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金, 05 8月 2011 17:52

What is this?

Yesterday was a rainy day, so we couldn't go anywhere interesting. Just to the farm shop, supermarket and the pub!

In the afternoon we harvested this from the garden

Does anybody know what it is called? And how to cook it?

(I'll post the answer tomorrow)

木, 04 8月 2011 17:54

The Aeroplane

I found a cable to connect the camera to the computer so here is a picture of our aeroplane coming into Narita airport.

木, 04 8月 2011 17:53

Ribble Steam Railway

Yesterday we went to the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston. Here we saw many old trains, a lot of them steam trains but also a few old diesel trains. The train above pulled a few carriages up and down, lot's of smoke and steam!

This is an old brake van, it looks like something straight out of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Here volunteers are working on restoring an old train. Many of them are over 100 years old and with a little care and attention can look and run great today.

水, 03 8月 2011 17:55

Paul in England


We arrived in Manchester on Tuesday after a very long flight. 10.5 hours to Amsterdam, a 2 hour stop-over and then a 1 hour flight to Manchester. Good flight and great service but very tired! Slept until 11 o'clock yesterday morning due to the jet-lag.

I was out and about yesterday taking photographs, which I had hoped to be able to share with you today. But the computer I'm using doesn't have an SD card slot! So I'll have to go and buy a card reader later today.

A quick word on the weather, yesterday it was about 24 degrees and sunny with very little humidity. So a very nice day...let's hope it continues!

Until tomorrow (or when I find an SD card reader) bye,


火, 21 6月 2011 22:24



木, 07 4月 2011 22:25



金, 01 4月 2011 17:56

Setsuden! Switch the lights off!

Here's a picture of one of our classes yesterday. When the students arrived they demanded that we switch off the lights to the shouts of "Setsuden! Setsuden!" so we were only too hapy to oblige. We conducted the whole lesson under the light of a single bulb (low energy compact flourescent of course!)
I was really touched to see our elementary students were so passionate about this issue. It also made for a very different class atmosphere, they all seemed to focus just that little bit better!

金, 01 4月 2011 17:55

Happy New School Year

It's April 1st which in Japan means the start of a new school year. The new calendars are now available at the school. As last year, we have also printed mini calendars for those that want something easier to keep than the usual sheet of paper.

You can find the new scholl calendar for 2011~2012 below:

2011 School Calendar PDF

Thank you!

火, 29 3月 2011 17:57

Don't you just love TEPCO

Couldn't let this one slide past without comment.

The embattled TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Company, never fails to reach new lows. With the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant far from stable and rolling blackouts affecting most of Kanto, customers are in for another shock. It seems the meter ladies have been unable to do their rounds after the quake so TEPCO has decided to charge, their already suffering customers, the same amount as the previous month. Given that February is one of the coldest months of the year in Japan, so those who heat their homes with electricity will have had an unusually high electricity bill, which they are just about to get repeated.

Never mind that the same customers have been switching off unnecessary appliances and lights, all in the name of setsuden, to enable TEPCO to maintain some sort of service with their greatly decreased supply capacity.

Thank you we really know how much you value your customers.

Deregulation of the power industry anyone?

A word that has been much used since the terrible earthquake and tsunami is setsuden, meaning saving elecrticity.

Basically with the events at Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station, TEPCO the electricity provider for Tokyo and a very wide area around Tokyo is not able to generate enough electricity to keep up with demand. They also had the Dai-ni power station go into shutdown and lost four thermal power stations due to earthquake damage.

So as you may have heard they have introduced rolling blackouts to many areas around Tokyo as an extremely effective way of keeping demand down. But even this may not be enough so as a further measure they have asked everybody in their service area to reduce unecessary consumption.

Giving us the word setsuden made up of two words:

setsuyaku: to economize, and

So all around Tokyo many businesses and households are trying to reduce their consumption by turning lights off, keeping electric heaters on low settings and basically not wasting electricity.

So what are we doing at englishpool. Well from the outset we have been commited to reducing our carbon footprint so we were already using low-energy lights (compact fluorescents in the classroom and LEDs in the toilet) and keeping electricity use to a minimum but we have found more ways of saving electricity.

1: Replace the flickering fluorescent above the office with a simple light fitting and a LED lamp.
2: Swith off the fan on the fan light and only use two lamps instead of four.
3: Set the main light to economy, or switch it off altogether during bright daylight.
4: Run the computers on even stricter power saving settings so they switch off monitors, go into standby quicker.
5: Unplug unecessary electrical appliances (barcode printers, unused stereos etc.)
6: Stop use of the window display lights and timer.
7: Stop using the signboard lights.
8: Run the heating (aircon type) on economy setting and only when students are present. Other times wrap up well! Also keep the filters clean so it works efficiently.
9: Turn off all electrical devices when going to lunch.
10: Reducing the amount of tea drank (difficult I know) and only boiling enough water for our needs.

Well, that's ten things we've done, how about you?

I didn't think many people were taking setsuden seriously until I took a long walk home tonight, it was surprising how many businesses were participating and how dark the streets looked with all the advertising, drink machines and signboards switched off.

Could this be the start of a new era in Japan? I hope so...

P.S. By the way we got some great free downloadable posters for our signboard, to encourage others to save electricty from this site, you can also follow them on twitter here (Japanese Only).