Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's a Bunyip?

Last night, I was talking to a student (Hi, Yasuyo!) about Japanese actors. She said her favorite Japanese actor was Toshiyuki Nishida.
Toshiyuki Nishida
She was surprised to find out that I used to watch him in the Japanese TV show "Monkey" on Australian TV way back in the early 1980s. My friends & I were huge fans of the show. Pigsy (the character's English name) was our favorite character.
Sandy, Monkey, Tripitaka & Pigsy

You can watch the opening on YouTube here - Monkey Magic

You can also see Pigsy's song in English here - Pigsy's Song

Standing on the left side of the cast photo above is Shiro Kishibe, who played the kappa. His character was called Sandy in the English version of "Monkey."

A Kappa

We have nothing exactly like a kappa in Western cultures. In Europe, the closest thing would be the water nymph. Nymphs are kind of like a fairies that are connected to natural things like water and trees. Nymphs are always female, and usually very beautiful.
A Water Nymph

Australian Aboriginals believe in a kind of kappa called a bunyip. Bunyips live in rivers and waterholes. They hide under the water waiting to catch children who go too close to the water's edge.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rainy Season

Check out this week’s weather forecast from the newspaper! I guess it’s the rainy season in Japan! (The little line of suns on the top right column is Hokkaido; the line on the bottom left, Okinawa. If you live anywhere else in Japan, you had better take an umbrella with you when you go out this week!)

It reminded me of a little children’s song…

Rain, rain, go away.
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play,
So rain, rain, go away!

In English, we have many ways to describe rain…
If it’s only raining a little, just a drop here and there, we say, “It’s spitting.”
If it’s a little heavier, just enough to need an umbrella, we say, “It’s drizzling.”
If it’s just average rain, we say, “It’s raining.”
If it’s much heavier, we say, “It’s pouring.”
When it’s raining really, really heavily, we say, "It’s raining cats and dogs!”
That last expression originated in England 3 or 4 hundred years ago. Back then, cities were much dirtier than they are now. Buildings were very close together, and people threw their kitchen scraps out their windows. Dogs & cats would live off the scraps that piled up between the buildings. When they died, their bodies stayed stuck between the buildings until very strong rains washed them out into the streets. When people passing by saw the bodies, they would jokingly say the bodies had fallen from the sky with the rain.
Over the next week (weeks?!) , try to describe what type of rain it is using one of the expressions above.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Congratulations, Japan! (And I'm not talking about the soccer!)

Imagine playing UFO Catcher with a crane that was 300,000,000 kilometers long and took 20 minutes before it responded to you touching the button. Imagine the prize was information about the very beginning of our galaxy. Imagine that you caught something on your very first try. That's what Japan just did! Congratulations!

On Sunday, the JAXA Hayabusa space probe returned from its 7-year journey to the asteroid Itokawa. Welcome home! You did good!

To find out more, check out the YouTube videos below...

Hayabusa Documentary
(The mission explained In English with Japanese subtitles)

Computer Animation of Hayabusa Mission
(No narration, just music -actually quite beautiful to watch)

NHK Broadcast of Re-entry

NASA Video of Hayabusa Re-entry
(Taken from the air)

JAXA Video of Hayabusa Re-entry
(Taken from the ground)

Mayumi has written a related story on her blog. Go to Mocha Mocha to find out more!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mocha Mocha

I traveled through Europe with my sister in the summer of ’97. On the way home, I met up with Mayumi for 10 days in Thailand (where I proposed to her!). We visited a beautiful beach resort on Ko Samet Island for 3 days. Mayumi tans very easily. While on Ko Samet, Mayumi’s skin turned a beautiful chocolate/coffee brown color. I nick-named her “Mocha.”

Recently, Mayumi started writing a Blog in Japanese on Ameba. She had to choose a name for her Blog. She decided on “モカモカ” (Mocha Mocha). She writes about a variety of things; movies, cooking, her daily life, teaching English, and raising a bi-lingual kid. Her Blog is fun to read! Check it out at

Tuesday, June 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!