Friday, 29 January 2016

Fukuotoko - An unusual event in Japan.

As one of unusual celebratory event of Japanese New Year, I would bring up Fukuotoko-erabi. It is a religious event held at Nishinomiya shrine on January 10 every year. At this traditional event, approximately 250 runners make a fierce dash from the Omote Daimon, the entrance gate, for Honden, the main shrine hall as soon as the gate is open at 6 a.m. The first three runners who reach Honden are named Fukuotoko, the fortune men of the year. It is a great honor and, needless to say, a fortune to become a Fukuotoko. 

The runway has three curves and a slippery slope just before the goal, and these obstacles make the race result uncertain till the end. Every year this event is broadcast on TV news, and it shows many runners slide out at corners and the winner who is awarded a wooden statue of Ebisu deity for a good luck, sacred rice and sake. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Death in the Freezer - after-reading

Do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you get on well with them?

I have a sister. She's two years older than I. When I was a child, I always wanted the things my sister had. So then my parents gave us two dolls, two bags and so on. And I don't like hand-me- downs. I sometimes had a quarrel with my sister about clothes. So my mother prepared different colored dress and skirt.

We've thought rivals each other for lots of years. Then I didn't get on well with my sister while we stayed our house. But when we became adults, our relationship was good. Coincidentlly I lived near her house after my marrige.We helped each other about child raising. Recently when I felt down my sister helped me. I 've given thanks to my sister.

Posted for Hiroko

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Seasons and Celebrations - after-reading: a popular celebration in your country

Another example of Osechi in three-tiered box
Example of Osechi in three-tiered box
The most famous celebration in my country is New Year's Day. We celebrate New Year's Day with family. Before New Year's Day, se clean up the house, cook traditional Japanese food (Osechi), send post cards and decorate the house for the coming New Year.

New Year's food is called Osechi. We put many kinds of Osechi into Ju-bako which is square wooden lacker wear container.We eat Osechi during New Year's days, so housewife can enjoy New Year's days without a lot of cooking. But now, people tend to buy it at the departmentsore or supermarket.

At midnight 31th December, they ring the watch-night bells 108 times at temple all over Japan.And people go to temple or shrine to pray. We call it Hatsumode. In the morning of !st. Jan., we eat Osechi and Ozoni(Japanese soup with rice cake in it).

We give children Otoshidama(cash) . Children are happy to get it. We receive New Year's cards on 1st Jan. ,not before the day, hopping happiness and season's greeting. At home, we play games (Japanese card etc.). Long time ago, children enjoyed flying kite or playing Hanetsuki and Koma (top)outside.But, now, they play TVgames at home. Anyway, we relax at home or visit relatives or friends. 

Posted for Yasumi

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Piano - after-reading: a letter to Mrs. Lark

Dear Mrs. Lark

Thank you for coming today. 

I was very nervous before my turn. My feet in the tight shoes were cold and hurt. My hands were shaking. When A man called my name, I coudn't recognaized even my name! I was walking like "Charlie Chaplin" I thought everybody would laugh at me!

On the stage, the piano is big and shining, it makes me more nervous. And I can't find someone who I know in the audience. But suddenly I felt the love and kindness from my friends. I played just for you and other friends. If I can't feel that, I couldn't play like that.

Thank you so much.

Posted for Naoko

Friday, 22 January 2016

Return to Earth: after reading

Drewitt's Project X
Sometimes people do not know what is best for them. The government should just do things like Project X without telling anybody. Do you agree, or disagree?

Every year I struggle with my son about flu shot.  Of course, he doesn't like having a shot.  I tried to do every possible effort before the appointment date came.  For example, I tried to explain why flu shot is needed, or negotiate with him I could buy something after having flu shot.  All my efforts rejected unfortunately and he started crying in the waiting room even before seeing his doctor.  All nurses came to hold his arms and legs and the fist flu shot was finished with lots of tear drops.  I still have to be prepared for the second shot this year.

So, I wish the government could get everyone in Japan flu shot without telling us.  I think there are a lot of parents who are facing the difficult time with kids before having flu shot.  A lot of people all over the world die due to flu every year.  If everyone could have flu shot at the same time, the flu will not be spread among people.  I believe this can save our life.  But, before carrying out, I would like to make sure not to have the bad effect from flu shot.  It should be carried out after it is confirmed the flu shot is safe for everyone without any negative impact on life.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A report - Leisure facilities in Matukawa

English: JR East Shinano-Matsukawa Station Fra...
Matukawa station
   The aim of this report is to give an honest description of the leisure facilities, including recommendations for improvements.

   There is a park in the town. It's huge and quiet, but there's not much you can do there. Thus children   overtake the place on weekends so that you can't jog around. Also the fountain in the park is          dilapidated.
Eating out
   There are many restaurants in the town. Each of them serves different kinds of foods and it's well    cooked, but unfortunately restaurants with good quality foods are extortionate for the youth while the  other two restaurant's food is greasy and they are always empty.
   There's a lack of entertainment in this town. The town believes that climbing mountains is the the  entertainment of the town. However, it is said that climbing mountains is very difficult and possibly  dangerous.

Matukawa would be greatly improved by building new entertainment facilities, such as a shopping centre or a game centre. Also, the town should make a new park for limited ages, it's a shame that the park is taken over by children. For me, the priority would be making fast-food restaurants in the town, so it will be affordable for teenagers and we don't have to eat in dreary restaurants.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The children of the new forest - and 17th Century Japan

Civil War 

Dangerous times in England in the 17th century. What was happening in your country at this time?

Here are 3 main affairs in the 17th century in Japan

1) Started Tokugawa shogunate

The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government which existed between 1603 and 1867. The heads of government were the shoguns, and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled the nation at Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is also called the Tokugawa period.

2) The Buke shohatto

The Buke shohatto (武家諸法度) is the Laws for the Military Houses. It was a collection of edicts issued by Japan's Tokugawa shogunate. They were governing the responsibilities and activities of daimyō (feudal lords) and the rest of the samurai warrior aristocracy. This is a code of conduct, which is a description of proper honorable daimyo behavior, and not solely laws which had to be obeyed.

3) Sakoku
Though Christianity was allowed to grow until the 1610s, Tokugawa Ieyasu soon began to see it as a growing threat to the stability of the Shogunate. He influenced the implementing of laws that banned the practice of Christianity. His successors followed suit, compounding upon Ieyasu's laws. The ban of Christianity is often linked with the creation of the Seclusion laws, or Sakoku, in the 1630s.

Stories from the Five Towns; meet the parents

How did you tell your parents/family about your engagement?  How did they react?

Telling my father about my engagement was difficult and a challenge for me.  My parents and husband met first time six months after  I started going out with him.  I took him to my house and introduced him to my parents.  My mother very much welcomed him, but my father didn’t as he was the eldest son.  I am  an only child, so my father wanted me to take a husband.
One year had passed since then, my husband proposed me.  I was very glad, but I hesitated to tell my father about it.  I asked my mother to help me, but she told me I should say to him by myself.  I couldn’t tell my father about the marriage proposal straight, so I told him that my husband wanted to see and talk to him, then asked him when he would be available.  It seemed that he was a little bit uncomfortable and got my message soon.

When my husband came to my house and told about the marriage, my father didn’t accept and asked my husband and me to consider the marriage again.  Consequently, my husband came to the house to have the discussions with my father three times in total and then my father was reluctant to accept the marriage.  I couldn’t say thank you to my father straightforwardly at that time, but I could say that in the speech on the wedding.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Posting a comment - a typical breakfast

Took a bit of courage for my beginners class to post this, their first writing piece being shared to the blog! Mie, Reiko and Hiroaki have posted a comment about what they have for breakfast, where they have it and whether they think it's healthy. Please leave a comment below with your typical breakfast!

English: Natto on rice.
Love it or hate it, the Japanese equivalent of Marmite!
For breakfast I always have rice, miso soup and pickles (nozawana)
I usually have eggs, fish, cheese, natto and vegetables.
I have green tea.
I always have breakfast at home.

I think my breakfast is not healthy.


Miso Soup
Miso Soup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For breakfast I usually have rice, miso soup and pickles. Sometimes I have bread with butter or jam and hot milk. I usually have breakfast at home. But sometimes I don’t have breakfast on a busy morning.
I think my breakfast is healthy.


For breakfast I have cereal or toast.
I usually have cereal and a cup of coffee but I sometimes have toast when I’m late for work.
I usually have breakfast at home, but I have toast in my car. Toast with butter and ham, or blueberry jam.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Daiya writes & draws about his home

In my house, there's a:

In my house, there are:
  • games
  • cushions

In my city (Matsumoto), there's a:
  • station
  • castle
In my city (Matsumoto), there are:
  • convenience stores
  • shrines

In my country (Japan), there's a:
  • Tokyo Sky Tree
  • Mount Fuji
In my country (Japan), there are:
  • mountains
  • schools

Monday, 11 January 2016

My Home - Masa writes & draws

In my house, there's a:

  • black mamba
  • a cupboard
In my house there are:

  • games
  • TVs

In my town (Hata), there's a:
  • station
  • hospital
In my town (Hata), there are:
  • convenience stores
  • watermelons

In my country (Japan), there's a:
  • parliament
  • Mount Fuji
In my country (Japan), there are:
  • mountains
  • hot springs

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Postcard from: Hong Kong

Hong Kong's symphony of lights
Hi Jim-sensei,

I am writing this card at post office in Hong Kong airport.

I stayed two nights and didn't have a chance to eat delicious Chinese food.

I will make sure to grab the chance next time.


Saturday, 9 January 2016

Back with a blast!

Thought you'd like to hear some spontaneous singing, which our lunchtime class erupted into today!