第47話:Tuning in to Podcasts Part 2  ポッドキャストを聴こう

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Welcome back to EXCEL English’s blog! I hope everyone had an awesome week. I am back with another post and as promised, I will be sharing with you more of my recommended podcast programs. The ones I’ve gathered in this list are mostly for Intermediate to Advanced learners. We’ve got some specific areas covered like vocabulary and business. Take note of the following suggested podcasts. They might come in handy in the future! 


1. All Ears English- 4.0 Rating

Narrated by: American English Speakers

Hosted by two people, this program gives off a light atmosphere which feels more like hanging out with your friends and listening to them talk about their daily happenings. Targeted towards intermediate to advanced English learners, the speaking pace tends to be more natural. The program also has a smartphone app where you can directly listen to the episodes, complete with all the transcripts and vocabulary introduced. They also encourage you to join their community of learners, further emphasizing the importance of connection and not just perfection!
Level: Intermediate to Advanced 

1: All Ears English- 4.0 票 中上級


2. Just Vocabulary- 4.5 rating

Narrated by: American English Speaker
This program, just as the name suggests focuses solely on learning new vocabulary- specifically two words. The speaker further explains the meaning of the words and uses them in many sample sentences. Repetition of the words is quite a lot all throughout the episode. The pace of speaking is also normal, thus, perfect for intermediate and advanced learners. Unfortunately this program doesn’t have a website or transcript linked on the podcast provider. 
Level: Intermediate to Advanced 

2: Just Vocabulary- 4.5 票 中上級


3. Business English Pod- 4.0 rating

Last but not the least we have the podcast perfect for professionals on the move. The program covers important business topics and skills. The speaking pace is a little slower than normal but also varies from one speaker to another. Words are enunciated very clearly as well. It comes with all the dialogues and transcripts on their website. Downloadable formats are available for their premium members.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced 

3: Business English Pod- 4.0  中上級


That is all for the second half of my recommendations. I hope these podcasts help you in your English language learning journey!

- Teacher Marilou J  

1.     come in handy (expression)- turn out to be useful (役に立つ)
2.     give off (phrasal verb)- to produce a smell, light, heat, a sound etc. (放つ / 発する)
3.     hang out (phrasal verb)- to spend time relaxing or enjoying oneself. (ぶらぶらと過ごす)
4.     emphasize (verb)- give extra weight to something 強調する / 重要視する)


第46話:Tuning in to Podcasts Part 1 ポッドキャストを聴こう

Listening to podcasts is a great way to improve your listening skills. It gets your ears and brain used to the language you are currently learning without much pressure. I listen to them in my free time as well and find it really helpful when I’m trying to learn something new. These podcasts are also very easy to have access to. If you are an iPhone user, a podcast application is readily available on your phone. Just look for this purple icon, click it and search for a podcast you might be into. 

If you are an android user on the other hand, you can get your podcasts right from this Google podcast icon, 

or from this green one if you have it downloaded on your phone. 
(Spotify App)

In this first blog post, I’d like to share a few ones I have come across on my iPhone podcast app. These are mainly for beginning learners of English and those who prefer bilingual podcasts. The list comes with points to consider which would hopefully help you find the best podcast for you.

ポッドキャストをくのはリスニングスキルをあげるのに最適! いま習っている言語に、耳や頭が無理なく慣れていくことでしょう。私もなにか新しいことを学ぼうってときには、時間があればポッドキャストを聴いているし、それがとても役立っています。ポッドキャットの使い方はとても簡単。iPhone使っているならアプリは最初から入っているし、アンドロイドユーザーでもこのGoogleポッドキャストアイコンやこの緑色のアイコン(spotify)で使えるようになる。今回は私がiPhoneアプリで見つけたおすすめのものをみんなとシェアしておこうとおもいます。今回紹介するものは基本初心者向きで日本語を交えたものがよい、という人向けです。みんなに役立ってもらえるであろうものをリスト化したつもりなので、きっといいのが見つかるはず!

1. Plain English- 3.5 Rating
Narrated by an American English Speaker
This podcast claims to be one of the best for those learning and practicing English language simply because the host speaks in a much slower pace than the native speed. Words are enunciated very clearly and if you ever miss a word, you need not to worry for it comes with a transcript on its website. It’s not directly linked to the episode but it should be easy to find. The episodes are around 20 minutes long, covering various topics you might find interesting.
Level: Upper Beginner to Intermediate

1:Plain English- 3.5 票 超初心者~中級向け

2. Voice of America- 4.0 Rating
Narrated by an American English Speaker(s)
This is a great language news and information podcast that provides a series of programs in English. It is narrated in English and spoken at a slower speed making it easier to listen to. But I must say that it still depends on the speaker. I have noticed that the pace varied from one narrator to another. They also cover a variety of topics but use vocabulary which is easy to understand and remember. It also has a transcript on their website although not indicated on the podcast provider. The episodes are around 30 minutes long. 
Level: Upper Beginner to Upper Intermediate, Advanced 

2:Voice of America- 4.0 票 初心者~脱中級

3. エイゴの時間- 3.5 Rating 
Narrated by Japanese narrators speaking in American English
If you are a beginning English language learner, I believe that this podcast will be a good one for you. The episodes are shorter, which are around 2 to 3 minutes long. The show introduces words and phrases that are related to each other. The host differentiates them by explaining their meanings and giving examples. The narration pace is slow and the enunciation is very clear. The podcast also allows shadowing, making it a good way to practice pronunciation. It has a website you can check out for more information.
Level: Beginner 

3:エイゴの時間- 3.5票 超初心者向け

4. Hapa英会話- 4.0 Rating
Narrated by a Japanese-American narrator speaking in American English
This podcast is made for you if you prefer listening to English sentences’ Japanese translation. The show is solely hosted by a Japanese-American founder and writer of Hapa Eikaiwa, which is also the name of the podcast. The episodes are narrated in both languages, Japanese and English and in a normal speaking pace. They also have a website where the scripts of the episodes can be found. The topics they cover are about Japanese and foreign society and culture. It also brings in a question to be answered in the beginning part of the episode.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced 

4:Hapa 英会話- 4.0 票 中上級

5. 台本なし英会話レッスン - 4.0 Rating
Narrated by an American English speaker and a Japanese Speaker
Having a presence on all social networking sites, this podcast really proves to be relevant and interactive with their listeners. The program is hosted by two people, one native English speaker and one Japanese speaker. It also comes with a transcript uploaded on their website you can check out for further information. The show covers different topics as well and introduces useful words expressions in the episode. You might fancy this podcast if you prefer an easy listening program. Speakers talk in a normal pace which might be a little more challenging for beginning learners of English.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

5: 台本なし英会話レッスン - 4.0 Rating 中上級

I hope you find this list interesting! Next week, I will be sharing more of my podcast recommendations. Please look forward to it as well. J


- Teacher Marilou

1.     come across (phrasal verb)- to meet or find by chance ふと出くわす
2.     enunciate (verb)- say or pronounce clearly はっきり発音する
3.    differentiate (verb)- to show or find the difference between things that are compared  区分けする
4.     shadowing (language) (noun)- an advanced learning technique where you listen to a text in your target language, and then speak it aloud at the same time as the native speaker 発音練習のテクニックのこと
5.     solely (adverb)- not involving anyone or anything else; only たったひとりで
6.     interactive (adjective)- responding to or communicating with the other user対話式の
7.  relevant (adjective)- appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest. 適切な 


第45話:Autumn Trip Diary Part 2(秋の旅行日記:その2)

Autumn Trip Diary Part 2
In the last week’s blog, I let you in on the first part of our autumn getaway. This week, I’ll be sharing more fun details about the rest of it. We hope you enjoy reading the blog post below.


Fourth Stop: Ikaho Onsen Hotel  


This autumn trip sure wouldn’t be complete without a taking a relaxing hot spring bath. This year, we had the opportunity to visit Ikaho. It was also situated in forests of maple and other deciduous trees. Before we went to our rooms, we chose from a variety of yukatas. We got really excited about it! What added to our excitement was the Japanese-style room we stayed in. It also had a really nice view of the outside.
Before having dinner, we decided to take a night stroll. We climbed up another winding slope. It felt like we traveled back in time. Boss said that the alleys and the houses looked like they were from Showa era. We then made it to the main street which resembled Jiufen Old Street- the one featured in the Ghibli movie. There were interesting shops and pretty cafes on both sides. After that we headed back to the hotel to enjoy our very filling meal and relaxing bath time!  



Day 2: Trip down the Memory Lane


After we checked out of the hotel around 11 AM, we went straight to the last point of interest for this trip, the Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum. The place had a wide array of interesting collections like cute teddy bears, antique toys and dolls, classic cars, photos of Japanese pop icons, old movie posters and many more. 

It was a total moment of nostalgia for all of us. There were a lot of things that we, Mina and I, knew about for the first time. There were also those which reminded us of our childhood. We also got to play a fun game. Teacher Mina won a special prize and a traditional Japanese toy. I guess I wasn’t lucky that day but the staff was so kind and gave me a small toy as a consolation prize. At the end of the whole museum tour, we designed our Kewpies. It was so relaxing that we lost track of time while putting color on the tiny figures.


Journey Back    

After spending hours in the museum, it was time for us to go back home. We drove back to the station where Boss also had to return the car. When we reached the station, the train which we were supposed to board was unavailable due to the previous typhoon’s damage. Due to this, we had to take another train and ended up standing during our trip back. We had to be quick exiting gates and changing trains too. It was quite an adrenaline rush! Finally, we could rest our backs in the Romance Car train that took us back to Sagamiono. This trip is indeed this season’s cherry on top and I can’t wait for the next one!       

数時間博物館で過ごしたら、いよいよ帰る時間に。  Bossは(高崎)駅で私たちをおろし、レンタカーを返しにいったわ。駅に着くと、先日の台風の影響で私たちが乗る予定だった新幹線がこなかったの。ほかの新幹線に乗るはめになり、座れないで帰ってきたんだ。乗り換えもあわてて改札口抜けなきゃいけなかったり、火事場の馬鹿力だしちゃった。どうにか予定していたロマンスカーに乗れた私たち。相模大野に無事帰ってきました。今回の旅行はまさに今シーズンのうれしいおまけね。次のおまけが待ち遠しいな! 

*Thank you for reading our travel blog posts! J
-Teacher Marilou



1.    situated (adjective)- placed in a particular spot or position (敷地が~で)
2.    deciduous (adjective)- shedding foliage at the end of the growing season (落葉性の)
3.    stroll (noun)- a leisurely walk (散歩する)
4.    resemble (verb)- to appear like; be similar or bear a likeness to (似ている)
5.    antique (adjective)- made in or typical of earlier times and valued for its age (古風な)
6.    consolation prize (noun)- a prize given to a competitor who just fails to win or who has come last.    残念賞)
7.    lost track of time (expression)- to be unaware that so much time has passed (どれくらい時間がたったかわからなっくなった)
8.    adrenaline rush (noun)- a physical feeling of intense excitement and stimulation (火事場の馬鹿力)
9.    cherry on top (expression)- the flourish that caps something off (それを素敵にするおまけ)