Source: The Little Prince  
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Source: 2 Corinthians 4:18
(New International Version)
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

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Something Stolen

The other day, I took a group lesson. The topic we discussed was criminals. We read stories about bizarre criminals. After that, the teacher asked us some questions.

"Have you ever had something stolen from you?"
I answered very seriously, "I got my heart stolen."
Though everyone bursted into laughter, I mean it!

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2016 早稲田大(政経)自由英作文

The entrance examination for Waseda University
Read the statement below and write a paragraph giving at least two reasons why you agree or disagree with it. Write your answer in English in the space provided on your written answer sheet. (It is suggested that you spend no more than 15 minutes on this section.)
Smoking should be made illegal in Japan.
My answer:
I agree with the idea that smoking should be illegal in Japan. It is true that smoking has economic benefits. The Japanese government has huge debts, and the tobacco industry contributes trillions of yen in tax revenue. However, I believe that the disadvantages of smoking far outweigh the advantages. First of all, statistics show that the habit of smoking is the main cause of cancer. A lot of chemicals have already been banned because they may harm our health. Nicotine should be added to the list of illegal substances. In addition, careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Just a cigarette can lead to tragedies, such as house fires and wildfires. In conclusion, although smoking has a positive effect on the economy, the effect does not last long. In the long run, we cannot ignore the demerits. Therefore, smoking should be illegal in Japan.
(146 words)

※以下の解答例に対抗するつもりで、agree の立場から書いてみました。

-model answer (河合塾発表)-
I disagree with this idea. It is true that smoking does harm to the health of smokers and non-smokers who are near them. It can cause lung cancer and heart disease, for example. It is also true that hospitals spend a lot of time and money treating sick smokers every year. However, to keep our democracy healthy, I believe adults should be allowed to do what they want with their bodies provided they do not hurt others. If we ban smoking, we will have to ban other harmful activities such as drinking alcohol or eating too much chocolate. It will never end. Furthermore, smoking is good for the economy. The government collects a lot of tax on cigarette sales, and the tobacco industry provides thousands of jobs for people in this country.
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writing essays 修行のため、gogakutan さん主催、雪さんご参加の「英検1級英作文コンペ(3月)」に挑戦です。
Should literature be taught in school?
Write an essay on the given TOPIC.
Give THREE reasons to support your answer.
Structure: Introduction, main body, and conclusion
Suggested length: 200–240 words
In my view, literature is essential to the development of the child and should be taught in school. Nowadays we face serious problems such as terrorism, poverty and climate change. I believe the cause of these problems is lack of imagination and cooperation. Without them, it would be impossible for us to build everlasting relationships and share dreams for the future.

First of all, literature stimulates children’s curiosity and nurtures their imagination. Reading story books brings the kids everywhere. They could feel as if they were traveling around the world, fighting against monsters, and meeting famous people in human history. Eventually they should acquire the ability to imagine all the people and their problems.

Literature includes not only novels but also plays written by great playwrights, such as Shakespeare. Teachers can lead the students to perform a play on a stage as a part of class activities. Through acting various roles, school children understand feelings of other people. Moreover, they should learn to cooperate to achieve the same goal. Cooperation is the only way to solve world problems.

Some people might say the education system should put more focus on practical subjects because one can read books at home or in the library. That might be true, but all kids do not have the chance to read their favorite books at home or the access to public libraries. School should offer the opportunity to learn literature for the sake of equality.

In summary, literature is extremely important for our lives. It develops the ability to imagine and cooperate. Our only hope for the future depends on the ability. Therefore, I believe literature should be taught in school.
(277 words, 50 minutes)

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What is the difference

Harry Potter と Snape 先生がはじめて出会う有名な場面です。

1:00 あたりから、何度みてもいやらしいですね、この Snape 先生は(演じた俳優さんは、最近亡くなられましたけど…合掌)。とくに、"What is the difference between ... and ...?" の言い方が。いやあ、"I don't know, sir." と何度も言わされる Harry の気持ちがよくわかるわ。
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