Singer Gap Fill with Shakira

Do you know Shakira? She was born in Columbia. Her father was Lebanese so she grew up with Latin and Arabic music. She wrote her first song at the age of 8. She’s made lots of hit albums. Let’s try a gap fill using one of her songs.

This song is called Rules. It was on her first English language album. It’s a little old now. Play the video and try to fill in the gaps. You can slow the music down too.

“Rules” Lyrics


You ______ to swear
You’ve got _____ to love me
Aah aah
That ____ last forever
Aah aah
We ________ have a story
Aah aah
With a _______ ending

Aah, so ______ ever go away
And _____ put aside
The things I’m _______ say
Cause these are _______ for us

Use your ______
Only to _____ at me
Use your ______
Only to ______ my lips
We are branches of the same old _____
You can ______
Only if you laugh with ______
You can ______
______ if you cry for me
Don’t _______ that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you _______?
You always _____
You’ll always be

You used to ______
I should see a _______
Aah aah
______ would keep me busy
Aah aah
Cause a jealous _______
______ makes it easy

Aah aah,
And you ______ I’ll do for us
Whatever seems _______
_____ it may take awhile
Before I change the ______

_____ your eyes
Only to look at ____
_____ your mouth
Only to kiss my ______
_____ are branches of the same old tree
_____ can laugh
Only if ______ laugh with me
_____ can cry
Only if _____ cry for me
Don’t forget that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you see?
You always were
You’ll always were…
Aah, aah, aah…

Use _______ eyes
Only to look at ______
Use ______ mouth
Only to kiss _____ lips
We are branches of the same old tree
You _____ laugh
______ if you laugh with me
You ______ cry
______ if you cry for me
Don’t forget that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you see?
You always were
You’ll always be
Aah, aah…

Now that you’ve tried that what do you think the song is about?

I’ll give you a hint.

The song is song by a woman to her partner. What is she saying to her partner?

My student’s trip to Australia

Two of my students recently went to Australia.

This is the English diary one of them kept:

A trip to Australia

I went to Australia with my friend. I went to see my daughter. Her English skill has levelled up.

Day 1

We went to Sydney circular key. We were moved when we saw the Sydney opera house and the Sydney harbour bridge. It’s amazing!!!

Image result for sydney opera house and sydney harbour bridge

Day 2

We enjoyed shopping. We went to Pitt Street Mall and The Strand Arcade. There were a lot of buildings there.

Image result for pitt street mall sydney
Image result for the strand arcade sydney

Day 3

We flew early in the morning to Brisbane. We met my daughter there. We went to my teacher’s family house by bus. It’s a beautiful house.

That night we went to eat street. It’s an open air food market. You can try lots of food there. We went there by ferry.

Image result for eat street brisbane

Day 4

We went to lone pine koala sanctuary by bus. I hugged a koala and fed a kangaroo. There were so cute.

Image result for lone pine koala sanctuary

At night we met my daughter’s host family. We had dinner and then went to a bar.

Day 5

We went to the Gold Coast. It’s so amazing. It’s an infinitely long beach.

Image result for gold coast

That night we enjoyed the night markets and saw a moon road on the water.

Day 6

My daughter went to school. We went to the airport to leave our baggage in a locker. My baggage was so heavy at 27 kilograms! We returned to the city to have meet my daughter for the last time in this holiday. After that we said goodbye at central station.

My friend helped a lot in this trip. She can speak English. I want to speak English more!

Invitations and Suggestions

The following video is to help understand how to make invitations and suggestions.

It mentions four phrases you can use to suggest or invite someone to something.

Let’s see a movie tonight.

How about seeing a movie tonight?

Why don’t we see a movie tonight?

What about seeing a movie tonight?

All of these have the same meaning. To make a suggestion or an invitation.

Summer Camp Part 1

During the summer we ran a summer camp for Russian teenagers wanting to learn English and experience Japanese culture.

They stayed in log bungalows in the mountains for 10 days at a place called kenkonomori which translates as the forest of health.

Image result for 健康の森雲南市
The bungalow and inside

Breakfast, lunch and dinner was made for them including several chances to eat out.

We had two groups visit us. The first group was made up of 11 members and the second group was made up of 15 members.

The building behind them is where we studied.

The view from the school window

The students studied 3 hours a day in the morning. Both groups had mixed ages. Two classes were made. One at A1 level and the other made at B1 level. This means Elementary level and pre-intermediate level. To determine their level we needed to give the students a level test.

During the course we gave the students opportunities to talk to locals that were studying English.

For the coursework we were using the pearson firsthand series of textbooks. The higher level class completed all the units of firsthand 2 while the lower class went through firsthand access and success.

In the afternoons for daily activities taking between 3 and 4 hours everyday and all day on Saturdays. Here are the things we did.

Day 1: Icebreaker

The first activity day was a chance for the students to get to know each other, this was the first time any of them had met So instead of going out we stayed at the school and played board games.

Day 2: Vogel Park and Matsue Castle

Vogel Park is a bird sanctuary with various bird shows to watch and a chance to feed tropical birds.

Matsue Castle is one of the few remaining wooden castles in Japan. Recently, parts of the structure have been confirmed to be part of the original structure built 400 years ago.

Day 3: Japanese sports day

The Russian students got to participate with local Japanese students in a range of activities based on the Elementary school sports day.

Thank you to those that came

The first event was the Darumasan relay

The second event was Tamaire where teams have to throw as many small bean sacks into a basket two metres in the air in two minutes. Unfortunately we have no pictures of this event.

The second event was a bottle filling relay. Students had to run to a bottle, pour some water in it and run back. Whichever group filled it up first one.

The third event was jumping rope as a group. Both teams had to stand in line and see how many times they could jump. Each team had 12 representatives. After several practices runs the best score for the first team was 9 jumps and the best score for the second jump was 24. It’s actually not that easy. You have to jump in tandem to achieve it. Unfortunately we took no photos of this event.

The fourth event was an old classic. The tug of war.

The fifth and final event was the American football relay. First in pairs people had to kick an american football along the ground to a witches hat at the other end while in a hula-hoop. Once there they bound their legs together to do a three legged race. Yes, it is awesome fun.

Day 4: Japanese Culture lessons

On the third day we did two cultural lessons. The first was Japanese Abacus known as Soroban taught by a professional Abacus teacher.

The other cultural lesson was Japanese calligraphy taught by an award winning calligraphist.

Day 5: Nature Day

On Nature day we took a trip to Ryuzugataki, dragon head falls in English. A beautiful location for a swim up in the mountains.

As well as the falls we also went to Yaeyama Shrine. A small shinto shrine high up in the mountains near the falls.

Phew that’s a lot of fun in one post. I think I better do this in two or three parts.

Stay tuned for more.

On Happiness

For me societal happiness is a logical goal for any society we try to create. The question should be how do we achieve a society where everyone is happy? This question has been raised throughout the ages. It is not a new concept. It was talked about during the utilitarian movement in Great Britain in the early 19th century. It’s been talked about in various Buddhist texts as the ultimate goal for all individuals. It’s been talked about by philosophers throughout the ages. I’m not going to go into too much more detail about the history of humanity’s search for global happiness. What I wanted to talk about was consumer happiness versus societal happiness.

When I say consumer happiness I am revering to the current age of consumerism and businesses constant message consume this to be happy. Here’s a TV, you are happy right? Here’s a dishwasher, you can save time, you’re happy right? Here’s a new phone, you’re happy right? etc. There is so much imagery of happiness around us that it creates somewhat of a negative condition in which there is an expectation that you should be happy and that the alternative to happiness is wrong. This consumer happiness is not Utopian happiness, it is not utilitarian happiness, it is not reaching nirvana happiness. In fact it is the opposite to all of those. Yes, we are living in a plastic punk Dystopia.

You may wonder, why do I say it is the opposite. Rather than going into materialism versus minimalism and the achievement of happiness from within rather than external forces I’m going to jump straight into Utilitarianism’s goal of global societal happiness. Utilitarianism asked the question what is the purpose (utility) of the thing. Does it create happiness? On the surface that may seem like it is in line with consumer based happiness. Does a TV create happiness? However the question wasn’t directed at individual objects not the achievement of happiness by the individual. It was aimed at the achievement of global happiness. Of societal happiness in which the entire group is happy. The question was directed at systems and policy. At the governmental level. Does this law create happiness? Does this bill generate happiness? Is the purpose of this system to ensure happiness? Does this utility contribute to our happiness? If the answer came back as no the view was then to dismantle or remove the offending utility.

Why do I say then that consumer happiness is against the idea of utilitarian happiness? While we can argue the creation of consumer products creates happiness it doesn’t ensure it. In many cases it can actually contribute to greater unhappiness. Material based happiness is a shift of the burden. It goes something like this:

I’m unhappy, I’ll buy a TV, when I watch TV I’m happy, why was I unhappy? I don’t know, Probably because I didn’t have a TV. Thus the cause of unhappiness is shrouded, the burden of maintaining your happiness is shifted and your actual ability to create your own happiness has been diminished.

That is not the utilitarian idea of global happiness. To them the question was why are people unhappy in the first place. What can be done on a societal/governmental/community based level that will unsure the initial thing that caused the unhappiness isn’t there whatever that may be. Back to the TV example, it could be that the unhappiness was generate by stress and that a stress relieving activity was required, thus watching TV would have been a good solution. But the question comes up, what is causing the stress? Why is the stress there in the first place? How can we create a society in which the stress that required you to buy a TV in the first place is not there?

While we are talking about the creation and maintenance of happiness on a societal level, I would like to point out the mistake that governments often make when it comes to happiness. Societal happiness is not populism. Populism is a shallow form of happiness at best. At worst it is sadistic happiness. Take anti-abortion laws, presumably governments put these in place because it will make x number of people happy. This group is sufficiently large enough to mean that making them happy allows those in power to maintain power. The trouble with the happiness they are creating here is that it is sadistic happiness. It is the happiness of one group to the detriment of another group. IE that one group that is happy is happy because another group suffers. The happiness created from such a policy is shallow and won’t last. Those who fought for it don’t actually gain any happiness from the existence of the policy. Most likely they will move onto the next moral fight. The policy fails the basic questions of utilitarianism. Was the purpose of the policy to create societal happiness? Perhaps on some kind of moral superiority level but on an actual societal level its purpose is not to create happiness nor to maintain happiness. What’s more it is a policy that would be seen as a great crime by the movement as it creates unhappiness.

Giving the people what they want is different to making society happy. A globally happy society is a far reaching goal that requires meticulous planning and a complete avoidance of superficial happiness. It requires the seeking of a deeper happiness on a communal level not the individual.

Cooking in English part 2


What does ingredients mean?

An ingredient is one of the things in a recipe. This includes meat, vegetables, spices, sauces, powders, grains, etc.

While it is impossible to share the English for all possible ingredients I will include the names of a range of ingredients you may encounter.

In English the name of various meats tend to be different to the animal name. Here is a list of commonly eaten meats.

Now for something different. Since I’m Australian I’ll add Kangaroo to this section:

kangaroo meat is called kangaroo meat

There is a lot of debate about eating kangaroo meat. Many Australians refuse to eat kangaroo because they are cute. Recently there is a movement called kangatarianism which is eating a vegetarian diet and kangaroo meat. The movement says that kangaroo is a sustainable meat source since they are all over Australia, don’t require farming, don’t emit methane and don’t cause damage to the environment.

For vegetable names in English I suggest this site: (click on the picture to go there.)

Spices are herbs are an essential cooking ingredient for me so here is a lot of spices in English:

Film Friday – singing in the classroom

I’ve been teaching singing to my elementary school classes for two years now. I usually teach a new song each month as well as sing the old songs. Singing is great for intonation, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. It’s also fun.

I also teach dancing when we learn a song, this is both fun and helps the students remember the words.

Here is an example of one of our singing sessions.