The Amazing Race - Nippon Day 1 (Monday): Osaka


Day One (Monday): Osaka

When we were arranging our itinerary, it was very imperative that each person chose one place they would like to see.
Osaka was my choice because of Universal Studios.

nicole usj

I didn't want to go to Kansai region again without visiting this amusement park.
Thus, it was the first thing in our itinerary.

We arrived early morning; even before the park opened (it wasn't so obvious that I was excited, right).
So, we checked in early at the hotel.
I just would like to mention that we got a great deal on the hotel room we booked.

Just imagine, I reserved a family room.
When we went up to the 10th floor where our room was located, the grand view of the harbor greeted us.

nicole hotel view

Next thing I noticed was how big the room was. (Well, maybe I just got so used to staying in a 1K apartment.)
It was really spacious!
They gave us four beds, sofa, table and side tables, plus all the amenities that you get from a resort hotel.
The other thing that excited me was the size of the tub.
It was Western style and size! Sweet, right? (The moment I saw it I was already planning to use it after a day of enjoying the park.)
You would never guess how much we paid for that room.
All I can say is use Hotels.com when you would like to book a hotel for your recreational trips.

We went around the park and tried to ride all the attractions that looked and sounded good.
My sisters and I decided to start with the easy and fun ones, thinking that we might not enjoy the other rides if we were already dizzy.
Mind you, I am not the thrill seeker kind of gal.
I don't thrive on neck-breaking rides and the adrenaline rush it gives us.
Thus, the Hollywood Dream ride was the second to the last one and Jurassic Park was voted to be the last one since we were expecting to get soaked during the ride. (But we didn't.)

Before heading back to our hotel, we waited for the "Magical Starlight Parade."

nicole starlight parade

Seeing floats lighted with hundreds of LED lights made me feel warm inside. (It made me think of the energy shortage we are experiencing in Kanto area.)
As the parade ceased, the last float caught my attention.

nicole wishes come true

It said, "May All Your Wishes Come True."
For my family, it already did.



The Amazing Race - Nippon

As we approach the last leg of our journey, let me share with you what happened during the whole time my whole family was here. I call it the "The Amazing Race - Nippon." To those of you who are familiar with this American reality TV show, you would understand why. But to those who are not so familiar with this show, here's a little clip for you.

Ever since everyone arrived last May 15, we all felt that we were participating in the contest. Each day we had to stick to an itinerary that was so hectic. Why? We wanted to make the most of their trip, that's why. They only had a week so we had to cramp all the things they wanted to see in that duration. Thus, we visited6 prefectures in 6 days. For the next 6 posting, allow me to share with you some of the memorable things that transpired.

The Amazing Race Nippon DCEC


Keep your day job


Characters: N - Nicole Eu - Euneece E - Emery U - Umi S - Shima

It was Golden Week and the DCEC staff were at a farm
in Chichibu having lunch.

E: That was a very satiating meal.
Eu: Oh yes! We even smell like our food.(sniffing her clothes)
S: Now, we're off to make some buckwheat noodles.

At the soba making class, the teacher gave his instructions
in Japanese. Shima and Umi translated them for the others.

N: So, I'm supposed to mix this flour and water just like
when I shampoo my hair? (moving her hands in circles)
U: That's correct. You do that until he says
(pointing to the teacher) you're done.
N: Sounds easy.

After a while...

S: How are you doing there, Nicole?
(looking at Nicole's big steel basin)
N: I have no idea if I'm getting anywhere.
But if this continues longer, I think I would need
to get a back massage later.
Eu: I know! It just looks easy but it's not.

Soba teacher came and told them the dough was good and that
it was ready for rolling.

Eu: Emery, you roll and we will make the sound, "Tan tan tan tan!"
(grinning at Emery)
E: No fair!

As Emery rolled the dough, she created a hole in the dough.

N: Emery! Look at what you did. (pointing at the big hole)

Everyone laughed heartily at the scene.

U/E: Oh no!
S: Here comes the teacher...
Eu: Quick! Patch it up.
(desperately trying to patch up the hole in the dough)

The soba teacher looked at the dough, then to the group and
finally talked to Shima.

N: Was he angry?
E: What did he say? (looking worried)
S: He said it didn't matter how the dough looked like.
It would still taste good.
Eu: Ha ha ha! Such a nice man!

Finally, the teacher demonstrated how to cut the dough.
Nicole, Emery, Umi and Euneece tried their hand at cutting the dough.
As a result, they produced different sizes of noodles.

N: Shima, what do you think? (showing off her well-cut noodles)
S: That's soba! (making Nicole beam)
U: How about mine?
S: Hmmm... let us wait for the teacher's judgement. (teasing Umi)
E: Speak of the devil (stepping aside so that the teacher
could see the noodles the group made)
Soba teacher: Udon desu ka?
Eu: (shaking her head) Fettucine desu!

The soba teacher with the DCEC group laughed their heads off.

N: I guess we have to keep our day jobs.
Eu: And just buy the commercially available soba.
E: Ditto!


★keep your day job - 仕事を続ける
★satiating - 満腹の
★sniff - 嗅ぐ
★off to - ~へ出かける
★No fair! - ずるい!
★laugh heartily - 心から笑う
★Quick! - 速く!
★patch it up - 繕う
★demonstrate - 実演する
★tried their hand - やろうとする、挑戦する
★show off - 目立とうとする
★well-cut - 仕立てのよい
★beam - 顔を輝かせる
★judgement - 判断
★speak of the devil - 噂をすれば影
★step aside - 脇へ退く
★laugh their heads off - 爆笑する
★commercially available - 市販の
★Ditto! - 同じく


登場人物: N - ニコル Eu - ユニース E - エメリー 
      U - ウミ S - 島


E: お腹いっぱいになる食事だったわ。
Eu: ほんとそうね! 食べ物のにおいがするくらい。(自分の服を
S: さて、これから蕎麦を打ちに行くよ。


N: それで、この粉と水をシャンプーする時みたいに混ぜればいい
U: そういうこと。彼がいいって言うまで(先生を示して)やるのよ。
N: 簡単そうじゃない。


S: ニコル、そっちの様子はどうだい?(ニコルのボールを見る)
N: どのくらいやったかわかんない。でもこれ以上続けたら、
Eu: ほんとよ! 簡単そうに見えるけどそうじゃないのよね。


Eu: エメリー、あなたが生地を伸ばして、私たちが「タンタンタン!」
E: ずるーい!


N: エメリー! ちょっと見てみなさいよ。(大きい穴を指し示す)


U/E: あーあ!
S: 先生が来た...
Eu: 早く! 直して。(生地の穴を必死に直そうとする)


N: 先生怒ってた?
E: 何て言ったの?(心配そうに聞く)
S: 生地は見た目がどうでも問題ないって。味には変わりないから。
Eu: ハハハ! いい先生ね!


N: 島さん、どう思う?(うまく切られた麺を見せびらかす)
S: これは蕎麦だね!(ニコルが笑顔になる)
U: 私のはどう?
S: ふーむ。先生の判断を待とう。(ウミをからかう)
E: 噂をすれば影よ。(先生にみんなで作った麺が見えるように、
Soba teacher:(日本語で)うどんですか?


N: 今の仕事を続けたほうがよさそうね。
Eu: そして売っている蕎麦を買う、と。
E: 同じく!



Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder


E - Emery S - Satomi K - Keiko

Inside the classroom.

E: Let’s hope that Keiko will show up today. Let’s hear your
Golden week Satomi.
S: It was far different from my usual holidays.
E: Tell me more.
S: My family decided to spend the holidays in simple ways.
E: Good thing your kids agree with your plan.
S: At first, I was not sure if they would buy the idea but
surprisingly enough they did.
(Emery nods encouraging Satomi to tell more about her holidays. )
S: I prepared special, hearty lunches for them. We went out to
the nearest park and played some sports. At night,
we gathered around our TV to watch some DVDs while
munching popcorn.
E: Nothing beats spending precious time with your family.
S: Yeah, those moments were priceless.

The silence was interrupted by a knock.

E: Must be Keiko.
K: Whew! I am glad I could make it.
(Satomi has not seen Keiko in class for three weeks)
S: Oh, I have a new classmate!
Emery and Satomi put on an act.
E: Satomi, she is your new classmate, Keiko.
(The act continued for some time.)
K: Hey, stop you two!
E: Satomi just missed you badly. She knew that
you had been working your tail off.
S: Keiko, tell us your Golden week.
K: Well, Emery already knew about it as I came here two days
in a row to cover for my absences.
S: Is that so? So this is your third day this week?
I am speechless.
K: As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
E: You really like English that much!


★absence makes the heart grow fonder - 離れていると思いが募る
★far different - 全く(全然)異なる
★tell me more - もっと教えて。
★buy the idea- 案を受け入れる
★surprisingly enough - 意外にも、驚いたことに
★hearty - 心(愛情)のこもった
★munching - ムシャムシャ(モグモグ)食べる
★nothing beats something - ~が一番良い、~は最高だ
★priceless - 値段が付けられないほど高価な(貴重)な、金で買えない(ほどの)
★put on an act - ひと芝居打つ、ふりをする
★work your tail off - 猛烈に(休む間もなく)働く
★cover for - 代理(代わり)をする、埋め合わせる
★speechless - 開いた口が塞がらない、言葉では表せないほどの


E:エメリー  S:サトミ  K:ケイコ


E: 今日こそケイコが現れることを願いましょう。ゴールデンウィークは
S: いつもの休みと全然違ったわ。
E: もっと聞かせて。
S: 家族でシンプルに休みを過ごすと決めたの。
E: 子供たちがその計画に賛同してくれてよかったわね。
S: 最初はその案に賛成するかわからなかったけど、意外にも同意してくれ
S: 子供たちに心をこめた特別ランチを用意したの。いちばん近い公園へ
E: 家族水入らずで過ごす時間は最高よね。
S: ええ、貴重な時間よ。


E: ケイコに違いないわ。
K: ヒュー! 間に合ってよかった。
S: やだ、新しいクラスメートだわ!
E: サトミ、彼女が新しいクラスメートのケイコよ。
K: はい、二人ともそこまで!
E: サトミはあなたにすごく会いたがってたのよ。あなたが休む暇もなく
S: ケイコ、ゴールデンウィークのこと聞かせて。
K: えっと、エメリはもう知ってるのよね。欠席した分の振替で他の日に
S: そうなの? じゃあ今週は今日で3日目? びっくりだわ。
K: 離れていると思いが募るっていうものね。
E: 本当に英語が好きなのね!

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Apple Pectin


Characters: T- Tre E- Euneece

During lunch break…

E: Tre, why are you burning your eyes in the net?
T: Not really. I’m broadening my horizons regarding apples.
E: Apples or Apple, the company?
T: I’m referring to the fruit… I’m digging in about apple pectin.
E: Is that the freestyle lesson topic of your learner?
T: Nope. My brother who is residing in America sent me a bottle of
apple pectin dietary supplement.
E: I see. Let me guess, your brother wants you to get rid of your
spare tires.
T: Hahaha! Smart alec. He is more anxious about the nuclear
fallout than my “excess baggage”. He said that apple pectin
is a good binder for cesium 137. I yearn to know if there
is a grain of truth about it.
E: Really?
T: According to this article (pointing at the computer’s screen)
apple pectin swells to form a gel which acts like a broom to
sweep the entire intestinal tract of waste material and body
fat. And, another article reported that apple pectin reduced
the radioactive cesium load in Chernobyl children.
E: Those are really interesting reports. So what is your verdict?
T: I’ll start my apple pectin regimen tonight. What about you?
E: No need to convince me. I regularly consume apple to keep myself
fit and trim (smiling). Thank you for the insights though.
T: That’s good and you’re welcome.


★burning your eyes - 情熱的な目、情熱など激しい感情によるものが特徴
★broadening my horizon - 視野を広げる
★digging in - 掘り下げる、専念する
★residing - 居住している
★apple pectin - リンゴペクチン
★dietary supplement - 栄養補助食品、ダイエットサプリ
★spare tires - 腰回りのぜい肉
★smart alec - 失礼な人ね。横柄(生意気)なやつだ。
★anxious - 不安
★nuclear fallout - 放射性降下物
★“excess baggage” - 過剰な荷物
★binder - 結合剤
★yearn - 切望する、渇望する
★grain of truth - 一片の真実、ほんの小さな真実
★article - 記事
★intestinal tract - 腸管
★radioactive cesium load - 放射性セシウム負荷
★verdict - 評決、裁定
★consume - 消費する
★fit and trim - 健康で細い
★insights - 見識



登場人物: T- トレ E- ユニース


E: トレ、ネットで何を熱心に見てるの?
T: 別に。アップルに関する視野を広げてるのさ。
E: りんご? それとも会社のアップル?
T: 果物の方だよ。リンゴペクチンについて調べてるんだ。
E: それって生徒のフリースタイルレッスンのトピック?
T: ううん。アメリカに住んでる僕の弟がリンゴペクチンサプリのボトルを
E: へえ。思うに、弟さんはあなたに腰回りのぜい肉を取り除いてほしい
T: ハハハ!失礼な。彼は僕の「過剰なお荷物」より放射性降下物の方を
E: 本当?
T: この記事によれば(モニタ画面を指す)、りんごペクチンはジェル状
E: 本当に興味深い報告ね。それであなたの意見は?
T: 今夜からりんごペクチン療法を始めるよ。きみもどう?
E: 私は大丈夫。スリムで健康的でいるために定期的にリンゴを食べてる
T: それはよかったよ。どういたしまして。



Deserted Narita Airport


Normally, hoards of foreigners rush to come to Japan during summer. However, this year Japan's tourism industry faces a different tune. Instead of seeing an influx of people swarming around and ogling at cherry blossoms, Japan has seen a steady stream of foreigners fleeing.

I was at Narita last April 28 to pick up my family. Yes, they came despite a lot of disapproving looks and concerned advices from friends and relatives. As I have expected, the usually crowded gate A at the arrival lounge was deserted. In my past experiences of picking them up at Narita, this was the easiest one since there were only a handful of people waiting. This was clearly not a good sign for the tourism industry. Despite the hotels' and airlines' efforts to encourage visitors to come to Japan by slashing prices and giving no re-booking fees, people were still apprehensive about coming to Japan.



使える英会話表現がいっぱい DCECメルマガダイアログ "When an oppotunity knocks"



N - Nicole E - Euneece W - Willibee

During their common time...

W: Hey guys, anyone who would like Korean hotpot?
(looking at Nicole and Euneece)
N: Is that the one you posted in Facebook?
W: That's the one!
N: (immediately jumping at the chance) I do!
E: Wow! Without hesitation. (teasing Nicole)
N: Of course! (grinning widely)
In life one should always be ready to grab opportunities.
W: Are those your words of wisdom, Nicole?
N: Nah! I think those are just words of hunger. Ha ha!
E: (peeking at the dish) It looks so appetizing, Willibee.
  (smacking her lips)
W: Thanks! This is a mindless dish.
N: Can I just throw all the ingredients together in a pot?
E: Umm... Nicole, I think it still involves a few more steps.
N: (Nicole making a face at Euneece)
W: This is how you do it. You start with ....
  (explaining the recipe)
E: It's as easy as falling off a log, right? (kidding Nicole)
N: I beg to differ, guys. A recipe with more than four steps
  is not effortless.
I think we have a different kind of definition of "easy"
  when it comes to cooking.
E: Sure we do, Nicole.
Your definition of cooking is heating something in the
microwave oven.
N: What's wrong with that?! (feigning innocence)
E/W: (bursting into laughter) Nothing, Nicole.
Just eat up. (handing Nicole her share)


★hotpot - 鍋
★post - 載せる
★jump at the chance - チャンスに飛びつく
★without hesitation - 躊躇なく
★grab opportunity - 好機をつかむ
★words of wisdom - 名言
★Nah! - 違う!
★hunger - 空腹
★peek - ちらっと見る
★appetizing - 食欲をそそる
★mindless - やみくもな、頭を使わない
★throw - 投入する
★recipe - 作り方
★easy as falling off a log - 極めて簡単な
★I beg to differ. - 同意致しかねます
★effortless - (難しい技能を)楽々と/(楽なことを)楽に
★feign - 装う、ふりをする
★eat up - 食べつくす


N:ニコル E:ユニース W:ウィリビー


W: 韓国鍋食べたい人?(ニコルとユニースを見ながら)
N: それってフェイスブックに載せてたやつのこと?
W: そうそれ!
E: おお! 迷わずね。(ニコルをからかう)
N: もちろんよ!(ニカッと笑う)人生において、常にチャンスを
W: それがニコルの格言なの?
N: いいえ!ただお腹すいたときの言葉だと思う。ハハ!
W: ありがと! 大したことない料理よ。
N: 材料ぜんぶ一緒に鍋に入れてもいいの?
E: う~ん。ニコル、もうちょっと手順があると思うけど。
W: こうやって作るのよ。まず最初に...(作り方を説明する)
E: すごい簡単でしょ?(ニコルをからかう)
N: 同意しかねるわね。4つ以上の手順で作るのは楽じゃないわ。料理に
E: わかってるわよ、ニコル。あなたの料理の定義はレンジでチンするっ
N: それが何か?!(口を拭ってすまし)
E/W: (笑いだして)何でもないわ、ニコル。さ、食べて。