Saturday, July 26, 2014

Under the SEA


             Hi, everyone! How are you doing? Someone may be surprised at this title, “Under the SEA.” But it doesn’t mean the famous song in “The Little Mermaid.” Now I’m in Dublin to study English in SEA program.
              First of all, Dublin is a heavenly city. Sometimes I feel like being in a movie such as “Howl’s Moving Castle” or “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” It is not so crowded for a capital city in Europe and I think it is suitable for studying. There are lots of trees even around the city center. Besides, green is the theme color of this country, so we often see something green in Ireland (the post is painted in green, too). I am happy because green is my favorite color!
              University College Dublin, where we are studying, has a huge campus which is bigger than ICU’s. I heard that UCD is the second (?) best university in this country and the rival of Trinity College Dublin, the best univ of Ireland. It’s like “Sou-Kei Sen” in Japan… We are in a general English course, not an academic one. So grammar exercises tend to be too easy for Japanese students, but the topics are interesting because they are often related to our daily life.
              ICU students in UCD have an “English only rule” during SEA program, so we communicate each other in English even in LINE app. In the first week of our stay, I felt my speaking skill was immediately improving. One of my aim in Dublin is to strengthen my fluency and activeness. I have more 3 weeks here in Ireland. I’ll stick it out :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Day before the Departure

             The day is coming… the day I will visit Dublin. Tomorrow I will take 11:40 plane to Copenhagen, then transit for Dublin. I am now staying in a hotel in Narita and preparing for tomorrow.
              It is my first time to study abroad. I had long been wanted to attend SEA program since last year. In the same season of the last year, I devoted my time toward writing 2 long essays for ICU’s AO entrance examination. If I told my current situation to me of 2013, how happy would she feel?
              I must make the 6 weeks very very valuable! I mustn’t hesitate to speak English without caring about making mistakes too much. But all I have to do NOW is sleeping. Good night, everyone : )

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Outline

              Over, yes, the spring term is over! It has been a long time since I wrote the last blog. The articles remind me of the nights (and early mornings) which I spent for writing… It was a very hard term for me, but no athletes improve their skills without pain. Learning foreign languages is a training, indeed.

              And now, it’s time to start my first vacation as a university student. To spend the summer vacation more actively, here I’ll put an outline of it like in writing essays. I learned that an outline helps me to think clearer!

SEA Program; Dublin
This is the biggest event in this summer (Jul 6th – Aug 18th). It will be the first time for me to study abroad. I have been to the U.S. twice, but they were not for studying. Also, I’m going to visit Europe for the first time. Ireland, the destination, has some unique culture. I really want to see foreign cultures because I am thinking of majoring in Culture or Sociology.

Summer Reading
              I chose “Mrs. Dalloway” (by Virginia Woolf) for the summer reading. I’ll bring the book to Ireland with me and read it there.

Visit somewhere in Japan
              I don’t do a part-time job now, so I have about 2 weeks after the SEA program. So I want to go somewhere in Japan. I like visiting old cities like Kyoto, and I’m thinking of going to Kamakura at the end of August. Then I’ll visit my relative in Hayama, too!

Practicing Shamisen
              Did you know that I am a member of ICU Shamisen Club? I used to play Koto, or Japanese harp, in my high school’s club, but I changed my instrument. You can see my Shamisen performance in ICU Festival. Check it out!

Anyway, enjoy your summer! See you on campus in September.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Young Woman and the Marlin

She was a young woman who cooked in a kitchen in the Oak House and she had gone nearly four weeks now without cooking a marlin. She buys marlins when Ito Yokado sells them in the half price. “Then,” she thought. “I’ll simmer them with cut tomatoes.” It was one of her best dish. The young woman cut marlins into 9 pieces and sprinkled flour all over the slices. “It’s good,” she said. “Good marlins.”

The young woman took a deep flying pan and started heating. Hot olive oil turned the slices of marlins into beautiful brown with a nice smell. The young woman was in an apron with a pattern of horizontal stripes. She thought the colors, off white and red, were like the ones of the fish and tomatoes.

“Konomi,” another girl asked. “What are you cooking tonight?” “Grilled marlin with tomato sauce,” the young woman answered, pouring some paste of tomatoes into the pan. The tomato paste with consommé became like a red ocean while floating several white boats of marlins.

The young woman ate the dish for her dinner, thinking of the novel she read the other day. “A fisher,” she muttered. “A fisher named Santiago struggles against a marlin.”


I actually cooked this on the last Friday. And then I will discuss one of the themes of “The Old Man and the Sea.”

“No living thing can escape the inevitable struggle that will lead to death.” Yes, that is true, unfortunately. The fisher tries hard to catch the marlin, but he is nothing from the view of large nature. We have to live and work hard although we are aware of our uselessness. And we have to obey the rule; “eternal, unchangeable law: they must kill or be killed.” The old man loves fishes. He calls them “my brothers.” But he have to kill them to eat or to sell. In this novel, eating means supporting our lives and killing other lives at the same time. I think that one of the most important theme of this book is life.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reading a Literature

              In the last class, we learned about 3Bs; Background, Biography, and Bias. These are the keys in reading literatures. Why are they important?

              Each of them helps readers to understand the book more deeply. Background here means historical backgrounds that can be thought to have some effects on the story. For example, the background of the film The Sound of Music was WWII. Next, biography refers to the life of the author. Sometimes biographies have big effects on stories. Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was a daughter of a pioneer’s family in America, wrote the Little House series showing her childhood.

              I thought that reading literatures is entirely different from reading academic essays. Both of them have different difficult points. But I prefer to reading literature because it is full of imagination, thoughts, and beautiful words.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

D, Like Dan!

              Many dormitory students enjoy Friday Night playing some games, watching movies, or cooking together. I am also the one enjoyed the Night baking pumpkin scones with my friends. Friday is a precious day for us TGIF! On Saturday night I’d long been talking about course taking with my friends, and on Sunday night I simmered some Japanese apricots to make 4 jars of jam with them. Hey, where has ELA gone? Actually I attended the SEA program orientation. My destination will be Dublin, and to my surprise, our teacher Dan will come there to see our works.

              In Friday’s ARW class, we had a CWT about arguments and fallacies. I did better than I had expected, and it was interesting for me to analyze the questions and find the correct answers. In Japanese culture, arguments are not thought to be a good thing and instead agreements are required. But in English language, especially in academic writing, arguments are important to make constructive decision. I think that really good ideas often come up from arguments.

Also, about the CWT, the way of checking answers was very interesting. It is a little bit difficult to distinguish the pronunciation of B and D, so Dan used the word Boston for B and his own name for D! I found it easier to distinguish them. If I were an ELA teacher at ICU, I will describe A, B, C and D using these words; Aho-yama, Baka-yama, Church and Diffendorfer!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

2As and 2Rs; the Key for Evidences

              In academic writing, we need a certain amount of evidences which support our claims. We refer to books, newspaper articles, magazines, web sites and other kinds of sources. However, it is hard for us to choose proper evidences. Is the evidence reliable? Is it really true? Then, we can examine the sources well with 4 key words; accurate, representative, relevant and adequate. With these simple concepts, our writing will improve!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Mirrors of Writing ―Peers

              Do you use mirrors? Probably all of your answers will be “yes.” We use mirrors to check our appearance; we comb our hair when it is a mess and straighten up a collar of our shirt when it is unfold. Without mirrors, we can’t be aware of these points. And that is why we often do peer reviews.

We have many peer works in our ARW class, especially in e-writing portfolio. But why do we need peer reviews? We are not specialists about English and each of us has the similar ability. Yes, we are not teachers or proofreaders, but we can find classmates’ mistakes and give some good advices. Then I think peers are like mirrors which reflect my sentences. They notice me some points I didn’t realized. Also, while I am an ordinary student, I am gradually improving my reviewing skill and knowing my peers’ tendency in writing. Reading other student’s essay is indispensable to develop our own writing skills, like stopping in front of mirrors every morning!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Outline Works

                        It is very tough to write an essay, and sometimes writers get caught in a dark, large forest of words. I remember that Meiland or Morgan stated that writing is a tool of thinking. Through writing, we can organize our thoughts and reflect ideas. Besides, outlines will work as a mirror of our brain, I think. Writing essays is still a kind of burden for me, but it is important to find my own comfortable way to write and get accustomed to writing.

                        By the way, when I was shopping at Ito Yokado near here, I was spoken to by a foreign staff. She said carrying a box of potatoes, “hey, girl! Would you like this new one? It is bigger and the same price.” I was surprised because I had never seen staffs speaking in English. Luckily, as an ICU student, I was able to reply in English. We never know when to be spoken to in English, even out of the campus!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Magic? ...No kidding! :-)


We freshmen all had a special event on the last weekend―― retreat!! At first, I was not looking for it so much because the destination was too familiar for me. Yes, Yamanashi is my home prefecture, and I have visited Yatsugatake area many times since I was a child.

However, I really enjoyed the retreat! It was fresh for me to see my section mates, teachers and other friends in my home prefecture. The most impressive thing was the discussions, which were very inspiring and made me rethink of my purpose of learning here. And also, we had some other activities. On the second day, I went to the national observatory in Nobeyama. I remembered the time when I was interested in astronomy. Speaking of astronomy, some 3H students including of me went to the rooftop of the hotel and watched stars with Dan! I introduced some constellation with my planetarium-navigating skill. Please remember the correct way to find the polestar! I also enjoyed the “All,” or to stay up all night with section mates.

Anyway, I had a precious time in the retreat. I appreciate the big effort of the retreat staffs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 14th

1)    what we learned in class

              In the last class, we discussed our essay topic in writing groups. We are going to write a 5-paragraph essay which may be the longest essay we wrote in ICU! Like most students, I am not familiar with writing academic essays and proper citations, so I must be tough and read LBH carefully. We learned the types of citations and I was surprised that the MLA writing has a kind of loose citations. Also, we have to make sure that our essay doesn’t finish with only citation, as Dan said in class. It will be a good training for us to think and write in our own words.


2)    about my new essay

              The main topic of my 5-paragraph essay will be “locavorism,” or the movement that try to eat local foods. The word comes from “local” and “vorare (Latin word, but “devour” in English).” The goals of “locavorism” are, in a brief way, “healthier living, healthier environment, more prosperous local economy.” You may have heard the Japanese word “Chisan-Chisho” before, and it has the similar idea with locavorism. But some people criticize this idea insisting of the non-effectiveness in locavorism. There are actually some problems about locaorism, while there are benefits.


3)    reaction to the video

              I watched a video about writing tutorial. We students do need conversation over our writing, I think. The useful tip which I found in the video was “prewriting should never be censored, let the ideas flow.” When we write something, we will be successful when we get more idea by doing brainstorming.
4) other
              I realized that some students' birthdays are concentrated into this month! It is nice to cerebrate other student's anniversary in the section.