“Open” Andre Agassi

One of the most exciting, interesting, and somewhat controversial tennis players, both on and off the court, of all time was Andre Agassi. So when I bought his autobiography “Open” a couple weeks ago, I expected it to be a very intriguing read. I was not disappointed.

“Open” isn’t your average “Jock” autobiography filled with the usual tales of athletic achievements and very little outside of the sport. It is, in fact, about Agassi’s struggles and triumphs both on and off the court. It leaves nothing out, whether it’s about his overbearing father pushing a young Andre to be the best in the world through years of brutal practice, to his troubled marriage to actress Brooke Shields. It goes into his struggles with drugs and losing his hair. The long flowing mullet synonymous with a young Agassi was in reality a hairpiece, a wig. He also dishes the dirt on some of his opponents over his career and tells us what he really thought of them.

Of course “Open” isn’t all about the downside of Agassi’s life. It talks about the positive relationships he had with his coaches, mentors, and the profound effect his wife Steffi Graff , a true champion in her own right, has had on him. The book also talks about Agassi’s views on education and how dropping out of high school showed him later in life just how valuable education truly is. It later inspired him to open a school of his own to help underprivileged children in his native Las Vegas.

Ultimately “Open” is a human interest book about a person who overcame many obstacles to become the best in the world at what he did despite never feeling as if his life was never his own. And despite all the fame and success tennis laid at his feet, there were always demons waiting around the corner looking to challenge him. The biggest being he actually hated tennis but felt as though he never had a choice to do anything else.

“Open” is a brutally honest account of Agassi’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. If you’re a fan of tennis, or just a fan of good human interest stories, “Open” is a great book to read.

Daniel E.


Snowboarding in Naeba by Dan-sensei

Dear All,

It has been a very warm winter so far, but with plenty of snow in places where it matters! Yes, winter is the season for skiing and snowboarding; relaxing in onsens, and eating delicious nabe!

Last season I went to Naeba、in Niigata-ken. I arrived on March 16th, stayed for one night and went home in the evening on the 17th. Though last season was not so good (snow conditions) overall, it snowed a lot in the morning of the 17th, so I managed to have a great time riding in fresh powder snow!

If you are interested in going on a trip to the mountains, I recommend staying at the Naeba Prince Hotel:


The chair lifts and gondolas are right outside the hotel, so you don’t need to carry your equipment very far. You can also get lift passes for a discounted price if you are staying at the hotel!

I heard it will be a good season this year, so get yourselves geared up and up to the top of a mountain!

Just some quick advice. If you are a beginner skier or snowboarder, don’t let your friend or partner teach you unless they’re instructors. It will take you forever to learn and it won’t be half as fun. It will cost a bit more money, but you should get a lesson from a qualified instructor. It will cost less in pain and frustration!!

Please tell me about your trips!



National Public Radio

Today I’m going to share a good English news website to help improve your listening skills: NPR (http://www.npr.org/).

NPR (National Public Radio) is a non-profit news station based in the Untied States. It broadcasts news stories about various topics, such as international and business news, movie reviews, etc.

I always recommend this news site for listening because it has audio transcripts (a script of every word said in the audio) of all its radio programs. Another great thing about this website is it’s free to use!

My advice when using the radio programs on this website is to first choose a program that is about:
one minute long if you are a beginning English student
three minutes long if you are an intermediate student
four or more minutes long if you are an advanced student

Second, listen to the radio program no more than two times and make a list of the keywords you hear, then write a brief summary of the story. Finally, listen again while reading the audio transcript to check your understanding.

Here is the link to NPR’s search page

To use, type in the word transcript and a topic you are interested in. A list of radio programs with your topic will appear (for example: transcript Japan)

Select an article and you can either listen to the program online or download to your computer/mp3 player. The audio transcript is below the listening options on the page.

If you have any questions about this website and you see me at the school please don’t hesitate to come up me and ask…I don’t bite ;-) !



Summer Party

Thank you to everyone who came to the party in Shibuya on Sunday night!
It was great to see so many students from Dean Morgan and Hummingbird coming together to have a great time!

A lot of good pictures were taken and are now being shown on the computers at both schools in Shinjuku, please take the time to look at them when you can….. there are some funny ones!!

I hear a lot of people went out for karaoke afterwards too!
Who do you think was the best singer? Let us know your thoughts!!

Anyway, I hope you will be coming to our next party which is going to be a Halloween party!!
Start planning your costumes now!!


Court séjour à Nagano

La semaine dernière c’était les vacances d’été au Japon, c’est à dire les vacances d’Obon (お盆休み)!

Durant cette période, tous les Tokyoïtes (東京人) s’échappent de la capitale en famille ou entre amis. Je voulais moi aussi profiter de cette petite semaine et aller à la campagne (田舎).

J’ai donc décidé au dernier moment de partir pour la préfecture de Nagano (長野県へ出発!)

Premier arrêt : Ina (伊那市), petite ville où se trouve un délicieux restaurant gastronomique français “La Brique“!  Au menu, salade niçoise (ニース風サラダ), canard (鴨), pâtes (パスタ), et sorbet (シャーベット).


Le lendemain, direction Matsumoto (松本市へ!)
Je n’avais aucun plan précis, je suis donc allée à l’office de tourisme (観光案内所) me renseigner sur les environs. L’employée m’a immédiatement conseillé de prendre un bus pour Kamikochi (上高地), à l’ouest de Matsumoto, dans la montagne (日本アルプス).

Me voilà donc repartie! En chemin, je trouve le numéro de téléphone d’un camping (キャンプ場) et réserve une tente pour la nuit!


Après quelques heures de balade dans la forêt et au bord d’une rivière, je retourne au camping et décide de me lancer dans un barbecue pour le dîner (キャンプと言ったら、焼肉です!)


Le lendemain, retour à Matsumoto, petit détour du côté du château (松本城), soba pour le déjeuner et retour à la chaleur de Tokyo~~~

La prochaine fois, j’irai sur une île (今度は島へ!)

英会話 仏会話


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