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Martinより皆さまへ Part2
As maybe three people read my last blog – and the corona virus is continuing (unfortunately) - I thought I‘d write another blog before Fumiko notices and bans me again .

In May we started classes on Zoom and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of you have successfully participated in our online classes. As a dinosaur, Zoom has been a real challenge for me personally, but the younger teachers have brought me up to speed and I’m finally getting the hang of it. I really love the “mute” button (especially for DT) and I would pay a lot of money if I could get one for my wife (but don’t tell her I said that!).

The good news is that we’re going to combine our online classes with some “real” classes on the weekends at ACE in the second half of May. We need rehabilitation! And I think it’s important to venture out into society again – even though there is risk. Having said that, let’s face it, life is full of risks anyway – car accidents, investment losses (Yukihiro be careful!), the mother-in-law suddenly visiting, and so on, so we have to have a little courage to face them (well, except for the mother-in-law, of course, when avoidance is a better policy ).

So, what can we do as this situation continues? Actually, there’s a lot. But I think there are better questions: Are we part of the solution, or part of the problem? Are we doing things for others or ourselves? Do we want to survive alone or together? The answers are simple because these are (I believe!) some of the right questions.

So, please ask yourself…

I know I am.

Take care and stay safe!


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Hello everyone,

It's been a few years since I've written a blog because Fumiko (my school manager) banned me. She said nobody was reading my blog entries. Naturally, I was shocked because I really thought my blogs were rather witty and entertaining. Apparently not. Anyway, thanks to the corona virus, I finally get another chance to say a few words to you all - although I would prefer to be doing it under different circumstances.

Firstly, I'm very sorry I've had to close all the classes at ACE until May. However, to be honest, English study isn't important right now. What is important is for us to take care of our friends, families and loved ones (including our pets!) - and, just as importantly, to take care of ourselves. Managing our own stress levels, so we don't reduce the power of our immune systems by feeling anxious or afraid all the time, is essential. For stress reduction, I recommend power-harassing Tomomi (my staff). It's lots of fun and it really works! The only problem is Tomomi's stress release is to clean the toilets with my toothbrush while I'm teaching English classes (but try not to think about it).

Anyhow, I'll keep this short (as most people won't read it anyway) and sign off for now. The office will still be open every day (except Mondays and Fridays) from 14.00~19.00 so if you are in town, drop by and say hello. I can even lend you Tomomi to power-harass for a bit if you're feeling stressed . Ten minutes for 1,000yen - a new business idea! .

Take it easy & stay safe!


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Martin's Room again & ACE ベストドレッサー賞発表!
2016 - In the rear-view mirror

I have no idea why my blog column is called “Martin’s room” as I don’t even have my own desk at ACE,
let alone a room. I used to have a plastic A4-sized tray, but Fumiko “lost it” when we moved the office
from the 14th floor to the 10th floor earlier this year. Yeh, right. More likely she burned it in some voodoo
ritual of revenge because after the move I had a really sore back for ages. And talking of revenge, although
it’s been a lot of fun power-harassing Tomomi this year, I think I’m going to have to be more careful
next year as the arsenic she puts in my coffee every day spoils the taste. And as for Tomomi getting
married this year - and becoming Mrs Yanagi - the only thing I can say is – finally! The good news is she’ll
be quitting soon to take care of her good husband, and to further populate Japan with little Yanagis in due

As for our students, there have been some stars this year (Miho in L5 and Tetsuro in L6 spring to mind here,
but there were many others who did well, too) which is always very pleasing. And, naturally, life would be no fun
without the Toshihiro twins (NT and DT) to entertain me at ACE.

The Toshihiro Twins: NT (Normal Toshihiro) and DT (Dangerous Toshihiro)

Of course, lots of things have happened in the bigger world outside ACE this year. Brexit and Donald Trump
probably being two of the most jaw-dropping events, balanced out by more positive things like the summer
Olympics in Brazil, and pineapples and pens in Japan. As for me personally, it’s been a pretty good year.
After all, I’m still alive and my best friend is still alive, as well. At 12 years old that’s no mean feat for
a golden retriever!

Any cats under here?

So what will 2017 hold in store for us? One thing for sure is with Donald as president, it’s going to be exciting.
It’ll be less exciting at ACE (I hope) but we are expanding the space in February by adding another room on
the A-side of our building on the 10th floor.

Hopefully, there will be enough room in it for my (new) A4 tray (?)

Thank you all for your support in 2016!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!



ここで毎年恒例 (になる予定) ベストドレッサー賞を発表いたします


Level 6 Yosuke Kunimatsu さん


記念すべき、第1回目のACEベストドレッサー賞 (Martinの独断で) 受賞です











それでは皆さん、よいChristmas & お正月をお過ごしくださいね

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Stating the obvious
Scaffolding is a fancy term in linguistics used to mean setting the bar a little higher than a student’s ability and thereby facilitating new language acquisition more easily. Of course, this is simply common sense and applies to almost all areas of teaching/learning that I can think of. Naturally, it’s the same in sports, too. If you’re going to be a weightlifter, it’s not a good idea to start out with a bar loaded up with 200kgs of weights.

So, the only difference between many aspects of linguistics (and a host of other “academic” subjects) and common sense is the level of paperwork required to explain the patently obvious.

I used an article in class the other day (from the Guardian Newspaper) which stated that every subject can be boiled down to two things (which are sometimes contradictory). One of the examples given was “driving”. Driving was summarized as: “Don’t hit anything” and “Don’t let anything hit you”. Get the idea?

So I decided to apply the two-point game to language learning. What are the two key points of language learning?

As any language student would tell you (if they actually took the time to think about it) language learning can be distilled into two simple points:

1. Study hard and continuously in your own best way


2. Use what you’ve learned in the real world

Of course many English schools claim to have “the best study method”. This is simply marketing and cannot be true. Why not? Because we all have our own “best way” of studying and our methods are all (at least slightly) different. The school’s method (by definition) cannot be your method so how can it possibly be the best method for you?

What many adult language learners seem to forget is that they already have good study skills (from other areas in life) and that those study skills are their preferred method(s) of studying. All they need to do is to adapt their skills to learning English.

As for using the English skills they’ve learned in the “real world”, well the Internet has largely solved that problem. Simply do all your online searches in English from now on. Okay, that might seem like putting 200kgs on the weightlifting bar from the beginning, but if you use your common sense a little, you can find lighter weights than that online – simply speaking use scaffolding

Just like I do in Japanese…

Ahem. Well, from now on

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The meaning of life  ~lessons one to four
Okay, so the title may be a bit grandiose, but recently I’ve found a great teacher. Furthermore, my teacher only needs body language to teach. Now how clever is that?

No doubt you will have guessed by now that my teacher is our adopted family dog, Spike . In the beginning, Spike worried about working with such a moron, but he didn’t give up. Then I realised that was lesson number one: don’t give up!

The second lesson was simple: we don’t need much in life to be happy: Healthy food, occasional play; regular exercise; some small feeling of achievement from time to time; lots of naps, and a few close friends is more or less all that’s required. Everything else is just tinsel.

Spike has also reminded me of the joys of enjoyable communication. On our morning walks, we come across a wide variety of people. Naturally, people react very differently to Spike. Some are afraid of him because he’s a big dog. Others obviously like dogs and want to chat. Almost without exception, the conversation is about the dog and goes something like this:

(Me) “Good morning.”
“Great weather.”
“Yes. What breed?”
“I’m British.”
“No, the dog.”
“Oh, he’s a Golden Retriever.”
“How old?”
“51 in June.”
”And the dog?”
“He’s 8.”
“Looks healthy.”
“Yes, very.”

As we part company, the person usually gives me the kind of smile people reserve for crazy people who sit next to them on the bus. And therein lies the fourth lesson and most important lesson:

If you want to avoid crazy people, don’t take the bus.

So if anyone wants to learn a few of life’s secrets from Spike, he’s available for his usual fee.

One large bone and a tummy rub.

Why work for less?

Spike cooling off in Muromi River.

ACE Englishこちら

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テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育


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