Raindrops on plum blossoms. Spring is here.
Raindrops on plum blossoms. Spring is here.
Last year, a student gave me a weeping plum blossom tree. It is called “shidare ume” in Japanese. When I received it, it was in full bloom, with beautiful deep pink blossoms. The blossoms lasted around two weeks, and then leaves grew.
I had never looked after a tree before, so I looked on the Internet for ways to take care of it. I found a site which said that I had to cut the branches, soon after the blossoms disappear, so I did that. The site also said I should use fertilizer. I did that too. And I waited. I watered it in summer, and brought it inside when typhoons came. In winter it became buried under the snow, but seemed to be OK, so I left it outside.
For a year I wondered, “Will it blossom? Have I done everything right?” Then, a few weeks ago, small pink buds started to appear. Then one blossom opened, and then others started to open! I must have done something right! The only problem I have is that the branches didn’t grow longer. Maybe I cut them too short. Anyway, here it is! My weeping plum blossom tree!
We started writing and publishing graded readers to help English learners improve their English. We believe reading is an essential part of language learning. It is also good for maintaining one’s ability and level. So, we like to practice what we preach! (Practice what you preach = Do the thing which you advise other people to do).
One of my favourite Japanese writers is Seicho Matsumoto. I have decided to spend 2018 reading as many of his books as I can in Japanese. So far, this year I have read two of his books – Ten to Sen and Tensai Ga no Onna. A few years ago I read Suna no Utsuwa, and enjoyed it very much. Now I’m choosing the next of his books to read.
I like Seicho Matsumoto’s books because I enjoy reading mysteries and detective stories. But I also like the darkness in his books. His books give an insight into society in a realistic way. He combines mystery with social realism. Also, I think his way of writing is easy to understand. There is a lot of repetition in his books, which makes them easy to follow.
Many of his books have been translated into English. Why not try one of his books in English? Or, if you are studying Japanese, why not try one of his books in Japanese? I’m sure you will enjoy it!
We had very heavy snow in Japan this year. The week before last, we had 40 cm of snow! The temperature during the daytime was around 1 to 2 degrees, so the snow didn’t melt very much. It stayed on the ground for a long time. Every morning I woke up and saw that it had snowed again during the night.
At night, the roads became very icy and slippery. The snow was cleared from the main roads, but the back roads were bad. Even with new snow tires, my car slid across the road!
In many countries and regions, 40 cm of snow is not a lot. People are used to dealing with it and clearing it away so it doesn’t affect daily life too much. In this area of Japan, people are not so used to it, so it caused problems. On the day when the snowfall was the heaviest, there were traffic jams for many kilometres, and many people gave up trying to drive, and walked for hours to get home from work.
I spent every morning outside, shovelling snow. It was hard, but a great way to keep warm! This week, the weather has been quite mild. I hope this is the beginning of spring.
We established I Talk You Talk Press five years ago today. The five years have passed by very quickly!
We have enjoyed writing and publishing our graded readers, and we are always delighted to receive feedback from the people who buy and read our books.
We would like to thank everyone who has chosen our books and taken the time to read them. We plan to publish many more graded readers and hope that you enjoy reading those too!
A BIG thank you from all of us at I Talk You Talk Press!
Another year has almost passed! At I Talk You Talk Press we have spent the year planning our future graded readers. Although we haven’t published any new material this year, we have been working hard! We hope to make our new work available in 2018.
We would like to thank all of our readers who bought our books this year. We hope you enjoyed them. We look forward to providing you with much more next year.
Happy holidays from all of us at I Talk You Talk Press!
I love going to the beach in spring in Japan. Even on beautiful sunny days, it is empty! I feel like I have my own private beach. Why are there no other people here? Well, it is not yet “beach season” in Japan. Most people here wait until July, after the rainy season, to go to the beach. During that time, the beaches are packed (crowded) with people enjoying the sun and the sea. There are usually stalls (outdoor shops) selling ice cream, drinks and flavoured shaved ice.
The beach season does not last long. It usually ends around mid to late August. This is when jellyfish start to show up on the shore…
But until the season starts, I will make the most of (take advantage of) the peace and quiet, and enjoy running and walking on my own private beach!