[Easy English Blog] A day out

photo of a woman holding shopping bags

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I went on a day trip to Hiroshima the other day. I went by bus. It took around three hours. I took a business Japanese exam while I was in Hiroshima. After the exam, I had about two hours before the bus departed, so I went shopping.

I live in a rural area, so there are not many shops. Of course, we have large shopping centres and a department store, but there are not as many as in the city. It was good to walk around a big city and look in the shops. I bought some skincare products and a calendar for next year.

The bus coming back to my city was full. Most people had many shopping bags. Many people go to Hiroshima for day trips to go shopping. It is our nearest big city.

A few years ago, a new highway was built, so it is easier for us to get to Hiroshima. In the past, we had to use a normal road, and it took a long time – maybe around four hours. Now, the bus takes around three hours and it takes around two and a half hours by car.

I would like to go to Hiroshima more often, but I’m busy with work most days. Still, I enjoyed my day out. The weather was nice and the city was not too crowded.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] I saw you in the paper

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I was in the local newspaper a few weeks ago. We won the 2019 Language Learner Literature Award, so the local paper was interested in our story.

I live in rural Japan, and many people read the local paper. Since I was in the paper, people have been saying “I saw you in the paper!”

I know some of these people. They are neighbours, acquaintances, and clients. But there are some people I don’t know. Some people I have never met see me and say “I saw you in the paper!”

Maybe this is what it is like to be famous!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk PressI Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] School visit

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The other day, I visited a primary school to give a talk to the children about being a writer. The children were 9-10 years old. Many of them were very interested in the job of a writer, and some of them want to be a writer when they are older.

They asked me what they should do if they want to become a writer. I told them to read books and develop their imaginations. They had so many questions that there wasn’t time for me to answer them all.

The school has a special programme. Every month, they invite someone to speak to the children about their job. I think it is a good system. The children can start to think about the job they want in the future, and they can learn about different ways of life.

When I was a child, my school didn’t have a programme like that. We had a careers room with lots of pamphlets about jobs. We could go to the room and learn about jobs. There was a careers advisor who sometimes came to our school. We could talk to her about different jobs. It would have been good if people from the community came to the school and talked about their jobs. It would have been interesting.

I hope the children enjoyed my visit to the school, and I hope it was useful for them. Maybe in the future, some of them will become writers!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] No dogs or cats

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I’m not allowed to have a dog or a cat in the place I live. I really want a dog. When I was a child, my family had dogs. Having a dog in the house is normal for me. We treated our dogs as family members. I enjoyed walking our dogs every day after school.

I have lived in different houses and apartments during my time in Japan. None of the places have allowed cats or dogs. I rent my house. The contract says no pets are allowed, so I can’t get a dog.

Sometimes I think about the type of dog I’d like. I like big dogs. My sister has a Labrador. Maybe a Labrador would be nice. I also like Japanese dogs, like Shiba or Akita. If I had the chance, maybe I would get a Japanese dog. I wonder, what language would I use with the dog? Would I use English? Or Japanese? Or both? Maybe the dog could become bilingual! But this is just a dream. I can’t have a dog.

When I go back to England to visit my family, I look forward to seeing my family, and I also look forward to seeing and playing with their dogs. It is a precious time for me.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Purple sky

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In our city, there is a large lake. We can see the sunset over the lake when the weather is clear. It is a very beautiful spot. Many people come around sunset time to take photographs. Last week, a strong typhoon hit Japan. There wasn’t much damage in our area because the typhoon did not hit us directly.

The day before the typhoon came, I passed the lake just after sunset. I was surprised to see that the sky was purple! I had never seen such a purple sky before!

In the photograph, you can see an island. Usually, this island is not lit up at night, but in October, our city has a “lantern festival”. The area around the castle is lit up with many lanterns. The island on the lake is also lit up during this period. It looks beautiful. When it is lit up, we know that autumn is here.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] In the newspaper

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We were featured in the local newspaper a few days ago. We won the 2019 Language Learner Literature Award in the advanced category, and the Finalist Award in the intermediate category.

The local newspapers heard about this, and asked us if they could write a story about it. Of course we said yes! Our book which won the Finalist Award features ghost stories by a man called Lafcadio Hearn. He was a Greek/Irish writer who lived in our city in the 19th century. He wrote ghost stories. Our book Old Jack’s Ghost Stories from Japan contains six of his most famous stories.

Lafcadio Hearn introduced Japanese culture and Japanese ghost stories to the world over 100 years ago. We hope that our book helps to introduce readers today to Japanese culture and Japanese ghost stories. Here is a link to the book.

by Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Autumn leaf viewing

red and orange autumn leaves on the ground and on trees beside body of water

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There are many places in Shimane where we can enjoy autumn leaf viewing. I hope I have time to go to these places this year. Some of the best places are temples. There is a temple in Yasugi City called “Kiyomizu-dera”. It has the same name as the famous temple in Kyoto. However, the Kiyomizu-dera in Yasugi doesn’t have so many visitors, so the atmosphere is calm and quiet. It is famous for its pagoda and autumn leaves.

There is a temple in Izumo City called Gakuen-ji. This temple is in the mountains. It is surrounded by forest. We have to climb many steps to get to the top of the temple. From the top, we can see beautiful mountains in red, yellow and orange. Many people visit in autumn, but at other times during the year, it is quiet. It is a nice place to visit and think about things. I used to go quite often, but recently, I haven’t had time.

The area around Matsue Castle is also nice in the autumn time. The castle grounds and forest are nice places to stroll around in any season, but for me, autumn is the best. I will try to go this year and take many pictures.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press