Japan is known for its methodically plotted anime, mouth-watering food, and innovative technology that leaves the rest of the world amazed. However, the country offers other facets waiting to be discovered.  Here are some facts about Japan you might find interesting:

  1. In Japanese, the name “Japan” is Nihon or Nippon, which means “Land of the Rising Sun.” It was once believed that Japan was the first country to see the sunrise in the East in the morning.


  1. The Japanese people have a deep affection for the beauty of the landscape. The ancient Shinto religion says natural features like mountains, waterfalls, and forests have their own spirits, like souls.


  1. Japan has the third longest life expectancy in the world with men living to 81 years old and women living to almost 88 years old. The Japanese live on average four years longer than Americans.


  1. Japan consists of over 6,800 islands. There are four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Also, Japan is slightly smaller than the US state of California.


  1. Japan has more than 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants, the largest number in any country outside the U.S.


  1. Twenty-one percent of the Japanese population is elderly (over the age of 65), the highest proportion in the world. There are more elderly than there are children in Japan today.


  1. The Japanese eat more fish than any other people in the world, about 17 million tons per year. Japan is the world’s largest importer of seafood, with shrimp comprising about one-third of the total, about four million tons a year. More than 20% of Japanese protein is obtained through fish and fish products.


  1. Over two billion manga, Japanese comic books or graphic novels, are sold in Japan each year.


  1. Sushi has been around since about the second century A.D. It started as a way to preserve fish in China and eventually made its way to Japan. The method of eating raw fish and rice began in the early 17th century. Sushi does not mean raw fish in Japanese. It actually means rice seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Raw fish sliced and served alone without rice is called sashimi.


  1. In March 1995, a religious cult spread sarin, a nerve gas, in the Tokyo subway. Twelve people were killed and more than 5,000 were sickened.


  1. Japan can be a dangerous place. Three of the tectonic plates that form Earth’s crust meet and often move against each other, causing earthquakes. More than a thousand earthquakes hit Japan every year. Japan also has about 200 volcanoes, 60 of which are active.


  1. Japanese food is very different from food in Western countries. There are lots of rice, fish, and vegetables, but little meat. With little fat or dairy, this diet is very healthy, which helps Japanese people live, on average, longer than any other people in the world.


  1. The Japanese are famous for their willingness to work very hard. Children are taught to show respect for others, especially parents and bosses. They learn to do what’s best for their family or company and worry less about their own needs.


  1. During World War I (1914-1917), Japan fought on the side of the U.S., but on December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the United States Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the U.S. entered World War II. From 1941-1945, Japan’s military leaders fought against the U.S. and the allied forces. In August 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing about 115,000 people. Japan surrendered a few days later.


  1. Japan is the only country in the world with a reigning emperor. Emperors have no real power, but they are still revered as a symbol of the country’s traditions and unity.


  1. Japan has around 5.5 million vending machines with one on almost every street corner. There are vending machines that sell beer, hot and cold canned coffee, cigarettes, wine, condoms, comic books, hot dogs, light bulbs, bags of rice, toilet paper, umbrellas, fish bait, fresh eggs, porn magazines, and even used women’s underwear.


  1. The Japanese have such a low birth rate that there are more adult diapers sold than baby diapers.


  1. Cherry blossoms (sakura) are Japan’s national flower.


  1. Yaeba, or crooked teeth, are considered attractive in Japan—so much so that girls go to the dentist to have their teeth purposefully unstraightened.


  1. Anime, or animated Japanese films and television shows, account for 60% of the world’s animation-based entertainment. Animation is so successful in Japan that there are almost 130 voice-acting schools in the country.


  1. Ninety percent of all mobile phones sold in Japan are waterproof because youth like to use them even while showering.


  1. The sole Japanese man who survived the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1914, Masabumi Hosono, was called a coward in his country for not dying with the other passengers.


  1. When Japanese people meet, they traditionally bow instead of shake hands, and the lowest bow shows the deepest respect.


  1. During World War II, Japan bombed China with fleas infected with the Bubonic plague.


  1. In Japan, Kit Kat candy bars come in flavors like grilled corn, Camembert cheese, Earl Gray tea, grape, and wasabi. The Japanese pronounce Kit Kat like “Kitto Katsu,” which sounds like “You are sure to pass” in Japanese, and so they make a popular gift to students during entrance exam season.


  1. In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken is a typical Christmas Eve feast.


  1. Many hot springs and onsen (public bath houses) in Japan ban customers with tattoos from entering because the tattoos remind the public of the yakuza, or Japanese mafia, whose members sport full-body tattoos.


  1. Japanese “love hotels” are short-stay hotels mainly designed for amorous couples and are identified by the presence of heart symbols. They have different room rates: a “rest” rate as well as an overnight rate. An estimated 2% of Japan’s population visits one each day.


  1. Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, are the fabled animals that “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.” The macaques in northern Honshu live farther north than any other monkey in the world.


  1. It is appropriate to slurp noodles, especially soba (buckwheat) when eating in Japan. Slurping indicates the dish is delicious. It also cools down the hot noodles.


  1. The Japanese word  karaoke means “empty orchestra.” Cabaret singer Daisuke Inoue made a coin-operated machine that played his songs on tape so his fans could sing along in the 1970s, but he failed to patent his creation and therefore never cashed in on his invention.


  1. In Japan, it is considered rude to tear the wrapping paper off of a gift.


  1. The Japanese avoid the number four (shi) because it sounds the same as the word for death. Tall buildings do not have fourth floors. Tea and sake sets are sold with five cups. Three or five is the desirable number of guests in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. As a rule, odd numbers are preferred over even numbers in Japan.


  1. Geisha in Japanese means “person of the arts,” and the first geishas were actually men called taikomochi and they had a role similar to Western court jesters.


  1. The Japanese word for a dog’s barking sound is wan-wan instead of “bow-wow.” Japan’s Akita breed was developed in the 1600s and was once called the royal dog because the emperors kept Akitas as pets. The most famous of all Akitas was Hachikō. Legend has it he waited 10 years at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo for his master who had died while at work. A statue of Hachikō now stands outside the station as a tribute to his loyalty.


  1. The imperial family of Japan descends from an unbroken lineage of nearly 2,000 years. No other royal family in history has held its position for so long. The first Japanese emperor, Jimmu Tennō, ruled about the time of Christ.


  1. Godzilla, a huge monster resembling a dinosaur, made his film debut in 1954. In Japan, he is known as Gojira, where he rose from the sea, after being awakened by atomic bomb testing, and attacked Tokyo.


  1. The Japanese religion of Shinto is one of the few religions in the world with a female solar deity.


  1. Many Japanese babies are born with a Mongolian spot (mokohan) on their backs. This harmless birthmark usually fades by the age of 5. It is common in several Asian populations and in Native Americans.


40. Today, fewer than 200 people in Japan can claim to have both parents with
exclusively Ainu (perhaps the original human inhabitants of Japan) descent. The
Ainu do not possess the Y chromosome typically found in the rest of the Japanese


Sources & References:

Lehnardt, Karin. 79 Interesting Facts about Japan. Fact Retriever. December 17, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from

National Geographic Kids. Japan. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from





While online teaching is popular as a sort of side job for many, contrary to popular belief, it can also be a full-time job if the teacher chooses for it to be so. Of course, it is sometimes not easy to live your life to the fullest and work at the same time. According to specialists, the key to managing both is to focus on a plan, be organized, and find the right balance between being with your family, having a social life and working as a professional. The following recommendations may help you experience a work-life balance.

Have a family calendar.

It is a good thing to not only know about the bills, school activities, significant occasions and such in your family. Consider making a family command station where to put a calendar together with the essential belongings like keys, charger, spare batteries, and petty cash. It will help you manage your schedule without missing any important dates.

Always communicate.

This is very important to monitor the activities and other things the members of your family are getting busy with. In this way, you can decide on when you can take online classes and how will you conduct it if you are working from home because you will not be disturbed easily.

Limit distractions.

Use your time well. Discipline yourself into refraining from doing activities that will consume the time that you can use to finish other more important tasks such as browsing Facebook and other social media sites during your work hours. This can be applied whether you are an office-based or a home-based teacher because you own your time and you are the only one who can make the most of it.

Make time for social activities.

It will be very helpful to enjoy yourself and strengthen your bonds with not only your family but your friends as well.

Go on dates.

Exert effort to go on dates with your partner regularly despite the workload or household chores.

Have a ‘me and myself’ time.

It is necessary to give time to yourself to attend to your personal needs and recharge as well. It would be favorable to have regular exercise and quality time in your spiritual life.


Sources & References:

From the subsidiary of PhilStar Daily, Inc.




Four years of grueling hard work and you’ve finally gotten your coveted college degree. You probably came out of your graduation ceremony excited and ready to take on the professional world, yet it’s been months of sending applications and attending interviews and still, you remain unemployed. It’s at this point that you realize that landing a job nowadays isn’t as easy as you always thought it would be. Rejection after rejection and finally, you ask yourself – Could you possibly be doing something wrong?

Well, failing a job interview doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad candidate. Perhaps the company simply found another person whose profile was a better match for what they were looking for at the time. Still, there are many reasons why applicants fail, most times due to the small things that they do or sometimes not do during the interview process. Here are some of them:


  1. Confidence Problems

Confidence can be a big issue when it comes to job interviews and too little or too much of it can leave a not so positive impression on your prospective employers. Low confidence implies lack of trust in your own skills, while overconfidence paints you as self-important. Try for the middle-ground instead. Breathe and try to relax.  Do your best to appear confident enough to talk about your skills and experiences, but humble enough not to be seen as arrogant.

  1. Poor Manners and Unprofessional Behavior

Manners matter and this is particularly true for situations such as job interviews where you need to put your best foot forward. Therefore, rudeness and any unprofessional behavior should be avoided at all costs. Said behaviors include, but are not limited to: being late, acting too casually or rudely to the interviewer and other existing employees, using your phone or placing it on the table during the interview, and having a sloppy appearance, etc.

  1. Lack of Knowledge About the Job/Company

In this day and age, almost everything can be found online. This includes most companies’ websites, LinkedIn and Facebook pages where you can find a wealth of information about the organization you’d like to join. Lacking knowledge about the company or the job you’re applying for shows disinterest and indicative of laziness. Do your best to avoid this and show the hiring manager your extent of interest by doing even a bit of research beforehand. Take time to learn the company’s profile, mission, and vision.

  1. Unpreparedness

When you’re trying to land a job, then it’s a given that you must also be prepared to impress your interviewer. To do this, you must make a good impression and one way of doing that is to always come prepared. Not only with your knowledge about the company and its history, but with basic things as well, such as your documents and certificates or even just an extra hard copy of your resume. Sure, you might have already sent them a copy online, which is probably how you got invited to the interview in the first place, but bringing a tangible copy that the hiring manager can refer to during the process would be very helpful. They might not ask for it, but if they do, then you’ll automatically appear more prepared than the candidate who decided not to bring a copy of his documents.

  1. Asking the Wrong Questions or Asking No Questions At All

It’s interesting how a majority of candidates fail to ask good questions or any questions at all at the end of their interviews. It is true that asking too many questions particularly unrelated ones are discouraged, but asking good questions actually shows your level of interest in the job you’re applying for. If you’re afraid to make a mess out of it by coming up with questions on the fly, then prepare your questions the night before. Ask for more information about the daily tasks or how soon they would like you to start if you get hired for the job, for example. On the other hand, avoid asking questions such as: “Can I be late for work?” or “What salary do you offer for this position?” as it leaves a negative impression. If you get hired, they will discuss these details with you.


Sources and References:






English is weird. This is something that people have simply accepted and unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are that you’ve encountered at least a few of the inconsistencies that comprise one of the most widely used languages in the world today.

Spelling is one thing, but even when spoken, the language is full of rules, contradictions, and exemptions that can make a person’s head spin. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why English is such a strange language:

  1. English is not a phonetic language.

Basically, this means that unlike many languages whose words are spelled the way they sound, when spoken, the English language contains 44 different sounds derived from only 26 letters when written. One letter can have many different sounds, which for people unfamiliar with the language, would be impossible to discern only from the spelling.

  1. English words are littered with silent letters.

Over, the past few hundred years, there has been a steady effort to standardize the spelling of English words. In the 16th century, the people who were in charge of putting together the dictionaries as we know them today, decided to pay tribute to the words’ Latin origins and reflected it through spellings. Thus, we now have “debt” from the word “debitum” and “receipt” from “recepta“. This is understandable for words with Latin origins, but what isn’t, is applying the same concept to words that don’t, such as changing the spelling of the Old English word “yland” or “iland” to “island“.

  1. Saying what you mean can be complicated.

Idioms can often be found in many different languages, with its numbers reaching to thousands in some cases and believe it or not, there is an estimate of at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language. This is according to Wikipedia’s page on the subject. Most origins or derivations of these idioms have been lost to time and while using them to insert playfulness and creativity in our way of speaking and writing can be fun, it’s most likely that readers who are new to the language will be too confused and bewildered to understand them in the first place.

Why is English like this? What made it so strange? Well, it all boils down to history as English actually started as essentially German and throughout history developed into what it is today through the fusion of words and spellings from different languages. As such, English has thousands of derived words together with its native ones expressing the same things, just with different levels of formality. For example, Help is English, aid is French, and assist is Latin. Or, kingly is English, royal is French, regal is Latin.

None of these reasons stop people from acquiring English as their second language of course, but with all its structural oddness when compared to other languages, it’s a wonder we learned English at all!


Sources & References:




Throughout the years, there have been various methods and approaches that have been developed for teaching English to non-native speakers, each with its own pros and cons depending on the setting, situation, and resources available to the instructor and student. As a teacher, it will be up to you to choose which one will be most effective for your class. Below we will discuss the brief overviews of a number of these methods.


The Direct Method

In this method, the teaching is done entirely in the target language. The learner is not allowed to use his or her mother tongue. Grammar rules are avoided and there is an emphasis on good pronunciation. The benefit of using this method is to immerse the students in English. This is done by providing demonstrations on how to use the language with the help of realia and visual aids.



Learning is mostly achieved by translation to and from the target language. Grammar rules are to be memorized and long lists of vocabulary learned by heart. There is little or no emphasis placed on developing the oral ability.



The theory behind this method is that learning a language means acquiring habits. There is much practice of dialogues of every situation. The new language is first heard and extensively drilled before being seen in its written form. Accurate pronunciation and control of structure are of paramount importance.


Total Physical Response (TPR)

TPR works by having the learner respond to simple commands such as “Stand up”, “Close your book”, “Go to the window and open it.” The method stresses the importance of aural comprehension. This is based on the theory that the memory is enhanced through association with the physical movement. It is also closely associated with theories of mother language acquisition in very young children, where they respond physically to parental commands. TPR as an approach to teaching a second language is based, first and foremost, on listening and this is linked to physical actions which are designed to reinforce comprehension of particular basic items.


Communicative language teaching (CLT)

The focus of this method is to enable the learner to communicate effectively and appropriately in the various situations she would be likely to find herself in. The content of CLT courses are functions such as inviting, suggesting, complaining or notions such as the expression of time, quantity, location.


The Natural Approach

This approach stresses the similarities between learning the first and second languages. There is no correction of mistakes. Learning takes place by the students being exposed to language that is comprehensible or made comprehensible to them.




Pic for wordpress post


English is the greatest language in the world in terms of the sheer number of words, with the Oxford Dictionary containing 615,000 entries, and it being an official language in seventy-nine countries and territories. It is also full of inventions, borrowings, strange words, alterations, and words you never even knew you’ll ever need.

Let’s take a look at some often unheard of facts about this fascinating language.

  1. The part of a wall between two windows is called the interfenestration.
  2. Ahecatompedon is a building measuring precisely 100ft × 100ft.
  3. The opposite of déjà-vu is called jamais-vu: it describes the odd feeling that something very familiar is actually completely new.
  4. Oysterhoodmeans “reclusiveness,” or “an overwhelming desire to stay at home.”
  5. The bowl formed by cupping your hands together is called a gowpen.
  6. repdigit is a number comprised of a series of repeated numbers, like 9,999.
  7. Sermocination is the proper name for posing a question and then immediately answering it yourself.
  8. Whipper-tooties are pointless misgivings or groundless excuses for not trying to do something.
  9. Mochas are named after a port in Yemen, from where coffee was exported to Europe in the 18th century.
  10. In the 18th century, teachers were nicknamed “haberdashers of pronouns.”
  11. The following sentence contains seven different spellings of the sound “ee”: ‘He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas’.
  12. The first English dictionary was written in 1755.
  13. If you write any number in words (English), count the number of letters, write this new number in words and so on, you’ll always end with number 4.
  14. ‘Subdermatoglyphic’ is the longest English word that can be written without repeating any letters. It has 17 letters in it, and it’s the medical name for the layer of skin beneath the fingertips.
  15. Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning “containing arsenic.”



Sources & References




Meeting new people from different countries is one of the joys of ESL teaching. Of course, to conduct great lessons you must learn how to connect with them. Here are 5 simple steps to help you build rapport with your students.


  1. Adjust your expectations

The first step is to remember that every student and culture is different. There is a big chance that your Japanese student will act and react differently from your Russian one. Try to learn about your student’s culture and personality and adjust your style accordingly.


  1. Start by sharing a few things about yourself

Lead by example. Try to connect to your student by sharing a little bit about yourself first. This may help them feel more comfortable with sharing things with you and may prompt them to ask questions of their own. However, you must not forget to keep things professional.


  1. Learn your student’s interests

This is related to step 2. After you’ve done you share, try to ask the students about their interests and find something you have in common. People love talking about things they like and will encourage them to talk more.


  1. Smile and enjoy the class

Focus on the lesson, but try to still enjoy it. Show your genuineness about your friendliness and desire to help the student instead of trying too hard. Remember students love teachers who are passionate about their job.


  1. Don’t give up

There are students whom you’ll find to be more difficult to connect with than most, but don’t give up. Sometimes, building rapport can take time. Just do your best to remain positive in your interactions and your students will thank you in the end for it.






While teaching is one of the most rewarding professions out there, the act itself is not exactly a piece of cake. Students differ from each other and your preferred teaching style or method may not work for everyone.

One of the most challenging things an instructor may face in his/her career is the unmotivated student. But how exactly do you help someone who’s not interested? Here are some tips:


Tip# 1: Reach out through culture and language

Get your student to interact more by showing genuine interest in their culture. Do some research about the different customs, events and latest news about the student’s country, then talk about them during the class. Learn phrases in their language or better yet, ask them to teach you how to say phrases like ‘Good job!’ themselves.


Tip# 2: Be considerate in giving corrections

While it’s normal to give corrections during the lesson, you have to make sure not to overdo it by interrupting them every 5 seconds. This will disrupt the student’s ideas and make them feel frustrated or even attacked.


Tip# 3: Let your students set short-term goals

The setting of short-term learning goals could be a good idea for students. This will help them focus on realistic targets and prevent them from getting frustrated if they can’t master everything as quickly or as easily as they expected.


Tip# 4: Connect your class to the student’s interests

Try to connect English learning to the student’s interests outside of the lessons. Ask them to read books, watch movies or listen to music and make activities out of them. For example, for one lesson, you can ask the student to show you his favorite book and tell you what it is about.


Tip# 5: Use games to appeal to their competitive sides

Most people love winning and playing games is still one of the most popular activities when it comes to making the class more lively or encouraging the students to participate more. Use games that will call to their natural competitiveness.






Whether you’re planning to visit Japan or simply interested in the country, it’s always fun to discover new and fascinating facts about the land of the rising sun. Here, we’ve collected some fun facts for your reading enjoyment:

  1. Twenty-one percent of the Japanese population is elderly (over the age of 65), the highest proportion in the world. There are more elderly than there are children in Japan today.
  2. Japan has the second lowest homicide rate in the world, but it is also home to the spooky “suicide forest” Aokigahara at the base of Mt. Fuji. It is the second most popular place in the world for suicides after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
  3. Yaeba, or crooked teeth, are considered attractive in Japan—so much so that girls go to the dentist to have their teeth purposefully unstraightened.
  4. In Japan, there is an island full of rabbits called Ōkunoshima. They were brought there during World War II to test the effects of poison gas.
  5. It is appropriate to slurp noodles, especially soba (buckwheat) when eating in Japan. Slurping indicates the dish is delicious. It also cools down the hot noodles.
  6. The Japanese have more pets than children.
  7. The imperial family of Japan descends from an unbroken lineage of nearly 2,000 years. No other royal family in history has held its position for so long. The first Japanese emperor, Jimmu Tennō, ruled about the time of Christ.
  8. On average there are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan.





TTT or Teacher Talk Time refers to the amount of time during class that a teacher consumes by talking. Not all TTT is negative. After all, students will have to hear the proper way of pronouncing words and hear explanations about the lesson. Still, in ESL lessons where the speaking practice is a crucial part in helping the student improve their skills, reducing the teacher’s TTT can be a big help. The target here is to make sure that you don’t do more than 50% of the talking in class. The most commonly recommended ratio is 30:70, but this will still depend on the type of student you have.


  1. Ask more open-ended questions

Encourage the student to go beyond ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Asking questions such as, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘where?’, ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ will elicit longer responses and explanation from your students, whether you’re having a free conversation or checking their comprehension of a topic.


  1. Give simple, short and concise instructions

Provide instructions that can go straight to the point. Simplify your instructions but make it clear enough, so that you won’t need to repeat it over and over.


  1. Stop echoing your student

Aside from making you talk more, echoing doesn’t really have much purpose and can even distract your student from their thoughts. Instead, keep yourself silent for a few seconds and allow the student enough time to think and respond.


  1. Plan your lessons

Prepare for your lessons well and you find yourself having fewer gaps to fill with talking. Even if you don’t follow it completely, you’ll at least know what you can do next instead trying to buy some thinking time by talking.


  1. Consider your student’s skill level

This is always an important thing to consider. In asking questions or trying to converse with a student, make sure to check if the questions you’re asking or the instructions you’re giving are appropriate enough for your student’s level for them to respond.