[Easy English Blog] Magazines

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Do you buy magazines? Which ones?

I haven’t bought a magazine for years. This is because I get all the information I want and need from the Internet. Also, many magazines have Internet versions, so if I want to read a story, I can usually find it online.

When I was younger, I loved magazines. There was a pop music magazine in the UK called Smash Hits. It came out twice a month. I used to look forward to it coming out and I would go to the newsagents (newspaper and magazine shop) to buy it. I was also interested in Formula 1 racing, so I bought many car magazines.

When I was studying Japanese, I bought Japanese magazines for reading practice. I used to buy Nikkei magazines like Nikkei Woman and Nikkei Business. They were useful for building vocabulary. I also bought a monthly magazine called Nihongo Journal. This was a magazine for learners of Japanese. It had a CD, which I often listened to while I was on the train, or when I was going to sleep. Sometimes I listened to it overnight as I slept. I think I still have the CDs somewhere in my house!

I wonder what will happen to magazines in the future. More and more people are getting their information from the Internet and digital publications. Maybe the day will come when physical magazines don’t exist. What do you think?


[Easy English Blog] Apartments

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Recently I have noticed that there are many new apartment blocks being built in my city. There are already many apartment blocks, so I wonder, do we really need more? Do people prefer to live in an apartment rather than a house? I do, because there are fewer insects high up in apartment buildings! I used to live in an old traditional Japanese house. I often saw spiders and other insects. It was very frightening!

The face of the city is changing. When I first moved here, there were not so many high apartment blocks. Now we can see them everywhere. I wonder what the city will look like when the new apartment blocks have been built. Also, will even more be built? What will the city look like in 20 years’ time? Will there be even more apartments?

The city I live in is a castle town. It has a castle and a beautiful area of old samurai houses. The streets around that area are very traditional. There is also a large lake and mountains around the city. I hope the city can keep its traditional and beautiful scenery, even if many apartment blocks are built.

[Easy English Blog] A cold :(

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I think I’m getting a cold. I have a blocked nose and my throat hurts. It started very suddenly. I was fine in the morning, then in the afternoon I started sneezing. I hate being sick. When I have a cold, I want to sleep until I get better. Unfortunately, I can’t do that, because I have to work. So, I will take some medicine and carry on.

I think I’m lucky, though, because this is my first cold of the year. I haven’t had a cold since last December, which was 11 months ago. I thought I would get a cold though, because everyone around me has had one recently.

Do you know any home remedies for colds?  A home remedy is a treatment for an illness, but the treatment is not medicine. It is like a traditional treatment. A long time ago, someone told me her family’s home remedy for colds. She said that if she caught a cold, she drank cocoa with hot milk and brandy. I have tried this home remedy. It doesn’t get rid of my cold, but it makes me feel warm and comfortable. Maybe I will drink some tonight, and then go to bed early. I hope I feel better soon.


[Easy English Blog] Favourite subjects

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What were your favourite subjects at school? Mine were English, German and Music.

I love languages, so I enjoyed learning German very much. (I don’t remember any German now though!) I also enjoyed English. In English class we often did creative writing. We wrote stories in different genres, poetry and newspaper articles. We learned how to write in different styles. It was fun. We also read many books and wrote about them. I remember my English teacher saying “if you read three books a week, every week, you will get a good score in the final English exam.” Reading was my hobby, so I read three books every week. I was happy to get a good score at the end!

I also enjoyed music. To me, music is a kind of language. I think it is the most universal language. We can communicate our feelings through music. People from different cultures can understand each other through music. I especially enjoyed writing music. Writing stories and writing music were my favourite activities at school.

On the other hand, I didn’t like Science or Maths. I was not very good at Maths. But I was lucky, my best friend was very good at it, so she helped me with my homework. Now, she is a Maths teacher in a high school.

I also enjoyed CDT. CDT was Craft, Design and Technology. We had to design products. I designed a punch bag, a new cassette cover for a band I liked, and a living room. I had fun thinking of different designs.

My school’s specialist subject was performing arts, so all the students studied music and drama. I enjoyed drama class too. Compared to many schools, I think my school was creative. Of course, we studied traditional subjects, like Maths, Science, History and Geography, but we were also encouraged to be creative. I think this is why I chose to become a writer and translator. I’m glad my favourite subjects helped my career.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Camping

man and woman sitting beside bonfire during nigh time

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Do you like camping? One of my friends loves camping. She goes camping every summer with her family. She enjoys staying in a tent. I don’t like it. When I was a child, I had to go camping with the Girl Guides (girl scouts). I hated it.

The reason I hated it was because I am frightened of insects. Our tents had gaps in between the ground sheet and the sides, so all kinds of insects came into the tent at night. There were six of us in a tent. We used to tell each other ghost stories to frighten each other, but I was more frightened of the insects crawling into my sleeping bag.

I think my friend has a good tent. It is sealed, so insects can’t get in. But still, I wonder how safe it is. Of course some campsites are very safe and have good security, but I think I would worry. And of course, I would worry about insects, and in Japan, snakes!

I live in the countryside, so there are many camping spots near where I live. People come from different prefectures, especially from cities, to enjoy camping in the beautiful natural surroundings.

My friend invited me to go camping with her and her family next year. It was very kind of her to ask me, but I don’t think I’ll go. I’m too scared of creepy crawlies! (creepy crawlies = scary insects)

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Christmas decorations

christmas tree with baubles

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When I was a child, my family put Christmas decorations up around two weeks before Christmas. This was normal. Most families who lived near me did this. Nowadays, I hear about people in the UK putting Christmas decorations up after Halloween. This seems early to me. But maybe they want to enjoy the feeling of Christmas for a long time. That’s OK. Each to their own! (Each to their own = everyone is different)

How about shops? I went to a stationery shop the other day. It is already selling Christmas cards. Some shops also have Christmas decorations up. Soon, they will be playing Christmas music. When I was a child, shops usually started playing Christmas music and putting decorations up in early December. I liked this, because we could enjoy the Christmas feeling for a whole month. Now, I think some shops start earlier.

Do you put Christmas decorations up in your house? I don’t put them up in my house in Japan because I go home for Christmas. My family in the UK puts the Christmas tree up and decorates the house before I get home. The only time I visit the UK is at Christmas, so when I think of my home, I always think of it with a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations. It is a nice way to remember my home.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press


[Easy English Blog] Dictionaries

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What kind of dictionary do you use? Paper? Electronic? Or your phone?

For many years, I used paper dictionaries. I had various Japanese-English dictionaries, and I used them every day. They were big and heavy, but they contained a lot of words. When I went to the library to study, I took them with me. Of course, there were dictionaries in the library, but I liked the dictionaries I had. I was used to them, and one of them in particular was good. I still have that dictionary, although I never use it. It reminds me of when I was studying Japanese.

Now, I use an electronic dictionary. It is 11 years old, but I like it. It contains Japanese-English, English-English, and Japanese-Japanese dictionaries, and many other dictionaries which I never use. It also has Kanji tests and memory tests. It is much more convenient to carry around.

Nowadays, I notice that many students don’t have any kind of dictionary. They use their smartphones to look up words on online dictionaries. I also use online dictionaries when I am working or studying at home. I study languages in front of my computer, so it is easier to look up words and phrases on my computer. I am learning Russian and Chinese, but I don’t have a Russian or a Chinese dictionary. If I need to look up a word, I use my computer.

So, I wonder what will happen in the future. Will dictionaries become obsolete? (obsolete = not used anymore)

I wonder if anyone buys paper dictionaries anymore. I wonder if people will gradually stop using electronic dictionaries and just use their phones or their computers. It is certainly more convenient.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press