第64話:私のユーリカモーメントその1 - キャッシュレス

My eureka moment #1 – Cashless
私のユーリカモーメントその1 - キャッシュレス

Hello, everyone! I have come up with a new segment for our blog and I am calling it My Eureka Moment! 

Do you know what “eureka” means? This is an interjection (e.g.  Ah! Oh, my! Oops!) used mainly to celebrate a discovery. My goal for this corner in EXCEL English blogs is for you to achieve that eureka momentLet’s get started with my first entry!

みなさんこんにちは!新しいブログの題材を思いついちゃったの。でね、それを「私のユーリカモーメント」って呼ぶことにしたの。ところでみんな「eureka」ってどういう意味か知ってる?「Ah! Oh, my! Oops!」のような感嘆詞で、主に辞書をほめてあげるのに使うわよ。というわけでExcel Englishのブログ新コーナー、みんなに「ユーリカモーメント」を提供するのが目標です。それでは第1回をはじめよう!


As of late, more and more people are leaning towards using cashless payments. I’m sure you all know what “cashless” means. But have you ever noticed that there are plenty of English words that Japanese people are familiar with that contain “-less.”
For example:








-less is a suffix or a meaningful sound in English which changes a word’s meaning. As you might have observed, -less means without and once you add -less at the end of a noun, that word turns into an adjective.

Now, let’s apply it to these following words and on your own, try to guess what these words could mean once -less is attached.


Fear + less           ______________________

Top + less            ______________________

Time + less          ______________________          

Spot + less           ______________________

Seed + less          ______________________

Sleep + less         ______________________

Did you get your eureka moment? If you did, then my mission is accomplished! I will reveal the answers in the next blog! Have fun learning!

-Teacher Mina



第63話:Learning English at Home / 家での英語学習

Learning English at Home

These days, a lot of us are confined in our homes for health and safety reasons. This could hinder us from living our normal lives when we could freely go out and get things done. But on the brighter side of things, this could actually be a perfect opportunity to continue improving your skills or perhaps get started with it. In this post, I’d be sharing with you ways to better your English abilities while staying at home.

健康 / 安全の理由で家にずっといなきゃいけない日が続いているよね。自由に外出していろんなことができた普段の生活が阻害されてる。でもこれってポジティブに考えれば絶好のスキルアップのチャンスだったり、新しいこと始めるよい機会ともとれるね。というわけで、今回のブログでは「家に居ながらにして英語スキルをのばす」ことに焦点をあててみます。

Watch TV

This is probably the most relaxing way to learn English! It is when you are just glued to your couch while watching a show to keep yourself entertained or to learn something new. In a previous blog post, I have shared with you some of my recommended TV programs that will help you learn and improve your English while still having fun. If you haven’t checked it yet, here is the link. 


Listen to a Podcast 

When you’re too busy to pause and watch TV, there’s still a way to pick up a skill while you’re up to something. Podcasts are perfect company for busy bees like you! It’s a great way to immerse yourself in English while you are either doing chores at home or taking some time to relax. Please check these links for my recommendations!


Writing allows you slow down and be creative at the same time. English involves a lot of skills and writing is one of them. Keeping a record of your mundane happenings either on paper or online can help you keep track of your days while practicing your grammar skills and vocabulary use. 

Pick-up New Words 

Words are building blocks of a language. Learning more words enables you to keep your word bank filled to the brim with vocabulary you can construct sentences with. This seems very basic but is undeniable essential in language learning. Books and dictionaries are great sources but there is also a plethora of other choices to choose from on the web or in your smartphone application store. And since you’re at home, you’ve got the time to browse on all of these unlimited resources! 


Play Games

Who says playing games is just a way of killing time? If you’re someone who loves games, you can challenge yourself by setting the language settings into English. This might sound difficult to do but it sure does help. You can also do the same thing with your smartphones. Try downloading English language-related word games. This will help with brushing up your vocabulary or building one!


You may practice your speaking skills with any of your family members who might be interested but if no one’s up for it, you might want to try having a language-learning buddy you can talk to through chats or phone calls. This keeps you connected with other people while practicing social distancing! But if you still don’t have any of the previous options mentioned, you can try talking to yourself instead. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll seem like a crazy person! Rest assured that this will be helpful in building your confidence. You can do this by watching yourself practice a speech in front of the mirror, recording yourself using a voice recorder or just speaking your thoughts aloud. I swear by these and I can truly attribute my own improvements to these methods. 



Join Online Classes 

Technology is such a great educational tool. It opens a gateway of resources to supplement our learning. And for those with the unrelenting determination to know more, technology provides a way to connect people to information and sources. Online classes are a good way to connect learners with language teachers or speaking buddies. It’s also provides a very convenient and comfortable way of studying. Continue learning and stay connected!   


Being stuck at home might feel very demotivating for many of us. But it always doesn’t have to feel that way. Here’s to hoping that this list might help you in some way to be more positive and proactive in your English learning journey. For now, please stay healthy and safe everyone! 

-      Teacher Marilou 

1.     confined (adjective) – not free to move about (形容詞) – 外に出られない
2.     company (noun)- the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment  (名詞)- 連れ
3.     mundane (adjective) – found in the ordinary course of events (形容詞) – 日常的な
4.     building blocks (noun) - a basic unit from which something is built up (名詞) – 基本成分
5.     filled to the brim (expression)- as full as possible  (語法)- あふれ出そうな  
6.     plethora (noun) – extremely abundant (名詞) – 過多
7.     kill time (expression)- to engage in an activity, usually a rather aimless or idle one, with the goal of making time seem to pass more quickly or less slowly (語法)- 暇つぶし
8.     up for (it) (expression) – keen and willing (to trying something out or to make a good effort) (語法) – 立候補して 
9.     swear by (phrasal verb)- have or express great confidence in the use, value, or effectiveness of (動詞句)- ~にかけて誓う 

10.  unrelenting (adjective)- never-ceasing(形容詞)- ゆるぎのない


第62話:Why Skype?:スカイプ(無料テレビ電話)レッスンのご案内

Why take EXCEL English’s Skype Lessons 


Due to unprecedented events, our generation is inadvertently being propelled to the future of work, communication and learning. Companies are now implementing teleworking, opting for web conference and relying on the tools that allow us to do remote tasks.

今までにない出来事がおきて、私たち世代は、未来の仕事のあり方 / 未来のコミュニケーションのあり方 / 未来の学びのあり方へと駆り立てられています。会社はテレワーキングの推進 / ウェブ会議の選択 / 遠隔で仕事ができるツールに頼るようになってきています。

As an English teacher, I would like to pave the way for my students to continue their language education and at the same time take into consideration the contemporary social, collocation and health circumstances.

ここで私は「一英語講師」として、当今の社会の置かれている状況 / 衛生状況を考慮しつつ、生徒のみなさまに言語学習継続の道しるべを示したいとおもいます。

Skype is one of the ways we can pursue our goals in engaging in constant practice of the target language. In light of this I would like to discuss why students should consider taking EXCEL English’s Skype Lessons.

 スカイプレッスンは、目標とする言語の継続的学習を行いゴールへといざなうための一つの方法です。この観点から生徒のみなさまがなぜEXCEL ENGLISHのスカイプレッスン受講をご考慮いただくべきかをここでお話したいと思います。

      1.      The future is now
There is no more turning back. The future is now and the future is here. It’s high time for us to embrace newer, better and more convenient ways of learning. Learning doesn’t have to remain traditional and familiar and it will not always be. We are facing changes and as global-oriented people, we have got to ride the tide. Let’s open our eyes to the new possibilities of learning.


      2.      Comfort
It is a given that our home is the best and most comfortable place for us. Although it is true that the idea of going to school and meeting your teacher in class boosts one’s motivation in learning, exerting effort in transportation and in preparing oneself mentally for the class can somehow mitigate one’s energy and motivation in learning. Being at home makes us feel rather relaxed. Being in a cosy place that's conducive to learning can positively affect our performance in class.

2: 快適性

     3.      Portability
One of the most promising features of Skype is that you can take a call almost anywhere and almost at any time provided that you have a relatively good connection to the internet. This may require you to install a Wi-Fi router or LAN cable in your home otherwise, you’ll have to use your LTE data to take the Skype lesson. Some students do take classes during their lunch time at work. If you’re traveling on business or moving to another country, you can still take EXCEL English Skype services.

3: 携帯性
スカイプの最も得意とすることのひとつ、それは何時でも何処でもネット環境が比較的良い場所なら利用できること。スカイプを利用するにはWi-Fiルーター / LANケーブルを自宅に引くか、なければ携帯電話の回線を使います。仕事のランチタイムの間にレッスンを受講する生徒さんなどもいます。出張中や、他国に引っ越ししても、EXCEL ENGLISHのレッスンをスカイプで受講しているのです。



4.      Motivation

Motivation is extremely difficult to maintain especially when learning something new. But downloading Skype in your phone or PC can potentially assist you in cultivating motivation. How? The secret is convenience. High motivation stems out from the fact that the Skype experience is significantly trouble-free. You only have to pick up your phone or turn on your computer and you’re all set.

4: 動機付け
特に、何か新しいことを学ぶときは、モチベーションを維持するのがとても難しいです。でも、スカイプをあなたのスマートフォン / PCにダウンロードするのはモチベーション啓発になるはず。そのわけは「便利」だから。スカイプ使うのはとっても簡単。スマホ / PCの電源入れて、すぐに使えるわけですから。

     5.      Real time notes
Anecdotally, the most special feature of EXCEL ENGLISH 英会話 is the real time notes written by the teacher. Teachers send you notes during class and you can also request for the notes be sent via email. Learning English can be optimized using visual representations. You can receive links of pictures or videos which you can check real time.

5: リアルタイムメモ
聞くところによると、EXCEL ENGLISHの一番よいところは、先生によるメモ作成のようです。授業しながらにして先生がキーボード入力でメモを作ってくれ、リクエストがあればあとでメールに添付して送ってくれることです。視覚表示を利用して英語学習がとても効率的に行われているのです。スカイプなら、画像やビデオのリンクを受け取り、リアルタイムでそれをチェックすることだってできます。

 6.      English phone call simulation
Without a camera, it is a good simulation of talking to an English speaker via phone. Lacking visual elevates the challenge of comprehension. But this kind of transaction is happening everywhere in world as we speak. People talk on phones without relying on the image of the person on the other end. For our high intermediate and advanced learners, this could be a great chance to test your skills in taking phone calls.

6: 電話のシミュレーション
画像なしにするなら、電話で外人と話す練習になります。画像情報がないことで理解のハードルがあがります。でも、こういう状況って会話時にどこでも起こること。電話は相手の画像情報に頼らず話をしますよね。中 / 上級の生徒さまには、画像なしにすることで電話の受け答えスキルがどれくらいあるのかチェックするよい練習となります。

    7.      Social distancing
The only way to help flatten the curve is distancing yourself from the possibility of a health risk. This is the time when the act of depriving yourself of physical contact with others is considered heroic. The small inconveniences we endure for the time being could create large ripples of positive outcomes in this time of a global pandemic.

7: ソーシャルディスタンシング

     8.      Help a local business
EXCEL ENGLISH is a humble school composed of only two teachers. Without our students’ continued support, staying in Japan and providing our skills to the Japanese society wouldn’t be possible. By taking Skype classes, you are helping a small business flourish and further provide better services.

8: みなさまのサポートがなによりです
EXCEL ENGLISHは二人の英語講師で運営する小さな英会話教室です。生徒のみなさまの継続的サポートなしでは、ここ日本で私たちの英語講師としてのスキルをみなさまに提供し続けることはできないでしょう。スカイプレッスンを受けていただくことでEXCEL ENGLISHを盛り上げていただき、よりよいサービスを今後も提供させていただきたい所存です。

To start learning by Skype right away, do not hesitate to give us a call or reach us through our email. We will assist you in every step of the way.



第61話:Learning English Series: Pronunciation Practice with Tongue Twisters Part 2 / 早口言葉で発音トレーニング:その2

Photo by Sarah Louise Kinsella on Unsplash

How’s your pronunciation training going so far? This is Teacher Marilou and I’m back with another pronunciation practice post. This time we’re going to focus on another pair sound. In our last pronunciation blog post, I shared with you some tips and exercises to help you work on your /r/ and /l/ sound. I truly hope that those were helpful to you! In this week’s blog, I’ll let you in on some useful resources to aid you in your journey to mastering your English pronunciation. Read along and find out which sounds we’re going to look into today! 
発音トレーニング、続けてるかな? 今回はほかの発音練習についてやるよ。とりあげるのは、二つの似ている発音。前回は「r」「l」の音の練習について教えたよね。みんなの助けになっていたらうれしいな。今回のブログでもみんなの発音上達の助けになること公開するよ。今日もしっかりチェックしてばっちりマスターしてね!

Exercise for the sounds /s/ and /sh/

Many people also find it difficult to pronounce these sounds. The same reason explained in the previous post also applies to these two. The way the Japanese pronounce these two sounds are often similar, making distinction almost impossible. Below are the same three steps to help you perfect your /s/ and /sh/ sounds.

みんな、この発音が苦手だよね。前回その理由として説明したのと一緒だけど、日本ではこの二つの発音がけっこう似てるもんで区別がほぼ不可能、ってわけ。以下はこの「s」「sh」 の発音を完璧にこなす手順です。

Step 1: Know Your Speech Articulators

Notice the difference in the tongue position in these figures. By doing these correctly, you’d be able to produce the /sh/ and /s/ sounds well.


Step 2: Work Your Way the Pairs

“Practice makes perfect”, they say. Although perfection doesn’t come in a day, you can begin with reading aloud these pair words below! You can also opt for recording how you sound in a voice recorder or your smartphone. Take the time to listen to it and see where you can still further improve. Voice recording is a foolproof way to keep track of your pronunciation mistakes and improvements.


Step 3: Don’t Get Tongue-tied with Tongue Twisters!

Now comes the last and the silliest-sounding way of improving your pronunciation—the tongue twisters! The first part might be quite difficult but you’d find yourself having fun as you get used to it!

Check out the link above for more /s/ and /sh/ tongue twisters to practice with! 

Good luck and have fun practicing! I’ll be back next time with another pair sound blog post!
-      Teacher Marilou 


1.     aid (verb) – give assistance; help (動詞) – 助ける
2.     let somebody in on something (phrasal verb)- to tell something that is secret or only known by a few people (動詞句)- 情報を明らかにする / 秘密を開示する
3.     opt for (phrasal verb)- to choose something (動詞句)- 選択する

4.     foolproof (adjective)- so simple and easy to understand that it is unable to go wrong 
     (形容詞)- 誤解の余地のない
5.     keep track (phrase)- to be aware of how something is changing (熟語)- 進み具合をみる