12月 02

ojiya_dec2BBC is running a series on proverbs and why we keep using old favorites. So I thought I would add a few of the proverbs from the article.

A proverb is like a “home truth” or a short story with a moral or lesson to be learnt.

From old chestnuts like “no pain, no gain” to sports wisdom like “the best defence is a good offence”, there seems to be a proverb for everything.

If your sister lost a job to a friend of the boss, you might say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” If your son loses a football match, you say, “You can’t win them all.” If your friend goes through a painful breakup, you’re likely to say, “There are plenty of fish in the sea.”

In most if not all cases, the author is unknown.

Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket – spread the risk…


Proverbとは、「home truth(人に知られたくない自身の真実)」や人生の教訓などを学ぶ短い話です。


姉がボスの友達に仕事を取られたら、「It’s not what you know, it’s who you know(何を知っているかではなく誰を知っているかだ。)」と言えます。息子がアメフトの試合で負けたら「いつも勝てるわけではない。」といいます。友達が恋人と別れたら、「There are plenty of fish in the sea(いい人は他にもたくさんいるよ)。」と言えます。



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11月 29

nov29While on the subject of Ojiya’s history, it’s interesting to look into the history of Chijimi and other fibres in the area.

Echigo has a long history of ramie fabric production – Ojiya chijimi and Echigo jofu – and there even exists today some ramie fabric made in the 8th century, kept in Shoso-in repository in Nara, sent there from Echigo as tax. At the end of the 16th century, Uesugi Kenshin built his strong warlord domain on the back of ramie fibre – the raw material of ramie fabric.

Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibres. It is known for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky lustre to the fabric.




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11月 25

nov25aOften native speakers will use phrasal verbs rather than single words that we see as more formal and less like to be used. For example, use “put out” (the fire) rather than “extinguish”, “break up” (a relationship) rather than “separate”, or “hang on” rather than “wait”, etc. The problem arises for learners of English in two ways: one, they generally use single words from the dictionary rather than phrasal verbs, and two, they are not exposed enough to learning phrasals, their importance and meaning.



ネイティブスピーカーはよくフォーマルすぎると感じる一つの動詞よりも句動詞を使います。例えば、火を消すのはextinguishではなくput outと言います、恋人と「分かれる」のはseparateではなくbreak upと言います、「待つ」はwaitよりもhang onと言うことがあります。英語を勉強している人には二つの問題があります:ひとつは、辞典で調べた一つの単語を使って少し違和感が生じます。もうひとつは、句動詞とその大切さと意味に慣れるチャンスが少ないです。

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11月 25

hv45fghsongClassroom Tip

This song from Happy Valley Phonics Book 1, Unit 3, introduces vocabulary that begins with the f, g, and h sounds. Put the flashcards on the ground and ask the students, What does Filly want? Have them say or touch the words that starts with the same sound. As they improve, put the letters f, g, h on the ground and say a word. Students touch the beginning letter. Let students be teacher and say the words for their classmates to say. See if they know other words that start with those sounds. Bring in some other objects that start with the same sounds; if students know the words, see if they can match it to one of the sounds. If they don’t know what something is, have them ask What is it? or What are they? After you provide the answer, see if they can match to one of the sounds.



フォニックスブック1のユニット3に出てくるこの歌は、f, g, h の音から始まるボキャブラリーを紹介します。フラッシュカードを床に広げて、「What does Filly want?」と尋ねましょう。そして生徒に同じ音で始まる言葉を言う、もしくはタッチさせます。上達してきたら、f, g, h の文字が書かれたカードを床に置いて、先生が単語を言います。生徒はその単語の最初の文字が書かれたカードにタッチします。次は生徒が先生役になって、単語を言ってもらいましょう。同じ音で始まる別の単語を知ってるかチェックしてみてください。また、その音で始まる物を持ってきてもらいましょう。その単語を知っているなら、音とマッチさせてみましょう。わからない様なら What is it? や What are they? と尋ねて、答えを伝えた後に音とマッチさせてみましょう。


At Home Tip

This song from Happy Valley Phonics Book 1, Unit 3, introduces vocabulary that begins with the f, g, and h sounds. Use gestures for the words and do them as you sing along. Then, find other things in your house that begin with the same sounds. Do you have a flower, fan, game, (pack or piece of) gum, heart and hat? Say the sound of the letters and touch the objects that start with the same sound.



フォニックスブック1のユニット3に出てくるこの歌は、f, g, h の音から始まるボキャブラリーを紹介します。一緒に歌いながら単語を表すジェスチャーをしましょう。お家の中で同じ音で始まるものを探しましょう。お花、扇風機、ゲーム、ガム、ハート、帽子はあるかな?その音で始まるものに触って文字の音を言いましょう。


Please add your comments – What do you do? How did you find these tips? We’d love to see YOUR videos.

ご意見をお聞かせ下さい! どの様にこの動画を活用しましたか? ヒントは役に立ちましたか?あなたの動画を是非見てみたいです。

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See you soon! またね!

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11月 22

nov22Nishiwaki is one of Ojiya’s famous sons. He was born 20th January 1894 and died 5th June 1982. At first he studied painting in Tokyo, studying under Fujishima Takeji and Kuroda Seiki, and later moved to Keio University to study economics and languages. He traveled widely, spending time in England and Europe, influenced by modern art and literature. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was a contemporary Japanese poet and literary critic specializing in modernism, dadaism and surrealism.


西脇 順三郎は小千谷の有名な息子です。1894年1月20日産まれで1982年6月5日に死にました。最初は東京で画法を藤島 武二、黒田 清輝の下で勉強しました。そのあとは慶応大学で経済学と言語学を勉強しました。世界中の色々なところに行って、イングランドやヨーロッパで時間を過ごし現代の美術と文学に影響を受けました。1957年ノーベル文学賞に指名されました。現代の日本の詩人と文芸批評家でモダニズム、ダダイズム、シュールレアリズムを専門にしました。

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11月 18

ojiya_nov18We need to keep in mind that the prime focus is communication – being understood and being able to express ideas and opinions, describe and relate. Pronunciation and grammar are to be seen in this light. Improving these is a matter of choice and can only be done over time. Accents add to the richness of English as a language. Besides, English is a dynamic language, changing constantly, and with recent generations, grammar and spelling have been well eclipsed by texting and shortening of words and sentences. English changes too. Communication is two-way. Native English speakers need to change the way they communicate with non-native speakers. Next blog I will explore this further.


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11月 15

ojiya_nov15Ojiya’s long cold, snowy winters and abundant water resources make for some famous varieties of rice, soba, rice dishes and sake. One of the rice dishes is zohsui or ojiya – leftover rice and vegetables in a rice porridge/broth.


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11月 11

nov11It does seem difficult for Japanese and Korean learners of English to end on a consonant or double consonant, for example changing boat to boote or home to hoomu. Japanese has more syllables than English and less consonant clusters – consonants are followed by vowels. This alters pronunciation and stress/flow. One example I like is the word strike, which is sutoraiki or sutoraiku in Japanese, both with 4 syllables, while it has only one in English.

It’s good for English teachers to be aware of this. Keep in mind that each country has its own way of speaking English – French English/American English/Chinese English, etc., and Japanese English. This adds a richness to English.



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11月 08

nov8A trip up Mt Yamamoto, a few minutes from Ojiya, is quite worth it for the view. There is a 360-degree views from the town and the Shinano river to the small villages and rice fields all round. During the summer there are masses of sunflowers. You can see part of the Echigo mountain range; there is already snow on some of the peaks.


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11月 04


We should add “mate” – usually added to the end: “ow’s it goin’ mate?”, etc.—as well as

“She’ll be right, mate”, “g’day”, “didyavagdweekend?”, “you little ripper”, “moonlight flit”, “skint” etc., etc.



No worries:心配ない、つまり、問題ない
She’ll be right:大丈夫、つまり、心配いらない
You beauty:素晴らしい
Too right:そうだ、それは正しい
Not within cooee:大外れ、間違っている(声が届く距離より遠い)



G’day, mate:こんにちは・有名なオーストラリアの挨拶
Didyavagdweekend?:Did you have a good weekend? 良い週末を過ごしたか?
You little ripper:良いことがあったときの言葉
Moonlight flit:夜逃げ

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