[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]Sleep

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Recently, I have seen newspapers articles about sleep. They say that many people are sleep-deprived. (This means people don’t sleep enough.) The newspaper articles say that we should sleep 7-9 hours every night.

How many hours a night do you sleep? I try to sleep 8 hours a night. If I sleep less than that, I feel sleepy during the day. Sometimes, if I’m busy at work, I sleep less, but even then, I usually sleep for 7 hours.

Most nights, it is easy for me to fall asleep. I read for about half an hour, and then I start to feel sleepy. Sometimes though, if I am reading a good book, I don’t want to stop!

If I have trouble falling asleep, I burn lavender aroma oil. The scent of lavendar is relaxing, and I soon fall asleep.

Some people say that sleeping for 8 hours every night is too much. Someone once told me I was lazy. But I don’t agree. I am much more productive during the day if I sleep well for 8 hours every night.

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Running longer distances

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When I go for a run, I usually run around 10 or 11km. I have been running this distance for a few years. This year, I have decided to increase the distance I can run.

Last week, I ran 15km. It took me an hour and a half. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel so tired when I stopped. I could have run a few more kilometres, but it was getting late, and I had reached my target, so I stopped.

I hope to run 20km some time this month. Over the year, I want to increase the distance I run. I’m not so concerned about my running time. I just want to enjoy running. Maybe in the future I will enter a half marathon, or a full marathon, and think about my time. At the moment, I’m just happy to get outside and do some exercise in the fresh air.

Heather@ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] A present


I received a present from a friend the other day. It is an ornament of a boar. 2019 is the Year of the Boar or Year of the Pig according to the twelve animals of the zodiac. The boar ornament I received has an aroma bag inside. I’m not sure what the scent is, but it smells like incense. I like the smell. It makes my room feel calm and peaceful.

Last year, my friend sent me an ornament of a dog, because it was the Year of the Dog. That ornament also had a nice aroma. I don’t want to throw it away, so I keep it in a box in my closet. If my friend buys me one every year, maybe I will have a large collection of ornaments in my closet!

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Tax season

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It’s tax season again. I have to complete my tax return before the middle of March. I complete my tax return every year, but it is still difficult for me. I am not very good with numbers. Some of the calculations are difficult for me. This year, I am going to start early. I want to start completing the forms in the next few days, so I can do it slowly and carefully.

For the first few years, I asked a friend to help me, but then I realised I must learn to do it by myself. I can’t keep relying on my friend. It is my responsibility. I could ask a tax accountant to do it for me, but I think that is expensive. It doesn’t cost me anything to do it by myself. Well, it doesn’t cost me any money, but it takes time.

When I complete my tax return, I drink a lot of coffee. It keeps me alert. I need to be alert to do the calculations! I’m glad that I only have to do it once a year!

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] New Year parties

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In Japan, many workplaces and groups have end of year parties. I usually miss these because I go back to the UK in mid-December. So when I come back to Japan, in January, I often attend New Year parties.

I went to a New Year party the other week. It was at my friend’s restaurant. My friends and I had a good time eating and drinking. We talked about our goals for the year. This seems to be a common topic at New Year parties. Everyone is enthusiastic and positive, and the atmosphere is good.

I like going to New Year parties. They give me energy and motivation. This year, at the party, we talked about fitness goals. Most of us want to exercise more. I feel like we say this every year. I want to run more, and exercise every morning before I start work. One of my friends is going to join a gym. Another friend wants to do yoga. I hope we can keep to our goals this year.

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press


[Short Story] The Job Interview

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Simon Gatsby is waiting for a job interview. He is wearing his suit. He is very nervous. There is another man in the waiting room. The other man is also wearing a suit. He looks very relaxed. He is playing games on his smartphone.

Simon will finish university soon. He must find a job. He saw an advertisement in the paper. It said —- We are looking for a recent graduate. Exciting position for the right person.—

There was no more information. Simon sent his CV to the address in the advertisement. He got a letter saying he was on the shortlist, and he could have an interview.

It’s very strange, thought Simon. I don’t know anything about this job. I don’t know what this company wants. I don’t know what they would want me to do. How can I give the right answers to their questions?

 A woman comes into the waiting room. “Mr Mellow,” she says. The other man in the waiting room stands up. He follows the woman into another room.

That guy’s name is Mellow, thinks Simon. He looks very confident. If we both want the same job, I am sure he will get it.

Simon waits. After about 10 minutes, the other man comes back to the waiting room. He smiles at Simon and walks out.

The woman comes back into the room and says, “Mr Gatsby?”

Simon follows her to an office. The woman opens the door and says, “Mr Malbeau, this is Mr Gatsby.”

She walks away, and Simon goes into the office. There is only one person in the room.

A very large man is sitting behind a desk. “Sit down,” he says to Simon. He points to a chair in front of the desk.

Simon feels very nervous. “Thank you for giving me this interview…….”

The man starts talking before Simon has finished.  “Now. Do you want this job?”

“I don’t know what it is,” says Simon.

“Why do you want to know what the job is?” asks Mr Malbeau. “You will finish university very soon. You need a job. I will give you a job. What is the problem?”

Simon is very puzzled. “But what do you want me to do? What are the working hours? What about medical insurance? Vacation time?”

Mr Malbeau looks angry. “Medical insurance? Vacations? Do you think I’m crazy? I want someone who will work for me seven days a week. You will do everything I tell you to do. I want someone who will be available 24 hours a day.”

Simon thinks about it. If he wants me to be available to work all the time, he will pay a lot of money. I could pay back my student loans.

 “How much will you pay me?” he asks.

Mr Malbeau tells Simon the salary. It is very, very low. It is less than Simon would get for working in a fast food restaurant for only twenty hours a week. And Mr Malbeau wants him to work seven days a week!

“So, do you want the job or not?” asks Mr Malbeau.

Simon stands up. “No. Thank you, Mr Malbeau. You want a slave. I don’t want to be a slave. Good bye.”

Simon walks out of the office. He walks through the waiting room, and out onto the street.

The man named Mellow is standing in the street. He sees Simon, and walks towards him. “Did you take the job?” he asks Simon.

“No! Of course not. Did you?”

Mellow laughs. “No way. There must be better jobs we can find. I waited to talk to you. I thought you looked like a nice guy. I wanted to tell you to say ‘no’. The man must be mad.”

“Maybe he thinks new graduates will take any job,” said Simon.

“It’s very difficult to find a job, but it would be better to work in a restaurant or a gas station.” Mellow is laughing. “I am sure Mr Malbeau has interviewed many people. I am sure they all said ‘no’. Let’s buy a newspaper and go and get a cup of coffee. We can look for real jobs and help each other.”

Simon feels happy. He doesn’t have a job but he has met a very friendly guy called Mellow. Simon thinks he has made a friend. It was a successful job interview.

[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

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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