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2008 December 28 Sunday and December 29 Monday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

20081229BigSnowNoah.jpg
Did I mention that it is snowing again?  
It snowed non-stop for four days straight. 

How much did we get? 
Take a look at the photo on the left and see for yourself.

I haven't driven my van since last Thursday, so you can see how much piled up since that time.  
A lot.   

Certainly enough for every ski ground both near to the city and far away, to get a long awaited blessing and open up full time.

Ikuko and I finally finished printing and writing messages on about 300 New Year Cards 年賀状 that we send out every year, so tomorrow I am ready to go snowboarding for the first time this season.

I will be going to Santa Present Park for the night session starting at 16:00, most likely Charlie and his oldest son will be there too.

Charlie sent me an email telling about his big adventure at Kamui Ski Links yesterday.  

He came to the conclusion that he needed some more practice time at a smaller mountain before he was fully ready to get back up on the big slopes again.

I know exactly what he means.   
About 16 years ago when I tried snowboarding for the first time in my life, I was having a really hard time with it.   

E
ven though I was born and raised in Snow Country in Spokane Washington, I was never allowed to go skiing by my parents.  

So before I came to Asahikawa in 1990, I had never even been on a chair lift before.

In fact, the first time I tried to get onto a chair lift with my new snowboard attached to my left foot, I fell off right at the beginning.  

How embarrassing is that!?!   

On my second try, I was able to ride the lift up to the top and then promptly fell down again as I was trying to get off of the chair lift, and slide down to the staging area below.   

After I had attached my right foot to the snowboard binding and tried to stand up, I fell down again, and so on and so forth.

The first 3 or 4 times I went to a ski ground, I did a whole lot more falling down than I did of any meaningful riding.  

Finally on the 4th or 5th trip to the ski ground, I found my balance and was off down the slopes in a free riding style that I still use to this day.  

In a word, learning how to ride a snowboard is very much like learning how to ride a bicycle.  

Once you find your balance, you will remember it for the rest of your life.  

Even if you haven't ridden a bicycle for many years, you can still get on a bicycle and ride it again immediately.  

The only question is HOW LONG can you ride it before you get really tired.   Snowboarding is the same basic principle.

I didn't go snowboarding at all last season, and only one or two times during the season before that.  

Tomorrow I will try it again for the first time in almost two years.  

I know I will be exhausted after about 60 to 90 minutes, but I need more exercise in my life because I spend most of my time sitting in a chair, either talking to people or making stuff on a PC.  

It's time to spread my wings again.

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2008 December 26 Friday and December 27 Saturday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

 20081227BigSnow.jpg

Finally!!!  The Big Snow!!!  

This is the light and fluffy powder snow that Hokkaido is world famous for.

You can see from the photo on the left, that it has piled up fast, and that it continues to come down heavy. 

In fact, it is coming down so heavy that I can't even see the lights of the Santa Present Park Ski Ground which I know for sure is fully open today.

Charlie Hamel told me in an email last week that he and some of his students were planning to go to Kamui Ski Links today, and get in some skiing and snowboarding.  

If it is snowing this hard down here, imagine what it must be like up there on the mountains.

I know from personal experience that being able to see where you are going on the ski slopes during such a heavy snowstorm, can very very difficult if not impossible.  

You can call it a White Out.

On the other hand, if you can see where you are going during a heavy powder downfall, you will have the most excellent adventure humanly possible without leaving the ground.

Riding a snowboard through deep powder snow, is equivalent to flying through the clouds on a magic carpet. 

It is unbelievably easy sailing. 
Almost effortless.   

The only problem you may encounter is trying to get back up on your feet, if you fall down.  

Not because it hurts, in fact it is like falling into a bed of feathers, but because there is nothing solid to push against while trying to get back up on your feet.   

This can take a lot of time and effort, and cause you to tire out quickly.

Overall, this is the season to do some of the best snowboarding that the world has to offer.  

Right here in Hokkaido.  
That is why people come here from all over the world, especially from other parts of Asia and also from New Zealand and Australia.

I am going to hurry up and finish writing all of my New Year Cards 年賀状 tonight, so I can get out my dusty old snowboard and go for a big ride tomorrow.  

I can't wait to get back into it again.

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2008 December 25 Thursday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

2008DEC25XmasTree.jpg 

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!

Meanwhile,.....

第200話  米国、ゼロ金利政策と量的緩和の採用(薄まるドル) ☆☆☆
 
前回の第199話にて、「海図のない航海、ゼロ金利に向かう?FRB」として米国がゼロ金利政策の採用に向かう可能性が高いこと、また既にリーマン・ブラザーズの破綻後の金融の混乱への対応策として、金利から通貨の供給量という政策の変更すなわち「量的緩和策」に実質的に乗り出しているとした。
 
「量的緩和策」とは簡単に表現するならば“紙幣を増刷し、ばら撒く”政策であり、為替市場の観点からすれば、究極の通貨安政策とした。すでに日本が2001年に採用した政策だが、日本の場合には、量的緩和策採用から約1年後の2002年2月に1ドル=135円台を記録したのが円の最安値だった。

しかし、そこをピークに2004年3月の110円割れまでむしろ円高が進んだ。
 
第199話では「なぜ、そこで止まったのか。それは日本が経常黒字国であり、対外債権国であるからではないか。

片や米国は、経常赤字国であり世界最大の対外債務国である。

ドルが基軸通貨であるということが、大きなメリットであり、それが歯止めになる可能性はあるが、仮に大赤字国が本格的な量的緩和策に乗り出すならば、日本円のような水準で果たして止まるのか否か」とした。
 
年末が迫った今月の16日。米国では2日にわたりFOMC(連邦公開市場委員会)が開かれ、利下げが行われた。

市場の大勢は0.5%の引き下げを予想したが実際には0.75%の大幅な引き下げとなった。

そればかりか、今回の引き下げは1%と過去最低に並んでいた金利水準を0%から0.25%にするという金利水準をゾーンで設定するという異例の政策決定となった。

中央銀行であるFRBが操作しているのは、銀行間の貸し借りの金利を意味するFFレート(フェデラル・ファンド・レート)だが、その目標金利にゼロ金利を含めたという点に今回の特徴がある。
 
すなわち米国の政策金利(中央銀行が操作する金利)は、名実共にゼロ%を正式に採用したことにより、下げ余地はなくなったことになる。
 
さらに今回のFOMCではその声明文にて「長期国債の買い入れの検討」をうたい、量的緩和策の導入を正式に決めたのも大きな特徴だった。

FRBはこれから(下げ余地のない)金利ではなく、(世の中に出回る)資金量で金融市場ひいては経済に影響を与えるという政策を採ることとなった。

これで11月の第199話で触れた環境が生まれることとなった。
 
果たしてこの決定が発表された直後から為替市場ではドルが売られた。

市場では米国の利下げを織り込む形で12月に入るとともに主要通貨に対しドル売りの流れが起きていたが、予想を上回る緩和策の発表に下げ幅が大きくなった。

特にドル円相場は急落状態(円急騰)となり1ドル87円13銭と1995年7月以来の円高水準を記録するに至った。
 
「量的緩和策」を別の方法で説明するならば、それは100%のジュースに水を足すようなイメージを浮かべていただければいいだろう。

当然ジュースは薄まる。90%、80%というふうに。このジュースの濃度の薄まりは通貨価値の薄まりを意味することになる。

極端に薄まるとこれは「マネー・インフレ」ということに至る。
「通貨の堕落」という言葉があるのだが、金融市場の、そして経済のカネ回りを良くするために金利の引き下げでは足りず、更に(印刷した)通貨を“ばら撒く”という政策は両刃の剣でもあるわけだ。
 
この“通貨を薄める政策”の導入に金市場は敏感に反応することになった。
政策の発表直後にはドル建て価格は今年の10月8日以来となる880ドル台の高値まで買い進まれたのである。

ドル建て金価格は、ドル相場との逆相関性を維持しており、2009年入り後もこの関係が続きそうだ。

足元でFRBが乗り出した政策は為替要因としてはドル安政策であり、机の上(理論上)ではドルの暴落をも思わせるものといえる。

ただし現実の相場はそれほど簡単なものではないだろう。

対抗馬たるユーロの存在も確かなものとは言えないためだ。

ユーロ圏経済も今回の一連の金融危機のなかで大きなダメージを受けており、更なる利下げ(金融緩和)が必要とされているのである。
 
年始早々にもECB(欧州中銀)は利下げに向かうと見られており、現在2%となっているユーロ圏の金利と米国の金利差は縮小が予想されている。

これはドルのサポート要因といえる。

ユーロ圏よりもさらに激しい景気の収縮に見舞われていると見られる英国の利下げも大きくなると見られており、年始早々、今度はヨーロッパでの利下げの度合いが注目点になっている。

その結果がまたドル建て金価格の方向性を左右することになる。
 
ちなみに、かかる環境の下で、ドル円相場の円高の波は終わっているとは思えず、年末年始を挟んでの更なる円高方向への動きも想定できる環境ではないかと思われる。
 
年始は1月2週のヨーロッパの金融政策の動きを踏まえながら、価格動向に触れたいと思います。

皆様、良い年をお迎えください。(12月25日記)
 
 
金融・貴金属アナリスト
亀井幸一郎
 
※本レポートは執筆者の個人的な見解を述べたものであり、
 実際の投資にあたってはお客様ご自身にてリスクをご判断ください。

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2008 December 24 Wednesday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

 10859112.jpg

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. 

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. 
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"  

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night." 

Poem by Clement Clarke Moore

Reading Voice  by Norman Delaney      
Piano Music  by Liz Story

CLICK HERE to LISTEN      

Reading Voice recorded on 2006 December 24 

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2008 December 23 Tuesday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

10799647.jpg 

Today is a National Holiday in Japan. 
It is the
Emperor's Birthday   天皇誕生日 to be exact. 

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko came to Asahikawa on July 4, 2003 for the first time in more than 30 years. 

The Royal Couple were on a tour of Hokkaido that year, and they traveled around this beautiful island by motorcade.  

One of the events on their schedule was to have a Luncheon Banquet at the
Taisetsu Crystal Hall which is right across the street from my classroom.  

Because I knew the schedule of events on that day, I waited outside on the street along the route of the motorcade as it left the Luncheon Banquet at about 15:00. 

I was in a big crowd of people, but lucky for me, I am taller than most of the other people, so I could raise up my one-shot-at-a-time digital camera over my head in an attempt to take a photo of the Emperor as he and the Empress passed by on their way to their next event. 

Even though I couldn't use the viewfinder so as to be sure that I got a good photo, I got lucky none the less. 

As you can see from the photo on the left, this was a very lucky photo indeed, because I only had one chance.. 

The one and only chance in my lifetime perhaps.  
As a result, I nailed it.  

Later that same day, during the evening, there was another large gathering of people, this time in front of the Asahikawa City Hall to wave up at the Royal Couple as they waved back down to the crowd below from a 15th floor window in the Asahikawa Grand Hotel. 

I was able to take some very interesting photos of the occasion and you can see the photo gallery for that day day by clicking here.  

You can also read the very short essay I wrote about it by clicking here.

As I said at the start of today's blog, today is a National Holiday so I had no classes to teach. 

With about 3 weeks of winter vacation in front of me, I began to think of all of the things that I must do, and most of the other things that I want to do. 
It is a rather long list.
 

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2008 December 15 Monday thru December 22 Monday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

2008SEP23SummerSolstice.jpg 

Today, December 22 is the Winter Solstice.  
It is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. 
It is not the coldest time of year in Asahikawa, that will come in the middle of February.

This past week was my last week of classes before the start of my 3 week winter vacation. 
As such, there was a small Xmas Party during each and every one of my classes, with a small gift for each and every student to take home with them.

Speaking of Xmas parties, I was invited to the METS 英会話 School's Xmas party, that was held at the Leo Palace Hotel on Saturday night from 19:00 until 21:00.

I don't know for sure, but I think this school has been around longer than my own classroom.  
I remember seeing their Town Pages Advertisement every year since I first started my school back in 1996.

Anyway, I met the people who work at and manage the school for the very first time on Saturday evening.

In a word, they are very nice people and if you live in the Suehiro Area of Asahikawa, you may enjoy attending some of their classes.  
They even have classes at other locations around Asahikawa such as Lumine and other citizen learning centers.  

Be on the look out for METS メッツ 英会話 posters when you go shopping at the 100 Yen store or you local supermarket.

After the METS 英会話 Xmas Party was finished at 21:30, I was invited by the manager Mr. S., to join everyone at another location for a second party, but I declined the offer because I was thinking about doing some more work on my affiliate website the Every Thing Japan Network.  

So, I sad thank you very much and started walking home along the icy sidewalks of downtown Asahikawa.

As I passed by the Planet Building, I suddenly remembered that I haven't been to the Piano in Pub, for a very long time. 
Since I was already in the area, I decided to take the elevator up to the 8th floor and join the party.

The reason I like this place so much, is because the owner can play any song on the piano and the customers can sing along on an open microphone.  

If you like going to a Karaoke Box and singing all of you favorite songs, you will like this place even better.

Not only that, but on Saturday nights they are open until 02:00 on Sunday morning, and a lot of really talented musicians stop by to play their musical instruments.  
It is an excellent place to meet up and get together for for a LIVE JAM!

On Sunday afternoon starting at 14:00, I went bowling with the Asahikawa University Lifelong Learning Class 旭川大学生涯教育クラス at the Dinos Sugai Building located on Taisetsu Doori.   

About the only time I go bowling at all, is with this group of people, and in 2005 I got the highest score over two games and won about 10,000 yen worth of book certificates. 

However, this year I didn't do as well.  
Although I paid 1,200 yen for two games of bowling, I won a total of 1,500 yen in book gift certificates 図書カード.  
Not a bad deal by any standards.

Tomorrow is the Emperor's Birthday and thus, a National Holiday.

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2008 December 8 Monday thru December 14 Sunday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

20081214SnowmanCONFUSED.jpg 

An open letter to Link Share Japan.  
Thank you for wasting my time!!!

As you may already know if you are a regular reader of this blog, I have started a new website in early September of this year, the main  purpose of which was to be an affiliate advertiser for the products and services of other companies.  

Although this type of affiliate marketing has been around for a bit more than ten years, it is still a relatively new business idea in the course of human history.  

With a lot of help from my good friend Charlie, I started to understand a little bit of what this world of internet marketing is all about.

I receive several internet newsletters from various organizations, one of which is from the Highlights for Children education company.  

I used to read this monthly magazine as a child and was hoping to share it with my students here in Japan, so I looked at their website to see if they had an affiliate program.

Sure enough, they did.   When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the English language website for Link Share USA.  

On that website I clicked on the big button that said Publishers Join Now.  I was taken to a Japanese Language sign up page.  

I didn't think anything was unusual about this, as it often happens with many websites such a Google.

Anyway this is not a problem for me because I can read Japanese. 
So I filled out all of the required information, in the Japanese Language.  
One of the data input boxes required me to describe the purpose of my website, so I filled it in like this.  日本の全てを英語の世界に紹介する、または、日本に住んでいる外国人に、便利な買物サイトを紹介したいとのことです。  In English I would translate this as; "Introduce everything about Japan to the English Speaking World.  Also, provide a one stop shopping website for foreigners living in Japan.

Is there any confusion,  either in English or in Japanese, as to the purpose of my new affiliate website, the Every Thing Japan Network?

About two business days after I made my affiliate application to Link Share Japan, my website was approved to become a publisher, so immediately started applying to most of the various companies that are registered with Link Share Japan as advertisers.  

I was approved by about 80% of the advertisers that I applied to, starting with the companies that I myself have bought things from and know are good products and services.  

Companies such as ALC which also goes by the name アルク and publishes many language learning materials which I myself have used to learn Japanese, Chinese and Korean.  

Sky Perfect TV, to which I myself have be a subscriber for about 10 years. 

Glico グリコ which makes many of the snack foods that my wife enjoys eating, etc, etc.

I was very happy and satisfied to be able to introduce these products and services to the non-Japanese speaking world, which is about 95% of the world population.  

I must have spent more than 100 hours putting up banner advertisements for my favorite companies onto my new website.  

I even made a sale through one of them, thus earning a small commission.  
Then, everything suddenly changed.

About two weeks after being approved as a publisher thru Link Share Japan, I received the following email from them.

ご登録されたWEBサイトは「ECサイトのパートナー」の観点から 一定の基準をもって審査を行っておりますが、審査の結果、下記の理由により、登録申請を一時的に保留とさせていただいております。 ※日本語以外のコンテンツで構成されているサイト

For those of my readers who can't read Japanese, let me summarize the above message.

Your website being registered as a partner to Electronic Commerce websites, as been examined, and the results of the examination are that your application had been put on temporary hold for the following reason.   

THE CONTENTS OF YOUR WEBSITE IS IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN JAPANESE.

Say What????  
You have already approved my website, that is why I was able to get banner links from your advertisers. 

Not only that, but I wrote about the purpose of my website in my application. 

Didn't you read it before you approved my website? 
Did you even look at my website before approving my application?   What kind of nonsense is this?

In an attempt to find out what this was all about, I contacted the Link Share USA branch of the company to find out if I could transfer my account to them, instead of the Japanese Network.

At first, I got an email from Link Share USA, with the URL for the signup page. 
I went to the English Language sign up page, but I was not able to complete the process, because the data input form does not recognize "Hokkaido" as a legitimate location for an address. 

So, I wrote them back again and asked what I should do.  
They said that they will contact me again when the issue is resolved.

As of this writing, I have heard nothing more from them.

As far a Link Share Japan is concerned; I have asked them several questions:

Number one.   WHY did you approve my website in the first place if you already knew that the contents was written in English?

Number two.  
WHY is there no mention in the affiliate agreement that the contents of an affiliate's website MUST BE IN JAPANESE ONLY?  For those of you who can read Japanese, click here to read the agreement for yourself.  Especially take a close look at article 8  第8条。

On December 6, 2008 when Link Share Japan deactivated my account, and thus wasted about 100 hours of my time that I spent applying to advertisers, getting approved, and then putting banner links on my website, I wrote to them again and asked them; WHY IS THERE NOTHING  IN THE AFFILIATE AGREEMENT ABOUT PUBLISHER WEBSITE CONTENTS NEEDING TO BE WRITTEN IN JAPANESE ONLY???

Here is the reply I got.

  参加規約に「日本語以外のサイト」の参加を言及する文章はありません。 但し、弊社は、参加規約の第18条に基づき、日本のネットワークに参画する アフィリエイトサイトが基準をクリアするよう精査しています。

English translation:  There is nothing written in the affiliate agreement about publisher sites using languages other than Japanese. 

However, in accordance with article 18 (of the affiliate agreement) all publisher websites are carefully checked to insure they clear the standards of the Link Share Japan Network.

Below this comment I was given a URL to click on that leads to a web page in the FAQ sections of the website!!!! 
Click here to read that page.   

Again, if you can't read Japanese let me summarize the contents of the page. 
No affiliates under 18 years of age, No under construction websites, No gambling or adult porno or chat websites.

No websites that require a sign in page to access the website.
No multi level marketing websites. No websites that promote racial or religious or ethnic hatred.  etc. etc.    

Oh! and by the way, no websites that are written in a language other than Japanese.

Can you believe this xit!?!?

Remember, this information was not written in the affiliate agreement itself. 
It was written on a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) web page, and merely referred to by the agreement in article 18!!!

While most of these standards are just common sense, the requirement to have all publisher website contents in Japanese only, is not common sense.  

After all, only about 5% of the worlds population can read Japanese.  
The number of people who can read English is much greater than that.   Now, that is common sense.

Conclusion:  Link Share Japan has a business model perfect for the stone age. 

Wake up boys!!!  Your competitors such as Value Commerece, Commission Junction, Pepper Jam Network and so forth are going to steal your market share and put you in the internet marketing has been category.  

Best of luck to you guys.

And once again, thank you so much for wasting about 100 hours of my time!!!!  

Have a Merry Xmas.

**************************************

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共通テーマ:資格・学び

2008 December 1 Monday thru December 7 Sunday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

20081206IceHockey.jpg 

Believe it or not, it was raining all week, until Saturday when it started snowing again. 
The snow continues today on Sunday, and hopefully every day after that.  
I wanna go snowboarding at
Santa Present Park next Saturday night, if possible.

The main reason I often go to Santa Present Park at night is because it is only a 15 minute drive from my house and it is not very crowded at night.  
I don't like waiting in lines for any reason, especially ski lifts.

Santa Present Park is a good place for beginning skiers or snowboarders to start learning how to ride on the snow.  
There are three different ski lifts there.  
The lift in the middle is short and takes you up to less than half way on the hill.  
From there, it is a gentle slope down to the bottom of the hill, just perfect for beginners. 
In fact, that is where I first learned how to snowboard about 15 years ago.

The photo you can see in today's blog was taken on Saturday at the Taisetsu Arena, which is right next door to my classroom.

I was invited to attend these ice hockey games by one of my architect friends, Mr. N.  His youngest son, who is now almost 20 years old was supposed to perform some of his original rap songs after the children's hockey match, and before the start of the professional hockey match.  

I have known Mr. N for about 16 years, and remember his youngest son when he was still in kindergarten.  
Now, this kid has pink hair, hip hop fashion, and a foul mouth that spews forth all of the dirtiest words in the English Language, but not much else.   

It reminds me of a Willie Nelson song that goes something like this; "Momma don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys,..."   In this case I would substitute the word "cowboys" for "rappers".

Despite this small disappointment in stunted growth, I'm glad I went because I like to watch ice hockey games live, even though the Taisetsu Areana is ice cold.  
Another enjoyable thing about going was that I was able to meet a young Canadian lady, who was brought along by Mr. N's wife. 

Mr. N's wife is a school nurse in the Furano area, and the 21 year old Canadian lady is employed as an Assistant Language Teacher in the same general area.  
She has a good sense of humor and was a lot of fun to talk to, especially because we are both native speakers of North American English.

She told me that she had arrived in Hokkaido only about 5 months ago, but that she had been studying the Japanese Language, on her own, since she was about 15 years old!  
This surprised me so I asked her if she had been to Japan before when she was in junior high school, on a home stay program or something like that. 

She replied that she had just come to Japan this year for the first time, but that she liked to study languages, and that is why she first started learning Japanese about 6 years ago.  
I too like learning languages so we had something in common to talk about.

Tomorrow morning, Charlie and I are off to Mebae Kindergarten めばえ幼稚園 to do a special Christmas Songs Show for the kids out there. 
Last year I had to do it by myself so this year's show should be a lot more fun for everyone.

**************************************

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共通テーマ:資格・学び

2008 November 17 Monday thru November 30 Sunday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

 2008.11.30LinkShare.jpg

Sorry I haven't written for so long.  
In fact some of my students have been asking me to write more often, like I used to do, because they use this blog as a textbook for learning English at home.

The reason I haven't written anything for about two weeks is not because I have nothing to write about, but rather because I have been spending all of my free time developing my new website at http://EveryThingJapan.net

The purpose of that website is entirely different from this website. 
The Every Thing Japan Network website was made for the sole purpose of becoming an affiliate marketer for advertisers of various companies.

If you have never heard of INTERNET AFFILIATE MARKETING before, and already have your own blog or website, let me take a few moments of my time to explain the basics of how to earn extra money on the internet, in your spare time, at home, without spending any of your own money to get started.

First of all, you need to get a unique domain name that you can call your own.  
This might cost you somewhere between $5 or $10.  
Then you need to find a web hosting company to host your web site. 
You can get both at the web hosting company that I use. 
It is located in Canada and is  called MyHosting.

There are even many websites on the internet where you can START A BLOG FOR FREE, such as Rakuten and Blogger.

I myself, prefer to have total control over my websites and not use any of the free blogger services offered, because I don't like working with the limited user interfaces that those free websites offer.

This SnowmanJapan website was built up using MicroSoft FrontPage and starting with only one blank web page, but that software is no longer being supported by MicroSoft.

The EveryThingJapan site is being made with Adobe (Macromedia Studio MX) Dreamweaver software, and it is truly a joy to work with this professional software package. 
The placement of everything on the web page can be made with pixel perfect accuracy, and no need for guess work.

Once you have your own blog or website up and running on the internet, you are ready to apply to various companies and start putting advertisements on your blog or website.

20081130AdSense.jpg

Perhaps the easiest place to get started is with Google AdSense for content.  
Advertisers use Google AdWords to put text based advertisements on your website automatically.  
The text advertisements will be similar to the text based content of your blog or other essays that you have published on your website.   

If somebody clicks on one of your AdSense for Content advertising links, Google charges the advertiser some money, and then pays you a percentage of that money as an AdSense publisher.  

Either way, Google makes money on the deal, and so do you.  
Of course you are not allowed to click on your own AdSense links, or Google will ban you from the program.

Another place to get started with placing colorful banners and product ads on your website is at Amazon dot COM or Amazon dot CO dot JP.  Amazon calls its affiliates "associates", but they are both the same thing. 

All you have to do is go to the sign up page and fill out the information there, and Amazon will get back to you within a few business days and tell you whether or not you have been approved for their program.   

Amazon has a wide variety of marketing tools for Associate Publishers that are easy to use, and can add a lot of colorful content to your website.

Other places to find affiliate programs are websites such as http://LinkShare.com     http://LinkShare.ne.jp   both of which are RakuTen companies.   

Another website you might want to check out is http://www.cj.com  
The website is called Commission Junction.  

Another website you might want to consider is http://ClickBank.com     These websites are different from Amazon in that they offer opportunities to sign up with many other companies, known as advertisers, and not just with one company, like Amazon.   

After you have signed up at these websites, the website will allow you to apply for an affiliate program with all of their advertisers.  
Each and every advertiser that you apply to will either accept or reject your website as an affiliate publisher for that particular company.   

So far, I have been accepted by about 80% of the advertisers that I have applied to, for a total of almost 300 companies that allow me to be an affiliate publisher for them, through the above mentioned websites.

2008.11.30CommissionJunction.jpg

As you can imagine, with almost 300 companies and all of their banners and product links to look over and choose from, I haven't had much time to write this blog, until today.

A few of my students have asked me about how to make money on the internet from home, and the above information is what I have told them.  

I hope all of my students and the rest of you out there, who read this blog, will benefit from this very basic information about Internet Affiliate Marketing.
Until next time, happy surfing.

By the way, just below this blog, you can see a live example of Google AdSense for content.   The common text says Ads by Google, and you have probably seen them on many other web sites. 

**************************************

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共通テーマ:資格・学び

2008 November 11 Tuesday thru November 16 Sunday. [スノーマン先生の英文ブログ]

The G20 Summit held in Washington D.C.

2008.11.16_G8groupPhoto.jpg

This news even made the front page of the Hokkaido Newspaper complete with a photograph similar the one you can see on the left.

The main purpose of this summit was to solve the looming world financial crisis.

Even though they came up with some statements for the news media about how they are making progress to fix the problems, such as;   "We must lay the foundation for reform to help ensure that a global crisis, such as this one, does not happen again," they didn't tell the public what they are really planning to do.

I don't know much about the Bank of Japan, but I do know a little bit about the Federal Reserve Banks (FRB) of the USA.  

Therefore, I would like to share with my readers what little I do know about the FRB, and let them draw their own conclusions as to what will happen next.

Despite its governmental sounding name, the FRB is not a part of the Government of the United States of America.  

It is instead, a cartel of privately owned banking corporations, who have the power to tell the United States Treasury Department, how much money to print, and when to print it.

How did the FRB get started, and how did they get the power that they have now?

The FRB, also called the Federal Reserve System, was created in 1913 by the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act.  

This legislation was rushed through the United States Congress without proper debate on December 23, 1913 when many of the congressmen were not even in attendance, because they were at their homes for the Christmas Holidays.

Despite this incredible fact, President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill into law on the very same day!

The American public was told that the Federal Reserve System would prevent any more financial crisis, which had caused the great depressions in 1893 and 1907.

Now that a small group of private banks controlled the entire money supply of the United States, they rapidly increased the amount of money in circulation during the years 1914 thru 1919 until the money supply doubled, by making extensive loans to other smaller banks, which encouraged those smaller banks made extensive loans to the general public.

Then in 1920, the Federal Reserve began to call in its loans from the smaller banks, and the smaller banks in turn had to call in their loans from the general public.   T

his caused the public whom had their life savings in the smaller banks, to rush to the bank and withdraw their money.  

Because the smaller banks didn't have all of that money on hand, many of them had to close their doors.  

In fact about 5,400 smaller banks went out of business during this time.  In other words, bankrupt.  

As a result, the Federal Reserve Bank bought all of these smaller banks at a very low price, further consolidating their monopoly on the banking business.

However, the financial panic of 1920 was just a warm up for what was to come next.  

During the years of 1921 thru 1929 the Federal Reserve again increased the money supply by more than 62% by giving loans the remaining smaller banks, which in turn gave out loans to the general public.  

There was also a new type of loan called a "Margin Loan" in the Stock Market.   

Simply put, a margin loan is a loan to stock market investors, whereby the investor can buy, say,  $1000 worth of stock with a payment of only $100 down.  

The stock broker would cover the other 90% of the value of the stock.   

This margin loan system works very well, as long as stock prices continue to rise, and it created many new millionaires.   

In fact, this era in U.S. History is remembered as The Roaring Twenties.

Unfortunately, a margin loan can be called in at any time and must be paid off within 24 hours.   

This is know as a "Margin Call".  The party ended on October 24, 1929 when the biggest investors in the stock market, the big bankers, quietly started selling most all of their stocks. 

This forced the stock brokers to make massive margin calls, in order to get the money needed pay the big investors their money, for the stocks which they had just sold.  

What happened to the small investors?   

They lost everything they had, and went deeply into debt at the same time.   Many people committed suicide as a result of this deliberate market manipulation.  

This time about 16,000 smaller banks went out of business.

What followed next was the Great Depression of the 1930s.  

Only World War II and The New Deal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of them financed by the International Banking Cartel which drastically increased the money supply again, ended the great depression.

Fast forward to 2008 and the Sub Prime Housing Loan Crisis.

Banks have been lending massive amounts of money to people, so that they could buy houses with no money down and at very low starting interest rates. 

So, many many people who really couldn't afford it, signed housing loan contracts, and bought new houses.  

The catch, is that the mortgage interest rates became adjustable after the first one or two years.  

In other words, what started out as house payments of say $400 per month, suddenly became house payments of $700, $800 and more per month. 

Because most peoples' income did not increase by the same amount, they could no longer afford to pay their mortgages, and had to move out of their new homes.

Sounds a lot like a Margin Call, doesn't it.

Not only that, but the financial markets started to buy up these bad mortgages, and repackage them together into what appeared to be investment grade products, and sell them on the stock market.  

Now, as stock prices continue to fall, the Federal Reserve continues to print more and more paper money, to bailout Wall Street and now the Big Automobile Makers, and maybe the Airline Industry is next in line to get FREE MONEY.  

Money printed out of thin air, with nothing of value behind it.   This creates INFLATION, a rise in prices of everything, and if the FRB continues print more paper money, HYPER-INFLATION.

In reality, the VALUE of commodities is not going up, instead, the value of the U.S. Dollar paper money is going down.

What do you think is going to happen next?   Put on your thinking caps, and fasten your seat belts.  It's going to be a rough ride.

**************************************

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共通テーマ:資格・学び
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