- New York City, the city that never sleeps. Located on the east coast of the USA, New York is one of the most famous cities in the world. Tourists visit the city year-round, to enjoy the food, the culture, and the wide variety of tourist attractions. New York has many famous tourist attractions, including Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, The Empire State Building and many, many more. Do you love Christmas? Maybe you should come to New York City in the winter time, when you can see the giant Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, or enjoying skating on the Rink At Rockefeller Center.
- Cairo in Egypt is an ancient and beautiful city. You may know it for the stunning Pyramids of Giza, or the stunning Sphynx, but there are many more traditional buildings for you to enjoy. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun for example was constructed in 884.The Abdeen Palace was built in 1874 and is one of the official residences of the President of Egypt. Standing at 187 meters tall, the Cairo Tower, built in 1956 is another building worth visiting, or if you are a fan of Opera the Cairo Opera House, built in 1988, is another must-see spot. If you want to avoid the heat, come in the early Spring months.
- Once the capital city of Japan, Kyoto is one of the most well preserved cities in the country. The city is famous for its long list of temples and shrines that attract both domestic and international tourists. With many beautiful red gates, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is very popular with international guests. Whilst Kiyomizu Temple is surrounded by traditional shopping streets and offers an amazing view of the city and surrounding area. Why not come to Kyoto in the autumn, to see the amazing autumnal leaves, which turn golden brown, making the city seem even more magical.
- The Toronto skyline is perhaps most famous for the needle-like CN Tower, but there are many other spots worth visiting. For museum lovers there is the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Roral Ontario Museum, which is a mixture of a 1914 building and the Michael Lee Chin crystal, that was built in 2007. For sports fans, there is a lot to choose from, the Toronto Blue Jays are the local Baseball Team, and the Toronto Raptors are their Basketball Team. Toronto also has football, rugby, and lacrosse teams, but they are perhaps most famous for the Ice Hockey Team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Come in the winter and be sure to catch a game.
- The largest city on New Zealand’s south island, Christchurch is well worth a visit. For nature lovers, you may enjoy Avon River or the Botanic Gardens. If you want to get out into the wild, the Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park makes for a fun day out. But one of Christchurch’s biggest attractions is its wide variety of art and culture. The Isaac Theatre Royal is the only Edwardian style theatre in the country, and was first opened all the way back in 1908. Repaired and reopened in 2015 after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the Christchurch Art Gallery is a stunning modern building with many works of art inside. If you want to learn more about the Antartctic, the Canterbury Museum has the world’s biggest collection of Antarctic artifacts, and as the museum first opened in 1870, the building alone is beautiful enough to warrant a visit. The peak season in New Zealand is the summer, when it is warm and sunny…but as New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, summer is between December and February.
I have a very big family, and I have brothers, cousins, nephews and nieces living all over the world. My daughter is called Emma, and she lives with me here in Nagoya City, Japan. She loves drawing, and she makes beautiful artwork. I have four brothers, and my youngest brother, Alex, has visited me in Japan 4 times, we have even climbed Mt. Fuji together. Alex lives in London, and is a computer programmer. My oldest brother, Brad, lives in Manchester. He works at the airport and has a very stressful job. He often has to greet important people when they arrive at the airport. One time he even greeted the President of the United States, you can see him here talking to President Trump. Brad has three children, and his daughter, Annabel, lives in New York City. She loves dancing and is studying ballet in New York. My dad lives in my home county of Essex, which is east of London. He is a retired firefighter. He has also visited me many times, here you can see him driving a car on Suzuka Circuit, he is a big F1 fan.
I love my family, and try to talk to them every week. How often do you see or talk to your family?
- In my free time I love to have a movie night with my family. We watch a film we all love, make some fresh popcorn and enjoy. Not only can I spend some time with my family, it is also a great way to relax and unwind. We have had a movie night every Friday for the past three years.
- I have a very busy and stressful job. To help me focus on something else, last year I joined a Night School. Here I can learn many new things. I have also made lots of new friends, and love sharing my thoughts with lots of people. I hope to gain some new skills so I can maybe find a better job for me.
- I used to take the train to work, but it was always so crowded and uncomfortable, especially in summer. About 5 years ago I started to cycle to work and it changed my life. At first it was difficult, but now I think it is much more fun than taking the train. It is also a great way for me to stay in shape.
- Me and my family love going out to eat, but we noticed we were getting a little unhealthy, so last month we decided to do more cooking at home. We do a little research and can learn about other cultures through their food. It also stops us eating too much junk food, so we are all much healthier.
- Ever since I was in High School I have enjoyed playing volleyball. I am lucky enough to live near the beach, so every Sunday afternoon I go down there and play a few games. It’s obviously good exercise and keeps me in shape, but I also have the chance to meet new people, which I really enjoy.
- I was never very good at studying, some of the subjects I really hated in school were mathematics and science. They were too difficult for me. But I did enjoy PE, as I am a big sports fan. I was also a member of the tennis club, I even won a trophy when I was 14. Sports were my favorite part of school.
- I work in a kitchen and I always loved cooking. At school there was a Home Economics teacher called Mr. Smith, he taught me so much about cooking, lessons that I remember to this day. He was my favorite teacher at school, because he was so kind and patient. Not all of my teachers were so nice, Ms. Brown for example was really scary, and she would shout and scream at the class almost every lesson!
- I always found computers and modern technology really difficult, so my IT class was always the hardest one for me. I much prefer using my hands and working with tools, so I enjoyed the Woodwork class. Now I’m a carpenter, and I NEVER have to use a computer.
- My friends hated studying at school, but I always loved taking tests. English was my favorite subject, and I loved practicing English every day. The only thing I didn’t like about school was the food. I really hated the school lunches, I thought they tasted really bad. And lunch time was too long, I wanted to get back to studying.
- I was class president at school and I really enjoyed my role and the responsibility. I liked talking to students, teachers and parents and finding a way to help everybody. I am a teacher now, and many of the skills I learnt as class president are very helpful to me. I never liked summer vacation, as I felt like I was wasting time, I always wanted to get back to school.
Long, long ago, in the year 2009, 3 of my brothers came to visit me in Japan. We spent a lot of time in Nagoya city, but we did also take a trip to Osaka and Tokyo.
In the morning of Day 1, we went to get some breakfast in Osaka. My younger brother is a vegetarian, so he doesn’t eat any meat or fish. We found a great vegetarian café and had breakfast there, it was very delicious. The owner seemed very happy to have us at his café, so he asked to take a picture with us.
In the afternoon we went to Osaka aquarium. It was the summer time, so we were very pleased to go inside where we could enjoy the air conditioning. We spent hours looking at the fish and other animals. My favourite was the penguin area.
In the morning of Day 2 we took a bullet train, or a shinkansen, to Tokyo. My brothers had never been on a train like this before and they were very excited. We even got to see Mount Fuji!
In the afternoon we went to Harajuku. My brothers were surprised by how busy it was. My younger brother went shopping and bought some new jeans.
In the evening we went to Roppongi and met some friends. We ate a delicious dinner then went to a darts bar to play darts.
It was a very busy trip, but we all had lots of fun! Where should I take my family next time they visit?
There are plenty of reasons why Japan is a great place to visit. The food, the culture, the people, there truly are too many reasons to list here. But here are just 5 reasons why Japan is my dream vacation.
I guess the biggest reason why I love holidaying in Japan is because my best friend, Ted, lives there. He lives in Gifu Prefecture and knows the area very well. He always has many great recommendations for me, so I know every trip will be fun. I’m a carpenter, so last autumn, Ted took me to Inuyama Castle, I thought it was so impressive, and the autumn leaves were beautiful.
Japan also has many fun festivals and holidays. I had never heard of Setsubun before, but I thought it was very fun! In February, children throw beans at oni or ogres, and wish for good luck. Here you can see my niece and nephew dressed like Momotaro, a Japanese hero who fought Oni. The festival is very fun, and a little bit strange, and I loved hearing the history behind it.
In the spring I was also lucky enough to celebrate Hina-Matsuri with my granddaughter, Emma. Here she is with her friend, Yusef. It is a really special day, Emma had beautiful dolls in her house, and we ate some food called chirasi-zushi…it was delicious!
I am very curious and I asked my son what the picture on the 1000yen note was…so we drove to see it. Lake Motokuso is in Yamanashi Prefecture, near Mount Fuji. Japan has lots of beautiful nature, and this was a very relaxing spot. We went in the summer time, and the cool breeze from the lake was very refreshing.
In the UK we have some of the best whisky in World, or so I thought. I went to a Whisky factory in Hokkaido last winter. You get to try some very high-quality products…for free! You can also learn a lot about how everything is made. It was a great day trip.
Japan truly is a special country and I can’t wait to visit again soon. Where should I go to next?
- The person who has had the biggest influence on me is my daughter, Emma. Since she was born, I have become much more responsible. I spend more time at home, and focus on what is most important in life, family. She has also taught me that laughing every day is very important!
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr is possibly one of the most influential civil rights activists in history. He fought for the equal rights for all people, and made many people angry along the way. Although he always protested peacefully, many were violent towards him. In 1968, he was shot and killed, but his dream, of people not being judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, lives on in the hearts of many.
- Audrey Hepburn is famous for being one of the most glamourous actresses of all time. But she did not spend her entire life under the Hollywood spotlight. She lived in the Netherlands during WWII, which was occupied by the Nazis. Her uncle was killed, her half-brother sent back to Germany to work, and in 1944, her family had so little food, they made flour out of tulips, just so they could survive winter. I can’t imagine how difficult those 5 years were for her and her family, and to think just 8 years after the war had finished, she had a starring role in Roman Holiday! No matter how tough life gets, you should never give up!
- As a biologist, Charles Darwin has had the biggest influence on my life and career. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on a ship called the Beagle, he kept a diary on that journey, which is a book I have read many times and truly love. But I think his most important work was the book “On the Origin of Species,” this is where he first explained the theory of evolution. Darwin helped us understand that we are all connected to nature and one another.
- I think the most inspiring and influential person of all time is Leonardo Da Vinci, although he died over 500 years ago, his artwork, writings and studies are still celebrated to this day. Mona Lisa is probably his most famous painting, but he made countless more. He also made planned out incredible inventions, many of which he never made, but can be found today, such as flying machines and parachutes. Da Vinci is an inspiration to us all, as he shows that we do not need to focus on one thing, and with enough study and practice, we can master almost anything.
- The 1969 Apollo 11 mission is maybe one of the biggest achievements of the 20th century. The mission lasted just 8 days, in which time 3 astronauts flew from the Earth to the Moon. Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon. Buzz Aldrin joined him after a few minutes, and the two men spent a total of 21hours on the surface of the moon.
- Armstrong may have been the first man on the moon, but the first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova. This Russian cosmonaut took part in the 1963 Vostok 6 mission. She spent nearly three days in space and orbited the earth a total of 48 times.
- For many, climbing Mount Everest is the biggest challenge they can imagine. In 1953, New Zealand born Edmund Hillary and his climbing companion, Tenzing Norgay, successfully climbed the world’s highest mountain. After weeks of brutal climbing, they had finally reached the 8,848meter high summit. They spent just 15 minutes at the top, before starting the long journey back home.
- Another example of people pushing themselves to the limits in the most inhospitable environments on the planet is Robert Swan. In the 1980s he went on two epic journeys, the first to the South Pole, the second to the North Pole. After completing both expeditions, Swan became the first man to walk to both poles without assistance.
- You do not always have to have experience to achieve great things. Jessica Watson for example was only 16 years old when she sailed a boat, alone, around the world. She left the port of Sydney, Australia, on October 18th, 2009, and returned on May 15th, 2010…which was just 3 days before her 17th birthday.
- The Great Barrier Reef is found off of the coast of Australia, sometimes known as the Gold Coast. It is one of the most beautiful…and biggest…sights you will ever see. It is the biggest reef system in the world and counts for around 10% of the world’s coral. In total it has an area of over 344,000 km2.
- One of the biggest challenges people set themselves is climbing the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. From its base in Tibet, the mountain’s elevation is over 8,840 meters. Climbing the mountain is becoming more and more popular, and in 2019 nearly 900 people reached the top, which is a great achievement for them, but perhaps not great for safety or the local environment.
- Everyone knows of Niagara Falls, but did you know that the world’s largest waterfall is actually in Zambia, Africa? Victoria falls is 108 meters tall, which is twice as tall as Niagara, and a stunning 1708 meters wide. It is also very rare, because on clear nights, when the moon is shing brightly, you may be lucky enough to see a moonbow…which is like a rainbow, but it happens at night!
- If you enjoy canyons, then Mexico’s Copper Canyon is a must-see. It is built up of 6 canyons, and together they are 4 times bigger than the Grand Canyon in America. They are also very deep, with the deepest point measuring more than 1.5km. There is a train that travels through the Copper Canyon, and offers some amazing views.
- The Northwest Territories of Canada are wide open, snowy plains. The area can be extremely cold, but it is also one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. You can see these beautiful displays of colour year round, but the best months to visit are between October and March.
1. A traditional margarita pizza should have just three ingredients, tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil. For the dough you will need flour, yeast, salt, water and olive oil. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together. Then make a small well in the centre, then add your water and a table spoon of olive oil. Mix together until you have a wet, sticky dough. Put this dough on a floured surface and knead it by hand for 5 minutes. Then, leave your dough to rest for 25 minutes. This should give you enough dough to make 2 delicious pizzas.
2. Everybody loves pancakes, but some people are trying to avoid gluten and flour. So how about a pancake where the key ingredients are oats and banana? Grind the oats into a fine powder and mix them with a mashed up banana. To this sticky dough, add a pinch of salt, a little baking soda and honey to taste. Then cook on a hot skillet until golden brown and crispy on the outside, and warm and doughy in the middle.
3. If you love curry, but want to cut down on rice, there is an Indian bread called a Roti that has just two ingredients, flour and sweet potato. Put the sweet potatoes, whole, into boiling water, and cook until they are very tender inside. Take them out of the water and wait for them to cool. Peel the skin, and mash the potato, add the same amount of flour and mix everything together. Roll them out into flat discs and cook in a dry pan, if all goes to plan, they should puff up a little like a balloon.
4. It may take three weeks, but making ume-juice, of the juice of pickled plums, couldn’t be easier. All you need is ume, sugar and vinegar. Wash the ume very carefully and prick them with a fork. Place a layer of ume in a glass jar, then a layer of rock sugar, then ume, then sugar and so on. Once you have packed the jar full, add the vinegar, make sure all the fruit is covered. Tip the jar every day and wait three weeks for the juice to be ready…the sour fruits are also a nice bonus.
5. One food I really miss from the UK is cottage pie. The most important ingredients are minced beef and mashed potatoes, I also like to add carrots and tomato paste for a little sweetness. Fry your onions until golden brown, add your beef and take out any excess fat. Add the vegetables and a little stock, then put the mashed potatoes on top. Now place in a hot oven for 30 minutes. If you prefer lamb’s meat, you can make Shepard’s pie instead.
1. I really love horror films, especially watching them at night time with the lights turned off, there really is nothing better than a good scare. My favourite film is called The Evil Dead and it was directed by Sam Rami. The character of Ash is great!
2. I’m a romantic at heart, so I love watching Romantic Comedies with my wife. We like to get a big bowl of popcorn and watch funny films with happy endings. I personally really like Bridget Jones’s Diary, starring Renée Zellweger. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are both great in the film as well.
3. My daughter and I both love animation, and we watch a lot of films together. One film we both love is called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it has lots of different Spider-Men and Spider-Women characters. My favourite character is Gwen Stacy. The film is fun, action packed…and also made me cry a little.
4. Ever since I was young, I have been obsessed with Fantasy films. One of the first books I remember reading was Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings series. The Peter Jackson films are incredible. The fight scenes are epic and the story is so interesting. It was filmed in New Zealand and looks absolutely beautiful, I hope I can visit there someday.
5. If a film has a strong hero and lots of guns, I normally love it! I think the best Action film ever made is Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. I watch it by myself every Christmas, it is a great tradition and now I know every line in the film. The bad-guy is called Hans Gruber, and I think he is the best villain ever.
- One of the most unique sounding musical instruments in the world, the Bagpipe is one of Scotland’s national treasures. They were originally made with sheep skin, but now they are more commonly seen decorated with tartan. Bagpipes are played for many different reasons, from marching into war to having a funeral. Perhaps they are best known for the Hogmanay or New Year Celebrations, when they are played to welcome the new year.
- It may look like a guitar, being made of wood and strings, but the sitar has a very different sound. You may not know his name, but Ravi Shankar helped make the instrument popular around the world. George Harrison played the sitar on The Beatles song, Norwegian Wood, and later took lessons with Ravi Shankar. Other bands like The Byrds, The Animals and The Rolling Stones also used the sitar, as Indian music became more popular.
- The kalimba is also known as The African Piano. It is made up of metal strips that you pluck with your thumbs. There are many variations of the instrument and it is found in many different African countries. It is one of the world’s oldest instruments, with examples of the Kalimba being found that are over 3000 years old. With their strong connection to a long and rich history, the kalimba is often played at cultural celebrations.
- Another ancient instrument, that could be even older than the kalimba is the Didgeridoo, made by the Aborigines of Australia. The instrument is a long piece of wood or a branch, that is hollowed out and decorated, they are often more than 1 meter long. Different tribes in Australia have different words for the instrument, but it is now known as a sound strongly connected to Australian culture.
- Just as the Aborigines of Australia created music through wood they found, in Latin America, an instrument called the guiro was made from hollowing out a gourd, and cutting in grooves. Players would then stroke these groves with a stick to make music. The instrument is found all over South America, the instrument in the picture is from Peru.
Traditionally, we divide “media” into 4 categories. For example, think of billboards or posters. You may see these when you are walking around your hometown, they are known as OOH Media, or Out of House Media. This simply means they are a type of media you see when you leave your home. When you are at home, perhaps the most common type of media you use is known as Broadcast media, such as radio or television. Although they are not so popular today, newspapers were once the most powerful form of media, and are described as Print Media. Print refers to something that is printed such as books, for example, or magazines. Today, many people do not read newspapers or magazines, and instead get their news from online articles, which is part of the Internet category. Online Social Media Sites have also become much more popular and powerful in recent years. Another new and important type of media is streaming services, people no longer need to wait for a television program or go to the cinema to watch a film, they can now choose what they watch, and enjoy it any time on a streaming service. But they are not only convenient for movie lovers, you can also enjoy watching a wide variety of television shows as well.
I have been lucky enough to see some very interesting events and celebrations from around the world. If you look at the first picture, you will see an example of Sports Day in Japan. Other countries also have sports day, but in Japan, it is taken very seriously. Classes act as teams and compete against each other in a variety of activities. Sometimes the teachers also compete. I once had to race against high school students and I lost very badly! Jewish culture is found around the world, but when I was younger, I was in Germany during Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the Jewish winter festival, it is also known as the Festival of Lights. In the picture you can see a big Menorah. Jewish people may have a much smaller version of this in their homes, and each night they will light a different candle. My home country of the UK may have one of the strangest celebrations I have seen, it is called Guy Fawkes night. Hundreds of years ago, a man called Guy Fawkes tried to kill the king, but he was caught and put to death. British people celebrate this by making a paper doll, or Guy, and burn it on a huge bonfire. There are also lots of fireworks. A few years ago, some of best friends, Raji and Yuko got married. Raji is from the UK, so they flew back to London and had a traditional Bangladeshi wedding. They wore beautiful clothes and enjoyed some delicious foods. I have seen many celebrations, but still one of my favourites was a small Local Festival I attended near my house in Nagoya. We walked around the neighborhood wearing traditional clothes and I was even asked to wear a wooden mask. We could also play lots of games and even use a traditional Japanese drum called a taiko.
There are many things we can be doing to help the environment, but unfortunately almost every option has some sort of downside. In recent years electric cars have become much more common, and they are great as the don’t use fossil fuels like more traditional cars that use gasoline. However, these cars still need energy, and oftentimes, the electricity comes from power-plants that use coal or gas. Wind farms however are great because they use wind, which is a renewable energy. This means it will never run out. But, some people complain that the wind farms do no look very nice and ruin the scenery. I think most people would agree that a nuclear power station is uglier than a wind-farm, but they can produce massive amounts of energy and release less greenhouse gases than fossil fuel powered plants. But, there is the major problem of nuclear waste, which we don’t really have a solution to yet. One way to help the environment is to change our daily habits, be sure to turn off the tap when you are not using, maybe choose a shower instead of a bath. Water is essential to our lives and we should try our best to use it carefully. Although we should all think responsibly, our actions are still on a very small scale. On a much larger scale, protecting the rainforest from deforestation and logging should be a high priority. The rain forests are often called the lungs of the planet, as they supply us with the oxygen we breath. But are we powerless to confront big companies and world leaders who may not agree with our opinions? There are many things we can do to help save the environment, and we should all remember that it is our responsibility to make sure our children and grandchildren can live peacefully and safely.