Australia Helps

Legacy Week was in Australia a couple of weeks ago. Legacy is an Australian organisation, established in 1923 by ex-servicemen. The organisation’s aim is caring for the dependents of deceased Australian servicemen and women. As well as financial help, Legacy provides companionship and assistance with the education of children. They also give assistance in dealing with the Army, Navy or Air Force, or the government, at no charge. They assist over 90,000 widows and 1,900 children and dependants with a disability.

During this past week of extra fund raising, local school students walk around the shopping centres and malls selling different priced badges to shoppers to raise the extra money.

I can remember as a child my mother giving us 20cents to buy a Legacy badge, which in those days was white with a red flame. I also remember having a few hours off school when I was older selling the badges.

This year the badges are all red and still at an affordable price.


Established   開設するDeceased 死去した

ex-servicemen かつて軍隊にぞくしていた

companionship 仲間付き合い

dealing with  交際関係

widow 未亡人

widower 妻を亡くした男性

fund raising 募金

Australia’s Beautiful Wollongong

Wollongong, where ARET is based, is a coastal city about 80 kilometres south of Sydney.

It is the 10th largest city in Australia, with a population of approximately 290,000.

Before white settlers arrived, Wollongong’s residents were the Dharwal Indigenous Australians.

The area has a lot of coal so coal mining has been one of Wollongong’s main industries since the 19th century.

Today, Wollongong’s main industries are steel production and other heavy industries, education and tourism. The University of Wollongong attracts many international students and many students from Sydney as well.

Wollongong blog pic

Wollongong is a very beautiful and scenic city, with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. The beaches are very popular with surfers and families. You could say that Wollongong is characterised by three different types of culture—the working class culture, the student culture and the beach culture, making it a diverse and dynamic city.

The climate is mild – not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter. In my humble opinion, Wollongong has the best climate in the world! Sometimes it gets a bit windy but I don’t mind that at all.

Wollongong is also a convenient place to live because of its proximity to Sydney. It takes only an hour to travel to Sydney on the train. It is more relaxed, scenic and less expensive that Sydney!



Coastal                                                 海岸沿い

White settlers                  白人の開拓者・入植者

Indigenous Australiansオーストラリアの原住民

Coal mining                        石炭工業

Steel production              鉄鋼生産

Heavy industries              重工業

Scenic                                   景色のいい

Working class                    労働者階級

Diverse                                                対応性のある

Dynamic                              生き生きした

Mild                                      穏やか

In my humble opinion…               私見ですが・・・  

I don’t mind that at all   全然構いません

Proximity                            近接

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Australia

Australia is a commonwealth nation. What this means is the Queen of England (Queen Elizabeth II) is the official head of state. Other commonwealth nations include Canada, India, New Zealand, many Pacific islands, such as Fiji and Samoa, many African nations, such as Rwanda, Namibia and Mozambique and many others. The queen has no power in Australia and her role is only symbolic.

Royal-tour pic

Members of the royal family make visits to Australia on a regular basis. This April the Queen’s grandson, Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and their 9-month old baby George are visiting Australia. During their visit they have visited the Blue Mountains and beautiful Manly beach in Sydney to see the sights and chat to ‘nippers’. Nippers are children aged between 5 and 13 who learn about lifesaving. They also visited children in hospital. They paid a brief visit to Brisbane and then returned to Sydney for a visit to Taronga Zoo. After this they travelled to Uluru (Uluru used to be called Ayers Rock) and then Adelaide and then Australia’s capital city, Canberra, for Anzac Day on April 25. Anzac day is a commemoration day to remember the people who died in World War I. We discussed Anzac Day in our previous post.

Many Australians are excited when the royal family visit and like to give them flowers or presents. However, many other Australians are uninterested in the royal family and would prefer not to be a commonwealth nation. They wish that Australia would cut ties with the monarchy and become a republic.



Commonwealth: イギリス(英国)連邦

Head of state: 首脳

Symbolic: 象徴的

Lifesaving: 海の監視員(ライフガード)

Capital city: 首都

Monarchy: 君主制

Republic: 共和国



April 25 is ANZAC day. It is a day to commemorate the Australians who died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations; a day of national remembrance.

April 25 was the day that Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the shores of Gallipoli (in Turkey) in 1915 during World War One. The first ANZAC day was held the following year in 1916 to remember those who died in that battle. In recent years, however, ANZAC day has become a day to remember all the Australians who died during all conflicts.

What does ANZAC mean?

ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers themselves were known as ANZACs

What happens on ANZAC day?

ANZAC day is a public holiday. The ‘dawn service’ is carried out in capital cities and towns. This is a military routine that is performed for the public especially on this day. Many people get up very early to go and watch.

In Canberra, the ANZAC day ceremony is carried out at 10:15am at the Australian War Memorial. The Prime Minister attends this ceremony. The ceremony includes prayers, a period of silence, the laying of wreaths and the singing of the national anthem.

In many cities there is also a parade. Former soldiers and others who have participated in war parade down the main street while members of the public stand and wave flags or just watch.



Conflict                                                         紛争

Peace-keeping operations              平和維持活動

National remembrance                            国会的記念

World War One                                                第一次世界大戦

Acronym                                              頭文字

Wreath                                                花輪

National anthem                             国歌

Parade                                                  パレード

Flag                                                        国旗


Welcome to the first post in a series of blog posts written in easy English about what’s happening at ARET. This series is aimed at providing easy English language reading material for our followers, including the many Japanese students or travellers who have used our services in the past or who wish to travel with us in the future. Enjoy!



In Australia, when people think of Easter they think of chocolate. Shops sell chocolates in the shape of eggs or bunny rabbits and people buy them to give to their friends or family. These chocolates are called Easter eggs. Children love Easter because they can eat a lot of chocolate. Children believe that the Easter Bunny delivers chocolates to them in the middle of the night (like Santa Claus delivers presents in the middle of the night). So Easter is exciting for children.

girl with huge easter bunny

The date of Easter is different every year, but it is always on a Sunday in April or sometimes late March. The origins of Easter or course have nothing to do with chocolate. Easter is the most important festival of the year for Christians. Easter Sunday is the day that Christians believe Jesus Christ was resurrected. The Friday before Easter Sunday is called Good Friday and is believed to be the day that Jesus Christ was crucified.

ARET cross

Good Friday and the Monday following Easter Sunday are public holidays so Australians enjoy a 4-day long weekend over Easter. Most Australians spend this time with family and loved ones (eating too much chocolate!).




Easter: 復活祭

Origin: 由来

Is resurrected: 復活する

Crucify: (人を)十字架に張り付ける

Public holiday: 祝日

Long weekend: 連休

Loved ones: 家族や友人、愛する人たち

ARET in Japan

It’s been a couple of weeks since Pam and I (and Jon, Pam’s friend) returned from our trip to Japan to say hi to our clients and friends. We had a very enjoyable, if hectic, time. We combined business with play. Pam managed to fit in a friend’s wedding and I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen since my undergrad student days, fifteen years ago.

We arrived in Osaka on the evening of the Thursday April 5 and caught a bus to Kobe where we split up. Jon and I stayed at Pam’s friend (and now our friend) Louise’s place in Okamoto, and Pam stayed at Mike and Michiko’s in Rokko. Kobe is a beautiful city with lots of quaint laneways bursting with trendy and sophisticated boutiques, wine bars and restaurants. There’s a quiet hum of activity here, quite different to Osaka or the manic Tokyo. Louise very kindly took us to a lovely Sushi bar for dinner once we’d arrived. After a long day of travel, the beer and sushi went down a treat.

On Friday, Pam, Jon and I made our way to Sannomiya, where Pam and I had coffee with Tokunaga san from Osaka STA. We came out of that conversation with some new ideas – Tokunaga-san put us onto a possible new market. Watch this space for further developments as Pam and I think about how to proceed. It’s always nice to have new ideas, but a challenge coming up with concrete plans to put them into action. Pam likes a challenge, though 😉

It was much colder than we had anticipated—it was a maximum of 9 the day after we arrived. My wardrobe was totally unprepared for extreme cold, so I had no choice but to go shopping. I know, it’s a tough life, right? I got a gorgeous coat from a funky second-hand clothing store, Orange Thrifty, recommended by Louise.

The following day I went to hanami with an old friend, while Pam and Jon made their way to Shikoku to also do some catching up with friends. I eventually found my way down to Miyazaki, in Southern Kyushu. My purpose going there was to pay a visit to Minami Kyushu Junior College,client that ARET has been working with for several years.

Miyazaki is a strange place. I knew very little about it before arriving, but on first appearance it looked like a town with a lot of big empty hotels, so I thought that maybe it used to be a popular tourist destination. I soon discovered that’s exactly what it was. Sixty years ago, Miyazaki was the primary destination for the majority of Japanese honeymooners. It’s on the beach, it’s warm – I guess as far as tropical destinations go in Japan, after Okinawa, Miyazki is the ticket! It certainly was lovely and warm—a massive change from the cold we had in Kobe.

These days, Miyazaki is a holiday destination for Chinese and Korean tourists, but while I was there, it was pretty deserted, and pretty depressing. I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to Miyazaki, although I must admit the hotel I stayed in, Miyazaki Hotel, was lovely .  My room was one of the biggest hotel rooms I’ve ever been in, and this is Japan, the land of tiny hotel rooms! Even the bathroom was enormous! I also had a delicious meal in Miyazaki, maybe one of the best I had in the whole 2 weeks I spent in Japan.  Vegetable gyoza, hiyakko and potato salad. Simple, very reasonably priced and absolutely delicious.

I flew to Tokyo on Tuesday 10 April and went straight to hanami at Yasukuni Jinja, with a friend and her colleagues. It was a lovely night and the festival atmosphere was great.

In the meantime, Pam and Jon had been attending a wedding in Nagoya and had also visited Mikawa Junior High School. Mikawa has been the sister school of Ulladulla High School for 16 years. Pam met the students who would visit Ulladulla High School in May this year, and felt very much a part of the staff—she was shown photos of one staff member’s wedding and other photos of babies born a few weeks previously to two other staff members. She had a lovely dinner with all the staff that evening.

Pam also visited Okazaki Johsei High School, where she gave a presentation to the students about what they might expect if they are lucky enough to come on an ARET tour to Wollongong. That night she went out to a very nice dinner with some of the Okazaki staff and the principal.

Pam and Jon attended the wedding of Mina and Yōta (Mina was one of the last official Pam Sensei teachers). It was a fun and very well-organised wedding. Start saving for a wedding present because Pam managed to be the one whose string was tied to the bride’s bouquet…!

Pam and Jon arrived in Tokyo a few days later where we were reunited. We met with Shimada san and Yamamoto san from Asahi Travel at Kosei Gakuen Junior High School, which is a boys’ school that had visited Keira High school the previous year. This year, they are going to visit the Illawarra Christian School instead. We met new staff and re-introduced ourselves to others, who were delighted to see us. Pam put on her clown hat and played the fool for a couple of English classes – one of her many skills. Some of the students, having visited Wollongong the previous year, recognised Pam and were very surprised and excited to see her!

That night, we were treated by Shimada-san’s boss to a lovely tempura dinner in Shinjuku. I think it’s safe to say that none of us had a bad meal in Japan—in fact, I’m pretty sure I came home a couple of kilos heavier.

The following day we made our way to Dokkyo University, where we met with Ninomiya san and Goto san from the International Center. Not much time had passed since the 2012 Dokkyo University visit to Wollongong in February so the trip was still fresh in our minds. After our business meeting, it was time to relax over lunch at the cafeteria with some of the students from 2012 trip.

On our last night in Tokyo we went our separate ways and dined with respective friends.The following day we made our way to Ikebukuro, where the STA Tokyo branch is located. It was nice to finally put a face to a name—Okumura san was warm and inviting and even had a great idea for a new special interest market!

Jon, Pam and I were thoroughly sick of the sight of each other by this stage, but we managed to find our way from Shinjuku to Narita airport (on the bus) without homicidal incident. By some miracle, and despite some serious shopping action on my part, our cumulative luggage was lighter than it had been on our way over. Regardless, Pam decided to carry the most enormous plastic bag you have ever seen, full of senbei, on to the plane as hand luggage.

We had a five hour stopover in Cairns, which turned out to be lovely. We caught a taxi to the esplanade and had a nice brekky overlooking the beautiful ocean. It was pretty muggy and I had some bad yoghurt that required me to abandon our walk and curl into the foetal position for a nap on the boardwalk. But other than that, we survived to make it back to Cairns airport in time for the last leg of our journey.

Pam’s senbei made it back intact and are slowly but surely disappearing.

New website, new beginnings

Well, we have all but finished our new website. It’s been great fun getting it up and running. We will continue to tweak it now and then, adding bits here and there, changing photos and adding testimonials and so forth, so keep an eye out for changes and updates.

Selly, an IT student at UOW, who we have been very fortunate to have do some work experience for us, has done most of   the difficult, technical work in setting up the website as Pam and I are pretty clueless in that area! So a massive thanks to Selly! She’s almost inspired me to learn more about webpage development and design…almost…

ARET has also been busy preparing for the upcoming visit from Dokkyo University. This year more than 20 students are coming. They will arrive next Sunday, the 12th of February and all the host families are really looking forward to it. The group, who will stay for 4 weeks, will be studying English at UOW College and do some sightseeing around Sydney and the Illawarra. Some of the fun things they’re scheduled to do include going to the Blue Mountains and the organic farm in Berry, A Taste of Paradise.

We’ll keep you updated with pics and blog updates about the Dokkyo visit and any other ARET activities!

Welcome to our new page. Stay tuned for more… ARETの新しいウェブサイトへようこそ。これからの新しい情報をどうぞお楽しみに!


Welcome to ARET Blog. Our new webpage has launched, stay tuned for more info 🙂

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