How to write REALLY EXCELLENT English

The best way to be good at something is to copy someone or something that is perfect, right?

So this is what one of our NELS students, Kotomi did for an 英検 homework. Isn’t the result fantastic?! She also marked on lots of pronunciation guides such as linking, cuts, holds and schwa to help her sound more natural. Great job, Kotomi!kotomiWell done! Now you are ready to move up to grade pre 1 !


This was the NELS Christmas Party!

We went to the Curious Fox Pub in Sapporo for our Christmas Party this year.


We ate fish ‘n’ chips, shepherd’s pie, pizza, haggis and other dishes and drank various foreign beers and English cider.

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The members did a Christmas role-play and then took part in a quiz. Team Bullet were the winners with a maximum score of 10 out of 10 and they each won a British Christmas pudding.


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Santa came and gave everyone presents!

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Then we went to karaoke and enjoyed singing Christmas songs and both English and Japanese songs, as well as drinking Moet champagne!

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Thanks for coming and making it a Merry Christmas!

NELS Christmas Party


What have we been making for you for this year’s Christmas pressies? You’ll have to come along to our party at the Curious Fox pub in Sapporo tomorrow night to find out! If you’ve been good, maybe you’ll even get a kiss from Santa (…if you’d like one, that is!)!

Merry Christmas from NELS!

Christmas is coming! Why I love December

I love December! Why? Because for me, in Sapporo it is when the snow begins to fall which means I can do my favourite thing – snowboarding! I know lots of people don’t like snow, and I understand why – it’s difficult to get around, it’s cold, wet, and becomes dirty quickly. But, to me it gives me energy, and is fresh, pure, and beautiful. My perfect day is when the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the ground is covered with fresh snow, and I am at the top of a mountain with a snowboard! I can’t wait!

Another thing I love about December is Christmas. I love going home to the UK to see my family. My little niece and nephew get so excited. DSCN9451

They also have their birthdays near Christmas, like almost all of my family does, so it’s even more exciting for them. I usually spend Christmas Day with my family, and then after Christmas, I go to my brother’s and we have a second Christmas. This year will be extra special, as I’ll see my cousin David, who you may already have met as he’s been in Sapporo and played a concert for us at NELS. I also have a special friend from Japan visiting so I’m looking forward to showing her what Christmas is like in the UK.

On Christmas Day my family always goes to the beach with our dog. She loves chasing sticks and stones in the waves. Xmas Day walk (2)

We exchange presents and even the pets get gifts too.

Xmas eve

We eat a big Christmas dinner around 1 o’clock, which is usually turkey, although sometimes we may have duck or goose, and lots of roast potatoes and vegetables all cooked in the oven. It’s my favourite meal of the year!


We then have Christmas cake which my mum makes in October or November.


Later, we have a light meal of maybe cheese and crackers and importantly, Christmas pudding! Christmas is a family day with lots of food and drink. I love it!

This was when me and my family went to a very old local pub:DSCN9462

At NELS we are going to celebrate with a Christmas Party on Saturday December 13th at The Curious Fox Pub here in Sapporo. For more information, check here.

For more information about NELS, go here  .

Recipes from the Tea Party

A few people have asked me about my recipes from the NELS tea party so I thought I’d share them with you.

The scone recipe is from probably the most famous British chef at the moment, called Jamie Oliver. Here’s his recipe. He writes a lot, so let me know if you need any questions understanding it.

I was also asked about my honey mustard chicken sandwich recipe, so here it is.

I hope you can find all of the ingredients and enjoy making the food!

Please let me know if you would like any more information.

Afternoon Tea Party and David’s concert

Last Sunday we held out 2nd Afternoon Tea Party at NELS. This time it was extra special, however, as my cousin from England was in Sapporo. He’s a professional musician and songwriter so we asked him to sing for us. He then taught us his songs so we could all sing along too, karaoke style! It was great! Please enjoy the photos and one of his songs below:

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To see more photos, go here.

For more about NELS classes and events, click here.

Next Event – Afternoon Tea Party and concert by professional musician!

The next event at NELS will be an Afternoon Tea Party and concert held at ネルス on November 23rd.

You will be able to enjoy tea from England, along with English biscuits, scones and cake, and a special and very English ingredient too. You will also learn about the cultural aspects of drinking tea in the UK.

Then, there will be a very special event! My second cousin (my mother’s cousin) is a professional musician and is coming to 札幌 / Sapporo. He will sing and play his own songs including his latest one called ‘Hokkiado Mountain Blue’ which was recently played on STV Radio here in 札幌 / Sapporo.

You can find out more about him and the event here. Please come! It’s gonna be great!

The easy way to understand tenses in English

Strictly speaking there are actually only 2 tenses in the English language: present tense, and past tense. However, there are 16 different aspects of tense which makes it difficult for English learners to work out if they should be using the past perfect simple, the present perfect continuous, or any of the 14 others!

But don’t worry! Look at these easy to understand tense charts which show you simply  the situation in which we use each of the tense aspects. Study the image, read about it below, then click the arrow on the right to study the next.

Then, why not write your own sentences for each of the 19 situations presented in the charts! Good luck!

Being able to use tenses well in English will help you get a good TOEIC score. It will also help you in 英検 and TOEFL tests in understanding written texts.

More Halloween photos

This was the scary Halloween food that I prepared for the ネルスHalloween party this year. Can you tell what body parts each dish looks like?

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Halloween 2014!

This year’s ネルス Halloween Party was great fun! I made some spooky Halloween food, and we played some scary Halloween games. There are a couple of videos here and here.

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More photos to come!