KA VOICECAST for Thursday, January 15 (2015)

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KA TOP PICKS with Olwen Bartlett   “Annie”

STORY TIME     Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens





KA NEWS for Thursday, January 15


KAIS International School and Kikokushijo Academy will be opening new facilities in Toritsu Daigaku offering a daytime international school for students grade 1-8 that will be called KAIS Elementary and Middle School (KAIS EMS). As the new building will not be available until 2015, KAIS will on a limited basis offer its grades 3-6 program at Kikokushijo Academy’s facilities in Jiyugaoka.  The facilities are adequate, with a fine library, functional classrooms, and an overall warm atmosphere. The program will be high-quality and individualized, utilizing a combination of traditional, proven teaching methods, including Kikokushijo Academy’s highly successful English program, as well as progressive and holistic educational practices focused on encouraging creativity, curiosity, self-confidence, and a general positive outlook on life. Small group homework tutoring for all subjects, including Japanese language, will be a key feature of the school, as will dynamic theme-based modules that synthesize literature, history, music, art, and other disciplines. For more information and questions to frequently asked questions, please follow the link below.

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is available as a correspondence course for students who live abroad or outside of the Kanto area. This is a serious, results-oriented program for students who wish to pass essay exams for junior high, senior high, university or the EIKEN, TOEFL, or SAT exams. Distance Learning students will write and revise weekly essays, complete grammar assignments, and build vocabulary to raise the register and effectiveness of their writing. Each student will correspond with a Personal Writing Tutor, who will guide the student through the course by email.

Students wishing to participate in the Distance Learning course must have:

• Access to the internet

• A computer with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

• A strong desire to improve their writing.

For more information about this exciting new program, please contact Kikokushijo Academy or follow the link.

The KA Kids International Preschool in Tama Plaza is still accepting applications for children aged 3-6. Children who sign up for the KAIP program will be introduced to the fast-paced, advanced reading and writing program with teachers trained in the Read Write Inc. Phonics method, currently exclusive to Kikokushijo Academy. For general information and answers to frequently asked questions, please follow the link to the KA Kids International Preschool Page.



KA Wordcast: Listen and Learn will focus on improving your listening and comprehension skills and help students preparing for entrance and other exams with challenging listening passages, questions, and key vocabulary words.  Listen and Learn will begin airing every Tuesday from the 3rd of March.  Release dates for KA Wordcast:  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs have changed.  The program will now air on the 10th and 25th of every month.  Lesson 34, scheduled to air on January 25, will cover useful idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs related to the word “BREAK” so make sure you to tune in.




With Olwen Bartlett

The movie Annie is a musical comedy drama, based on the popular Broadway musical, Little Orphan Annie.  It is the story of a lonely orphan who is randomly chosen to spend the day with a billionaire named Daddy Warbucks. 

Daddy Warbucks, at the suggestion of his loyal assistant, is attempting to improve his public image by bringing an orphan into his home in front of the waiting press.  What starts as a callous ploy to gain positive publicity slowly becomes an eye opening journey for the billionaire, as the down on her luck yet, ever optimistic Annie sweeps like a breath of fresh air through Daddy Warbucks life.  The film is set in 1930’s New York, during the great depression, and hints at the extreme hardships suffered by many at this time.  Orphan Annie is spirited away from the loveless children’s home where she lives under the dubious care of the drunken Miss Hannigan.  Annie finds herself in the lap of luxury in Daddy Warbucks’ mansion where staff caters to her every whim.  Annie charms everyone with her sunny disposition and feisty personality, never forgetting where she came from and wishing to share her new found good fortune with her fellow orphans she has let behind. 

Although Annie was abandoned as a very young child by her own parents, whom she does not remember, she clings to the belief that they will come back for her someday.  Annie fiercely guards her half of a necklace that she was wearing when she was abandoned, and of which she believes her parents to have the remaining half.  Growing increasingly fond of Annie, Daddy Warbucks pledges to help her find her missing parents.  However, unbeknownst to both Annie and Daddy Warbucks, an unscrupulous couple in league with Miss Hannigan, are planning to pose as Annie’s long lost parents and claim the reward offered by Daddy Warbucks.

The film I loved to watch was first released in 1982 and starred the legendary Albert Finney and Carol Burnett.  Although it is a wonderful film, and well worth watching, it may feel a little outdated for the younger generation.  So imagine my excitement when I learned that a new version of the film was being released in the UK in December 2014 and worldwide in the months to follow.

This new version of Annie, whilst following the same basic plot as the 1982 film, is set in modern day New York and stars Quvenzhane Wallis as Annie, Jamie Foxx as billionaire mayoral candidate Will Stacks and Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan.  As in the earlier movie, orphan Annie was abandoned as a baby and this time she is living not in a children’s home but under the care of foster mother Miss Hannigan.  Will Stacks first encounters Annie when he saves her life after she runs into the path of a truck whilst trying to protect a stray dog from two boys who are abusing it. Will is an uptight germaphobe who is having trouble connecting with the voters, so when a video emerges of Will saving Annie, his publicity team suggest he finds Annie and uses her to advance his popularity with the voters.  Will is granted temporary guardianship of Annie, who immediately realizes the reality of the deal she is being offered, and yet agrees to go along with the plan.  Given carte blanche to do whatever she wants, Annie immediately gives a home to the dog from the streets to the obvious dismay of germaphobe Will.  Once again Annie’s sunny nature and positivity endears her to those around her and it is not long before Will begins to wonder if he should adopt Annie making her a permanent fixture in his life.  Before he has the chance to act on his feelings however, a couple appears and claim to be Annie’s long lost parents.  As they have what appears to be the other half of Annie’s necklace, Will has no choice but to allow them to take Annie.  Too late, he realizes that the couple are not who they claimed to be and the race is on to try and find Annie.   Will they be able to find her and what will happen if they do?

The story has some very mild bad language and slightly rude humor and is suitable for children as young as six and above according to Common Sense Media.  Parents are advised to watch the film first and decide whether the content is acceptable for their younger child.

Annie will hit Japanese screens on Saturday, January 24th!!




Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens

“Take … care… of … him.”  The young mother’s whisper was as soft as the swirling snow outside; her face as white as the sheet that covered her.   Feebly she touched her newborn son, breathed a last sigh, and closed her eyes.

“She’s dead!” announced Mrs. Mann, the midwife.  “What a nuisance.  I’ll have to get Mr. Bumble.”

Mr. Bumble was in charge of the workhouse—a cold, grim place for the homeless without a spark of comfort or a crumb of nourishing food.  He didn’t care if the inmates starved, as long as his own tummy felt warm and full three times a day.

Quickly, Mrs. Mann unclasped a gold locket from the dead woman’s neck and put it around her own.  Opening it, she read the name “Agnes” engraved inside.

“Another orphan brat,” raged Mr. Bumble, when he saw the baby.  “Who is he anyway?”

“Who knows?” Mrs. Mann yawned.  “His mother walked in yesterday off the street.  She must have walked some distance—her shoes were worn out.  Good looking girl, too.”

“He must have a name …” Mr. Bumble thought hard.  “Well, I name all orphans alphabetically and the last one was Smith so he can be Twist.  Oliver Twist.”

“Ooh, Mr. Bumble, you are clever,” smiled Mrs. Mann, fluttering her eyelashes at him.  She wrapped Oliver in a scrap of cloth, yellowed with age.

Oliver opened his mouth and roared with all the force of his baby lungs.  If he’d understood he was an orphan, loved by no one, he would have cried even louder.


By the time Oliver was seven he was sleeping in a dormitory with fifty other starving boys.

“I’m so hungry I could eat the boy in the next bed!” complained a tall, strong boy with wild, angry eyes.

The boy in the next bed gulped.  “We must have more food,” he agreed, hastily.  “Let’s draw straws to decide who’s going to ask Mr. Bumble.”

Oliver’s heart was thumping as he reached out to draw his straw.  He pulled it close.  “Oh no!” he cried.  “It’s me.”

Supper, as usual, was gruel—a kind of thin watery porridge with a few lumps of gristle floating in it.  The boys lined up in front of Mr. Bumble who stood at one end of the dining room, a huge apron tied around his fat belly, ladling a small spoonful into each boy’s bowl.

They returned to their tables to eat their food, packed on benches as tight as sardines, though not so plump.  Their bowls never needed washing.  They were licked clean in seconds until they shone like polished china.

The boys sitting near Oliver kicked him under the table.

“Go on, Oliver.”

“Ask NOW.”

Shivering with fear, Oliver walked the length of the room.  He clutched his bowl so tightly his knuckles gleamed white.

A terrible silence descended, pierced by Oliver’s slow echoing footsteps on the stone floor.  He passed table after table of boys, their spoons laid down, their empty bowls in front of them.  Each round-eyed boy stared at him expectantly as he went by.  Oliver guessed what they were thinking—I’m glad it’s him, not me.

At last he reached Mr. Bumble, who looked down his nose at Oliver, as though her were an insect he wanted to squash.

Oliver forced himself to speak.  “Please sir, I wasn’t some more,” he whispered.

“WHAT?” shouted Mr. Bumble.

“Please sir, I want some more.”

Mr Bumble swelled like an evil giant.  His eyes bulged with fury and his face went purple.  “More?  How DARE you!  Wicked boy!”

He seized Oliver, hit him with the gruel ladle and threw him into the coal cellar, locking the door.  “Your punishment starts here,” he bellowed.

Oliver heard him stump up the steps, muttering as he went.  “No one’s ever asked for more before.  Mark my words, he’ll be a criminal when he grows up.  That boy will hang!”

In the dark, sooty cellar, cobwebs stroked Oliver’s face like creepy fingers, and rats scratched the walls.  He crouched in a corner, pressing himself close to the wall.  Its hard, cold surface felt almost protective in the lonely gloom.  He stayed awake all night, dreading what would happen to him next.


Decide if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE:

1.    The mother in the story died before she could ever hold or look at her newborn baby. 

2.    The baby was born in a workhouse.

3.    Mrs. Mann, the nurse, unclasped the gold locket from the dead woman’s neck and put it away safely into a box.

4.    Mr. Bumble is a very caring and compassionate man.

5.    The baby was named Oliver Twist because the name was Mr. Bumble’s favorite.

6.    The boys in the dormitory always had plenty of food to eat.

7.    Oliver Twist volunteered to ask Mr. Bumble for more food.

8.    Oliver was scared to approach Mr. Bumble to ask him for more gruel.

9.    Mr. Bumble shouted at Oliver and called him a wicked boy.

10.  Oliver was thrown into a small jail cell for his punishment.



1.    FALSE
2.    TRUE
3.    FALSE
4.    FALSE
5.    FALSE
6.    FALSE
7.    FALSE
8.    TRUE
9.    TRUE



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