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Fresh on the blog

Here is a question that you can bet will keep coming up for the next four years: What do you think about the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020?

Hometowns can be inspiring or depressing

Today I want to look at a very common question in the GBC interview. It is surprising how many respondents, when asked about the place where they grew up, have very little to say.

Legalisation of casinos in Japan

This time, we're going to look at a hot potato* that has caused a lot of heated discussion in Japan.

The question we're going to deal with is: What do you think of the legalization of casinos in Japan?

Here is my sample answer:

This question has been asked in a lot of recent GBC tests, and has actually been discussed in a lot of newspapers around the world recently. It is a timely topic, and well worth preparing an answer.

Japanese students in class

This time, we're going to consider a GBC question about you. As we have mentioned before, personal questions should, in theory, be the easiest to answer. However, because they are considered easy questions, it is important that you have a really good answer prepared.

The American election will be held on November 8th and may factor into speaking tests like the GBC held around this time, as this race has had historically high levels of coverage.

Japanese woman working

This time, we are going to look at a question that naturally follows the issue of how the Japanese lifestyle has changed over the last 10 years, which was considered in a previous blog.

Pronunciation is completely different from other language skills. While grammar and vocabulary are internal, meaning you think about them and understand them; pronunciation is external, it’s a muscular skill. Pronouncing a word correctly is more like hitting a ball or playing piano.

There is something a lot of people do when they are nervous while speaking. This is true for both native and non-native English speakers.  It is actually a surefire way to tell if someone is not confident in themselves or what they are saying.

Japanese Working Mother With Child

In this blog, we are going to look at a GBC question that should be quite easy to answer. However, sometimes the easiest questions cause the most confusion when you are thinking about what to say.

Giving feedback when people make mistakes is hard to do. This post will tell you three phrases you can use to guide someone to do something differently, or do more, while still showing them respect for the effort they put in.

A picture of Europe at night, taken from space.

In this first blog of the series, we are going to look at a question about which many of you may not have specialised knowledge or a strong opinion. However, with some basic information, a good structure and some sophisticated vocabulary, it is still possible to produce a very good answer.

Sapporo in autumn

Many non-native English speakers make a mistake choosing between get or become. This is especially an issue for Japanese people, since both words can be translated as なる.

Why do we have clear memories of childhood TV shows, while we struggle to remember what happened last week?

A lot of non-native English speakers say "I recommend you to [verb]...", but a native English speaker would never say this.

Native speakers would usually say "I recommend [noun]" or "I recommend [verb+ing]..."

Many people taking the GBC test make this mistake: they focus on communicating their answer specifically to their test administrator. This is a problem because you are graded on the level of English you use, not on how easy it is to understand you. 

Does the name Sara Blakely ring a bell with you?  What?  No? 

Yeah, it didn't for me either.

Most of us have used the term computer bug, but have you ever wondered where it comes from, and who coined the expression?

This month is my last month in Brazil. I will move to NZ with my family. We are leaving here on Tuesday. The day has arrived so fast!