Website Fun

DIVI 4.0 is here!

This is great news for people running websites on wordpress! No more do you have to hem and haw over which “design” theme you should choose for your site! It is getting easier and easier to create with ease with fuller control over the design and layout of content!

ワードプレスでウェブサイトを運営している方にはもってこいアップグレードです!どのテーマでサイトを作ろうと悩む必要がなくなりました。思い通りにと自由にデザインする機能が次から次に、定期的にアップグレードされるこのDIVIウェッブデザインテーマサービスは実に素晴らしい。

I have been using DIVI since it first came out as DIVI 1.0 when I decided to officially start a web page under LivingEigo.com. It was innovative for its time and I loved it from Day 1, since it allowed me the freedom to design and create my page to my content.

なん年前にLivingEigo.comの会社でウェッブサイトを運営しようと決心した時からずっと最初のころのDIVIでやってきました。ウェブデザインの世界では当時、かなり革命的で、初日からとても満足で気に入っていたプログラムでした。初心者の私にはわかりやすく自由にデザインでいることから、とても相性の良いプログラムでした。

I have had the chance to work with Square Space for work. Although I appreciate its selling point in the freedom of design as well, DIVI beats the creative freedom and innovation to Square Space, hands down. Even in the early stages of DIVI, I thought that it square space could not live up to what Divi had and the constant upgrades that remind me that I made the right decision over 5 years ago.

他の人気ウェブサイトサービス、SquareSpaceは仕事で使う機会があります。DIVIと同じようにデザインの自由のあるプログラムとして知られていますが、DIVIの想像の広がり感やアイディア(ワクワク感)ではSquareSpaceはDIVIの足元にも及ばない。と個人的な意見です。初期の頃から、DIVIが優秀と感じ、さらにDIVI 2.0、3.0 そして今回の4.0のよくあるアップグレードの数から5年前以上にDIVIにしてよかったとよく思うことである。

Now, DIVI has come up with DIVI 4.0 (I was still pretty amazed with the new upgrades the 3.0 version had to offer!) and I am over the moon to see that (as I had decided to become a lifetime member 3 months ago) the folks at DIVI does not dissappoint! They come up with new things even before I know that I want them. That’s pretty amazing! 
今回はv4.0 の公開で(前のアップグレード今だにびっくりしていたのに)とても嬉しいです(しかも3ヶ月前にライフタイムメンバーになろうと決心したところで)本当に想像以上のサービスで、何も言うことないです。自分が気付く前に次から次にプログラムを改良するので、毎回驚きます。

Anyway, I am now inspired to redesign my whole website. I would love to do the hard work of the creators at DIVI and Elegant Themes justice with a whole new look for my site. Thanks! 
これから新しくウェッブサイトを改良しようとインスピレーションを受けたところです。ここで、ちょっとしたブログで皆さんにWebサイトの裏側の話をさせていただきました。新しいサイトを楽しみにしてください!

The Road to Independence

This has nothing to do with English learning…

Today, I went to Kamakura for an appointment. The station was really crowded.
At peak tourist season (with a festival taking place on the Kamakura shores,) crowds of people were walking steadily towards a narrow stairwell, BUT  at a snail’s pace!
There were all walks of people around me. Foreign tourists, local (Japanese) tourists, locals (like me, going to a lesson), children, families… everyone was very respectful of one another to make sure that there was no dangerous pushing going down the stairs. It was a bit frustrating, as I was already late for my appointment, but I kept calm and did not try to push ahead. 

約束のため、鎌倉駅を降りましたが、今日は特に混雑していた。観光のピーク時間で、しかも久しぶりの天気だった上、丁度海側でお祭りが行う日だった。観光客や、外国からの観光客、地元の人、カップル、小さい子の家族など、色々なところから集まった人がいましたが、皆さんはゆっくりと、順番にお互いに譲り合って、降りてました。毎回それだけでありがたいと思っていましたが、今回は、私が遅刻気味で特にこのカタツムリのようなスピードに敏感でチョビとイライラしていました。

 

In front of me, near the rail, a small boy of about 3 or 4 was walking slowly down by himself. At first, I was “Hmm. Who is he with…?” Then I immediately saw in front of him, his mother, carrying their second newborn looking ahead, walking step by step with the crowd. The boy was concentrating, being careful of each step. His mother was not looking even glancing behind her to make sure her boy was okay, which surprised me, but there was one tiny gesture that stood out to me.

 

私の左に、レールを小さいでで掴んで慎重に歩いている, 3・4歳くらいの男の子がいました。”一人かな?大丈夫かな?”と母性本能動き出した。よく見ると、彼のすぐ前に赤ん坊を前抱っこして、ぞろぞろ階段を降りている女性がいました。

”ママかな?”と思ったのだが、このお母さんが一度も息子に振り向こうとしていなかったので、”違うかも”と他にママらしい人物を探し始めましたが、下にちらっと見たら、その女性は右手をしかっり後ろに男の子の方にさしのべたまま歩いているのではないか。そうか。

I thought for a second that perhaps she was not his mother and looked around for someone near him who might be lost in the crowd. Then I looked down and saw that the woman in front of him was holding out her hand behind her, right near the boy’s head. The boy wasn’t trying to take her hand. He just seemed to concentrate on his walking, on the stairs, no desperation or hurriedness in his motions to catch up with mom right away. Ahh, I get it.

 男の子は自分の歩いきに夢中でしたし、お母さんの手を繋ごうともしていなかった。急いでも焦ってもいませんでした。なるほど。この人混みの中でも、一人で歩こうとする息子を尊重しつつ、ママが道を作っておいて、「ずっといるよ」って本人がわかるように、本人目線に手をずっと出したまま。

と私は勝手に解釈。

Of course, this was my interpretation, but I felt like this mom was being brilliant in letting him be “independent,” letting him do his thing even in this scary crowd of people. At the same time she was letting him know silently that she was there AT ALL TIMES. He knew she was there. She knew that he knew that she was there. And that was all they needed to get through this simple activity of going down the stairs at a crowded station.

 

もちろん、このお母さんは無意識に息子に自立するため行為かしら?としたら、素晴らしい、と思った。こんなに混んでいる場所で目の前にあえて見張らず、手のジェスチャーで彼女なりのコミュニケーションを取っている。「ちゃんといるよ」と手で伝えている。男の子はママがちゃんといることがわかってる。そして、彼女は彼がわかっていることもわかっている。このシンプルな行為に必要な交流でした。

What a beautiful small (natural) gesture between mom and child going through the process of “growing up” and learning to be on your own. We are alone. And yet there is always something in the wings to help. Heck, ”I” was ready to jump out to help if this boy had a hard time. Moms… I believe most moms want to help guide their kids into independence. At the same time, we are the first to jump out and want to protect them from hurt or danger. It’s not easy to know how to balance the extremes. 

This one mother’s gesture (as interpreted by me) was another sign how parents instinctively know how to let their children “be” while being there on the wings when duty calls. 

とても自然なジェスチャーで、心が動いた。親で一番の思いはちゃんと自立できるようにと願う人が多いと思います。と同時に、守らなきゃ。と言う気持ちがいつも混み上がる。このバランスは本当に微妙です。親の感も働く瞬間なのかな?

P.S. By the way, although I have not raised children in other countries, I can’t imagine this happening in a huge city overseas. Perhaps this is permissible because we are in Japan. Anywhere else, one would be afraid of a child being taken and would be seen as negligence. この行為も日本ならではのことかな、とつくづく思います。残念ながら、他の国ではこのように子供に「任せる」は(いつも見張ってない行動は誘拐の恐れがあり、)無責任と解釈されることもある。

Why English?

Thank you for this chance to connect with you  through English learning.  We might not have met if you were into golf, or oil painting or jazz dance, since I’m not interested in those activities! You were drawn to this skill we call “language,” (and more specifically,) the English language, and now I can  get to know you. And I am grateful.

 

Let me tell you a secret. (This is not good advertisement for me, since I TEACH English ….) Ready? I don’t care if you can speak English or not.
No, really. I don’t!
I don’t even care if my own kids (who are raised in Japan) can speak English or not. I know it would be “nice” for them to be able to speak to their cousins who live in Hawaii, or maybe expand their future opportunities by speaking the international language.

But what I really look for : Are they enjoying the “self” that picks up the new skill? Does the learning process delight them? If the answer is “yes” or “maybe, with a little help,” then I want to be there for them!

I would never force a child to learn the violin, if they did not like the process of learning how to play.

I recently started playing the violin again after 25 years. I am not a good violin player. And even after 10 years of playing, I never got good. But even as a child,  I LOVED the process of learning how to play– I would keep at it for hours for the one or two beautiful notes that would occasionally sing out from my tiny violin.

It may be the same way with learning languages.
Look beyond WHAT we are learning and ask,  “Am I enjoying the process?”
Your “beautiful note”might the time you shared a smile with the English-speaking Canadian woman who thanked you for showing her how to get to Tokyo . Our powerful yet invisible connection to one another comes in and out of view because of your processing of all manners of learning, including new languages.

I’m here to help you love this magical process of language learning.
I want to help students see beyond the “benefits,” beyond the “what’s-in-it-for-me” reasons for language learning?

In my lessons, I try to move past the practical reasons and methods of learning. — I enjoy peeking under the “reasons for learning”lid, and celebrating the “person who IS learning.” 

So, how are you doing in your learning?

Are you feeling the thrill of new understanding?
Are you feeling the lovely tingle of connection to your fellow humans when you catch the deeper meanings of their words?

Language is but one gateway to deeper communication
But funnily enough, sometimes it blocks us/ shields us/ blinds us from seeing our common humanness.

As a teacher, I would like to see language for what it is:
Not a goal, but a cool by-product of something deeper, the lovely results from experiencing the “joy of learning and connecting.”

These are the thoughts that I have been exploring today.

Outside, Together (An original song!)

Outside, Together! (A weather song)

Hi Everyone! Here is my very first original song
to be released on the internet!

Feel the sunshine
Feel the rain
Feel the wind upon my face
I like to dance
I like to twirl outside
Together
What Weather do you like?
What Weather do you like?
I like sunny days,
I like rainy days,
I like cloudy days,
I like snowy days,
What Weather do you like?
What Weather do you like?
See the clouds
See the sky
Follow the birds, flying by
I like to dance
I like to twirl outside
Together. . . .
ドキドキ!ここで初めてのオリジナルソングで、
初めての公開です!これからもよろしくね!