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