Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day & Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日)🎌, everyone. As you might know, I’m an English teacher. What you don’t know is I’m a super hero in my free time. Yes, yes, it’s true. And saving the world with the Justice League takes a lot of energy. I need a big Thanksgiving turkey meal. 🦃 So Happy Thanksgiving Day to you all, too! 

John
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Next Big Seed: Shiso Seeds

(Shiso seeds, granola cereal and honey mixed with frozen blueberries and sugar-free, plain yogurt.)

I really miss eating the fresh shiso/perilla leaves that grow in my garden in summer. However, the next best thing is eating shiso seeds (種) in late fall/early winter. Recently (最近), many people have been discovering the health benefits of chia seeds & flax seeds. Pretty soon, you might discover the next best seed: shiso seeds.

John
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Quick! What's in your pockets?


Here’s an easy everyday English challenge for you: Quick! Look in your pockets and describe what you have in them. Let’s see... I have a handkerchief and Chapstick. I know the label says, “Mentholatum - Medicated Lip Stick XD (メンソレータム薬用リップスティックXDd), but in the USA the most popular brand is Chapstick so we call everything that. Easy & educational - That’s English impact! 

John
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Grass Is Always Greener...


You might have heard the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” (隣の芝生は青い). And Monchiくん certainly thinks the water in the dirty blender tastes better than in his water dish (I do make a delicious vegetable smoothie every morning with the blender.) However, life is much more peaceful and healthier when you are satisfied with what you have. Enjoy your life. 

John
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tonami Shogawa Sankyoson Marathon (となみ庄川散居村縦断マラソン)



There are a lot of reasons to run a race as fast as you can. First and foremost, you want to set a PR (Personal Record in the USA) or PB (Personal Best in Japan). I did that in today’s Tonami Half-Marathon! You might also want to finish before the weather gets worse, like it happened in Tonami City today. Or you might just want to eat the free bowl of pork soup (豚汁) ASAP!

John
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Carb Loading before a Half-Marathon


I don’t usually take pictures of my food, but I wanted to show you what carb (炭水化物) loading - or eating a lot of carbohydrates - before a race looks like. There is a half marathon in Tonami City tomorrow, and the weather will most likely be cold and rainy. So I’ll need all the energy I can get if I want to finish in under 1:45. This is lunch - a double serving of yaki-soba or fried noodles with Chinese pot stickers (餃子🥟) and kimchee (キムチ) as side dishes (お菜). 

John
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mashuくん the Sleepyhead


TGIF - Thank God It’s Friday! (花金)! Mashuくん is such a sleepyhead (寝坊助) that it will take him a while to enjoy the day. Too bad cats can’t drink coffee to start the day☕️. 

John
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Skip


I don’t care if your name is even Namie Amuro; if your commercial (CM) is skippable on You Tube or Words with Friends, my favorite game application (app), I’m going to skip you. 

John
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Dear Santa...


Dear Santa Claus in the North Pole (北極), 

Hello! How are you? It’s John in Toyama City. I just want to let you know I’ve been a good boy this year. All I want for Christmas is this green house 🎄🎁. That’s all (以上です).

John
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Forewarned is Forearmed.




The weather forecast (天気情報) says it will snow this Sunday in Toyama City and Tonami City. By unlucky coincidence, I’ll be running my last race of the year in Tonami City on that day. That’s why I was out in the cold, rainy weather this morning running 1.5 km x 4 dashes. “Forewarned is forearmed.” Since I know it will be cold and wet, I’ll be ready for it.

John
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

BYOB


BYOB usually means Bring Your Own Beer (or Beverage [飲み物]) to a party in the USA; in Toyama City, though, it means Bring Your Own Basket (or Bag) to the supermarket. If you don’t, you have to pay ¥5 (of $0.05) for each plastic bag. For a cheapskate (ケチな人) like me, that’s a lot. So I always BYOB , without (抜き) Mashuくん, of course. 

John
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Celebrity Endorsements


Some companies use celebrity endorsements (お墨付き) to sell their products or services. But what if you don’t know the celebrity (芸能人/タレント)? I mean, I hardly ever watch Japanese TV 📺. Then it’s just a weird elderly guy staring at you as you pass a vending machine (自動販売機)...

John
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy Pocky Day!


Today is November 11, or 11/11. In Japan it’s Pocky Day (ポッキープリッツの日 ) so I’m sharing happiness and Pocky candy with my www.englishimpact.com students.

John
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Batman? No, Super Tamaちゃん!



Batman? Is that you? I’m so excited (ドキドキ) to see the new JUSTICE LEAGUE movie which starts Thursday, November 23 here in Japan that I think I see Batman in my living room 🦇... Wait a minute... That isn’t Batman. It’s Super Tamaちん! 

John
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Grow Big & Strong by Eating Mizuna



My mizuna plants (水菜), which are native to Japan, are growing really well now. These leafy vegetables taste great in green smoothies and salads. The problem is, they are too tasty (美味し過ぎ). Can you see the uninvited guest in this picture? Every day I look through the plants several times to find these green caterpillars, which are also growing really well. I hate hungry caterpillars! 🐛

John
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ab Roller


While I myself am a stickler for punctuality (定時制), I understand that students may sometimes be late for my English impact lessons because of work, traffic and so on. So if a student is running late, I kill time by using my ab (腹筋) roller. It’s an easy way to get a little more exercise every day. 

John
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Fall Colors


A Kanto-area English impact Skype student was surprised I wasn’t planning an event or trip to see the leaves change colors (紅葉) 🍁. Well, it’s just when you live in the countryside (田舎), you always see the beauty of nature. It’s part of everyday life.

John
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Single Life


Monchiくん is playing house (飯事をする). By himself. So I guess it’s more like the bachelor (独身) game.

John
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Go (Toyama) Grouses!


It's halftime at the Toyama Grouses vs. the Niigata Albirex BB B. League basketball game. The Grouses are ahead 41 - 19 against their neighboring prefectural rivals. I'm in the nosebleed section (鼻血所), but having a good time. Go Grouses!

John
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Friends don't let friends buy treadmills.


Are you or someone you know thinking about buying a treadmill (ルームランナー)? If so, please think carefully. Will you really use it often for exercise? Or, more likely, to hang up laundry to dry? Why not walk or run outside? It's much cheaper to buy an umbrella and walk in the rain if you're worried about getting wet. ☔️

John
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Happy Culture Day!


Happy Culture Day (文化の日! 🇯🇵 I was doing some deep thinking about what to write for today on my favorite seat 🚽 in my house. I mean, what's Japanese culture? Sushi, green tea and sumo, of course. But I wanted something more personal. Then it hit me (分かた)‼️ I needed more toilet paper. So I rode my Japanese-style bike (ママチャリ) to the drug store and got some. And that is Japanese culture to me!

John
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Doctors turn blue when persimmons turn red.


You might be thinking, 'Those can't be orange trees 🍊! Toyama is too cold to grow oranges.' And you'd be right! They're not oranges; they're persimmons (柿). There's an old Japanese saying (ことわざ) that doctors turn blue (悲し) when persimmons turn red (柿が赤くなると医者が青くなる) because they are so healthy. So enjoy them now and make your doctor sad.

John
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Yes! Halloween is over!


The best part of Halloween? That's easy. A yummy "treat" - pumpkin-flavored rice cakes - from a student!😋 The second best part? Putting away (片付ける) the decorations for another year! Yes!

John
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Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween 🎃! Do you believe in ghosts 👻 ? I don't. We say, "Seeing is believing," and I have never seen a ghost. However, monsters (怪獣) come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Look at this monster we call a venus flytrap (ハエトリソウ). Isn't it scary (怖い)?

John
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Have a RICE day! - Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate




I'm sure there are many sore (痛い) runners after yesterday's Toyama Marathon. (And hopefully not too many sick runners and volunteers from being in the rain). One idea to help your sore muscles (筋肉痛) is by RICE. No, not the food. ❌🍚❌. I mean, Rest Ice Compress & Elevate. These actions can help you recover more quickly. Need ideas on how to rest? Check out my cats; they are natural-born resters. And they never eat rice.

John
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Close but no Cigar in the 2017 Toyama Marathon


"Close but no cigar... (惜しい)" That's how I feel about finishing the 2017 Toyama Marathon in 4:06:49. I really wanted to run a sub-4:00 race, but my pace was a little too slow. On the bright side, I set a personal record (ベスト) and didn't get any leg cramps (痙攣). So I don't get the "cigar" but I'll treat myself to some ice cream🍦 as a reward (ご褒美). Oh, and I'm in the newspaper picture. Can you find me? 

John
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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pre-Toyama Marathon Jitters (緊張)




It's the night before the Toyama Marathon. Should I be nervous (緊張) about finishing it? Well, not really. This is my third time to run it so I know what to expect. Should I have butterflies in my stomach (緊張) because it'll probably be raining all 42.195 km/26.22 miles? Well, not really because I practiced running in the rain many times. Should I have a case of the nerves (緊張) because I really want to run a sub-4:00 marathon for the first time? Now that's a good question!

John
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Friday, October 27, 2017

Mummies!


"Help me, Mommy (岡さん). I'm scared of the mummies!" Some elementary school students and I made a small army of mummies (木乃伊) as a Halloween craft. Speaking of mummies, which did you like better, the 1999 Brendan Frazier movie (called ハムナプトラ in Japan) or this summer's Tom Cruise reboot?

John
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

The End of Marathon Training


I can't believe it's over. Another five months of marathon training has come to an end. The Toyama Marathon is on Sunday, and even though there are still two more days until Sunday, the rest is all downhill (簡単). Am I ready to run a sub-4:00 hour race? We'll have to wait and see. I'd like to think this white heron (白鷺) I saw was a lucky omen (縁起). 

John
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Touch your toes!


Mashuくん can do it. Tamaちゃん can do it, too. Even I can touch my toes while keeping my knees straight. How about you? Do you have the flexibility to do it? If not, please try stretching for just five minutes a day. But don't overdo it (やり過ぎ). I don't want you to throw your back out (ギックリ腰).

John
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Daily Vacuuming


This is a vacuum cleaner (掃除機). It can also be used in a verb (動詞) form like, "I vacuum (掃除機する) the floor." However the most important lesson about vacuuming is that it should be done a little every day!

John
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Crazy Cat!


"Tamaちゃん, what are you doing?!? Get down from that air controller (エアコン)!" This morning's heavy rain and howling winds from a passing typhoon (台風) were driving my cats crazy! Fortunately, she came down safely; it's now just sprinkling (小雨); and we can all relax a little. 

John
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Running in the Rain


The hardest part of running in the rain? It's always the first step (第一歩). After that, it's a piece of cake (とても簡単). By the way (ところで), the Toyama Marathon is one week from today. That means an easy week of tapering or shorter runs before the big race. 

John
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Saturday, October 21, 2017

How do you take your coffee?


Coffee is back on the menu at English impact, and I couldn't be happier. ☕️😋. I make a mean (美味しい) cappuccino and cafe latte, too. How do you take your coffee? Black? With sugar? With cream (ミルク)? How about cinnamon? There's even stirrers (マドラー) for your convenience. Talk to me in English.... over a cup of coffee. 

John
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sugar-Free Yogurt (with Mashuくん)



Mashuくん and I both love yogurt for breakfast - plain, sugar-free (無糖) yogurt. (Well, actually I like mine with frozen blueberries from Costco, chia seeds, granola cereal and honey. But don't tell Mashuくん that. He's already spoiled -ワガママ.) He loves to lick up (舐める) the leftover yogurt.

John
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