Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 22

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking/talking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing dialogues. As for the main textbooks and materials, the Beginner 1 used Training Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc. From Beginners 2 up to Pre-Intermediate 2 used Genki Book 1 was used. The Intermediate 1 used Japanese for Busy People Book 2. Also, I used pictures (including those from tourism magazines of Daily Telegraph etc), many ads especially of Japanese magazines, e.g. Nichigo Press, Jenta, children’s story books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.) Late in each course, every class has to make a dialogue with partners with use of vocab. and grammar introduced in the latest unit introduced.

The Intermediate 1, who finished the course in the middle of last month, went to a Japanese restaurant, Sakae located near to our SLS, for dinner after the exam. In advance, I asked the waitresses to speak to our students in Japanese when we go there. We had a great time there, having lovely food and lots of chats. Unfortunately, the class can’t go on to the Intermediate 2. Three students out of that class were those in senior stages of secondary education. They are not taking Japanese course in their school subjects at the school. They are getting busy for the school and they stopped our Japanese course at this stage (likely for a while).

Regarding news about Japan, I informed my classes the following.

  1. There are wonderful or exciting Japanese films will come to Australia (its major cities) as the event of the 17th Japanese Film Festival. In Sydney, that will be shown at Events Cinemas, George St, from 14.11 – 24.11. Many films are award winning one domestically and even internationally. Very worthwhile to watch for both linguistically and culturally/human and society based learning. More info:
  2. There was the progressive Japan-Australia Summit Meeting in Brunei early last month. The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott had the talk about security, bilateral trade etc. And on the later day, the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited above PM Abe in Tokyo.


Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson


Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 21

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing dialogues. As for the main textbooks and materials, Beginner 1 used Training Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc; from Beginners 2 up to Pre-Intermediate 2 used Genki Book 1; and Intermediate 1 began using Japanese for Busy People Book 2. Also, I used pictures, many ads (esp. of Japanese magazines, e.g. Nichigo Press, Jenta), children’s story books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.)

Late in each course, every class has to make a dialogue with partners with use of vocab. and grammar introduced in the latest unit introduced. Previous Beginners 2 and current Intermediate 1 did well and also some of the students memorized some parts for the performances.

The new class that began this week, Pre-Intermediate 1 has 4 students, who finished Beginners 2 last week, and 2 other students, who were in my course some time ago and had a break and came back to join the class. That was delightful.

The Japan Foundation kindly gave me many video tapes of its library for my teaching (since many daytime schools do not use VCR and borrow such tapes from the Foundation any more). Those tapes include a language teaching (long) series though they are a kind of old ones but the quality of the contents is excellent including the language taught and ways it is taught and presented throughout the series; it is one of my favorites from time when I often used them at a big TAFE in Melbourne. Also, they included many video tapes of children’s, Japanese, well known and beautiful or cute fairy tale stories in Japanese. They are all wonderful resources for teaching the Japanese language (both polite forms and plain forms), culture and values.

Regarding news on Japan, I informed my classes the following.

  1. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 25, originally an article from The Wall Street Journal): The Prime Minister Shinzo Aze’s economic policy (i.e. Abenomikkusu) has been working for Japanese economy, share market and business sectors very well. And the government will raise the sales tax, i.e. from 5% to 8% from April next year. The current economy is growing at an annualized pace of 3.8% from the figure a month ago. That is much bigger percentage than the US and Eurozone. A senior politician and the former Finance Minister, Mr Takeshi Noda commented to The Wall Street Journal that the package will probably include corporate tax relief steps that are aimed at spurring investment as well as raising salaries.
  2. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 16): There is (was) Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom at beautiful and educational Cowra Japanese Garden Festival on 28-29 September for the 24 year’s annual event. There are (were) many activities taken place for the visitors, such as traditional tea ceremony, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), calligraphy, bonsai, kite flying and marshal arts.  (Reported by Susan Kurosawa)


Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson


Important Tips When You are Invited to a Korean friend’s house: Bring a thing!

In Australia, when your friend invited you to a Sunday bbq at home, it is very common that people just bring their BYO drinks. However if you do the same in Korea, people might think that you don’t have a good sense or you are just very stingy.

Here are some tips to act right when a Korean person invites you to a home dinner.

Bring a gift and don’t be stingy

If you were invited to casual home dinner, those gifts do not need to be pricey. Probably you can bring something to eat or drink.

Good items: Cakes (Koreans do not like super sweet cakes. Avoid too heavy, sweet cakes like chocolate mud cake), fruits, ice-cream (not from supermarket but from an ice-cream shops) and quality juice bottles in the box (you can buy them from Korean grocery stores for $10~15), a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers or herb pots. Bad items: a bag of chips plus a bottle of coke (unless you are year1), a bottle of soju (it’s only $1 in Seoul ^^)

Dress to look your best

Even he/she is your very close friend, Korean people think what you wear is reflecting who you are, especially if it is a home party. It is not polite to wear smelly t-shirt and dirty socks (remember, you will take off your shoes.). A clean/ironed outfit plus well-groomed hair/ nice make-up is basic when you are invited to a Korean home party.

Well, do you think that Koreans are too picky? Don’t worry. Once you are in their living room, they will treat you like a prince/princess by awesome foods and drinks.  Enjoy your Korean party!

Ashley (Korean teacher)

Korean Dining Etiquette

As you have learned in the class, politeness is the key feature of Korean culture. Hence we do have many things to be considered when you eat meals with someone. Today, let’s learn some Korean table manners.

Do not start your meal before the oldest person starts

Normally the host of the dinner will introduce you a seat. Do not sit until you are told where to seat. In addition, do not start your meal before the oldest person starts the meal. Please wait for the oldest person to lift their chopsticks and spoons first before you start eating.

Before you eat, say “ 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~~)”

(i.e. I am excited to eat/ will enjoy the meal from now on)

Look at the person who cooked/hosted the dinner and say “잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~)” which means that I am looking forward to eat this meal/ Thanks for your hard work.

Don’t eat too slow/ fast

Always check other people’s speed and try to finish your meal as others.

While you are eating foods

Do not speak too much when you have foods in your mouth. Never blow your nose. It’s good to say compliments about the foods to encourage the person who cooked the meal.

Do not hold your Soup and rice bowls

Unlike many other Asian countries like Japan or China, Korean people do not hold their soup/rice bowls. Put your bowls down on the table and eat slowly by using both chopsticks and a spoon.

Share the Side dishes with other people

We do have many side dishes to be shared. Do not take a certain food item too much even it’s your favourite food. Side dishes are to be shared.


When you drink alcohol with older people, it is polite to turn your head a little bit left/right (about 45degrees).

After you finish your meal, “ 먹었습니다 (jal meogeot seumnida)”

Don’t forget to say “잘 먹었습니다” when you finish your meal. It means “thank you very much for your food, I enjoyed it a lot”.


Ashley (Korean Teacher)

How To Conjugate Korean Adjectives and Verbs With Nouns

Every Korean verb finish with ~다 (da) which shows its identity as a verb when you look for the word from dictionaries. We call it “dictionary form of verb”. However we do not use those dictionary forms in the actual conversation which means that we need to change it into certain forms to make it naturally fit into the conversation.

When you connect adjectives to noun, you should use / – (depends on whether the adjective stem has the final consonants or not). Here are some examples,

다small, 가방 bag                     작은 가방 a small bag

예쁘다pretty, 친구 friend         예쁜 친구 a pretty friend

When you connect verbs to noun, is attached to the verb stems no matter what (does not matter whether the verb stem has the final consonants or not). For example,

좋아하다 like, 색 colour              좋아하는 색 the colour that I like

싫어하다 dislike, 음식 food       싫어하는 음식 the food that I dislike

Please remember that if you could be freely use adjectives in the appropriate contexts, your Korean will be dramatically improved in no time! 한국어 공부 파이팅! :=)


Ashley (Korean teacher)

Design Your Korean Trip With Beautiful Maple Trees

“When is the best season for Korean trip?”

If you are a huge fan of skiing or snowboarding, you might like Korean winter that enables you to see unlimited snow almost every day. If you enjoy watching flowers and eating fresh fruits, you would love Korean spring.

For me, Korean autumn is quite attractive.

Did you know that approximately 70percent of South Korean mainland is mountainous terrain? As a result of the tough terrain and huge difference of minimum and maximum temperatures during autumn season, the autumn leaves in Korea are vividly colored. These beautiful maple leaves attract so many tourists to the major mountains in Korea such as mt. Seorak,  Odae, Naejang and Jiri for about 1.5months from late September until mid-October (The maple season starts from northern mountains sunch as Seoral and Odae and finishes its short journey at southern mountains like mt. Jiri).

If your trip is not enough to see those faraway mountains, you still can see them in Seoul. You can go hiking to Bukansan which is the mountain in Seoul. Although it might be a bit smaller than major mountains, the vivid colours of maple tree leaves would be the same.

**you can visit KTO (Korean Tourism Organisation) website for further information regarding the timetable, maps of the major mountains and etc.

Enjoy your 단풍 구경 (maple trip)!


Ashley (Korean teacher)

10 Most Helpful Tips for Achieving a Better Band Score in Writing

  • Read the questions very carefully. Often the question will ask you to do three or four different things, aside from the main question. Write them down and make sure you address all of them in your answer. The IELTS examiner will be checking for this.
  • Practice writing tasks within the given time limits. It really doesn’t matter if you can write a beautiful answer in two hours. Always recreate the conditions of the exam as closely as possible, when doing any kind of practice exercises.
  • Plan before you write. Even though you feel under pressure for time, spend the first few minutes planning your writing. Decide what you’re going to say and how you’ll expand on it. When you know what to write, you can concentrate on how to write it best. Experiment with the great variety of outlining and mind-mapping techniques to help you sketch out a plan quickly. I’d recommend allocating up to 5 minutes for planning your essay.
  • Write in an organized way. When you’ve planned in advance, you’ll end up with a more organized, logical piece of writing, which will earn you higher marks. There are many ways to be organised – linear, circular, etc. – but in the end the final product must be cohesive which means that there must be a clear flow from the introduction through the body to the conclusion.
  • Stay on topic. You will be penalised if you stray off topic. This is where the initial few minutes of planning can help you a great deal.
  • Divide your writing into paragraphs. It is confusing to be faced with a block of writing, with no divisions. You wouldn’t expect to read a magazine article or book like this. Always divide your writing into paragraphs. Depending on the essay type, two or three paragraphs for the body of your essay.
  • Write clearly. This is not the time or place to experiment with new vocabulary or idioms. Use simple, clear English to get your ideas across in a powerful way.
  • Write legibly. Though marks are not granted or taken away for poor or messy writing, the examiner should be able to read what you have written without undue difficulty.
  • Spell correctly. Yes, this does affect your score so avoid careless mistakes. A careless mistake is when you have spelt the same word in various ways in the same piece of writing or when you misspell a word which is already given in the exam topic and all you have to do is copy it correctly. That’s not okay. Watch for this when you’re practising and resolve to overcome it.
  • Edit your essay. This part is often neglected by students, but it can end up paying out for you. Make sure you don’t just randomly review your essay. Understand your weaknesses and check specifically for them.

10 Tips on How to Approach The IELTS Reading

  1. It would be not advisable to read the whole passage before looking at the questions. We do not enough have time to read the whole passage unless your English is so good and you can read 300 or more words a minute.
  2. Go to the questions first in order to find key words.
  3. Look for synonyms, or words with the same meaning, in the passage.
  4. It is better to do the questions one by one. The most important thing to consider is that the answers to most questions within one set questions will follow the order of the information given in the text, so you will gradually read the whole passage anyway as you find the answers.
  5. Make sure that you fully understand the question which is especially important with TRUE/FALSE/YES/NO/Not Given questions, as in this question type a seemingly insignificant word may determine the final answer.
  6. Once you have identified key words from a question, read around that part of the text properly in order to understand it and get the right answer.
  7. IELTS designers paraphrase certain parts of the passage in order to create the question In other words, they pick up a word or phrase from the passage that they want to test you on, and they make a question using words which have a similar meaning.
  8. Another piece of advice, especially if you understand that you running out of time, is to do easy questions first. In case you got stuck with a difficult question skip it and move on.
  9. Many students get the wrong answer because they think too much! They worry about small differences in meaning. Don’t think too hard about small differences in meanings.
  10. The General Training reading test is a bit different to the Academic test. However, the techniques you need to use to find the answers are the same.

Kakao Talk_ No.1 National messenger in Korea

What kind of smart phone messenger do you use?

You might have experienced that many of your Korean friends do not use What’s app and normally they don’t even have its account. Do you know why?

Many Korean people from primary school kids to elderly people use an app called ‘Kakaotalk’ instead of what’s app. Kakaotalk is a free smartphone messenger (similar to What’s app) which enables users to make group/individual calls, group chats in the common/ individual chat rooms.

When the free messenger has newly developed and released in ios/android markets, only Korean people used it. The company ‘kakao’ CEO and developers had been through huge pressures from the tele-communications companies who were upset by the fact that users did not use their texts and calls anymore because of Kakao’s free texts and call features. Furthermore, Kakao company nearly bankrupted due to the massive loans. But they did not change it to paid app which resulted in them surviving and achieving huge success to gather 90 million users worldwide now.

Kakaotalk is one of the most powerful messenger apps now and the company makes a lot of profit by kakaotalk-based games (such as anipang and cookie run)’ success and marketing campaigns liaised with major telecommunication companies in Korea.

If you are looking for something cute and convenient smartphone messengers, try Kakaotalk. Its’ creative, cute and funny animated emoticons and custom themes, smart features in multimedia sharing will make you a big fan of the app in no time.

By the way, I do not work for Kakao. I am just one of the Kakao power users. 🙂


Ashley (Korean teacher)

Top Destination: Bohol – Part 2

What do you call one of the smallest primate in the world with its eyes heavier than its brain?


Philippine Tarsier

Shy, mysterious and nocturnal animals measuring only between 85 to 160 millimetres in height and which you can place on the palm of your hand is an endemic and endangered specie in the Philippines. The Tarsier Conservation Center in Loboc is the best place to get a close encounter. Be sure to take off the flashes of your cameras and to observe silence as they easily get stressed and “commit sucide” by hitting their heads against objects that crack their thin skulls.



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