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"I used to" and "I'm used to"

"I used to" and "I'm used to" can be easy to confuse. What's the difference? Good question. Let me explain with some examples...

We say I used to when we talk about something that we we did in the past, but now we don't.
"I used to ride the Chuo line everyday." This means that I rode the Chuo line everyday in the past, but I don't anymore. I used to ride it everyday.

We say I'm used to when we talk about something that was odd or unusual for us at first, but it is not  unusual anymore. We have experience now.
"The Chuo line is very crowded during rush hour, but I am I'm used to it now." This means that when I rode the Chuo line after I came to Tokyo it was very unusual for me. I had never ridden on such a crowded train. After riding this train for a week it isn't new or unusual anymore. I have experience riding the train so I'm used to it now.

More examples:

"I used to be a DJ." I am not a DJ now but I was before.
"My friend used to live in Russia." He doesn't live there now but he did before.

"After 6 years in Tokyo John is used to  raw fish ." Raw fish is not new for him anymore. He has experience eating raw fish.
"I used to be a stuntman, so I am used to getting shot!" betting shot is not new for me. I have experience being shot for TV shows and movies. (Lots of experience!!!)

How about you? What did you used to do? What are you used to?

Golden week

This week is Golden week, or as I would say to my Japanese friends "It's ้‡‘ใฎ้€ฑ! (Kin no shuu!)" They would look at me very strangely whenever I said this. "What?!" I realized that they know the sound "golden"  but they don't understand the meaning exactly. So, what does "golden" mean and how do we use it?

Golden is an adjective that can mean something is very good or valuable. Gold is a precious metal so things made of gold have value, they are expensive. "Golden week" is used to mean a very good week because there are 3 holidays in the same week. It is rare to have 3 days off in a week, so it's great!

Another good example is when we have a good chance to do something. We call it a golden opportunity.
"I will visit my wife's parents this weekend. They can't speak English so this is a golden opportunity for me to practice my Japanese."

Golden can mean gold colored. "My sister is tall with golden hair."

or made of gold 
"Indiana Jones found a golden statue in the ancient ruins." "Kinkakuji is a golden Buddhist temple in Kyoto." Please note that we use golden for things that are special, not usually made of gold. Statues are usually made of clay or stone so a statue made of gold is special or unique. Another example is a baseball award for outstanding performance from a player called the "Golden Glove." Gloves are not usually made of gold so we say golden. If something is commonly made from gold, like a ring or a necklace we just use gold as an adjective.
"My boss always wears a gold watch to work, I should ask for a raise!" or "I bought gold earrings for my wife for Christmas."

I hope that reading my blog is a golden opportunity for you to study English!

The new golden iPhone 4!

Idioms "Actions speak louder than words"

Actions speak louder than words

What you do is more important than what you say.

The politician promised to do many things but he never did anything. The voters believed that actions speak louder than words and they soon voted him out of office. 

"See" "watch" and "look at"

Did you SEE that!?
These verbs can be confusing to use sometimes.
See is an inactive word. When your eyes are open, you do it without thinking.
"I see a car near the store."
Look at is active. You must want to do it. But it is for a short time.
"Look at this dress."
Watch is also active. You must want to do it but it is for a longer period of time. Usually you are looking in the same direction. (Movie, soccer game etc.)
"Let's watch television."

"Eye" Idioms

catch one`s eye
- attract one`s attention, notice something
"I tried to catch my friend`s eye at the movie theater but he didn`t notice me."
eyes in the back of one`s head
- ability to know what happens when one`s back is turned
"The teacher has eyes in the back of her head and always knows what is going on in the classroom. "

"Few" and "A few"

It is easy to confuse "few" and "a few." When you add "a" it makes a big difference.
"Few" means "not many":
Few people are travelling to Fukushima these days. (Not many people...)
Few original movies come from Hollywood anymore, everything is a remake, or part 2. (Not many original movies...)
"A few" is like "some":
There are a few foreigners working in my company, most of them are American. (some foreigners...)
I ate a few gyoza yesterday and now I feel sick. (some gyoza...)

If you have a few English questions let me know and I will try to answer them!

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