FLUENT ENGLISH

Let's enjoy English!

今週の大事の話のポイント。。。

"Hello" ~ this is basically the closest to the Japanese "こんにちは" that you can get,
as Good Morning or Good Afternoon etc are so time-specific.

Anyway, hello ~ I hope you are having a nice day today and that you read all of
my points this week, as they are very useful (if you didn't yet, then do go back and
read them as they will assist you in getting to speak better, with more confidence and
in more 'natural sounding' English).

PRACTICE is so very important!
But make sure that you are learning from the right person or right CD etc,
as if you are practicing something that a non-native uses then you'll only pick-up
bad habits which won't help you in the long-run.

Learning grammar helps if you have an English exam but it doesn't help with
conversation fluency.
So remember phrases and use them.
you don't have to memorize whole sentences to be able to make conversation.
Use your feelings and gestures and phrases and "hey presto" you have a conversation
going ...
YOU CAN DO IT ~

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金曜日-TGIF-やったあ~

Let me finish the week with some more useful information to help you ...

5. Study correct material

Everyone knows the phrase "Practice makes perfect" ~ but it is incorrect and far from
the truth!
Practice only makes what you are practicing permanent. If you practice an incorrect
sentence, you will have perfected saying the sentence incorrectly.
Therefore, it is very important that you study material that is commonly used by most
people and learn from a good Native Speaker, in order to learn correctly.

Studying English with a friend who is not a native English speaker is both good and bad ~ you should be aware of the pros and cons of speaking with non native speaking
friends.

Practicing with a non native person will give you good practice.
You can also motivate each other and point out basic mistakes.

** But you might pick up bad habits from one another if you are not sure about what are correct and incorrect sentences. So use these practice times to practice the correct
material you studied, not to learn how to say a sentence. **

In short, study English material that you can trust, that is commonly used, and that is correct. Use these rules with a (depending on your preference) good British or American teacher and they will help you achieve your goal of speaking English fluently.

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今日のポイントが大事のことです。。。

木曜日です ー おはよございます。

4. Submerge yourself

Being able to speak a language is not related to how smart you are.
Anyone can learn how to speak any language ~ this is a proven fact by how many
different countries and languages there are in the world.
Everyone can speak at least one language.
Whether you are intelligent or lacking some brain power, you are able to speak one
language -> Japanese.

This was achieved by being around that language at all times ~ hearing and speaking
it constantly. You will notice that many people who are good English speakers are
the ones who studied in an English speaking school. They can speak English not because
they went to an English speaking school, but because they had an environment where they could be around English speaking people constantly.

There are also some people who study abroad and learn very little.
That is because even though they went to an English speaking school, they found friends from their own country and so didn't use or practice English.

You don't have to go anywhere to become a fluent English speaker. You only need to
surround yourself with English. You can do this by making rules with your existing
friends that you will only speak English.
You can also carry around an iPod or other device and constantly listen to English
sentences.
As you can see, you can achieve results by changing what your surroundings are.
Submerge yourself in English and you will learn several times faster.

Have a terrific day ...

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もお水曜日だー>早いですねえ!

3. Reading and Listening is NOT enough. Practice Speaking what you hear!

Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects of any language.
The same is true for English. However, speaking is the only requirement to be fluent.
It is normal for babies and children to learn speaking first, become fluent, then start reading, and then writing.
So the natural order is 1) listening, 2) speaking, 3) reading, then 4) writing.

First Problem

Isn't it strange that schools across the world teach reading first, then writing, then
listening, and finally speaking?
Although it is different, the main reason is because when you learn a second language,
you need to read material to understand and learn it.
So even though the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing,
the order for ESL students is reading, listening, speaking, then writing.

Second Problem

The reason many people can read and listen is because that's all they practice.
But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practice speaking.
Don't stop at the listening portion -> when you study, don't just listen =>
speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what you hear.
Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it without any effort.
By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.

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次行きます。。。

Learn and study phrases

Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words together to create a proper
sentence. It amazes me how many words some of my students know, but they still cannot
create a proper sentence.
The reason is because they didn't study phrases. When children learn a language, they
learn both words and phrases together.
Similarly, you need to study and learn phrases.

Even if you know 1000 words, you still might not be able to say one correct sentence.
But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences.
If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentences you will
be able to say.
And finally, when you know 1000 phrases or so, you will almost be a fluent English
speaker.

Also, don't translate

When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate the words from Japanese
into English.
The order of words is very different and you will be both slow and incorrect when you
do this.
Instead, learn phrases and sentences so you don't have to think about the words you are saying. Practice as much as possible and then all will become automatic.

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今週の話が大事。。。

Everyday I will give some very helpful points for you - make sure you check-in and read all week ~

1. Don't study grammar too much

This might sound strange to you but it is one of the most important rules; if you want
to pass examinations, then study grammar. However, if you want to become fluent
in English, then you should try to learn English without studying the grammar.

Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you. You will think about the
rules when creating sentences instead of speaking naturally like a native.
Remember that only a small fraction of English speakers know more than 20-30% of all
the grammar rules.
Many Japanese students know more grammar than native speakers - if I need something but don't know it off the top of my head, I can easily look up the definition and apply it.

I often ask my native English friends some grammar questions and only a few of them
know the correct answer.
However, they are fluent in English and can read, speak and communicate effectively.

Do you want to be able to recite the definition of a causative verb, or do you want to
be able to speak English fluently?

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Weekend!

So here we are enjoying another lovely weekend ~ what are you up to - anything fun?
I hope that you had a fabulous week, met some new people ~ perhaps even made a new
friendship, too ~ and were able to use a lot more English than you normally do,
as the more you speak it the better you WILL get...!

Your ability and confidence will definitely improve the more often you hear, repeat and speak English ~ even if it is just a simple "Hello" or "Can I help you?" or
"You look lost, where do you want to go to?" or like I mentioned before;
"Excuse me, do you have the time please?" (make sure they don't see that you are
wearing a watch - ha ha!)

These and other everyday situations are there for you to utilize -> people will feel
happy that you made the effort to talk to them in English.
I can help but the only one that will really make your English better is YOU...

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Today was interesting

I had to say this to someone:
"I'm sorry, but I don't understand. Can you repeat that please?"
It was a gentleman who I held the door open for at the Post Office, he said “Thank you” and then started telling me something very fast in Spanish (not one of my better
languages) and I couldn’t understand anything he was saying.
When he finished we both smiled and laughed, as I did not comprehend a word that he was saying and then we both said “Goodbye”.

The point I am wanting you to understand here is that you don’t have to and won’t
always have a long conversation with everyone ~ just a short pleasant phrase may be
enough.

Just go out there and make that start ~ have a great TGIF ...

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TERRIFIC Thursday

Boy, do I have a good thing for you today ...

Wow, it's TERRIFIC Thursday already ~ isn't time just flying-by this week or what!?!
It must be the wind of the typhoon that is making time go faster ~ who knows!?!

Anyway, anyway, anyway ~ I have one VERY EASY suggestion to get you starting to use
your English more often and without difficulty:

When you see someone, simply give them a compliment ~ "I like your dress",
"That is a cool tie", "You look great in those shoes", "I love your hair",
"That bag is so cute", or simply ask, "Excuse me, do you have the time please?"

THAT'S EASY RIGHT!?!
Saying simple little phases or asking questions like this everyday will get you more
confident in speaking English - - -> just go out and try it ~
nothing changes if nothing changes ~
so go out and try it ~ I T I S E A S Y ~

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水曜日~

It's raining "cats and dogs" here, too!
We don't have a hurricane blowing-through the Florida peninsular right now
(like you have there) but it is pouring cat and dogs (actually it is more like lions
and bears - ha ha)! I hope you are staying dry and not having too many difficulties
with this 'very early typhoon' - quite strange to have something this early in
the season!?!

Anyway, I want to share another example of sharing/caring and opportunities for you to
use your English...

I was in my local Publix supermarket today and there was a lady in an electric chair
that they provide for people with disabilities. Anyway, she had stopped in the aisle
and was reading her shopping list, only to see that the item she wanted was on the top
shelf --> she had that look on her face saying; "No way can I reach that!".
So I went over and simply asked; "Can I help you?" ~ a very easy question.
"Actually yes ~ I'm want some crackers but they are up too high for me."
"These?" I asked ...
"Yes ~ thank you so much!"
"You are very welcome."

WASN'T THAT EASY TO DO!
Little things like that are a great way to practice and get used to speaking more
often, so you won't worry about being shy or nervous ~
visit stores and places where you will see foreigners and JUST DO IT ...
Have a Wonderful Wednesday ~

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Hello to another TERRIFIC Tuesday :-)

Following what I wrote yesterday about speaking more often to more people, in order to (besides being nice to them) help you feel more comfortable with speaking English.
Believe or not (that's up to you ;-) but I am very shy - it is hard for me to start
a conversation with someone but I do like to help people, so ...

When I hold the door open for someone and they smile back at me or say 'thank you',
I may throw in an extra comment of "I like those shoes ~ they look great on you!" とか ~ it wasn't anything special or extra hard for me to say that BUT it made me just
a little more confident in talking to people and it probably made that person smile
alllllllllllll day, as they received a lovely comment.

So step out of your comfort-zone - even if it is only a little bit, as it will help you a LOT - and you will make other people happy, too!!
:-)

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Good morning :-)

I want to welcome you to a wonderful Monday morning ~ I hope you had a terrific weekend and are full of energy to greet the coming week ~

What I will be doing this week, is to share with you and hopefully inspire you to
go out everyday and do the easy thing of simply "helping someone". These actions will
not just be doing nice things for people but YOU will gain a whole lot from them, too ~ ~

Whether that is the small gesture of holding the door open for someone and when they say
"ありがとうございました" you say; "YOU'RE WELCOME", you see a Gaijin who is lost;
"CAN I HELP YOU?" you help with directions etc ... then after they say "Thank you",
you say "YOU'RE WELCOME".
When you see someone, say "GOOD MORNING" with a pleasant smile ~ as doing these little
things everyday (besides being kind to everyone) will give you a tremendous amount of
confidence and overall feeling that I AM OKAY, MY ENGLISH IS PRETTY GOOD and IT'S NOT
THAT HARD => and another very important thing for you to accept; if I make a mistake
here and there, IT IS ALRIGHT!

You will not just be doing kind things and helping others, you will be helping yourself a whole lot more than that!!

Cheerio for now ~

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早い早いモー日曜日ダー! 今日はおもしろいよ・・

Today's travel story/place is actually across-the-ocean from England all the way over
in FLorida, as I will be taking you to the northern-central part of Florida to a place
called "Ocala" -> this is interesting . . .

At the crack-of-dawn today (04:30am to be precise), I left my home to head towards
a town called 'Ocala', as I was going to a special event there.
It is quite a drive (254 miles one-way) and I had the address but no name of the event
location (no hotel or convention centre name etc - NOTHING!) -> I did my due diligence
and wrote down all the details of how to get there that everyone's friend 'Google Maps' told me was the correction location.

Well, upon arrival at the destination-address - in the middle of nowhere I might add - I found myself at the Security Gate (locked by the way) of a private home, of someone
you may have heard of - - ->

JOHN TRAVOLTA!

It turns out that we (75 people) were in a small convention hall that is situated next
to the end of the runway that John Travolta has to land his personal Boeing 707 in his
back garden!

WHAT AN INTERESTING AND UNIQUE GARDEN, WOULDN'T YOU SAY???

Anyway, I thought you would get a tickle out of today's trip.
Have a lovely Sunday ~

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土曜日です~

Good Saturday morning / afternoon / evening, depending on when you are reading today’s
little travel story/suggestions.

Actually, today we are going to take a trip down Heritage Lane to a very olde
(that’s “olde” not old, as it is very ancient and historic in English history) ~

First of all, do you know or have you heard ‘Bath’ -> no, not お風呂 the city of Bath.
But there is a ‘connection’, cause over 2,000 years ago the Romans built natural hot
water baths that were enjoyed by the Celts and Romans.
The English are not used to the wonders of a typical Japanese onsen or rotenburu, as
they normally only use a bath to wash themselves in, and not clean first and then relax in the warm or hot natural mineral waters --> what a shame - ha ha.

Anyway, back to the city of Bath again ~ there is ancient history spot on the map, has
wonderful architecture, fabulous olde baths to visit, great shopping and some delicious dining spots, making it another on my list of “Must Go There” places.
It is in the south-west part of the country, quit a way from London but definitely
a place worth visiting ~

Bye for now ~

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イェス→また金曜日のTGIFです!

Yes, it is another Thank Goodness It’s Friday ~ boy, time flies by quickly.
And while we are on the subject of ‘flying’ and ‘travel’, have a read about this ...

So have you been to one of my favourite places in England that is called,
“Robin Hood’s Bay”? No-one is quite sure how it got that name but it was -
many, many years ago as far as the 1500s - a famous place for contrabands (pirates)
to bring in tea and brandy and wine trying not to have to pay taxes.
The sea-village has a very steep hill with winding lanes that intertwine between the
houses, confusing people and so making it easy to hide things.
Now it is a popular tourist spot, as the houses are beautifully kept and
the sea village is very quaint.

While you are there, drive five miles north to the old, old village of Whitby and see
the spectacular Abbey ruins dating back to 657 AD!

Happy Friday and happy travels ~

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昨日はちょっとビジービジーの日でした~

So to make up for that I will add a little more into today's wonderous travels through
the English countryside ~

HAVE GOT TO go to an olde (not 'old' but "olde" ほんとに古い) English home -
look around but also stay there if you can.
One of the most famous (used in numerous movies) is the Chatsworth House, built in 1549.
The architecture of the home is beautiful and the surrounding gardens etc are just
breath-taking!
These places are spotted all around the country in England, Wales and Scotland and very much worth the time and money to stay at.

Another place I adore, is The Lake District ~ up in the North of England (where I was
born). The home of 'Beatrix Potter' and many writers, as the scenery is so gorgeous
that you want to spend time and more time and more time there.
While in the area you must visit Lake Windermere - the longest/largest natural lake
in England (2 miles long, 1 mile wide and 220 feet deep).

Both places are a 'must see' ~
Come have a lesson with me and we can talk more about the things you like and where you want to go ...

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火曜日が参りました ー> 早いですねえ!

So my friend ~ in today's travel we are going to take a look at one of the most famous
bridges in the world; London's Tower Bridge.
Can you guess the actual age of this bridge that opens and closes at certain times of
the day for taller boats that are making their way along the river Thames?
Most bridges are much newer and therefore taller than the Tower Bridge, so they don't
need to open and close like the Tower Bridge does.

Well, she (actually I don't know if she's a 'she' or a 'he' but that's how I was
taught to say it, so there we are) was built back in 1894!
And the original Victorian Engine Room is still on view to see the master engines that
opened and closed the gates.
Also, up high on the bridge there is a walk-around area that is great to see the sites
around the bridge - a perfect photo-shoot spot!
So there you are ~ part 2 of the UK travel week ~ keep drinking your English tea and
practicing your correct and proper English...

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月曜日が来ました 〜 

So, this week - besides learning some great English phrases - I want to share with you
some of the beauty of the English countryside and a few of her "I've got to go there!"
places...

Today we are going to head-off into the olde ages of STONEHENGE.
This is a great place to visit with it's history dating back to between
2,000 BC ~ 3,000BC when the outer walls were made.
It is quite unusual how the stones were carried and set-up, as some weigh between
20~25 tons, and there were no trucks or cranes back in those days!
Yes, it is definitely one of the spots you do want to visit when you are in the UK ->
if the weather looks good, then try a "Sunset Tour" ~ quite amazing!

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Sunday!

Let's have a nice s l o w and relaxing Sunday ~ time to wind-down after a busy week.
Hopefully you had a fun-filled day yesterday -> did you meet any gaijin and practice
talking with them?
Even if it is only a simple 'Hello' or a 'Nice to meet you', that is better than
nothing and will start to give you more confidence, as your English IS GOOD and you
just need to use it more often.
Be bold ~ a simple "Hello" is where it all starts . . .

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Have Fun!

I hope you are having a stupendous (wonderful) Saturday.
It is about time you had an enjoyable and fun day, especially after a long and busy
week.
How about going to Disneyland for a whole bunch of excitement or a nice drive into
the countryside to spend the day (or a couple) at a relaxing onsen.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you a wonderful weekend ~ and while you are there,
make sure to practice your English when you see some foreigners ~ have fun ...

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Woohoo ~ it's Friday :-) :-) :-)

I guess you can see that I'm happy. Yes, I certainly am and I am sure you are, too!
Finally, FANTASTIC Friday has come around giving us hope that just another day of work
means it will be the weekend very, very soon ...

While I'm here, I wanted to put it by you that you can always message me or email me or have a Trial Lesson to see how I can help you with your conversational English, written English and basically anything that you may need ~ may be a touch-up on phrases for
going away on holiday or when you are inviting your 'gaijin' friends for dinner or may
be you or your kids are going away for a 'home stay'.
Whatever and however, I'm always here to help you ...

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Bright-eyed and busy-tailed

I hope you are feeling "bright-eyed and busy-tailed" today ~
This is an old English phrase going back to the nineteenth century.
It actually originated from the olde-times of fox hunting when a fox looked 'fresh'
or 'tired'. In more modern-day terms, we reference it as follows:

Bright-eyed is obvious and the bushy-tailed is a reference to the tail of a cat, which
fluffs up when the animal becomes excited. The expression means cheerful and lively.
So let's all be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and have a fun day today ...
Cheerio ~

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Hello ~

What a wonderful Diamond Jubilee Celebration for Queen Elizabeth II - many stars
performed for her and thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace all showing respect and gratitude to the Queen.

And to top it all off, we have an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see
the sun and Venus crossing each other today ~ I hope you all get a chance to see that too...
Have a superb day, keep practicing, and keep practicing ;-)

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Poor Prince Phillip

Did you see the news?
The Duke of Edinburgh has been taken to hospital with a bladder infection and will miss the rest of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip, 90, had been taken to the King Edward VII
Hospital in London from Windsor Castle as a 'precautionary measure'.
A spokesman said the Queen would still go to the Jubilee concert at the palace -
being attended by 12,000 people.
The prince will remain in hospital under observation for a few days.
I hope he gets better soon ~

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Good Monday morning to you

I have a mug of my favourite Earl Grey tea here keeping a smile on my face. What things do you like to do to keep a jolly-grin on your face? Do you have any particular song
that you listen to? Share it with me, as I'd love to broaden my musical library ...

Make it an effort to learn just 2 new words everyday ~ those little increments will
build up over time and your knowledge will take a giant step forward ~
bye for now

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やっと日曜日が来ました〜楽しい。。。

There is nothing better than spending a nice s l o w Sunday morning in bed.
I love having Breakfast-In-Bed; good food, good company, time well spent! It is not
just for Sundays but what an enjoyable way to end a long and hectic week.
Yes, someone has to get up and make it (unless you're in a hotel on holiday) but this
is a special tradition will be most appreciated, so get cracking and make you and
someone very happy -> you deserve a Breakfast-In-Bed...

Robin

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It's the weekend ~ YES! :-)

And a very ‘Good Morning’ to you - I hope you’re having a bright start to a fabulous
weekend.

We have been chitty-chatting about London over the past few days, so that put my mind
into ‘question mode’ (as I love to learn things) and I wanted to know more about the
infamous Red London Double-decker Bus and share it with you ...

If you haven’t been to London yet ~ oh, do you have one wonderful future vacation
memory waiting for you! I remember vividly when I visited London as a child for
the first time and jumped-on a moving double-decker, then went upstairs to enjoy
the view as it was an open-top bus ~ WHAT FUN MEMORIES!

Research has it that double-deckers were widely introduced in the 1820s
(even early attempts were built in France as far back as the 17th century).
These early versions were of course pulled by horses and they died a slow-death after
the combustion engine was built.
Various styles and types have been built and used over the years, but the infamous
"Red London Double-decker" as we know it, started in 1954 - model name
the “Routemaster”.
Do make sure you climb on to an open-top double-decker one day ~
you’ll love the experience ...

Cheerio

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TGIF だああ〜 やったぞ ;ー)

A FABULOUS Friday morning to you!
Yes, just a little bit more to get through today and then you'll be ready to have a fun and exciting Friday night that will bring in your weekend ~ what have YOU got planned?

Is anyone getting ready to be a 'June bride'? If so, I would like to give you
my congratulations in advance and hope you have a wonderful Wedding, proceeding
your ever-so-special Honeymoon.

Talking about travel - who is going to London for the Olympics this summer?
And actually for anyone, if you want some help or need a touch-up with
your holiday/travel English, just let me know ~ I'll be glad to help and give you
confidence to get through everything smoothly ~

See you all later ~ cheerio ...

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