[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] Purple sky

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In our city, there is a large lake. We can see the sunset over the lake when the weather is clear. It is a very beautiful spot. Many people come around sunset time to take photographs. Last week, a strong typhoon hit Japan. There wasn’t much damage in our area because the typhoon did not hit us directly.

The day before the typhoon came, I passed the lake just after sunset. I was surprised to see that the sky was purple! I had never seen such a purple sky before!

In the photograph, you can see an island. Usually, this island is not lit up at night, but in October, our city has a “lantern festival”. The area around the castle is lit up with many lanterns. The island on the lake is also lit up during this period. It looks beautiful. When it is lit up, we know that autumn is here.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog] In the newspaper

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We were featured in the local newspaper a few days ago. We won the 2019 Language Learner Literature Award in the advanced category, and the Finalist Award in the intermediate category.

The local newspapers heard about this, and asked us if they could write a story about it. Of course we said yes! Our book which won the Finalist Award features ghost stories by a man called Lafcadio Hearn. He was a Greek/Irish writer who lived in our city in the 19th century. He wrote ghost stories. Our book Old Jack’s Ghost Stories from Japan contains six of his most famous stories.

Lafcadio Hearn introduced Japanese culture and Japanese ghost stories to the world over 100 years ago. We hope that our book helps to introduce readers today to Japanese culture and Japanese ghost stories. Here is a link to the book.

by Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]TikTok

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We joined TikTok a few weeks ago. Do you know it? It is a video sharing app. People post short (usually 15 second) videos with music.

I wondered what kind of videos to post. I decided to post videos of the area of Japan where I live. It is in the countryside, and not many people get to visit it. So, I thought people would enjoy watching these videos. Also, I spend a lot of time in my office. Taking videos gives me a reason to go out more, especially to the scenic spots in my city.

Taking the video is easy. The difficult part is choosing the music. There are so many songs to choose from. For the first few videos I made, I chose classical music and local Japanese folk music. The most famous folk music in this area is called Yasugi Bushi. I like this folk music. I found it on TikTok and used it in some of my videos.

If you are on TikTok, please take a look! Our ID is italkyoutalkpress.

I plan to upload some videos of the autumn scenery in this beautiful area of Japan.

by Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Short Story]The New Neighbours

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Molly lives in a small house in a quiet street.  She bought her house 20 years when it was new. Jim and Iris Waterson bought the house next to Molly’s at the same time. They were good friends and good neighbours for 20 years, but now the Waterson’s townhouse was empty. Jim and Iris have moved to Florida to live near their daughter and grandchildren.

I hope my new neighbours are as nice as Jim and Iris, thought Molly. I will be very upset if some young people buy the house. They will be noisy. They might have children. They might have pets.

A few days later a moving truck parked outside the house next door. Molly stood at the window of her living room and watched.

She saw sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs and beds go into the house. She saw the moving men carry many boxes into the house.  Then she saw a little bicycle. It was pink. A man carried it to the garden behind the house.

Oh no! she thought. A child!

Next the man carried a red bicycle into the garden. It was bigger than the pink bicycle, but it was too small for an adult. Another child! Shouting! Screaming! I don’t want to live next door to children.

Molly looked at her watch. It was time to go to the community centre. Every Friday, there was a concert at the community centre. Gustav Baer played the piano. He played beautiful classical music. He was a very good pianist. When he was younger, he was very famous. He gave concerts all over the world. Now he was retired, but he still liked to play the piano. So he gave free concerts at hospitals and retirement homes and community centres.

Molly put on her coat. She took her bag and went out of her house. She locked the door and hurried down the street. The men were still taking boxes and furniture out of the truck.

I don’t know if I will enjoy the concert today, thought Molly. I am so unhappy. I love my house. I love my quiet street. But now there will be noisy children. Everything will change.

Molly was very surprised when she arrived at the community centre. Gustav Baer was not there. “Mr Baer cannot come today,” the manager of the community centre said to everyone. “He is too busy. He will come next week. Mr Baer’s friend has come. He plays the guitar and he sings. Please enjoy the concert.”

The concert was very nice but Molly thought Mr Baer’s piano playing was better. After the concert she went home. The trucks had gone and it was very quiet.

Before Molly went to bed, she went outside to put some garbage in the garbage bin. It was very dark. There were lights on in the house next door. Molly could hear a piano. The music sounded beautiful. She walked over the fence and looked at the house next door. The lights were on in the house and she could see inside. I guess they have not had time to hang curtains yet, she thought.

She could see many boxes on the floor of the living room. She could see a grand piano, but she could not see who was playing it.

The next day, someone rang the doorbell Molly went to answer it. She was very surprised. Gustav Baer was there.

“Good morning,” he said. “I am your new neighbour.”

“You!” said Molly. “I thought it was a family with children! I saw the bicycles. A pink one and a red one!”

“Oh,” said Mr Baer. “They are my grandchildren’s bicycles. Sometimes they come to visit on Sundays. It is nice for them to have something to do at my house. If they have nothing to do, they get bored and very noisy. Most of the time, there will only be me living there. I’m sorry. It will be very quiet. I think maybe you like to have children and pets next door.”

“Oh, no. No,” said Molly. “Please come in and have a cup of tea! I saw you have no curtains yet. Maybe I can help you. I want you to be happy in your new home.”

[Easy English Blog] Sleepy days

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Everyone I know is feeling sleepy these days. This happens every April. When I see my friends and colleagues, they all say “I can’t get rid of my tiredness.” Everyone looks like they need to sleep more!

April is a busy time in Japan. The new school year starts, and many companies transfer workers to other offices or cities. Adjusting to a new environment and a new schedule is tiring. I think the weather is also a factor. It is getting warmer. I think this makes people feel sleepy too.

I have also been feeling sleepy, especially during the daytime. I try to go to bed early so I can get a good night’s sleep, but I still feel sleepy when I wake up. I feel like this every spring. I hope the feeling passes soon.

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press