Your Boss and You – A Partnership

JUL. 31 352-illust_(Jul31)open door policy

 

 

Do you and your boss have a good relationship?

“I love my boss”,” I don’t like my boss”,” My boss and I get along well”, “My relationship with my boss could be better if…”  We often hear these in after work conversations in coffee shops and restaurants, where colleagues at work gather after a day to unwind, relax and more importantly…vent.  Tones and conversations of frustration, amusement, neutrality, desperation, all said in confidence and in an exclusive environment.

More and more companies, however, embrace and adopt “open door” policy, where employees are free to come in anytime, not necessarily with their immediate supervisor, but with any level of management.  They are free to express opinions, heartaches, feeling of unfairness, suggestions and views on company policies.  The superior, on the other hand, lends a neutral, impartial ear and expresses his thanks for the employee who takes time out to avail of the “open door policy”.

This practice translates to efficiency, harmony, and less downtime because of conflicts or differences in personal opinions that could affect work.  There are even incentives for those who observe this policy.

Contributed by: TEACHER CHILLI

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Unwind – relax
  2. Vent – speak out, release
  3. Frustration – feeling of annoyance at being criticized or hindered
  4. Neutrality – taking no sides of the issue without hearing them out first
  5. Said in confidence – private conversation
  6. Impartial – neutral
  7. Efficiency – skillfulness in avoiding wasting time and effort in doing work
  8. Harmony – a balance in opinion and action
  9. Conflict – a disagreement between two opposing groups

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Who is your boss? Do you have one? Do you get along with him?  Please relate.
  2. What do you understand from the phrase “open door policy”.  Please explain in your own words.
  3. Do you adopt this in your workplace?  What benefits do you get from this?

    Do you and your boss have a good relationship? “I love my boss”,” I don’t like my boss”,” […]


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Level:

Intermediate

What is Your Favorite Pet?

JUL. 30 351-illust_(Jul30)favourite pet

 

 

Do you love animals?  If you do, maybe you have a pet?  If you don’t, you perhaps dream of having that animal for a pet?

Since the world began, man and animals were always together.  The first man and woman on earth were surrounded not just by trees, flowers and plants, but also by animals.  It is but natural that we want to be around and take care of animals and have them in our homes.

A dog is said to be a man’s best friend, it always looks after its master, never leaves him and defends him from enemies and guards his home.  Cats are huggable, cute and are a sight to see when they are playing.  Rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs take away stress and worries as we watch them go round, just like goldfish in an aquarium.  Parakeets and any kind of birds are colorful to look at, and entertain us anytime of the day.

For the bold and daring, a lion or a Bengal tiger makes their day.

Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Huggable – nice to hug
  2. Sight to see – nice to look at
  3. Guinea pigs – in the family of hamsters

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you love animals?  Please tell us what your favorite animal is and why.
  2. Do you think it is expensive to have pets?  Please say why or why not.
  3. Do you think it’s wise to have wild animals as pets?  Please defend your answer.

    Do you love animals?  If you do, maybe you have a pet?  If you don’t, you perhaps dream […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Favorite Junk food

JUL. 29 350-illust_(Jul29)What Is Your Favorite Junk Food

 

 

What is your favorite junk food?

Going to see the latest money making movie?  What’s one of the first things that come to your mind, if not the first?  Ohh, let’s go grab some potato chips?  Those huge ones, please, to go with our soda?  How about a weekend trip to the country with family and/or friends?  Aside from your typical noodles and miso, you hurry to run to your grocer for your bag of nachos, corn chips, or bag of sweets, and of course, your drinks.

There seems to be an attachment to these so-called snacks.  Oh, and they’re not just chips and all that, mind you.  Chocolates are in this category, too.  Anything that makes you munch while on the go, working on your desk, watching TV, listening to music anywhere, chew chew chew is the name of the game.

One takes a look at these convenience stores (konbini), with shelves and shelves of junkies occupying them, competing with the packaged meals and sandwiches.

Frito lays, Meiji black, anyone?

Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  • Grab some – get/buy some
  • Grocer – a retail seller who sales food stuffs.
  • Attachment – a liking that’s hard to break
  • Mind you – you see
  • Munch – chewing
  • Competing – in competition

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you have any favorite junk food?  Please tell us about them.
  2. Do you really think the junk food habit is hard to break?  Why or why not?
  3. What is your favorite convenience store?  What junk foods do you buy there?

    What is your favorite junk food? Going to see the latest money making movie?  What’s one of the […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The 5 Most Peaceful Countries in the World

JUL. 28 349-illust_(Jul28)The 5 Most Peaceful Countries In the World

 

 

Do you want to live in a peaceful country?

For this year, the Global Peace Index, issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness, gives out the top 20, but let’s just look into the top 5 this time.  4 European and 1 Asian country are in its top 5 (starting from the 5th), and they are:

  • 5.  Sweden – though they are one of the biggest weapon exporters in Europe, Sweden has a low level of robberies (only 9,000 a year) .  It has never been to war, has never been involved in combats for these 2 centuries.
  • 4.  Slovenia – low marks for in funding for the United Nations peacekeeping missions , number of police and security officers,  perception of criminality, number of  organized conflicts internally, violent protests like riots and so on.  It’s a beautiful nation, too.
  • 3.  Singapore – its government has always made an effort to create good relations with all countries in all aspects.  Its homicide and violent crime rates are lower than the criminal rates.  Indeed, one of the most peaceful and wealthiest nations.
  • 2.  Norway – has the highest level of human development in the globe, with peace as a priority of it’s government.
  • 1.  Denmark – did you know that even during World War II, under Nazi rule,  Copenhagen, it’s capital, still did not fight?    The Danish really like to focus on economic matters, and are very friendly, open and helpful.
Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Leading measure – number 1
  2. Combats – armed conflicts
  3. Century – 100 years
  4. Low marks – low grace
  5. Perception – how you see something
  6. Aspects – matters
  7. Homicide – murder

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. In your opinion, what is a peaceful country?
  2. Do you really believe one can achieve 100% peace?  Why or why not?
  3. Do you agree with this list? Why or why not?

    Do you want to live in a peaceful country? For this year, the Global Peace Index, issued by […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Texting versus Calling

JUL. 27 348-illust_(Jul27)Texting Versus Calling – Which One Is for You

 

 

Do you prefer to text someone or call someone?

Nowadays, we hardly know of anyone who does not have cell phones.  Whereas several years ago, the cell phone was unheard of, but now, it may be considered a necessity.  More people now are mobile, but need to be connected to everyone; hence the cellphone is sometimes called a mobile phone.

Some of us enjoy texting, or SMS (short message sending).  There are those who can spend endless hours of the day pounding and pressing on their keypads, composing their messages.  They say there are some things better read than said, so they are more comfortable with texting.  They also admit it is more cost-effective, meaning a cheaper means of communicating.

There are those who prefer calling though.  Pounding and pressing on the keypad is a nuisance to them, a waste of time.   They prefer to be direct and say what they want instantly, hence they like calling, and do not text unless it really is necessary.

Telecommunications nowadays offer a wide range of plans offering text and call bundles, so the choices are endless, regardless of one’s budget.  So now, we call and text whenever we can.

Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Unheard of – not known

Cost effective – cheaper

Nuisance – bother

Instantly – at once

Bundles – plans offered by telecommunications companies

 

Perspective Exchange:

Is your country more text or call?  Please expo und.

Do you think texting is cheaper than calling?  Why or why not?

How do you go through your day with texting and calling?

    Do you prefer to text someone or call someone? Nowadays, we hardly know of anyone who does not […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Online Shopping

JUL. 26 347-illust_(Jul26)online shopping

 

 

Do You Really Enjoy it?

Cyber shopping, as it is also called, is getting to be a trend, most especially among the young, who are more addicted to the internet, or surfing, than the older generation.   Exploring all kinds of sites, clicking to get into anything and anywhere, you discover new possibilities, new things to do.

Seeing images of the items, with the available colors and corresponding sizes (some sites even mention Asian, US and European sizes for comparison), make and model, specific features, and even dates as to when they are in stock, If they are clothes, cuts and styles can be seen and are also mentioned, models also wear the item so they can be seen front, back and side, sometimes.   Food and drink flavors and amounts (in grams or milliliters) are mentioned, expiry dates and ingredients, too.

Credit card details are required, as well as payment, before items are shipped, with notices on delivery item and dates.  Refunds are also okay should the item(s) not be suitable to the buyer in any way.

Online shopping is getting to be more and more popular, isn’t it?

Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Trend – fashionable

Images – things you see on the screen

Corresponding – actual details that go with something

Refunds – money back

 

Perspective Exchange:

Are you among those who enjoy online shopping?  Why or why not?

What popular websites do you know?  Please tell us about them.

What items have you bought on these sites that are memorable?  Please tell us about therm.

    Do You Really Enjoy it? Cyber shopping, as it is also called, is getting to be a trend, […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Eating While Working

JUL. 25 346-illust_(Jul26)Eating While Working

 

 

Should We or Should We Not?

How many times a day do you eat?  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between, so that makes it 5.  Kanshoku or snacks, snacking, eating in between meals also helps us to not get hungry during the day.  Most especially at work, it cannot be avoided  that we have a bag of chips, a chocolate or candy bar, sandwiches or pastries, or all of the above.  Our brain also needs carbohydrates which gives us fuel to work and focus.

Snacking, or eating while at the work desk, also gets rid of the stress that goes with meeting and keeping up with deadlines. It’s not just in the movies that we think of opening up a bag of chips, and have a can of soda. There are a lot of people who feel like their work day is not complete without anything to eat.

By the way, fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice are delicious for snacks.  A big bottle of water, to keep your mind clear and refreshed is best, please.

Contributed by: Chilli

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Snacking – eat a snack; eat lightly

Pastries – baked food

Fuel – energy to burn

Focus – concentrate

 

Perspective Exchange:

Are you a snacker at work?  Why or why not?

Do you like eating healthy at work instead of having those junk food?  Why or why not?

Can you advise what else we can do at work so we do not think of snacking?

    Should We or Should We Not? How many times a day do you eat?  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Coping with Jet Lag

JUL. 24 345-illust_(Jul24)jetlag

 

 

Do you love to travel?   Are you a frequent traveler?  How many times a year do you go out of the country?

If you answered yes to the first 2 questions and travel several times in a year, whether for business or pleasure, you are very much familiar with jet lag.

Some have somehow gotten used to jet lag and know how to handle it.  On the other hand, some can’t seem to manage it no matter how hard they try.  They say it’s best to sleep (or stay awake) like you’re already there.   If it’s daytime at your destination, try to avoid sleeping on the plane.  If it’s nighttime at your destination when you’re on the plane, then please do get some sleep.  This makes your body clock believe you are trying your best to adjust.

And if it’s time to get some rest when you arrive, age old and time tested remedies can do the trick. Chamomile tea (make it 2 tea bags) can relax you, and grandma’s offering of a glass of milk helps to stimulate drowsiness.  Try them, please!!

Contributed by: TEACHER

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Know how to handle it – can do something about it

Destination – the place where people want to go to

Stimulate – make your body think you are feeling something

Drowsiness – feeling sleepy

 

Perspective Exchange:

What do you understand from the term jet lag?

Do you experience jet lag often?  How do you cope with it?

Do you really believe we can get rid of jet lag?  Why or why not?

    Do you love to travel?   Are you a frequent traveler?  How many times a year do you go […]


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Level:

Beginner

Ikebana

JUL. 21 344-illust_(Jul21)ikebana

 

 

Do you know what Ikebana is?

From the Nihongo word “ikeru” which means to keep alive, arrange flowers, living flowers, or also known as “kado” meaning the “way of flowers”, the world knows Ikebana simply as the Japanese art of flower arrangement.   Some may think it is just keeping the flowers together, but it is also a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together.  How true!!

Other parts of the flowers like the stems and leaves are also used to place emphasis on shape, line and form.  The artist or the floral arranger doing the arrangement usually had a statement or a message that he wants to relay, thus the reason for the certain arrangement, as there are rules for this art, too.

The container also is taken into consideration, usually pottery.  Symbolisms for the art are human, earth and man; or sun, moon and earth.  Silence is also very important to ikebana for inspiration and appreciation for nature that we usually ignore because of our busy lives.

Contributed by: TEACHER CHILLI

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Floral – flower

Place emphasis – have importance

Relay – message to say

Pottery – clay molded, and dried to form pots, etc.

 

Perspective Exchange:

Are you also into Ikebana?  Please tell us what you do.

What aspects of ikebana do you know that you may want to share with us?

Do you think ikebana is comparable to other arts of other countries?  Please explain why this is so.

    Do you know what Ikebana is? From the Nihongo word “ikeru” which means to keep alive, arrange flowers, […]


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Level:

Beginner

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

JUL. 20 343-illust_(Jul20)Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

 

Do you know what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and wonder whether you have it?

Have you experienced numbness, a tingling or burning sensation in the fingers while working on your computer?  Or you may be wondering why your hands and/or fingers have suddenly stopped moving or froze?  Gripping your coffee mug or beverage bottle, it suddely slips and falls to the floor?  They may be signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Sitting in front of a computer for extra long periods of time – day and/or night, can make you are a major candidate.  In fact, people who are familiar with this syndrome are computer workers.  What they do involves a single posture and repetitive strokes or force exerted due to the nature of work.  Sleep position, such as leaning too much on one side, can be a factor for this syndrome.

Standing up and having a good stretch, raising one’s arms and feeling the spine stretch, is highly recommended. You’ll know when the stretch has served its purpose when you feel refreshed and exhilarated.  Walking and bouncing lightly, shaking arms, hands then fingers, will get the blood going, too.

Contributed by: TEACHER CHILLI

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Numbness – can hardly feel anything
  2. Tingling – sensation of needles inside hands
  3. Factor – can contribute/lead to
  4. Spine – the entire long bone structure at your back that governs our neuros/nerves

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you heard of CTS?  Please tell us what you know about it.
  2. How many do you know who have experienced CTS? Please relate what happened.
  3. Do you think you are a candidate for CTS? Please tell us how you can avoid this.

    Do you know what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and wonder whether you have it? Have you experienced numbness, […]


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Level:

Beginner