It’s that time again…. a couple of quick ones in time for Jason Renshaw’s Hallowe’en Lesson Plan Challenge.

The first worksheet is a set of questions to get them in the mood – there are four different question sheets with spaces to add extra questions. Students can circulate and make notes, then report back to their original team (language practice – reported speech “Tomomi told me that…” / most of / the majority of / almost everyone said that…). I have a stable pdf version, but if you’d like to play around with it there is a word version too.

Next is a pair of urban legend readings. You can cut them up and have groups of students work together to put one of them in order (good for noticing structures and organisation). Then students can tell one another the story they completed.

truck driver hallowe’en story (pdf)

university students hallowe’en story (pdf)

If you want to add local place names and personal touches to give the students an extra chill, you can use these word versions.


Uni Students

Finally, I have written before about the Kuchisake-onna, one of my favourite urban legends. Students can read about her, and her little sister Toire no Hanako, in these two short passages…

kuchisake onna and toire no hanako.

However, after the readings A and B put their papers aside and compare information. Can they find the nine differences?

destroy all monsters!

Happy Haunting……

With only three weeks to go, the excitement is rising for the Realizing Autonomy conference to be held at Nanzan University in Nagoya on October 29th. The website for the conference (and the accompanying book) is constantly evolving, so keep your eyes on it. Part of the reason I am writing here today is to ask for your help, so if you can do any of the following, please chip in! You can contact me directly at, or drop comments in the appropriate comment boxes online. Cheers!


We are looking for someone with a knack and a camera to capture the event, and if you can commit we are willing to waive your conference fee.

Video Experts

If anyone is prepared to record and edit some of the sessions to upload to our website, we would do the same.

Must-see Nagoya

I love this place, and I want the out-of-towners coming in to go away with a great impression of Japan’s third city. There will be a plenty making a weekend of it, so what do you recommend? If you have any good ideas for things to eat and drink, places to visit in town, or short trips around the area, please click on the links and deposit your knowledge on the official conference website.


The social is already fully subscribed, and we are thinking about the entertainment. Our venue is equipped with an array of multi-media facilities (karaoke, anyone?) and we are considering various ideas. If you want to volunteer for a Pecha Kucha, we would love to hear from you! Other suggestions are also very welcome.


We are already expecting a great turnout, but just in case anyone hasn’t heard about the conference, you can print out the posters and flyers and spread the word.

The Day Itself

The schedule is now available on the website, and we hope to get a pdf version of the conference booklet posted in advance of the conference. Unfortunately, Richard Pemberton is unable to fly at the moment, but he will join us via the magic of technology and team up with Mike Nix to give us something very special. Tim Murphey will be start off the day in his usual energizing style, and we will welcome a host of other guests, speakers and presenters.

Thanks for your indulgence, everyone! Looking forward to seeing you all soon!