[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

 

[Short Story] Where is my suitcase?

bird s eye view of ocean during daytime

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Terry lives alone. His parents are dead. He does not have many friends. He does not have a girlfriend.

Terry is going on holiday. He saved money all year. He wants to have a wonderful vacation in Bali. He dreams of sun, adventure and romance.

He goes to a big discount store. He buys a suitcase with wheels and a handle. The suitcase is cheap, so the only choice of colour is black.

On Friday, Terry comes home from work. He packs his bag/suitcase. On Saturday, a taxi will come at 5am to take Terry to the airport.

Terry is very excited. He enjoys the flight very much, but when he arrives in Denpasar it is very late, and he is tired.

It is almost midnight, but it is still so hot! he thinks. He goes to the baggage claim area. Where is my bag?

He sees a black suitcase with wheels and a handle. That’s my bag. I can’t wait to get to my hotel. I can have a shower, and a long sleep.

Terry goes through customs and immigration, and finds the bus for his hotel. He checks into his hotel and goes to his room. It is very nice.

He puts his bag on the bed and opens it. Oh no! Terry is looking at a bag full of bikinis and sundresses and sandals! It’s not my bag! He looks at the luggage label. —M. Stanford I took the wrong bag! What can I do?

He closes the bag and hurries to the elevator. I must go downstairs. I must ask the man on the front desk what to do!

The elevator arrives. Terry hurries into the elevator carrying the black bag. There is a woman in the elevator. She looks very worried.

When the elevator stops on the ground floor, Terry and the woman walk to the front desk. Terry sees that the woman has a black suitcase. There are many bags that look like mine, he thinks. I was not careful at the airport. I didn’t check the luggage label.

At the front desk, Terry and the woman from the elevator start talking at the same time.

“I have the wrong bag,” they say.

“I took the wrong bag from the airport,” says Terry. “I am very sorry. What can I do?”

“I must go back to the airport to find my bag!” says the woman. “This is a man’s bag!”

The man on the front desk laughs.

“Two people with the same problem! What is your name, madam?”

“Mandy Stanford,” answers the woman.

Terry is excited. “I can solve your problem,” he says. “Here is your bag.”

“And your name, Sir?” asks the man at the front desk.

“Terry Wiggin.”

The woman starts to laugh. “I don’t believe it! You have my bag, and I have yours!”

Terry looks at the woman. She is about the same age as Terry. She is very attractive.

Suddenly Terry doesn’t feel tired or hot any more.

“It is a strange way to meet. But would you like to have a drink with me to celebrate,” he says to Mandy.

“I think you should!” says the man on the front desk. “I have to work. Otherwise I would join you.”

“OK,” says Mandy. “It seems that we were meant to meet.”

Terry’s holiday of adventure and romance has just begun!

[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

 

[Short Story]New Year Resolutions

happy new year text

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Andy came with his parents to stay with his grandparents for Christmas.  His father was a doctor and his mother worked in an animal shelter. They had to go back to work at New Year, so Andy was stayed alone with his grandparents for New Year.

On December 31st, his grandmother said. “What is your New Year resolution?”

Andy was seven years old, and he didn’t understand. “New Year what?” he asked his grandmother.

“New Year resolution,” answered his grandmother.

“What is that?” asked Andy.

His grandmother smiled. “Well, you make a promise. You make a promise to yourself, that you will be a better person next year. Maybe you promise you will stop doing something, or maybe you promise you will do something good.”

His grandmother could see that Andy was still puzzled.

“My New Year resolution is that I will walk for an hour every day. I am too lazy. If I walk for an hour every day, my health will be better.”

“And Grandad? What does he plan to do?”

“You must ask him yourself,” said his grandmother.

Andy found his grandfather in the garden. “What is your New Year resolution?” he asked.

“Well,” said his grandfather. “I have two New Year resolutions. I am going to stop buying more roses for the garden because we have too many.  And I am going to get up early every morning, and take your grandmother a cup of tea in bed.”

“Oh,” said Andy. Andy went to his room and thought about New Year resolutions.

I can stop doing something, he thought. Or I can start doing something. What does ‘be a better person’ mean? I think it means to be a happier person.

After breakfast on New Year’s Day, Andy said,” Grandma! Grandad! I thought about New Year resolutions. I have two resolutions. I wrote them down. Here is the paper. You can read it.”

Andy gave the paper to his grandmother and went outside to play.

His grandmother sat down at the table and poured herself another cup of tea.

She read Andy’s New Year resolutions. She laughed a lot. She was laughing so much she couldn’t talk.

“What is it?” asked Andy’s grandfather. “Why are you laughing?”

She gave him the piece of paper, and he laughed too.

“I guess you didn’t explain very well!” he said. “Andy didn’t understand!”

Andy’s New Year resolutions were:

 

Stop cleaning my teeth – cleaning teeth is boring.

              Eat more chocolate – chocolate makes me happy.

 

By 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