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<   2010年 09月 ( 9 )   > この月の画像一覧   


Hi chit chatters what's up!!!!!!!
Sorry I didn't write on the blog these days I was very busy.
Now, my baby Chiara is nearly 1 month old. It's not easy being a father. There is a lot of hard work to be done. Chiara is crying a lot these days so she is keeping me and my wife really busy.

Fall has started and with a big "bang" coz it's freezzzzzzzzing. Sapporo is getting colder day by day, and soon snow will start to fall ( ; _ ; ).
So that's it from me for this month
See u at chit chat.

Damian (Malta)

by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-29 19:23 | 子供 英会話 札幌

Learning English   

In the Café I quite often ask our customers if they have any good tricks or tips to learn English (or any other language) efficiently. Certainly, there are many ways to learn, and I guess every one of us has tried plenty of them. I think the point is to find the best ones which fit you right.

Recently, in order to keep up with English I have been watching the American teen drama series 'The O.C'. Although I am not big fan of TV dramas, I enjoyed watching stories about American teenagers from the rich and sunny Newport Beach very much.
And what about the effects on my learning English?
Well, as long as the plot of dramas are usually not very complicated, it is easy to understand the main points of the story even without subtitles, so I recommend to switch off even English subtitles and try to train your listening skill. Then, as long as, in most cases, dramas are addictive and attractive, you will probably watch them regularly and won’t give up before the drama series finish. And, last but not least, the fact that drama series are usually pretty long and continue sometimes for even a few years, will assure you are in touch with English for a long time!
So, lets become a fan of some drama!


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-28 14:53 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌

A stop in Yubari   

Last week I wanted to see if I could ride my bike to Furano in one day. I didn't realize how far it was, and by the time I got to Yubari, it was noon. That means I would have 6 hours to get to Furano before the sun went down, and it was 100km away. I didn't want to take the risk, so I stayed in Yubari.

It reminded me of something from a horror film. The town was bankrupted long ago, so now nobody hardly ever goes there. I think I saw maybe 4 people walking outside. There was an abandoned amusement part that was all rusty, which was really creepy. I went into the tourist building, and the staff member who worked there had been to Canada before, so we chatted for a good while before I went back to Sapporo. Aside from that, it was kind of an uneventful day.

Looking at it optimistically, Yubari is a great town to shoot a horror movie. I highly recommend it.


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-25 14:21 | 英会話 プライベート レッスン

A baseball game at Sapporo Dome   

It's been a long time since I've gone to see a live baseball game. Last time I went was at the Dodger stadium in LA when I was about 13 years old (almost 20 years ago.)

Aside from the fact that beer is way more expensive in the stadium than what you can buy at the store and drink in the comfort of your own home, in my opinion
it's definitely more entertaining watching a live baseball game. Though I have rather fond memories of watching the live game when I was a kid, I must admit that
Japanese baseball is more fun. The way the fans cheer on their team is amazing. In retrospect I think the main draw to going to see a live baseball game was to
see the fans more than the actual game. The coordination the fans display is a sight to see. In addition to that, the stadium is really clean and well kept, which is
very different from how (most?) of the stadiums are in the states.

I kinda lucked out with the game I went to see. The Fighters were down 3 to 1 at the bottom of the 9th and got 3 runs in to take the game. It was really exciting.
I'm generally not much of a spectator. I prefer playing sports, not watching them. But, in this case I'd have to make an exception. I had a blast.


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-23 14:42 | 札幌 英会話 教室 求人

My kanji study - part 2   

Hi everyone, hope you're doing well. It's time for part 2 of my kanji study series. This time I'm going to introduce the software that I've used to help me study all of those kanji.

However, before I start, I have some good news. I finally finished my kanji book! This means that I've now learned the meaning and the writing of 2042 different kanji. It's taken me a lot of effort, but it's been well worth it. I don't think I could have done it without the software. In fact, I know I couldn't, because I tried about six years ago and I gave up halfway through. Then four years ago, I tried some more, and I gave up that time too. But this time, with the software, I managed to keep myself motivated enough to study every day.

The software I've been using is called Anki. The name comes from Japanese, meaning "to memorize". It's open-source, which means that you can get it for free, and that anyone is free to download the source code. You can find it it this website: http://ichi2.net/anki/. You can use Anki to help you learn anything, not just kanji. Just like it says on the website, you can use it to help you remember people's names, to brush up on geography, to study for medical or law exams - and of course, to study English.

Here's how it works. First you need some flashcards. You can either make your own, or download flashcards that other people have made. For studying kanji, I was lucky, because there was already a popular set of flashcards on the Anki website. For my kanji flashcards the "question" on each of the cards was the English meaning plus the reading of the kanji, and the "answer" was the kanji itself. For example:



First, Anki only shows you the question. Then, when you're ready to answer, you press "enter" and Anki shows you the answer. If you know the card really well, you press "4". If you know it quite well, then you press "3". If it is difficult but you still get it right, you press "2". And if you get it wrong, you press "1".

This next part is where the magic happens.

Anki tells you exactly when you should review each flashcard so that you won't forget it. So if you get a question wrong, then you'll see that flashcard again in about 10 minutes' time. If you get it right, then you'll see it less and less frequently. So the first time you get it right, you might see it the next day. The second time you get it right it might be in three days' time. The third time might be nine days time. Then fifteen days, one month, three months, five months... all depending on whether you choose "1", "2", "3", or "4".

I chose to study 33 new kanji flashcards every day. That way I could do almost 100 cards in three days, and I managed to finish all 2042 kanji in my book in about three months. But of course, the more kanji you study a day, the more reviews you will have to do. Some days I had to do more than 200 reviews, which took hours. If you only learn 10 new cards a day, I don't think you would ever have that many reviews.

Of course, if you use this system it means that you have to study every day. If you miss a day, then you'll have to review two days' worth of flashcards. If you don't study for a week, you can get a lot of flashcards at once! Actually, though, this helped me get through all those kanji. I had something pushing me to study every day, and that made the difference between this time and the last two times I tried to learn the kanji.

Maybe there's something that you could use Anki to learn. Go ahead and give it a try.


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-15 16:37 | 英会話 スクール 札幌

Czech traditions "Name Day"   

Few times I have been speaking with many of our customers about a special event we held in Czech Republic. We call this event a name day and it means a day of the year, which corresponds to a personal name (or several names). People celebrate their name day on the date corresponding to their own given name. Such a name day is less important than birthday, but people usually celebrate, and make small parties with family, friends of co-workers. I remember that when I was an elementary school student I always used to bring sweets to the class on my name day, to share it with all classmates and teachers. Everybody does the same, so we enjoyed many sweets many days a year.

In the past, by law, parents were not allowed to choose any other name for a child. This has changed, but it is still common to choose the name from the calendar. The original list was the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, but it has changed a lot, due to reflect the present-day usage of names.
By the way, my name day is 23th of March.


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-14 14:15 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌

Summer holiday is finally over!   

When I was a student in Hong Kong, I wish that the summer holiday never ends. However, when I am a student again in Sapporo, I just hope that the summer holiday ends as soon as possible!

During the 1-month summer holiday, for the first 2 weeks, I travelled to a lot of places in Hokkaido, which was the greatest time I had in Japan. And for the remaining 2 weeks, I decided to have some rest & stay in the dormitory. However, during those last 2 weeks, life was really boring! No study, no homework, no test. Everyday, all I could do is thinking what I should cook for lunch and dinner; go to supermarket to buy the ingredients; watch Japanese drama and animation etc. Every single day seemed to last so long!

Maybe it’s because I used to have busy work in Hong Kong? In Sapporo, I already slow down a lot of to enjoy my student life and enjoy the quiet “holiday year” here. However, summer holiday in my “holiday year”, is really too much for me.

This week, the summer holiday finally ends! I can meet my friendly classmates again and study together. I am sure I will work harder in my study from now on, and won’t complain about the homework anymore!


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-11 12:47 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌

Travelling to Otaru by accident   

Yesterday I didn't plan on spending my day in Otaru. I've already been there and I intended on visiting Shakotan actually. I searched on the internet for any kind of information about going from Sapporo to Shakotan by bicycle, but I couldn't find anything. So, perhaps foolishly I decided I would just try to figure it out on my own. I headed out at 5am because the sun rises very early in Japan.

By the way, I highly recommend biking as early as possible in the summer because the temperature is so much cooler in the morning. So, I set off and made it as far as Yoichi until I reached a dark tunnel. Like some tunnels in Hokkaido (such as the ones between Otaru and Sapporo) there is a pathway on the side for bicycles. However this tunnel was dark, narrow, and had no space or sidewalk for a bicycle. As I stood in front of the tunnel confused, I saw a man also riding on a bike past me. I stopped and asked him if it's possible to get to Shakotan. He told me there were so many tunnels that are only for cars, that it's almost impossible to make it to Shakotan.

I felt like I wasted my time now, that I came more than halfway for nothing. Then the man (turns out he is from Osaka) told me he was riding to Otaru and asked me to join him. Since I had to make some use of my day, I decided to tag along. So, for most of my day I was given quite an extensive tour of Otaru. It's always interesting to be given a tour by a Japanese person because it's like seeing a new city. You see a lot more interesting local shops and areas instead of only what's listed on tourist guidebooks. It was definitely a fun day and I'm glad I ran into such a friendly Osakan (is that a word?).

Anyways, long story short... Don't bike to Shakotan.


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-04 14:19 | 英会話 教師 札幌


This time I would like to share with you the fresh experience from one-day trip to Shakotan. I went there last Saturday (August, 28) and it was my first visit.

I didn’t check anything before going there, so I didn’t expect to see much. …some kind of rocky shore and sky-blue water. All the more I was surprised to find there such a wonderful places like the walking path with the magnificiant view in Kamui Misaki and Shakotan Misaki, and also the hot springs, which offer the open bath with the beautiful view on the wide and eternal sea! Unforgetable memory is watching sunset from the hot spring, that is something really special I cannot experience in many places.

There was only one thing, in Shakotan, which I didn’t enjoyed, - sea urchin. Even though, they were served everywhere, I stayed happy with „zaru soba“.

It seems, that this year summer will be long, Shakotan may be the great place to spend the hot days!!!


by chitchatcafe | 2010-09-01 15:44 | 札幌 英会話 サークル