Tag Archives: English

Maru-chan is Great!- An English Class Party

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     “Michael?”10644226_10152864428677356_7465040322612952079_o
    
“Oh, Maru-chan!”

     All of the people including me were surprised and watched the two men who were glad to see each other again. That happened during the English class party on December 9th.

     I took an English class at Chukyo University for three months from last September. Although I joined class in the middle of the course, I became the organizer of class party in November. I did not know where to have the party because I was a stranger around the Yagoto area. But one of my classmates kindly offered to help me look for a good place to have the party.

     10470852_10152864428822356_7059506429380459043_oAfter class she and I were strolling in a dark alley, where there were many kinds of shops. Their illuminations were luring us. We were checking menus outside and peeping inside at each restaurant. All of a sudden, a man’s voice called from behind us. We turned around and found a man in a white cook coat standing with a big smile in front of a building. “Why don’t you come to my restaurant?” he said. It was the first time I met Maru-chan.

     We checked his menu. It was nice and reasonable. We decided to try some food and to check inside. All of food was very nice and the atmosphere was also good. We made a reservation for our class party when we left the restaurant: Nude-R Yagoto.10700757_10152864428902356_581425881724085529_o

     It was a chance meeting! The man who appeared from the kitchen saying “Michael?” was Mr. Maruyama, a.k.a. Maru-chan, the chef, and Michael was my class’s teacher at Chukyo University. According to Michael, he and one of his friends Paul used to frequent Maru-chan’s former restaurant in Sakae. But suddenly the restaurant was closed several years ago. Since then Michael and Paul had been searching for Maru-chan but had not been able to find him until that night.

    10857239_10152864428762356_4366614944756609720_o Michael was in a good mood due to the nice wine and delicious food, but he became merrier after Maru-chan appeared. My classmates also became happier to see our teacher’s big smile and praised me. “Wow! Well done!” Actually, I had not done anything, though…

     All of the food Maru-chan cooked was very nice and Michael shouted “Maru-chan is great!” All of us enjoyed the food and talked about many interesting topics. Of course I had a great time, too!

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Let’s Speak English! ~ A meeting in a small English club ~ : Is your son good-looking?

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CAM00088-a     “What kind of food do you like best?”
     Ah…you asked THAT question again

     I have a small English club with senior citizens in my neighborhood and invite a guest who speaks English once a year. We had Ricky, a Briton, and Jean, a Seychellois, so far. This time I asked Ricky to come to the club again because he was going back to his country soon, and was able to have a meeting at the end of last month. (The meeting with Ricky in 2012 is HERE, and the one with Jean in 2013 is HERE.)CAM00078-a

Most of the club members met Ricky at the club two years ago, when they were excited so much because it was the first time for them to talk to a non-Japanese in English. They fired many first-meeting-types of questions, such as, “Where are you from?” or “Can you use chopsticks well?” at that time. They asked Ricky the same questions many times because they were too busy thinking what they would ask him to hear others. So, Ricky had to say “Fish,” many times. They asked, “What kind of food do you like best?” again and again… But Ricky answered the questions politely without being cross. Thank you, Ricky! That was why, I told the members not to ask Ricky similar questions before the meeting this time.CAM00100-a

     “So, you can’t ask Ricky “Where are you from?” or    “Where do you live?” or “Do you like sushi?” and so on. Understand?” They screamed.
     “Oh, no! What shall I ask him, then?”
     “Think by yourself!”
     “What shall I do? What shall I do?”

     Usually the club has five seniors: Nori, Hossan, Choko, Akiko, and Mayumi. But the room was merrier than usual that day because we had ten people excluding Ricky and me. Mayumi brought her husband, Umeo. Two old members, Toshiko and Haru, came. Toshiko brought her friend, Manami, too. And Saeko came to the club with her new walker. She was a regular member, but had not appeared for a while since she broke a breast bone last December. I was very happy to meet old and new people at one time. They also looked happy and excited. CAM00110-a

     Their English was much greater than I had expected. They tried hard to talk to Ricky with various questions: Where are you going to live in England? ; How do you like it in Japan? ; What is inconvenient living in Japan? ; What are the good and bad points in the international marriage? etc. Of course, there were some impolite questions, too, like “How old are you?” or “Is your son good-looking?” But these questions brought additional excitement to the meeting. CAM00111-a

     Then THAT question came: What kind of food do you like? Hey, hey, you asked the same question many times two years ago! I thought. But Ricky kindly replied smiling, “Eels.” Oh, how specific answer he said this time! The members murmured “Oh, eels…eels…eels…” But a few minutes later, someone asked THAT question again, “Excuse me, what kind of food do you like best?” Come on! “Eels,” said Ricky in a calm way. Probably the same questions and answers repeated a few more times….But Ricky replied politely without any disgusting expressions this time, too. Thank you again, Ricky!

     Anyway, the senior citizens (the average age is around 75) seemed to be really happy during the meeting. They had stars in their eyes! Some smiled, saying “I felt younger!” some looked confident, saying “It’s nice to keep on studying English!” and some renewed their resolve to study English. And I myself think it is a good thing that I have organized this small English club when I see their smiles. After the meeting, Nori, a male participant, came to me and said, “You could invite a female guest next time, could you?” winking. Yeah, I knew you would say so…

Teacher with Shafts of Love Comes to Small English Club: “Teacher, Teacher, I like him!”

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     “Chinese philosophy!?” The two ladies and I repeated the word in surprise. We were making curry in the cooking room of Nanzan Elementary school. It was a very hot day in July. An interesting event named Aichi Summer Seminar is held in Nagoya every July. There are more than 3,000 classes in it and anyone can take any classes freely there. That is why it is called “The Dream School”. I have participated in the dream school for five years and I take the same cooking class – Bangladeshi curry – every year. (I have written the event and the curry class in the past: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012)

     The Bangladeshi curry class is led by some members of Japan Bangladesh Cooperative Society. Although I took the class five times, I have never met a Bangladeshi there but some Japanese members of the NGO and a Seychellois. Seychelles is a country officially called the Republic of Seychelles comprising more than 100 islands in the Indian Ocean. I think it is very rare to come across a Seychellois in this Far Eastern island country. He is Jean. He teaches English, economics, and Chinese philosophy in a university, and of course, teaches how to make delicious Bangladeshi curry in the cooking class.

     The opening exclamation was uttered when one of the classmates in the cooking class asked Jean about his leisure time:
     “So, what do you do in your spare time?”
     “Well…I read books.”
     “What kind?”
     “About my study.
     “What do you study?”
     “Chinese philosophy…”
     “Chinese philosophy?!”

     How interesting! You know, he is from Seychelles and studies Chinese philosophy in Japan! I wanted to listen to him more and I thought I should not get his story all to myself at the same time. Then a light bulb went on over my head. I have a small English club in my neighborhood and teach some senior citizens once a week. I decided to invite him as a guest to the club. In fact, one year had already passed since they had an opportunity to talk with an English speaker. (The episode is here: “An Event at a Small English Club: When is the next session?”) I was sure they would be glad at the meeting. It was very kind of him that Jean agreed readily to come to the club.

     The session was held on the second Wednesday this month. Seven members came to the club that day. The average age is around 75. The oldest person is an 83-year-old lady. The youngest is probably 63. Although one is a patient of Parkinson disease, one is recovering from a stroke, one has poor lung function, one is suffering from a spinal canal stenosis, and two of them have panic disorders, those elders and betters are flexible and curious, and enjoy their lives. So, they were waiting for Jean’s arrival in their excitement that morning.

     Jean entered the room in applause. The senior citizens looked a little nervous in the beginning, but soon all of them were attracted by his interesting stories and came out of their shells. They looked very happy during the meeting. I was also very happy to see them excited with their starry eyes. They were enjoying like children. Pleasant hours fly past. Finally the time came when they had to say goodbye to Jean. While the others were saying goodbye and thank you to him, one of them ran up to me and whispered, “Teacher, Teacher, Jean is gentle and good-looking. I like him.” “Ha ha. I knew you would say that!” I winked at her. Actually, the rest of ladies came to me later and left similar comments. It seems that Jean has not only boosted the elderly people’s motivation for learning English, but also pierced some senior women’s hearts with shafts of love!

Christmas Party at Talkmate: What do people do under the mistletoe on Christmas?

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TS3N0963      “What do people do under the mistletoe on Christmas?” That was one of the questions at a Christmas event of Talkmate held on the 11th. Talkmate is a language school in Nagoya. Actually, I’m not a student  and have never taken any classes there. But I was in the party because a friend of mine is now taking a course at the school and she invited me to the Christmas event.TS3N0984

     Mr. Kozukuri, the head master of the language school, is very nice and kind. He allowed me to join in the party. He is not the only person who is nice and kind there. In fact, all of the teachers and the students I met at the party were really good. I enjoyed chattering with many people over delicious food. Actually, Mr. Kozukuri was cooking food and serving participants! Remember? He’s the head master!   TS3N0965

     By the way, the answer to the question of the opening is, of course, kissing. So, I raised my hand and said, “Kiss!” to the questioner at the party, and I got a prize. Ummm…probably it’s a kind of prize. The man is carrying a (maybe) goat on his shoulder. I’m wondering if the animal is dead or alive…. Well…am I lucky for getting it as the prize? Maybe…Anyway, I had a good time with many cheerful people in the cozy atmosphere.

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