Friday, November 25

Technology and My Generation

image courtesy of stock.xchng

"The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, 15 or 20 miles an hour.... A carriage will start from Washington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia, and sup in New York the same day.... Engines will drive boats 10 or 12 miles an hour, and there will be hundreds of steamers running on the Mississippi, as predicted years ago."
--Oliver Evans, 1800

Are you a techie?

A “techie” means a person who likes technology and who is good at using it. He knows a lot about computers and how to use computer programs. He also knows about the many trends of cellphones, iPods, cameras etc.

I’m not a techie. In fact, I’m what you could call a Stone Age guy. ;-)

I used to be a real pencil-and-paper guy, but now I can say that I have an elementary knowledge of computers. But my knowledge of cellphone and camera models or iPod generations is still next to zero.

I’m not a techie, but I like technology.

Maybe I even like technology more than a techie.

Why do I say that?

Because I can appreciate technology.   

Being a techie is actually easy. You just need to spend some time and money being familiar with the different kinds of gadgets and devices around you. It also tends to be expensive, especially when you become a faddist of the latest products and models.

But knowing how to appreciate technology, now that’s a different story.

Appreciating technology is in fact deeper and harder.

In today’s world, very few people can sit down and imagine what life would be like without all these technological advances around us.

Have you ever truly realized the value of your cellphone? Have you ever wondered what would happen if nobody had invented it?

OK. Imagine that you’re driving late at night. Unfortunately, your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no gas station or garage in sight for the next 50 miles. And it’s raining buckets.

Plus: Your cellphone has run out of battery.

How would you feel?

Of course you’d feel afraid. As afraid as some little animal. Because you don’t have any control of the forces around you. You’re at the complete mercy of nature and there’s nothing you can do.

This is how our great-great grandparents felt a long time ago.

If a hermit pointed at that smooth piece of metal that you're holding in your hand and asked you: “What’s that?” you’d answer: “This? Oh, this is just a cellphone.

But in fact, it’s a triumph of the human mind against nothingness. 

The small piece of metal in your hand represents hundreds of years of human effort against darkness and helplessness.

It reminds us, for instance, of the first 20-horsepower steam engine that James Watts invented. Or maybe the first train ride that ran at 18 miles an hour across 25 miles of wilderness and barrenness.

When we hear the word “horsepower” we just think of cars, but there used to be a time when “horsepower” literally meant the power of an animal and its four legs: the horse.

Nowadays, a sports car like the Lamborghini Diablo has a thousand horsepower and can run 270 miles an hour.

It might be a little hard for you to imagine all these things, but think about your grandmother and grandfather. What do you think they did when they wanted to communicate with each other? What do you think they did when they wanted to make a date?

What do you think they did when they had a toothache or when they felt really cold in winter? What do you think they did when they had to travel so many miles to meet their families? Or when they got lost?

Nowadays, because technology is very common and very easy for us to get, we appreciate it very little.

We don’t realize how much effort has gone to the making of the technology, and how much comfort we're enjoying compared to the people in the past.

Sometimes, when I really think about it, I figure the cellphone would be a kind of magical power in the eyes of a time-traveler from the past. It’s like telepathy because you can send thoughts instantaneously to anyone anywhere in the world. At any moment.

That’s a lot of power inside your pocket. At the tip of your fingers.

You can do so many things – you can act - during a very critical situation, maybe even an accident that you witnessed. Or maybe just to send a message like “Hi” or “How are you doing?” to our family and friends. Maybe an “I’m sorry” or “Don’t worry, everything will be all right.

Or “I miss you” and “I love you.

Still, it’s hard for many of us to do things as simple as this.

If you think about it, this power that we have is almost like a miracle.

Keep on learning !

Thursday, November 17

Teacher MONってどんな人?


名前はMon Reaです。英語教師として14年間働いています(でも、そんなに年とってないんです…まだ30歳!)

日本人生徒に英語を教えて約 9 年、その前は韓国人生徒に約5年間教えていました。人数にすると数百人の友達(生徒)に英語を教えてきたことになります。




カリスマ講師のTeacher MONのご紹介です。中級者以上の目的がはっきりした方の英語上達の速度は講師の質にあります。教える事に情熱を注いでいる「Teacher MON」のTOEICスコアはもちろん990点満点。



私が初めてフィリピンに英語を勉強しに来た時、モンは学校の寮に住んでいるボーディングティーチャーでした。いつも皆の和の中にいる楽しい人です(笑)。3ヶ月が過ぎてフィリピンを去る時、私は一度もモンの授業を受けた事が無かったのですが、周りの皆がモンの授業を絶賛していたので一時間だけ最後にモンの授業を受けました。何より説明が凄く分かりやすくて、的確だと思いました。プロだ!と思いました。それから約二年後、オーストラリアのワーホリを終えて再度フィリピンに戻ってきて今度はモンの授業を1ヶ月間毎日受けました。初級英語から難しい文法、TOEIC、ビジネス英語まで幅広く、ここまで対応出来る先生は中々いないと思います。私もTOEIC870という満足なスコアを取りました! ありがとう、モン! by Manami Zamza

Teacher Monの教える文法は本当にわかりやすくて、すべて英語で説明しているのに、不思議とすんなりと耳に入って、理解が出来てしまいます。自信のなかった文法もMonの授業を受ければ、自信がつくはず!ちょっと辛口なユーモアとチャーミング笑顔で毎日授業が楽しかったです、フィリピンで習った先生の中ではトップクラスでした!またフィリピンに行ったら授業受けたいです!これからもよろしく、Mon!! by Naoko Maki

Monには夜の文法クラスで教えてもらいました。Monの英語はとてもわかりやすく、英語初心者の私にも理解できるように話してくれました。なんといっても彼の人柄が大いにでている授業でいつも笑いがたえませんでした⭐ 英語を英語で理解するという事を1番始めに彼に教わったと思います。これから留学される方には是非teacher Monのクラスを受けて頂く事をオススメします^o^ by Tomoyo Hayashi

私が、その学校に滞在して勉強したのは、わずか数週間でしたが、その後もFacebookなどで、つねに気にかけていただいて、今でも仲良くしていただいています。話し方も、ゆっくり、はっきりと話してくれるので、とてもわかりやすい授業をしてくれます。面倒見も良いし、授業以外の企画もいろいろ計画してくれるので、楽しいと思います。by Ken Kurihara

教え方が、上手い! わかりやすい!わからなくて、パニックになっていると、どこが理解できていないかを、理解してくれて、いろんな言い回しで、説明してくれます。英語初心者だった、あたしには、何がわからないかも、わからないのに、すごくありがたかったです。絵と文章で、説明してくれたノートは、いまでも、宝物です!^_^ by Hiromi Kondo

モンは僕の知る限り、最も優れた英語の先生です。UP(フィリピンにある大学の最高学府)を卒業、TOEIC満点なので、 彼自身の英語のレベルは言うまでも無いですが、それを教える技術は群を抜いています。
彼は説明によくイラストを用います。 彼のイラストは非常に上手で、シーンが直感的に頭に入ってくるのが他の先生との一番の違いです。砕けた場所ではセンスのあるジョークを放ち、ユーモア溢れる人柄がとっても魅力的です。 by Jumpei Igari 

Monの文法クラスを受講していました。また、自分の担当Teacherが休んだ際にMONが空いていたら彼に授業を振替えていました。 第一にMonは親しみ安い人柄です。当時の学校における先生たちのリーダーでした。先生でありながらも、授業以外の時間には生徒たちとクラスメイトの様に良い関係を築いていました。もちろん、彼の英語教師としての資質は申し分なく、素晴らしいものです。単に文法力や語彙力、リスニングというものだけでなく、言葉の成り立ちなどの細部に至る知識を有しており、それを私たち英語学習者に分かりやすく、しかも英語で説明してくれるのです。加えて、彼は私たち日本人のことを良く理解しています。国民性から日本人が苦手な英語のポイントなど。そして何よりMONも、私たちと同じく英語を母語としない国で「英語学習者」として英語を学び、今の語学力を身につけていますので、「英語を学ぶ」ということを良く理解しているのだと思います。是非一度、Teacher MONの授業を、英語レッスンを体験してみてください。あなたと英語の関係がより良好なものになると信じています。 by Yoshiyuki Kakoi

こんにちは。モンは文法の知識も豊富ですが、なにより生徒とすぐ打ち解け友達になるのが上手で、生徒は彼との雑談やジョークから英語を学ぶことができます。勉強熱心な先生で、質問には丁寧に答えてくれます。とてもすてきな先生だと思います。 by Natsuko Yoneda

Teacher MONはとてもフレンドリーな先生です。なので誰でもすぐに打ち解けると思います。雑談が長くなってしまうこともあるのですが(笑 英語の授業に関しても、丁寧でわかりやすいいい先生です:) by Wataru Kodama

Teacher Monの文法クラスを受講していましたが、高校生の時、日本人の先生に日本語で教えられても分からなかった文法が、どうして、MONから英語で教えてもらって、こんなにまで良く理解できるのだろうと不思議でたまりませんでした。どんなことでも理論立てて、「なぜこの時はこう言うのか」という根っこを教えてくれるので、行き当たりばったりではない応用がきく英語を学べました。英語のプロフェッショナルはたくさん居ると思いますが、プラス、それを人に分かりやすく伝えられる人、というのはなかなか居ないと思います。そういった意味で、彼は真のプロフェッショナルだと思います。ぜひ一度彼の講義を受けてみてください。きっと英語が腑に落ちると思います。 by Hisayo Nomura

Monは個々の生徒のレベルに合わせて教えることのできるティーチャーで、とてもユーモラスでフレンドリーな男です。わたしが彼のルームメイトだった頃、彼はすでにヘッドティーチャーという立場でしたが、そんな立場になってからでもMonは分厚い英語の文法書を読んだりするほど勤勉で、良い意味の英語オタクといえるでしょう。Monは英語の先生に英語を教えるほど圧倒的な英語力を持っていますが、初心者にもとてもわかりやすく教えることができます。私は完全な初心者でしたがMonは初心者への教え方や伝え方を熟知しており、彼とのコミュニケーションに困ることはありませんでした。おそらく彼以上の英語ティーチャーはいないでしょう。 by Fukao Motonobu

モン先生と同じ部屋で数ヶ月シェアしていました。 本当に面倒見がよく私の誕生日を祝ってくれたり、おまけに私の大好きなマニーパッキャオのTシャツまで プレゼントして頂きました。 性格としては凄く人懐っこくて、いつもオモシロいジョークをかまして周りの雰囲気をもりあげてくれる先生です。 見た目によらず少しどんくさいところもありますが、何かそれがモンらしくて良い味を出している先生です。 モン先生は相手の立場になって考えれる非常に良い講師なので授業をする上でも自分の弱点などを見抜いてどのように 練習したら英語を伸ばせるかと考えてくれる先生だと思います。 by Imamura Yuki

彼は私の知っている良い先生の中の一人です。by Yuki Nishijima

Monはとてもやさしい人で温かい心の持ち主です。彼の説明、特に文法の授業はとても有意義なだけでなく、わかりやすいです。by Takayuki Aikawa

Thursday, November 10

The Best Pick-up Line in English

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

Believe it or not, one of the most common (if less serious) questions about English involves PICK-UP LINES.

For those who are not familiar with this word, this means how to start a conversation with a girl at a bar. That's why we have the expression: “pick up.”

Before anything else, I have to say I can’t blame students for asking about this topic because it's really interesting and practical.

And, yes, we can also say this is part of practical English. ;-)

I can understand why non-native speakers of English wonder about this. It's because when they speak English, it’s hard for them to feel what is natural and what is weird, what is actually romantic and what is corny, what is too formal and what might be impolite etc.

Well, I’m not an authority on getting girls, but I do know the language. ;-) So I’ll tell you what I think.

Here goes:

Step No.1: Stop Thinking Too Much about the Pick-up Line

Bad news, guys. 

If you opened this Blog hoping that you’ll get one really perfect and amazing pick-up line - one that will blow the mind of your target (i.e. the girl) - I’m sorry to tell you that that’s impossible.

A perfect pick-up line is an impossible thing in English and in any other language, as far as I know.

The problem with this idea is that men who usually look for a pick-up line start to depend too much on the pick-up line.  They think that it’s the answer to all their problems. They believe that there exist the perfect words written by perhaps angels and can make the girl fall in love as soon as they speak them.

They are either too lazy or too helpless, because they are betting everything on one miracle pick-up line that would do all the work for them.

Remember: the more you depend too much on a pick-up line or the more you believe in the myth of an ultimate pick-up line, the more unnatural (weird) you will sound.

In communication, what's natural is the best.

Now, listen to this bit of poetry from a Spanish writer named Luis Cernuda, then tell me what you think:

“You justify my existence:

If I do not know you, I haven't lived;

If I die not knowing you, I do not die because I have not lived.”

Does it sound good?

If your answer is Yes, then I agree with you partially.

Yes, this piece of poetry is really romantic. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.

But the real question is: Is it good to use as a pick-up line?

The answer is: No, it isn’t.

It would sound unnatural because it wouldn’t match the situation.

To put it simply, you’d sound like a stalker. 

Got it? ;-)

Next, what do you think about these lines?

1.       You look like my next girlfriend.

2.       I have crossed oceans of time to be with you. (or, We are destined to be together.)

3.       Shall we dance?

Answer: Terrible.

If the answer is surprising for you, then this means we’re on the right track.  

Like I said, stop your obsession on one single pick-up line that would capture the heart of the other person right then and there.  

It’s just a myth.

Step No. 2: Be Natural

After we change our thinking, we can move on to the next point. The name of the game, guys, is “Keeping It Natural.”

What does this mean?

After you throw out all fantastical ideas of the “Super Pick-up Line,” concentrate on the actual situation you are facing. Know the environment, the setting etc.

Is it a bar, a club, or a party? Is it too noisy to have a conversation in? Hell, is it even appropriate to pick up someone there?

In other words, get your mind down to reality.

The closer you are to Earth, the more sensitive you become to the most natural words.

Here are my top 5 ideas for the most natural pick-up lines:

1.       Do you come here often?

2.       Excuse me. Do you have the time? (or, What time is it?)

3.       Hi. Can I get your… PIN number?

4.    You look like you’re into RNB. And I can’t seem to recall the name of this song. Can you help me out?

5. Hey, I noticed that you were reading Paulo Coelho... Are you a fan? 

You might’ve noticed it yourself, but the one thing that these lines have in common is that they are all very simple.

That’s right. Simple is natural. Natural is good. So simple is good.

Step 3: Other Things Come into Play

It might come as a surprise to you but the best pick-up lines are actually the most common things you say. It doesn’t have to be a special line.

The more important thing here is not WHAT you say but HOW you say it.

This is really, really true.

Always ask yourself: Can I say the words clearly, confidently and comfortably? Can I say them to the girl without choking or stuttering or sounding the least bit nervous? Can I say them while keeping eye contact?

If your answer to these questions is Yes, then Congratulations. 

You don’t have the perfect pick-up line that you are looking for, but you CAN pick up a girl.


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Wednesday, November 2

Afraid Of or Afraid To? (Part 2)

image courtesy of stock.xchng

If you still haven’t read Part 1 of this topic, kindly go to that part first before you continue reading this one. Just click this link:

If you’ve already finished reading Part 1, then go ahead and check our answers:


  1. I am afraid to talk to her.

  2. He is afraid to go alone.

  3. She is afraid of getting injured.

  4. They are afraid to give any criticism.

  5. We are afraid to swim over there.

  6. You are afraid of making a mistake.

  7. I am afraid to take the test.

  8. I am afraid of getting a low score.

  9. He is afraid of losing his money.

  10. She is afraid to eat exotic foods.

It might seem confusing at first, especially if you haven’t had a lot of practice using “afraid of” and “afraid to.”

The secret lies in concentrating on the Verb that you are using. Don’t let yourself be confused by the meaning of the whole sentence.

For example,

Verb: make a mistake 

== > This Verb is an involuntary action.

== > We should use “afraid of.”

On the other hand,

Verb: make a sandwich

== > This Verb is a voluntary action

== > We should use “afraid to.”


Verb: get bitten (by a dog)

= > This Verb is an involuntary action

= > We should use “afraid of.”

Here are the explanations to the rest of our examples. Please check if you had the same ideas and, if you made any mistakes, try to understand why:

  1. I am afraid to talk to her. = voluntary action

  2. He is afraid to go alone. = voluntary action

  3. She is afraid of getting injured. = involuntary action

  4. They are afraid to give criticism. = voluntary action

  5. We are afraid to swim over there. = voluntary action

  6. You are afraid of making a mistake. = involuntary action

  7. I am afraid to take the test. = voluntary action

  8. I am afraid of getting a low score. = involuntary action

  9. He is afraid of losing his money. = involuntary action

  10. She is afraid to eat exotic foods. = voluntary action

*Note: In the case of voluntary action or the meaning of being too frightened to do something, “afraid of” is actually also possible.

For example,

He is afraid to speak to her. (=Ok)


He is afraid of speaking to her. (=Ok)

But for a learner like you, since you’re not yet familiar with the basic difference between the two structures and it’s easy for you to confuse them, it would be better if you practiced them separately.

Like what we first did:

  • afraid of v+ing = involuntary action

  • afraid to base verb = voluntary action

Hope you got it!

Keep on learning !

Any Questions?

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