off the bus was a source of sheer delight plus it was well worth it when we got off and started hiking through the valley.I will also never forget it for the rest of my days!! I woke up the next morning looked out of my tent and the snow on the mountains was orange in the sun. Amazing. India was such a crazy trip and I was so young that I don’t think I appreciated it properly but I think one day I might go back and try it again.

Tim’s Blog Level 1/2/3 – Cooking Recipes

Tim’s Blog  Level 1/2/3 – Cooking Recipes

Hello everyone, this weekend in Kensington we are going to talk about cooking and recipes in English.

First we are going to ask some general questions about food and cooking.
What kind of food do you like? Do you like cooking? How often do you cook? etc…

we are going to introduce different ways of cooking such as:
bake, boil, fry, grill, roast, steam, eat raw

After that we are going to talk about how we cook some usual foods.
Level 1
How do you usually cook potatoes?
I usually fry/steam/boil…. them.
Level 2
How do you like potatoes cooked?
I like them fried/boiled/roasted….
Level 3
How do you like potatoes cooked?
I like them fried and served with paprika, oregano and grated parmesan cheese.

Next we will introduce some expressions we use when cooking. For example
cut, chop, slice, peel, stir etc….

Finally you will use the vocabulary to talk about your favourite recipe!
This weekend I will also give all my students a print with my favourite recent recipe.  Portuguese-Style Fish Stew. Very easy to make and absolutely delicious!!

See you all this weekend!

My Favourite Breakfast!!
Since we talk about cooking this is a photo of my favourite breakfast. I enjoyed it on a beautiful autumn morning!

Poached egg on garlic bread topped with Parmesan and black pepper, greens with a vinaigrette dressing, crispy bacon, yoghurt with Greek honey and a cup of coffee.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?

Level 3/4 Beer!

Level 3/4 Beer!

Hello everyone.  Summer is over but the hot weather is still here!
I find that a good way to stay cool in the heat is by drinking beer!!
Japan has a lot of good beers and I think they are getting better every year, one of my new hobbies is looking for the perfect convenience store beer, and I like to think I have found it.

Here is a list of my top five.

beer-2No. 5   Master’s Dream ( Suntory) 6% lager
This is a bit of a classic now, it’s been around for a while, a nice smooth lager, very easy to drink can be found in any convenience store and a lot of supermarkets too.

beer-4No. 4  Kin no beer ( Suntory) 6% lager
I found this one a few months ago and it was a real surprise, very smooth creamy, and easy to drink, this is limited to Seven Eleven stores only.

beer-5No. 3   Wee Heavy ( Belhaven)  7.4% stout
This is a bit of a cheat because it’s not really a convenience store beer but comes from Sunny supermarket. Sunny is tied to a British supermarket chain called Asda and they occasionally save my life by stocking things like this. This will not be for everyone, a very strong rich flavour and high alcohol content, only beer lovers will like this one. Can be drunk cold or warm. Only found in Sunny.

beer-3No. 2  Aooni 7.5% I.P.A
This is a beauty, my wife is a big fan. A very bitter , high alcohol content I.P.A ( Indian pale ale) not so easy to drink if you haven’t tried much I.P.A before but if you are a fan try this one. It never gets boring. The Aooni is a mysterious beer and can only be found in a few places. See me for details.

beer-1No. 1 Craft Select (Suntory) I.P.A  6.5%
Suntory, thank you.  You have come up with a great I.P.A, strong alcohol content like all I.P.A s but with almost no bitter flavour, goes well with food or just on its own, by far my favourite convenience store beer, and one of my favourite beers in general.

Unfortunately this beautiful invention can only be found in random convenience stores and seems to be a seasonal limited edition. Let’s just hope it comes back next year!!
That’s my list, if anyone knows of any other great beers I have missed please let me know when you next see me, my quest to find the perfect beer is an endless one.


Level 3/4 Catch !

Level 3/4  Catch !

image           image

Hello everyone, I’m sure you are all thrilled to hear that after a brief hiatus we are starting our weekly blogs again!!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer( the weather has been fantastic this year hasn’t it?) and I’m glad to see you all back looking tanned and refreshed.

Today we are going to concentrate on the word catch.

“Why?” You may find yourself wondering, well it’s because I spent most of my summer holiday catching various creatures with my very energetic and enthusiastic children.

First was tadpoles, not really summer more like spring ,we caught about 40 of these little beasts in the pond in front of Fukuoka City Museum in Momochi let half go and took the rest home and were soon blessed with the birth of about 20 baby frogs which we kept on my balcony. Quite a horror show. Next was diving beetles, captured at the same place and surprisingly long lived they lasted about 3 months! Summer came and the inevitable cry of “ I want to catch cicadas.” came from my son’s mouth. This is a rather harrowing time for me since there are no insects quite so big in the rather cool part of the world I come from and when my son says “I” he means you, namely me since he is rather scared of them himself and my wife can’t touch them. We then moved on to crabs from the beach, a disastrous process of trial and error when we realised that they don’t survive long when left in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
They died.
Last but not least was catching the mythical creatures known as pokemon, easy to find, never die(unlike my i-phone battery), and cost nothing to keep. I have found they are the perfect pets.

As you can see it was an eventful summer for me and due to all this outdoor activity I managed to catch the sun pretty well this year and got the suntan of a lifetime, didn’t catch a single minute of the Rio Olympics, was able to catch up with my kids a bit since I only usually see them sleeping, managed to catch a few z’s myself (a precious luxury) and at the end of all that I caught a nice dose of food poisoning from some dodgy mayonnaise that I ate.

Catch you at the next lesson.


Level 1- A Day at the Zoo

Tim’s Blog – A Day at the Zoo

Last Thursday I wasn’t very busy so I went to the zoo and the botanical garden. I went there with my family.

The botanical garden is my favourite place in Fukuoka. On weekdays there are few people, so I can relax.

We went to the zoo after Irene’s (my daughter) school. She was really excited, she really loves the zoo.

We stayed there until 16:30. After the zoo, I went to my school in Yakuin and Irene went to her ballet practice. We were very tired, but we had a very good time.

This Saturday we are going to go to the night zoo. Irene is again very excited.

What about you? What’s your favourite place in Fukuoka? Have you ever been to the zoo?

Tim and Irene at the Botanical Garden

Cute Irene is very excited!!

Important Vocabulary and Expressions:
・on weekdays
・there are few people (there are some people, there are many people)
・excited, tired (I am excited. I am tired, I was excited, I was tired, she is tired, she is excited  etc.)
・I am going to go to the night zoo ( I am going to go to work tomorrow, I am going to go drinking on Saturday)

英語の学習 – 習慣の力


Tim’s Blog – Studying English – Making something into a habit
英語の学習 – 習慣の力

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

I think it has generally been accepted in the past few years that the easiest way to improve at something, learn a new skill, get fitter, learn a new language or do basically anything that requires time and effort is to make it into a daily habit.

I realised that about one or two years ago when I started writing a number of daily tasks I had to complete every day. I started with 4 daily tasks which were 1) Sorry, I can’t say 2) Play with my daughter 3) Stretch and 4) Exercise.  When I started, I found even something as simple as stretching to be quite difficult to accomplish every day. Not to mention how hard actually starting to exercise daily was.
1年か2年くらい前、日々自分がしないといけないいくつかの日課を書き出し始めたときに、そのことに気付きました。4つの日課から始めたのですが、それは 1) すみません、内緒です 2) 娘と遊ぶ 3) ストレッチをする 4) 運動をする というものでした。始めてみると、ストレッチくらいの単純なことでさえ、毎日やり遂げるのは結構難しいんだなと感じました。毎日運動し始めるのがどれだけ大変だったかは、言うまでもありません。

After I started doing it every day for a week or two I realised that the amount of mental and physical effort required to accomplish those tasks diminished day by day up to the point that they became almost automatic after a while.

Playing with my daughter doesn’t exactly work this way but having it as one of my day to day tasks ensured that I would try and spend at least some quality time with her even when I was really busy.

After my realisation of the power of the daily habit I started adding daily tasks about anything I thought that can improve my character, my skills or could serve as good motivator to make my days more productive or simply more enjoyable.

My list of daily tasks is now up to 31 including Drinking Moderately (Mixed results there), Eating Healthily,  Reading a Book, Playing an instrument, Walking 10,000 steps, Not complaining about anything, Being concentrated and teaching good classes etc….

If you want to improve your English why don’t you just try and make it into a daily habit too? I think you will find it to be very effective!

子 (ねずみ) と 丑 (うし)

Tim’s Blog – Rats and Cows
子 (ねずみ) と 丑 (うし)

Hello Everyone, my next classes on Apr 23rd and 24th are about the Chinese horoscope and superstitions. Since we are going to be talking a little bit about the animals that comprise the Chinese horoscope, I thought I could share with you some very frequently used idioms about some of them.
皆さんこんにちは、4月23日と24日の私のレッスンでは干支 (えと) と迷信を扱います。干支を成す動物達について少しばかり話すことになっていますので、そういう動物達に関する、たいへんよく使われる慣用句をいくつか一緒に見てみるのもいいかなと思います。

1)rat on someone: to report someone’s bad behaviour to someone in authority; to tattle on someone.
Ex: His accomplice ratted on him to save his skin.
(人) について「ねずみ」る:人の悪行を職権を有する者に報告する、誰かの告げ口をする。

2)smell a rat: to suspect that something is wrong; to sense that someone has caused something wrong.
Ex: I can’t believe this was an accident. I smell a rat.

3)gym rat:  a person who spends a lot of time at the gym.
Ex: Johnny never leaves the gym. He’s such a gym rat!

4)a sacred cow: a belief or system that is treated with much respect and is not usually criticized.
Ex: The NHS has been treated as a sacred cow for too long. Reform is needed urgently.

5)a cash cow: a business or a part of a business that always makes a lot of profit.
Ex: It is the financial services that are the company’s biggest cash cow.

6)until the cows come home: for a very long time.
Ex: We could talk about this problem until the cows come home, but it wouldn’t solve anything.



Team Kensington!

It has begun, the official training for Fukuoka Marathon began in earnest last week and it was a lot of fun.

Unfortunately a couple of people couldn’t make it so there were only three of us but I’m sure there will be more next time.

It was a beautiful day too and I even ended up with sunburn. In March!!

Here are the results, a really good effort by everyone, especially since some of you are just getting started.

Hana Nasu  2 kilometres
Keisuke Ozaki  4 kilometres
Sakiko Tsuchiya  10 kilometres.
Jaimie Wright   19 kilometres


I hope to see you all back again next time.



Jaimie’s Blog – Fukuoka Marathon

Hi everyone, as I may have mentioned once or twice I’m trying to get people interested in joining the Fukuoka Marathon with me and so far we have 10 people taking part.

Of course taking on a full marathon is a big commitment, so if you think that is too much why not try the fun run instead?
I will of course be training by myself so if anyone ever feels like joining me at 6:30 by Muromi river let me know but I won’t be holding my breath. I thought it would be nice if we could get some group training on the go too so I will be in Ohori park this Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m for anyone who is interested. My schedule is pretty full but I’ll always let you know in advance when I can make some time at the weekends.
無論私は自分で練習をするつもりでして、室見川そば、 (午前) 6時30分からの私の練習に、もしどなたか加わりたければお知らせを、まあ、私が黙ってはいないでしょうけど。グループでの練習もいつもできたらいいなと思いますので、今週は土曜午前11時30分、大濠公園に私はいます。興味のある方はどなたでも加わって下さいね。私のスケジュールはかなりぎっしりですけれど、週末に時間が取れるときは必ず前もってお知らせします。

Of course you don’t have to join the marathon to come and train in the park with us, if you just feel like shedding a few kilos or getting in shape for the summer you are of course more than welcome.

For anyone who is really thinking of running the marathon in November I’d like it if we were connected by the Nike running application which you can download for free on your smartphone. That way we can chart each other’s progress and as I learned from last year competition (namely Tim) is a great motivator.
11月のマラソンで走ることを本気でお考えの方とは、スマートフォンに無料ダウンロードできる、ナイキのランナー用アプリでつながれたらいいなと思います。そうすれば互いの上達をグラフで見ることができ、去年の競争 (つまりティムと) で学べたんですが、これはすごくいい動機づけになります。

It may seem early but it took me ages to get in shape last year so I think the sooner the better. The application period is from the 18th of April to the 23rd of May.

So if you have any questions please get in touch.