“Back” is not a verb!

Hahaha. This is something I have repeated what seems like a million times.
Here are some common phrases I hear from students:

  • When will you back to Australia?
  • I backed to my home on the weekend.
  • I want to back your book

This is really strange English! これは変な英語ですよ!

Now, for correct English you can easily replace “back” with “return”.

  • When will you return to Australia?
  • I returned to my home on the weekend.
  • I want to return your book

Now, you can also use “back” in these sentences, but you must also use a verb.

  • When will you go back to Australia?
  • I went back to my home on the weekend.
  • I want to give back your book
  • Put my dictionary back in the drawer.



I’m fine thank you. And you?

日本人に「How are you?」を聞くと、答えがほとんど「I’m fine thank you. And you?」。 ネーティブの中、これは有名な話ですよ。私のイメージは、日本人が目から血が出ていても、かならず「I’m fine thank you. And you?」と言います。 (>.<)

「How are you?」と聞かれたら、別の表現を使ったら?または、本当の気分を言った?


Q: How are you feeling?

A: Not so good. あまり良くない。

or Great! すごくいい!

or I’m a little hungry. ちょっとお腹が空いてる。

or I’ve got a headache today. 頭が痛いです。

or I’m sleepy. 眠い。



Here’s a little tutorial about 2 ways to use “free”.

In the upper picture, we can see “動詞free” or “free名詞” or “動詞free名詞”.  Basically we’re talking “free” as in “no money required.”  So now we can make some examples.

  • Free beer!!
  • Girls drink free.
  • I got a free ticket.

In the lower photo, we are talking about “無し”, and only in the pattern of “名詞free”.  For example:

  • Calorie free.
  • Alcohol free drinks.
  • I want a stress free life.

“Free” does have a couple of other usages, but I’ll leave that for another day.  頑張って!!

I am Bryce / This is Bryce



Hello Bryce. I am Tomoko.

この場合は「I am Tomoko」で始まるのは可笑しいですよ。「I am 名前」はだいたい初めての挨拶の時に使います。その代わりに、「This is 名前.」または「It’s 名前.」を使った方がいいです。

もう知ってる人にはこのように挨拶します. メールと電話で両方とも同じです。


*** ring ring ***

Bryce: Hello?

Tomoko: Hi Bryce. It’s Tomoko. How are you?

Bryce: Oh. Hi Tomoko. I’m great, thanks.


Hi Bryce. This is Tomoko. Can I change lessons this week? I have to go to the dentist tomorrow.

OKですか? もし質問があったら、聞いてね!

レベル3 – Regrets and Resolutions

3 – Regrets and Resolutions – PDF


3 – Regrets and Resolutions – AUDIO


3 – Regrets and Resolutions AUDIO (sent)



3 – Regrets and Resolutions

The school in which I studied Japanese is actually quite good. Students are made to write essays, give speeches, do shadowing, study verbs and grammar, and the teachers don’t let them speak in their native tongue.

When I started to study Japanese in 2007, I had never had any real experience studying a foreign language. To make things worse, I was teaching English at the time. So I thought I knew everything about learning languages.

This made me a poor student. I sometimes tried to communicate in English. I often ignored my teachers’ efforts because I didn’t fully understand, and didn’t want to try. You could often find me being gently scolded by my teachers, for my poor efforts. To be honest, it embarrasses me even to write about this.

Now, looking back at my time there, I realise that I wasted so many good opportunities, because I was quite childish, a little selfish and terribly stubborn. Now, I know that I should have listened to the teacher, and trusted her knowledge and guidance. And I shouldn’t have been so lazy.

It’s ironic now, but I can often see the same kind of behaviour in my own students, almost every day. So I have come to understand my teachers’ frustrations, and told myself long ago that I would follow their wonderful example of being patient and persistent, and hope that someday my students will change as I did.

レベル1 – My Wonderful Teacher Bryce


1 – My Wonderful Teacher Bryce
1 – My Wonderful Teacher Bryce
1 – My Wonderful Teacher Bryce (sent)

1 – My Wonderful Teacher Bryce

My teacher Bryce is very kind, but he’s also very strict.
He came to Japan from Australia, for travel and to study martial arts.
Now, he has lived in Japan for more than 10 years.
He likes living here, but he likes being a “gaijin” too.
He has many interests, but he practices archery almost everyday.
His wife doesn’t let him practice in the house, so she makes him do it on the roof.
Someday, he is going to enter an archery competition.
My teacher can speak Japanese, but he often makes mistakes.
He should study a little more, because he wants to improve his Japanese.
Everybody knows, if you don’t practice, language cannot be improved.
So, I have to listen carefully and I must speak a lot when I have a chance.