Monthly Archives: July 2012

ESL Video Clip of the Day! — The Brooklyn Grange Farm


  1. Where is the farm located?
  2. To cultivate means:
    1. To prepare and work on land in order to grow crops
    2. To harvest food
    3. To lay pesticides down on the soil
  3. This is their_____ season of operating the farm.
    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
  4. Contiguous means:
    1. Endless
    2. Square shaped
    3. Touching, in contact
  5. A Paradigm is:
    1. Two lines next to one another
    2. A wonderful place
    3. A pattern or model
  6. Who is their market?
  7. What does CSA stand for?
  8. What does woman say is shocking about children?

Please stay tuned for the answers in tomorrow’s post!


Coffee break at the ACE Hotel

Something that I always loved about living in Japan was that no matter where I went the coffee was always great. In New York on the other hand, I feel like it is always a hit or miss situation.  The coffee is either fantastic or terribly watery or sour or burnt.  So when I find a good coffee place I keep on going back.

I am pretty picky about coffee but I really love the coffee at the ACE Hotel.  I am not sure what I love more, the coffee or the atmosphere inside of the hotel.

I recommend anyone who is looking for a cool place to hang out and have a cup of coffee or even to do some studying or drawing, to stop by the ACE hotel lounge and grab a cup of coffee.  It’s a great place to chill out.

The coffeeshop serves Stumptown coffee and it is located inside of the lobby so that you can grab a cup and then sit down in the lobby/lounge.

They use real mocha!

You can also purchase their coffee if you would like to make it at home!

They also serve these cake bites that are actually made at Milk Cafe.  They are really different and delicious.   They are sort of like a combination of a chocolate truffle and cake, gotta try ’em!

A simple and easy recipe using Japanese Turnips!

These are the beautiful vegetables that I bought at the farmer’s market, Japanese turnips and red onions.  I used them in two very simple recipes, perfect for when you don’t have much time but want to make something healthy!

I sliced up the turnips thinly and soaked them in lemon juice for about 30 minutes. I thinly sliced the red onion as well. I then put everything on top of arugula and made a simple dressing with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper.

I love Japanese turnips but my favorite part is their leaves and stems.  They are slightly bitter and crunchy.  I sautéed them with red onions and a bit of sea salt.  I sauté them very quickly because I like to eat them when they are still crunchy and not mushy!

Rockefeller Center Farmer’s Market- Shiro ume Plums, Japanese turnips, and more!

It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the NYC Greenmarket is doing a farmer’s market right near my office.  Although it isn’t as big as the other farmer’s market (like union square) it is really convenient if you are in the midtown area and want to pick up some fresh veggies, plants, honey, or even pickles!

The most interesting item that I found was the Shiro Ume plums! I haven’t seen these yet in New York so I was really excited to find them.  Although Shiro ume means white plums, they are actually yellow.  The ones that I bought at the market were delicious!  I ate them just like that but they are also great for making jam!

I also bought some “Japanese Turnips” or Kabu (in Japanese).  I really love these turnips. They are delicious when boiled or steamed or even pickled in shio-koji!  You can even slice them thinly (I soak them in lemon first) and then throw them over a salad.

The farmer’s market will only be at Rockefeller for a short amount of time (until Friday) so check it out if you are in the area!!

Let’s Practice English Listening Comprehension! Today’s Clip: The Dinner Garden

Practice English and learn about something new and interesting at the same time!  Fighting Hunger in the US is about a family that is trying to stop hunger in America by encouraging and helping families to grow their own food.  After you watch the short clip, there are questions on the right side of the screen to test your listening comprehension.

Click on this link to watch a short clip and answer listening comprehension questions: Fighting Hunger in the US

This clip below is just to give you a little bit of an idea of what The Dinner Garden is about. (The clip below does not include comprehension questions it is just for reference.  For English practice please go here: Fighting Hunger in the US)

Spa Castle and Nabe!

Yesterday we went to Spa Castle in Flushing New York.  Spa Castle reminds me a lot of  Spa World, a spa that I visited when I was in Osaka, Japan.  One of the things I miss the most about Japan is Onsen.  I really loved going to Onsen (Japanese Hot Springs) or traditional Japanese bathhouse.  So it’s nice to get to go to something like that here in New York as well.

Spa Castle has a variety of different attractions.  There are several outdoor and indoor pools and hot tubs.

After going in the pool we go ‘sauna hopping’ trying out the different sauna’s which are located both outside and inside.  Some of them get as hot as 180 degrees!!!

There is also a sauna to cool off which feels super cold, but I just realized yesterday that it is only about 60 degrees which is a pretty normal temperature.

They have a place where you can sit under infrared light as well which is supposed to have healing effects on your body.

The spa is unisex until you go into the indoor baths which are very similar to a Japanese Sento.  This area is divided between men and women.  In the bath area there are showers and a nice locker room with places to lounge and watch TV as well.

After the spa we went to eat Chinese style nabe at Little Sheep Hot Pot in Flushing which isn’t too far from the Spa.  This hot pot is unique in that it uses Chinese herbs and roots and I believe soy milk as it’s base.

You then get to order vegetables and meats to put into the hotpot.

Eikaiwa Lunch at VU Restaurant- Website Recommendations for learning English!

Here are some links that I think are great for studying English Conversation!

This is my favorite exercise on this website because I really think that learning from movies and TV shows is one of the best ways to improve your listening and speaking skills in a foreign language (besides real-life conversation).  On this page there are a few clips from different movies and after you watch the clip there are comprehension questions to answer.  Some of these clips are more difficult than others (some actors speak super fast!). The good part is that you can play the clip as many times as it takes for you to understand it!  You also learn about American culture at the same time by watching movies that were popular or are still popular.  If any of the movie clips interest you, you may want to watch the whole movie for even more practice!

I recommend the second part of this practice page for people who want to improve their listening, speaking, and pronunciation skills.  You will hear a word on the recording and then you need to choose which word you hear.  It may be easier to print the page off first before you listen to the recordings.

You can learn American idioms in alphabetical order.  On the upper left hand side of the page you can click on a letter to learn idioms that begin with that letter.

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