Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday, January 07, 2011

Expressions: Damn it's cold!

Damn it's cold today!
Warning, some content is not suitable for young readers.

'It is cold.'
'It is very cold.'
'It is very, very cold.'
These are useful expressions and should be learned by all students. But if you listen to native English we often use other words to mean 'very' or 'very, very'. These words make an idea stronger.

Here are some native ways to make ideas stronger, they are in groups, because some of these words are 'soft' and some are 'rude'.
Warning, some content is not suitable for young readers.

Cute / not offensive:

Gosh it's cold!
Golly it's cold!
Golly gosh it's cold! (very cute)
Gee it's cold!
My it's cold!
My, my it's cold!
Darn it's cold!
Crickey it's cold. (Very Australian)

Stronger: (Some people find these a little bit offensive, but they are OK in many situations.)
Damn it's cold!
Damnation it's cold!
Bloody hell it's cold!
It's bloody cold!
Sweet Jesus it's cold!
Holy mother it's cold!

Strongest: (These are offensive to many, but quite popular between friends or in some social circles.)
Most adult readers will know these words, so I have use * to indicate a letter is missing...sorry kids!
Sh*t it's cold!
F*ck it's cold!
It's f*cking cold!
Holy f*ck it's cold!
F*cking hell it's cold!
Holy f*cking hell it's cold!
Mother f*cker it's cold!

In some social circles the last group is always used, for example when I was in the Army many people used 'f*ck' every time the said anything! But when I was in architecture school, almost nobody said it. My recommendation is to study all the groups, but to use the first group and occasionally the second group. Use the last group very carefully or not at all. One final point: If a non-native person uses 'f*ck' it is often quite funny, not offensive, so do not be afraid to try it sometimes! It is useful English!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Culture: Spring cleaning

It's time for some spring cleaning!
Rubber gloves...usually kept under the kitchen sink!

In Japan, people clean their homes and workplaces at the end of the year.
They wash away the dust and energy of the past year.
It is a way to prepare for the new year.
The end of year clean is a Japanese tradition.

We also have an annual cleaning event.
Annual = Every year / Once a year
Our annual cleaning is called 'spring cleaning'.
Our annual clean out is traditionally during the first warm days of the new year.
The first warm days are in spring.
Spring is the season of sunshine and warmth.
Spring cleaning is popular in cold places.
These days 'spring cleaning' is not always in spring.
Any type of 'big cleaning' is called 'spring cleaning' now.
We can do our spring cleaning at any time of the year.

Example 1:
A. Why are you taking all those things out of the cupboard?
B. I am doing my spring cleaning.
A. Can I give you a hand? = Can I help you?
B. Sure, grab some gloves from the kitchen, under the sink.

Example 2:
A. Can you come home from work early tomorrow?
B. I wish I could, but we are re-organising the office.
A. Really? Why?
B. It's quiet at the moment, so the boss decided it was a good time to do some spring cleaning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Culture: Boxing Day

December 26th is called 'Boxing Day'
A Boxing Day tradition in Australia.
Christmas is December the 25th.
The day after Christmas is 'Boxing Day'.
Boxing day is celebrated in Australia, the U.K., Canada and many other countries.
Boxing day is sometimes celebrated in the U.S.A.
Christmas day is a family day.
Christmas eve is not celebrated in Christian countries.
Children go to sleep early on Christmas eve.
Children wake up early on Christmas day to open their presents.

There is a famous yacht race from Sydney to Hobart, it begins on 'Boxing Day'.
For most Australians Boxing day is a day for relaxing and going to the beach.

12月26日はBoxing day!!

"Boxing day",この言葉を聞いて皆さんは、どんな事を想像しますか?(昨日26日は、まさに亀田三兄弟のボクシングタイトルマッチがありましたが)
実は、イギリスやオーストラリアの諸外国では、25日のクリスマス翌日、12/26にBoxing dayという休日があります。名前の由来はいくつかの説がありますが、プレゼントの箱(Box)を開けることからBoxing dayとも呼ばれているそうです。スポーツのボクシングとは関係ないのですね。

シドニーからホバートまでのヨットレース(Sydney to Hobeart Yacht Race)は、12月26日のボクシングデーに始まるヨットレースで、オーストラリアの夏を彩る代表的なイベントです。
Boxing dayは、ビーチに行ってのんびり過ごしています。

Friday, December 24, 2010

Culture: Have you been a good boy?

Have you been a good girl?
Do you deserve a present? Photo by Rob.
A Christmas eve conversation between a mother and son:
Child: Mum, is it true that Santa only gives presents to good people?
Mum: Yes honey, that's true. Why do you ask?
Child: (Looking very sad) reason.
Mum: Are you sure? You don't sound very sure to me.
Child: see...
Mum: Yes?
Child: Stealing is bad right?
Mum: Oh yes, stealing is VERY bad!
Child: But, it's OK sometimes right?
Mum: No honey, stealing is never good!
(Child starts crying)
Mum: What is it honey? Why are you so upset?
Child: Because daddy said you stole his heart! And that means you're bad and that you won't get any Christmas presents from Santa Claus!
Mum: Oh honey! Daddy didn't mean it that way! He means that he loves me!

She stole my heart. = I love her.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Culture: 'Tis the season to be jolly!

The holiday season is upon us!
Merry Christmas from Prana English!
It is = 'tis
Jolly = Merry = Happy
Santa is jolly. = Santa is a happy guy. (always / usually)
Guy = Man
Merry Christmas = Happy Christmas / Please have a good Christmas.

In Christian countries this time of the year is our biggest holiday.
Most businesses close from Christmas until the first week of January and life is quiet.
In Australia we have a hot, summer Christmas.
We often have a barbecue on Christmas Day.
Many people go to church and pray.
Most Australians go to the beach on Boxing Day (December 26th)
We do not celebrate the 24th of December.
December the 25th is similar to January the 1st for Japanese.
We do not eat fried chicken!
We do not eat sponge cake!
Santa brings presents for good kids.
Santa brings coal for naughty kids.
The presents go under the Christmas tree.
We often eat turkey and pudding on the 25th.

Australians often barbecue prawns (shrimp), lamb chops, steak or fish.
Meat on sticks is also popular.
Traditionally we eat turkey with cranberry sauce.
Christmas cake is fruit cake with thick white icing.
We often eat Christmas cake with custard.
Custard is a sauce made from eggs and milk.
It is high in calories. = It is heart-attack food.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Season: It's time to rug up against the cold!

It's time to rug up!

Winter is here and it is time to keep warm!
Stay warm this winter by wearing heavy, warm clothes. (rug up)
Rug up. = Wear warm clothes
I love winter because it is a good chance to rug up!
Rugging up is a good way to save money on heating bills!
Make sure you rug up before you go outside in the cold!
Extra point: On cold evenings it is great to snuggle into bed!
My duvet is very warm, I like to snuggle it against my face on cold nights!
Snuggle is similar to 'cuddle'.



A. Why is this room so hot?
B. The heater's on, I turned it on a few hours ago.
A. That's a waste of energy! You should rug up against the cold, put a scarf on!
B. I don't like scarves.
A. Well wear a heavier jumper then and a hat!
B. But I'll still be cold!
A. Do some exercise, kill two birds with one stone, you could lose a few pounds! By the way, there is some hot miso soup on the stove, that will warm you up.

A stove is for cooking.
In Japanese English a stove is a heater, for staying warm.
We usually have stovetops on the top of ovens to cook food.
Gas stovetops are popular, and so are electric stovetops.
We use heaters to keep ourselves warm, not stoves!


こないだ、ヨガクラスで気持ち良い汗をかいてきました。気づけば半袖、外との温度差にビックリしました。皆さんも運動後は身体を冷やさないように、着替えて暖かくして外にでましょう。Rug up!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Culture: Japanese love autumn leaves!

I love the autumn leaves!
Heirinji by Rob.

The autumn leaves are beautiful!

さて、そんな美しい紅葉をどんな風に表現しますか? 「美しい」と一言でいっても、英語には様々な表現があるのです。
The autumn leaves are ....
...breathtaking!― 息(breath)を取る(take)するほど美しい。まさに”息をのむほどの”美しさ!
...a sight to behold!―目を見張るほどに! 美しい。んーうっとり。


The leaves are changing colour. (They are changing day by day, now.)

The leaves have changed colour. (They have finished changing, and are good to see.)

The leaves have fallen. (It is too late!)

I love looking at the autumn leaves!
Many Japanese people go to temples or to the countryside to look at the autumn leaves.
The leaves change colour every year in autumn and then fall to the ground.

Note: In British English we say 'autumn' and we spell colour with a 'u'. In American English they say 'fall' and spell color without a 'u'.

A: Have you seen the autumn leaves yet?
B: No I have not, not yet. But I plan to drive to Gunma on the weekend to see them.
A: That sounds wonderful, will you go to an onsen?
B: What's that?
A: It's a Japanese hot spring bath. It is a very popular thing to do in the fall. How about in your country?
B: We enjoy looking at autumn leaves back home too, but we do not make a big event of it.
A: You don't say 'fall'?
B: Well, no, I don't because I was brought up in the U.K. 'fall' is an American English word.
A: I see! Which is better to use?
B: I cannot say which is better! It is your choice! I prefer 'autumn' because it is the way I was taught when I was a child, it sounds more natural to me.
A: I see! Thank you! I learned something new!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Food: Not too spicy thanks!

Bean curry taken by Rob....and eaten by Rob....but not made by case you were wondering...

A native conversation about having lunch:



『I'm a little peckish』

a little hungryなどとも言えますが、このPeckishを使うと、何かちょとつまみたい気分、といったニュアンスを上手く表現出来ます。Peckishは、鳥がくちばしで、食べ物をつまんでいるイメージです。


Tom: Hey Rob, I'm feeling hungry, how about you? (I am hungry, are you hungry Rob?)
Rob: I'm a little peckish I guess. (Yes, a little.)
Tom: Do you wanna grab a quick curry? (Do you want to eat some curry?)
Rob: Yeah sure, know any decent places? (That is a good idea. Do you know a curry shop?)
Tom: There's an Indian joint not far from here, I go there all the time. (Yes, there is an Indian curry shop near here, I often go there.)
Rob: Sounds good! (Let's go!)

At the Indian restaurant:
Staff: What can I get for you? (Can I take your order?)
Tom: I'd like the lunch set with Saag Paneer and naan thanks. (I want the set lunch with spinach curry with cheese and naan bread thank you.)
Rob: I'll get a lunch set with naan too, but can I get the vegetable curry? (Can I have a lunch set too, with vegetable curry?)
Staff: OK, two lunch sets coming right up. (OK, your food will be cooked soon.) How hot do you want it? (How spicy do you want your curry?)
Rob: A little hotter than medium thanks, but not too spicy! (Level 3 from 5 please. More than 'average' but not REALLY hot!)
Tom: Same for me thanks. (Me too!)


Do you wanna grab a quick curry?

・I’m gonna grab my jacket! 「ちょっとジャケット取ってくるね!(急いで取ってくる感じです)」
・Why don't we grab a coffee or something? 「コーヒーか何かでも、軽く飲まない?」
・Let's grab a taxi  「タクシーつかまえよう!」

手に入れるっていう意味での「get 」や「take」に、少し素早さや、軽さを加えた意味のこの単語。

What can I get for you?  ウエイターがよく使います。『何をお持ちしましょう?』

How hot do you want it? 
この場合のhotはspicyと同じ意味で使われています。hotには温度の暑さ                     を表現したり、辛さを表す時にも使われますよ。


Tom Fryer teaching at PranaKids

Rob climbing in Hokkaido

Monday, November 15, 2010

Word Watch: Sur / Sub / Semi

Sur = Above
Sub = Under
Semi = Partly / Half
常識・可能・入場 などなど。
Surface (top)
Submarine (An underwater boat)
Surtitles (words at the top of a page, or a movie.)
Subtitles (words at the bottom of a page, or a movie.)

Subway (An underground train)
Submerge (To put something under water.)
Subfreezing (Below zero degrees)

Superb (Above 'good')
Superior (Above others / better)
Surprise (Above, more than expected)
Surplus (Extra)
Surcharge (Extra cost)

Semi-express (Almost express) 電車で見ますね。Semi-express to Ikebukuro 準急池袋行
Semi-submerged (Half submerged)
Semi-circle (Half a circle)

Many words begin with a 'stem' or 'root'.
The 'root' (or stem) has meaning, similar to the 'radical' of kanji.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Food: I like cake with coffee!

There's nothing better than a freshly brewed cup of coffee!
Taken and drunk by Rob.

Personally I like coffee made in a 'plunger', also called a 'press'. I call this 'French pressed' coffee. The flavour from pressed coffee is rich and full, but not too bitter. I highly recommend it to anybody who likes a mild, yet full flavoured coffee! You must always grind your own beans, and do not use water that is hotter than 90 degrees Celsius!

 brewed coffeeは、インスタントコーヒーとは、違うコーヒー豆の良い香りが漂ってきそうです。コーヒー以外にも、日本茶や紅茶にも使えます。焙煎し、挽き立てのコーヒーは格別ですよね。あのアロマの香りが部屋中に漂って。 んーん、コーヒーが飲みたくなってきました。温度にもこだわりが、90℃のお湯で煎れます。これより熱すぎると、豆を焦がしてしまい、苦味がでますし、これより低い温度では、豆本来の香りがひき立ちません。それから、豆を挽く時も、粗すぎず、細か過ぎないようにね。

I like to drink coffee several times a day.
Coffee goes well with cake.
I grind my own beans with a hand grinder.
Freshly ground coffee beans.
Coffee beans should be ground soon after they are roasted.
The full flavour of coffee is released if the water temperature is about 90 degrees.
Hot water will burn the coffee and make it bitter.
Cold water will not release the flavour.
The beans must be ground to the right consistency, not too coarse, but not too fine!
We have a coffee maker at home.
We put in the beans just before we make the coffee.
Put in / Take out
Pour in some milk. / Pour the milk out of the carton.
Add some sugar. / Put in some sugar.
Stir the coffee.
Pour in some milk.  ミルクをそそぐ。
Add some sugar./ Put in somu sugar. 砂糖を加える。  
Stir the coffee.  コーヒーをかき混ぜる。

Friday, November 05, 2010

Culture: Wagashi are the bomb!

Wagashi are the bomb!
Kamome no Tamago - Special Edition
Photos by Rob.
The bomb! = Great!
The bomb! = I REALLY like it.
AKB48 are the bomb! = I love AKB48

The bomb!=最高!超スゲェ!
ただ、発音に注意して下さいね。 最後の’b’は発音しないで「ジィボーム」 

He is the bomb! = He is great / the best.爆発的にすごい!ってことで、人に使って、一番すごい人!
They're the bomb!
She is the bomb!
She is a bomshell! = She is hot!
She is hot! = She is sexy!
She blows my mind!
Blow up. = Explode.
I love Kamome no Tamago!
Photos by Rob.

Wagashi are really wonderful! Since coming to Japan, I have fallen in love with wagashi! Taking photos of wagashi is one of my many hobbies. I enjoy learning about Japanese culture through wagashi! I love that people can share their experience of travel with their friends and loved ones, by bringing home a wagashi souvenir! Wagashi are the bomb! Thank you all for giving me such wonderful treats! I love Japan!

By the way, can you explain the difference between 'wagashi' and 'yougashi'? How about 'dagashi'?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Culture: Halloween

Photo and cardboard skeleton by Rob.
As today is Halloween I thought it fitting to do a quick blog about the origins of Halloween. Very briefly, the idea of Halloween is to scare away evil spirits that might come at this time of year to eat the food we have kept for winter!


Before Christianity came to Europe people believed that a door opened between the spirit world and our world at this time of year, and that bad spirits came and destroyed our precious crops. To stop this from happening the people decided to look scary, so the spirits would go back to their world. Christians believe in one God, so they did not like this idea, and tried unsuccessfully to stop it several times.
Yes, this is Rob!
Now that's scary! こわっ!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Word Watch: Mono / Uni = 1

MONO = 1
UNI = 1
MULTI = Many

MONO がつくと1つという意味合いが含まれます。

Monobrow by Rob.
もしも片方眉毛を整えている時に剃り落としちゃったなんて事がある場合、片方しかないのでone eyebrowとなります。
そんな時はこのMONO = 1 を使い a monobrow なんて言い方もできます!

Most people have eyebrows. (2 eyebrows, one above each eye)
Look! Rob has only one eyebrow!
Look, Rob has a monobrow!

'monotone' の意味を一色だけ使っていることだと思っている場合が多いのですがもともとの意味は色の事ではないのです。

Many people use 'monotone' to mean '1 colour', this is not traditional!

Monochrome Rob by full colour Rob.
Monotone is a sound! 本当のモノトーン'monotone' の意味は実は音の事をいうのです。音の事って?どういうことかというと。。

She spoke in a monotone voice. のように使えます。

モノトーン'monotone' ではなく、Monochromeを使います。白黒の映画なんて言う時は、Monochromatic filmblack and white films. と言います。

Monochrome = One colour. Usually this means different shades of one colour.
Rob is in monochrome.
I love old black and white films.
Films shot in monochrome are very romantic. (In this sentence 'monochrome' = 'Monochromatic film')

Monotone = A sound that has only 1 pitch.

UNI もまた一つという意味があるものが多いです。なのでUnicyclesは一輪車という意味。とっても上手に乗れる人いますよね。この間池袋で中国からやってきた雑技団の人たちがものすごい高い一輪車に乗っていました。

Unicycles are very popular in Japan.
I have never tried to ride
a unicycle.
a unicycle looks very difficult.
I like my
bicycle. (bi = 2)
bicycle is a mamachari!
She used to ride
a monocycle (= a unicycle) when she was a child.
I saw a professional
unicyclist in Ikebukuro a few years ago.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Word Watch: Multi...

Multi = Multiple / Many

Gotta love the old multi-tool!
Gotta love... = I really like...
'The old' is an expression we use to mean 'my familiar object'

Multi-cultural = Many cultures together
Australia is a multi-cultural country.
Is being multi-cultural the way of the future?

Multi-purpose = Many purposes
My multi-tool is a multi-purpose tool!

Multi-task = To do many tasks at one time
Multi-tasking is dangerous!
People who can multi-task are useful.
Multi-tasking is the reason people do bad work!
People should not multi-task, they should focus on one thing at a time.

My friend is multi-lingual, he can speak English, Japanese, French and Chinese!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Health: Vaccination 予防接種

Trust me...I'm a doctor...


もっともよく使うのはvaccinate で予防接種をするという意味。下記のように受身として“ be vaccinated” と使われます。~予防のため(例えば結核予防や百日咳予防など)予防接種をすると加えたい時は、against tuberculosis(結核予防のため) against whooping cough(百日咳予防のため)と、againstを使います!
ところで最近 密かに結核(tuberculosis)や百日咳(whooping cough)が流行っているとのことご注意を。

I have an eleven month old boy.
He needs to be vaccinated (against diseases). 
He needs to have his vaccination shots (injections).
We took him to the hospital, but he had a fever, so he was not able to have the shots.
We have to take him back this afternoon.

Other words with the same meaning
He needs to be inoculated (against diseases).
He needs his immunization shots.
He needs to be immunized (against diseases).