[Easy English Blog] No snow yet

photography of trees covered with snow

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We usually get snow in this area of Japan in January. So far, it has been quite warm, and there has been no snow. We have very little snow last year too. It only snowed for a few days last winter.

I don’t like the snow. I don’t like driving when the roads are covered with snow and ice. A few years ago, the snow was so heavy it took me an hour to dig my car out of the snow in the mornings. That year had the heaviest snowfall for around 30 years. Once, during that period, I got stuck in the middle of the road and couldn’t move. Someone brought a shovel to help dig my car out. Since then, in winter, I always carry a shovel in my car.

Around ten years ago over the New Year, the snow was so heavy that there were power cuts, and we had no electricity on New Year’s Eve. It was very cold!

Everyone changed their car tires to snow tires at the end of last year. We expect some snow, but at the moment, it is around 9 degrees and there doesn’t seem to be any snow on the way. Maybe we will get some snow in February. I hope it is not heavy like a few years ago.

How about you? Is it snowing where you are?

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Jet lag

white airliner wing on top of sea clouds

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Have you ever had jet lag? It happens when we cross many time zones. I had jet lag from my trip to Europe. It is finally starting to go away. The UK is 9 hours behind Japan, and France is 8 hours behind.

For the first few days after I arrived back in Japan, I felt sleepy in the daytime and awake at night. I tried to stay awake during the day, but sometimes I fell asleep. At night, I read a book until I felt sleepy. I don’t like having jet lag. I can’t concentrate on anything.

I usually get jet lag when I go home to Europe and when I come back to Japan. I usually stay in Europe for two weeks, so once I start to recover from my jet lag in Europe, it is time to come back to Japan, where I have jet lag again!

I am feeling better now. It took me about a week to recover. I enjoy travelling, but I don’t enjoy the few days afterwards!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

 

[Easy English Blog] New Year Resolutions

Do you make New Year resolutions? These are goals or plans for the new year. I make resolutions, but very often I don’t keep them!

My New Year resolutions for 2020 are…

– study Chinese and French every day

-pass 3rd grade on the Chinese HSK test and Pre-2nd grade on the French test

– run at least one half marathon

– exercise every day

– eat less chocolate (maybe impossible!)

How about you? What are your goals for this new year?

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

 

[Easy English Blog] Secret Santa

santa clause figurine

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Do you know about Secret Santa?

Many offices and factories play “Secret Santa” before Christmas. All the workers in the office or factory write their names on a piece of paper. Then, they put the names into a box. Each person takes a piece of paper. They have to buy a present for that person. They wrap the present, and on the day of the Christmas party, they take the present to the office or factory. So, everyone gets one present.

You can read a story about a factory Christmas party and Secret Santa in one of our books. The book is called Christmas Tales.

My family loves buying presents. But families get bigger. People get married and have children – the family grows and grows. It is difficult to think of a present for everyone.

This year, all the small children got a present from everyone, but the adults played Secret Santa. So the adults got just one present from another member of the family.

By Patricia @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Christmas is a long festival

christmas tree with decors under the staircase

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Sometimes when we think about Christmas, we only think about Christmas Day. But the Christmas festival is much longer than that!

Since the beginning of December, I have been hearing Christmas music in all the stores. Some people’s houses have big Santas in their gardens or many Christmas lights. The streets of our city have Christmas lights too. Everything is very colourful.

Christmas parties start early too. Everyone is very busy near December 25th so Christmas parties start in the first week of December. Most workplaces have a Christmas party for their workers. Clubs have Christmas parties too. I have been to a lunch party for my swimming group and another party for my sewing club.

Christmas Day is a family day, so we also try to meet up with friends in the weeks before Christmas. It is a very social time.

It is very difficult for everyone in a family to be together on just one special day, so often people have more than one family party. I cook a special meal on Christmas Eve and then it will be Christmas Day. We call December 26th  Boxing Day. On Boxing Day we go to a family party at a relatives house. Then on December 27th , some family members we didn’t see on Christmas Day or Boxing Day come here.

Perhaps we should stop saying Christmas Day and start saying Christmas month!

By Patricia @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] I don’t know what Americans eat at Christmas

people holding wine glasses

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Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a very important day for family and friends. People travel long distances to be at home for Thanksgiving. Sharing a meal is an important part of Thanksgiving.

One of my American friends told me what she cooked for Thanksgiving this year.

turkey

stuffing

mashed potatoes

gravy

cranberry-orange sauce

5-cup salad

baked apples and carrots

olives

raspberry pie

pumpkin cheesecake

 

That’s a lot of different dishes isn’t it? I thought my friend must be tired after cooking so much. But she said they ate leftovers for the next three days! So she cooked a lot, but then she had a rest.

If you look at the menu – you will see 5-cup salad. My friend has been making this recipe for many years. The first time I ate it, was when my friend and her husband came to visit us in Japan. We had a party so that our visitors could meet some of our Japanese friends.

My friend made 5-cup salad. It was very popular. If you are interested, send us a message and I will ask her for the recipe!

Christmas comes about four weeks after Thanksgiving.

We eat turkey at Christmas. But most Americans eat Turkey at Thanksgiving. So what do Americans eat at Christmas? I don’t know. Do you?

By Patricia @I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Christmas cards

blur bokeh card celebration

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Do you send Christmas cards? If you do, how many do you send? When I was in primary school, I sent cards to everyone in my class. It was a kind of tradition. I can’t remember very well, but when I went to high school, I think I just sent them to my close friends.

Now, I only send cards to my family and one friend. I am in contact with my friends on social media, so we wish each other “Merry Christmas” there. I think people are sending fewer and fewer cards these days.

I buy cards here in Japan. There are really cute ones of small Santas in famous sightseeing places of Japan like Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Izumo Taisha Shrine, or the Buddha at Kamakura. I always buy these cards. There are other more colourful ones of Mt. Fuji and famous places, but I like the Santa cards the best.

I don’t receive many cards, because I don’t send many. But that’s OK. I don’t think we need to send cards to wish each other a Merry Christmas. It’s the thought that counts!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press