Monday, August 27, 2012

For Asa

Meet my daughter Reese. 
She is one and a half years old.
Meet my chubby baby boy, Francis.  He's only four months old. 
They both want to wish you a happy birthday :)
Sending my best regards to you and Hiroki. I hope you enjoy your special day.
See you!
You're not getting older. You're getting better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cooking becomes popular among male retirees

Men from the generation that worked hard to turn Japan into an economic powerhouse are increasingly turning to cooking classes as a retirement activity, even though housework was considered strictly women's work back in the day. Some male retirees sign up for cooking classes to maintain social contact, while others simply want to prepare meals for their families — something they lacked the time to do during their workaholic lives.

At a cooking class held for men only in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, one recent weekday morning, most of the 23 participants were retirees. "Since I retired, I decided to sign up for this class as I wanted to do something for my family by learning to cook," Hitoshi Tanazawa, 64, said. "I also found it was great fun to spend time and chat with other participants." The day's recipes were mackerel cooked with miso and boiled spinach, as well as mushroom soup.

The monthly cooking class is part of a six-month beginner's course that the Better Home Association is providing for ¥21,900. Compared with classes for women, the association said that men-only classes provide more detailed explanations of each cooking process, such as why it is best not to touch spinach while it is boiling — so that the flavor is not dissipated in the process of stirring. "Men who are often logical thinkers tend to throw so many questions at a teacher — why they need to do this and that," said Chie Muto, an official at the association's planning and public relations division. But Muto explained that once they understand the reasoning behind each process, male students tend to learn quickly.

The association launched a male-only cooking class in 1991, around the time Japan's aging society and declining birthrate started to become a major issue. The number of male participants in the association's 18 cooking schools nationwide currently totals 6,500, a 20-fold surge from the number in 1991, the association said. Twenty years ago, men started learning to cook out of necessity. But men today are instead choosing to cook for fun or as a hobby, the schools said.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Kazue's TOEIC Vocabulary Exam


TOEIC Part 5 (Reading): Incomplete Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the sentences.

1. Our union representative _____ members that our rights would be defended.
  1. assured
  2. assurance
  3. assuredly
  4. assure

2. I don't feel any ______ to give my boss more than two weeks notice when I leave.
  1. oblige
  2. obligatory
  3. obliged
  4. obligation

3. Marketing specialists have conducted extensive studies of what _____ customers to a particular product.
  1. attractive
  2. attraction
  3. attracts
  4. attracting

4. Manufacturers like to know what features ______ find useful.
  1. consumers
  2. consume
  3. consumption
  4. consumable

5. Without good _____, good products can go unsold.
  1. market
  2. marketable
  3. marketed
  4. marketing

6. A careful analysis of the _____ products on the market indicated that our product lacked innovation and optional features.
  1. competence
  2. competing
  3. competed
  4. competition

7. The timing belt _____ shows signs of wear after about 180,000 miles.
  1. character
  2. characteristic
  3. characterize
  4. characteristically

8. If there is any _______ of the director's involvement, we need to follow up swiftly and thoroughly.
  1. imply
  2. implicit
  3. implicated
  4. implication

9. It can be very helpful to consider the __________ of the manufacturer and the merchant when making a major purchase.
  1. reputation
  2. reputable
  3. reputing
  4. reputed

10. After you turn in your business plan, you will receive a written _______ of your work within two weeks.
  1. evaluator
  2. evaluative
  3. evaluate
  4. evaluation

11. It is now legal to ______ a generic brand drug for a prescription medicine if you have the patient's consent.
  1. substitute
  2. substituted
  3. substituting
  4. substitution

12. The banquet room could _______ up to 750 for dinner.
  1. accommodated
  2. accommodate
  3. accommodation
  4. accommodating

13. The association's members were asked to ____ for the special session well in advance because space in the lecture hall was limited.
  1. register
  2. registration
  3. registering
  4. registrar

14. In order to_____ you e-mail messages, you must type in your password.
  1. access
  2. accessible
  3. accessed
  4. accessibility

15. After reviewing the schedule, I realized we had not _____ enough time for software training.
  1. allocate
  2. allocated
  3. allocating
  4. allocation

16. ______ is still a major concern for inner-city schools that want to install computers.
  1. Affordable
  2. Affording
  3. Affordable
  4. Affordability

17. When a problem ______ frequently, it is time to reexamine the process.
  1. recur
  2. recurrence
  3. recurring
  4. recurs

18. Ms. Handa was unable to express her ______ for all that her colleagues had done for her.
  1. appreciation
  2. appreciated
  3. appreciating
  4. appreciates

19. It looks like this disk was _____ to intense heat, because it's warped and pocked.
  1. expose
  2. exposed
  3. exposing
  4. exposure

20. There is a _________ approach to software design integration that all the big software developers are currently learning.
  1. revolutionized
  2. revolutionary
  3. revolution
  4. revolt

21. It's worth ________ in the memo that we've finished the draft of the proposal.
  1. mentionable
  2. mentioning
  3. mentions
  4. mentioned

22. The signatures on the _________ weren't all legible because rain had caused the ink to run.
  1. petition
  2. petitioners
  3. petitioning
  4. petitioned

23. After each ______, you need to reread what you've written and note your suggestions for changes.
  1. revise
  2. revised
  3. revision
  4. will revise

24. The applicants who _______ will be flown to the corporate office and interviewed there.
  1. qualification
  2. qualify
  3. qualifying
  4. qualifies

25. The company hired a professional ___________ to fill the vacant positions.
  1. recruited
  2. recruiting
  3. recruitment
  4. recruiter

TOEIC Part 6 (Reading): Text Completion

Thank you for buying a Flexco product. Flexco is a top name in women's clothing, and the Flexco brand carries a reputation for excellence. Customer satisfaction is out top priority, and all Flexco garments carry the Flexco guarantee. All our products must ____(1)____ to high standards. They ____(2)___ by trained professionals before they leave the factory. If your purchase is defective in any way, you must take it __(3)____ to the store for a complete refund.

  1. conform
  2. conforms
  3. conforming
  4. to conform
  1. inspect
  2. inspected
  3. are inspected
  4. have inspected

  1. up
  2. out
  3. off
  4. back

In order to stay competitive in today's market, companies must continually work to develop new products. Through ____(4)____ research, a company can ascertain what consumers are interested in buying. Then products that match those interests can be developed. Nothing should ___(5)____ about consumer interests. Product developers need ____(6)____ all the data carefully before spending money on a new product. This is only logical. Consumers will buy products that meet their needs and desires. The money and effort spent on market research will be repaid many times over by a product that sells.

  1. system
  2. systemize
  3. systematic
  4. systematically

  1. assume
  2. assumes
  3. assumed
  4. be assumed

  1. examine
  2. to examine
  3. examining
  4. will examine

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Chris Walton, known as The Dutchess, drinks coffee with fingernails stretching and curving from her hands like a tangle of spaghetti. Meet the 45-year-old grandmother with the world's longest fingernails. This Las Vegas singer and musician stopped cutting her fingernails 18 years ago and now her nails have reached a total of 20 feet. Her amazing dedication to her nails has been officially recognised by the 2012 edition of the Guinness Record Book.

A man has invented a typewriter that paints. The Chromatic Typewriter works by having each letter loaded with oil paint. Washington-based artist Tyree Callahan converted an old 1937 Underwood Standard model. 

A blue tit perches on branch in snow, at the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

 Michael Kemeter balances at a dizzying altitude of more than 3,000 feet on a strip of material no more than one inch wide. The highline was set up between a fissure across a steep gully at the Yosemite National Park in California.

 A farmer has harvested a human-shaped red radish from his field in Xuzhou, eastern China's Jiangsu Province. Bao Jiagen said the radish even more closely resembled a human figure several days ago when it had a small head with radish leaves on. "The head was pulled off by onlookers at the market".

 A model presents a creation during the 2012 Korea Hair Collection in Seoul

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Young woman with cancer asks Hollywood actor out for coffee using online video


Attempting to re-enter the world of dating after being diagnosed with cancer, 26 year-old Lindsey Miller has posted a video of herself online in which she asks actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt out for coffee.


The heart warming video in which Miss Miller asks out Gordon-Levitt, who is set to star in the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, has become an internet hit. In the footage the Los Angeles-based redhead says she has found it difficult to date since being diagnosed with cancer. However, she reveals that after seeing Gordon-Levitt star in 50/50, a film in which he plays a man struggling with cancer, she has decided that he is just the man to help her overcome her fears.

Looking straight down the lens, Miss Miller, who is suffering from pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, invites the 30 year-old actor to join her for a casual drink. "After a year of living with this, I've decided to get back on the dating scene and I'd like my first date to be with you. Let's not be overdramatic, just a cup of coffee with you would make me happy." The video, which was posted on YouTube, has so far been watched by over 370,000 people.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Superman fan goes surgery-mad

Because of his love for Superman, Filipino designer Herbert Chavez changed his physical appearance to look like the Man of Steel. For more than a decade, 35-year-old Chavez has undergone a series of procedures that have made his nose higher and slimmed down his thighs. He has had surgery on his cheeks, lips and chin, and injections to whiten his skin."Superman is my idol. I want to look like him," Chavez said. "That's why I copied his nose and the proportion of Superman's face." Once a typical-looking Filipino, Chavez now has the face of Clark Kent.

His admiration began when he was a child and watched Superman save the world in movies. He later began collecting Superman items, including cups, bed sheets, action figures and life-size Superman statues. He has even designed his own Superman costumes. 

People in Calamba, south of Manila, refer to him as the "village superman". Children play with him when they see him in the streets. "It's ridiculous when you look at it, but it's a source of happiness for the children. They can forget the problems facing our world," said resident Filipe Rabanan. 

Chavez says doing good deeds is what makes a hero - a lesson worth teaching children."We should show them that even if you're just a regular father or mother, anybody can become a superhero," he said. "Doing good to someone, to your neighborhood or to your social life, that makes you a superhero." 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miss USA 2006 Q&A

1. If you could tell your younger self something that you know now as an adult, what would it be? (Miss Ohio)

2. Do you think that today's pop superstars are positive role models for young people? Why or why not? (Miss Kentucky)

3. So many families seem to be growing apart. How can we keep them together? (Miss California)

4. What can men learn most from women? (Miss Georgia)

5. Are we as a society getting a little too concerned with being politically correct? (Miss Florida)