2018.3.28. Free-talk an Business


15:00- 5 students

16:00- 5 students

Today among many things, we talked about what a typical place for you to go on a first date is. Has the norm changed over the years? What was typical 20-30 years ago versus now? What are some memories you have about your first date?


18:00- 6 students

19:00- 7 students

For this evening’s Free-talk, we talked about certain cities/places that are attractive to live in and rather or not they are actually attractive just because they are popular. We also continued to talk about what various cities in the U.S. and Japan are famous for.


20:00- 7 students

21:00- 7 students

For the first hour of business we did a debate. On the topic of whether or not it is advantageous to have open floor plans over cubicle farms in your corporate office.

For the second hour we did something a little different. I showed you guys an American stand-up comedy act. The aim was to expose you guys to real, natural English used everyday amongst native speakers. I think humor is a fun and great way to get a feel for a country’s culture and how the language is used in everyday conversations. I prepared a list of vocabulary that I thought you guys might potentially find difficult as well as a full transcription of the sketch.

I hope you guys found it interesting and useful.



2018.3.21. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00- 4 students

16:00- 4 students

Today we were talking about the Carpenters and why are they still well known among younger Japanese people despite being a mostly 70s group. In that conversation, one of the suggestions was that their song was used in a fairly popular Japanese tv-series back in the mid 90s. So we then discussed what that  tv-series was about. In the conversation, I explained the difference between acceptance and tolerance.


18:00- 3 students

19:00- 5 students

This evening, we mainly discussed whether or not you can tell the subtle difference in taste between different beers, coffees, wines, whiskeys, etc. For those that can, what is it that they are looking for inorder to make the distinction?


20:00- 5 students

21:00- 5 students

For tonight’s Business class, we worked on idioms. I introduced five very commonly used idioms, which you had to figure out what they meant. After we went over the meanings, I had you come up with example sentences useding these idioms and share them with the class.


2018.3.14. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00 – 7 students

16:00 – 7 students

There was an unusually large group today. After some self-introductions, student(s?) had some fairly heated conversations about their favorite movies and comedians.


18:00 – 1 student

19:00 – 2 students

Tonight we talked about our and our parents home towns, culture and dialects unique to them.


20:00 – 5 students

21:00 – 2 students

For business tonight, we practiced making a 60 second pitch. Here’s scenario. You see your boss pouring himself a cup of coffee by the coffee machine. This is your opportunity to convey a business idea you had for the company. But realistically you have only about a minute to sell your idea to him.

How would you go about doing this?

First, we read and discussed a sample sales pitch. Then for the second hour, I had you guys write your own pitch. I went around the class and worked with students individually to help develope parts of their presentation.

Conveying a relatively complex idea to someone concisely in a short time frame is never easy even in your native language, yet alone your second language. It takes practice, but despite the challenge I think you guys did very well. Don’t forget, practice makes perfect.

Thanks for joining. See you guys next week!


2018.3.7. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00- 2 students

16:00- 2 students

Topics for Free-talk included

Taking your pets to the vet

Finding restaurants serving authentic ethnic/international food in Japan or the States. Chinese, Thai, Indian, Turkish, etc.


18:00 – 5 students

19:00 – 5 students

We’re all over the place as usual with our conversational topics tonight.

Towards the beginning, we talked about the differences in people who are monolingual, bilingual or even multilingual. How about people who are monocultural versus bicultural?

Later we talked about personal hygiene and the differences you observe between Japan and other countries.



20:00- 5 students

21:00- 5 students

Our goal for business class tonight was to practice expressing your opinion in business related topics.

Some of the topics we covered tonight included:

Invention versus Innovation: Is there a difference?

Is it possible to simultaneously achieve career success and build a happy family life?

Is self employment more simulating than working for a large organization?

I really enjoy getting to hear your thoughts. Thanks for sharing and I hope to see you all next week!


2018.2.28. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00 – 4 students

16:00 – 3 students

Today we talked about your experience when you were learning how to drive. We also talked about how typical paid parking in Portland works.



18:00 – 7 students

19:00 – 6 students

Topics for today’s Free-talk were:

TV progress you like to watch

Investments you make

Something that you cannot stop doing

E.g. I don’t think I can quit eating spicy food even if I had to…



20:00 – 5 students

21:00 – 5 students

Tonight’s topic for business class was idioms involved with making decisions.

Here are a couple examples of what we covered in class

(He/she) has the final say on this matter.

(We must) bear in mind that ~

After that, we shared our experiences making decisions in the past and discussed what are the most critical factors to consider when making an important decision.

Thanks for your participation. Take it easy!


2018.2.21. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00 – 15:50   4 students

16:00 – 16:50   5 students

Towards the beginning of the lesson, we talked about pets you guys have. Then a student described a situation she encountered, where a employee making a sandwich touched some cash with his bear hands to ring up a customer then proceeded to make her sandwich without washing his hands. We asked around the class on what you would have done if you where in that situation. It was interesting to see various different views the class had on this.


18:00 – 18:50   5 students

19:00 – 19:50   5 students

Staying true to the title of the lesson, we were all over the place with our conversation topics this evening. Just to list a few, we talked about things people do that annoy you, the Olympic sport of curling, and about laptops. Are you a Mac or PC user? Why?


20:00 – 20:50   4 students

21:00 – 21:50   4 students

For business, we discussed how important various practices are to your business. For instance, is it important or should it be avoided in your work place to call each other by their first name? How important is it to incorporate humor? How about socializing outside work? We shared the importance of each characteristics at our own workplace and then discussed the differences between others in class.

Thank you very much for your participation. I will see you later!



2018.2.14. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00-15:50   2 students

16:00-16:50   2 students

Today we talked about the winter Olympic games and snowboarding in particular. After that, we talked about what was the most nerve-racking experience in our lifes.


18:00-18:50   3 students

19:00-19:50   4 students

We discussed some niche businesses such as koraoke, cafes and bars that have unique features to entertain people. For example, in Japan there are train conductor karaoke, board game cafes, real life escape games, etc. We talked about places that you know or heard of or actually enjoy going to.


20:00-20:50   7 students

21:00-21:50   7 students

For business, we talked about polite and professional English over the phone. We did an exercise converting language that is inappropriate for business to more professional language suitable for business. After the exercise, we practiced the concept we discussed in pairs.

Thanks for coming, see you soon!



2018.2.7. Wednesday : Free-talk and Business


15:00-15:50   2 students

16:00-16:50   3 students

For the first hour, we talked about things like confusing US customary units and their equivalent in SI units. Later we talked about our experience in college. What were the lectures, dorms, professors like?


18:00-18:50   2 students

19:00-19:50   5 students

Today we discussed quite extensively about airline companies’ credit cards, mileage points and the special services/benefits you get by becoming one of their premium members, or a “super flyer” as ANA would call you.


20:00-20:50   4 students

21:00-21:50   4 students

The theme of tonight’s business was discussion and persuasion. The first hour, I gave you guys a scenario where you were stuck in a broken elevator together for 48 hours. Your task was to pick 8 objects that you think ought be brought in the elevator, convince the rest of the group on their utility, and finally come to an agreement on 8 objects as a group.

We did a mini debate for the second hour. Our topic was whether or not companies should have strict policies against dating at work. Since all of you were more or less in agreement in the beginning, I split you into two groups and assigned you a side you’ll be supporting.


2017.1.31. Wednesday: Free-talk and Business


15:00-15:50  1 student

16:00-16:50  1 student

Idioms were the theme of today’s free-talk. We discussed the meaning of various idioms throughout our conversation. Here are a couple of examples of the idioms I introduced.

Take it with a grain of salt.

Have your cake and eat it too.



18:00-18:50  4 students

19:00-19:50  4 students

Among many things, tonight we talked about our tolerance to caffeine and/or alcohol. Do you ever experience a caffeine buzz?



20:00-20:50  4 students

21:00-21:50  2 students

Since we had a couple of new students tonight, we started off with some introductions and casual conversations. Then we practiced describing objects in the room. The goal of the exercise is to build an intuition for expressing short thoughts in English minimizing your thinking time.


2018.1.24. Wednesday: free-talk and business


15:00-15:50   1 student

16:00-16:50   1 student

Inspired by the recent cold weather, we talked about cold places around the world and Japan. I explained what terms like double pane windows and wind chill mean.


18:00-18:50   2 students

19:00-19:50   3 students

We started off talking about a student’s experience buying a new washing machine recently. It was actually far more interesting then it sounds. As there were challenges that needed to be overcome, lol. After that we discussed one of the students’ recent trip to Southeast Asia.


20:00-20:50   3 students

21:00-21:50   5 students

For the first hour of business, I brought in an article for us to read and discuss. For the second hour, we did a brainstorm activity exploring the potential of new English school’s in the future. Should we start investing in AI English teachers now? Lol.

The article today was challenging but we guys handled it well. Thanks for your hard work. See you!