Friday, May 21, 2010

A Murder in my Neighborhood

Recently, I wrote about bunches. I mentioned that a group of people can be called a bunch. Of course, it’s more common to call a big group of people “a crowd.” For example, above is a photo I took of a crowd of people waiting outside Tenmangu Shrine in the New Year holiday.

Did you know English has many different words to describe groups of things, especially animals? We call these words “collective nouns.” (Collective nouns for animals are also known as “terms of venery” – but you don’t need to know that!) Here are some examples…

Dogs, wolves, foxes, and other dog-like animals are called “a pack.”

A Pack of Wolves

Deer, cows, elephants, horses, and most other grass-eating animals are called “a herd.”

A Herd of Horses

Generally, a group of any kind of fish can be called “a school.” (However, many fish species have their own special collective nouns.)

A School of Fish

As with fish, a group of any kind of bird can be called “a flock.”

A Flock of Seagulls

Many bird species also have their own collective nouns. My favorite is “a murder,” the collective noun for a flock of crows.

A Murder of Crows

Yesterday morning, there was a murder in my neighborhood. I’ve posted a few photos on our online photo album. Click on A Murder of Crows to check them out!

If you want to learn many more collective nouns for animals, click here!

このブログの日本語訳はこちら をクリックしてください!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The Sunday before last was Mother’s Day. Many of my students celebrated Mother’s Day by giving flowers to their moms.

Flowers are countable nouns. We say, "a flower, 2 flowers," and so on. If we group many flowers together, we can call them “a bunch.” The picture above shows a bunch of flowers in a vase.

We can use the word “bunch” when talking about many different things in groups. For example…

A Bunch of Bananas

A Bunch of Grapes
Did you ever wonder where grapefruit, which tastes nothing like grapes, gets its name?
It’s because the fruit grows in bunches, like grapes.
We have some common slang that uses the word bunch. If you punch someone, you can say…
“I gave him a bunch of 5 (as in 5 fingers held together).”
We can even use bunch to talk about a group of people. When I was in elementary school, I was a big fan of a children’s TV show about a family with 6 kids called “The Brady Bunch.”
Check out the TV opening at The Brady Bunch on YouTube
Find out about the 1995 movie (in Japanese) at The Brady Bunch Movie (and check out the movie – it's a bunch of fun!)
There is also a famous cowboy movie called The Wild Bunch. This movie tells the story of a group of aging cowboys. It’s famous for showing that cowboys were dirty and violent—not all heroes in big white hats.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Homestay in the Gold Coast, Australia

Put Yourself in this Picture!
A great way to give your English ability a boost is to do a homestay in another country. My good friend Takumi “Tak” Nakamura organizes homestays in the Gold Coast, Australia, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

A Summertime Christmas Party in the Gold Coast
(That’s Tak wearing the green hat)

Tak’s company, Shaatak Australia, charges about Au $780 a week for a homestay. This includes airport pick up and return by Tak (who is, of course, a Japanese speaker), accommodation with an Australian family, 2 meals a day, and a one-day city tour. Prices vary a little depending on the season and your exact plans.

One of the main advantages of using Tak over most of the bigger companies that organize homestays is that if you have any problems, Tak can quickly solve them for you. For more information, contact Tak directly at You can write to Tak in English or Japanese.

Check out more homestay photos at Shaatack Homestay Australia

Saturday, May 01, 2010

スクールカレンダー & イベント

みなさん、こんにちは!オンライン”スクールカレンダー&お知らせ”のページをアップデイトしました!当月のサービスレッスン日やキッズクラスの日程、祝 日やイベント案内が日本語で確認できます。

当校のホームページ(の “スクールカレンダー”または "生徒のみなさんへ" をクリックして下さい!または直接下記のアドレスへリンクして下さい!(携帯電話からも可能です)

ス クールカレンダー :

生 徒のみなさんへ :

よ ろしくお願いします!