Last week I held the “Night Out” free talking at Shunju Cafe ( 春秋カフェ ) and 5 current and previous students joined. For last week’s cafe time I prepared a little information about the U.S. National Parks and we talked about some of them, especially the places I had visited. I explained that I had visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with my family about 5 years ago and had been very impressed with the unspoiled landscape in those parks. My students were amazed to hear that you cannot use a cellphone in Yellowstone National Park because… there is absolutely no signal. They do not allow the installation of cell towers in the park. I showed them some pictures of those parks and I encouraged them to visit them if they ever go to the states.
We enjoyed some great coffee and talk until about 10:30 p.m. After that a few of us enjoyed KARAOKE near my school. I was quite impressed with how well several of my students could sing English songs. This reminded me of how beneficial it is for students to listen to and sing English songs. Actually, working to become able to pick out the words in songs is excellent listening practice for all students of English. On top of that, it is more fun than listening to a dry TOEIC CD. So if you are studying English and need some fun listening practice, pick a song that you like and spend some time trying to figure out the words. But do not forget to go back and listen to the TOEIC CD too. You need to be able to understand different accents when spoken at natural speed by native speakers and to know that “lift” and “ride” are the same thing, not to mention that a “lawnmower” is an important part of the culture of English-speaking countries. There seems to be no song about lawnmowers yet. Sorry!