Wednesday, September 30, 2009

上半期(kami hanki): The first half year

The fiscal year in Japan starts in April and ends in March. Therefore today is the end of the first half year. We call this 6 months kami hanki(上半期), literally top half term. Usually the persons in charge of accounting are vey busy at the end of September and the end of March.
From October to March is called shimo hanki(下半期), literally bottom half term.
Kami (上:top) and shimo (下:bottom) are prefix to mean half of something. The kanji character of kami (上) and shimo (下) are also read as jo (上) and ka (下) or ge (下).
For example the first 10days of the month is called jo jun(上旬), and the last 10 days of the month is called ge jun(下旬). The top shelf is called jo dan(上段), and the bottom shelf is called ge dan(下段). Elegant is jo hin(上品), and dirty is ge hin(下品). Upper is jo ryu (上流), lower is ka ryu(下流). The upper half of the body is called jyo hanshin(上半身) and the lower half of the body is caled ka hanshin (下半身). The first book of the two volumes is called jo kan (上巻), and the second book of the two volumes is called ge kan (下巻). The Upper chamber is jo in (上院), the Lower chamber is ka in (下院).
If those two kanji characters are written as 上下, it is read as joge.

自民新総裁(jimin sin sosai): New President of LDP

On September 28, the new president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was elected. There were three candidates. The total number of votes cast was 499 and Sadakazu Tanigaki (谷垣禎一), 64 years old gained 300 of them and became the 24th president of the LDP. He served as Minister of Finance in the cabinet of Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎) and as Minister of Construction and Transport in the cabinet of Yasuo Fukuda (福田康夫).
After the World War II between 1955 and 2009 the LDP had been a ruling party in the Japanese politics, and the president of the LDP had been the Prime Minister at the same time.
However because of the big lost of the last general election they became the opposition party, and the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山由紀夫) has become the Prime Minister since September 16.
Mr. Tanigaki is the second president who could not be the Prime Minister after Yohei Kono (河野洋平) in 1993. His term will be until the end of September of 2012.

Monday, September 28, 2009

13年ぶりV (jyusan nen buri V): Victory after 13 years

In today's newspaper there were two articles about Japanese women's tennis players. One is about Kimiko Date Krumm(クルム伊達公子), and the other is Ai Sugiyama(杉山愛).
Kimiko Date Krummdebuted in 1989 and retired in 1996 once, but she came back to the tennis world in April 2008. Yesterday she became a champion again after 13 years in Hansol Korea Open 2009. She beat Anable Medina Garrigues by 4-6,7-6, 6-3.
Today is her 39th birthday. She became the champion at the age of 38 years 11 months 30 days. This is the second oldest record after Billie Jean King of 39 years 7 months 23 days in 1983.
Congratulations and happy birthday!! Girl's name Kimiko is popular, and there are many variations of kanji characters. Among them she and I use the same character (公子), therefore I want to support her as a fan.
The other news was about Ai Sugiyama's retirement ceremony at Toray Pan Pacific Open 2009. She will put an end to her career with this tournament after 17 years at the age of 34.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

秋場所千秋楽(aki basho senshuraku)

Today was the last day for the September grand sumo tournament a.k.a. akibasho (秋場所), the Fall Tournament at Ryogoku kokugikan(両国国技館) in Tokyo. Until yesterday only Yokozuna Asashoryu(横綱 朝青龍) won full 14 matches. Today he and another Yokozuna Hakuho(横綱 白鵬) had the final bout. Hakuho won quickly, that made their scores 14-1 vs 14-1. Therefore they played off a tie. As a result Asashoryu won, and he became a champion.
This is the 24th victory for him after 3 grand sumo tournaments. Furthermore today is his 29th birthday. How happy he must be!
The 24th victory is the 3rd best record in the history along with Kitanoumi (北の海).
Baruto (把瑠都) who beated 5 Ozeki (大関) got the fighting spirit prize. Kakuryu (鶴竜) got the technique prize.
All these four sumo wrestlers (Asashoryu, Hakuho, Baruto, and Kakuryu) are from abroad.
I hope more Japanese wrestlers will be active.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

八雲忌(yakumo ki): Death anniversary of Koizumi Yakumo

Do you know Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, who is also known as Koizumi Yakumo (小泉八雲) after gaining the Japanese citizenship? He was an author at the Meiji (明治) era and he is one of the most famous introducers of Japan.
His books are such as Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894), Out of the East: Reveries and Studies in New Japan (1895), Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life (1896), Gleanings in Buddha-Fields: Studies of Hand and Soul in the Far East (1897), Exotics and Retrospectives (1898), Japanese Fairy Tales (1898) and sequels, In Ghostly Japan (1899), Shadowings (1900), A Japanese Lyrics (1900)- on haiku, A Japanese Miscellany (1901), Kotto: Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs (1902), Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1903), Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation (1904), and The Romance of the Milky Way and other studies and stories (1905).
He was born in Greece on June 27, 1850 and passed away on September 26, 1904 at the age of 54 in Tokyo. Therefore today is his death anniversary.

Friday, September 25, 2009

十円カレーの日(jyuen kare no hi): Day of yen 10 curry rice

There was the 37th "yen 10 curry charity" at the restaurant named Matsumoto ro (松本楼) in the Hibiya Park (日比谷公園), Tokyo. The restaurant has 106 years of history, but in 1971 it was burnt, and restarted in 1973. To commemorate the day they started the charity. Usually it costs yen 760 for curry rice but they offer the first 1,500 dishes for the donation of more than yen 10.
Last year there came 2,099 people and they donated yen 525,949 in total. The Matumoto ro added yen 200,000 and contributed to UNICEF. During 36 years 83,997 people participated and the total amount of donation reached yen 18,005,199.
This year by 10 AM more than 2,000 people got together in front of the restaurant, though they were going to serve for the first 1,500 people from 11 AM. The average donation of this year was yen 204 which was more than yen 100 higher than last year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

畳の日(tatami no hi): Day of tatami mats

Have you ever seen a Japanese style house? It is difficult to see the totally Japanese style house these days because many houses are the mixture of Japanese style and Western style.
The characteristics of Japanese houses are made of wood. They have sliding doors, there are an entrance space to take off the shoes called genkan (玄関) and a closet for shoes called getabako (下駄箱). Rooms are covered by the tatami (畳) mats, and the size of the room is measured by the numbers of tatami mats, such as yojohan (四畳半), 4 1/2 mats (9 ft x 9 ft) or rokujyo (六畳), 6 mats (9 ft x 12 ft) or hachijo (八畳), 8 mats (12 ft x 12 ft), though the size of a tatami mat is different depends on the region. Tatami is made of igusa (イグサ), rush.
Japanese room is used for many purposes such as a dining room, a living room, and a sleeping room.
They say today is tatami no hi(畳の日), Day of tatami mats. It was established by zenkoku tatami sangyo shinkokai(全国畳産業振興会), Japan Tatami Industry Promotion Association. They decided 2 days of tatami mats in a year. One is on April 29 because the color of raw material is green and April 29 is midori no hi(みどりの日), Green Day. The other is September 24 because it is seiso no hi(清掃の日) Day of Cleaning therefore to promote cleaning by taking up tatami mats from the floor.
I did not know about this anniversary at all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

秋分の日(shubun no hi): Autumn Equinox Day

Today is a national holiday called shubun no hi (秋分の日), the Autumn Equinox Day. It is a day to respect ancestors and recall the departed. It is the time to change the season. The lengths of day and night are equal today, and the day-time will be 1 minute and 15 seconds shorter every day.
There is a phrase to express at this season. That is atsusa samusa mo higan made (暑さ寒さも彼岸まで), meaning both the heat and the cold will last until the Equinox Day. The cold will last until the Spring Equinox Day, and the heat will last until the Autumn Equinox Day.
Today is the last day of the Silver Week and the middle of the equinoctial week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

シルバーウィーク(siruba uiiku):Silver Week

Today is a national holiday called kokumin no kyujitsu(国民の休日), Citizen's holiday. This happens when there is only one non-holiday in between two public holidays.
This year the Respect for the Aged Day falls on Monday 21, and the Autumnal Equinox Day is on Wednesday 23, therefore today September 22 becomes a national holiday. Therefore we have 5 days weekend from September 19 to 23. This happened for the first time this year.
This long weekend is now called the Silver Week. "Silver" is commonly used to mean the elderly people , deriving from their gray hair. For example, there is a priority seat for elderly people in a bus or train, they are often called "silver seat" in Japan. The long weekend from April 29 to May 5 is called "Golden Week."
The term Silver Week is a new term for us and chosen because of the comparison of golden week, and the Respect for the Aged Day is included during this time therefore symbolic word for seniors is used.
Since we can't take a long vacation like European people, many Japanese people try to travel both inside and outside the country during these Golden Week or Silver Week. Therefore there are many traffic jams here and there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

敬老の日(keiro no hi ): Respect-for-the-Aged Day

Today is one of the national holidays called keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect-for-the-Aged Day. This day was used to be on September 15 until 2002, but it has been moved to the 3rd Monday of September since 2003 to have a long weekend.
Keiro no hi was established in 1966. At that time the average life expectancy of Japanese men was 68 years old and of women was 73 years old. Now it is 79 and 86 respectively.
There are 28,980,000 senior citizens who are over 65 years old, which is 800,000 more than last year, and the percentage among all the population is 22.7%.
A quarter of Japanese women are over 65 years old.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

秋のお彼岸(aki no o higan ): The Autumn Equinoctial Week

Today is the beginning of the autumn equinoctial week. A week between the Equinox Day is called higan (彼岸). There are two Equinox Days in a year. In spring it is called haru no o higan (春のお彼岸), and in autumn it is called aki no o higan (秋のお彼岸).
We usually visit the graveyard of ancestors. Today I visited my mother's grave yard. It was fine and there are many people there visiting their ancestor's graves. We usually offer the sweets called ohagi (おはぎ) to the household Buddhist altar called butsudan (仏壇).
Japanese people are usually both Buddhist and Shintoist, therefore in Japanese household there are both Buddhist altar and Shinto altar called kamidana (神棚).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ウメ子大往生(Umeko dai o jo): Peaceful death of Umeko

An Asian elephant Umeko (ウメ子) died peacefully on September 17 in the zoo of Odawara Castle Park. She came from Thailand in 1950, and is estimated 62 years old which is equivalent about 100 years old of human being. She was the oldest elephant in Japan.
It seemed she died of senility. She was 2.3m tall, 3m long (except 2m long trunk, 1m long tail), and the weight was 3 tons. She ate 60kg of potatoes and carrots one day before and looked very fine.
It is said that elephants sleep standing. Therefore the keeper who has taken care of Umeko for 20 years said it was the first time for him to see her lying.
There are only 14 monkeys left in that zoo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

かに(kani): Crab

What food do you like the best? I love crustacean (甲殻類:kokakurui) such as crabs (蟹:kani), shrimps (小エビ:koebi), prawns (海老:ebi), lobsters (伊勢蝦:iseebi), and shellfish(貝:kai).
There are many kinds of crabs in Japan. Hokkaido (北海道) and Hokuriku (北陸) area are very famous for crabs.
I ate kegani (毛がに), hairy crab tonight. Half of them was raw, the other half was boiled. Very delicious. There are many different cooking styles if you go to the Japanese crab restaurant.
In the US the serving way was different. There were many crabs of the same taste in a big bowl.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

モノレール開業記念日(monoreiru kaigyo kinenbi): Anniversary of opening monorail

They say September 17 is monoreiru kaigyo kinenbi (モノレール開業記念日), Anniversary of opening monorail. In 1964 the Tokyo monorail line between Hamamatsu-cho (浜松町) and Haneda Airport (羽田空港) opened as a part of preparing the Tokyo Olympic. It was the first passenger monorail in Japan.
The fare was yen250 for 15 minutes. The base fare of the national railway was yen20, therefore it was 12.5 times. Now it costs yen470 for 17.8km (11.1ml). The base fare of JR is yen130, therefore it is 3.6 times.
There have been monorails for sightseeing since 1957 in Ueno (上野), Japan. The first monorail in the world was made in 1820 in Russia.

On September 16, 2008 the first woman driver of monorail appeared in Tokyo Monorail Co., Ltd.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

鳩山新政権(Hatoyama shin seiken): Hatoyama new government

Today is the new start for Japanese political history. Dr. Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山由紀夫 62) of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) became the 93rd Prime Minister of Japan and organized the new cabinet.
He got the Ph. D in engineering at the Stanford University and used to be an assistant professor at Senshu University (専修大学) before becoming a politician. His wife, Miyuki Hatoyama (鳩山幸) was a former actress.
His grandfather Ichiro Hatoyama (鳩山一郎) was the first president of the Liberal Democratic Party and the 52nd, 53rd, 54th Prime Minister of Japan, serving from Dec. 10, 1954 to Dec. 23, 1956. His father Iichiro Hatoyama (鳩山威一郎) was the Foreign Minister from 1976 to 1977. His brother Kunio Hatoyama (鳩山邦夫) was Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications under Prime Minister Taro Aso (麻生太郎) until June 12, 2009. Mother's father, Shojiiro Ishibashi (石橋正二郎) is the founder of the world-famous largest tire company Bridgestone Corporation. Ishibashi (石橋)literally means stone (石) bridge (橋).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ラスカー賞(rasuka sho): Lasker Awards

Great news! The Japanese physician and a stem cell researcher, Professor Shinya Yamanaka (山中伸弥,47) of Kyoto University (京都大学) will receive the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award this year with Dr. John Gurdon (75) of Cambridge "for discoveries concerning nuclear reprogramming, the process that instructs specialized adult cells to form early stem cells — creating the potential to become any type of mature cell for experimental or therapeutic purposes."
Lasker Awards have been awarded since 1946, there are 4 divisions: the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award,the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award,the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science, and the Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award.
It is said among numerous medical awards, this award is the closest way to the Nobel Prize. 76 Lasker Awards winners got the Nobel Prizes too. He is the 6th Japanese to be honored the award. Congratulations!!

For the details, please check the following site.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I am not interested in baseball itself so much, but there is a baseball player I like very much. He is Ichiro (イチロー) of the Seattle Mariners.
Today he has accomplished the greatest record of 200 base hits for 9 years straight. That is the unprecedented achievement. Congratulations!!!!!
He has established so many records such as 262 base hits in 2004 which renewed the most base hits record after 84 years, and 2000 base hits which was 259th player and the first Japanese player in the Major League etc... And this is the very first record after 108 years since Wee Willie Keeler made 8 consecutive 200 base hit-seasons from 1894 to 1901. Pete Rose has 200 base hits for 10 times, but not consecutive.
Ichiro has played in Japan for 9 years, this is the 9th year for him to play in the Major League, he has become batting champions for 9 times, baseball is played by 9 players, and he made a record of 9 years. For him 9 is a lucky number.
I have never been to professional baseball games in Japan, but whenever I go to Seattle and have a chance I go to see his games.
I was very glad to get a bat-shaped ball-point pen at the Safeco Field. In Florida I got the extra-large T shirt at the stadium. I do not think you can get anything in Japan, or maybe I just do not know. Anyway I felt how generous American baseball societies are!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

秋場所(aki basho): Fall grand sumo tournament

Today kugatu basho (9月場所), September grand sumo tournament began. This tournament is also called aki basho (秋場所), Fall grand sumo tournament. It is held in Ryogoku kokugikan (両国国技館), Tokyo from Sep. 13 to 27.
Both Yokozuna (横綱) Asashoryu (朝青龍)and Hakuho (白鵬)won today. For Hakuho's match there were 40 prize money which was the most in the first day in the history. Each prize money is yen 60,000. After subtracting the necessary expenses, he got yen 1,200,000.
The most prize money was 51 at the match of Asashoryu vs Hakuho at September 2006. The most prize money in the grand sumo tournament was 1,021 at September 2006.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

100歳人口(hyakusai jinko): Population of 100 years old

Japan is known as a country of longevity. Guess how many people who are over 100 there are in Japan.
September 15 was used to be keiro no hi(敬老の日), the Respect-for-the Aged Day. Now it falls on the third Monday of September. Prior to that day, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare researched the population of over 100 years old and published.
There will be 40,399 people who are over 100 as of Sep. 15. This is the first time to exceed more than 40,000 and the most in the history. Women occupy 86.5%. There are 5,447 men which is increasing for 29 years straight. There are 34,952 women which is increasing for 39 years straight.
The oldest woman is 114 years old and lives in Okinawa (沖縄). The oldest man is 112 years old and lives in Kyoto (京都).
The research has started in 1963. In 1998 the number reached 10,000. 5 years later in 2003 there were 20,000. 4 years later in 2007 there were 30,000. Within only 2 years there are 40,000.
There are 21,603 (3,365 men 18,238 women) who become 100 years old this year, which is the most in the history.

Friday, September 11, 2009


It's been 8 years since 9.11 happened. How has your life changed since that date?
It was night in Japan. When I was watching the night news, the shocking scene was on air. I could not believe at all. I felt like I was watching the movie.
In October 2006 I visited the Ground Zero. There is the Tribution Center nearby and I attended the Tour for $10 and met the bereaved family. If I did not join the tour, the Ground Zero must have been looked as if just a construction site.
I was very much moved to see the monument titled "11 Tears" in the American Express building. There were messages to the 11 victims of the American Express. Water drop from the ceiling like tears into the pool, and the ripples happen.
This reminded me of the pool of the grave of Robert Kennedy in Arlington. Bubbles come out of one side of the pool, and they make ripples. He said like "Peace will spread like a circle."
Last year on September 11, I was at the airport of Madrid, Spain to come back to the USA. The security was very severe, so was the baggage check. There were very few passengers on the plane.
I hope the world peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ビートルズ: The Beatles

09.09.09 was a very lucky day for Chinese people, therefore there were so many people got married, they say more couples than 08.08.08.
For the Beatles fans around the world, it seems 09.09.09 was also very special. The Beatles: Remastered was released on September 9, 2009 all over the world. In Japan more than 1,500,000 copies were already sold just in two days.
There was a special 12 hours event titled "Count down The Beatles 213" in Tokyo. It was divided into two parts. In the first part the original 13 works of the newest digital remastered were listened by 2000 audience. In the second part the popularity polls of 213 songs were announced.
What Beatles' song do you like the best? The top 10 voted by about 260,000 people were as follows:
No.10 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
No. 9 Something
No. 8 Yesterday
No. 7 The Long and Winding Road
No. 6 A Day in the Life
No. 5 Strawberry Fields Forever
No. 4 Help!
No. 3 Hey, Jude
No. 2 In My Life
No. 1 Let it Be!
Do you agree?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

重陽(choyo): The Double Ninth Festival

September 9 is known as choyo (重陽), literally double yang. Choyo is one of gosekku (五節句), the five seasonal festivals and also called as kiku no sekku (菊の節句), Chrysanthemum Festival.
According to the yin and yang thought, odd numbers are yang, and its extremity is nine. Therefore September 9 is 9.9 and double yang, double nine.
People used to decorate chrysanthemum and drink sake floating the petal of chrysanthemum to celebrate wishing the long life.
Other seasonal festivals are jinjitsu (人日) on January 7th, alias nanakusa (七草), jyoshi (上巳) on March 3, alias momo no sekku (桃の節句), tango (端午) on May 5, alias shobu no sekku (菖蒲の節句), and shichiseki (七夕) on July 7, alias tanabata (七夕).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ヴィヨンの妻(viyon no tsuma): Villon's Wife

Good news. The Director Kichitaro Negishi(根岸吉太郎), 59 years old received the Best Director Award at the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival (Festival des Films du Monde - Montreal) in the evening of Sep. 7 in Canada (Sep. 8 in JST). Its film title is Villon's Wife written by Osamu Dazai(太宰治). This is the 100th anniversary year of Dazai's birth. Four of his books have been made into movies one after another recently.
Last year at that festival the Japanese movie Okuribito (おくりびと), Departure got the Grand prix des Americas. And that movie got the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Award this year. Therefore we expect the Villon's Wife will also be famous.
The movie will be released on October 10 in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing that movie.

The official website of the movie is

Monday, September 7, 2009

白露(haku ro)

Today is hakuro (白露), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節気), 24 solar terms. The last one was shosho (処暑) on August 23, and the next one is shubun (秋分) on September 23.
Hakuro literally means white dew. It is the time when the indications of autumn are strengthened, and the grass glistens with dew.
Speaking of autumn, what do you do? In Japan there are some phrases expressing autumn. Autumn is aki (秋) in Japanese.
Shokuyoku no aki (食欲の秋), autumn of appetite. Dokusho no aki(読書の秋), autumn of reading. Supotsu no aki(スポーツの秋), autumn of sports. Geijutsu no aki(芸術の秋), autumn of art. Minori no aki(実りの秋), autumn of fruits. Shukaku no aki(収穫の秋), autumn of harvest.
Which do you like the best?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

目黒のさんま祭り(meguro no sanma matsuri): Pacific Saury Festival in Meguro

Japan is surrounded by seas, therefore we eat many marine products. There are many kinds of fish depends on the season. Now is the time for sanma (秋刀魚:literally means autumn sword fish), pacific saury.
There was the big sanma festival in Meguro (目黒), Tokyo. Do you know Japanese comic storytelling called rakugo(落語)? There are many interesting stories, and one of them is titled Meguro no sanma(目黒の秋刀魚), Pacific Saury in Meguro.
Therefore the festival was held in Meguro. It was the 14th festival. Last year 12,000 people visited. This year more than 16,000 people visited and lined up for free grilled sanma for 1.5 km for a few hours.
6,000 sanma were offered from Miyako city (宮古市), Iwate (岩手), 10,000 sudachi (すだち), citrus were offered from Tokushima (徳島), and 500 daikon(大根), Japanese radish were offered from Tochigi(栃木). Grilled sanma is usually eaten with daikon oroshi(大根おろし:grated daikon) and lime, lemon or other citrus juices.
There were some rakugo performances too.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

国民栄誉賞の日(kokumin eiyo sho no hi): Day of People's Honour Award

Today is the anniversary of People's Honour Award. This award was created to honor the person who has an outstanding achievement to give the society bright hope and who is widely loved by the people. Sadaharu Oh(王貞治) became the first one to have been bestowed it by the world record for home run in 1977.
There are 17 people who got this award from 1977 to today. Among them 10 people got the award after their death.
5 of 7 who received the prize while they are still alive are sports players. The other 2 are a singer and an actress.
Details are 4 composers, 2 baseball players, 2 actors & 1 actress, 2 singers, 1 adventurer, 1 judoist, 1 sumo wrestler, 1 cartoonist, 1 movie director, and 1 athlete. There are 4 composers but no lyricist.
There were 3 people who declined the award. One of them is Ichiro (イチロー) who refused twice in 2001 and 2004. It seems he is going to make another record soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

くしの日(kushi no hi) : Day of comb

September 4 is known as kushi no hi(くしの日), Day of comb, because 9.4 is read as ku (9) shi (4). Kushi is comb in Japanese. This day was established by the Beauty Week Exective in 1978 to let the beauty-related people remind to deal with combs preciously and to let the people enhance their sense of beauty treatment. According to them from September 1 to 7 is a beauty week.
The homonym kushi (串) means skewer, kushi (駆使) means to have a good command of something, kushi (奇し) means strange, and kushi (苦死) means pain and death.
If you pick up the comb from the street, it associates to pick up pain and death, therefore it is considered to be unlucky. If you have to pick it up, first you step it and pick it up. As a gift, kushi is a taboo, therefore we call it kanzashi (かんざし), ornamental hairpin instead.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

ホームラン記念日(homu ran kinenbi): Anniversary of Home Run

What sports is the most popular in your country? In Japan maybe baseball. Today is the anniversary of home run. On Sep. 3, 1977 Sadaharu Oh(王貞治) of Yomiuri Giants hit the 756th home run and renewed the world record of Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron. He was 37 years old.
On Sep. 5 the Japanese government decided to create the People's Honour Award (国民栄誉賞:kokumin eiyo sho) to bestow him to celebrate.
His way of hitting is known as ippon ashi daho(一本足打法, literally one-leg hitting), "flamingo" leg kick.
During his player career, he hit 868 home runs which is the world record for home runs in a top league.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

宝くじの日(takarakuji no hi): Day of Lottery

September 2 is known as takarakuji no hi(宝くじの日), Day of Lottery because 9.2 is read as ku(9) ji (2). Kuji(くじ) is lot in Japanese. Takarakuji literally means treasure lot. This day was established in 1967 by then The Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank, Ltd. (第一勧業銀行:now Mizuho Bank, Ltd.みずほ銀行).
There are many lotteries that are not exchanged to the prize money. The total amount reaches more than yen250,000,000 in a year. After a year from drawing, the prize ticket becomes just a piece of paper. Therefore to avoid this waste, they decided to remind people to check their lotteries sold between last August to July. There is a consolation drawing too.
If you won the first prize in the lottery, what would you like to do?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

九月(kugatsu): September

A new month has started. September is kugatsu (九月) in Japanese. The old name is nagatsuki (長月), literally long month, meaning night-long month.
September 1 is known as bosai no hi(防災の日), Day of disaster prevention. On September 1, 1923 at 11:58:32 am JST, there was the biggest earthquake in the Kanto area which is called Kanto dai shinsai(関東大震災:Great Kanto earthquake). The quake had a magnitude of 7.9. Casualty estimates 142,800 deaths including missing. Since it was a lunch time many people were cooking which caused many fire.
September 1 is known as nihyakutoka(二百十日), 210 days since the first day of spring. It is the time of typhoon.
Therefore September 1 was established as bosai no hi in 1960. When I was a student, we always had hinan kunren(避難訓練), evacuation training around this day.
September 1 is the first day of the second school term for the most of schools in Japan.

新市長(shin shicho): New Mayor

Yesterday besides the general election, there was a mayoral election of Yokohama (横浜) city, Kanagawa. Yokohama is the biggest ordinance-designated city of 3,670,000 citizens.
The previous 20th Yokohama city mayor Mr. Hiroshi Nakada (中田宏), 44 years old suddenly resigned his position on Aug. 17. The reason was to cut the election cost by having the mayoral election on the same date as the 45th general election. I am not sure how much they could save money, however they had a heavy poll of 65% that is about double of the last time.
The new mayor Ms. Fumiko Hayashi(林文子), 63 years old was the former president of BMW Tokyo, and the former vice chairperson of the Japanese supermarket chain, Daiei (ダイエー). She became the first LADY mayor of Yokohama and the second LADY mayor of ordinance-designated city after Sendai (仙台). Her term is 4 years from yesterday to Aug. 29, 2013.
I hope she will fulfill her term.