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Senior English Conversation Class, Dec. 4, 2012
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Since several years ago, I have been attending the Senior English Conversation Class, sponsored by the International Center of Urayasu City (UIC). It has been held in one of UIC's rooms on the 2nd floor of Il Mare, next door to the New Urayasu Station.
Tonight, Dec. 4, is the last day of this term, so we are going to have a get-together party after the class.

Eight seniors have been here as regular students every Tuesday evening this term, under the instruction of the teacher Grace. Our next term will start in mid-January, until then Lady Grace will enjoy Christmas Holidays with her relatives and friends at her hometown in Mindanao Island, the Philippines.

Lady Grace is really sincere and cheerful. Her class is always full of enthusiasm in a humorous atmosphere.
She is so well-informed of current topics around the city that, as we admire her, she lets us know any welcome or discount sale news of super markets and department stores.

The photos are what is going on in the class. Sorry I forgot to take pictures at the party after class.
Our senior English class is held every Tuesday for 70 minutes from 6:30pm.
The class starts every time by each senior's talk of his/her daily topics for "What did you do last week?"
After that we answer the homework which is given every week.
Nobody neglects it at all, so that each answer develops into the exchange of at-random conversation. Accordingly our class is full of ad-lib or improvisation, which is not only pleasant but also useful.

Our textbook is now "Side by Side" by Longman, as the class's main purpose is the daily and travel English.
All of the seniors may be busy with hobbies, sports, voluntary activities, or routine chores, but we all agree to the point that this class is the first priority.
Lady Grace's talk is so quick and witty with a little bit of broken Japanese that it really makes us feel "English conversation" leads us to an international society as well as her attitude increases our harmonious mood a lot in the class.
We honestly appreciate that her English with Philippine accent contributes to our practical English conversation rather than native British or American English.
Additionally, she is well-informed of the situation of Asia, not to mention the Philippines. So that her lesson brings a variety of precious information to us who are apt to be oriented to the US and Europe.
Thanks to her, I believe we may have come to deal with the mass media from another angle without self-assumption.

…………………………

Lady Grace looked pale in the class, showing us the terrible sight on the internet in her iPad.
Surprisingly, Typhoon Bopha is causing the trace of the damage on the island right now !
The damaged place seems to be a seaside village, which, she says, is very near to her home town.
She, apparently, cannot hide irritation and impatience, saying, "The life lines like electricity, water supply, etc. are now shut out all over the island and the cellphone is nearly out of service."

Global warming has driven typhoons mad so that they have come to pass over the Philippine islands which were usually far from their passages even if most of them have formed near there.
It is still obvious to us that the super typhoon Washi swept over Mindanao Island and that it killed over 1000 people with abundant missings, mid-December last year.
Just one year later now, like its playback, the super typhoon Bopha is mercilessly violating this island including Lady Grace's hometown.

 …………
Although I have been paying attention to TV since that night and the newspaper since the next morning for a few days, I haven't yet had any expected information about the detailed striken situation in Mindanao Island and what has been all about since then.
Was my interest too strong? Wasn't the damage such a big incident as considered world wide?
Even so, I took my breath away when Lady Grace showed us the U-tube movie in the class that night.

That vivid image of tragedy faded away day by day from my head.
After 10 days, I searched for the disaster on the internet, and found the following article, though a little bit old news.

Typhoon Bopha Hit Mindanao Island,
South of the Philippines
Over 300 Dead

The extent of damage by Typhoon Bopha which crossed Mindanao Island south of the Philippines on Dec. 4, widely spread out on the 5th, and the casualties by flash flood and mudslide were recognized to have risen to 305, according to the Disaster Management Authorities and the Armed forces. Victims have been about 210 thousand people, over 170 thousand of whom have remained in evacuation centers.
The Japanese Embassy in Manila says that the dead and the missing of Japanese people haven't been confirmed yet.

President Aquino, who took the situation seriously, appealed to the people for the support of clothes, drinking water, etc. to the disaster victims.
According to the above mentioned authorities, most of the victims are considered as the residents in Compostela Valley and East Davao provinces of Mindanao Island, and also around the island.
Bridges and roads were washed out and electricity was cut off, which have hindered the damage confirmation and the rescue operation.

Typhoon Bopha went away to the South China Sea, after crossing the West Palawan Island, the Meteorologocal Agency says.

00:20, Dec. 6, 2012, Kyodo News

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