It would be silly of me to say that there haven’t been some challenging moments with Tuuli. But! She’s such a cutie and things are really improving. She is pretty much house trained, she is not scared to jump on and off the sofa (still carry her down the stairs) and there have been a lot more happy faces and waggy tails as the days go on. When I am panicking about how I have made life a little bit hard for myself, I try to remind myself that she would have ended up tethered outside someone’s house for the rest of her life.

So. I’m at work most of the day. When I come home, my living room always looks like a bomb that really needed a poo went off. Anything that could possibly be chewed has been and there’s this cute puppy standing in the middle of it like, “oh, you’re back.” This is my fault because I wasn’t expecting her to still be so puppy which in retrospect was a bit silly. I also got the impression that she was one of those, sleep all morning kind of dogs. LOL. I get up at 5:30am, walk her, feed her then entertain her as I get ready for work. I hand her a Kong, sprinkle some food in her crate and leave, thinking that will keep her distracted from the sofa, the small pot of money hidden behind my TV, the fan and the fold out chairs, at least long enough for her not to go completely AWOL on them.


I am going to try some other food dispensing toys out soon. She loves her food which is great because that means she’s easier to train. After two or three loo breaks outside followed by a bit of her breakfast, she knew what was up. Hopefully, having more food toys will help keep damages down to a minimum. I have also puppy-proofed instead of dog-proofed the room now and today the mess wasn’t quite as bad and easier to clean up. Initially, I thought it could be Separation Anxiety but I think that perhaps it’s just “I’m a puppy and I love chewing stuff!!!!” Keeping an eye out for other SA symptoms just in case.

She enjoys playing and I am really trying to play with her as much as I can. She is used to playing with other dogs though from her time at the shop and sort of expects me to be cool with having my arms and feet chewed. She likes toys, too, but I am still teaching her the wonders of a Tug and we’re nowhere near understanding the total amazing awesomeness of Fetch.

When my morning alarm goes off, I am greeted by a happy face and a wagging tail which is lovely and makes it a whole lot easier to drag myself out of bed.When we get outside she runs down the street all glee and gallopy paws before stopping suddenly to sniff at some ramen sick or inspect a cigarette. Kinda gross. That’s something I’m getting used to; street dog walking compared to field full of cow pats dog walking.

So far RE training, she sits and sometimes comes when called and will drop a toy into my hands when I ask for it! I’m pretty happy about it so far, she gets the idea quickly during the “session” so reviewing it has been easier and easier.

Anyway, rambling, really tired, going to stop unceremoniously here for now.

Emily x

Tuuli Scrumptious

I was a bit surprised myself but it’s slowly starting to sink in. I have a dog now. I am also surprised that I am in fact staying one more year in Japan… Not really sure how that happened but there we are.

My dog’s name is Tuuli, she is a six month year old Sheltie who until now has been living in a cage in a pet shop.

I was expecting to be starting mostly from scratch with training and settling her in but there were a lot of things I hadn’t thought about.

  1. Tuuli has spent six months on a shop floor. She has no idea what steps are nor that she is capable of jumping and climbing.
  2. How utterly terrifying the outdoors is for her in every single way.
  3. She isn’t as well house trained as I was led to believe; she keeps doing number 2s where she plays, for example.

I thoroughly overwhelmed her the first couple of days, expecting her to be full of energy and curiosity. She was certainly curious but after a windy, cold, 40min walk to a grey beach on her first day with me, she was a little bit culture shocked. I was being a bit silly.

Now (Day 4), we just walk up and down the street, I carry her up and down the stairs and we’re just concentrating on getting a good routine, house training and playtime. Today she approached me with a toy and wagged her tail like a maniac which is a first! She’s also starting to recover some of that crazy puppy energy that’s been cooped up for the past few days.

I have read a lot about pee pad training but my apartment is so cold at the moment and Tuuli is terrified of stairs so the only place I can put the pads is in front of her crate which is also her play area- a pee pad no no. I’m also encouraging her to go to the loo outside as well but I think I’m going to have to endure quite a lot of smelly surprises for a while.

Considering all the stress I put her under when she first arrived, Tuuli is doing a great job. She is gentle and quiet, goes to bed when I leave the house and follows me everywhere. She is also very comfortable with being picked up and sitting on laps so I get lots of cuddles.

What I am hoping to achieve from blogging about my puppy and my failures/ successes is to share tips and call out for advice and help so I can give Tuuli the best upbringing I can.

Emily x

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL- Do you like apples?

Alright, obviously this lesson follows “I like apples.”

Review the vocabulary and key phrase from the previous lesson. Then, introduce “Do you like apples?”

I like to do this by picking a flashcard (例dog) and saying, “I like dogs. Do you like dogs?” Emphasize the meaning with a gesture to the class; obviously be a bit slower and bigger with your gesturing but you don’t have to go nuts. Or you can, they enjoy it.

Anyway, some of them might understand and raise their hands to communicate that they like dogs, too. Ask the HRT and make sure they say, “Yes, I do” regardless of what they actually think because otherwise it confuses things. Practice, “Yes, I do” then pick another flashcard and ask the HRT who will then answer, “No, I don’t.” Practice both answers and have some volunteers answer some “Do you like~” questions for stickers!

To enforce the question as well as the answer, you could play the line game again and whack out the old Hi, Friends DVD for some listening activities.

A game I find the students enjoy is BONGO. Not Bingo. BONGO!!!!

Here is my version of Bongo: DoyoulikeBONGO

So the pictures are already on the grid. Each student chooses a line, vertical, horizontal or diagonal. They want to check off all the pictures in their chosen line to achieve a BONGO! Ha! Sorry…

So they play janken, winner asks, “Do you like blah blah?” which will be a picture from their chosen line. If the loser doesn’t have that same picture in their line, they answer, “No, I don’t”. But, if they do they can answer “Yes, I do” and also check the picture off their line. Makes it a little more win win and also means they’ll be saying “No, I don’t” more which is a little harder to remember.

Of course, this is just for fun and doesn’t really put the phrase in context. Interview games are great for this phrase- you can have the students ‘gather data’ then look at the results together.

To make it into a janken game again, here is another worksheet that can be good fun, especially if you want a bit of a break: Ilikeboardgames

The students play in pairs and the aim is to be the first to reach the finish. Play janken. The winner asks “Do you like soccer?” which is the first space on the board. If the loser answers “Yes, I do” the winner draws a circle. If the loser answers, “No, I don’t” the winner draws a cross. Whatever the answer, the next time the winner wins janken they can ask, ” Do you like baseball?” which is the second space on the board. So it’s an interview-janken-race game.

If I don’t make any sense and you want a better explanation or have any questions, feel free to comment!

Emily x


The Hi, Friends DVDs have copies of all the flashcards you will need for each chapter so don’t worry too much about looking up your own- if you would rather have different sets though the students love it when you draw them yourself, get them to draw them or there are some good sites for free downloads such as MES English.

So, practice the new words (fruits, animals, food and sports) first. Then introduce “I like apples” by talking and showing what you like; they will pick it up fairly quickly. It’s good to have the HRT give an example as well. Practice the phrase with some volunteers and then play the Keyword Game to hammer it in.

Two other games I like to do for this topic are:

  1. Line Race- it’s a good idea before you start to have the students pick their favourite thing from the flash cards. Then have a column stand up for a demonstration. The student at the front says, “I like blah blah” to the student behind them. That student turns to the student behind them and says, “I like blah blah” all the way to the back. When the last student says, “I like blah blah” they all sit down. It’s a race to see which column can sit down first.
    If there are uneven numbers of students in each column, try to spread them out so it’s even or have the front student of a shorter column run to the back and say their sentence again then crouch down.
    To start them off, I say, “I like blah blah” to the first students.
    To keep them moving, have the students shuffle around at the end of each round.
    It’s hard to keep an eye on who was the first in bigger classes so try to select a top three and give them claps and maybe avoid giving stickers.
  2. Memory game- get the students into lunch groups. The students decide an order within their groups. Student 1 starts, “I like A.” The second student says, “I like A and B.” The third student says, “I like AB and C,” etc. This teaches the students ‘and’ and gets them to use more of the vocabulary instead of just their favourite flash card.

So the Japanese don’t really use plurals for stuff. “I like a dog” and “I like dogs” are said the same way, “犬が好き” (ペラペラJapanese speakers, please correct me if that’s incorrect!!) so the concept of ‘s’ is new to them. Some people feel it might be less daunting for the students if they just skip over it in younger classes but… it’s not as hard for fifth graders to grasp as you might think.

I just explain it as it’s not just this apple I like, I like any apple I eat so with fruits we need to use ‘s’. Even if they don’t fully understand that, they get, “One apple, no ‘s’, two apples, ‘s’ yes!” When practicing the new words for this topic, I practice singular and plural with them and they do get it even if they don’t always remember to use it when speaking themselves. For sports and the food/ drink names, I just say we don’t need to use ‘s’ because it’s a group name and they’re cool with it. So even though I can’t give them a technical or full explanation of the grammar, I found a way to teach them it anyway and it works pretty well and I think it really gives them an advantage when relearning everything in JHS.

Emily x

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL- Counting from 1-20

I made a worksheet based on some of the activities from the Hi, Friends textbook: introducing numbers

Practice 1-10. They usually know these so it won’t take long. There was a counting song on the old textbook CD (Eigo Noto) that is fun to use as it involves gestures. Once they get the hang of it, try challenging them to sing it faster and faster then really slowly.

The left side of the worksheet is a very simple janken game that they will love and want to play again (hence the two grids). They find a partner, play janken and if they win they write a circle and if they lose they write a cross. They play janken 10 times then sit down once they’ve finished. Use the phrase “How many circlescrosses?” when having them call out their totals.

Practice 11-20. This will take a while- I really try to work on the ‘n’ sound and make sure they get 12 and 20 right (for some reason they usually get those confused the most!). Practice them a lot. Try counting from 1-20 as a group then have them count one by one.

Next, play the janken pyramid bingo game on the worksheet. They write numbers at random from 1-20, they find a partner and janken, winner gets to choose and say the number they want to circle. If the loser has the same number, they get to circle it, too, then usually I will give stickers to the first 10 students who fill in their entire pyramid. Yay!

That’ll probably be more than enough for one lesson.

Emily x


I like to teach them six responses with flashcards:

How are you?

  1. I’m fine/good! (they usually translate this as 元気 so “good” or “great” might be better than “fine”.)
  2. I’m happy!
  3. I’m sad.
  4. I’m angry!
  5. I’m sleepy.
  6. I’m hungry!

**For new words, apparently the maximum they can easily remember is 9 but if you’re teaching fruits or colors they usually already know a lot of the words so you can practice a lot more.**

We practice the phrases by throwing Samurai-chan around then play the keyword game.


Pair game. Students turn their tables so they are facing each other with one eraser between them.

From the words you have just practiced, put a star or marker on one of the flashcards. This flashcard is the keyword.

Have the students put their hands on their heads and get them to repeat after you:

“I’m fine.”        “I’m fine!” *clap clap*

“I’m angry.”    “I’m angry!” *clap clap*

When you say the keyword (e.g. “I’m happy!”) the students don’t have to repeat, they just lunge for the eraser! The student who gets the eraser receives one point!

Change the keyword and repeat!

**If you want there to be clear winners, play the keyword an odd number of times. If you have a confident class, get a student to do your part for a round and you can play against their partner.**

There are a few other activities I like to do including this BINGO gameHow are you Bingo! Assign each student an emotion, they find a partner, play Rock, Paper, Scissors, winner asks the loser “How are you?” and the loser answers with their assigned emotion and the winner can write down the loser’s name on their worksheet. Aim is to see how many names they can get.

Emily x