Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please …

Finally, we have the results of the Summer Term UK Experience paragraph writing competition.

First of all I would like to thank all those who entered the competition, and there were more than 80 of you, which is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, although the quality was consistently high, we were only able to accept around half of the entries, as others did not meet the entry requirements.

As I said, entries weren’t rejected because of the writing quality, but for several other reasons, such as being too long or too short, or being more than one paragraph. To those students, we wish you better luck next time – but as my old granddad always said, God rest his soul, “if all else fails, read instructions.” That, I have to say, has always been excellent advice for me! 🙂

So, let’s get on with the results – and just to say, the winners and runners-up can collect your prize book tokens from reception next time you visit the centre. Well done!! 🙂

Upper-Intermediate and above

After a lot of discussion, the judges decided that the winning entry was written by one of our Saturday Advanced level students, Yoko, who wrote about one of her experiences while travelling in the north of the UK.

It was chosen because it reflects several aspects of UK culture, is well structured and is an example of a situation that we all, especially as language learners, often find ourselves in – simple mistakes that are amusing when you think about them later. So, congratulations to Yoko!! 🙂

Please read, or read again, her paragraph, which I have published, unedited, below. I will make another posting later explaining a bit more about the area that Yoko was visiting in the UK.


Yoko (Advanced Plus 2) – Yorkshire Pudding and the Brontë sisters

Yorkshire pudding

Yorkshire pudding


The Brontes

The Brontes

Bronte country

Bronte country

In 2003, on our way to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, my friend and I stopped at a local restaurant to have lunch. Now that we had come all the way to Yorkshire from Japan, we thought we should taste “Yorkshire Pudding”, believing that it must be a kind of desert. A pretty waitress, smiling kindly, suggested that we first have a look at it and took us to the freezer. What we saw there was something like a large cream puff without filling. She explained that it was usually eaten with roast beef, not as a desert. Later, I learned that there are different types of “pudding”, in addition to the so-called “purin” that we have in Japan. I was thrilled with the town of Haworth, the Brontë Museum and the graveyard, as they seemed to retain the atmosphere of the world that Charlotte and Emily Brontë described in their novels. But a fond memory of my trip to Yorkshire is the “pudding” incident. 


Yasuo (Upper-Intermediate 2)
– Who wrote about driving around the UK at midnight with his wife
Tomoko (Advanced 4)
– Who wrote about an international food party in London

Thanks again to all those who took part! 🙂

Intermediate and below

Although judges agreed that this was also a difficult choice, one paragraph was mentioned by all those involved. This paragraph was interesting because it touched on a subject that many people might not be comfortable talking about: international relationships, particularly those between Western men and Asian women. However, this paragraph clearly displayed the writer’s feelings with regard to her friend, and how meeting him changed her opinions. It is also a well-structured and developed piece of writing, especially taking into account the author’s level. She has done very well to include a great deal of information in such a short piece.

We would be really interested to hear your thoughts about the contents of the winning paragraph. 🙂


Jin (Intermediate 2) – How my feelings towards Western men changed in a positive way

I’d like to tell you about an English friend who changed my thought about foreign men. His name is Andy, and I met him at Japanese school in 2006. While studying terrible kanji together, we became friends and we had talked about our thoughts, lives and loves in Japan with huge amount of beer. Before I met him, I had talked with a lot of foreign friends many times, and almost of them loved to talk about girls they had met. They frankly said that it was easy to date with Asian girls, because the girls had a big interest in men with blue eyes. Yes, it may be true. But just for that reason, getting a chance to date with girls was so easy to them, and they seemed not to be serious about their loves. But Andy, a nice guy with light blue eyes, was different from them. He had always taken care of his Japanese girlfriend, and studied Japanese very hard for her and her family. His sincere attitude made me change the thought about loves between foreigners. He went back to England so I couldn’t talk with him anymore, but I’m sure that he is doing his best to keep his love. I’m looking forward to meeting him again.




Yoshie (Intermediate 2)
– Who wrote about shopping in Harrods and a problem she had
Mamoru (Pre-Intermediate 2)
– Who wrote about his first experience of UK culture being at school

Once again, thanks to all of you for taking part and/or reading the the display in the public space. The display will continue for another few weeks, so if you didn’t have time before, don’t worry.

I’m off to bed! It’s late! 🙂

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