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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

October 2018 TOEFL Speaking Class Schedule

Here's the schedule for October:

Monday~Thursday classes are 7-10 p.m.

Weekend classes are 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00.

Orientation will be 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, October 6. Attendance is required for all new students.

There are six TOEFL tests that conflict with classes in this month: October 13, 14, 20, 27, 28 and November. Tell me if you are taking TOEFL on one of those days. I try to switch students who miss class because of TOEFL to a different class. 

All classes are limited to five students. You can find more information about prices and policies on the homepage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sentence-initial transitions

I know that many elementary teachers say "Don't use "And" (or "So" or "But") at the start of a sentence. My elementary teachers told me the same thing. But there are a lot of English teachers in Japan who just parrot their own elementary school teachers' admonition without really understanding the reason their teachers told them that. The question is "Why do elementary teachers tell kids not to use "And" at the start of a sentence?"

Elementary-age kids are not sophisticated writers. Of course. They are learning the conventions of the language. They'll write things like: "I went to the mall. And I bought some shoes. And I ate ice cream. And then we played video games. And it was fun."

In other words, they are writing like they speak. And as you can see, the "And~" at the start of the sentences becomes annoying and redundant. That's why teachers tell kids not to do it.

But that doesn't mean that it's always wrong to use "And" at the start of sentences, just use these sentence initial conjunctions judiciously.

Don't believe me? Google it.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Narrative Techniques

According to my students, Japanese language classes in junior and senior high school don't cover literary and drama techniques. These aren't common TOEFL topics, but they are sometimes on task 4 or 6. Each time we do one in class, people struggle.

So here's a list of narrative techniques from Wikipedia. As far as I can recall, I learned the principles under plots and perspective in junior high school, and the principles under style, theme, and character in high school.

Good luck!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Carnegie Mellon Tepper 日本人在校生によるWebinar開催のお知らせ

A former student asked me to post the CMU Webinar information:


Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business Class of 2019の草川研二と申します。

12/2(土) 11:00am - 12:00pm(日本時刻)に、Tepper School of Business在校生によるWebinarを開催致します(本WebinarはTepper のAdmissionとは関係ない非公式なものです)。本機会を利用し、Tepperのこと、Pittsburghでの生活、受験のTipsなど、受験に向け気になることを何でもお聞きいただければと思います。


  • お申込みいただいた方に後ほどWebinarへのアクセス方法を送付しますのでそちらからアクセスください
  • 先着100名で締め切らせていただきます
  •  日本語で行います
  • 在校生が5名(1年生2名、2年生3名)参加します
  • 上記申込フォーム中の質問は英語でも日本語でも構いません
  • 1時間で一度終わりますが、質問が多い場合はその後希望者のみで30分程度延長させていただきます


Tepper Japanese Unofficial Website

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sound-symbol correspondence: O

One of the most frustrating things about English is the weak relationship between spelling and pronunciation. At the request of some students, I'm going to go through some of the patterns. Today I'll explain "o" pronunciation in single-syllable words (音節が一つ "o" 母音). "O" has many patterns and also many exceptions:

#1. In oC and CoC words: "o" = [a]
C = 子音
Examples: on, ox, got, hot, lot, snot, bomb

These words are some of the most common "o" pronunciation mistakes.

Exceptions happen when the final sound is made with the lips (p, b, f, v, n, and m). In these cases "o" = [u]

  • In "tomb" and "womb," "o" = [u]
  • In "move," "o" = [u] but in "love," "o" = [ə]
  • A further exception is "comb," "o" = [o]

#2. In CooPBFVNM, words: "o" = [u]
C = 子音
Examples: poop, boob, poof, soon, boom, woof, proove, 

"Groove" doesn't fit the pattern exactly, but same principle applies: when you have a labial (lip) consonant at the end of the word, "o" = [u]

#3. In CoCe words: "o" = [o]
C = 子音
Examples: Cole, Dole, nope, stole, vote, dote, grove

#4. In CoaC words: "o" = [o]
C = 子音
Examples: goat, moat, groat, boat

#5. In Cood, Cook, and Could words: "o" = [ʊ]

C = 子音
Examples: good, stood, book, took, could, should

The ʊ vowel is pronounced like [u], but with flat lips.

#6. In Co, CoE and CoW words: "o" = [o]
C = 子音
Examples: bow, fro, go, hoe, mow, so, grow, tow, toe

There are exceptions though:

  • "to," "two," and "too" are all pronounced [tu]

#7. Some CoW words: "o" = [au]
This is a diphthong (二重母音)

Examples: ow, growl, fowl, plow

It can be confusing:

  • Like rule #6, "bow" is [bo] if it's a weapon (noun)
  • Like rule #7, "bow" is [bau] if it's an action (verb)
#8. In CoY and CoiC words, "oy" = [oi]
Examples: boy, coy, foil, moil, toy

I will probably have to come back and edit this, but I think it's pretty complete as it is.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sound-symbol correspondence: I

One of the most frustrating things about English is the weak relationship between spelling and pronunciation. At the request of some students, I'm going to go through some of the patterns. Today I'll explain "i" pronunciation in single-syllable words (音節が一つ "a" 母音). There are only two different pronunciations and three patterns:

#1. In CiC words: "i" = [I]
C = 子音
Examples: Brim, chick, fig, him, limb, pins, win

In the following video, Rachel uses "EE" instead of [i] and "IH" instead of [I]. But that's just a spelling difference.

#2. In CiCe words: "i" = [ai]
This sounds the same as "アイ."

Examples: bribe, chime, fine, knife, lime, slide

#3. In Cind words: "i" = [ai]
This sounds the same as "アイ."

Examples: bind, find, grind, mind

It's certainly possible that I missed other single-syllable "i" patterns. Please let me know if you think I did!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sound-symbol correspondence: A

One of the most frustrating things about English is the weak relationship between spelling and pronunciation. At the request of some students, I'm going to go through some of the patterns, starting with the letter "a" in single-syllable words (音節が一つ "a" 母音).

Rule #1: if the spelling is CaC, then "a" = [æ]
C: 子音

Simple examples: bat, cap, dam, fax, gaff, hat, lamb, man, nab, pat, ran, Sam, tax, vat, wax, zap

Complex examples: class, dragged, flack, glass, hacked, lags, maps, nags, prams, rats, scratch, tracks, wags

Here's a video that explains æ:

Rule #2: in CaCe or CCaCe, "a" = [e]
[e] = え

Examples: bake, crate, drake, fate, gate, hate, Jake, lame, made, Nate, prate, rake, stake, tare, vane

Rule #3: CaiC = [e]
[e] = え

Simple examples: brain, claim, gain, laid, maid, paid, rain, stain, train, wain

Complex examples: bakes, crates, grated, fairs, mares, prates, rains, stains, taken

Rule #4: ang = [eŋ]

Example: angles, bang, fangs, sang

Here is a video explaining [ŋ]:

Rule #5: ank = [enk]

Examples: ankles, bank, Frank, tanks, thank

Rule #6: aw = [ɔ]

Examples: awe, brawl, draws, law, raw, saws

Rule #7: alk = [ɔk]

(really: the "l" is silent)

Examples: balk, chalk, stalks, talk

Rule #8: ay = [e]

Examples: bay, days, fray, hay, may, stay

Rule #9: ar = [ar]

This is the only time a single-syllable word that is spelled with an "a" sounds like ア.

Examples: are, bar, fart, heart, mark, parse, start

I'm pretty sure that's all the single-syllable patterns. Please let me know if I missed some.

Monday, July 24, 2017

University of Michigan Event

Michigan Ross 入学審査官による学校説明会 8/21開催

来る821日(月)、University of Michigan Ross School of BusinessAdmissions OfficeによるFull-time MBAの公式説明会を開催いたします。
#1 in Top Leadership Development Programs by Leadership Excellence
#8 in Full-time MBA Ranking by Business Week
#1 in Top Schools for Sustainability by Business Week
#1 in Ranking of Best Graduate Programs for Entrepreneurship
 by Princeton Review
#4 for Management, #5 for Marketing, #6 for International Business in US News MBA Rankings
#3 for Corporate Strategy, #5 for CSR / Ethics in Financial Times MBA Rankings
在校生は優秀かつ協力的であり、Globalなネットワークを広げられる素晴らしい環境です。また、Ann Arborは非常に治安のよい街で、パートナーズクラブや教育施設も充実しており、ご家族でいらっしゃる方々も安心して生活することができます。今回の説明会ではAdmission Officerに加え卒業生・在校生も多数参加予定ですので、是非ともこの機会にRossの魅力を感じていただき、ネットワーキングしていただければと思います。
説明会終了後に、Admission Officerと卒業生も参加する懇親会も予定しておりますので、奮ってご参加下さい。
Ross School of Business Tokyo Information Session
場所:六本木アカデミーヒルズ スカイスタジオ
東京都港区六本木6丁目101 六本木ヒルズ森タワー49

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tuck Meeting

From a former student:

この度、Tuck(正式名称:Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth)の学校説明会ならびに懇親会を以下の要綱にて開催いたします。 本校の概要をはじめ、卒業生による体験談等をインフォーマルな形式にてご紹介する予定です。全米最古の歴史をもち、小規模校ならではのインタラクティブなコミュニティ、チームワークを体感できるトップビジネススクールの一つ、Tuckの魅力を是非この機会にご確認ください。

日時:  2017820日(14:0016:00 13:30受付開始]
 場所:  丸ビルホール&コンファレンススクエア Room 4

概要: 14:00-15:00 学校説明会 [プレゼンテーション、スモールグループセッション]
          15:00-16:00 懇親会
定員:  80
 ホームページ:      TUCKオフィシャルサイト


本説明会は、卒業生・在校生によって企画されたものであり、出願審査とは 一切関係ございません。当日、アドミッションからの出席はございませんので、予めご了承ください。当日の進行は日本語で行われます。

IESE Meeting

From a former student:

IESE Business Schoolでは、夏季期間、下記の通り東京/大阪にてアプリカントの皆様向けに各種イベントを実施しますので、ふるってご参加ください。詳細は下記ページをご確認ください。
1. Meet the IESE Students: コーヒーチャット
日時: 8/6 (日) 10:15-12:30
10:15 受付開始
10:30 在校生によるIESE Business Schoolの紹介
10:50 在校生とのチャット
12:30 閉会
場所: TKP赤坂駅カンファレンスセンター カンファレンスルーム 14A
注記: 夏季休暇で一時帰国中の在校生4-5名により開催されます。
2. MBA Information Session: 学校説明会
日時: 9/1 (金) 18:45-21:00
18:45 受付開始
19:15 Admissions OfficerによるIESE Business Schoolの紹介
19:45 質疑応答
20:00 卒業生によるパネルディスカッション
21:00 閉会
場所: 六本木アカデミーヒルズ
注記: パネルディスカッションには、プロフィール属性の異なる卒業生4-5名が登壇する予定です。
3. MBA Counseling Day
IESE Class of 2016の卒業生でもあるAdmissions Officerが、プログラム、学校生活、キャリア機会、アドミッションプロセス等、幅広く個別の疑問にお応えします(30分、日本語可、参加登録後自動返信されるメールよりスロット予約)。
a. 大阪
日時: 7/23(日)14:00-18:30
場所: ウェスティン大阪ロビーラウンジ
b. 東京
日時: 7/19(水)15:00-21:30、8/22(火)15:00-21:30、9/4(月)15:00-21:30、9/10(日)10:30-19:30
場所: 六本木アカデミーヒルズ IESE東京オフィス

Friday, December 2, 2016

Wharton Meeting


第1部 2016 年 12月 17日(土)午前10 時~10時40分(日本時間)

第2部 2016 年 12月 18 日(日)日中12時~12時40分(日本時間)

場所: フィラデルフィアよりオンラインで開催いたします(*)。


申込: こちら よりお申し込み下さい。 登録いただいた方に、後日、 Access URL を送付いたします。

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvaniaの日本人在校生一同です。受験へ向けて、お忙しい日々をお過ごしのことと存じます。

今回、(Chicago Booth在校生の取り組みを参考に、)Wharton在校生としても上記の日程にて、Online Conference形式のWebinarを開催致します(基本参加者の方のQ&Aを中心とさせて頂きます)。それぞれの会に在校生(2年生)数名が参加予定です。日本国外で出願準備中の皆さんもご参加いただけます(時差をご確認ください)。

出願の準備へ向けて、WhartonでのAcademic、Student life in Philadelphia、そのほかのopportunity等、在校生ならではの最新情報をざっくばらんにお伝えできる機会になれば幸甚です。特に2nd /3rdラウンドで出願される方向けに、エッセー・インタビュー等のポイントをお話しできればと考えております。


Satoshi Yamada: Class of 2017(

Wharton Web Site (

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MIT Webinar

Here's MIT Sloan School's Webinar information:

MIT Sloan日本人在校生によるWebinar Q&A Session 12/10開催

MIT Sloanの日本人在校生によるWebinarを以下の通り、開催致します。

MIT Sloanに2nd Roundでアプライすることを検討されている方は、Essayを書き進めるにあたり、気になることが出てきているのではないか思います。本Webinarは、MIT Sloanに関する理解を深めていただけるよい機会となると思いますので、ご興味がある方はぜひご参加下さい。



MIT Sloanに関する全体的な説明は、Webinarでは行いません。2016年6月12日に行いました学校説明会のプレゼンテーション(30分程度)を以下URLの通り、Youtubeにて公開しておりますので、参加されていない方はそちらをご覧ください。また、1st Round向けに行ったWebinarの動画(2時間程度)も公開しておりますので、必須ではありませんが、そちらもご覧いただけますと、よりMIT Sloanに関する理解が深まるかと思います。



Chicago Booth Live Chat

A former student who is studying at the University of Chicago asked me to share the link to the Chicago Booth Japan Club's Live Chat event. Check it out!

Monday, October 3, 2016

HBS Global Networking Night

 A former student asked me to share the information on HBS's Global Networking Night. Enjoy!


On a single night, in locations around the world, HBS alumni will gather for an evening of socializing and networking in relaxed and fun settings.

We will be hosting the 2016 HBS Global Networking Night in Tokyo following the huge success last year. The event will be held in a casual "Happy Hour" format. See old friends. Make new connections across generations of HBSers. Experience the power of the HBSnetwork.

We will also welcome those that are currently interested in applying to HBS. This will be the perfect opportunity to hear about life before, during, and after HBS firsthand hand from various HBS alums.

If you can join the event, please register through official event page! (

October 19th (Wed) 7:00PM-10:00PM

Brewdog Roppongi

- Food charge: 2,000yen
- Cash on delivery for drinks

- Please register through official event page:

HBS Club of Japan

Monday, July 11, 2016

Independent Writing

As I've explained on the homepage, templates are not a good idea for writing (or speaking). On this past weekend's test, after the independent writing question, the directions said something like:
"Answer the question and do not reproduce an answer you have memorized. "
The Official Guide says the same thing. You've been warned!