KA VOICECAST for Wednesday, January 15th (2014)

KA VOICECAST for Wednesday, January 15th (2014)

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STORY TIME- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett


KA NEWS for Wednesday, January 15th (2014)

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is now 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 officially opened its doors in September and applications for children aged 3-6 are still being accepted.  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.


Eiken tests are scheduled for Sunday, January 26.  If you have any questions or would like any advice on what to expect, make sure you speak to one of the teachers at KA, who will be happy to assist you in any way.


 In English Rules, we look at some of the Rules of the English language, as well as why English Rules, as a language.

To FIND, REACH, or STRIKE A HAPPY MEDIUM means to come up with or find a compromise.  For example, say you really love spicy food and would love to go out for a nice, spicy Indian curry tonight to celebrate doing really well on your Eiken exam.  Your friend, however, doesn’t care much for spicy food and would rather have Japanese.  Perhaps your friend would settle for a mild, Chicken Korma, but the best solution is to compromise or STRIKE A HAPPY MEDIUM and go to a family restaurant where you can order a spicy dish and your friend can order a teishoku meal or likeness.

A related idiom is A HAPPY MEDIUM, which means a state or way of doing something that avoids being extreme, often a combination or a balance of two opposite extremes.  Let me give you an example of A HAPPY MEDIUM.   I grew up in the city.  That means that there was always something fun or interesting to do a short walk or bus ride away.  Shopping, whether for everyday necessities or clothes, was always just around the corner.  If I wanted sushi in the middle of the night or got a craving for an ice cream at two in the morning, I never had to venture far to find these things.  There was always a movie I wanted to see in any one of the dozen or more movie theaters a short distance from where I lived.   My husband, on the other hand grew up in the countryside.  He loves the natural surroundings, the peace, the quiet, and the relaxed pace the countryside has to offer.  Well, as a couple, we have lived in both of these extremes, but where we are now, in the English countryside thirty minutes outside of London is a HAPPY MEDIUM.    There are walking trails just minutes from our house that offer peace, quiet, and natural surroundings, but it’s just as easy for me to hop on a train and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a thriving city.  And frankly, I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.

          VS      or a HAPPY MEDIUM?

Robin Wright “Couldn’t be happier!”

Speaking of which, our next useful idiom is COULDN’T BE HAPPIER, which means totally happy or the happiest one could possibly be.   Recently, actress Robin Wright got engaged and won a Golden Globe for best performance by an actress for her role in “House of Cards.”  When asked about her engagement and wedding plans, she replied, “It’s still new.  We’re still talking about where, when, how, but I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.”

TO BE HAPPY TO DO SOMETHING means to do something with pleasure.   You can use this idiom when accepting an invitation, such as in, “I’d BE HAPPY TO go out to lunch with you,” or when you are asked to do someone a favor, such as in, “I’d BE HAPPY TO help you move into your new apartment.” By stating that you would BE HAPPY TO do whatever, you are implying that you would enjoy whatever it is being asked of you.

Finally, let’s take a look at HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, which is an adjective that describes someone who is happy all of the time and does not worry about anything.  For example, “John struck me as a HAPPY-GO-LUCKY kind of guy.  He’s always so cheerful.”

If you would like to study further, there are several other idioms related to HAPPY, such as HAPPY AS A CLAM, A HAPPY CAMPER, TRIGGER-HAPPY, and A HAPPY ACCIDENT.

Being able to use idioms and phrasal verbs in everyday speech and writing is extremely important in helping you achieve your English fluency goals.  As a way to assist you in your studies, KA WORDCAST, which airs every Tuesday, will begin airing IDIOM CASTS and PHRASE CASTS from Tuesday, February 18th.  Each week, we will go over several useful expressions in detail to ensure that you fully understand how and when to use English idioms and phrasal verbs in context.


Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess was written in 1905 and is about a little girl named Sara Crewe who is whisked away from her home in India and sent to boarding school in London.  An unexpected event changes her position in society and she is forced to live as a servant rather than a pupil at the school.  But Sara is a dreamer, and her positive attitude and generous heart inspires others to believe in goodness.   It is a wonderful story that has is high on the list of the teacher’s Top 100 Books for Children.

A THOROUGHFARE is a road or path forming a route between two places.  It is also the main road in a town or city.  Similar words include main road, highway, freeway, and boulevard.

A LASCAR is a sailor from India or Southeast Asia.

PRINCIPALLY, as used in the passage, is an adverb that is similar in meaning to for the most part or chiefly.  Other synonyms for PRINCIPALLY include mainly, mostly, predominantly, basically, and to a large extent.

PETTING is an adjective that describes a person who is loving or caring towards a child or animal.  Synonyms include adoring, loving, affectionate, doting, warm, and tender.

To be OBLIGED means to be either legally or morally bound to do something, not necessarily because you want to but because you have to.  The nearest synonyms are obligate and require.

A Little Princess

 Frances Hodgson Burnett

Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father, and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares

She sat with her feet tucked under her, and leaned against her father, who held her in his arm, as she stared out of the window at the passing people with a queer old-fashioned thoughtfulness in her big eyes.

She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face.  It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven.  The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things, and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to.  She felt as if she had lived a long, long time.

At this moment she was remembering the voyage she had just made from Bombay with her father, Captain Crewe.  She was thinking of the big ship, of the lascars passing silently to and fro on it, of the children playing about on the hot deck, and of some young officers’ wives who used to try to make her talk to them and laugh at the things she said.

Principally, she was thinking of what a queer thing it was that at one time one was in India in the blazing sun, and then in the middle of the ocean, and then driving in a strange vehicle through strange streets where the day was as dark as night.  She found this so puzzling that she moved closer to her father.

“Papa,” she said in a low, mysterious little voice which was almost a whisper, “papa.”

“What is it, darling?” Captain Crewe answered, holding her closer and looking down into her face.  “What is Sara thinking of?”

“Is this the place?” Sara whispered, cuddling still closer to him.  “Is it, papa?”

“Yes, little Sara, it is.  We have reached it at last.”  And though she was only seven years old, she knew that he felt sad when he said it.

It seemed to her many years since he had begun to prepare her mind for “the place,” as she always called it.  Her mother had died when she was born, so she had never known or missed her.  Her young, handsome, rich, petting father seemed to be the only relation she had in the world.  They had always played together and been fond of each other.  She only knew he was rich because she had heard people say so when they thought she was not listening, and she had also heard them say that when she grew up she would be rich too.  She did not know all that being rich meant. She had always lived in a beautiful bungalow, and had been used to seeing many servants who made salaams to her and called her “Missee Sahib,” and gave her her own way in everything.  She had had toys and pets and an ayah who worshipped her, and she had gradually learned that people who were rich had these things.  That, however, was all she knew about it.

During her short life only one thing had troubled her, and that thing was “the place” she was to be taken to some day.  The climate of India was very bad for children, and as soon as possible they were sent away from it—generally to England and to school.   She had seen other children go away and had heard their fathers and mothers talk about the letters they received from them.  She had known that she would be obliged to go also, and though sometimes her father’s stories of the voyage and the new country had attracted her, she had been trouble by the thought that he could not stay with her.

“Couldn’t you go to that place with me, papa?” she had asked when she was five years old.  “Couldn’t you go to school too?  I would help you with your lessons.”

“But you will not have to stay for a very long time, little Sara,” he had always said.  “you will go to a nice house where there will be a lot of little girls, and you will play together, and I will send you plenty of books, and you will grow so fast that it will seem scarcely a year before you are big enough and clever enough to come back and take care of papa.”

She liked to think of that.


The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and other titles by Frances Hodgson Burnett are all available in the KA Library, so if you need a bit of inspiration to keep you focusing on your New Year’s resolution, be sure to check them out.


“All our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.”—Walt Disney


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