[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

black and white book business close up

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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

[Easy English Blog] Sleepy afternoons

cat sleeping

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Do you feel sleepy in the afternoons?

I do. I start working at 7:30am, so by 2:00pm, I am feeling drowsy (drowsy = sleepy). When I feel sleepy, I can’t do any creative work like writing or translating. So, I do mechanical work, like entering data or doing accounts. Sometimes, I will go to the bank or take a rest. But usually, I eat chocolate. This is a bad habit, because I do it every day. It is not good for me, or my teeth, but it gives me a bit of energy.

When I used to work in an office, I always bought chocolate for me and my colleagues. I often felt sleepy around 3-4pm, but of course, in the office, I couldn’t take a nap. So, I ate chocolate and drank coffee and continued working. Now that I work for myself, my day is a bit more flexible.

I feel even sleepier in the afternoons now, because I have started getting up earlier to exercise. I sometimes feel like I am wasting my afternoons when I feel really sleepy and have a nap. However, when I wake up, I feel energized (energized = full of energy), so I can work in the evenings instead.

In some countries, people have siestas in the afternoons. I think this is a good idea. I think I am more productive when I have a rest in the afternoons. But still, I feel guilty for not working. Maybe I need more coffee and more chocolate! 🙂

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Reading time

girl reading book while sitting beside desk globe

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When is your favourite time to read?

My favourite time is at night, before I go to sleep. I love reading in my futon, next to the heater. In fact, this is my favourite time of the day, because reading is my favourite hobby. I read until I feel very sleepy, and then I go to sleep. I fall asleep soon after reading.

I also like to read on Sunday afternoons. I like lying on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a good book. I used to read in coffee shops or in the library, but now, I like the peace and quiet of my house.

I have tried reading in the afternoons, but I don’t feel comfortable. I feel like I should be working instead of reading. So, I stick to my reading times of evenings and Sunday afternoons.

When I was a child, I used to read in the evenings after school. I did my homework and opened a book. I could read for many hours and not get tired. I read many kinds of books – both fiction and non-fiction. I was lucky enough to live near a library, so I never ran out of books to read.

Now, I usually read on my Kindle. So as soon as I’ve finished a book, I start browsing for the next one. I like that I can shop for books from my sofa on Sundays, or my futon at night!

Heather@ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Getting up earlier

man sitting on edge facing sunset

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What time do you get up? What do you do when you get up?

About two weeks ago, I started getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual. I usually get up at 7:00am, but now, I get up at 6:30am.

I use the time to exercise. Last month, I decided to exercise at work. Every hour or so, I stretch or lift some weights. This is fine, but I want to do more. So, in the mornings, I go on my exercise bike for 15 minutes, and then do strength-training exercises and stretching for 15 minutes.

This has two effects. One, it makes me healthier, and two, it makes me feel more awake. When I start working after exercising, I feel like I have more energy. When I used to go running in the mornings, I felt the same way. I should start it again, but it is easier for me to exercise at home. (It is warmer too!)

After exercising, I have a shower, and start work with a cup of coffee. The coffee seems to taste better after exercising.

I keep this schedule from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, I get up at 7:00am. I exercise during the daytime and in the evenings on Saturdays and Sundays, so I skip my morning routine and sleep for an extra 30 minutes.

I hope I can keep up this routine even on cold winter days. It’s getting colder in the mornings now, so I’ll soon find out!

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press


[Easy English Blog]Getting outside

I don’t spend much time outside. I work indoors, so I spend most of time time in a room, sitting at my desk. I like getting out into the fresh air though, especially in this season. I think fresh air and nature are good for the mind. They refresh us, and help us to think more clearly.


My favourite time of the day to go outside is early morning. However, I often feel sleepy in the mornings, so I don’t go out so often. In the mornings, I open the window in my living room and exercise there. I really should go out running. I used to go out early in the mornings. I used to go for a walk or a run around Matsue Castle. I used to go around 6:00am. There were very few people around. It was nice and peaceful, and the air was so fresh and cool!


These are some photos I took a while ago. I got up at 5:30am and went for a walk around Matsue Castle. It was a beautiful morning. I must get up early and go there again!