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May 2019: Mt.Mitumine and Mitsumine Shrine

May 30th, 2019

Our May activity had 4 brave hikers - Anna, Meg, Laura and Kyejin! It was May 19th, the 3rd Sunday of the month as usual.

We met at Ikebukuro Station at 10 am and went to Seibu-Chichibu Station. It took about an hour and a half, and we had to take a bus to the Owa (大輪) bus stop for 35 minutes. It was a steep 3-hour hike and since the last bus back home was at 4:30 pm from the top of the mountain, we tried not to take a lot of breaks and kept hiking.

When we reached the summit, we could breathe in the fresh air and had some time to walk around the famous Mitsumine Shrine (三峯神社; Mitsumine jinja). It is surrounded by tall and old trees and somewhat has some mysterious atmosphere.

We haven’t been to this much high mountain for the last few months so it wasn’t an easy hike but it was definitely worth!

1. Was this hiking easy or hard? Score from level 1 (easy) to level 5 (hard).

Laura: Objectively: 3. Nice trail. Nothing dangerous. For me, the highest mountain I have ever climbed by foot: 5.

Meg: 3.5

Anna: I’d say this one was a 3 for me. Compared to others it was quite challenging since the whole route was quite steep.

Kyejin: 3. The route was steep but not very difficult. We haven’t done any long hike recently so we felt it was much harder than usual.

2. How was the scenery/sightseeing there? Score from 1 (bad) to 5 (amazing).

Laura: 5, beautiful mountains and green all around.

Meg: 3

Anna: I loved this route since the route is very natural as if made by the mountain and there are almost no stairs.

Kyejin: The Mitsumine Shrine was stunning! It was crowded with visitors but I could see why. And it was more rewarding to see it after a long hike. The scenery on the way to the top was also beautiful.

3. What was the most memorable moment of this trip?

Laura: The three abandoned houses almost at the top of the mountain. (How were those people able to live there? Grocery shopping? Maybe are haunted!)

Meg: Flying the drone, eating Laura’s nature valley, planning all the next events on the way back!

Anna: Finding Meg’s PASMO which got lost in the middle of the trail >_< Also watching Kyejin and Laura eat as in a food competition was something to be remembered.

Kyejin: Listening to a kind obaachan talking about the history of her restaurant, sharing snacks with ILL hikers, reaching the shrine after a long hike, etc. So many!! :D

4. How was food? What was your favorite?

Laura: Most of what we ate was snacks we brought from around home. But the local snack, miso potato, was very tasty.

Meg: I had niku udon this time and it was really good.

Anna: Again miso potato was awesome!!

Kyejin: Laura’s Nature Valley was good, Chichibu miso potato was so tasty and my butadon was so amazing that I could eat up in 5 minutes!

5. Will you recommend this mountain to others? Score from 1 (No) to level 5 (Absolutely).

Laura: 5. Yes, a beautiful place. If someone is not up for a 3-hour hike climbing up, going by bus or car to the top of the mountain is also good! I want to bring my dog and kid.

Meg: 3, It’s hard to say because I didn’t make it up to the top haha.

Anna: Hmm probably 3. Nice mountain, a few spots to take pictures in the middle of the trail so why not : )

Kyejin: 3.5. There was a beautiful dam, and Laura said a baby bear was running there o_O Recommend it for those who want to see a bear! In general, it was really good too!

6. Any comment?

Laura: Need to practice hiking uphill. I could barely make it : D

Anna: Join us next month!

Kyejin: It’s a heads up but we’re going kayaking in June and camping in July xD Let me know if you’re interested!

~ Anna, Meg, Laura, Kyejin

P.S. The 3rd Sunday of the month is our Activity Day so the next event will be on June 16th and we’ll go kayaking! Please join this fun event, dear ILL people!

April 2019: Beautiful Hanami at Hitsujiyama and Kinchakuda

May 2nd, 2019

Our April activity had 7 brave hikers - Anna, Lya, Meg, Laura, Maryssa, Stan and Kyejin! Since it’s a perfect season for hanami, we decided to go to 2 different places to enjoy beautiful flowers, 1) Shibazakura Hill (芝桜の丘; Shibazakura no oka) at Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park (秩父羊山公園; Chichibu Hitsujiyama Kōen) and 2) Kinchakuda (巾着田; Kinchakuda).

1) Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park (秩父羊山公園; Chichibu Hitsujiyama Kōen)

Hitsujiyama Park is a 20 minutes walk from Seibu Chichibu station. The name of the park, Hitsujiyama, literally means Sheep Mountain as hitsuji (羊) means sheep and yama (山) means a mountain. As the name shows, you can see some sheep in the park.

Our destination was Shibazakura Hill (芝桜の丘; Shibazakura no oka) on that day. It is located in the south of Hitsujiyama Park (羊山公園) and has an area of about 17,600m².

We could enjoy cherry blossoms in full bloom on the way to the hill. There are different kinds of cherry blossoms, which made the place even more colorful and stunning.

Shibazakura Hill is planted in more than 400,000 pink phlox mosses of 9 different colors. In the blooming season, it becomes a flowering carpet shape is designed from Floats and costume patterns of the Chichibu Night Festival and night festival’s excitement.

2) Kinchakuda (巾着田; Kinchakuda)

Kinchakuda Plateau is a 15 walk from Koma station. We just needed to follow a red sign with 巾着田 (kinchakuda) so it wasn’t difficult to find it.

When we arrived at the place, the Spring Festival was already over but instead, we could enjoy the 菜花 (nanohana; rapeseed flowers) in full bloom ourselves. There was no crowd and we were the only people there! The purse-shaped field filled with rapeseed flowers is surrounded by cherry blossoms in full bloom too, and when the wind blows, it rained cherry blossom petals. It was such a beautiful place.

1. Was this hiking easy or hard? Score from level 1 (easy) to level 5 (hard).

Laura: level 1

Stan: The hike was VERY easy, grade 1. And why? Well, we did not really do any climb except few stairs : )

Anna: Easy, easy 1! I think it’s the first time we didn’t encounter stairs!

Lya: It was so easy! No big slopes, barely any stairs, really chill : D

Meg: 1. It was easy. XD We didn’t really hike up any mountains this time.

Maryssa: 1 Easy. There were few hills.

Kyejin: Level 1. It was easy!

2. How was the scenery/sightseeing there? Score from 1 (bad) to 5 (amazing).

Laura: level 5. Luckily we went when the Sakura trees were fully bloomed. Plus, the park surrounded by mountains was beautiful.

Stan: The scenery was much better than I expected in both cases - firstly, I had known Chichibu a bit from the past and I did not expect so many sakuras (including the pink, leaning ones) over there in a full bloom, plus the shibazakura flowers were great and I finally managed to see them. So 5, of course. And why? Flowers. I just like them.

Anna: 10! The cherry blossom trees in Chichibu were stunning! There weren’t as many people as in Tokyo famous spots which made it even more beautiful than any other big Sakura park I’ve seen before.

Lya: 7/5. Sakura and flowers were in full bloom! All the colors! So pretty♥

Meg: 5. It was soo beautiful. One of the best hanami spots and not a lot of people. I highly recommend this place to do hanami and enjoy sakura.

Maryssa: 5 The flowers were blooming beautifully.

Kyejin: It was the most beautiful and not crowded hanami I’ve ever experienced. I would love to visit there again next spring!

3. What was the most memorable moment of this trip?

Laura: There was a spot full of Shidarezakura in full bloom. Since it was a bit windy the rain of sakura petals was very pretty.

Stan: Probably the sakura petal falls in the wind.

Anna: I discovered a punishment for Korean kids. Ah and of course Sakura rain ✿

Lya: When the wind blew softly and it rained Sakura petals. Stan took a good video of it!

Meg: Enjoying the sakura fall down with the wind and eating yummy food.

Maryssa: Walking down the path lined with sakura trees.

Kyejin: Showing Anna how to write her own name as a Korean punishment o_O and dancing with everyone in the rapeseed flower field. Also, the sakura rain whenever the wind blows…♡

4. How was food? What was your favorite?

Laura: I didn’t eat much since I had a cold. But the snack shared by Kyejin was good (good)

Stan: I only had one food and that was yakiniku, grilled one, one the stick. So I cannot compare, but then again, no matter how I look like, I am not a “big eater”…

Anna: New things I tried were miso potatoes and buta miso don. Both worth it.

Lya: SNACKS FTW. My favorite was wild boar skewers (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

Meg: Maryssa and I had a butadon and it was really good. The homemade gelato was awesome too!

Maryssa: The food was great. The butadon was so delicious.

Kyejin: Miso butadon (the one on the right side in the picture) was so gooood! The one on the left side is hiroshima okonomiyaki and it was good too : ) Anna and I shared these two dishes and we were very satisfied! And we had late dinner after hiking at the Mexican restaurant where Maryssa introduced and it was great too. Everything was perfect on that day : D

5. Will you recommend this mountain to others? Score from 1 (No) to level 5 (Absolutely).

Laura: level 4. If people go during the time either the sakura trees or the gardens have lots of flowers, the park is very pretty. Otherwise, I think it is too far away and there are no trails around there to venture into the forest or mountains nearby. But the station and town are pretty and the people friendly so it is a nice place to hang out.

Stan: I can recommend both places with 5. I am not sure if Chichibu is worth 5 out of the sakura/pink moss blooming season, but in this case yes.

Anna: Yes! It wasn’t crowded at all and it was beautiful. The second location we went to also looked like a perfect place to have a barbecue.

Lya: 5! Absolutely, it was gorgeous!

Meg: 5. It’s just so beautiful and food is good too! : D

Maryssa: 5 Would definitely recommend. The scenery was stunning, food was delicious, and staff were nice.

Kyejin: Of course. It’s now my secret(?) place for hanami!

6. Any comment?

Stan: Thanks for the great trip, socializing was also outstanding, I personally need more stuff like this, it made me switch off, even though I was working occasionally.

Anna: Looking forward to the next hiking with everyone. There are always nice sceneries around no matter the season.

Lya: A really fun and pretty day (≧▽≦) Special mention for Sushi Go!

Meg: Big thanks to the company! : D

Maryssa: I would call it more of a walking tour than a hike, but it was gorgeous and a nice place people could spend the whole day having a picnic at.

Kyejin: Yes, big big big thanks to the company! : D It was really fun and I can’t wait for our next hiking already. Let’s hike, people!

~ Anna, Lya, Meg, Laura, Maryssa, Stan, Kyejin

P.S. The 3rd Sunday of the month is the Hiking Day so the next hiking will be on May 19th! Please join this fun hiking, dear ILL people : D

The Consequences of Medical Mistranslations

April 13th, 2019

The Consequences of Medical Mistranslations 

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

In 1974, in the case of Lau v. Nicols, the Supreme Court ruled that language can be used as a proxy for national origin.

While these laws are in place, there is still mistranslation within healthcare facilities to this day. The consequences are severe, and in some cases, lethal.

Cases

Willie Ramirez

One of the most famous cases of medical mistranslation is the case of Willie Ramirez.Ramirez, an 18-year-old athlete, was hanging out with a friend when he started complaining of a splitting headache. He began to lose consciousness and was rushed to the hospital.At the hospital, Ramirez’ mother told doctors that he was ‘intoxicado,” a Cuban word meaning, not feeling well due to something one ate or drank. However, doctors misinterpreted this as “intoxicated,” so they treated Ramirez for a drug overdose. It wasn’t until a few days after he was hospitalized that doctors noticed Ramirez actually had a brain bleed.

The brain bleed, which could have been treated very quickly, instead was neglected for days. As a result, Ramirez became a quadriplegic, and the hospital became liable for $71 million.

Francisco Torres

Francisco Torres was scheduled for kidney surgery. For weeks leading up to the surgery, all medical records referred to the Torres’ left kidney. At some point there was a change in documentation, and the records began to reflect that it was the right kidney that needed attention. The documents were never translated from English to Spanish, so Torres did not see the mistake.

While in surgery, doctors removed the right kidney. When they realized their mistake, the doctors removed the left kidney as well.

As a result, Francisco will spend his life on dialysis. The Health Department cited the hospital “for errors leading up to the surgery, including failing to follow safety protocol and failing to communicate accurately with the Spanish-speaking patient.”

Teresa Tarry

Shortly before Teresa Tarry moved to Spain from the Britain, she discovered a small lump in her breast. She visited her doctor in the UK, who told her she had nothing to worry about.

But after a few months in Spain, the tumor grew to the size of a golf ball. Tarry visited a Spanish hospital, where she claims her medical records were mistranslated. Tarry says that the Spanish doctors believed her mother and sister had suffered from breast cancer, when in fact she has no family history of cancer.

While she had a challenging time explaining her situation to the Spanish doctors, Tarry eventually trusted their diagnosis and underwent a double mastectomy. Weeks later she discovered that the tumor was benign.

Tarry sued the hospital for €600,000 in compensation.

The Tran Family

The Tran’s 9-year-old daughter had a severe infection with a rapid onset. When they brought her in, the girl’s Vietnamese parents were unable to properly communicate with the doctors. So the young girl was asked to interpret for herself. When the girl lost consciousness, her 16-year-old brother took over interpreting.

The girl was treated for gastroenteritis. However, she was actually suffering from a reaction to the drug Reglan. The lack of proper treatment resulted in an extreme blood level drop.

The 9-year-old girl suffered a heart attack and died. The patient’s family sued the hospital and was given a mere $200,000 for their loss.

An expert witness at the hearing testified, “In my opinion, the failure of the doctor and the facility to provide a professional medical interpreter was a substantial factor in causing [the patient]’s death. The reasons for not using family members, friends, and particularly minor children as interpreters are widely recognized.”

Doctors

Machine Translations

This day in age, if we need a simple word translated, we can just ask Google. However, when it comes to healthcare, machine translations are not an option. The risk of error is too great.

For example, if you ask Google to translate, “me siento intoxicado” it will tell you the translation is: “I feel intoxicated.” For the case of Willie Ramirez, he would have ended up in the exact same situation with Google translate.

Needless to say, a computer cannot be trusted in the realm of human healthcare translations. It takes a human to understand a human. The best case scenario is to use a professional human translator.

The Consequences of Ad Hoc Interpreters

An ad hoc interpreter is someone who facilitates doctor/patient communication in lieu of a professional interpreter, usually a bilingual staff member or a member of the patient’s family. Many studies have evaluated the effect of ad hoc interpreters on the results of medical cases, and all results point to the same answer.

Let’s take a look at the most detailed study to give you the clearest understanding.

In 2012, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study that evaluated audiotaped medical encounters to measure the potential consequences of cases where limited English proficient patients were provided professional vs. ad hoc vs. no interpreters.

Out of 57 encounters, 20 received professional interpreting, 27 were provided ad hoc interpreters, and 10 cases had no interpreter at all.

In total, 1,884 interpreter errors were noted, 18% of which had potential clinical consequence.

The risk of potential consequence broke down among each group like this:

  • Ad Hoc Interpreters - 22% risk of error
  • No Interpreter - 20% risk of error
  • Professional Interpreters - 12% risk of error

The study found that in regards to professional interpreters, those with 100+ hours of interpreter training significantly reduced the proportions of errors of potential consequence, from 12% to 2%, in every error category.

This study, along with many like it, concludes that less errors occur when no interpreter is provided vs. an ad hoc interpreter stepping in. However, ultimately the best scenario is to have a professional interpreter, with extensive training in the field, facilitate communication between a doctor and patient.

Know Your Rights

If you, or someone you know is dealing with a medical issue and cannot accurately communicate with the doctor, request a professional medical interpreter. It is the responsibility of the hospital to provide a professional, certified interpreter to assure that the patient’s needs are met.

If you are put in a position where you’ve been asked to serve as the interpreter, reflect on your abilities, and remember you have the right to decline.

Keep in mind, if you step in as a medical interpreter, your interpretations will become legally binding. Any interpretation conducted for a patient is added to the patient’s medical records, which is a legal document, and will be presented in a court of law, should something unfortunate happen. If you are not sure how your interpretations will hold up in court, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I understand the medical terminology being used, and do I know how to translate it in both languages?
  2. Do I understand humor and sarcasm in both languages?
  3. Can I accurately interpret non verbal communication in both languages?
  4. Do I have a relationship with the patient that could make my interpretations biased?

If you decline to serve as an ad hoc interpreter, this is not a failure to your family or civic duty. In fact, ad hoc interpreting often causes more hard than good. You declining to serve as an intermediate interpreter might actually give the patient a greater chance at receiving proper medical care.

To Err or Not to Err

In conclusion, professional interpreters create an environment for the best standard of care. When you, or anyone you know, are presented with difficult communication in a medical encounter, ask for a professional.
To err is human. But in this case, the best way to secure the least amount of errors is to trust a professional. You trust a medical expert for your critical health needs. Trust a language expert for your critical communication needs.

Author Bio:
Ciara Boyce is a content writer at Day Translations, Inc.. Ciara has a passion for uniting cultures across the world. She loves to encourage people through both the spoken and written word, and starts every morning motivating others with daily affirmations via @inrawlife on Instagram.


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March 2019: Hiking Mt. Gongen, Mt. Koubou, and Mt. Azuma in One Day!

March 25th, 2019

Anna, Lya, Meg, and Kyejin went hiking 

On March 17th, on a beautiful Sunday, Anna, Lya, Meg, and Kyejin went hiking to 3 different mountains, Mt. Gongen (権現山), Mt. Koubou (弘法山), and Mt. Azuma (吾妻山).

Those mountains are located between the Hadano and Tsurumakionsen stations on the Odakyu Odawara line and the stations are easily accessible from Shinjuku station directly without any transferring. It takes about an hour only so it’s a perfect day trip from Tokyo!

Since each mountain is about 250m tall only, it was a relatively easy hike. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches so we could rest enough and play fun card games whenever we arrived at the summit of each mountain. It’s said you can enjoy an amazing view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day but unfortunately it suddenly got cloudy when we were at the observatory. It’s also a popular place, especially during the cherry blossom season.

1. Was this hiking easy or hard? Score from level 1 (easy) to level 5 (hard).

Meg: 2.5 or 3 because of the uphills.

Lya: The hike was 2 hard. The beginning was pretty straining but it got easier after a while ^^

Anna: Mount Koubo was an easy relaxing hike although as usual, it started with stairs but we did our best and got easily to the first stop!

Kyejin: 2. If it was just one mountain, I would give 1 but since we hiked to 3 mountains in one day, I give 2!

2. How was the scenery/sightseeing there? Score from 1 (bad) to 5 (amazing).

Meg: 3 The view was nice and you could see a nice view of the area we were in.

Lya: I would give a 4 to the scenery. It was beautiful and we could see far, but we missed the Sakura blooming. That would have been a 5.

Anna: We had perfect weather for hiking not too hot not too cold so we enjoyed the day a lot. There were nice stops in the way like a sightseeing mini tower, statues of the demons of the woods and lots of Sakura trees that unfortunately hadn’t bloomed when we went. So if you have the chance to get there when they bloom I’m sure the views will be even more rewarding!

Kyejin: 3. Too bad we weren’t able to see Mt. Fuji or cherry blossoms but still there were a small temple, a big bell, an old well, an observatory, interesting trees, pretty flowers, weird bugs(?) and lots of sheep ᏊˊꈊˋᏊ so I enjoyed it a lot! Also, we had to walk along the river from the station to the park for about 15-20 minutes and I liked that too.

3. What was the most memorable moment of this trip?

Meg: Sushi Go haha

Lya: Playing Sushi Go (≧▽≦)

Anna: This time we enjoyed the breaks playing cards and eating!

Kyejin: Of course playing Sushi Go! It’s a “Spanish(?)” card game Anna brought.

4. How was food? What was your favorite?

Meg: Eating fried chicken from the fried chicken shop was awesome! The omiyage shop was really good too with lots of testers.

Lya: If we don’t count dinner, we mostly had snacks, so nuts and cheese FTW. And that chocolate thing that Anna and Ruben brought. (• ε •) If we count dinner, the fried chicken was amazing. And the fried cheese. I like all the foods. ALL OF THEM!

Anna: This mount didn’t have any food stalls so make sure to bring your bento/onigiri when hiking! After that, we also walked around the area and tried karaage from a からげ専門店 it was very good!

Kyejin: We found a karaage shop that won lots of awards from international competitions. We had to wait in a line but it was totally worth! The Nagoya restaurant we went to after hiking was pretty good!

5. Will you recommend this mountain to others? Score from 1 (No) to level 5 (Absolutely).

Meg: 3 I recommend this mountain but maybe less than our previous ones because there wasn’t so much to see or attractions on the actual route of the hike but we did see sheep which was fun!!! There was also a sign for possible monkeys!!

Lya: 4 because it was pretty but there can always be a prettier mountain, somewhere. Also, lack of sakuras. But please go see it fit yourself

Kyejin: 3. Yes, it was easy enough and fun enough at the same time.

6. Any comment?

Meg: The hike was really fun and relatively chill this time compared to previous hikes. We ate lots of snacks, played lots of games, and ate some yummy fried chicken that has apparently won an award. Then, we went to Izakaya for more food. Yay! We love food! Haha. I really enjoyed my time with everyone and it was only one train ride away from Shinjuku. The weather was good too! Thanks, everyone!

Lya: I want to play more Sushi Go. The hike concept should be to play it in more and more extravagant places. I want to win once at least, everyone was so good!! (≧▽≦)

Kyejin: It was super fun! It’s always so pleasant to have a great time with great people! I’m already looking forward to our April hike.

~ Anna, Lya, Meg, Kyejin

P.S. Please join this healthy and fun hiking in April, dear ILL people!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

March 19th, 2019

Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn a language in just a few short months! Innovative Language Learning has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.
3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Listening

5 Ways Innovative Language Learning Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.
Innovative Language Learning has been helping people just like yourself learn and master a language in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by Innovative Language Learning that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, Innovative Language Learning creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of the language you’re learning.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of the language you’re learning. So every single day, Innovative Language Learning adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering a language? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App

You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn a language during your daily commute. At Innovative Language Learning, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, Innovative Language Learning has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, Innovative Language Learning has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

How to Supercharge Your Vocabulary With Bilingual Reading

March 11th, 2019

Supercharge Your Vocabulary!
Reading in a foreign language is great. But if there’s one big fat problem, it’s that you need a high level of fluency before it gets fun. And if a book isn’t fun, then you’re not going to want to read it.

The entire point of sitting down with a book is to enjoy it and have a good time being absorbed in the story.

And that’s just not going to happen if you need to look up every second word with Google Translate or a real-life dictionary. It will take you out of the story and it will feel like a chore as if you’re back in high school and need to read the book to pass your curriculum.

I was literally shocked when my girlfriend brought me a collection of Chekhov’s stories that had Russian on the left page - and English on the right.

 


It’s such a simple and elegant solution that will make reading (especially at the beginner levels) so much easier and more fun.

I’m in the process of uploading Chekhov’s stories online, including an audio version, so that you can listen and read at the same time. You’ll find more resources down below (also for other languages).

So, what is bilingual reading?

It’s all in the name. You read a book in 2 languages. The language that you’re learning + the language that you’re fluent in.

There are several variants and the most common one is the picture below. You have a book that has your foreign language on the left, and English on the right. This is the more traditional form.

 

Now, online you can also find stories where the story is translated paragraph by paragraph. The same principle, just in more bite-sized chunks, so your eyes need to travel less to read both texts.

The great thing about bilingual reading is that you can quickly switch between languages. And that the translation already has been done correctly, so you won’t need to distinguish between the 10 variants of a translated word that your dictionary offers.

Which brings us to the main advantage…

It’s great for your initial vocabulary building

Look, the best way to improve your vocabulary is to learn words in context. Let’s say you’re reading a book in Spanish, and you read the following phrase:

El sol es caliente - the sun is warm.

Now your mind is making the connection between sun and warm. And it’ll be easier to remember that the word for “warm” is “caliente”.

The only problem with reading a book in another language is, like we said in the introduction, that you need a relatively high level of fluency before you can make this connection between words.

It’s great if you already know 80% of words, as you can deduct the meaning of another 10-15%, and only look up the remaining couple of words you do not understand.

But if you’re starting out, you might only know 10% of all words! That’s when bilingual reading can help a lot.

You’ll read the sentence first in another language. See if you get it and if you can puzzle what the meaning of some words is. Then you quickly glance on the other side of the page and see the translation.

This way you’ll be able to have fun reading AND learn contextual vocabulary at the same time

Why it works well if you’re learning a language at home

If you’re taking language classes, then your teacher basically takes on the role of the translated page. When you’re reading a text with your teacher, you can ask them questions whenever you do not get something. They’ll give you the correct translation quickly with another context on how the word functions in the sentence.

But if you’re learning from home you don’t have that advantage. Bilingual reading offers the same benefits, as you can quickly look up the translation of a sentence and see what each word means.

Stages how you can use bilingual books

The main goal of bilingual books is to breach the gap between the beginner and intermediate to advanced stages. They can help set you up to read real books, without any translation.

Some language purists might recommend you only read stories that were originally written in non-English, but I’d say that any book you enjoy goes well.

Here are the steps I recommend you go through:

  • Stage 1 - simple bilingual stories (such as kids stories or fairy tales)
  • Stage 2 - the same stories, but now only in another language
  • Stage 3 - bilingual real books
  • Stage 4 - real books

You can use bilingual reading to improve your vocabulary and reading understanding. Until you become so good that you don’t need it anymore.

Does it work for every language?

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning French, Dutch, Russian, Chinese or Indian, bilingual reading works for every language.

After all, the principles of language learning don’t change. Only the implementation does.

You also don’t really need too much knowledge at the start. If you like puzzling, then you could even start reading some simple bilingual stories without any prior experience in a language! (the only exception would be Russian, or any other language with different characters - in that case, you’d need to learn the alphabet first)

However, just as with other language programs and courses, the more people speak a specific language (and the more people want to learn it), the easier it will be to find bilingual books.

If you’re learning any of the big languages (Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Italian), then it’ll be easier to find translated stories that have been put into a bilingual format.

Which brings us to the final section…

Where do I find bilingual books?

There are many places to find them - and the internet has been a real game changer here. I’ve tried finding them in libraries, but you need a large library and quite some luck to find good (and more than just 1) bilingual books.

Here’s a list of resources:

  • Language Lizard (all languages, physical books)
  • Amazon also has a great selection
  • The Fable Cottage (Children’s stories in Italian, French, German and Spanish)

I’m sure there are more places to find them. A quick google search with “dual language books + [language that you’re learning]” or “bilingual books + [language that you’re learning]” should be enough to show up some gems.

It’s really remarkable how easy and fun it can be to read a book in 2 languages. It will make learning a new language more of a fun activity, as opposed to a traditional lesson.

Here’s a final recap of the benefits:

  • Learn new vocabulary quickly
  • Make this vocabulary stick because you remember it in context
  • Easier to put in more time into learning, as you enjoy the process
  • Shortcut the path to reading real books
  • A simple and fun way to learn at home without a teacher

Have you used bilingual books before in your language learning? Let it know in the comments!

Author: Arie Helderman started learning Russian in 2014. You can find which strategies worked best for him at Learn the Russian Language.

February 2019: Plum Festival at Soga Bairin, Odawara

March 7th, 2019

Plum Festival in Japan

Odawara Plum Festival is held in Soga from early February to early March every year in Japan.

 

February 23rd was the perfect day for our February hiking, and Anna, Lya and Kyejin went to Soga to enjoy the beautiful plum blossoms and “mini” hiking.


 

This was what’s written on the board in the view point:

Soga Plum Orchard

The Soga Plum Forest, located about 4 miles northeast to the central district of the city of Odawara. The forest is made up of three areas: Bessho, Hara, and Nakagawara, approximately 35,000 trees of white plum.

The views of Mt.Fuji, the Hakone and the Tanzawa mountain range and the Sagami Bay are also wonderful, and it has been selected as Kanto Fujimi 100 view (One of the best places to enjoy viewing Mt.Fuji).

 

Message from Anna:

“Wonderful Saturday surrounded by plum trees.

This last Saturday due the start of the hay fever season (with the fear of sugi trees) and knowing it was time for ume to bloom Kyejin-san proposed a nice adventure in Soga. I think that’s the first time I see so many ume trees in their fields with lots of space for walking and zero crowds!

We had an enviable picnic (that goes for you who hasn’t joined yet ;-) )and we finished with a mini hike to a viewing point of the city.”

 

Message from Lya:

“The weather was grand, and so were the Ume trees!

We had tasty food (thanks Anna!), a nice walk and a lot of fun. One of the highlights was to find wild kiwis and pet Shiba inu. Much love! (๑♡3♡๑)”

 

Message from Kyejin:

“I haven’t seen so many plum trees before (there are over 35,000 trees!) and haven’t realized how colorful they are. We did a “mini hike” and could see the whole village filled with colorful plum trees. That’s why we could smell plum flowers anywhere in the village.

The picnic was awesome too. We bought Japanese festival foods including umeshu Lya treated and one of my favorite parts was Anna’s Spanish omelette. That was just perfect for the ume picnic!

It’s alway so pleasure to travel with good people. The plum trees were beautiful but our trip was even more beautiful :D It was full of stories and fun moments! I already look forward to our next adventure.“

 

The next hike is going to take place on March 17th! Are you joining us? Let us know!

- Anna, Lya and Kyejin

Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

February 25th, 2019

Secret Revealed 

Can You Really Learn A Language Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn a language without traditional classroom instruction: Innovative Language Learning has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is Innovative Language Learning specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning any language alone.

3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learn Language Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn a language alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn a language alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study a language and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning A Language Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with Innovative Language Learning

Learn Language

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. Innovative Language Learning has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by experienced instructors and every lesson is presented by professional voice actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with Language Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although Innovative Language Learning has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, Innovative Language Learning has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and language learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, Innovative Language Learning has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn a language alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn a language on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

Innovative Language Learning is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, Innovative Language Learning makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.
And the best part is: With Innovative Language Learning, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now!

Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

February 18th, 2019

How To Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational phrases in any language well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational phrases as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with native speakers if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational phrases. In fact, with just a couple hundred words you could have a very basic conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again
If you want to know how to carry a conversation in the language you’re learning, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

Innovative Language Learning Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Phrases

Learning Language

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.

For more than 10 years, Innovative Language Learning has been helping students learn to speak by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational phrases fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Instructors: Innovative Language Learning instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational phrases. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real conversations or lessons is all it really takes. Innovative Language Learning has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

January 2019:The Mt. Nokogiri Hike

February 4th, 2019

 

Four brave hikers challenged the cold winds to see some breathtaking views on top of Mt. Nokogiri. Alice, Anna, Ernst and Kyejin went to Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo’s neighbouring prefecture on a crispy clear Sunday in late January.

 

 

January is a tough month for hikers. The cold makes hiking a challenge, even with the right equipment. We wanted to go to Mt. Takao, but a last minute change proposed by Anna led us to Mt. Nokogiri.

 

 

It is about 329m tall and there are an astonishing 1,500+ Buddha’s on the mountain. Small ones, huge ones, laughing ones, smirking ones, studying ones, sleeping ones, etc. There was no end to them! Sadly, not all were intact. During the Meji-era a lot of Buddha’s were destroyed in an anti-Buddhist movement. Even now, there are CCTV cameras watching over the statues.

 

 

Alice has visited Chiba before, but that was for Disney and Narita airport (who of us cannot relate to the last one?). Alice said it was wonderful to spend some meaningful time in Chiba, because we definitely did some exercise there! We had to walk up so many stairs, that the stairs still haunt my dreams. Or rather nightmares…

 

 

Happy to report that from Mount Nokogiri, we had excellent, unobstructed view of Muira and Izu Peninsula, Tokyo Bay, as well as Mount Fuji most of the time. That we could see Mt. Fuji from almost every stop was awesome, as Anna tells us. With some extra training, some of us want to conquer Mt. Fuji one day!

 

 

We also got to admire the 31-meter-tall carved Buddha and unusual rock faces. Unusual in the sense that Mt. Nokogiri was a former quarry and the rock was cut out and shipped off. There was another very large Buddha carved out on the wall of an abandoned quarry site.

 

 

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the temple that was built on Mt. Nokogiri, as it was under renovation and construction. Hopefully the next visitors will be able to see the temple. In any case it was a nice day trip out of the busy city!

 

The next hike is going to take place on February 23rd! Are you joining us? Let us know!

 

 

~Alice, Anna, Ernst and Kyejin