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!