[Easy English Blog] How are you spending New Year?

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How are you spending New Year? I think it is difficult to celebrate as normal due to COVID-19. I usually spend New Year in Paris, but this year, I couldn’t travel. So, I am spending it in Japan. I spent New Year in Japan last year too.

In Japan, many people go to shrines and temples at New Year to pray for good health or good luck in the coming year. I am going to go to a temple on 2nd January. The temple is in the mountains. I hope it doesn’t snow.

Last year, I went to a famous shrine in the next city, and prayed for success in exams. I passed a French exam and a Chinese exam this year, so I think my prayers were answered!

What are you going to do?

By Heather at I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] New Year goals

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The New Year is a time when many people make goals. Do you have any goals for 2022? How about English goals? Do you want to improve your English? Or maybe take an exam?

I have some language goals. I am studying Chinese, Korean, French and Russian. I want to pass the HSK5 exam in Chinese, take the TOPIK2 exam in Korean, pass the Pre-1st grade exam in French, and achieve B1 level in Russian. I have a lot of studying to do! I enjoy studying languages, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

I also want to go to the gym more often. Now, I go three times a week. I want to go four times a week. And I want to eat less chocolate…. Maybe that goal is a little difficult to achieve……

How about you?

By Heather at I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Taking language tests

Some of my Chinese books!

I love taking language tests! In June, I took a French test. I took level 3 of the Japanese French exam. Level 3 is quite easy, and I passed.

Two days ago, I took a Chinese tests. I took HSK3. The level is lower intermediate. I didn’t understand some of the questions, but I think I did OK. I will get the results in mid-October.

I enjoy taking language tests for a few reasons. The first reason is motivation. If I have a goal, I study more. If I don’t have a goal, I don’t study as much. The second reason is that I can understand my level. The third reason is that I feel great when I take a test and pass!

Now, I am studying for the Chinese HSK4 exam in April, and the 2nd grade French exam in June. When I have passed those exams, I am going to add another language. Maybe Russian!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Spring is here!

Spring is here! The other day, it was very sunny and warm, so I went for a run along the lake. The sky and water were deep blue. There was a gentle, slightly chilly breeze, but I warmed up as I ran. It was late afternoon and it was a weekday, so there were no other runners about. I ran 10km. I felt tired, but happy when I finished. Running is good for our body and mind. I try to go out running two or three times a week. It depends how busy I am at work. I’d like to go out more often, but I don’t have time. Some of my friends go running every morning at around 5 or 6am. I study languages from 6am to 8am, and then do some exercise at home. When the weather gets nicer, I might start going running in the morning. The lake at sunrise is beautiful.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Plum blossom viewing

A few weeks ago, I went plum blossom viewing. There were only a few trees in bloom. Last weekend, I went plum blossom viewing again. The weather was really nice, and the sky was blue. It was warm. I could feel spring in the air. There were not many people in the park. Maybe people are staying away because of Covid. After plum blossom viewing, I walked through the forest. It was nice in the early morning, and I didn’t see any other people. Here are some photographs from my day.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Early morning run

The weather was nice and spring-like a few days ago, so I got up early and went for a run. I usually run along the lake, but this time, I went running around the castle.

The castle is one of Japan’s few remaining original castles. It was built in 1607. It is a National Treasure. There were no people around, because it was early, and also because of Covid. There are not so many tourists in my city these days.

The air was fresh and cold, but it was sunny. The trees and ground were nice and green. A few weeks ago, everything was covered with snow.

I’m looking forward to spring. I usually go running at sunset, but I think I’ll go out running in the morning more often. The city looks beautiful in the morning light.

By Heather @ I Talk you Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Plum blossoms

The plum blossoms are starting to bloom in my city. Here is a famous Japanese poem about the beautiful plum blossom!

東風 吹かば 匂ひをこせよ 梅の花 主なしとて 春な忘れそ

When the east wind blows

let it send your fragrance,

oh plum blossoms;

although your master is gone,

do not forget the spring.”

Sugawara no Michizane

[Easy English Blog] COVID19

How is the COVID19 situation in your town or city? Here, in rural Japan, it is not so bad. We have had about 200 cases in total in our city. Tokyo has had a lot of cases, but here, there are few people, so the numbers are not very high.

Even so, we take precautions when we go out. We wear masks, and disinfect our hands when we go into shops or other places. There is disinfectant at the entrance of most public places.

Some countries and cities have had a “lockdown”, and people’s movements are restricted. We haven’t had a lockdown in our city. People are living their lives as normal. I went to a cafe for lunch yesterday, and it was full. Some people are avoiding going out at night though. I haven’t been out at night for a long time. We have also been told not to make unnecessary trips to other prefectures. I am looking forward to the day when the world gets back to normal.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] New Year resolutions

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Have you made any New Year resolutions? Many people make resolutions at this time of the year. Some common resolutions are “I will exercise more”, “I will eat healthy food”, “I will study more”.

I make resolutions every year, but I don’t keep them for long! I’m going to try hard this time though. My New Year resolutions are “study French and Chinese more”, “take the French and Chinese tests”, “run a full marathon”, “write more graded readers”. I also want to eat less chocolate, but that might be difficult for me…

How about you? What are your New Year resolutions?

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Easy English Blog] Christmas

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I live in Japan, but I usually spend Christmas in the UK with my family. I have lived in Japan for 20 years. Every year, I go back to the UK for Christmas. However, this year, because of COVID19, I am staying in Japan. It is my first time to spend Christmas in Japan.

I sent Christmas presents to my family, and they sent Christmas presents to me. We are going to chat on Skype on Christmas Day, and we are going to open our presents then. It feels strange being here at this time of the year. The shops are playing Christmas music, and there are Christmas decorations everywhere, but to me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I hope I can go home next Christmas.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press