Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ハーフタイムデー: Half Time Day

Today is the last day of June. That means a half year of 2009 was finished. How was the first half of 2009?
I started this blog about 6 months ago, and I have tried to renew it every day. Sometimes it was hard to make it because of the Internet access or something. But I wrote at least the same number of the dates of the months in a month.
To continue something is rather hard until you make it a habit.
Since I like traveling and taking pictures, I hope I will start another blog talking about my journey near future.

Monday, June 29, 2009

ビートルズ記念日(bitoruzu kinenbi)

On June 29, 1966, The Beatles came to Japan for the first time. Therefore today is bitoruzu kinenbi (ビートルズ記念日), Anniversary of The Beatles. They had 5 concerts in 3 days from June 30 to July 2 at the Budokan(武道館), in Tokyo. A-grade seat was yen2,100, B-grade seat was yen1,800 and C-grade seat was yen1,500. More than 35,000 riot policemen and security guards were mobilized. 6,520 high school students were guided because they did not go to school but to concert.
The Beatles debuted in 1962 and dissolved in 1970. They sold more than 1,000,000,000 copies by 1985.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

貿易記念日(boeki kinenbi)

They say June 28 is Boeiki kinenbi (貿易記念日), Anniversary of Trading. This was established by now Keizai sangyo sho (経済産業省), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 1963 to promote the free trading.
Edo bakufu (江戸幕府), Edo Shogunate declared to allow 5 countries (USA, France, Russia, England, The Netherlands) to do free trading at 3 ports in Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate on June 28, 1859.

奇跡の人の日(kiseki no hito no hi): Day of the Miracle Worker

They say June 27 is kiseki no hito no hi(奇跡の人の日), Day of the Miracle Worker because Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880. After 19 months, she got scarlet fever and became deaf and blind. The encounter with Annie Sullivan changed her life and she became the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She graduated from Radcliff. The relationship between Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan lasted for 49 years long.
She published 12 books, and visited 39 countries. In 1964 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When I was an elementary school student, one day my teacher asked the class "Who do you respect?" I still remember that I said I respected Helen Keller.

Friday, June 26, 2009

マイケル・ジャクソン (Michael Jackson)

The world super star Michael Jackson passed away suddenly. I heard the news from the radio first, and I could not believe that. In the morning TV news they reported that Farrah Fawcett died of cancer at the age of 62. In the noon TV news they reported Michael's death. The front pages of many evening newspapers were about Michael's article. I am now watching CNN reporting about him.
His album "Thriller" (1982) was sold 150,000,000 copies around the world and it is the world record. The total sales of his albums, singles, and DVD are said to be more than 750,000,000 copies.
I have been to his concert once when he came to Japan in 1987. It was held at the baseball stadium. I felt he was the real entertainer at that time. I enjoyed his music and dance very much.
I pray his soul may rest in peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

住宅デー(jyutaku de): Day of Housing

They say June 25 is Jyutaku de (住宅デー), Day of Housing. This day was established by Zenkoku kensetsu rodo kumiai sorengo (全国建設労働組合総連合), National Federation of Construction Workers' Union in 1978 to let the people understand the work and skill of construction workers.
This day was chosen because the great Spanish architect, Antoni Guillem Gaudi i Cornet was born on June 25, 1852. His most famous architecture must be Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It was his life work. The construction started in 1882 but it is still under construction and it is thought to be finished in 2256. Nobody in this world now can't see the completion.....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UFO記念日(yu efu o kinenbi): Anniversary of UFO

Do you believe in UFO and other mysterious stuff?
They say today is UFO kinenbi (UFO 記念日), Anniversary of UFO established by UFO Library. On June 24, 1947 the first mysterious flying saucer was witnessed by Kenneth Arnold near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. There are 9 objects flying at the speed of 2,700km/h.
Later they were named "UFO" Unidentified Flying Object by U.S. Air Force. In 1969they were thought as mirage.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

オリンピック・デー (orinpikku de) : Olympic Day

They say June 23 is Olympic Day. Since 1948 it has served to celebrate the anniversary of the International Olympic Committee created on June 23, 1894 and the revival of the Olympic Games.
Before 1992, the Olympics were just something to watch on TV for me. But I was in Spain in 1992 working at the Expo '92 in Seville, and happened to watch the opening ceremony of Barcelona Olympics on TV, and was moved by the lighting of the Olympic Flame and thought. "I am in Spain, I should go to see the Barcelona Olympic!" This was the beginning.
I went to see Barcelona Olympic in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Nagano in 1998, Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002 and Athens in 2004.
I feel I am lucky to have seen these games by myself.

Monday, June 22, 2009

かにの日(kani no hi): Day of crab

They say June 22 is kani no hi(かにの日), Day of crab. Though I love crab very much, I did not know about it until today. This day was established in 1999 by the famous crab restaurant Kani doraku(かに道楽: literally crab indulgence) in Osaka.
Why? There are two reasons. One is that June 22 is the first day of Cancer of the horoscope. Horoscope caner is kani za(かに座) in Japanese. Kani is crab or cancer, za is seat or sign. What is your horoscope sign? Mine is oushi za(おうし座), Taurus.
The other reason is very interesting. In Japanese there are 46 phonetic alphabets. Ka (か) is the 6th and ni (に) is the 22nd character in the chart. Therefore 6.22 is day of ka ni, that is Day of crab.
I love crab restaurants in Japan very much. I hope you will have a chance to taste the crab dishes here in Japan someday.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

夏至(geshi): The Summer Solstice

Today is geshi (夏至), the summer solstice, one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one is boshu (芒種) on June 5 and the next one is shosho (小暑) on July 7.
Geshi (夏至) literally means summer reach. It is the longest daylight day in a year.
Nippon denki kogyokai (日本電機工業会: The Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association) decided the day of geshi as reizoko no hi (冷蔵庫の日), Day of refrigerator in 1985. This is the rainy season, therefore foods are easily getting worse. From now to summer we need refrigerator most. Therefore they decided the day.
Today, the third Sunday of June is chichi no hi (父の日), Father's day. How do you celebrate it in your country?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

難民の日(nanmin no hi): World Refugee Day

They say June 20 is World Refugee Day which was established on Dec. 4, 2000. Before that it was called African Refugee Day.
There are said to be 42,000,000 refugees around the world. Among them 31,700,000 are supported by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Breakdowns are North America & Caribbean : 578,480, South America: 3,571,610, Europe: 4,031,160, Africa: 10,619,160, Asia & Middle East: 12,922,300 as of the end of 2007.
UNHCR is established on Dec. 14, 1950, and its headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland. There are about 6,300 staff working in 120 countries. Among UN agencies, UNHCR is rather well-known among Japanese people because Japanese Ms. Sadako Ogata (緒方貞子) had served as the High Commissioner from 1990 to 2000.
Angelina Jolie is one of the Goodwill ambassadors of UNHCR, and she is very active helping refugees around the world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

桜桃忌(oto ki)

Do you know any Japanese author? Today is 100th birth anniversary of Dazai Osamu (太宰治) who is a Japanese author considered one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan.
He was born on June 19, 1909, and he committed suicide with his lover by drowning in the rain-swollen Tamagawa Canal (玉川上水:tamagawa josui) near his house on June 13, 1948, but his body was not found until June 19 which was happened to be his 39th birthday. His grave is at the temple of Zenrin-ji(禅林寺), in Mitaka (三鷹), Tokyo.
His death anniversary is called oto ki(桜桃忌), meaning the death anniversary of cherry, because it is the season of cherry, and there is a book titled Oto (桜桃) in his late works.
His real name is Tsushima Shuji(津島修治) and he was from Kanagi (金木), Aomori (青森) Prefecture. To commemorate his 100th birthday, there was a memorial festival in the AshinoPark (芦野公園: ashino koen). They had an unveiling ceremony of his bronze statue.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

海外移住の日(kaigai ijyu no hi): Day of emigration

They say June 18 is kaigai ijyu no hi(海外移住の日), Day of emigration. This day was established by the Cabinet Office in 1966 to commemorate the arrival of the first emigration ship Kasato maru(笠戸丸) to Port Santos in Brazil on June 18, 1908. The first batch of the emigration members consisted of 781 people from 158 families.
The first emigration started in 1868 to Hawaii. There are 153 people at that time.
Japanese people who emigrated to foreign countries are called Nikkei jin(日系人). First generation is called Issei (一世), second generation is called Nisei (二世), and third generation is called Sansei (三世).
There are about 2,950,000 Nikkeijin in the world. Among them 1,400,000 people are living in Brazil, 1,200,000 people are in the United States, and 222,000 people are in Philippines.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

おまわりさんの日(omawari-san no hi): Day of policeman

They say June 17 is omawari-san no hi (おまわりさんの日), Day of policeman because on June 17, 1874 the policeman system was established.
Police box is called koban (交番), police is keisatsu (警察), police officer is keisatsukan (警察官), police station is keisatsusho (警察署), police academy is keisatsu gakko (警察学校), K-9 dog is keisatsuken (警察犬), police officer's ID is keisatsu techo(警察手帳), and detective is keiji (刑事), patrol car is patoka (パトカー) in Japanese.
To call the police, dial 110 (hyakuto ban). To call fire station and emergency, dial 119 (hyakujyukyu ban). The number 110 has been used since 1954.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

定年退職(teinen taishoku): Retirement

In Japan people usually retire at the age of 60 or 65. Yesterday the former sumo wrestler Sekiwake Takamiyama (関脇高見山), real name is Watanabe Daigoro (渡辺大五郎), and the original name is Jesse James Wailani Kuhaulua from Hawaii retired from the sumo world. Today is his 65th birthday.
He came to Japan in 1964 and became the first foreign born rikishi (力士), sumo wrestler to win the top division championship in 1972. He was also the first foreign born wreslter ever to take charge of a training stable called Azumazeki beya(東関部屋).
Yesterday he had a retirement party, and 1000 people got together. The letters from President Obama who was also from Hawaii and Prime Minister Aso Taro(麻生太郎) were read at the party.
Today the US House of Representatives decided the appreciation resolution for his contributions to the Japanese Sumo world for 45 years and to the friendship he made between Japan and the USA.

最年少市長誕生(sainensho shicho tanjo): The youngest Mayor

The youngest Mayor in Japan was elected last Sunday. His name is Mr. Toshihito Kumagai(熊谷俊人) from Chiba city (千葉市) with a population of about 950,000. He is 31 years old. This election was held because of the former mayor's scandal. The voter turnout was 43.50 percent, and he gained 170,629 ballots.
June 15 is happened to be Chibakenmin no hi(千葉県民の日), Day of the people of Chiba prefecture. In 1983 the population of Chiba prefecture reached 5,000,000. To commemorate this, they have established this day since 1984. The date was chosen because on June 15, 1873 Chiba prefecture was made by the merger of Inba ken(印旛県) and Kisarazu ken(木更津県).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

星条旗制定記念日(seijoki seitei kinenbi): Flag Day

In the United States, June 14 is the Flag Day which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States. On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress decided the 13 stars and 13 stripes flag as the American flag. The US flag has been renewed its design for 27 times since 1775. They say the color red means courage, white means truth, and blue means justice.
On June 14, 1914 the Olympic flag also seemed to be established to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the revival of the Olympics. The five intertwined rings in different colors, blue, yellow, black, green, red represent 5 continents of Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The colors were chosen because at least one of these colors appears on every national flag.
Japanese flag's official name in Japanese is Nisshoki (日章旗: sun flag), but it is more commonly known as Hinomaru (日の丸: sun circle). It has been widely used since 15th and 16th century, but it was nationally adopted since Aug. 13, 1999.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

鉄人の日(tetsujin no hi): Day of the Iron man

They say June 13 is tetsujin no hi (鉄人の日), Day of the Iron man. Former Japanese baseball player Sachio Kinugasa (衣笠祥雄) whose nick name was tetsujin (鉄人:Iron man) broke Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig's world record for consecutive games played on June 13, 1987.
Lou Gehrig had made the record of 2130 games from June 1, 1925 to April 30, 1939 during 14 years.
Tetsujin Kinugasa had made the record of 2215 games from Oct. 19, 1970 to Oct. 22, 1987 for 17 years.
His record was renewed by Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr. on June 12, 1996. He had made the world record of 2632 games from May 30, 1982 to Sep. 20, 1998 for 16 years.
To keep doing something everyday is very difficult. What a strong will and body they had!

Friday, June 12, 2009

恋人の日(koibito no hi): Dia dos Namorados

They say June 12 is koibito no hi (恋人の日), Day of Lovers. In Brazil it is the eve of the death anniversary of the marriage god, Antonio who died in 1193. They have a custom to send the photoframes between couples. San Paulo Commercial Association made the day as Dia dos Namorados on June 12, 1952.
In Japan it was established by Zenkoku gakubuchi kumiai rengokai (全国額縁組合連語会),National Frame Union Federation in 1988.
In Japanese we often call boyfriend as kareshi (彼氏) or kare (彼), and girlfriend as kanojo (彼女). But young people prefer mentioning aikata (相方) for both side these days.
Fiance is konyakusha (婚約者) or fianse (フィアンセ) or iinazuke (許婚). Husband is otto (夫) or danna (旦那), or shujin (主人). Wife is tsuma (妻) or kanai (家内).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

傘の日(kasa no hi): Day of umbrella

They say June 11 is kasa no hi(傘の日), Day of umbrella. This anniversary was established by Nihon yogasa shinko kyogikai(日本洋傘振興協議会), Japan Umbrella Promotion Association (JUPA) in 1989. JUPA was founded in March 1963.
They decided June 11 as Day of umbrella because it is nyubai (入梅, literally enter plum), the beginning of the rainy season on the calendar.
Western style umbrellas had been imported since 1880's. However from my experience there is a greater variety of umbrellas in Japan than other countries.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

時の記念日(toki no kinenbi): Anniversary of Time

June 10 is known as toki no kinen bi(時の記念日), Anniversary of Time. This was established by Tokyo tenmondai(東京天文台), Tokyo observatory and Seikatsu kaizen domei kai(生活改善同盟会), Life improvement union in 1920. This day was set to enhance the people's sense of value of the importance of time.
Why June 10? Because according to the oldest Japanese history book Nihon shoki (日本書紀), the first water clock was set and started working in Japan on June 10, 671.
Water clocks and sundials are likely to be the oldest time-measuring instruments. For 1000 years water clocks were the most precise and most used measurement until pendulum clocks were invented in 1656 by Dutch scientist Christian Huygens. Until 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world's most accurate timekeeper. After that the quartz clock was invented in 1927 and used as standards until World War II.
The biggest pendulum clock is now in the NS building in Shinjyuku (新宿), Tokyo. (See picture)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ロックの日(rokku no hi)

They say June 9 is rokku no hi (ロックの日), because of the pun of 6 (ro) 9 (ku). What is rokku (ロック)? It means both lock and rock. Therefore it means the day of lock and the day of rock. Sound "L" and "R" are the most difficult pronunciation for most Japanese people.
Day of lock was established in 2001 by Nihon rokku kogyokai (日本ロック工業会), The Japan Lock Manufacturer's Association and Nihon rokku sekyurity kyodo kumiai (日本ロックセキュリティ協同組合), Japan Lock Security. This day was made to wish general public to review and improve the capability of crime prevention at home.
Speaking of rock, it is not only stone but also rock'n'roll. What kind of music do you like?
Speaking of music, Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii (辻井伸行), 20 years old blind pianist by nature became the champion at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at Fort Worth, Texas on June 7. He is the first Japanese to get the first prize. Congratulations!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

成層圏発見の日(seisoken hakken no hi)

They say June 8 is seisoken hakken no hi(成層圏発見の日), Day of the discovery of the stratosphere. The French meteorologist Leon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort discovered the stratosphere in 1902 by experiments of using balloons. The stratosphere (成層圏:seiso ken, 11km-50km) is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere (対流圏:tairyu ken, 0km-11km), and below the mesosphere(中間圏:chukan ken, 50km-80km).
Commercial airliners usually cruise at altitues of 9-12km in temperate latitudes, in the lower reaches of the stratosphere. There is no clouds there and it is fine always.
When I found it was fine above the clouds while I was on the airplane, I was so impressed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sports news

The Japanese soccer team beat the Uzbekistan team on Saturday to secure a fourth straight World Cup berth and became the first country to qualify for the 2010 tournament in South Africa. They will play against the Qatar team on June 10 in Yokohama, and the Australian team on June 17 in Melbourne.

Chisato Fukushima (福島千里), 20 years old set up the new Japan record for women's 100 m dash at the time of 11"28.

Ryosuke Irie(入江陵介), 19 years old who set up the world record of the 200 m backstroke swimming at 1'52"86 on May 10 but was not recognized as the world record because his swimming suits was not approved by FINA, got the triple crown for 100m, 200m, and 50m backstroke swimming at the Japan Open, though he could not make a world record today.

Kohei Uchimura(内村航平), 20 years old became the champion of the NHK cup for men's gymnastics at 276.750 points and got the ticket to participate in the World Championship in October in London. This was the first victory at the NHK cup for him.
Koko Tsurumi(鶴見虹子), 16 years old became the woman's champion at 172.775 points at the NHK cup. This was the second victory after two years for her. She also got the ticket to attend the World Championship.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

おけいこの日(okeiko no hi)

They say June 6 is o keiko no hi (おけいこの日). Keiko (稽古) means to learn or practice martial arts or artistic accomplishments. From a long time ago it has been said that if you start learning artistic things on June 6 at the age of 6, you will improve them. Therefore today is not only o keiko no hi but also ikebana no hi (いけばなの日), Day of flower arrangement, hogaku no hi (邦楽の日), Day of Japanese music, and gakki no hi (楽器の日), Day of musical instrument. Gakki no hiwas established by Zenkoku gakki kyokai (全国楽器協会), Japan Musical Instruments Association in 1970.
Did you start learning anything on June 6 when you were 6 years old??

Friday, June 5, 2009


Today is boushu (芒種), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節気), 24 solar terms. The last one was shoman (小満) on May 21, and the next one is geshi (夏至) on June 21.
Boush means to seed the grain such as rice or wheat which has fine spines called nogi (芒). This is the busy season for farmers to plant the seeding into the field. We call this taue (田植え), rice planting.
Around this time praying mantes (蟷螂:kamakiri) and firefly (蛍:hotaru) start appearing and plum fruits start turning yellow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

虫歯予防デー(mushiba yobo de)

June 4 is written as 6.4 and read as mu (6) shi (4). Mushi (虫) in Japanese means insect or worm or bug. So today is mushi no hi(虫の日), Day of Insect.
Bad tooth is mushiba (虫歯: literally insect tooth) in Japanese. Therefore Nihon shika ishi kai(日本歯科医師会), Japan Dental Association decided June 4 as mushiba yobo de (虫歯予防デー), Day of preventing bad teeth. It was practiced from 1928 to 1938. Since 1958 the week from June 4 to June 10 has become ha no eisei shukan(歯の衛生週間), Hygiene week for teeth.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ペリーの黒船来航(peri no kurofune raiko):Perry Expedition

On June 3 in 1853 U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry came to the offshore of Uraga (浦賀) with four warships. Since they were black ships, we call this event Perry no kurofune raiko(ペリーの黒船来航), Perry's black ship visit.
Japan had been isolated itself from Western countries since early 1600's. We call this sakoku (鎖国: literally chain country), national isolation.
Perry's visit became a trigger for Japan to open its door to the world and become a modern country.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

横浜開港記念日(Yokohama kaiko kinenbi): Anniversary of opening the Yokohama Port

June 2 is the anniversary of opening the Yokohama Port. It's been 150 years since it was opened to the world and the modern Japan started. At that time there were only 100 families in Yokohama. After 150 years, the population became 3,660,000 which is the second largest in Japan after Tokyo 23 wards. About 42,500,000 tourists visit Yokohama every year.
Since this is the special anniversary year, there was the big memorial ceremony on May 31 at the Pacifico Yokohama. About 3,500 people including the Emperor, the Empress, the Prime Minister Taro Aso(麻生太郎), the US, Dutch, Russian, British, and French ambassadors to Japan attended.
The memorial event of Expo Y150 is open for 153 days from April 28 until Sep. 27. I hope to visit there someday.

Monday, June 1, 2009

六月(roku gatsu): June

Another month started. June is roku gatsu(六月) in Japanese. Its old name is mina duki(水無月), literally means without water month. There are various interpretations of minaduki. One of them means after the rainy season always sunny and no rain. The other is mizu no tsuki(水の月) which means a month of water. Another is mizuhari duki(水張月), which means after rice planting, they need water in the field.
June 1 is known as koromogae (衣替え), changing winter clothes (冬服:fuyufuku) to summer clothes (夏服:natsufuku). This custom started in Heian era (平安時代:794-1185). There are two koromogae seasons in a year. They were used be on April 1 and October 1, but from Edo period (江戸時代:1600-1868) it became on June 1 and October 1.
So from today students wear summer uniforms.