[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

[Easy English Blog] TV appearance

Last week, I was on TV. I was on NHK, the national broadcaster in Japan. The interview was about my book which won the 2020 Language Learner Literature Award.

The show was live, so I was quite nervous! Also, the interview was in Japanese. When the show finished, many people sent me messages to say that they had seen me on TV.

I was nervous about doing the interview, but actually, I enjoyed it. It was a good experience. It was my first time in a TV studio. It was interesting to see the staff working and to watch the announcers. I hope I have the chance to experience it again!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Ice cream van

Do you have ice cream vans in your country? When I was a child, I got excited when I saw the ice cream van. In summer, at around 4 or 5 pm, the ice cream van drove around the streets near my house. It stopped in every street for a few minutes. The van played music, so we could hear it arrive.

My house was in the middle of the street, so the ice cream van always stopped in front of my house. I heard the music and asked my mother for some money to buy ice cream. All the children in the street loved the ice cream van. They all ran to it and bought ice creams.

The ice cream seller had a price list of the different kinds of ice creams on the side of the van. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and choosing an ice cream.

I still remember the music the van played. When I think of it, it reminds me of summer and my childhood. I would love to see the ice cream van again and buy an ice cream!

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

[Easy English Blog] French Extensive Reading

I study Chinese and French, but recently, I have been busy, so I haven’t studied very much. However, I have been practicing extensive reading with an easy French book.

I am studying Part 1 of the book. The story is about two friends called Marc and Julie. Marc is French, and Julie is American. They talk about language and cultural differences. I have read Part 1 many times. Sometimes I forget that I am reading in French.

I tried reading Part 2, which is about French history. It was too difficult for me, so I went back to Part 1.

Extensive reading (reading a lot of easy books or graded readers) is a good study method. I think I will buy more French graded readers. For me, reading is more fun than studying!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] So much rain

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It is the rainy season in Japan. Many places have had heavy rainfall. Some places have had flooding and landslides. The water has destroyed roads, houses and towns. Luckily, my city has not had any disasters. It has just been raining a lot.

Around 14 years ago, my city was flooded. There is a wide river and a large lake in the centre of my city. It rained so much that the river and lake overflowed, and the water flooded into the city centre around the station. Many shops and other places were damaged. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

I hope the rainy season ends soon. I also hope the people in the disaster areas can recover quickly. It seems that every year, the rain causes more and more disasters. The weather is changing. We have more rain, and summers are hotter than before. I am looking forward to the end of the rainy season, but I am not looking forward to the hot summer!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Dog cafe

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The other day, I went to a “dog cafe” with my friend. It was my first time to go to this cafe. Customers can take their dogs into the cafe. There are bowls of water in various places of the cafe for the dogs.

The owner’s dog stays in the cafe. He is very cute. He sat next to me and let me stroke him for a long time. He likes people. He is very quiet and gentle.

I think the cafe is a good idea. People who like dogs can enjoy playing with the owner’s dog while they have a drink. People who are walking their dogs can take a rest and enjoy a cool drink.

There was only one other customer in the cafe when I went. That customer didn’t have a dog, but he is a regular customer. He said that he lives near the cafe and goes nearly every day. He likes to play with the owner’s dog.

When I was playing with the owner’s dog, I remembered the dogs I had when I was a child. I wish I had a dog! If I had a dog, I would be a regular customer at the cafe!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Mexican food

Today’s Easy English Blog post is from Patricia in New Zealand!

Yesterday was a cold, windy and rainy day. We went to Petone to eat lunch. Petone is about 20 minutes drive from our house.

The main shopping street in Petone is called Jackson Street. It has many interesting cafes, bars and restaurants. We like Mexican food, so we went to Viva Mexico.

It was very interesting. The cook and the waitress talked to each other in Spanish. I know a few words in Spanish, but I was pleased that the waitress talked to us in English.

The inside of the restaurant was Mexican style. The backs of the chairs were covered in very bright coloured materials. There were also a lot of cushions. The cushion covers all showed pictures of Frida Kahlo. She was a very famous Mexican artist. She painted many pictures of herself.  She died in 1954.

We ordered enchiladas and empanadas. The food was very good and we enjoyed it.

By Patricia @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] Green smoothies

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In February this year, I started making green smoothies. I make one a day. I wanted to increase my fruit and vegetable intake and become healthier. I enjoy making the smoothies, and they taste great!

This is my recipe: 1 banana, half a carrot, 6-8 spinach leaves, 1 tablespoon of powdered barley grass, 1 tablespoon of powdered kale. I don’t mix it with water. Instead I used 100% fruit and vegetable juice from the supermarket.

I sometimes change the recipe. Sometimes, I add blueberries, pineapple or apple for a different flavour. I enjoy trying different tastes, but I think my basic smoothie recipe above is the best.

How about you? What do you do for your health?

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] A strange year

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We are halfway through 2020. It is turning out to be a strange year. There is a global pandemic, and many countries have been in “lockdown”. This means that people can’t go out freely, and have to stay in their houses.

Here in rural Japan, we didn’t have lockdown. We were advised not to travel to other prefectures, and not to go out at weekends and in the evenings. Many restaurants closed, and started a takeout service. Some shops closed early.

Now, most places are open and operating normally. However, we have to wear masks when we go to public places and clean our hands before we go inside. In some places, like the local community centre, we have to write our name and purpose of our visit on a form near the entrance. At a sports facility I go to, we have to write our name, address, phone number and body temperature on a form before we can go inside.

The city I live in has been lucky. There have only been around 25 cases of COVID-19. I hope there are no more cases. I hope the situation around the world improves. I wonder what the last few months of this strange year will be like….

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press