KA Voicecast for Thursday, November 15

Kikokushijo Academy Podcast for Thursday, November 15.

Hi and thank you for tuning in to PODCASTKA.com for our first ever KA Podcast.   My name is Sumi Watters, and I, along with various guest presenters, will be bringing you, our Kikokushijo Academy family and friends, a bi-monthly podcast from the United Kingdom.

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We hope to provide you with informative and fun resources to further your English studies through the podcasts.  There will be stories for you to listen to, new and challenging vocabulary words and idiomatic expressions for you to learn, interviews with a variety of interesting people here in England, as well as news, Eiken and Reading Contest results, other information about what has been happening at Kikokushijo Academy and a schedule of upcoming events.  Be sure to subscribe to the podcasts so you don’t miss anything!  You never know, your name could even be mentioned… if you listen carefully.

The Kikokushijo Academy Classroom with Charles

In today’s podcast we will be talking a little about the writer Roald Dahl and listening to one of his most well-known stories, James and the Giant Peach.  You will learn the meaning of phrases such as “in a jiffy” and what getting into “mischief” actually means.

Now remember, this is YOUR podcast, so if there is anything you would like, please, please, please, let us know.   Feel free to leave your comments, questions or suggestions in the comment box.  We would love to hear from you!

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter.  He was born in Wales in 1916 to Norwegian parents and he served in the British Royal Air Force during World War II as a fighter pilot.  He became known as a writer during the 1940s, when he first began writing stories for both children and adults.  His stories are known for their quirky, unforgettable characters, their unexpected endings, and dark humour.  Dahl has been called “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”, and in 2008, he was ranked 16th on The Times list of “The 50 Greatest British Writers since 1945”.

Some of Roald Dahl’s most famous titles include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, BFG and The Twits.  Today, however, we will be listening to the first chapter of James and the Giant Peach–  a story about a young orphaned boy named James, who enters a magical giant peach and makes friends with some very unusual insects.

Sit back, relax and enjoy.  But be sure to listen for some ‘WOW’ words as we will be talking about them after the story.


Story Time is read by DAN BLASOR

James and the Giant Peach

Chapter One

Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life.  He lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea.  There were plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was the sandy beach for him to run about on, and the ocean to paddle in.  It was the perfect life for a small boy.

Then, one day, James’s mother and father went to London to do some shopping, and there a terrible thing happened. Both of them suddenly got eaten up (in full daylight, mind you, and on a crowded street) by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo.

Now this, as you can well imagine, was a rather nasty experience for two such gentle parents. But in the long run it was far nastier for James than it was for them.  Their troubles were all over in a jiffy.  They were dead and gone in thirty-five seconds flat.  Poor James, on the other hand, was still very much alive, and all at once he found himself alone and frightened in a vast unfriendly world.  The lovely house by the seaside had to be sold immediately, and the little boy, carrying nothing but a small suitcase containing a pair of pyjamas and a toothbrush, was sent away to live with his two aunts.

Their names were Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, and I am sorry to say that they were both really horrible people.  They were selfish and lazy and cruel, and right from the beginning they started beating poor James for almost no reason at all.  They never called him by his real name, but always referred to him as ‘you disgusting little beast’ or ‘you filthy nuisance’ or ‘you miserable creature’, and they certainly never gave him any toys to play with or any picture books to look at. His room was as bare as a prison cell.

They lived- Aunt Sponge, Aunt Spiker, and now James as well- in a queer ramshackle house on to the top of a high hill in the south of England.  The hill was so high that from almost anywhere in the garden James could look down and see for miles and miles across a marvelous landscape of woods and fields; and on a very clear day, if he looked in the right direction, he could see a tiny grey dot far away on the horizon, which was the house that he used to live in with his beloved mother and father.  And just beyond that, he could see the ocean itself- a long thin streak of blackish-blue, like a link, beneath the rim of the sky.

But James was never allowed to go down off the top of that hill. Neither Aunt Sponge nor Aunt Spiker could ever be bothered to take him out herself, not even for a small walk or a picnic, and he certainly wasn’t permitted to go alone.  ‘The nasty little beast will only get into mischief if he goes out of the garden,’ Aunt Spiker had said.  And terrible punishments were promised him, such as being locked up in the cellar with the rats for a week, if he even so much as dared to climb over the fence.

The garden, which covered the whole of the top of the hill, was large and desolate, and the only tree in the entire place (apart from a clump of dirty old laurel bushes at the far end) was an ancient peach tree that never gave any peaches. There was no swing, no seesaw, no sand pit, and no other children were ever invited to come up to the hill to play with poor James. There wasn’t so much as a dog or a cat around to keep him company. And as time went on, he became sadder and sadder, and more and more lonely, and he used to spend hours every day standing at the bottom of the garden, gazing wistfully at the lovely but forbidden world of woods and fields and ocean that was spread out below him like a magic carpet.


Did you enjoy listening to James and the Giant Peach?  Don’t Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge sound like really horrible people?  Poor James!  What do you think will happen next?  Do you think you might want to read more?  If so, be sure to check it out of the KA library!

Meanwhile, lets have a look at some of the ‘WOW’ words, expressions and phrases you heard in the story today.

But in the long run it was far nastier…

In the long run means ‘over a long period of time’. In this case, it is expressing that James suffered for a long time after the sudden death of his mother and father.

Their troubles were all over in a jiffy.

In a jiffy means ‘in a moment’ or ‘very quickly’.   So the next time your parents ask you to “hurry up and put on your school clothes!” you can say, “I’ll do it in a jiffy!”

They were dead and gone in thirty-five seconds flat.

Flat in this case does not mean smooth and even or without hills.  It means exactly.  So another way to say the sentence above is ‘They were dead and gone in exactly thirty-five seconds.’

…he found himself alone and frightened in a vast unfriendly world.

Vast means very big, huge, immense or enormous.

‘you filthy nuisance’

A nuisance is someone or something that is annoying or a bother.  Other informal ways to say nuisance include ‘pain in the neck’ and a ‘drag’.

His room was as bare as a prison cell.

This means that there was nothing at all in his room- like a prison cell.  So imagine a room that has a bed, perhaps a chest of drawers and maybe a chair.  That would be as bare as a prison cell.

…in a queer ramshackle house on  the top of a high hill…

Queer means strange or oddRamshackle means run-down or rickety.   So if you can picture a house that is strangely unusual and really run-down, like the house that Charlie Bucket lived in in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  that would be a queer ramshackle house.

…a marvelous landscape of woods and fields…


A Beautiful Landscape

A landscape is all the visible features of an area of countryside or land.  Sometimes we use the word scenery in its place.

…he certainly wasn’t permitted to go alone.

Permitted, or the verb to permit also means to allow or to give someone permission (to do something).

The nasty little beast will only get into mischief…

To get into mischief means to get into troubleMischief is a noun that means playful misbehavior or troublemaking, especially in children.  Although grown-ups sometimes get themselves into a bit of mischief too.

…was large and desolate

Desolate usually refers to a place that is deserted of people and/or other objects.  It basically means that there is nothing there.  Other words that can be used in its place include barren, bleak or grim.

And lastly,

…gazing wistfully at the lovely but forbidden world…

To gaze wistfully at something means to look at something with longing or yearning.  In James and the Giant Peach, James misses his parents so when he looks out at the world from the top of the hill, he is probably remembering his life before moving in with his aunts and feeling quite sad.   The word forbidden means something that is not allowed, in this case, the whole world outside of the ramshackle house is forbidden or off-limits to James.

When I was learning new words, I was told that if I was able to use the word in a sentence correctly three times, the word is mine to use freely forever.   I’ve found this rule to be very useful, even today.  So try using some of the ‘WOW’ words in your next essay or book report.  The more you use it, the more natural it will feel!

Now, just before the story, we spoke a little bit about the author of James and the Giant Peach.  Can you remember his name?

Great!  That’s right.  It’s Roald Dahl.

Let’s see if you can remember some of the other facts about Mr. Dahl.

Roald Dahl wrote novels, short stories, children’s stories and screenplays.  Writing is not all that he did though.  Can you remember what other job he held?

Yes, that’s right.  He was a fighter pilot for the British Royal Air Force and flew fighter planes during World War II.  In fact, he wrote a book, called The Gremlins about a fighter pilot named Gus.  It’s a really fun book so if you find it in the library or book shop, be sure to check it out!

In which country was Roald Dahl born and where were his parents from?

Perfect!  Roald Dahl was born in Wales and his parents were from Norway.   He, however, wrote most of his books at his home in Buckinghamshire, England, which, coincidentally, is near where I live.  There are two museums close by- one is the house in which he lived called the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.  Here, you can see where he wrote his stories and explore the village that surrounds his home.  The other is called the Roald Dahl’s Children’s Gallery where you can ride a glass elevator, go inside and play in a giant peach and see the famous car from the classic children’s film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  If you ever come to England, neither of the museums is far from London so you must go for a visit!  It’s a fantastic day out for children and adults of all ages.

The last question is- in which century did Roald Dahl live?

You had to think about this one, didn’t you?  The answer, of course, is the 20th Century.  He was born in 1916 and died at the age of 74 in 1990.   Keep in mind that he was a fighter pilot during World War II and was named “One of the greatest British writers since 1945.”  Do you agree?

What is your favorite book?  Who are your favorite writers? Please tell us what stories you would like to hear next or what authors you would like to learn more about and we will be sure to include them in future podcasts.

Coming up next, Kikokushijo Academy News for Thursday, November 15.



Kikokushijo Academy News for Thursday, November 15.


Tama Plaza and Jiyugaoka Schools had their first ever Movie Night for Junior and Senior high school students.  It was lots of fun for everybody.  If you missed out on this one, future Movie Night dates will be announced on podcastka.com, so be sure to save the date.

KA’s Winter Event is scheduled for Friday, November 23 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Zest Cantina in Odaiba.  All KA students and their siblings are welcome to join us for lunch, a movie and fun games.  Stories will be read by the winners of the KA Winter Writing Competition on this day as well.    There will be no classes on this day and we apologise in advanced for any inconvenience.

Eiken results (Please see the KA newsletter for more information)

Reading Contest Winners  (Please see the KA newsletter for more information)

We hope you enjoyed the podcast today.  Be sure to leave your comments, questions or requests in the comment box below.  All your suggestions will be considered and aired in future podcasts.

If you would like a full manuscript of today’s podcast, it is available for download, as well as a slowed down Well Read version of James and the Giant Peach (perhaps get your parents to listen).

(Download the full manuscript in PDF format here)

Click here – Kikokushijo Academy Podcast for Thursday, November 15

The next podcast will be aired on Saturday, December 1st, so be sure to tune back in and don’t forget to subscribe.

Until next time.

Bye now!!

S. Watters

For the slowed down, Well Read version of James and the Giant Peach, click here.

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James and the Giant Peach

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