What did you do in Golden Week?

1. Phrases for asking about holidays:

What did you do in Golden Week?
– I went on a trip.
– I went home to my family.
– I went to my grandparents’ house in Kagoshima.
– I went to work at my friend’s hotel.
– I worked at my part-time job.
– I prepared for the lab seminar.

Where did you go?
– (I went to) Fukuoka.
– I went back home.

What for? (reason)
– To see Hakata Dontaku.
– To visit my grandmother.
– To stay with my friends.

How long did you stay?
– A few days.
– Six hours.

What kind of place?
– A Japanese-style hotel.

How did you go?
– By train
– By car

What is it like?

What kind of place is it?

2. Some vocabulary:

festival, countryside, relax, island, recently, visitor, customer, guest, poisonous, round, specialist, training, attack, carrot, potato, detective, murder, traffic jam, footbridge, pedestrian, specific, milk a cow, sales, cash register

3. What did you do in Golden Week? Please add a comment!!

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First English Conversation Class! – Introducing yourself

1. How often do you do things?

I practise table-tennis every day.
I read “Jump” every week.
– every day 毎日
– once a day 一日一回
– twice a day 一日二回
– every two days 二日間一回
– every week 毎週
– once every two weeks 二週間一回
– every month 毎月
– twice a month 一ヶ月二回
– three times a week 一週間三回

How long do you play table-tennis every day?
(I play for) three hours.

2. Some words and phrases

many different kinds
How do you study English?
Next month I will be 22 (years old).
Have you been to Saga?
I’ve been through it (but I haven’t stopped there).
I can’t decide.
Do you like watching sports on TV?
The north of Fukuoka (福岡の北部)
North of Fukuoka (福岡より北の方)
I played tennis when I was at junior high school. (an activity that I’ve now stopped doing)
I have been playing sax since I was at junior high school. (an activity that I’m still doing)
Are you good at tennis?
I’ll challenge you to a game of table-tennis.

3. Questions
(a) Where do you come from? What are your hobbies and interests?
(b) Do you practise some kind of sport, musical instrument or other activity? How often do you practise it? How long do you do it for each time? How long have you been doing it for?

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Where and when

When? AT is used for precise TIMES (hours and minutes)
  • I have a meeting at 5 p.m.
  • This train leaves from Sendai at 12:00 and arrives in Tokyo at 14:43.
It’s also used for special seasons of the year
  • at Christmas, at New Year (but ON Christmas Day, ON New Year’s Day)
Some other expressions with ‘at’
  • at the weekend
  • at the moment, at present
  • at the beginning/end of the week/holidays etc.
ON is used for DAYS
  • on Monday, on 1st January, on a weekday, on New Year’s Day
  • I usually play tennis on Tuesdays.
  • I was born on 15th June.
IN is usually used for LONGER PERIODS: months, years, decades and even centuries
  • in January, in (the) spring, in 1980, in the last few years, in the 1960s, in the 21st century
  • in the past, in the future
  • I like to go skiing in winter.
It’s also used in the expression ‘in the middle’
  • in the middle of the day/week/20th century, etc.
It’s used for most parts of the day
  • in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening (but AT night)
NO WORD is needed for RELATIVE times
  • now
  • today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day before yesterday
  • this week, next week, last week
  • this year, next year, last year
  • I have to hand in my report tomorrow.
Where? AT is used for precise DETAILS: address:
  • I live at 32, High Street
details of location:
  • The house is at the end of the street
  • My room is at the back/front of the house, at the top of the stairs
places of work, home, places to visit:
  • at work, school, university, home
  • at Tohoku University
  • at the cinema, at the zoo
  • I spent today at work.
  • I am a student at Tohoku University.
  • I am sitting at my desk.
ON is used when an object is ‘ON TOP OF‘ another
  • My apartment is on the third floor.
  • We all live on Earth.
  • Robinson Crusoe lived on a small island for several years.
  • The book is on the table.
It is also used for directions
  • on the right/left
IN is used when something is ‘INSIDE‘ a larger space
  • I live in Yagiyama, in Sendai, in Tohoku, in Japan, in Asia, in the northern hemisphere…
  • in space, in the desert, in the sea, in the house, in the lab
Also note the expression ‘in the middle’ NO WORD is needed for:
  • here
  • upstairs/downstairs
Test yourself: in, on, at or nothing?
  1. Please come to my office ___ 2 o’clock ___ tomorrow.
  2. I was born ___ August 1st.
  3. It snows a lot ___ northern Japan ___ winter.
  4. The head office of the bank is ___ no. 435, Aoba-dori Ichiban-cho.
  5. There is a pile of books ___ the desk.
  6. Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting is ___ the Louvre Museum ___ Paris.
  7. I was born ____ 1977, ____ February.
  8. I was born ____ 2nd April, 1982.
  9. Professor Tsuchida is giving a lecture ____ 5 p.m. ____ today.
  10. I live ____ a two-room apartment. It is ___ the fourth floor, ____ the front of the building, so I have a good view of the sea.
  11. Please wait for me ____ downstairs.
  12. I will visit my parents ____ New Year and we will have a special meal ___ New Year’s Day.
  13. I spend weekdays ____ work but I don’t work ____ Saturdays or Sundays.
  14. I am going to visit some friends ____ Nagoya ____ the weekend.
  15. I am planning to go to Tokyo ____ next week.
  16. Some time ____ the future, I would like to go to China.
  17. Yesterday I woke up ___ 5 o’clock ___ the morning.
  18. I have a meeting ___ 10 a.m. ___ Tuesday.
  19. Neil Armstrong walked ___ the moon ____ 1969.
  20. A visitor is coming to our company ____ tomorrow.
  21. Please come and sit ___ this desk ___ here. You can put your books ____ this shelf and your computer ____ the desk.
  22. My house is ___ the end of the street, ____ the right.
  23. Many technological changes occurred ____ the 20th century. ____ the UK, ____ the beginning of the century, many people did not travel very far. ____ now, most people have a car and ____ summer, many people spend time on holiday ____ foreign countries.
  24. I am very busy ___ the moment.


This page is an archive of the teaching material for an informal English conversation class that I have started for the students in my lab at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. It’s mainly intended for them, and will concentrate on the areas that present most difficulty for people whose first language is Japanese, but if anyone else finds the material useful, they are welcome to use it.