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Sorry for the late entry, but I hope you are all having a good start to the new year. Around this time every year, I ask people about their New Year resolutions and their plans for the year ahead. I didn’t really make any resolutions this time, but 2013 is going to be a big year for me.

As I think I told you before, I’m planning to build a house in Gifu, and if everything goes according to plan, the building should start in the summer. Buying a house in the UK is not such a big deal because you can always sell it, usually at a profit. In Japan, though, it is a serious commitment, so I’m feeling very nervous about spending so much money. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that I’m feeling nervous about borrowing so much money!

Because of the rise in consumption tax, however, I can’t really afford to wait. Apparently, I have to sign a contract by September 30th this year if I want to avoid paying 8% instead of 5% consumption tax. I worked it out, and the difference would be the price of a new car!

2013 will be my second year at Gifu University, and I’m happy to say that I am still enjoying it a lot. While we were in Australia, my students used English all the time, even when they were talking to each other. I’m hoping they will be able to continue that back in Japan, and that other students will be able to join in as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how their English ability develops over the coming year.

Other than my new house, I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for me, but I would love to hear your plans. Did you make any resolutions? Have you broken them yet? Do you have any special trips or events planned for this year?

Look forward to hearing from everyone.

このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか?」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ!

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22 Comments

  1. amo on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 08:35 AM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the new entry;)
    I am glad that your students enjoyed using English in Astralia. I wish I was your student. I think that they should know how lucky they are.
    Anyway, I am on my way to work, so I will comment on the new topic later.

    Bye for now,
    Have a nice day:)
    amo



  2. YU on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    今週のエントリーの和訳です。

    Sorry for the late entry, but I hope you are all having a good start to the new year. Around this time every year, I ask people about their New Year resolutions and their plans for the year ahead. I didn’t really make any resolutions this time, but 2013 is going to be a big year for me.

    エントリーが遅れてしまってすみません。でも皆さんが良い新年のスタートを切っていることを願っています。毎年この時期は皆さんに新年の抱負や今年の計画について聞くことにしています。私自身は今回特に抱負はないのですが、2013年は私にとって重要な年になりそうです。

    As I think I told you before, I’m planning to build a house in Gifu, and if everything goes according to plan, the building should start in the summer. Buying a house in the UK is not such a big deal because you can always sell it, usually at a profit.
    前に皆さんに話したと思いますが、私は岐阜に家を建てるつもりです。もし全てが計画通りにうまくいけば、今年の夏に着工する予定です。イギリスでは家を買うことはそんなに大ごとではありません。必ず売却できるし、普通は買い値より高く売れて儲かるからです

    In Japan, though, it is a serious commitment, so I’m feeling very nervous about spending so much money. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that I’m feeling nervous about borrowing so much money!
    でも日本では家の購入は(今後)多額の支払い義務を負う、ということなので、大金を遣うことにとてもナーバスになっています。実はもっと正確に言うと、大金を「借りる」ことにナーバスになっているんですけど!

    Because of the rise in consumption tax, however, I can’t really afford to wait. Apparently, I have to sign a contract by September 30th this year if I want to avoid paying 8% instead of 5% consumption tax. I worked it out, and the difference would be the price of a new car!
    そうは言ってももうすぐ消費税が上がるので悠長に構えてはいられません。消費税8%を払わなくていいように5%で購入するにはどうやら今年の9月30日までに契約を済ませなくてはならないようです。

    2013 will be my second year at Gifu University, and I’m happy to say that I am still enjoying it a lot.
    2013年は岐阜大学で教鞭を執って2年目になりますが、今もとても楽しんで仕事をしていると言えることを幸せに思います。

    While we were in Australia, my students used English all the time, even when they were talking to each other. I’m hoping they will be able to continue that back in Japan, and that other students will be able to join in as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how their English ability develops over the coming year.
    オーストラリア滞在中、生徒たちはずっと英語を話していました。生徒同士で話す時でさえ、です。彼らが日本に帰ってからもそれを続けてくれるといいなあ、と思っています。そして彼ら以外の生徒たちもそれに倣ってくれるといいなあ。彼らの英語力が今年どう伸びていくか見るのが楽しみです。

    Other than my new house, I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for me, but I would love to hear your plans. Did you make any resolutions? Have you broken them yet? Do you have any special trips or events planned for this year?
    新しい家の事以外は2013年が私にとってどんな年になるのかわかりません、でもみなさんの計画を是非聞きたいです。新年の抱負をたてましたか?もうそれを破ってしまいましたか?今年計画している旅行やイベントは何かありますか?



  3. YU on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry, I forgot to translate the following sentence.

    > I worked it out, and the difference would be the price of a new car!

    計算してみたらその額の差は新車1台分にもなってしまうんです!

    Hi David and everyone,

    > I’m feeling nervous about borrowing so much money!

    I know exactly what you mean!
    In our case, first we asked some banks how much money we could borrow with my husband’s income, and then we started to look for a house.
    よく分かります!
    我が家の場合、まずいくつかの銀行に主人の給料でどれくらいいの融資を受けられるかを聞いてから家を探し始めました。

    After applying for a loan, the bank checked whether we had any other loans(such as car loans, debt from consumer loan companies) or if we had any troubles with credit card companies in the past.
    ローンを申請すると銀行は他に借金がないか(車のローンや消費者金融からの借金とか)、過去にクレジットカードで焦げ付きを起こしてないか、とか色々チェックしていました。

    Although we both had nothing to be ashamed of, I felt like I was dead until we were accepted for their loan exams!!
    別にやましいところは何もなかったのですが、それでも銀行のローンの本審査に無事通るまでは生きた心地がしませんでした。

    > Apparently, I have to sign a contract by September 30th this year if I want to avoid paying 8% instead of 5% consumption tax.

    Apparently, whether the consumer tax will be really raised from next April hasn’t been determined yet. I might be wrong, though. It will be decided by the government in October this year seeing the state of economy from this April to June.
    本当に来年4月から消費税増税になるか否かはまだ決まってないようです。間違っているかもしれませんが。今年の4月~6月の景気動向を見て10月に政府が判断するみたいです。

    However, you seem to have decided to built a house in Japan soon or later, so I think you’d better built it now than later because I don’t think the consumer tax will be reduced in the future in any case!
    でもDavidは遅かれ早かれ日本に家を建てると決めているようなので今建てた方がいいと思います。今後消費税が下がっていくようなことはまずないでしょうから!

    > Did you make any resolutions? Have you broken them yet? Do you have any special trips or events planned for this year?

    I didn’t really make any resolutions this time, but the biggest event this year will be my son’s entrance of kindergarten. I’m already very nervous about it.
    今年は何も抱負をたてていませんが、我が家の今年のビッグイベントは息子の入園になると思います。既に結構ナーバスになっています。

    I’m not sure if my day will be more relaxed or rather more hectic after that, but I plan to increase the workload when my son gets used to his kindergarten.
    入園後、私の一日がゆったりとしたモノになるのか、はたまた逆に忙しくなってしまうのか分かりませんが、息子が園生活に慣れた頃に私の仕事量を増やせたら、と考えています。



  4. David Barker on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for doing the translation. I have also heard that consumption tax might not go up next year, but if they are not going to decide until October, that is no use to me because I will have to sign the contract by the end of September.

    I don’t really like going to banks either, but I went to one before Christmas to ask for a loan. When I said that I work at Gifu University, they seemed quite happy to lend me as much as I wanted! I guess there are some advantages to working for a national university.

    Actually, I’m going to another bank this afternoon to see if they can offer me a better interest rate. Wish me luck!



  5. YU on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Hi David,

    > that is no use to me because I will have to sign the contract by the end of September.

    Actually, when I read your entry, I thought so.

    > I guess there are some advantages to working for a national university.

    You’re lucky!
    I think generally speaking, public servants(Are you?) are always welcome for banks!

    Good luck with your negoiation at another bank!



  6. Biwa on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 01:28 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I’m commenting from my iPhone for the first time in my life! Yes, it’s one of my resolutions to get used to this little toy. I’ve just noticed that it corrects my misspelling automatically. Wow!

    This year, my elder son will have to prepare for his entrance exams for university, so I don’t think we will be able to do a real trip. However, I don’t think my everyday life is going to change so much, but I’m trying to spend some quiet time alone early in the morning so that I can think about things. I was so busy during the holidays, as most mother members might agree with me here, and my holidays have just begun!



  7. Amica on Wednesday January 9th, 2013 at 03:08 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    A Happy New Year!
    David, I’m glad to hear you had a nice time in Australia.
    This year, I started taking a English conversation lesson. It is private lesson, and in the lesson, I have to talk only in English. Actually, I have taken a English lesson before, but it was a group lesson, and in the lesson, I could talk in Japanese. It was not good lesson for me, so I stopped taking it.
    Talking in English is very difficult for me. I can’t talk well and I make mistakes a lot, but I enjoy taking the lesson.
    I want to keep it.

    Of course, this year, I’m going to have lots of concerts.
    And I want to go abroad….

    I wish this year brings lots of happiness to everyone.

    Amica



  8. Fumie on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 05:58 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Welcome back to Japan. Your students are great!I think trying to speak English as much as possible is very effective to learn the language.
    Thanks for the new entry. I like the picture of it. It’s gorgeous and beautiful. Where do you find those pictures? You find them from Google pictures?

    Yes, you told us that you were planning to build a house and asked us what we like and don’t like about our houses on the entry of “Our Home” of October 29 and November 1. So you are thinking about installing triple-glazed glass, central heating and solar panels. It seems like a real dream house!

    As for my New Year’s resolutions, I already wrote them on my Facebook site. I’ll just take it easy and smell the roses like spending some time with my friends and my mom. And hopefully I want to go abroad. One thing that just poped up in my mind is rereading some of this blog including 英語と仲直りブログ. I already read all the old entries and comments but I don’t remember most of them. If I learn and remember most of what David taught us here, my English would make tremendous progress like Tomo’s and Anne’s.
    Have a nice day!

    Fumie



  9. Mika on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    A Happy New Year!

    David, I’m very glad to hear that you had a wonderful vacation in Australia and your students enjoyed studying English there.
    Recently I heard that there are more English language Chinese students than Japanese students in USA. I know many Japanese young people study English hard, but on the other hand I guess lots of Japanese young people are still afraid of foreign language (not only in English). If their New Year’s resolutions are speaking English and to make communication, it would be great.
    In my case, I have several resolutions. One of them is to publish my third book by this September. Second one is to lose weight. Third one is to develop my muscles by doing exercises, but this is a tough one because I often suffer from backache. Anyway, I’ll do my best.

    Please take care not to catch a cold.

    Mika



  10. Biwa on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Hi David,

    Did they offer you a better interest rate? I hope they did! By the way, according to the newspaper today, they say that if you buy a house later than April 2014, they will give you more deduction from your housing tax. The total deduction amount will be 1% of the money you borrow, so I’m not sure, but it might nearly cover the 3% tax increase. I’m really bad at math, though! Well, maybe the problem is that no one knows when these “Abenomics” will go bankrupt!

    Hi Fumie,

    The phrase “take time to smell the roses” was new to me. It sounds nice.
    I also admire you because you always seem to be a very early-riser. As I’ve written before, I’m trying to do that, but I sometimes fail, and I’d like to know how you do that every day. Do you have any particular ways to start your day?



  11. YU on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 05:16 PM

    Hi Biwa and David,

    By the way, do you know that you don’t need to pay the consumption tax for your land price? So, the difference before and after the tax hike should be worked out by only your house price.
    (But, if you buy the land through the intermediary, not directly from the seller, you’ll need to pay the consumption tax for their brokerage fee.)

    We receive the tax deduction on housing loan now(1% of your loan balance, max. total 500万円 in 10years). We bought a home in 2010, and that was the last year you would be able to receive the largest deduction(max.500万).
    I might be wrong, but after 2010, the deduction amount has been gradually reduced(2011 max.400万, 2012 max.300万, 2013 max.200万), but this tax deduction system will be unvaid at the end of 2013, so the government is planning to extend the period, and the total deduction amount would be 500万円 in 10 years again as the time we bought a home in 2010.
    Maximum amount of your housing loan for this tax deduction would be 5,000万円.

    For example,

    1. If you borrow 5000万円 from the bank to buy a house(3000万円) and the land(2000万円) by the end of 2013,

    consumption tax rate is 5%, so,
    house : 3000万 X 1.05= 3150万
    land : 2000万
    Total 5150万

    Under the current system(in 2013) you can get the tax deduction for your loan up to 2000万.

    2,000万 x 1 % = 20万/year, it will last for 10 years, total tax deduction 200万
    (Actually, the actual amount would be less than 200万, because your loan balance would be decreased every year.)

    Total payment(excl.loan interest)=5150-200=4950万円

    2. If you borrow after next April,

    consumption tax rate will be 8%, so,
    house : 3000万 x 1.08 = 3240万
    land : 2000万
    Total 5240万

    Probably you will receive the tax deduction up to 5000万, so,

    5,000万 X 1% = 50万/year, for 10 years, total 500万.

    Total payment = 5240-500=4740万

    In above cases, you’ll save 210万円 if you buy them after next April.

    By the way, I heard what most people misunderstand about this system is that if your income tax is less than the amount of this tax deduction, you will NOT receive the whole tax deduction.
    FYI, people who pay 50万円 for their income tax usually earn more than 1000万円 a year.

    Anyway, I think if you save or not is up to the price of the house you buy.

    See you!



  12. David Barker on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 06:15 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for explaining all that. You should work in a bank! I’ll have to read it again later to make sure I understand it, but I get the basic point. I don’t really want to wait until next year, though, so I will probably start building this year. Mind you, if I start building after September 30 but before April 2014, I might end up getting the worst of both worlds, so I will have to be careful about that!



  13. Fumie on Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Actually, I’m kind of a stickler for many things. I set the alarm clock at 4:30 and listen to BBC news from 5:00 and watch 6:00 news while drinking a cup of coffee and checking facebook. I don’t want to change my everyday rituals. So my internal clock wakes me up at almost same time everyday. Maybe I’m just an old woman: it is often said that old people wake up early!

    Hi Mika,

    Oh, you are a writer and you’ve already published two books. That’s amazing! You write books about health? Is there any way to check your books? Could you please put the site here which we can check your books like Amazon site, if you don’t mind? Good luck with your third book!

    Fumie



  14. amo on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    My New year resolutions? Actually, I don’t have any concrete ones for this year, so I just stick to the last year’s resolutions!! First, write comments on every entry of this blog. Second, not to work hard and take a couple of vacations. Last year, I was able to take one week leave and went back to Okinawa, but I couldn’t go abroad besides Taiwan. I hope I will travel somewhere in Europe this year. Oh, one thing has just come to mind. I have gained weight since last year, though my weight is still less than the average. I don’t want to lose weight but I want to get rid of my spare tire!!

    Good night and sweet dreams,
    amo



  15. Mika on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Hi, Fumie

    Thank you for asking about my books (English and Japanese are written side by side). My first book is titled,“かけがえのない日々 The Greatest Gift” in 2008. The second book is titled, “仁香、頼む! 1本の電話から The Call that Changed My Life” in 2009. 桂 仁香   牧歌舎 (publisher)
    To be honest, during my student days I understood neither how to pronounce nor how to study English. Of course I wanted to overcome my inferiority complex of English but didn’t take action until 1999.
    Writing story in English is my learning style. The reason I published my books is I wanted to tell students who don’t like studying English, “If you keep studying English, someday you can speak English and notice studying English is fun.”

    I hope you like my books.

    Mika



  16. Fumie on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 06:46 AM

    Hi Mika,

    Thank you for telling us information about your books. I googled and read summaries of your books and your background. You and I live in the same city! It’s a small world. I hope your books inspire people to study English. I’ll check your books later.

    Hi Kattie,

    Can I join you the culinary talk with Anne?
    >By the way, are there many vegetarians/vegans in
    Japan?
    -I think there are only very few of them because I don’t know anyone who is vegetalian or vegan.
    >Instead of becoming a vegetarian, I am very careful about what meat I buy and I really try to get only free range meat, I also try not to eat too much meat.
    -That’s very good for health! I want to get those meat (also organic vegetables and fruit) as much as possible if they are not expensive. What you eat is very important to keep one’s body amd mind healthy!

    Fumie



  17. Biwa on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 03:27 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks for telling me about your morning riuals. I admire you more than ever and feel very inferior. Anyway, it gave me great hints and I suppose I first must try to do something constantly and add it into my daily routine.

    Hi Mika,

    I googled your books, too. I got very interested when I read your background that said you suddenly became a high-school teacher one day. That must be very challenging! Which one should I read first?

    Hi Kattie, Fumie and Anne,

    I try to buy good/safe food as much as possible, too. However, they usually cost more and also very difficult to find out because you cannot tell by their looks. (The only way to get good/safe food is to trust the producers and the labels.) I get a boxfull of organic vegetables, eggs and milk once a week from “Radish-boya”. Have you ever heard of it? They really taste good, and even if they cost a bit more than the ones I get at the supermarkets, I still want to support those good producers by buying their organic food. Of course, I can’t afford all because I have two big-eaters now, but I’m always choosey about what I buy.



  18. YU on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 03:45 PM

    Hi David,

    May I ask you a question?

    日本文 : 私はその知らせを聞いて驚きました。

    I was ( )( )( ) the news.

    My company’s model answer :

    I was (surprised)(to)(hear) the news.

    You can also say,

    “I was surprised at the news.”

    However, one of my student answered like this,

    I was (surprised)(at)(hearing) the news.

    I thought this was correct, too.
    I asked my company if the above answer was acceptable, too, but the answer was “No”.
    I don’t understand why it is wrong, but they just repaeted “意味合いが違ってくる”… and asked me to correct his/her answer.
    Actually, I don’t want to do it because my company’s explanation doesn’t convince me…

    Do you also think my student’s answer is wrong?
    If so, why?



  19. David Barker on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 03:53 PM

    Hi YU,

    I’m afraid your student’s answer is not correct. “I was surprised at/by the news” would be find because the thing that surprised you was the news, but you can’t say “at hearing the news” because that would mean you were surprised at the hearing, not at the news, which wouldn’t really make any sense.

    Hope that helps.

    David



  20. Biwa on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 04:14 PM

    Sorry, I misspelled these words:
    riuals ⇒ rituals
    boxfull ⇒ boxful



  21. YU on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 04:16 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your prompt answer!

    So, my student’s answer would mean “知らせを聞いたこと(知らせが聞こえたことに)驚いた”?
    Wow! That’s a big difference!

    Now, I can correct my student’s answer with assurance.

    Thank you very much!!



  22. David Barker on Friday January 11th, 2013 at 06:25 PM

    Hi YU,

    I just had a thought. If I sign a contract before September 30th this year, I will pay 5% consumption tax, but if the house is actually completed after April 2014, I will be eligible for the new tax rebate up to 50,000,000 yen. That way, I would get the best of both worlds. Is that right?