In the process of learning the English language, encountering idiomatic expressions is quite inevitable. Considering how interwoven these phrases are to everyday conversations, understanding and learning how to use them can be an interesting way to study the language. Still, as useful as they may be, it doesn’t change the fact that a number of these idioms are plainly and honestly bizarre to non-native speakers. Here are some examples:


Break a leg

Meaning: Good luck.

Origin: This strange way of wishing someone luck originated from the theater superstition of saying good luck having the opposite effect, and thus also meaning that such a phrase would reverse the curse.

Cold turkey

Meaning: To suddenly stop an addicting activity, such as smoking or drinking alcohol without preparation.

Origin: Possibly originated from the goose-bumps and cold sweats that a person with withdrawal symptoms suffers.

Cat got your tongue

Meaning: A statement addressed to a person who is uncharacteristically quiet or at a loss for words.

Origin: One possible origin might be the Cat-o’-nine-tails that the old English Navy used for beating, which apparently caused so much pain the person would stay quiet for a while. Another is an old custom in ancient Egypt where liars’ tongues were cut off and fed to the cats.

Under the weather

Meaning: To feel sick or unwell.

Origin: This is a phrase that was originally used in old sailing ships. Back then when the number of sick sailors got so high that they ran out of space for listing the names in their log, these sick sailors were then listed on the log meant for recording the weather. Thus, they are ‘under the weather’.

Wipe the floor (with someone)

Meaning: To defeat someone easily

Origin: From the ‘A dictionary of slang, jargon and cant’ by Barrère and Leland (1897), meaning that someone has beaten another person so completely that he might as well have used him to clean the floor.

Riding shotgun

Meaning: To sit next to the driver.

Origin: This came from the time when stagecoaches were the main method of transportation. The seat next to the driver is given to the protector who would be holding a shotgun in order to ward off any bandits.

Bite the bullet

Meaning: To face or accept something disagreeable

Origin: Originated back in WWWI when field doctors were short on anesthesia. Patients had to literally bite down on a bullet to distract them from the pain of being operated on.

Mad as a hatter

Meaning: To be crazy.

Origin: This idiom was coined due to the poisonous effects of mercury used by hatters for hat felts which caused symptoms that made them appear insane.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

Meaning: Don’t throw away or get rid of important things along with the useless ones.

Origin: From the 1500s when people only bathed once a year and held the practice of not changing the bathwater. The adult males would bathe first followed by the females, then the children and finally the babies. By the time it would be the babies’ turn, the water would be so murky that the mothers would have to be careful not to accidentally throw the babies out with it.



Sources & References:

Jordan Hake (2017). 10 Strange Idioms. Retrieved from

Global Graduates (2014). 20 bizarre English idioms and how to explain them. Retrieved from (2011). 30 Common, English Idioms and the History Behind Them. Retrieved from

Anais John (2015). 14 Expressions with Crazy Origins that You Would Never Have Guessed. Retrieved from

Barrère and Leland (1897). A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant. Retrieved from






Kimono is a garment that has been worn by both Japanese men and women from the Hakuho (Early Nara) Period (645-710) up to the present. It is derived from the Chinese pao-style robe and despite it not being a common sight in these modern times; kimono is still worn on special occasions.

When the kimono first arose, the traditional Japanese color combinations were also born, which helped give life to the art and fashion of Japan.

In wearing kimono, different seasons are also taken into consideration. In summer, you can wear a light linen and cotton kimono also known as yukata while in winter and fall, a heavy silk kimono is more appropriate.

The wearing of kimono became outdated during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) due to the government encouraging the Japanese people to adopt the Western clothing styles. Although the demand for its use has declined, the Japanese people still take pride in wearing this garment.

For those who dream about one day, wearing a kimono, here are the parts of this traditional attire for you to know:

  1. Kimono – it can be made from different kinds of fabric such as cotton, linen, wool, and silk.
  2. Obi – similar to a belt that can be tied in decorative and attractive ways.
  3. Juban – it is an undergarment worn under the kimono.
  4. Koshi-himo – a sash that is tied at the waist to help secure the kimono in place.
  5. Datejime – it is also a belt fastened over the kimono to keep its shape.
  6. Tabi – socks that usually worn with traditional Japanese footwear.
  7. Geta, Zori – this is kind of sandals particularly worn with kimono.



Sources & References:

Joy A. (2016). A Brief History of the Japanese Kimono. Retrieved from

Live Japan (2017). All About Kimono. Retrieved from




Maintaining a successful career is no joke. Daily tasks, responsibilities as well as deadlines, and targets can weight a lot on an employee leading to pressure which if unaddressed, to stress. But while employees can sometimes feel overwhelmed by this negative emotion, there are also ways to lessen the burden.

Make a Checklist

Making a checklist (also known as a ‘to-do’ list) is the best way to start. The workload cannot be avoided, and an employee, knowing that he/she has a lot of work to do will more often than not, find him/herself forgetting a few things. Using a checklist is a key to productivity.  It will also help to save time and to determine the tasks that should be prioritized. Start the day by listing tasks and making it a goal to finish them in a timely manner.

Set Realistic Deadlines

In completing tasks, the amount of time needed for them must also be considered. While multitasking is well and good, not everyone can do this effectively. So in setting deadlines, it is better to observe the time a particular task takes, try to adjust without sacrificing the work quality and set the target completion time or date. With this, extreme pressure from trying to reach unrealistic deadlines could be avoided.

Do Things One at a Time

As mentioned above, multitasking is not a skill everyone can master and jumping from one task to another will most likely just lead to consuming more time to finish and be a hindrance instead of an aid to productivity, which might lead to disappointment. On the other hand, performing one task at a time will promote focus and help produce higher-quality results than when trying to complete more than one task simultaneously.

Have Presence of Mind

Most of the tips so far have been all about task organization, but no matter how organized the to-do list is, it would be meaningless if the employee does not have the presence of mind to follow it.  Do not carry emotional baggage in the workplace. Don’t just hear, but actually listen. You will not be able to focus if you don’t. Presence of mind will help prevent mistakes from overlooked details and allows for efficient handling of different situations as well as decision-making. In the same way, it will help produce quality work output that will bring satisfaction for a job well-done.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Positivity makes any job if not easier, at least more pleasant to handle. It provides a good atmosphere that empowers giving the best effort. It also becomes the driving force to reach career goals.

Pressure is something that is encountered every day, but with proper handling, it can be a way to supplement personal growth and experiences. Face it and overcome it with enthusiasm.


Sources and References:

ICAEW (2017). 10 Ways to Prioritize your Workload. Retrieved from

Latumahina D. (2011). Being More Effective: The Benefits of Using Checklist. Retrieved from

Angelov K. (2015). Steal This Treak: How to Set Realistic Deadlines. Retrieved from




Effective communication is one of the most important factors that should be adapted and maintained in any workplace. Aside from its significant role in socializing, it also promotes motivation and good working relationships between the employees and the management. It is particularly important in assigning tasks, giving updates and working on the skills that need to be improved.

In order to achieve all the aforementioned benefits, we’ve prepared a short list of tips to promote effective communication in the workplace.

  1. Respect

In all matters, respect is the most important ingredient to be able to communicate effectively. Culture is a factor to be considered. It also includes using the right words and tone of voice. In addition, recognizing and respecting authority inside the office should be observed in all manners of communication, whether it be in a verbal or written form.

  1. Listen

Always remember that hearing is different from listening; one can hear what another person is saying, without understanding it. Thus, listening is essential in the communication process as appropriate feedback and/or response can only be given if the receiver perceived the message clearly and correctly.

  1. Respond

Communication is useless if there is no feedback. It sustains the process and gives meaning to the conversation. Likewise, in the workplace, feedback can provide information that will be beneficial to the company’s goal. The feedback must be clear and concise in order to avoid misunderstandings and arguments.

  1. Consult

As mentioned above, feedback must be delivered clearly and accurately. However, there are situations in which an immediate feedback is not possible due to uncertainty and/or lack of necessary information. This is where consultation comes in. Asking for assistance doesn’t mean incapability to do the job; it only serves as a prudent action towards certain situations.

  1. Cooperate

Cooperation is particularly important for brainstorming sessions and team projects. Be active in sharing your thoughts, but be careful with your approach (tone of voice, use of words, salutation) when presenting your ideas. Go out of your comfort zone and discover what you can do through cooperation.



Sources and References:

Management Study Guide (2017). Importance of Communication in an Organization. Retrieved from

Danique W. (2011).The Communication Process & The Elements of Communication. Retrieved from

Doyle L. (2017). Communication Skills for Workplace Success. Retrieved from

Oluwanisala S. (2010). The Importance of Feedback in Communication. Retrieved from




Learning can be achieved through the solid foundation made by an effective teacher. An educator should not only master the lesson but must also attain the qualities of a good communicator. To be able to provide a quality teaching, here are five (5) characteristics a good ESL teacher should strive to develop.

  1. Communication

As an ESL teacher, excellent communication skill is a must. Just like in the process of photosynthesis wherein sunlight helps the plant grow, instructors who can communicate well will also help the students in their skill development.

  1. Listening

Good listening skill is a way to connect with the student. It allows an instructor to evaluate and understand their goals and needs. Along with this skill, a teacher must also consider factors such as age, sex, belief and cultural background in interpreting the student’s message to avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Motivation

Learning a new language is not easy. Throughout the learning process, a teacher must anticipate different hindrances that might be encountered by the students. In doing this, the instructor will be prepared to provide encouragements that can help students focus on studying and achieving their learning goals.

  1. Sensitivity

Sensitivity to the student’s needs plays a vital role in the learning process. It helps the instructor identify which aspects of the student’s skills must be worked on and what teaching style they must apply to help overcome learning barriers.

  1. Passion

Stress can’t be avoided, but its effects depend on how a person will handle it. Dedication and passion for the job help a person grow and enable them to push through the difficulties that come with any profession.

Sources and References:


Ultraviolet (2012). The Qualities of a Good ESL Teacher. Retrieved from

ACS Distance Education (2011). Listening Skills. Retrieved from

Gillette B. (2013). Teaching is a Profession Not a Job. Retrieved from




Colorful festivals, delicate foods, wonderful sceneries; these are the essence of the rich culture and tradition of Japan. It is a place where ancient tradition co-exists with modern life. One of its proofs is the beauty of the poetry called ‘haiku’. Here are the things that you should know about it:


Haiku was first written in the late 15th century as part of a poetry style called renga or “linked verse” which is comprised of a 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 line pattern. This kind of poetry is essentially the first three lines of this older form and was originally elevated during the seventeenth century by Matsuo Basho. Finally, the traditional poetry called hokku was renamed to haiku by Shiki Masaoka at the end of the nineteenth century.


Its writing population in Japan is around 8 to 10 million, submissions are made weekly and are featured daily in newspapers and magazines. Aside from its 5-7-5 pattern, it also contains a kigo which indicates a season. It is dedicated to people as well as birds, flowers, and other forms of life. Composing a haiku is a tribute to nature for its wonders.

Haiku in Modern Days

Haiku is not just a form of poetry, but a way to see the world. In the same way, writing this kind of poetry is a way to cherish an experience by putting it into words. Commonly, composing three-stanzas, with a 5-7-5 pattern, the poem serves as a reflection of the beauty of nature.


Here are some examples of haiku:


The glimpse of the sun                    

Another chance to get up

It sets me on fire


The wave of the sea

Extend beyond the limits

Breathe, see its beauty

Tiny drops of rain

Just enjoy the little things

Have fun and relax



Sources & References:

Madoka M. (2010). Haiku: The Heart of Japan in 17 Syllables. Retrieved from

Gilbert R. (2005). Kigo Versus Seasonal Reference in Haiku: Observations, Anecdotes and a Translation Retrieved from

Missias A.C. Contemporary Haiku: Origins and New Directions. Retrieved from



Learning a new language is like driving on an unfamiliar road; spending most of the time worrying if you are taking the right way, which sometimes leads to panic, causing you to be even more lost. Likewise, a learner’s mind could be so full of worries that their anxieties start to hinder their learning process.

Language anxiety is defined as the worry and negative emotional reaction that is aroused when learning a second language (McIntyre in Lucas et. al, 2011). However, despite the fact that learning a second language can be a real struggle, there are four (4) ways for a learner to overcome language anxiety:

 Focus on the goal

Being focused is probably the most important thing to remember. There will be many different factors that will come into play throughout the course of acquiring a new language, but being focused will help you stay on the right track.

Never compare

Trying to converse with someone who can speak English fluently can be quite intimidating. Despite wanting to communicate, you find yourself being conscious of the words you use and second-guessing your ability to express yourself at every turn. In this kind of situation, take it as a challenge. Listen attentively and try to respond in the best way that you can. Do your best to enjoy the conversation.

Invest time in practicing

Practice makes perfect. It can be done through watching English movies without using subtitles, reading English materials, and having active conversation practice. Do these activities regularly and it will surely improve your confidence and communication skills.

Speak up with confidence

Your confidence is reflected in the way you speak or communicate with other people. Stop entertaining negative thoughts that will only hold you back from speaking up. Do not let your anxiety overcome you, but overcome your anxiety with confidence instead.

Sources and References:

Ottinger R. (2017). How to overcome the anxiety of speaking a foreign language?. Retrieved from

Lucas R. et al. (2011). English Language Learning Anxiety among Foreign Language

Learners in the Philippines. Retrieved from

Don&Panic Clip Art – Clipart Free Download by Retrieved from




Are you planning to go to Japan? Then, just like in any other cultural experience, one of the things that you must try when you get there is to eat Japanese street foods. Yatai is the Japanese word for food stalls. Although eating in food stalls is not as widespread in Japan compared to other Asian countries, it has gained popularity due to the massive volume of tourists, particularly during festivals.

Here are some of the must-try street foods in Japan:




Okonomiyaki is a very popular food in Japan, especially in Osaka and Hiroshima. It is a pancake with many ingredients. The prevalent version of Okonomiyaki is the Osaka-style, this contains flour, eggs, yam, meat, seafood, vegetables, and cheese. There are various types of batter and toppings of Okonomiyaki depending on the region.




Takoyaki comes from the words “tako” which means octopus and “yaki” meaning to fry or grill. The most common fillings of Takoyaki are diced octopus, tempura scraps, spring onion and pickled ginger. Top with Takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, dried seaweeds, and dried bonito fish flakes. You will surely love these delicious golden balls.




Yakisoba is fried wheat noodles with pork, cabbage, and onion, which is drizzled with Worcestershire sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, pickled ginger (beni shoga), dried skipjack tuna, green laver (aonori), and sometimes topped with an egg. If you are a noodle lover you should try to eat this.




Yakitori consists of small pieces of chicken skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal fire. This is seasoned with wasabi, sour pickled plum paste, mustard, salt, and grilling soy sauce.




A bite-sized, disk-shaped street food which is filled with either chocolate, custard or red bean paste. A sweet treat made from a batter of eggs, flour, sugar, and water.




This is a fare for seafood lovers. A squid grilled to perfection and coated with soy sauce and served with a slice of lemon or lime. A simple yet mouthwatering dish.




A snack that is perfect for autumn or winter. Japanese sweet potato baked over a fire that will give you the comfort of its soft texture and caramel-like taste.



Yaki Tomorokoshi


During the summer season, yatai’s are vast with this food as this is the peak season for harvesting corn. Yaki Tomorokoshi is grilled corn brushed with soy sauce, mirin and butter.



A popular treat for children, it is a Japanese cotton candy. You can watch how the vendors prepare Wataame.


Candied Fruit


Another sweet treat, fruits drenched with syrup. It can vary from apples, cherries, slices of pineapple to citrus fruits. This is usually kept in a block of ice to prevent melting.




Beat summer in Japan with this shaved ice treat. Typically topped with flavored syrup, condensed milk, sweet red beans, mochi (sweet rice cakes), jelly, and whipped cream.



DSC_2059 - Version 2

Although crepes come originally from a Western country, this has been adopted by the Japanese and widely spread in yatai’s. Crepes are made from batter and cooked on a griddle then, filled with sweet delights. This cone-shaped food is wrapped in a paper case for the convenience of eating on the go.


Choco Banana


A banana coated in chocolate (milk, dark or white) with sprinkles.




A fish-shaped cake filled with red bean paste, chocolate, sweet potato, cheese, custard, okonomiyaki, gyoza, or sausage. You should try this when you visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.




The traditional bottle is made from glass and sealed with a marble top. It comes in the form of soda, popsicles, or candy, all in its trademark blue. However, the roots of the original Ramune soda still remain a mystery. It is believed to have been brought from foreign lands by the British in the 1800s as lemonade, and thereby earned the moniker “Ramune”.



Sources and References:


29 Japanese Street Foods by John Spacey, (2015). Retrieved from

12 Japanese Street Foods You Need To Try by, (2016). Retrieved from

A Guide To Street Food In Japan by Corlena Bailey, (2016). Retrieved from

Yatai (food cart) by, (2017). Retrieved from

Takoyaki by, (2017). Retrieved from

Katsuobushi by, (2017). Retrieved from

Mizuame candied fruits by Muza-chan, (2014). Retrieved from

Fukuoka Food Guide by (2016). Retrieved from

Okonomiyaki by Retrieved from

10 Favorite Places To Get Takoyaki In Manila (2016). Retrieved from

Chicken Yakisoba By Sarah (2016). Retrieved from

Yakitori, Grilled Chicken by Retrieved from

Imagawayaki by (2016). Retrieved from

Ikayaki: Grilled Squid on Sticks by Yuri (2014). Retrieved from–273

Baking Sweet Potatoes in the Schoolyard by (2004). Retrieved from

Yaki Tomorokoshi by (2014). Retrieved from

Totti Candy Factory: The Cute Sweet Shop in Harajuku Everyone’s Talking about by (2016). Retrieved from

Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival by (2017). Retrieved from

The Kakigori Chronicles A Guide To Tokyo’s Iciest Treats By Metropolis (2015). Retrieved from

Japanese Street Crepes Recipe by (2011). Retrieved from

Frozen Bananas by Retrieved from

Tayaki/ Koy Fish waffles recipes by theartofforking (2014).  Retrieved from

The Origin of Ramune by (2015). Retrieved from




Online lessons continue to become increasingly popular mainly due to its convenience. However, despite its many advantages, these lessons do have their downsides as well. Being able to sign-up and start lessons anytime also means being able to just quit or disappear with ease. This may be caused by many different reasons, but one of the things that online teachers can do is to help maintain the student’s motivation to learn.

Dealing with unmotivated students will always be a challenge, but here are some ideas that might help:

  1. Show your own enthusiasm. You cannot help raise a student’s motivation if you yourself are unmotivated. Be careful of how you present yourself while teaching class. Mind your body language, words, the tone of voice and let your student be swept away by your energy and eagerness in class.

  1. Relate your lessons to real-life situations and interests. Let your students see how useful the skills that they gain in your class would be in their everyday lives. Search for news articles and other materials and situations that you can discuss or integrate into class wherein they can use the knowledge and skills that you’ve been providing them.

  1. Take advantage of your student’s learning style. Since both you and your student have access to the internet, you can easily use its availability to adjust your lessons depending on your student’s learning style. Don’t hesitate to use its resources. Even in classroom settings, more and more instructors are starting to utilize multimedia in their everyday classes.

  1. Help set realistic goals and recognize your student’s achievements. To maintain their motivation, students need to know that they will succeed in their pursuit. Encourage participation by helping them set realistic goals and by recognizing their achievements. This will help them refrain from having impossible standards and to have a sense of growth throughout the course.




Sources & References:

How to motivate your students By Errol Craig Sull (2008). Retrieved from

Motivating Students Without a Classroom: 5 Tips from Top Online Teachers by Monica Fuglei. Retrieved from

Student engagement: 5 strategies to motivate the online learner by Brian M. Morgan (2016). Retrieved from

How to motivate online students by Idania Gorrochategui (2016). Retrieved from

Five Factors that Affect Online Student Motivation By Rob Kelly (2012). Retrieved from



While most Filipino employers still prefer the traditional method when it comes to meeting candidates, there’s no denying that Skype interviews do have several advantages such as saving time and money for both the applicant and employer particularly if they are located in different cities or sometimes even countries.  If you are planning to work from home or as a freelancer in general, having to attend an interview through Skype will definitely be a possibility.

So, regardless if you’re proficient in using the application or not, here are a few tips to help you nail that Skype interview.


  1. Use a professional username. Just like how you make sure that the email address in your resume is professional when using Skype in your application, you must also refrain from using names such as CuteChix4u as your user ID.

  1. Check your profile picture. You might look exceptionally good in that selfie you took last week but using it as your profile picture on Skype for this particular appointment might not go over as well as it did on Facebook. Instead, you can replace it with the same picture that you used on your resume.

  1. Dress properly. Since the employer can only see your upper body on camera, it might be tempting to just wear a nice top and pair it with a simple pair of shorts. However, remember that anything can happen during the course of the interview. You might need to stand up at one point or another to fix your audio or some other equipment and inevitably expose the rest of your outfit. Besides, dressing like you’re going to a personal interview can give you a confidence boost and put you in the correct mindset for it.

  1. Mind your location. If you’re planning to work from home, the employer would most likely also be considering your work environment in their assessment, so make sure to prepare this ahead of time. Your work area should be quiet and free from any distractions particularly on the day of your interview. If you live with your family, inform them of your appointment so that you can avoid any disturbances. Check your background and lighting as well.

  1. Practice. Not everyone is used to or is comfortable with using Skype and if you’re like this, this tip is essential. Practice using the application and explore the different functions and settings. Ask a friend to help you figure out the correct angle for your camera. Know where to look to keep eye contact and how close or far to sit without being too near or distant from the camera.

  1. Check your equipment and connection. Aside from knowing how to properly navigate the application, you should also make sure that your equipment is ready and in working order. This includes your headset, camera, and computer. If you plan to use a laptop make sure that it is either fully charged or plugged into a power outlet. As for your connection, use LAN as it is definitely more reliable than Wi-Fi.

  1. Add the interviewer’s Skype ID to your contacts list. Before the day of the interview, make sure to confirm and add the correct Skype ID that your interviewer will use. The employer will usually provide this information ahead of time, but in case they don’t, don’t hesitate to ask.

  1. Confirm the details. When setting up the date and time of the interview, make sure to check for any additional information, such as what to do, prepare or submit before or on the day of the appointment. It is also important to establish who, between the two of you would be expected to make the call.

  1. Communicate well. This is necessary for all kinds of interviews. Articulate well. Don’t speak too fast or too slow and make sure to listen actively while the other person is speaking. Verbal cues will be very useful to let the interviewer know that you are listening and that you are able to hear and understand them well. This is especially important as audio problems can sometimes occur in the middle of a call.

  1. Take it seriously. It might be done in the comfort of your own home, but an interview is still an interview. Professionalism and interest about the job or company should always be displayed.

Sources & References:

9 Things You Need to Prepare for a Skype Interview by Michaela Gianotti (2016). Retrieved from

Learn How to Ace A Skype Interview by Penny Loretto (2017). Retrieved from

Ace Your Skype Job Interview: 14 Smart Tips by Amy Levin-Epstein (2011). Retrieved from

How to Ace a Skype Interview by Phoebe Spinks. Retrieved from