Warmest wishes to you on this chilly evening,
Winter vacation is nearly here, and many people are taking the long and crowded journey home. This tradition is as common as giving gifts and cards in the UK. Everyone squashes onto the train like sardines.
There are plenty of more pleasant traditions though, for example, in the UK we often have fruit cake after Christmas dinner. The cake is covered in brandy and then set on fire before eaten. It`s quite a specatacle. Another tradition is carolling, whereby groups of people knock on the doors of their neighbours and sing Christmas songs. My family have very unpleasant singing voices, so it has also become tradition for neighbours to slowly close the door in our faces.
My family play parlour games after Christmas dinner too, these include charades (one person acts out words and the other people have to guess what the word is), the human pyramid (people climb on top of each other to make a huge pyramid) and, my favourite, fish fruit flower. Fish fruit flower is a good game for practicing English vocabulary with freinds. First you choose a letter, for example `A`. Then you have to write down a word beginning with the letter for each category:
For example, you could use `apple` for a fruit, or `Andrew` for a boy`s name. You get one point for each category completed, but, if someone else has chsoen the same word as you, then nobody gets a point!
Because it`s starting to snow, there are two English phrases for today. The first is, `get cold feet`. This means, to become nervous. For example:
A: Well, did you ask Katy on a date yesterday?
B: No, I got cold feet!
The second phrase is, `to give the cold shoulder`. This means, to ignore. For example:
A: Did you speak to Tom yesterday?
B: No, I saw him but he gave me the cold shoulder.
Hello again from Peter at Matsumoto Amity,
It continues to grow colder! Even on days when the sun is out I can still see my breath. So, in class we have been talking about warm clothing vocabulary a lot. For example, a scarf, a dufflecoat, some mittens and - my favourite - a balaclava. I used to wear a balaclava to school during Winter in England and I really loved it, it was so warm and cosy! Unfortunately, now I`m older, I can`t wear a balaclava anymore because it looks too scary.
The English phrase of the week is `cold hands, warm heart`. This phrase is used to describe people who appear reserved at first, but are really very kind and loving. For example:
Person A - `Helen seemed so reserved and icey, but she took good care of me when I was sick`
Person B - `Yes. Cold hands, warm heart!`
Next week, we begin the teaching Winter seminar, so there will be lots of praticing letters to Santa Claus and letters of grattitude!
Hi from Peter at Matsumoto Amity,
In the last fortnight, my world was shaken; first, by the news of a royal wedding in the UK; and second by a real earthquake. It was my first experience of an earthquake in Japan, but it`s not my first Royal Wedding. Really, I`m not very interested in the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but it does give me the opportunity to talk about English!
Over thousands over years, royal weddings have affected the English Language a lot. In the past, the ｒoyal families in Europe would marry each other to make peace between the different countries, or keep power over their nations. This might not have always been good news for the population, but it did have an interesting impact on the language. Royal weddings are one reason why English is such a vibrant language (and why it can be so difficult to study!). The royal family of England were often at war with the royal families of France, Germany and Spain - or married to them! Sometimes they would be married and at war at the same time! Very exciting. Anyway, many French and German words became a part of everyday English conversation - in fact, almost 30% of words in English came from French. For example, `picnic` (ピクニック), `de ja vu` (デジャヴゥ), `brunette` (ブラウンヘアカラー) and `genre` (ジャンル) are all French words that are very common in English too.
Here at Matusmoto Amity, we are almost ready for the Christmas event on December 23rd, at 1pm - please come! There will be Christmas tree decorating, a snowball fight, carol singing and - of course - lots of English!
A common German word used in English is `doppleganger`, which means `copy`. Last week, my family recieved an early Christmas present - my sister had a baby daughter called Edith. Edith looks like the doppleganger of our father, unlucky Edith!
Hello and season`s greetings!
Tomorrow is the 1st day of December and the countdown to Christmas, so I have begun reading ‘A Christmas Carol‘ by Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens wrote many fantastic and popular stories about Victorian England (often including lots of snow!). In this story, greedy and cruel Mr. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. The ghosts show Scrooge his past, present and future and convince him to become a kind and generous person. The story is very popular and, over the years, it has been made into lots of different films - some are grim and scary, some are funny and include lots of singing. Regardless, all of the different films are shown incessantly on TV in the UK during December. My favourite version is called "A Muppets` Christmas Carol".
like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens invented lots of new English words and names that are still used in modern English conversation - so his stories can be very interesting to read for intermediate or advanced students. For example, the words `abuzz`（活気にあふれて） and `flummox`(当惑させる）. Currently, Amity Matusmoto is abuzz with talk of students who recently passed their Eiken exams - and plans for the Christmas event.
In fact, people even use the word, `Dickensian` to describe books, films and situations that are particularly grim, chilling and similar to the atmosphere of his stories.
Fortunately, December in Matsumoto is very different to Dickens` stories, but I still hope it snows soon!