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Today’s Word: discouraging

Today’s Word: discouraging

November 23, 2017     =========

☆  discouraging  がっかりさせる

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If something is discouraging, it is disheartening, disappointing, or depressing. For example, the useful phrase this week, “His feedback was so discouraging.” You might not get a chance to use the useful phrases, but thinking about how you might respond, or in what situation you might use them, can be a good way to improve your English.

So, for this one, “His feedback was so discouraging.” How would you respond to a coworker or friend if they said this to you? Or even a child, if their teacher said this to them, what would you say? Here are some suggestions:

“It might be difficult, but don’t letRead more about Today’s Word: discouraging[…]

Today’s Word: significant

Today’s Word: significant

November 22, 2017     =========

☆  significant  意義深い

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A significant action or gesture is intended to have a special meaning, or to be meaningful. Other words that have a similar meaning are expressive, indicative, suggestive, and as I mentioned, meaningful. Here are some examples of the word in use:

He spoke carefully, and made sure he used significant words that conveyed his message clearly.
My homestay in Japan was one of the most significant experiences of my teenage years.
Most of the time, the mistakes non-native speakers make when speaking English are not that significant, even though the speaker tends to worry about these mistakes.
She didn’t realize it at the time, but her actions had significantRead more about Today’s Word: significant[…]

Today’s Word: softly

Today’s Word: softly

November 21, 2017     =========

☆  softly  ささやき声で

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Softly is an adverb, describing someone speaking a quiet and gently way. You do not say that they “speak soft”, it must be “softly.” However, if you read my mail yesterday, you know I don’t recommend speaking softly! Loudly is the best way!

Of course, I don’t mean you should shout – I just mean try not to let your voice go quiet part way through your sentence. As I said yesterday, often when someone is unsure whether they are using correct grammar or the correct word, suddenly they start speaking more softly… I think it is an unconscious habit, but if you notice yourself doingRead more about Today’s Word: softly[…]

Today’s Word: loudly

Today’s Word: loudly

November 20, 2017     =========

☆  loudly  大声で

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If you’ve ever been to one of my seminars, you’ll know that I praise people who speak loudly. Often non-native speakers will speak quietly as they are afraid of making a mistake… this means that the listener often has to say, “pardon?” or “could you repeat that?” not because there was a mistake and they didn’t understand, just purely and simply because the person didn’t speak loudly enough.

I teach a simple rule for being understood when you speak English: LSC. It means, Loudly, Slowly, and Clearly. Many people as I said, speak too quietly, and students learning a language often confuse speaking quickly, and stringingRead more about Today’s Word: loudly[…]

Today’s Word: crush

Today’s Word: crush

November 19, 2017     =========

☆  crush 砕く

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This week’s useful phrase, “Don’t let anyone crush your dreams.” This is so true, don’t you think? If there is someone that we believe is an authority, and they basically tell us we cannot achieve our dream, for most people, it will crush their hope and they will give up.

When I was in high school, I wrote a story – a sequel to Star Wars! Ha ha! – and my English teacher was sooo harsh! She didn’t have any praise for my story, only criticism! She crushed my dreams of writing fiction… luckily, almost as a kind of revenge, I decided to become an English teacherRead more about Today’s Word: crush[…]

Today’s Word: scold

Today’s Word: scold

November 18, 2017     =========

☆  scold しかる

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Scold is the formal way of saying “tell someone off”, it means that you speak angrily to them because they have done something wrong. Although it is a formal word, you can use either scold or tell off. The situation might automatically lead you to choose scold rather than the informal version, tell off. Here are some examples:

The school principal scolded me for being late to school.
My mom told me off for being late to school.

I can’t believe the boss scolded you in front of everyone in the office!
I can’t believe the boss told me off in front of my coworkers.

So, as you can see, youRead more about Today’s Word: scold[…]

Today’s Word: extol

Today’s Word: extol

November 17, 2017     =========

☆  extol 賞賛する

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Today’s word is the complete opposite of yesterday’s! If you extol someone or something, you praise them enthusiastically. I was wondering about how to suggest that you use this word, so I looked up some sentence examples and found these great ones to share with you.

“I got angry when my mother would extol my brother’s accomplishments and ignore all the good things I did.” This never really happened in my family, because my parents would be proud of us all, my sisters and my brother. However, I do know a lot of families where the “boy” is still considered the better child. Hopefully, this is notRead more about Today’s Word: extol[…]

Today’s Word: disparage

Today’s Word: disparage

November 16, 2017     =========

☆  disparage 見くびる

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This is a formal word, meaning that you speak about something or someone in a way that shows that you do not have a good opinion of them. If you disparage someone, you regard them as being worthless. It’s quite a harsh word, so hopefully you won’t hear it too often!

As I said though, it is mostly used in formal situations. Words that have a similar meaning, that are less formal are words such as these: belittle (we had this word in October), run down, put down, and ridicule. But again, hopefully, you won’t be needing these words! Unless of course it’s to say something like,Read more about Today’s Word: disparage[…]

Today’s Word:

Today’s Word:

November 15, 2017     =========

☆  approve  承認する

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There are a few ways to use today’s word. On the topic of praising each other, if you approve of someone or something, you like and admire them. For example, “I didn’t approve of his manner.” means that you thought he was rude. Or, “My mother has never approved of my choice in boyfriends.” means that your mother is always against your choice in boyfriends: she doesn’t like them.

If you approve of an action, event, or suggestion, it means that you like it or are pleased about it. For example, “I approved of the proposal my coworker suggested at the meeting.” Or, “Not everyone approves ofRead more about Today’s Word:[…]

Today’s Word: hone

Today’s Word: hone

November 14, 2017     =========

☆  hone  (腕を)磨く

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Today’s word is one that many native speakers get wrong! To “hone” something means to improve or develop it. So, for example, you can hon a skill, a technique, an idea, or a product and that means that you carefully develop it over a period of time so that it is better or more right for your purpose. For example, the useful phrase, “You need to hone your skills more.” Or “His company has spent a lot of time and money on honing the skills of senior managers.”

Native speakers often mistake this word for “home.” If you home in on something, you move toward that goalRead more about Today’s Word: hone[…]

Today’s Word: toot one’s own horn

Today’s Word: toot one’s own horn

November 13, 2017     =========

☆  toot one’s own horn 自慢する

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To toot (or blow) your own horn means to brag or boast about yourself. You might think this is a negative thing, but interestingly, Jack Canfield (millionaire author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books) says it’s an important thing to do. The quote of the week is by him:

“Give yourself permission to toot your own horn, and don’t wait for anyone to praise you.”

What do you think of this idea? I guess in Japanese culture it’s not very common to boast about your achievements or praise yourself, right? Even for me, bragging or praising myself feels a little odd and uncomfortable.Read more about Today’s Word: toot one’s own horn[…]

Today’s Word: disapproving

Today’s Word: disapproving

November 12, 2017     =========

☆  disapproving 賛成できない

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Disapproving is an adjective, that describes an action or expression that shows that you do not approve of something or someone. My kids go to Soroban class after school once a week, with a Japanese teacher. They are actually pretty good at it, but to be honest, they don’t like doing their homework, so each week, I have to tell them to do it, and give them a disapproving look if they don’t start doing it immediately.

There is one other problem, apparently a lot of the kids need motivating to do their homework, not just mine, so the teacher gives candy out to the kidsRead more about Today’s Word: disapproving[…]

Today’s Word: exceptional

Today’s Word: exceptional

November 11, 2017     =========

☆  exceptional  並外れた

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Exceptional is another good word to use to praise someone. You can use exceptional to describe someone or something that is good or high quality. For example, “She has an exceptional ability in English.” Or “Have you read the translation of this book, the writer did an exceptional job capturing all the nuances.”

This week, we’ve looked at a lot of words that you can use to praise someone: wonderful, phenomenal, splendid, and exceptional. Are these the sorts of words you’d use in Japanese, too? Do you think they are too strong, or are they commonly used in the Japanese language, too?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: splendid

Today’s Word: splendid

November 10, 2017   =========

☆  splendid 立派な

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Something that is splendid is very good. So, how can you use today’s word to praise someone? Here are some examples:

That is a splendid photograph! I love it!
What a splendid house, and such lovely views.
Thank you for being such splendid company today.
My daughter brought home her school artwork this week, some of it is really splendid.
That was a splendid dinner, thank you for having us.

Can you think of any situations where you might want to praise someone, and use this word? If so, you could prepare a few different sentences like I just have, and practice them so that you are prepared whenever you might needRead more about Today’s Word: splendid[…]

Today’s Word: elated

Today’s Word: elated

November 9, 2017  =========

☆  elated 得意になって

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If you are feeling elated, you are extremely happy and excited because of something that has happened. What kinds of things make you feel elated?

For me, running related things make me feel elated… for example, when my new running shoes arrive in the mail I feel very elated! Sounds a bit strange I’m sure, but the prices of running shoes in Australia is phenomenal (and not in a good way!) So, I usually buy my shoes online from the USA, so when they arrive safely, I feel elated… and when I try them on they fit perfectly (because online shoe buying is always risky!) I feelRead more about Today’s Word: elated[…]

Today’s Word: substantial

Today’s Word: substantial

November 8, 2017     =========

☆  substantial  かなりの

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This is a formal word, meaning a large amount or a large degree of something. Sometimes the best way to learn a new word is to have a substantial amount of practice using it! So, here are some sentence examples from me.

A substantial number of mothers with young children want to return to work, but cannot because they lack access to affordable childcare.
He has made a substantial improvement since being admitted to hospital last week.
We all need to agree on the next step before we can make any substantial progress.
We want to buy a house, but we need such a substantial deposit, it seems impossible.
HeRead more about Today’s Word: substantial[…]

Today’s Word: phenomenal

Today’s Word: phenomenal

November 7, 2017     =========

☆  phenomenal   驚異的な

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Something that is phenomenal is so great or good that it is very unusual. Now, this might seem like a bit of an extreme word to use when praising someone, but you could definitely use it. For example, you might want to talk about your company or your coworker getting “phenomenal results.”

Actually, this is a common word to use in weight-loss success stories, too. For example, “She has lost a phenomenal amount of weight since last year.” For me, as you know, I love running, but I’m not very fast, so I tend to run long distances with a steady pace, rather than short, faceRead more about Today’s Word: phenomenal[…]

Today’s Word: wonderful

Today’s Word: wonderful

November 6, 2017     =========

☆  wonderful  素敵な

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Wonderful is a great word! It’s so easy to use, and a lovely way to praise people. For example, “I think you’re a wonderful English speaker.” 🙂 Or “What a wonderful idea!” Or even when you’re not praising someone, you can use it in this way, “It’s wonderful to see you again!”

And of course, if you already know this wonderful word, you can increase your vocabulary by learning related words such as: excellent, brilliant, fabulous, fantastic, great, magnificent, marvelous, outstanding, superb, terrific, tremendous! So many wonderful words! I think it would be a wonderful idea if you tried to use each of these words inRead more about Today’s Word: wonderful[…]

Today’s Word: charm

Today’s Word: charm

November 5, 2017   =========

☆  charm 魅力

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Charm is the quality of being pleasant or attractive. Someone who has charm behaves in a friendly, pleasant way that makes people like them. There are a couple of idioms using this word that are good to know:

Turn on the charm – if someone turns on the charm, it means that they behave in a way that seems very friendly, but that you think is insincere. The person often does it to gain something or deceive someone. So, in Australia, second hand car salespeople are often accused of turning on the charm in order to sell their cars.

Worked like a charm – if something worked likeRead more about Today’s Word: charm[…]

Today’s Word: confrontation

Today’s Word: confrontation

November 4, 2017     =========

☆  confrontation  対立

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A confrontation is a dispute, fight, or battle between two groups of people. It’s my birthday today, so hopefully I won’t encounter any confrontations! As a birthday present (and Christmas present!) I always ask my two boys not to fight with each other for one day… no confrontations for one day, please! They’ve never managed to do it in the past, so I guess I won’t get my birthday wish this year either! Ha ha 🙂

What do you do when you are facing a confrontation that either involves you or the people around you? Are you good at resolving confrontations peacefully, or do you tendRead more about Today’s Word: confrontation[…]

Today’s Word: principle

Today’s Word: principle

November 3, 2017      =========

☆  principle  主義

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A principle is a general belief that you have about the way that you should behave, which influences your behavior. For example, most people will never do something that goes against their principles, so if they believe in honesty, then they won’t lie because of their principles.

In fact, there is even an idiom about refusing to do something “on principle.” In other words, you refuse to do something because of a particular belief that you have. For example:

He refused on principle to agree to the changes to the contract.
She said she would vote against the new law on principle.
Her father said he would not lendRead more about Today’s Word: principle[…]

Today’s Word: criticism

Today’s Word: criticism

November 2, 2017     =========

☆  criticism 批判

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Criticism is the opposite of praise. A criticism is a statement that expresses disapproval of something or someone. There are a few other words with similar meanings that you might like to add to your vocabulary: fault-finding, bad press, character assassination, and flak (informal). Have you heard of any of these?

Character assassination is an interesting one I think – an assassination is when someone famous or important is murdered. So, when there is a character assassination, it means that someone’s personality or individual qualities are “murdered.” It doesn’t have to be an important or famous person, you can use this word to describe a coworkerRead more about Today’s Word: criticism[…]

Today’s Word: praise

Today’s Word: praise

November 1, 2017    =========

☆  praise  褒めること

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Praise (noun) is what you say or write about someone when you are praising (verb) them. John Wooden was one of the most famous basketball coaches in the USA. He has many, many famous quotes, and one of them is this week’s quote: “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you.” Our theme for this month Praising Each Other, and yet, this quote is saying that we should really ignore praise (and criticism.)

Why do you think it is important not to let praise or criticism get to us? Obviously, with criticism, we might feel down or upset if someone says something negative about us.Read more about Today’s Word: praise[…]

Today’s Word: endless

Today’s Word: endless

October 31, 2017 =========

☆  endless  永遠の

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One of the things I’ve talked about this month has been the fact that Australia’s (white) history is quite short, compared to somewhere like Japan, so we don’t have a lot of tradition or strong “Australian” culture. This week’s quote explains why… by Henry James:

“It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.”

So true! Of course, the aborigines in Australia have a long history, and therefore there are many traditions and a strong culture. However, the immigrants to Australia have just a short history. The Europeans arrived to colonize Australia in 1788, so we do not have an endless amount of historyRead more about Today’s Word: endless[…]

Today’s Word: unique

Today’s Word: unique

October 30, 2017 =========

☆  unique  独特の

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As we come to the end of the month, we have our Question & Answer section in the Eigo Techo. The question for this month is “What is unique about Japanese culture?” How would you answer this question if someone visiting Japan asked you?

And, if you do think that Japan’s culture is unique, why do you think it is so unique?

If you search Google for the answer, a lot of non-Japanese people say that Japan’s culture is unique because the country was not open to foreigners during the Sakoku period, or because it’s an island, so it was hard to reach, and not easy to invade.Read more about Today’s Word: unique[…]

Today’s Word: conservative

Today’s Word: conservative

October 29, 2017 =========

☆  conservative  保守的な

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Someone who is conservative or has conservative ideas is unwilling to accept changes and new ideas. Do you know any other words for conservative? Some common ones are traditional, cautious, and conventional.

One fun word, which is very informal, that you can use to describe someone as conservative is: a stick-in-the-mud. This word is actually a noun, not an adjective, so you can say someone is “a stick-in-the-mud” you don’t need to say, they are “a stick-in-the-mud person.” It’s easy to get a great image of someone being stuck in mud, right? They can’t move, they can’t change their ideas or beliefs, because they are stuck inRead more about Today’s Word: conservative[…]

Today’s Word: heartfelt

Today’s Word: heartfelt

October 28, 2017 =========

☆  heartfelt  心からの

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Heartfelt is used to describe your deep or sincere feelings or wish. It is often used in a sad, or negative situation. For example, sending a heartfelt apology to someone. Or expressing your heartfelt sympathies to someone who has had some tragedy happen to them. The government might say that they send their heartfelt condolences to the relatives of victims of a terrorist attack.

However, it can be used in a positive situation, too! For example, you might send a new mother your heartfelt congratulations on her new baby. Or heartfelt congratulations for someone who has recently found a new job. Or you might say to someoneRead more about Today’s Word: heartfelt[…]

Today’s Word: deep

Today’s Word: deep

October 27, 2017 =========

☆  deep  深みのある

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You can use “deep” as an adjective to emphasize the seriousness, strength, importance, or degree of something. For example:

I have a deep admiration for anyone who tries to live in a different culture than the one they grew up in.
She was going through a deep personal crisis.
I’d like to express my deep sympathy to you and your family.
He fell into a deep sleep.
His face expressed deep sorrow for the argument he had started.

Can you use deep in a sentence?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: related

Today’s Word: related

October 26, 2017 =========

☆  related  関連した

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If two or more things are related, there is a connection between them. One of the useful phrases this week is “Our modern-day culture is related to the customs of the past.” This is a good sentence to use if you are explaining Japanese culture to someone who is unfamiliar with Japan. Then of course, you would need to explain how they are related – by giving examples of modern-day culture that existed in some form in the past.

One thing I find interesting is that often popular manga series are related to the past, such as the Vagabond series. This is quite a popular series inRead more about Today’s Word: related[…]

Today’s Word: local

Today’s Word: local

October 25, 2017 =========

☆  local  地方の

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When you describe something as local, you mean that it exists or belongs to the area that you are talking about. For example, in Australia, each council area delivers a free local paper each week for free to people who live in the area. You can talk about the local residents, as in the people who live in that area. Or if you are like me, and love books, but don’t like clutter, then you might visit your local library on a regular basis!

In Australia, most people have their local coffee shop (or bar!), and that is the one they regularly go to. Sometimes, people getRead more about Today’s Word: local[…]

Today’s Word: tough

Today’s Word: tough

October 24, 2017 =========

☆  tough  厳格な

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Tough policies or rules are strict and firm. For example, the Australian government has tough laws on immigration, and you must meet certain criteria before you can be accepted. The government has also recently decided that the test for becoming an Australian citizen is not tough enough, so they will be renewing the content in order to make it harder to become an Australian.

What is the situation like in Japan? Are the immigration laws tough? Is it tough to become a Japanese citizen? I’ve always wondered if you needed a certain level of Japanese language ability to become a Japanese citizen, do you? In Australia, evenRead more about Today’s Word: tough[…]

Today’s Word: acceptable

Today’s Word: acceptable

October 23, 2017 =========

☆  acceptable   受け入れられる

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Acceptable activities and situations are those activities that most people approve of or consider to be normal. For example, in Australia, it is actually pretty acceptable to drink alcohol during lunch on a Friday. It’s not so acceptable on a Monday, but at the end of the week a lot of people have a beer or wine with lunch, getting ready for the weekend!

Overtime for full time employees on the other hand is not that acceptable. In fact, the laws around how much work per week is acceptable set the maximum at 62 hours. A full-time employee is not allowed to work more than 38 hoursRead more about Today’s Word: acceptable[…]

Today’s Word: discrimination

Today’s Word: discrimination

October 22, 2017 =========

☆  discrimination  差別

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Discrimination is the action of treating a person or group of people less fairly than other people or groups. Obviously, on the topic of culture and tradition, discrimination is something that will definitely come up in conversation.

In Australia, we have laws to protect people from harassment and discrimination. We have laws on age discrimination, on human rights discrimination, on disability, race and sex discrimination. Basically, discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, sex or sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, religion, or political opinion is not allowed. However, it still happens way too often.

How about in Japan? What kind of laws are there onRead more about Today’s Word: discrimination[…]

Today’s Word: dialect

Today’s Word: dialect

October 21, 2017 =========

☆  dialect  方言

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One of my most favorite and funniest memories of Japan is when I visited my friend’s house in Ishigaki. Everyone I met, spoke the local dialect, so even though I thought my Japanese ability was OK, I couldn’t understand anything they were saying! We stayed at her grandmother’s house, and one morning, I finally spoke. I said, “ohayo gozaimasu” to her grandmother.

Her grandmother was so excited!! She said I spoke wonderful Japanese (just from that one greeting!) It was quite funny! Unfortunately, after that, everyone started speaking in the local dialect again, so just like the Sofia Coppola movie from 2003, everything was “lost in translation.” 🙂

AreRead more about Today’s Word: dialect[…]

Today’s Word: race

Today’s Word: race

October 20, 2017 =========

☆  race  人種

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A race is one of the major groups which human beings can be divided into according to their physical features, such as the color of their skin. If you read the English newspaper, you might see this word a lot, and another couple of words that often come up are: race relations and race riot.

Race relations are the ways in which people of different races living together in the same community behave toward one another. In every country, there is big need to develop tolerance and improve race relations, I believe.

Race riots are violent fights between people of different races living in the same community. AmericaRead more about Today’s Word: race[…]

Today’s Word: custom

Today’s Word: custom

October 19, 2017 =========

☆  custom  風習

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A custom is an activity, a way of behaving, or an event which is usual or traditional in a particular society or country. I think that Japan has a lot of customs that are specific to Japan, do you agree? Like the way New Year is celebrated, or the Awa Odori dance festivals in certain areas of Japan.

On the other hand, I’m not sure that Australia really has any customs as such, each ethnic group within Australia does, of course, but as a whole country maybe we don’t really have any… in fact, I wanted to check this so I did a Google search for AustralianRead more about Today’s Word: custom[…]

Today’s Word: ideas

Today’s Word: ideas

October 18, 2017 =========

☆  ideas  考え

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Ideas are your beliefs or opinions about what something is like or should be like. Other words with a similar meaning are: belief, conviction, notion, opinion, view. Here are some example sentences:

Some of his ideas about Japan are quite strange!
Everyone has different ideas about the ideal political system.
It’s hard to come to an agreement as everyone has their own ideas about the best solution.
She was embarrassed by her parents’ old-fashioned ideas.

Can you use this definition of ideas in a sentence?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: misconception

Today’s Word: misconception

October 17, 2017 =========

☆  misconception  誤解

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A misconception is an idea that is not correct. A stereotype could definitely lead to a misconception about someone, right? For example, during the boom in Japan, the stereotype of Japanese people tended to be busy men in black suits, with cameras! That’s a definite misconception, right? 

I used to hold the misconception that all Americans were loud and pushy, but in fact, the many Americans that I met in Japan, and even in Australia were not like this. Obviously, there are many Americans who are like this, but the important thing is that not every single American is that way, it’s just a common misconception!

Have youRead more about Today’s Word: misconception[…]

Today’s Word: stereotype

Today’s Word: stereotype

October 16, 2017 =========

☆  stereotype  既成概念

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This week’s useful phrase is, “I really dislike it when people use stereotypes.” What do you think of this, do you agree? Disagree? What are the advantages of using stereotypes? Are there any disadvantages? Generally, the advantages are that they allow us to reduce the amount of thinking we have to do when we meet a person, or a situation, because we have met similar people or had a similar experience before.

Of course, the disadvantage then is that we tend to ignore differences between individuals, and we might think something about someone that isn’t actually true, just based on the stereotype we give that person. Unfortunately,Read more about Today’s Word: stereotype[…]

Today’s Word: belittle

Today’s Word: belittle

October 15, 2017 =========

☆  belittle  見くびる

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If you belittle something or someone, you say (or imply) that they are unimportant or not very good. Regarding tradition and culture, often people will belittle other cultures or people, purely because they are different or have a different opinion from them. I often see this on the Internet, in the comments of articles or posts – since there is a feeling of anonymity, it is easy to belittle others online because there are really no consequences to fear.

Sometimes it really shocks me to read the comments, because people can really be so mean to others! We call this kind of person a “troll” or aRead more about Today’s Word: belittle[…]

Today’s Word: contemplate

Today’s Word: contemplate

October 14, 2017 =========

☆  contemplate  よく考える

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If you contemplate an action, you think deeply about whether or not to do it. For example:
She contemplated living in Australia for a year after finishing university.
He contemplated whether or not he should leave his job.

If you contemplate an idea or subject, you think about it carefully for a long time.
He contemplated his future while he drank his coffee.
The government is contemplating the effects of globalization on Japanese society.
It’s difficult to contemplate the idea of immigration increasing in Japan.

What have you been contemplating lately? Have you come to a decision or resolution about it?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: assimilate

Today’s Word: assimilate

October 13, 2017 =========

☆  assimilate  同化する

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When immigrants assimilate into a community or county, they become an accepted part of it. In Australia, based purely on how a person looks, I believe it is actually pretty easy to be assimilated into the community. Why? Because Australia has such a diverse community anyway, even if you are not a white Anglo-Saxon, most people assume you are Australia, not a tourist.

Once, a student of mine went on a homestay to Australia as a high school student, and she loved it! I asked why, thinking it was the weather, the people, the food (well, maybe not! Ha ha), the nature or something like that. However,Read more about Today’s Word: assimilate[…]

Today’s Word: avoid

Today’s Word: avoid

October 12, 2017 =========

☆  avoid  避ける

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If you avoid something unpleasant or avoid doing something, it means that you take action to prevent that thing from happening, or you choose not to put yourself in the situation where that thing might happen. For example, one thing I often hear from my clients is that they avoid traveling during Golden Week and Obon. They want to avoid the crowds and traffic so they tend to stay home during these holiday seasons.

When I lived in Tokyo, the best time of year was actually Golden Week! During Golden Week, there were not so many people around. I used to live near Kichijoji, and during theRead more about Today’s Word: avoid[…]

Today’s Word: celebrate

Today’s Word: celebrate

October 11, 2017 =========

☆  celebrate  祝う

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This week’s useful phrases includes this question, “What holidays do you celebrate?” I think this is an interesting question, especially now with the Internet and it is so easy to know about other countries and incorporate their holidays into your own. For example, a few years ago, Halloween was never popular in Australia, and now it is celebrated quite a lot – mostly as a way for companies to sell their costumes and candy! But not only that, there are many American and Canadian immigrants who really celebrate Halloween in a big way, so this influences the people around them.

How about in Japan, and for youRead more about Today’s Word: celebrate[…]

Today’s Word: keep with tradition

Today’s Word: keep with tradition

October 10, 2017    =========

☆  keep with tradition  伝統を守る

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If you keep with tradition, it means you follow what is suitable or right for that situation. A funny example I have of keeping with tradition is my family at Christmas time. Since we are actually British by birth, and my parents spent a lot of their life in England, we keep with tradition at Christmas time.

What does this mean? Well, it means that even though it is summer in Australia (not winter like it is in England) we have a traditional Christmas meal. This meal is roast turkey, roast ham, roast vegetables… in other words, we eat a hot meal. In England,Read more about Today’s Word: keep with tradition[…]

Today’s Word: fascinate

Today’s Word: fascinate

October 9, 2017   =========

☆  fascinate  魅了する

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If something fascinates you, it interests and delights you. This week’s quote is from Roman Coppola, “The Japanese culture fascinates me.” What do you think it is about Japanese culture that fascinates him? 

Imagine you meet a foreigner in Japan, and they asked you what fascinated you about Japan. How would you answer? For me, in Tokyo especially, the mix of old and new fascinates me. It still amazes me to be walking through the big city of Shinjuku and Harajuku, and then suddenly come across the Meiji shrine. It is so unexpected and such a contrast from the city and concrete, it totally fascinates me.Read more about Today’s Word: fascinate[…]

Today’s Word: belief

Today’s Word: belief

October 8, 2017      =========

☆  belief  信仰

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When we talk about beliefs, it often has the nuance of religion – in other words, it seems like we are talking about your faith in a god or many gods, and what you believe is right or wrong, true or false. Of course, nowadays, your beliefs don’t need to be connected to religion at all, and are purely what you value, what you believe is right and wrong.

Similarly, the beliefs of a culture or country and the set of beliefs that most people in that country or community believe to be right or wrong, true or false. What are the beliefs of Japanese people?Read more about Today’s Word: belief[…]

Today’s Word: tradition

Today’s Word: tradition

October 7, 2017 =========

☆  tradition 伝統

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A tradition is a custom or belief that has existed for a long time. This is one thing that I love about Japan; there are so many amazing traditions that still exist today, even though society is changing and globalization is now a part of everyday life.

How do you think Japan manages to maintain these traditions so well? Do you think that in the future all these traditions will continue, or will some (or many?) disappear as the younger generation moves towards a more global lifestyle? Without people carrying on the tradition it is hard for it to continue, right? How do you think thisRead more about Today’s Word: tradition[…]

Today’s Word: history

Today’s Word: history

October 6, 2017 =========

☆  history  歴史

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I’m sure you already know this word, so let’s have a look at some interesting idioms that use this word.

Go down in history – if something or someone goes down in history, people in the future will remember them because of particular actions or events that stand out. For example, “Trump will go down in history as the troll-in-chief.”
http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/donald-trump-will-go-down-in-history-as-the-troll-in-chief

Have a history of xyz – if someone has a history of something, it means it is common and has happened frequently in the past. For example, “She has a history of being late for work.”

The rest is history – this means that you do not need tellRead more about Today’s Word: history[…]

Today’s Word: disrespect

Today’s Word: disrespect

October 5, 2017 =========

☆  disrespect  軽視

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Did you spot the mistake in the useful phrases this week? I wrote this, “I hate it when people disrespect the culture of a place.” What mistake did I make? That’s right, I used disrespect as a verb, but this week, we are looking at nouns! Oops! Sorry about that – see even native speakers make mistakes. 😉

So, how should I have used the word in that sentence? It’s quite simple to fix, I should have said, “I hate it when people have disrespect for the culture of a place.” However, I think you’ll agree that using disrespect as a noun sounds more natural in thisRead more about Today’s Word: disrespect[…]