2017 / 02


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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.


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2017-02-28 08:42   Slow and steady wins the race

Y (Kuma's owner)

I've been here in Australia for more than five years. Some Japanese people say that if I've been living in an English language country I must be good at English. However, I'm not as good at English as other people think. It's not easy to acquire foreign language ability, especially for adults.

Generally speaking, I heard that Japanese are good at writing, and are not good at hearing and speaking. I'm also not good at hearing and speaking. Unfortunately, I'm not talkative and even in Japanese, I don't talk much. I don't have much will to talk, so the most difficult part of improving English for me is speaking. I cannot change my character, if I could have friends who have the same interests or hobbies, I think I can talk a lot more than usual.

Concerning listening to English, I use movies. I bought DVDs and I see movies almost every night and see the same movies again and again. It depends on movies, some movies are easy to catch the words and some of them are difficult. Generally, old movies are easy to listen to.

Seeing the same movie many times sometimes works for improving listening ability. At first, I couldn't catch the lines at all, and gradually I was able to get some words one by one with repetition. The other merit of seeing movies is I can use the subtitles, it's really helpful.

I always encourage myself and say " Slow and steady wins the race."

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2017-02-24 01:13   Ant Watching

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love science books and love to read scientists' biographies as well. Richard Feynman has written lots of books not only for physics, he wrote about his childhood and his daily life. I had read one of his books and there was a description about ants. He said he liked to watch ants moving and so I do.

I feel like I have become a giant and look down on a small town of ants. There are so many kinds of ants in Australia. Comparing Australian ants and Japanese ants, Australian ants are aggressive and I have been bitten by ants many times.

To me, the lawn in the yard is flat but to ants it must be a forest. In the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", a scientist which was played by Rick Moranis invented a machine that can shrink everything, and there are scenes of ants walking under the lawn. As long as I have seen the movie, an ants' life seems not to be so easy. They are always busy as business people in New York or Tokyo. I haven't seen an ant that was taking a break, they are moving all the time.

One day when I was watching ants moving, and I found that they were running on a hose. Lots of ants were running on the hose. It looked like cars running on a motorway. Then I noticed that running on the hose is easier than running on the ground because there are no obstacles. Hoses are really the motorway for ants. I have never thought that they used a hose that way. We think that insects are not higher animals and not clever but they seem not to be so stupid as we think.

Yesterday, when I was feeding my cats, I saw a tiny flake of Katsuobushi was moving.

Maybe I should explain what Katsuobushi is, before starting this topic. Katsuobushi is dried flakes of smoked fish (skipjack tuna). It is very common in Japanese food. Usually, cats love it and that's because I sometime give it to my cats that don't have a good appetite.

Back to the topic, I gave some Katsuobushi flakes to one of my cats. I think he dropped a Katsuobushi flake onto the floor. A strange thing happened, a tiny Katsuobushi flake was walking! I moved my face close to the flake and made sure it was an ant carrying the flake. She was carrying a flake that was four or five times the size of her body. That state reminded me of a bearer who was carrying a flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. I don't think people say "adorable" to insects but this time I thought she was adorable.

I don't expect people to understand my feelings, but I think that if Richard Feynman was still alive, he would.

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2017-02-23 04:07   Let's keep writing!

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have been writing this blog for improving my English. It started on 1st of January, 2016. What I have been writing were about my cats, wild birds, puzzles and other desultory topics. The Japanese language does not have a word equivalent to "the" therefore I have been making many mistakes related to "the." Luckily or unluckily, I have friends who have an excellent imagination that can guess what I want to say. They can understand even if I forget to use "the" in the sentences. I know that it's awkward to point out when I say something wrong grammatically every time. They are not my English teacher, I cannot expect them to correct my English. If they can understand the meaning of what I said, they wouldn't tell me the mistakes that I made. People ask me only when they cannot understand what I said. It's very difficult noticing my own mistakes, you know. This is one of my issues. I wonder if I could have a gilded robot that is in the movie "Star Wars", he is talkative and good for correcting my mistakes, I guess.

Another issue of my English is that I don't know the differences in the delicate meaning of words. I'm still unsure of the difference between "large" and "big." I think I may use the wrong expression in the bad situation and I might be misunderstood.

I don't like grammar but I have to learn. One of my Japanese friends who has been living in Australia for a long time said to me that I can live well in Australia with the knowledge of English that I already have now. Well, I know I'm not going to be a novelist but I want to learn, I want to write English like my Aussie friends do. So, I'm not going to stop writing my blog.

One day, I read a blog that was written by a man who lives in New Zealand. I don't know his nationality but he seems not be Japanese. His blog is written in Japanese, it was amazing that his Japanese is excellent like a native speaker of Japanese. I wonder how he has learnt Japanese? I had been working in American companies when I was in Japan. I had some colleagues from different nationalities and they were all born and grew up in Japan but no one could write Japanese like the guy who lives in New Zealand. On his latest blog, he wrote when he started the blog about ten years ago, he spent a week to finish writing a half page of Word.

Then I thought, I should spend more time to finish writing. Usually, I write quickly, maybe I write too quickly. I must write more carefully.

In addition, I must check the mistakes I have written otherwise I will write the same mistakes again and again.


Reading books is also important. I can learn new expressions from them. During these past three years, the best book to me was "Jasper Jones." It's nice to come across the good books. I have a habit to read books that I like several times and it helps remembering new words and expressions.

My strong point is not giving up easily, my weak point is I don't know when to give up. If I give up, that means improving my English writing skills also stops. I won't stop it until I'm able to write good English. Let's keep writing!

Oh, I almost forgot! In the end, I should say I spent about 100 minutes for finishing this blog.

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