1.  Where are the governesses when the earthquake hit?
  a.  They are at home.
  b.  Probably they are in the office in Omiya.
  c.  The are in Disneyland.

2.  Who is not yet used to the earthquake?
  a.  Patricia
  b.  Mr. Sasaki
  c.  a learner in DCEC

3.  What is unexceptional in Japan?
  a.  Panicking and shouting are not usual in Japan.
  b.  Going out of the room is unexceptional.
  c.  Earthquakes are usual in Japan.

4.  Why does Julita look so pale?
  a.  She was sick and needed to go home.
  b.  Julita was having an aftermath.
  c.  She was angry with Patricia for shouting.

 Characters: A - Aya; J - Julita; S - Shima; P - Patricia
 ~during an earthquake in Omiya.

 P:  Oh, my God!  An earthquake!  (holds on to her desk)
 S:  Relax.  It doesn’t seem to be strong.
 J:  Patricia is still not used to earthquakes because she's
     only been in Japan for a few years.
     Don't worry, it is unexceptional here.
    (another shake)
 J:  (grabs her cell phone and hides under her desk)
 W:  Are you okay, Julita?
    (after a few seconds)
 J:  (returns to her chair) I'm fine. Just a little afraid, that's
    (Aya returned from her break.)
 I:  I'm back.  (to Julita)  You look so pale, what happened?
 W:  She's having an aftermath.

 Useful and humorous expressions

 ★Oh, my God!
  めに使う言葉。Oh God!とも使う。
  E.g. Oh God, I can't believe he did such things.

 ★unexceptional here
  E.g. Ramen shops are unexceptional in Japan.

 ★so pale
  E.g.  You look so pale.  Are you okay?
        No. I feel chilly.

  E.g.  Several people got sick in the aftermath of the accident.


 登場人物:A - アヤ; J - ジュリーター; S - 島、P - パトリシア




Keeping my fingers crossed


E: Emery   H: Hiro   K: Keiko   T: Taka

During a usual free chat.

E: (to Hiro) You look so beat.
H: Setting the next fiscal year's budget is quite
   perplexing.  Can’t wait for it to be over.
K: Same goes with my husband. March is one of the
   busiest months of the year.
E: Anything that keeps you busy, Keiko?
K: Meetings with the other moms of my son’s class.
   We are working on their graduation album as a
   simple keepsake for them.
T: Oh, your son is graduating from elementary.
K: Graduation is a milestone not only for graduates
   but also for us parents (in a proud tone).
T: You are perfectly right.
H: (to Taka) How was your TOEIC test last Saturday?
T: Argh. I wanted to forget that!
K: When’s the result out?
T: Two weeks from now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed
   for a high score. It is important to me.
E: I guess March is full of significant events in our
   lives and companies. For DCEC, March is our
H: That reminds me of DCEC’s “On Cloud 9” event.
   Emery, I am sorry I have to pass this time
   (with a pleading look).
E: OK (with a glum face).  You’ll miss out the fun but
   I do understand.
K: Don’t be sad Emery. I’ll be able to come.
   Plus, I’ll be tagging my son along.
E: (face brightened) That’s great! (turning to Taka)
   and you Taka?
T: Can I answer next week? Have to check with my
   girlfriend first. I might ask her to come too.
E: OK, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for your ‘yes’.
   I’ll probably need Hiro and Keiko’s fingers too.

Hiro and Keiko showed their crossed fingers to Taka.


★keep someone’s fingers crossed -
★beat - 疲れ切って、へとへとで、くたくた
★fiscal year - 会計年度
★perplexing - 当惑(混乱)させる、理解しにくい
★same goes - ~も同様の
★work on - ~に取り組む
★keepsake - 記念の品、思い出の品
★milestone -
★argh -(驚き・苦痛・怒りなどを表して)アーッ
★significant - 重要な、意義深い、大きな影響を与える
★on cloud 9 - 至福の状態で
★pass - やめておく、遠慮する
★pleading - 訴えるような
★glum - 浮かない顔の、落胆した
★miss out - (チャンス・楽しいことなどを)逃す、見逃す
★tag someone along - ~を連れていく

Questions :

1.What do Hiro and Keiko’s husband working on their companies?
  a.They are working on a big project.
  b.They are working on a new product launch.
  c.They are working on their company’s fiscal year budget.

2. What does Keiko consider as a milestone in her life?
  a. Graduation
  b. Passing the examination
  c. Winning a lottery

3. What’s the theme of DCEC’s 9th anniversary event?
  a. A magic show
  b. On cloud 9
  c. A night out


E: エミリー   H: ヒロ   K: ケイコ   T: タカ


H: 次の会計年度の予算をたてるのにかなりまごついていて、早く
K: 私の夫も同じことをやっているわ。3月は1年でもっとも忙しい
E: 他にも忙しいことある、ケイコ?
K: 息子のクラスのママさんたちとのミーティングよ。
T: へぇー、息子さんは小学校を卒業するんだね。
K: 卒業式は卒業生だけじゃなく、私たち親たちにとってもひとつ
T: 全くもってその通り。
H: (タカへ) 先週の土曜日のTOEICテストはどうだったの?
T: あー、忘れたかったのにー!
K: 結果はいつわかるの?
T: 今から2週間後。ぼくにとって重要だから、高得点取れるよう
E: 3月には私たちの生活の中や会社で重要なイベントがいっぱい
H: そういえばDCECの「On Cloud 9(幸せでいっぱいの)」イベント。
E: わかったわ。(浮かない顔で)出られなくて残念だけど仕方ない
K: そうがっかりしないで、エメリー。私は出席できるわ。
T: 来週返事してもいいかな?彼女に聞いてみないと。一緒に来る
E: 了解。「イエス」の返事が聞けるよう祈ってるわ。ヒロとケイコ




Looking Back...


Today marks the one year anniversary of that very scary Friday that no one in Japan will ever forget. That fateful day has changed the lives of the people I know here.  Below is a post I uploaded three days after the earthquake and the tsunami hit the Tohoku area. Even after a year, I still remember how I felt at that time.


It has been three days after the earthquake and every now and then, we are still experiencing aftershocks.  In plain language, I haven't slept well in the last three days.  How could I when my apartment sways with each and every jolt?  It is as if it's practicing its dance routine for the next episode of Fox TV show "So You Think You Can Dance."

When the earthquake hit, I really thought it was the end (not wanting to sound melodramatic but I really thought it was).  I quietly said a prayer to the Almighty as I watched the electric poles sway to the music Mother Nature is playing.  Maybe it was after the third shake that I found myself right in front of the nearest station to my house.  Amidst all that chaos, I still had the sense to grab my coat, wallet, some food and water, most importantly my passport.  The idea that I need to withdraw some money made me run all the way in less than 3 minutes (which was surprising because it usually takes me 5 minutes to run that distance when I am trying to catch the morning train... the wonders of adrenaline!).

As I was about to insert my ATM card, the ground shook once more.  The Japanese man outside the convenience store knocked on the glass wall and shouted for everyone to get out.  I did.  When I surveyed the area, I saw that a lot of people were gathered near the big open space in front of the train tracks.  As I copied what the Japanese women (I sat and stood up when they did), I realized they were watching something calmly.  When I looked up, I saw to my horror that there were two huge cranes dancing the tango on top of an ongoing condominium or building construction.  Yikes!  All we could do was stare with mouth wide open and hope this sight doesn't turn into a nightmare.

The feeling of helplessness really sank in when I couldn't call anyone using my smartphone.  However, amidst all the chaos of the earthquake, aftershocks and radiation, one thing really proved its usefulness... Social media.  The moment I realized that the Internet can still be accessed, I posted a message in my Facebook account this simple status, "that scared me big time."  Simple and direct yet my words shouted everything I couldn't say at that time.  From then on, family members and friends across the globe knew that I was safe and the messages started to pour in.  They were all concerned especially when CNN showed some footages about the tsunami. According to my mother, some of our relatives and friends called our house to check up on my well-being.  At that moment, my heart overflowed with gratitude.

I stayed in the open space until I could tolerate the biting cold.  After an hour or so, I went back to my apartment and turned on the TV.  That was when the gravity of the situation hit me.  Then, I realized that I don't have the right to complain.  The images and videos being shown on TV were heart-wrenching.  I cannot put into words what I felt at that time when I saw the wave crashing down on the houses and engulfing everything in its path.

What happened last Friday is a very humbling experience.  In a country that has been preparing for such event for several years, Mother Nature once again showed us that no amount of technology and artificial intelligence can outsmart her or even exactly predict what is about to come.  However, I believe that the spirit of all the people in Japan will prevail.


  地震発生以来3日が経ちましたが、まだたびたび余震に悩まされています。ありのまま言えば、この3日間ほとんど眠ることが出来ていません。余震でしょっちゅう住まいが揺れているながでどうして寝られるでしょう。それはまるで建物がFox TVショー"So You Think You Can Dance" の次のエピソードに向けてダンスの練習をしているかのようです。

少しお金をおろさなくっちゃ! 驚いたことにその思いで、いつもは朝、電車に遅れそうになって走っても5分かかるところ、3分もかからずに来ていました。アドレナリンの驚異ですね。






Second The Motion



This time let's eavesdrop on three governesses' conversation
about DCEC's anniversary party.
Do listen to "Second The Motion."

1.  How is the weather that day?
  a.  It is sweltering hot.
  b.  It is very cold.
  c.  Same as the previous day.

2.  What is Willibee doing?
  a.  She is planning DCEC's first anniversary party.
  b.  Willibee is typing a report about a party.
  c.  She is helping Patricia with her project.

3.  What did Willibee ask the other governesses?
  a.  To give her some cookies.
  b.  To handle her classes while she finishes her work.
  c.  To give her some suggestions.

4.  What is the title of DCEC's 2012 anniversary party?
  a.  DCEC On Seventh Heaven
  b.  DCEC On Cloud 9
  c.  DCEC Reaching New Heights

Characters: Julita - J; W - Willibee; P - Patricia

~During a brief chat in the office

(reports to the office)
P - Good afternoon, everyone! It's freezing cold today, isn't
J - You said it.

(after putting her things in the locker and preparing her desk)

P - (to Willibee) You seem to be very serious with what you're
    doing there, Willibee? You make me curious.
W - Actually, I'm planning for our anniversary party. I'm still
    on the party title. I'm open for suggestions.
P - Okay. So far, what have you got in mind?
W - "Happy Birthday, DCEC" party.
P - Sounds common.
J - How about "DCEC's 1st"?
W - Quite vague. What I want to emphasize is that it's a party
    and the reason is because we've been in operation for a year.
P - "Cheers for DCEC's 1st year Anniversary".
J - Too long.
W - Aha! "DCEC's 1st Birthday Bash".
J and P - "I second the motion."

●Useful & Humorous expression

★second the motion
second は会議などで他の人の提案を正式に支持するという意味がありま
す。motion は動議という意味ですので、
"second the motion" 
Ex. I suggest that we vote Mr. Rodriguez as the new president of
our association.
I second the motion.

★You said it
Ex. Don't you hate it when you have to wait in line just to
get a seat in the nearby restaurant?
You said it.

★I'm open for
be open for は何かを受け入れる準備ができてますよ、という事を意味し
Ex. The foundation supporting underprivileged children is open
for donations.

特にbirthday bash という言い方はよくします。
Ex. Last December, he held his birthday bash at one of
the finest hotels in town.


登場人物 : ジュリータ ? J、ウィリビー-W、パトリシアーP



J:じゃあ「DCEC's 1st」はどう?


Work Your Magic


Characters: F - Felicity; M - Miki; N - Noriaki

After last week's Hearts' day celebrations...

F : Guys, this month we are celebrating another
    milestone in DCEC. We turned nine on March 1st.
M : Whoa! Has it been that long already? Makes me feel
    older (grins).
F : Oh yeah, Miki here is one of our pioneer learners.
N : Congratulations to DCEC! Kudos to you too, Miki,
    for continuing your English studies!
F : Hear, hear! (referring learners to the announcement
    on the board) In line with this, DCEC has prepared
    something special for you, a DCEC first.
    An illusionist who hails from Mexico will come to
    our anniversary event on March 17.
M : An illusionist? Do you mean a magician like
    Mr. Maric?
N : Or David Copperfield?
F : Yes! His name is Riken and he comes from a family
    of magicians in Mexico but he's now based in Japan
    with his wife.
M : Wow! So, does he speak English or Japanese?
N : Can he do the guillotine trick or the dove trick?
    How about making the Statue of Liberty vanish like
    David Copperfield?
F : Hold your horses, Noriaki. Yes, Miki, he can speak
    both English and Japanese.
    I heard Emery saw him bend a fork merely by looking
    at it. His tricks are all over YouTube too.
    But if you want to see more, you have to come and
M : Say no more, Felicity. You can count me in!
    Do I have to twist your arm, Noriaki or are you
  coming (winks at Felicity)?
F : C'mon, I'm sure you don't want to miss this once-
    in-a-lifetime chance, do you?
N : (exchanged glances with Miki) I'm in!
M : There, Felicity has worked her magic again.

Everyone laughs.


1. What is DCEC celebrating on March 1st?
A: Hearts' Day
B: 9th Anniversary
C: Doll's Festival
2. What will happen on March 17?
A: Mr. Maric will come to DCEC.
B: David Copperfield will attempt to make the Statue
           of Liberty vanish again.
C: An illusionist, Riken, will perform at DCEC's
           anniversary event.
3. There is ONLY ONE trick among the following choices that
   was not mentioned in the dialogue. Which one is it?
A: Guillotine trick
B: Dove trick
C: Table magic


★Hearts' day - バレンタインデーの別名
★milestone - 目標
★turn - になる
★whoa - ワー(感嘆詞)
★pioneer - 開拓者
★kudos - 栄誉
★hear, hear! - 聞いて、聞いて!
★refer - 参照する
★a first - 最初の
★illusionist - イリュージョニスト、マジシャン
★hails from - ~出身の
★guillotine trick - ギロチンを使ったトリック
★vanish - 消える
★hold your horses - 落ち着いて
★merely - ほんの
★say no more - 分かったよ
★count me in - 参加する
★twist your arm - 力ずくで
★miss - 見逃す
★once-in-a-lifetime chance - 滅多にないチャンス
★work your magic - 魔法を使う


登場人物:  F - フェリシティ  M - ミキ   N - ノリアキ


F:  みんな、今月私たちはDCECのもう一つの偉業達成をお祝い
M:  すごい、もうそんなに経つの。歳を感じさせるわね。(苦笑い)
F:  もちろん、ミキはここではベテランのうちのひとりだから。
N:  おめでとう、DCEC! ミキの根気のある英語学習にも敬意を
F:  聞いて、聞いて(ラーナーへ掲示板の告知を示して)。
M:  マジシャン? マリックみたいなマジシャンの事を言ってるの?
N:  それとも、デビッドカッパーフィールドのような?
F:  そう、彼の名前はリケン。メキシコのマジシャンファミリー
M:  へぇー、それで彼は英語を話すの?それとも日本語?
N:  彼はギロチントリックか、ハトを使ったトリックはできる?
F:  落ち着いて、ノリアキ。そうミキ、彼は英語と日本語の両方
M:  わかったわかった。フェリシティー。私も参加するわ!
F:  ほーら、こんな滅多にないチャンスを逃したくないのはわか
N: (ミキとちらり見を交わして)僕も参加するよ!
M:  ほら、またフェリシティーが魔法を使ったわ。