I sometimes find people confused about the difference in pronunciation between "walk" and "work".

"Work" sounds like "perk", "lurk", and "jerk". Your mouth is open about as much as when you say "え", but the sound is not "eh", but "er", like in "bird". You need a strong "r" sound, which means curling your tongue. There's more about "r" sounds in this blog post.
"Walk" sounds like "talk". The "a" is like "ah" (あ).

I have been working on this lucky bamboo plant for a while. We took some cuttings from the plant, and now they are growing quite well, as you can see in the photo above.

I've also been working on some spider plants.
  • spider plant オリヅルラン (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
You can see a very healthy one when you walk out of the elevator in our building. Come by and pay us a visit sometime!



A tiny bit of nostalgia for my youth led to me making BBQ sandwiches. These sandwiches are full of mock BBQ chicken, made from strips of fried tofu and homemade Texas-style barbecue sauce.
  • nostalgia 【名】懐旧、懐古の情、ノスタルジア・郷愁、望郷の念 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× Somehow I won't to eat BBQ sauce these days.
○ Somehow I want to eat BBQ sauce these days.

I think it's because of the really good BBQ tempe that I had at this vegetarian restaurant in NYC back when I visited in March:


× I want live in NYC again, I think...
 I won't live in NYC again, I think...

... but that is a great restaurant!

In the sentences above, people who are listening sometimes get confused between the two. That's dangerous, because the meanings are very different. However, it should be simple to tell which is being used. There are two reasons.

The first is the difference in pronunciation:
want ~ taunt, flaunt, font. This is an "ah" sound in American English.
won't ~ This is an "oh" sound in American English.

The second difference is in grammar. "Won't" is an auxiliary verb, so it's never followed by "to". "Want" is a regular verb, so when a verb comes after it, you have to use "to" first.

I won't use the same recipe for barbecue sauce next time. This one was good, but not as rich or deep as I had wanted to eat.



Two weekends ago I found that USB cables had been breeding in a box in my apartment, and that their population had really increased!
  • breed〔動物が〕子を産む、繁殖する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× I was clearing my room at that time.
○ I was cleaning my apartment at that time.

"Clear" means to get rid of everything, so that the space is empty. If a room is dangerous, the police might tell everyone to "clear the room!" They mean for everyone to get out of the room. 

"Clean" is a better choice when you are organizing things. I did clear the box of USB cables, though. The cables for some peripherals that I'd thrown away long ago were still in this box. Almost all of them got thrown out.

The other thing is that "room" means just one room in your apartment, which is one unit in your apartment building. My building has a lot of units, and my apartment has a few rooms, including the bathroom and the kitchen.

I always want my house to be more organized, and part of that is cleaning up clutter like these USB cables. 
  • clutter【名】散乱物、がらくたの山 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
 I recommend you spend some time this weekend cleaning up clutter at your home.



The other day I arrived at the office after teaching a lesson outside in the morning. I hadn't used the restroom since leaving home, so when I got to the office, I was kind of in a hurry to go to the restroom.

I put down my bag and started walking to the restroom. Thinking ahead, I looked down at my pants, and then I realized it. My fly was down.
  • fly チャック (also "zipper")
Since I hadn't been to the restroom since leaving home, it meant my zipper had been open for a few hours. No wonder it was a little bit cooler when I was riding my bicycle! I stopped and snapped this photo before going to the restroom.
  • no wonder 驚くに値しない、~も不思議ではない、道理で~なわけだ、無理もない、~も無理はない、なるほど~なわけだ、~も当然である (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It seems that when I was a kid in Texas, in some cases someone might lean over to you and tell you, "hey, if you don't close the barn doors, the cows are going to get out!"

If you notice someone with their fly down, I recommend that you tell them. They will probably thank you for it. I would have been grateful for someone to have mentioned it to me. In fact, all of you should check your flies now.