Friday, December 31, 2010

十二月三十一日(jyunigatsu sanjyuichi nichi): December 31

The last day of 2010. How was your 2010? Mine was busy.

New year's eve is the day for cleaning. I cleaned the house and washed my car.
At night I watched the 61st Kohaku uta gassen(紅白歌合戦), literally red white song battle, on TV. This is a very popular song show broadcast on new year's eve. Red is for women's team, white is for men's team. It lasts for more than 4 hours. This year white won again. Congratulations!

After that I ate noodle, which is called toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦). It is a costom of new year's eve.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

十二月三十日(jyunigatsu sanjyu nichi): December 30

There are only 2 days left.
At night there was a live TV program The 52nd Japan Record Award. It used be on air on December 31, but since 2006 it has been held on December 30.
It is one of the most famous music award ceremony in Japan which started in 1959.
When I was young, it was my favorite program, but I have not watched it for a long time. This year I watched half of them.
The vocal and dance unit "Exile" got the 52nd Japan Record Award for "I Wish For You." They became the three-year straight winner. Besides them there was only one artist that received the prize for three-year straight.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

十二月二十九日(jyunigatsu nijyuku nichi): December 29

Many people have the year-end and New Year holidays from today to January 3. This period is called nenmatsu nenshi (年末年始). Nenmatsu is year-end, nenshi is beginning of the year.
Some people go abroad such as Guam or Hawaii to spend their holidays to relax at the beach, others go home to meet their families. So railroads and express ways are crowded. This is called kisei rush (帰省ラッシュ).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

十二月二十八日(jyunigatsu nijyuhachi nichi): December 28

Last day of working this year at the most offices. We call this goyo osame (御用納め) or shigoto osame (仕事納め). Goyo means business, and osame means to close. Shigoto means work.
Goyo osame is the closing of government offices for the year. Shigoto osame is the closing of general work for the year.
Post offices will be the busiest season for new year's cards. If they are posted by December 25, they are sure to deliver them on New Year's Day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

十二月二十七日(jyunigatsu nijyushichi nichi): December 27

Last Monday of 2010.
In the newspaper they started wrapping up the year 2010, and there were articles of 10 big business news, or 10 best seller books or 10 best seller CDs or one's 3 best movies of the year and so on.
Besides these there were many articles of sports events of yesterday.
There was one small article which drew my attention. It is a picture of the artist who went to Hungary with his hair half shaved which is hangari (半刈り) in Japanese. It is the fruit of his sense of humor.
Actually there were two pictures. One is left side shaved, the other is right side shaved. He had rather long hair, moustache, and beard. It took 3 years to take that picture until he has the same length of the hair. But while waiting, the artist lived his life as usual. It's amazing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

十二月二十六日(jyunigatsu nijyuroku nichi): December 26

Last Sunday of 2010.
There were many events in Japan.
As for sports, there were high school students' long-distance relay road race called ekiden (駅伝), very famous horse racing called the 55th arimakinen (有馬記念), all Japan figure skating championships, all Japan speed skating championships, handball, boxing and so on.
As for politics, there was a gubernatorial election in Miyazaki (宮崎). The present governor was used to be an entertainer. So when he became a governor, I was very surprised. He is very popular, but he did not run for the second term.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

十二月二十五日(jyunigatsu nijyugo nichi): December 25

Merry Christmas!

It was fine but very cold and windy. Mt. Fuji looked beautiful with snow. One of the best things living here is to be able to see Mt. Fuji. Winter is better to see Mt. Fuji.

Tonight I went out for Christmas Dinner with my friends from high school. Eating delicious meal, chatting with close friends and exchanging presents, this is my annual event for Christmas.

How do you spend Christmas?

I can't believe there is only a week left.

Friday, December 24, 2010

十二月二十四日(jyunigatsu nijyuyokka): December 24

Merry Christmas!
It is very cold today.
Christmas in Japan is different from the Christian country. It used to be a day for a couple having a full course dinner, exchanging presents, and so on. But this year so-called joshikai (女子会), girl's party is popular.
I will have a special dinner with friends from high school. This will be also joshikai.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

十二月二十三日(jyunigatsu nijyusan nichi): December 23

Today is a national holiday called Tenno tanjobi(天皇誕生日), Emperor's Birthday. He became 77 years old.
There are some milestone birthdays in Japan. 77 is one of them. It is called kijyu (喜寿). Other special birthdays are 20 (二十歳:hatachi), 60 (還暦:kanreki), 70 (古稀:koki), 80 (傘寿:sanju), 88 (米寿:beiju), 90 (卒寿:sotsuju), 99 (白寿:hakuju), and 100 (上寿:jyoju).
Do you have any special birthdays in your country?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

十二月二十二日(jyunigatsu nijyuni nichi): December 22

Today is toji (冬至), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was taisetsu (大雪) on December 7 and the next one is shokan (小寒) on January 6.
Toji literally means winter reach. It is the day when the daytime is the shortest and the nighttime is the longest in a year.
In Japan there are two customs to do on this day. One is to take a yuzu bath (ゆず湯). Yuzu is a kind of citrus. The other is to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin in Japanese is kabocha (カボチャ). I did both tonight.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

十二月二十一日(jyunigatsu nijyuichi nichi): December 21

The total eclipse of the moon (皆既月食: kaiki gesshoku) happened this evening after 3 years. I expected to see the show. However the weather here was bad and I could not see. Only people in Hokkaido observed.
It was cloudy but became rain with lightening and thunder here.
Next time it will happen on June 16, 2011 in Japan. I hope to see that next time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

十二月二十日(jyuni gatsu hatsuka): December 20

The sales ranking of single CD of the year was announced this morning. About 10 years ago, in the top 10 there were 10 artists. But this year there were only 2 artists among top 10. They are AKB48 and Arashi (嵐: Storm). The former is a female group, and the latter is a male group.
No. 1 single CD was Beginner by AKB48 and its sales was about 950,000 copies. No. 2 was Heavy Rotation by AKB48 and its sales was about 710,000 copies. There were 4 songs by AKB48 and 6 songs by Arashi.
Nowadays we can download the music through Internet, therefore fewer people buy original CDs. However in Arashi's case, their songs cannot be downloaded, and they are used for the theme songs of the movies and TV dramas. Therefore they were sold well.
In AKB48's case, if you buy a CD, you can get a ticket to talk or shake hands with the members, therefore many fans bought more than 1 CD.
I have not bought CDs for a long time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

十二月十九日(jyunigatsu jyuku nichi): December 19

It was rather cold, so I stayed at home.
I watched the DVD which I got as a Christmas present last night. The movie is a very famous one of the 8th episode from the 48 series, and its title is otoko wa turaiyo (男はつらいよ), literally meaning being a man is tough. It was released on December 29, 1971. Some of the actors and actresses are already passed away. Others are still active and look very young.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

十二月十八日(jyunigatsu jyuhachinichi): December 18

There are only two weeks left. I can't believe how fast time flies.
Today I got the first Christmas card of this year from the USA by airmail.
I have been busy and I have not prepared any Christmas card yet.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

十二月十七日(jyunigatsu jyushichi nichi): December 17

In December and January there are many opportunities to have parties. The one in December is called bonenkai (忘年会), literally forget the year party. The other in January is called shinnenkai (新年会), literally the new year party.
I had the first bonenkai this year today. It was the one with colleagues. Since it is Friday, I believe the most company had it tonight or will have it on December 22 because December 23 is a national holiday.
In closing when the representative had a remark, we remembered the one in last year. How fast time flies!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

十二月十六日(jyunigatsu jyuroku nichi): December 16

It was cold.
I went to the Narita Airport. Not for traveling, but for sending off.
There was a Christmas decoration, such as Santa Claus, sleigh, presents, tree, and snow. At this season there are many Christmas trees here and there. Very beautiful.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

十二月十五日(jyunigatsu jyugonichi): December 15

The season of writing New Year's Cards has just begun. If you post the new year's cards by Dec. 25, they will be delivered on the New Year's Day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

十二月十四日(jyunigatsu jyuyokka): December 14

They say today was the good day to see the meteor shower of the Gemini. But I am in a hotel of Tokyo. It is too bright to see the stars.....
What do you wish for the star if they would be granted?

Monday, December 13, 2010

十二月十三日(jyunigatsu jyusan nichi): December13

I went to see the Toyota Motomachi Plant. I have never been to the vehicle making factory before. I was surprised to see many different brand cars were in line to be assembled. I wonder if it is really effective rather than to make the same kind of cars or not.
In November I went to see a Beer Company in Yokohama. Unfortunately it was Sunday, and I could not see the machine working. But at the exit, they offered the tasting. Since I drive, I cannot drink, so I tried non alcoholic beverage. It was also a nice experience.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

十二月十二日(jyunigatsu jyuninichi): December 12

I am still in Nagoya. It was fine and rather warm today.
I visited the Nagoya castle again. Last week there were 3 dressed up actors of generals of the Warring State Period of 16th century, but today there were 6 of them. Namely Oda Nobunaga (織田信長), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), Maeda Toshiie (前田利家), Kato Kiyomasa (加藤清正), and Maeda Keiji (前田慶次).  This performance group is called "omotenashi bushotai (おもてなし武将隊), entertaining generals formed to promote the 400th anniversary of opening the shogunate. There were many audience who came to see their performances.
Since I was with a tour guide, I knew what I did not notice last time such as the difference of the inner moat and outer moat. Near the castle there was a Noh play theater and inside there are exhibitions of Noh masks which were very interesting and free of charge.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

十二月十一日(jyunigatsu jyuichi nichi): December 11

I am in Nagoya (名古屋). I went to the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park today. Its nickname is Moricoro Park.
When there was Expo 2005, I have worked in the Andean Amazonian Pavilion and stayed in Nagoya for 7 months. After returning to my hometown, I have never visited the Expo 2005 site. Almost everything was gone, but there are still Linimo, Ferris Wheel, Satsuki and May's House, Tea Ceremony House, Japanese Garden, Aichi EXPO Commemorative Hall, and so on.
It's been 5 years but I still remember many things, both good and bad.
I happened to see Morizo and Kiccoro, the Image Characters, today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

十二月十日(jyunigatsu toka): December 10

Every year one kanji character is chosen as the kanji of the year which depects the social condition of the year. It started in 1995 and it is chosen on December 12, which is the day of kanji. But this year it was chosen today.
The kanji of the year 2010 is sho (暑), literally means heat. This year the extremely hot days lasted for 3 months or so. And 33 miners in Chile were rescued from the hot tunnel. Hayabusa (はやぶさ), the unmanned spacecraft came back from the world of 10,000 degrees centigrade and so on.
14,537 people out of 285,406 chosen this kanji character. The second one was chu (中), literally means China or middle.
The kanji of the year 2009 was shin (新), literally new.
How would you like to describe your year 2010?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

十二月九日(jyunigatsu kokonoka): December 9

I am now staying at a hotel in Odaiba (お台場), Tokyo. This is the first time for me to stay at this hotel.
Near here there is the Rainbow Bridge. At this season it is lighted up with rainbow colors. So beautiful.
Amenity goods here are very nice for ladies. You can stay here suddenly without preparing anything special such as cosmetics.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

十二月八日(jyunigatsu yoka): December 8

December 8. What do you think of first?
There were two big things in history. One happened in 1941 in the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the World War II began.
The other was John Lennon of The Beatles was shot in New York in 1980. I can't believe it's been already 30 years since that happened.
Both are sad news.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

十二月七日(jyunigatsu nanoka): December 7

Today is taisetsu (大雪), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shosetsu (小雪) on November 22. The next one is toji (冬至)on December 22.
Taisetsu literally means big snow. Shosetsu literally means small snow. Therefore it is the time getting colder. Toji literally means winter reach.
It was colder than yesterday. Now it is raining.

Monday, December 6, 2010

十二月六日(jyunigatsu muika): December 6

It was rather warm today.
These days there are earthquakes here and there.

They say today is day of older sister. Older sister is ane (姉) in Japanese. Younger sister is imoto (妹). The day of imoto is September 6. Older brother is ani (兄). The day of ani is June 6. Younger brother is ototo (弟). The day of ototo is March 6. Those 4 days were advocated by a cartoonist around 1992 who studied brothers and sisters. I am not sure what to do on these days.
Sisters are shimai (姉妹) and brothers are kyodai (兄弟)in Japanese.
Do you have any brothers and sisters?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

十二月五日(junigatsu itsuka): December 5

The second part of the three years NHK's special drama has begun. It consists of 13 episodes. There were 5 episodes last year. There will be 4 episodes this year. Each story lasts for 90 minutes.
The title is Saka no Ue no Kumo (坂の上の雲), literally the cloud upon the slope. The story was written by a famous writer, Shiba Ryotaro (司馬遼太郎).
It is a story of Akiyama Yoshifuru (秋山好古), and his younger brother Akiyama Saneyuki (秋山真之), and a poet Masaoka Shiki (正岡子規) in the Meiji era. All of them were born and brought up in Matsuyama, Ehime (愛媛県松山市).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

十二月四日(jyunigatsu yokka): December 4

I went to the Noritake Museum and the Nagoya Castle.
There is one day bus ticket called Meguru (メーグル). Buses circulate many sightseeing spots. You can get on and off as many times as you like. One distance costs yen 200 but one day ticket costs yen 500. So if you use more than three times, you'd better buy one day ticket. Moreover you can get discounts for the entrance fees and special gifts at the restaurants and shops.
Noritake is a very famous ceramic company. I was surprised to see many products of ceramics besides china such as dishes and cups.
At the Nagoya Castle, there was a show by Omotenashi Bushotai (おもてなし武将隊) which is a special group of actors dressed up as warriors or warlords from this area in 16th century such as Maeda Toshiie (前田利家), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康). Since this year remarks the 400 years anniversary of the start of Edo period, they appeal and promote the tourism in Nagoya.

Friday, December 3, 2010

十二月三日(jyunigatsu mikka): December 3

I visited many places today. I was too busy to eat lunch. In Nagoya there are many famous local foods so I expected to eat something during this stay.
I went to Arimatsu (有松) where is very famous for tie-dying. I had a chance to see the procedure of this beautiful way of tie-dying. It was surprising and I knew why they are so expensive.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

十二月二日(jyunigatsu futsuka): December 2

I came to Nagoya (名古屋) at night. Last year at this time I was in Nagoya too. At that time it was very cold and I saw a very beautiful Christmas illumination on the wall of the department store at the station. Therefore I was very looking forward to seeing the one of this year.
It was rather warm. But there was not that illumination. I asked the security guard. He said they don't have that illumination this year because of depressed economy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

十二月一日(jyunigatsu tsuitachi): December 1

A new month has just begun. December is jyunigatsu (十二月) in Japanese. The old name is shiwasu (師走), which literally means teacher run.
A day is 24 hours, and a month is about 30 days. But we somehow feel December passes earlier than other month. People feel busy doing many things such as preparing for the new year, cleaning houses, writing Christmas cards and new year's cards, having year-end party so called bonenkai (忘年会), which literally means forget the year party, and so on.
How do you spend your December?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

十一月三十日(jyuichigatsu sanjyu nichi): November 30

It is the last day of November. The weather was very nice and warm.

It is the last day of getting full eco points when you buy electric appliances such as TV, air conditioning, and refrigerator. From tomorrow eco points will be reduced in half. Therefore so many people seemed to buy them by today.

From July 2011, we cannot use the analogue TV, TV sets were sold three to five times more than last year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

十一月二十九日(jyuichigatsu nijyuku nichi): November 29

It was very fine today. I went to Yokohama. I could see the beautiful scenery. The gingko trees were yellow. Scenery from the boat called Seabass were nice.
Speaking of Yokohama, Chinese foods are very famous. There is the biggest China town in Japan. There are so many Chinese restaurants. The price of lunch set is very reasonable.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

十一月二十八日(jyuichigatsu nijyuhachi nichi): November 28

I went to see a Japanese movie "Ghost" in the morning. It is a remake version of "Ghost" in 1990 by Patrick Wayne Swayze and Demi Moore. I can't believe it has been already 20 years. The story looked the same, but the situation was different. A company owner heroine became a ghost, and her husband is a Korean ceramicist.
After that I went to see a concert of my friend from high school. It was small but a nice one.
In Japan there were some big events. Today was senshuraku (千秋楽), the last day of grand sumo tournament in Kyushu, which is the last tournament this year. Yokozuna Hakuho(横綱 白鵬) became a champion again after the playoff with Toyonoshima (豊ノ島). It is his 17th victory and five tournaments in straight. Congratulations!
Today there was the final episode of Ryomaden (龍馬伝), NHK's year long drama.
And there are some gubernatorial elections too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

十一月二十七日(jyuichigatsu nijyushichi nichi): November 27

In November what do you do?
Japanese people enjoy viewing the red and yellow leaves.
We start preparing for the new year to come. On new year's day we would like to receive new year's cards. The new year's cards are sold from the beginning of November. They are mainly sold at post offices. One simple card costs yen 50 and it will be delivered anywhere in Japan.
I usually order the post office to deliver them. If you book them, you can get a lottery per 50 cards. Today they delivered to me with some small gifts such as a post-shaped saving box, small envelops for new year's monetary gifts, and a new year's cards file box, and so on.

Friday, November 26, 2010

十一月二十六日(jyuichigatsu nijyuroku nichi): November 26

At the 16th Asian Games many Japanese athletes and players got the medals.
Today men's volleyball team, softball team, men's javelin thrower, women's 55kg wrestler, women's 61kg karate, men's single free skating, canoe men's kayak pair 200m, canoe women's kayak single 200m, canoe men's kayak single 200m got the gold medals. Congratulations!!
I happened to see the interview of Yoshida Saori (吉田 沙保里), woman wrestling champion of 55kg on TV. She said even she got the gold medal today, she exercised after that too.
I thought "Practice makes perfect."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

十一月二十五日(jyuichigatsu nijyugo nichi): November 25

I went to Atsugi (厚木) today. Speaking of Atsugi, I used to think of US Naval Air Facility Atsugi first. But they say it is not in Atsugi but in Ayase (綾瀬) and Yamato (大和).
These days Atsugi is very famous for its local food called Atsugi shirokoro horumon (厚木シロコロホルモン), which became the champion of B-1 gourmet grand prix three years ago. This year they became a host city for B-1 gourmet grand prix in September and there were about 435,000 people joined, it became a nation-famous city.
I was lucky enough to eat the Atsugi shirokoro horumon for lunch because they are not usually served at lunch time but dinner time only. I am glad I could taste.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

十一月二十四日(jyuichigatsu nijyuyokka): November 24

There are big chances for you to be a millionaire this year if you buy the year-end jumbo lottery (年末ジャンボ宝くじ nenmatsu janbo takara kuji), which were sold from today.
One lottery costs yen 300. The first prize is yen 200,000,000 for 74 pieces. And the second prize is yen 100,000,000 for 370 pieces. In total 444 millionaires will be born at the end of this year.
As a year-end special lucky prize there are 74,000 pieces for yen 30,000.
They say there were 1,000 people waiting before they were sold at the ticket booth in Tokyo where millionaires were born in two years straight for the last year and the year before last.
Would you like to try?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

十一月二十三日(jyuichigatsu nijyusan nichi): November 23

November 23 is a national holiday called kinro kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日), Labor Thanksgiving Day. It was established in 1948. Before that it was niinamesai (新嘗祭), which is the day to thank hervests.
It is nice to have a day off during weekday to rest. Since I have had a cold for 10 days or so, I could sleep well.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the USA and people eat the Turkey dinner. But in Japan there is no special celebration on this holiday now as far as I know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

十一月二十二日(jyuichigatsu nijyuni nichi): November 22

I have just watched the women's 100m race at the 2010 16th Asian Games. Chisato Fukushima (福島千里) became a champion at 11'33 seconds. It's been 44 years since a Japanese woman became a champion last time in 1966. Congratulations!
Women's soccer team Nadeshiko Japan (なでしこジャパン) also became a champion.  Congratulations!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

十一月二十一日(jyuichigatsu nijyuichi nichi): November 21

I visited the Kirin Beer Factory in Namamugi (生麦). I usually do not drink beer, because it is bitter and I feel full when I drink it.
There was a reunion, and the person in charge chose that place to get together, so I went there. It was very more interesting than I expected. I knew many new things. Unfortunately the machines were not working because of the weekend, but I enjoyed visiting there, and tasting the non-alcoholic beer too.
The showcase of beer mugs reminded me of the journey in Germany. They have covers which we do not. Hops I remembered were bigger than I saw today. The date printing, filling beer into the tank, and recycling policy were especially impressive.
While we were tasting, the guide told us how to pour the beer into a glass. It takes time, but looked very delicious.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

十一月二十日(jyuichigatsu hatsuka): November 20

They say today is the day of Yamanashi prefecture. I was there last week. It was colder there and the leaves were red and yellow. I have got a cold since last Friday and still have coughs.
At night I happened to see the TV program which features about the Kofu torimotsuni (甲府鳥もつ煮), in Kofu, Yamanashi which became a champion of this year for the B-1 gourmet grand prix. This is the 5th year event and the one became the champion for the first two years (Fujinomiya Yakisoba 富士宮焼そば) brought yen 43,900,000,000 sales since 2001. The third year champion (Atsugi Shirokoro horumon 厚木シロコロホルモン) brought yen 3,000,000,000 for just 3 months. In Kofu there are many people coming to eat the Kofu torimotsuni all the way these days. I could eat that 3 times during my visit this time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

十一月十九日(jyuichigatsu jyuku nichi): November 19

It was very cold. Mt. Fuji looked so beautiful with snow. Last week when I was near Mt. Fuji, about one fifth from the top was covered by snow, but today it looked all sides were covered by snow.
I do not like coldness, but I like to see the beautiful Mt. Fuji and the night sky with many stars in the clear air in winter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

十一月十八日(jyuichigatsu jyuhachi nichi): November 18

Speaking of the third Thursday of November, it is the opening of Beaujolais nouveau (ボジョレーヌーボー). There are some time differences. Japanese people can taste earlier than people in other areas. Some people were waiting for the midnight to come to buy the new bottles of new wine.
Are you interested in something like this?
I would like to try some if I have a chance but I do not want to dare to wait for hours to buy something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

十一月十七日(jyuichigatsu jyushichi nichi): November 17

It was a very cold rainy day.
I went out for lunch to the Korean Restaurant. Usually I order Ishiyakibibimba (石焼ビビンバ), Bibimbap at the Korean Restaurant, but unfortunately they were sold out, and I tried Karubikuppa (カルビクッパ), gukbap which my companions ordered.
I have never eaten it before and I did not know what it is. It was a bowl of soup, vegetables, meat, and rice. The red color seemed very spicy, but it was not. It was a nice new experience.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

十一月十六日(jyuichigatsu jyuroku nichi): November 16

Yesterday I went to Nihon kagaku miraikan (日本科学未来館), the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Odaiba, Tokyo. This was the second time for me to visit there. The visiting time was very short but I saw many interesting things that I did not notice last time.
There were many primary school pupils, junior and senior high school students, and foreign visitors too.
There was a big news regarding Hayabusa (はやぶさ), the asteroid explorer that brought back the particles. So in a few month the new exhibition must be shown there.

Monday, November 15, 2010

十一月十五日(jyuichigatsu jyugo nichi): November 15

November 15 is known as shichi go san (七五三). Parents of 3 and 5 years old boy, and of 3 and 7 years old girl will take their children to the shrine to pray for their good health and growth. Children are dressed with beautiful kimono. They have some long red and white stick candy called chitoseame (千歳飴), meaning 1000 years candy to wish their longevity.
It was very cold today. And I did not have a chance to visit shrines, so I did not see any celebration today but last Friday I saw a family who took the 3 year old son to the Takeda Shrine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

十一月十四日(jyuichigatsu jyuyokka): November 14

The 16th Asian Games are being held in Koshu, China from November 12 to 27. About 10,000 athletes and swimmers from 45 countries will participate. There will be the 476 events from 42 sports which is the most in history.
Some Japanese athletes and swimmers have already got some medals.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

十一月十三日(jyuichigatsu jyusan nichi): November 13

I went to the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art and Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Literature. They stand next door.
It's been 32 years since the Museum of Art opened in 1978, and it welcomed 12,000,000th person today. This museum is very famous for the French artist Jean-Francois Millet.
In the Museum of Literature there was the message from the director saying something like "To read literature is to know life." I was surprised to know that there are many writers who were related to Yamanashi prefecture such as Akutagawa Ryunosuke (芥川龍之介), Higuchi Ichiyo (樋口一葉), and Dazai Osamu (太宰治).

Friday, November 12, 2010

十一月十二日(jyuichigatsu jyuni nichi): November 12

I went to the Takeda jinja (武田神社), shrine and Kai zenkoji(甲斐善光寺), temple in Kofu (甲府) today. There are many shrines and temples in Japan. It was cold and slightly rained at the shrine, and it seemed I got a cold.
The most famous person in this area is Takeda Shingen (武田信玄) who was the feudal warlord of the 16th century. And the Takeda shrine enshrines him. The red maples were beautiful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

十一月十一日(jyuichigatsu jyuichi nichi): November 11

This morning I saw the very beautiful Mt. Fuji. In the afternoon there were some clouds. I should have taken a picture when I found it very beautiful.
Regarding Mt. Fuji I want to take a picture of Diamond Fuji someday. Do you know what it is? It is a picture of sunrise or sunset when the sun comes up at the summit of Mt. Fuji and shines like a diamond. It seems they happen twice a year in many places. And around this time is one of them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

十一月十日(jyuichigatsu toka): November 10

I came to Yamanashi (山梨). I am staying at a Japanese style hotel near the lake Kawaguchi(河口湖: kawaguchiko). The room is on the lake view side, and the dinner was really nice. I am going to take onsen (温泉), hot spring tonight.
On my way here I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji (富士). The leaves were yellow and red. We call this koyo (紅葉), literally red leaves. Koyo (紅葉) is also read as momiji (紅葉), that is maple.
It was a very cool and fine day. We call this weather akibare (秋晴れ), literally autumn fine.
I hope you have a chance to see Japanese beautiful koyo season.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

十一月九日(jyuichigatsu kokonoka): November 9

I went to see Kabuki (歌舞伎), the traditional Japanese dance-drama after a long time. It started at 4:30 PM and finished around 9:30 PM. There are 3 different plays. The first one lasted for 1 hour 40 minutes followed by 30 minutes break, the second one lasted for 19 minutes followed by 20 minutes break, and the last one lasted for 2 hours and 5 minutes.
During the first break, I ate the boxed dinner called makunouchi bento (幕の内弁当), literally inside the screen packed meal, and meaning between-the-act packed meal.
The dance-dramas acted by actors only were more interesting than I expected. Especially acrobatic parts were really nice. I enjoyed a lot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

十一月八日(jyuichigatsu yoka): November 8

APEC wiil be held in Yokohama (横浜) this week. The security here and there is getting severe. I wanted to use the coin locker at the station but all the lockers were closed because of the security reason.
Now I am staying in a hotel in Tokyo (東京). When I came here last month I did not notice, but at room I found the feet or legs massage machine. I wished there was a shoulder massage machine too. Japanese people often get the shoulder stiffness called katakori (肩凝り).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

十一月七日(jyuichigatsu nanoka) : November 7

Today is ritto (立冬), the first day of winter by the old calendar. It is one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was soko (霜降) on Octobr 23, and the next one is shosetsu (小雪) on November 22.
There was the 7th game of the Nippon series between Chiba Lotte Marines and Chunichi Dragons. And the Lotte became a champion after 5 years. Congratulations!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

十一月六日(jyuichigatsu muika) : November 6

I went to the Nikkei Headquarter Building in Otemachi (大手町) to attend the seminar. Nikkei is abbreviation of Nihon Keizai Shimbun (日本経済新聞), Japanese daily business newspaper. It has about 3 million copies of circulation. My friend told me about this seminar and both of us applied, but only I got the ticket for 100 seats. It started at 2 PM and ended at 4:30PM. It was very informative.
After that I went to Shinjuku (新宿), then visited one of my friends' house to have a party. 6 of us got together. 5 of us took the 44th peace boat cruise from December 25, 2003 to March 31, 2004 and became friends there. We have had such home party once in a year or so at her place since we came back to Japan.

Friday, November 5, 2010

十一月五日(jyuichigatsu itsuka): November 5

It was very fine today. But at night there was an earthquake.

They say today is day of matchmaking (enmusubi no hi:縁結びの日). There are two reasons. One is in October all the gods get together in Izumo(出雲) where there is a big shrine called Izumotaisha (出雲大社) and talk about matchmaking. The other is November 5 is 11.5 and read as ii (11) go (5) en (縁). "Ii" means good, and "go en" is polite way of saying fate or destiny. That means a good marriage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

十一月四日(jyuichigatsu yokka): November 4

I read an interesting article in the newspaper today. Since yesterday was Culture Day, there were many events related to culture. And it seems there was a contest titled "Bibliobattle" in Tokyo yesterday. I have never heard about this.
The rules are as follows: 1. Bring your favorite book and get together. 2. Introduce the book in 5 minutes each and discuss. 3. Vote and select the champ book.
Through this, reading becomes sports. Reading becomes fun. Your world will be broaden by knowing many books.
Don't you think this is interesting?
If you join, what book will you bring?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

十一月三日(jyuichigatsu mikka) : November 3

November 3 is a national holiday called bunka no hi (文化の日), Culture Day.
This day is supposed to be fine every year and actually it was very fine today.
In the Imperial Palace there is a conferment ceremony of bunka kunsho (文化勲章), Order of Culture every year. This order is awarded to men and women who contributed to the Japan's art, literature, and culture.
Around this time there are school festivals which is called bunka sai (文化祭).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

十一月二日(jyuichi gatsu futsuka): November 2

It is an off-year election day in the USA. I have been wondering why they have an election on Tuesday for a long time because in Japan it is held on Sunday for sure. The other day TV caster was explaining about it. Sunday is the day for church, Monday is the moving day to the election place by carriage, therefore Tuesday became an election day.
Another difference is after voting they give you a sticker written "I voted" in the USA. (I am not sure if it happens in all 50 states or not though.) We do not have such custom here.
In the USA you vote by PC, but here we still write the candidate's name on the paper.
How about in your country?

Monday, November 1, 2010

十一月一日(jyuichigatsu tsuitachi): November 1

Another month has started. November is jyuichi gatsu (十一月) in Japanese. The old name is shimo tsuki (霜月), literally frost month. There are only two months left this year. I can't believe how fast time flies.
Yesterday the operation of international flights from Haneda (羽田) airport to 11 cities started. They are Seoul, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angels, and Honolulu. By February 2011 they will be increased to 17 cities, that is New York, Detroit, Vancouver, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and London.
Since the airport opens for 24 hours, there are many new business opportunities there now. Travel agencies started to sell the package tours to Asian countires for 1 night 4 days from Friday midnight to Monday morning so that people don't have to take days off but can enjoy the weekend travel abroad. Would you like to try?
I prefer the long vacation.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

十月三十一日(jyugatsu sanjyuichi nichi) : October 31

Happy Halloween!
I went to see two movies in Kawasaki (川崎). One is n American movie "Going the distance," the Japanese title is "enkyori renai kanojo no ketsudan (遠距離恋愛 彼女の決断). " If translated, it is "The Long Distance Love, Her Decision." It was a story of the long-distance love affair between NY and San Francisco.
The other one is a Japanese movie "Incitemill" (インシテミル 7日間のデス・ゲーム: insitemiru nanokakan no desu geimu). If written in English the last part, it is, Seven Days Death Game. It was released in the middle of October and is going to be released in 28 countries. So I decided to see it.
After the movie, I went to see the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, the biggest one in Japan. It started at 2:30 PM and ended at 4:00 PM. The parade was about 1.5km long. There were 3 big groups. There were about 3,000 people wearing special costume. Some were traditional monster costumes, others were from Animation or manga characters. I enjoyed seeing them for the first time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

十月三十日(jyugatsu sanjyu nichi) : October 30

It was very cold and rained because of the typhoon No. 14. It did not hit directly but passed very closely. Tyhpoon season is usually August and September. I have never experienced the one in October as long as I remember.
In Japan we count the typhoon by numbers. But if there was a big damage, it could be called by the name of the place which was hit such as Isewan Taifu (伊勢湾台風), international name was Vera in 1959. Isewan is Ise Bay in central Japan, taifu is typhoon.
After passing the typhoon the weather becomes very clear and beautiful. We call this taifu ikka (台風一過).
I hope it will be fine and warm tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

十月二十九日(jyugatsu nijyuku nichi) : October 29

I went out for dinner to the Mongolian Restaurant in Ryogoku (両国). Ryogoku is famous for sumo (相撲) wrestling. Sumo is a national traditional sports, but these days the strongest wrestlers are from Mongolia. The restaurant is run by a mother of the sumo wrestler from Mongolia.
It was the first time for me to eat that country food. First I drank milk tea. It was quite different from the one I always drink as milk tea. It tasted salty and it was like soup. A big cup of tea was only yen 100, and a big pot of tea was only yen 800.
There were 9 of us including two native Mongolians and we ordered many dishes. All was delicious. It cost very cheap. I learned many interesting Mongolian characteristics tonight too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

十月二十八日(jyugatsu nijyuhachi nichi): October 28

It was a very cold rainy day.
I got something I bought by mail-order business. Mail-order business is tsushin hanbai (通信販売), the abbreviation is tsuhan (通販). I was not sure what I ordered, but I am so glad to find the goods because it was a wearing blanket (着る毛布:kiru mofu), a blanket with sleeves. It was not so warm as I expected, but it is light and interesting.
It seems in the USA it is called "Snuggie."
There was something close to this item in Japan called kaimaki (掻い巻き), a sleeved coverlet. But I have never seen the wearing blanket until this year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

十月二十七日(jyugatsu nijyushichi nichi): October 27

It was very cold today. It seemed winter has come without our having autumn though Japan is known as having distinct four seasons. Many winter clothing, heater, and kerosene were sold a lot just in one day.
In Sapporo (札幌), snow piled 33 cm in one night. People living in Hokkaido (北海道) or northern area had to clear the road of snow. Snow removing vehicles worked in the first time in October since the record started in 1980.
We had extremely hot summer this year. I am afraid to have extremely cold winter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

十月二十六日(jyugatsu nijyuroku nichi): October 26

It was cool in the morning and very windy and cold in the evening.
The radio said the first cold wintry wind called kogarashi ichigo (木枯らし1号) blew in the Kinki (近畿) area today which was 7 days earlier than last year and the 5th earliest in history since 1955. It's been 8 years since 2002 when it blew in October. The maximum instantaneous wind speed was 21.2 meters per second in Shiga (滋賀).
Sapporo (札幌), Asahikawa (旭川), and Hakodate (函館) in Hokkaido (北海道) area the first snow called hatsuyuki (初雪) snowed. It was one day earlier than usual and 6 days earlier than last year.
The winter is coming.

Monday, October 25, 2010

十月二十五日(jyugatsu nijyugo nichi): October 25

It was rather cool and slightly raining, therefore I wore the thin turtle neck sweater. However in the afternoon it became fine and I felt very hot.
It will be getting cooler in the morning and evening but still warm in the daytime. Therefore what to wear is a problem of the morning.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

十月二十四日(jyugatsu nijyuyokka): October 24

It was cloudy and startd raining.
The last day of NHK Cup of the figure skating in Nagoya, the first match of the Grand Prix series of this season.
The bronze medalist of the Vancouver Olympic Daisuke Takahashi (高橋大輔) became a champion. And 15 years old Yuzuru Haynu (羽生結弦) became the 4th. Another 15 years old skater, Kanako Murakami (村上佳菜子) became the bronze medalist. This was her debut match. Congratulations!!
I have just watched the exhibition on TV which I like to see always. Someday I hope to see the exhibition at the skating rink.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

十月二十三日(jyugatsu nijyusan nichi): October 23

It was a nice day.
I could eat the special product in Kofu (甲府) today. That is Kofu torimotsuni (甲府鳥もつ煮), cooked chicken gizzard, hearts, liver, pre-born eggs with soy sauce seasoning. Tori (鳥) means chicken, motsu (もつ) means offal, and ni (煮) means boiled. But torimotsu (取り持つ) also means to act as an agent. They mediate between lovers, families, areas, and so on.
There was B-1 Grand Prix contest of gourmet in September. And this Kofu torimotsuni became the No.1. There were 46 entries and 4,350,000 people joined and voted the contest.
Since that time many people outside of Kofu come to eat torimotsuni all the way and now there is even a map which shows the restaurants where you can taste this local food.
You can eat torimotsuni at the soba noodle house there.

Friday, October 22, 2010

十月二十二日(jyugatsu nijyuni nichi): October 22

I am now in Kofu (甲府), Yamanashi (山梨). It takes about 2 hours from Shinjuku (新宿) by Express train.
Yamanashi is famous for Mt. Fuji and five lakes arount it so called Fujigoko (富士五湖), fruits such as pear and grape, wine, and hotspring (温泉:onsen).
I came here on business, so I won't enjoy these things this time. But I hope I will taste very famous local foods at least.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

十月二十一日(jyugatsu nijyuichi nichi): October 21

Today the new runway and the international terminal building of Haneda (羽田) Airport in Tokyo (東京) opened. It was used to be the main air gateway to Japan until 1978 when the Narita (成田) Airport opened. Since 2002 all international regular flights have been operated in Narita. There will be 17 international routes to such as Bangkok, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and so on. The access to the airport has also become convenient by making a new train station. Furthermore the airport is 24 hours open.
They say there were more than 50,000 people visited and used the new airport today.
I hope to travel from Haneda near future too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

十月二十日(jyugatsu hatsuka): October 20

Japanese people love nature. In spring we enjoy cherry blossom viewing called hanami (花見). Hana (花) is flower, mi (見) means seeing. In autumn we enjoy moon viewing called tsukimi (月見). Tsuki (月) is the moon, mi (見) means seeing.
Especially in old calendar on August 15 and September 13 are supposed to do the moon viewing. The former moon is called jyugoya (十五夜), 15th night, and the latter moon is called jyusanya (十三夜), 13th night.
Today is jyusanya. But unfortunately it is slightly raining and we cannot see the moon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

十月十九日(jyugatsu jyuku nihci): October 19

It seems October 19 is the day of TOEIC and the day of travel abroad because October 19 is written as 10 19. 10 is read as to(とお) and 19 is able to read as iku (いく) in Japanese. TOEIC is pronounced as toikku (トーイック) therefore International Business Communication Association decided October 19 as the day of TOEIC.
Why travel abroad? 10 is read as to (とお) which associate with far, that is toku (遠く) in Japanese, and 19 is read as iku (行く) which means to go. To go far is to go abroad, therefore it is the day of travel abroad.
This year I went to Argentina and the USA in September. I wished to go to visit Shanghai Expo 2010, but it seems difficult. Did you travel abroad recently?

Monday, October 18, 2010

十月十八日(jyugatsu jyuhachi nichi): October 18

Speaking of Fall, it is shokuyoku no aki (食欲の秋), Fall of appatite. There are many seasonal dishes in Fall.
I went out for lunch and ate matsutake gohan (松茸ご飯), matsutake mushroom rice, which is typical rice dish in the fall. As for fish, sanma (秋刀魚), a mackerel pike is the most famous fall fish. As for vegetables, nasu (茄子), an eggplant is the representative one.
There are many delicious fruits in this season, such as nashi (梨), pear, kaki (柿), persimmon, and budou (葡萄), grape.
I hope you have a chance to visit Japan in this delicious season.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

十月十七日(jyugatsu jyushichi nichi): October 17

Today I happened to watch a TV program which dealt with a man's dream project. He used to be a captain of the cargo boat. He retired about 10 years ago to make his dream come true. His dream is to develop the power generation using the current for the better future. He is in the late 50s, and his 3 employees are all retired people, that is over 60. All of his savings and retirement allowance were used for the experiments and his company got into the red, and his employees work without getting paid. After many trials and errors their project was admitted by the Ministry of the Environment and they got the subsidy.
It was a nice documentary. I hope someday they will get the Nobel Prize.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

十月十六日(jyugatsu jyuroku nichi): October 16

These days when there are series movies, before the new one released, the old series are on air. I think this is good to attract more audience to the theater.
Today while I was ironing, I happened to watch the TV drama "SP" which movie will release soon. I did not know about the drama at all, but when I went to the theater the other day, the preview of that movie appeared. So I am glad to have watched some parts of the drama to know the cast.

Friday, October 15, 2010

十月十五日(jyugatsu jyugo nichi): October 15

I went to see the movie Knight & Day. The Japanese title is ナイト&デイ (naito ando dei). Until I bought the ticket, I thought it was Night & Day. Knight and night are pronounced as ナイト (naito) in Japanese.
The movie was very interesting.
Since I have lived in Seville, Spain before, I was glad to see the scenes of Seville. But why San Fermin? San Fermin is the festival in Pamplona. It is a movie so everything is possible. But I felt American people's image of Spain must be bullfighting.
Through movies many people get the image of countries. So stereotyped foreigners' Japanese people' s image was used be wearing glasses and taking pictures. In a sense it was true, but not all. What is your image of Japanese people now?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

十月十四日(jyugatsu jyuyokka): October 14

In today's news they say a supermaket in Tokyo had special discount sales for the vegetables which had bad shapes. Usually they are not sold because Japanese people like the good shaped products.
This summer the climate was abnormal. It has been too hot for vegetables to be cropped, and the prices of them went up extremely. So they had sales of those so-called wakeari shohin (訳あり商品), something that has reasons.
Since vegetables themselves are still expensive, vegetable juice are sold well this summer.
Besides this they introduced the new technology which you can grow vegetables indoors without being affected by the bad weather. The progress of light technology made the cultivation indoors possible and now this technology has been exported.
I felt "Necessity is the mother of invention. "

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

十月十三日(jyugatsu jyusan nichi): October 13

Do you have a business card?
I have seen many different business cards today.
Japanese letters are written either from top to bottom (tategaki: 縦書き , vertical writing) which is from right to left or left to right (yokogaki: 横書き ,laterally writing) which is from top to bottom. Therefore business cards are either vertically longer or horizontally longer rectangle. These days many people use emails, therefore the latter one is more popular I think.
Usually people include the information such as names of person and organization they belong, title, address, telephone number, fax number, email address, website address and so on. If you belong to the company or organization, there are logo, motto, or special certified mark such as privacy mark and ISO mark.
Some have pictures of their own or landscape, others are simple black and white. If your job is related to foreign countries, usually backside is written in English.
I saw three different business cards of the Diet members. One was very simple, just title and name in Japanese only. The other was necessary information with a photo. Another was necessary information with a photo in the front and his personal history in the back. Which one do you like?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

十月十二日(jyugatsu jyuni nichi): October 12

Columbus Day. In 1992 I was in Seville, Spain. There was a closing ceremony of Expo 1992. Working at the Japan Pavilion of the Expo '92 was a very special experience for me.
There are some dates when I remember well; October 12, 1992 is one of them. I do not remember what I did last year on this day or two years ago or more unless I check my 10 years diary, but in 1992 on this day I remember well what I did and thought.
This year there was nothing special, but one thing I learned today was if you report to the bank about the damaged paper money, they will send them to the Bank of Japan to confirm, and if they are confirmed, the amount will be deposited to the bank account.

Monday, October 11, 2010

十月十一日(jyugatsu jyuichi nichi): October 11

It was very fine and hot like the beginning of September.
It is a national holiday called taiiku no hi (体育の日), Physical Education Day today. It has been on October 10 but since 2000 it has become on the second Monday of October. Therefore this was a 3-day weekend. Many people must have enjoyed this 3-day weekend.
Happy Monday System is a nice system for most people who can take 3 days off. But regarding schools I doubt the merit because if you have classes on Mondays, same subjects are canceled.
I like to celebrate the exact date.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

十月十日(jyugatsu toka): October 10

October 10 was used to be a national holiday called taiiku no hi (体育の日), Physical Education Day. In 1964 it was the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics because October 10 was singularity of fine weather. Since 1966 it has been the national holiday but since 2000 it has been moved to the second Monday of October.
Therefore this is the 3-day weekend. Today is written as 10/10/10, and it is taian (大安) which is considered as a very good day for wedding, therefore there are many weddings. Unfortunately it rained.
I went to see three movies, one is Akunin (悪人:Villain), the other is The Last Message Umizaru (海猿: Sea monkey), another is Eat, Pray, Love. The first two were Japanese movies.
In the first movie the actress, Eri Fukatsu (深津絵里) received the Best Actress Award in the Montreal World Film Festival last month. There were fewer audience than I expected.
The second movie was 3D movie. From the title this seems the last one of the series, but I felt someday another one will be made again.
The third one was based on the memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert. When I traveled in the USA last month, it was still one of the best seller books.
And I am watching another one Nihon chinbotsu (日本沈没: Japan Sinks)on TV.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

十月九日(jyugatsu kokonoka): October 9

The suitcase was returned. The wheel and inside belts were repaired. They said it might take 3 weeks, but it was returned within a week. It was an unexpected surprise.
It was the beginning of 3-day weekend. This is the last 3-day weekend this year. Unfortunately the weather was not so good.

Friday, October 8, 2010

十月八日(jyugatsu yoka): October 8

Today is kanro (寒露), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節気), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shubun (秋分) on Septermber 23 and the next one is soko (霜降) on October 23. Kanro literally means cold dew. It is the time when the dew is about to freeze by the cold.
These days it has been very nice, not hot nor cold, very confortable season.

There was a good news today. The Japanese selected football team won the game over the Argentina team which ranks in the 4th in the world at the International Friendship Match by 1 to 0. This was the first game supervised by the new Director Alberto Zacceroni.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

十月七日(jyugatsu nanoka): October 7

I got a postcard from an insurance company.
When I went to the USA in 2006, I experienced the lost baggage. It arrived a few days later, but I needed to buy something to wear. The insurance company reimbursed. When I went to see a doctor, they also reimbursed. When I became sick and needed the operation, they reimbursed. So I felt the importance of having an insurance.
Usually in a short trip, I use the credit card insurance, but this time the round trip ticket was free so I decided to buy the travel insurance.
During this trip my suitcase was broken, so was a pair of sunglasses. Therefore I called the company after coming back and consulted the situation. They said they would reimburse both cases and sent the application form first and the post card to let the claim number know second.
I felt they have a good customer service.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

十月六日(jyugatsu muika): October 6

There were two wonderful news today.
One is a professional golfer Jumbo Ozaki(ジャンボ尾崎 or Masashi Ozaki 尾崎将司),63 years old was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. This is the fourth Japanese.

The other was the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The 2010 Nobel Prize is awarded two Japanese chemists Eiichi Negishi(根岸英一),75 years old and Akira Suzuki (鈴木章),80 years old.


十月五日(jyugatsu itsuka): October 5

I went to see the hotel in Ariake (有明) where we will use next month. It opened in June last year, so it is rather new and neat.
I was impressed by two things. One is when you use the elevator, you need to scan the room key card, otherwise you cannot use it. This was the first experience for me.
The other was an exchange machine at the lobby. It was only between US$ and Japanese Yen. But usually we have to ask the cashier for exchange, I felt this is convenient for foreign guests.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

十月四日(jyugatsu yokka): October 4

The bag arrived. But I was so shocked to see inside. It was a mess. Most of the boxes were crushed into unbelievably bad shapes. I did not understand what has happened. I should have put clothing there instead of souvenirs!

At home I received the postcard I sent from El Calafate, Argentina. I sent to my family on the same timing, but only mine was arrived. I do not know why.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

十月三日(jyugatsu mikka): October 3

The bag arrived at Narita and they arranged to send it tomorrow. I wanted to have it today because there were some souvenirs I wanted to give tomorrow. Therefore I asked them to send the bag to the office.

There was danpatsushiki (断髪式) of ex-Yokozuna Asashoryu (元横綱朝青龍) who has retired in February. Danpatsushiki is a cutting hair ceremony. The hair style of the sumo wrestler is called oicho (大銀杏). There were 380 people joined to cut down his sumo hair style and there were about 10,000 audience watching.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

十月二日(jyugatsu futsuka): October 2

Yesterday I sent the suitcase from the airport and it arrived today. I emptied inside and called another company to pick it up to repair. They will come tomorrow.
The airline company called me and said my bag was not arrived again. I hope to receive it by tomorrow.

At night there was a good news. Japanese Figure Skating team became champion at the Japan Open Figure. It is a competition among North America, Europe and Japan. Congratulations!
It is still first part of fall but the winter games have already begun.

Friday, October 1, 2010

十月一日(jyugatsu tsuitachi): October 1

A new month has begun. October is jyugatsu (十月) in Japanese. The old name is Kannaduki (神無月), literally god no month. In this month all the gods get together in Izumotaisha (出雲大社), Izumo shrine, there are no gods in other area. Therefore in Izumo area they say Kamiariduki (神在月), literally god exists month.

I arrived at Narita airport around 4PM after 11 hours flight. Unfortunately one of my baggage did not arrive with me. On the turn table there was my name on the signboard and I went to the desk. It seems the bag was left behind at Los Angeles. There is the same flight every day. They said it will arrive tomorrow. There I talked about the suitcase damage and the story and they offered the repair.
I came home and enjoyed the bath.

九月三十日(kugatsu sanjyu nichi): September 30

First few hours I could use Internet, but other time I could not. It was rather difficult to spend 12 hours in cold terminals.
I posted one post card in the USA. The postage was $0.44 but they charged $0.50. Everything seems expensive in the airport.
I flew from NY to Los Angels. There I had another 3 hours and a half. I expected to use free WI-FI at McDonald, but I could not.
And I got on the flight bound for Narita. This is about 11 hours.
I used the mileage program to come to the USA this time. The connection was really bad. But I could visit Patagonia, watched Tango, and met my old friends and had a very nice time.

九月二十九日(kugatsu nijyuku nichi): September 29

It was raining heavily. But my friend took me to the Miami airport. I arrived too early to check in. There I asked about the coupon, but they said they can't do anything there and advised me to call or write again.
First I flew to Washington DC, then flew to NY. There I had about 12 hours so I was wondering what to do. I felt like going out to see the night of NY. But after all I decided to stay at the airport. I arrived at Terminal 7 and will leave from there, but it is not 24 hours open. Therefore I had to move to Terminal 4 or 1. Since I had enough time I visited both terminals. There were Asian restaurants and they sold Japanese green tea, sushi, and seaweed salad. So I tried American Japanese foods. I bought the same tea in San Francisco, but in SF it was cheaper.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

九月二十八日(kugatsu nijyuhachi nichi): September 28

I went to The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens after 2 years. How nice to see old colleagues! Some left, but others are still working at the same position and remembered me and welcomed me.
I walked in the gardens, visited the renewed Yamato kan, had a luncheon with Education Staff, visited many people working there, and took pictures.
In the afternoon my old office room mate came to see me there and we enjoyed the reunion.
I stayed at my first and last host family and the neighbors got together and had a wonderful dinner. It was raining heavily at night and to my interesting one family came there by car though their house is just across the road.
I really had a good time today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

九月二十七日(kugatsu nijyushichi nichi): September 27

I was surprised to know that to check in the baggage for the domestic flights it costs $25. In Japan up to 20kg it is free. In flight service also costs these days.
I miss old days.
After arriving at Miami, I took a shuttle to go to the station and rid on the Tri-rail for the first time. I have wanted to ride on it while I was in Florida, but I had a car and did not have a chance to do so. When my Japanese friend came to visit me, they used that train and it was very cheap. But it seemed they raised the fare. It took about 1 hour 24 minutes to go to Delray Beach. And I took a bus. This was also my first experience in Delray Beach.
It was rain in Atlanta, but it was fine in Delray Beach.
I had dinner with my third host parents and went to see the beach.

九月二十六日(kugatsu nijyuroku nichi): September 26

The car broke again and we went to the garage in Macon. How we felt lucky to know the garage is open on Sunday!
However, after they repaired the fan belt and it seemed fine, after a few minutes drive we found the alarm light was on and went back to the garage to ask the repair.
We waited and waited but they could not repair and the closing time has come.
By that time the heavy rain was pouring. We did not know what to do. After all we called a cab and went to the shuttle bus station to Atlanta Airport. There we had to use another cab to the hotel. The driver could not read the map and he took a wrong way. What a waste!
I hoped to have a southern dinner, but the restaurant was just closed and had to end up in the Chinese restaurant. Usually Chinese dishes are delicious but this time they were not so tasty unfortunately. Misfortunes never come alone.
But I liked the message of the fortune cookie.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

九月二十五日(kugatsu nijyugo nichi): September 25

I have booked the flight ticket from Atlanta to Miami for Monday. I thought weekends rate is more expensive than weekday rate, but it was not. If you fly on Sunday it was something like $106 one way, but on Monday it costs $133 + tax.
There were 3 possible airports I could use when I go to the place I used to live; West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Miami is the biggest and there are more flights back and forth, so it is cheaper and I chose Miami though it is the furtherest.

Friday, September 24, 2010

九月二十四日(kugatsu nijyuyokka): September 24

This trip is a series of adventure.
I have planned everything regarding the Argentina trip because I travel by myself, but in the USA the main reason is to see old friends, everything is up to them.
I am now traveling in Georgia by car. And it broke down suddenly in the midnight last night and we had to call AAA.
I used to be a member of AAA but have never used the service during my membership. I just liked to get the maps.
To go to the garage this morning we rid on a taxi. To my surprise the driver was a lady with a 3-year old boy. I have seen women drivers before, but I have never seen the one with a kid. At the garage, the boy went to the other taxi, so I asked her what happened. She said "He went home with Dad." Both of them were taxi drivers.
At the garage I saw many people waiting for their car repaired. One of the families was going to Fort Lauderdale to have a cruise from tomorrow. The other man has lived in Japan for 4 years and he said he liked living in Japan. All of them become happy after their cars have been fixed.
Thank you very much for mechanics!

九月二十三日(kugatsu nijyusan nichi): September 23

September 23 is shubun no hi (秋分の日), the Autumn Equinox Day. The length of day and night is the same.
In Japan a week between the Equinox Day is called o higan (お彼岸) and we visit the ancestors graves around this time. The sweets offered to them is called o hagi (お萩) this time, and botamochi (牡丹餅) in spring time. Both are same sweets but called differently in season.
There is a saying "atsusa samusa mo higan made (暑さ寒さも彼岸まで)" which means the heat and the cold will last until the Equinox Day.
This summer was extremely hot in Japan. So everybody is looking forward to the autumn.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

九月二十二日(kugatsu nijyuni nichi): September 22

Yesterday I did not pay attention to my suitcase when I picked it up at the airport. But when I opened it, I noticed one of the wheels was broken. I was so shocked to find it out at that time. I should have taken a look at the airport. It was too late to call last night, so I waited until today.
I called the airline and talked about the damage. I just told them the baggage claim number and an email address. They said they cannot repair it but will send me the $100 coupon for the airline ticket by email.
I have had bad luck regarding the suitcase. This was the third time my suitcase was broken by the delivery services. It happened last time in August 2006 just before leaving Japan for the USA for 2 years. I needed the suitcase for sure, they offered me the new one. I really liked my suitcase because of the color and style, but without wheels it was not good and I accepted it.
And this new one was broken this time. I thought I would get the new one again, but the treatment was different.

九月二十一日(kugatsu nijyuichi nichi): September 21

I came back to the USA again. First I arrived at Washington DC. I had to wait for about 6 hours there for the next flight to Miami. After 2 hours and 15 minutes flight I arrived at Miami International Airport. It's been 3 years since I came here last when I went to Venezuela to see the Angel Falls.
At that time I felt this is not America because the first announcement was not English but Spanish. But this time when I was in Washington DC for Argentina, I also hear Spanish but did not feel like that.
This time in Miami I did not have enough time to hear any Spanish nor English. I just got off and went to pick up my things.
There my best friend was waiting for me. That is very nice to have somebody like that. We enjoyed the reunion after 2 years.

Monday, September 20, 2010

九月二十日(kugatsu hatsuka): September 20

It is a national holiday called keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect-for-the-Aged Day, which was used to be on September 15. But now it has become the third Monday of September. So many people in Japan are having a three-day weekend.
Since I am traveling, I sometimes forget what day is today.
I am in Buenos Aires again. It has been 6 years since I was here before. I have visited the main touristic places last time, I decided to take Tigre Tour which my Argentine friend recommended me. It is a half day tour cost $31. It is a boat tour. I felt I have experienced this kind of tour but I could not remember exactly where it was.
After coming back to Buenos Aires, I walked around the town and enjoyed some shopping. I happened to see the Tango dancing on the street.
The travel agency picked me up at the hotel, and I went to the airport. It was rather earlier, but the security check was so severe, it took time.
I really enjoyed my days in Argentina this time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

九月十九日(kugatsu jyuku nichi): September 19

I did not see any Japanese while I was in El Calafate but this morning at the dining room of the hotel, I happened to see some Japanese people. We noticed each other as Japanese and greeted in Japanese.
I checked out the hotel and the travel agency picked me up. I totally forgot about the tax I had to pay at the airport. Since it is Sunday and banks are closed, I paid it in US dollars.
I left El Calafate around noon and arrived at Buenos Aires around 3 PM. I headed for the hotel and checked in. I am glad to find I could use the Internet. I took a nap for a while.
At night I went to see the Tango show which included the dinner. The beef steak was too big to eat everything. The show was wonderful.
I came back to the hotel after midnight.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

九月十八日(kugatsu jyuhachi nichi): September 18

I joined the "Todo Glaciares" tour. They picked me up at the hotel at 7:15 AM and came back around 5:30 PM.
It is the sailing tour of visiting the Upsala Glacier, the largest one in Argentina with 800 k㎡, Spegazzini Glacier with walls up to 135 meters high, and the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier.
It was very cold and windy on the boat. But the scenery was so wonderful. Glaciers were so beautiful.
After coming back I walked around the town. El Calafate is a small town. The shops and restaurants are open until late which is good for tourists.
I enjoyed the local food and Mate tea at the restaurant where the travel agency included the coupon of the welcome drink and 10% off.

Friday, September 17, 2010

九月十七日(kugatsu jyushichi nichi): September 17

I took a tour of the Glaciar Perito Moreno. It started at 9 AM and came back before 5:00 PM. It is the place I have wanted to visit for nearly 7 years. When I traveled around the world by Peace Boat from December 25, 2003 to March 31, 2004, I chose to go to the Antarctic and I missed visiting Patagonia. Therefore I have wanted to come here someday.
Finally one of my 100 bucket lists was completed. There are still many places I want to visit such as the Himalayas, Santorini in Greece and Egypt.
How about your dreams?

九月十六日(kugatsu jyuroku nichi): September 16

I left home around 11:00 AM of September 15. It takes about 3 hours to go to the Narita Airport. It was so crowded that I could not have enough free time to spend there.
I took the first flight from Narita to San Francisco which takes about 9 hours, the second flight was from San Francisco to Washington DC which takes about 5 hours, the third flight was from Washington DC to Buenos Aires which takes about 10 hours and a half, and the fourth flight was from Buenos Aires to El Calafate which takes about 3 hours. In total I was on board for more than 27 hours!
There are time differences from one place to another. After all the time difference between Japan and Argentina is 12 hours.
So I had a very long September 15.
The weather has been very nice. It was not cold in Buenos Aires. It is rather cold here in El Calafate. I have not seen the place yet, but the landscape from the airport was so beautiful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

九月十五日(kugatsu jyugo nichi): September 15

September 15 had been a national holiday called keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect-for-the-Aged day until 2003. But it's been moved to the third Monday of September since 2004 because of the happy Monday system.
There are two national holidays in September, therefore this time is called silver week compared to the long weekend in May which is called the golden week.
I decided to take the summer vacation at this time to make it longer to use these two holidays. I will travel to Argentina and the USA for about 2 weeks. It's been a long time dream for me to go to Patagonia since I could not visit there while I was in Argentina last time in 2004. I am very looking forward to this trip.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

九月十四日(kugatsu jyuyokka) : September 14

It was fine in the morning, but has started raining.

Today's big news was the presidential election of the Democratic Party of Japan. After all Naoto Kan (菅直人) scored the landslide victory and reelected as a Prime Minister.
For the past four years there were 6 Prime Ministers, Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎), Shinzo Abe (安倍晋三), Yasuo Fukuda (福田康夫), Taro Aso (麻生太郎), Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山由紀夫), and Naoto Kan.
That is too much.
I hope the new cabinet will last longer to make a better society.

Monday, September 13, 2010

九月十二日(kugatsu jyuni nichi) : September 12

It was another hot day.

There was a festival in my town from yesterday but I had to go to Tokyo I did not have a chance to see the festival. But I could hear the piquant sound of Japanese flutes and drums.
Yesterday it seems there were sumo tournaments among children. Today there was a parade of floats called dashi (山車) and a sacred portable shrine called omikoshi (御神輿). There were some street stalls and flags near the shrine.

九月十三日(kugatsu jyusan nichi) : September 13

I went to buy some SD cards for my digital cameras for my trip from this week. My favorite camera is Panasonic's D snap which was given by my ex-colleagues when I left Panasonic in December 2003. It is very small, thin, and light. So it is very handy and I can bring it with me always.
I wanted to buy 1 GB SD card, however there were no 1 GB cards anymore. When I got the camera, it was quite cutting-edge compact camera but it's been nearly 7 years and it became too old to have accessories.
I like to buy the best one of the time and keep it long. So I will use my D snap as long as it works. But I felt the advancement of technology today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

九月十一日(kugatsu jyuichi nichi): September 11

It's been 9 years since the 9.11 happened. I still remember the scenes. The world has been changed a lot since this terrorism.
As a world traveler, I feel the most difference at the security check at the airport. We cannot bring liquid nor sharp items into the airplane. Sometimes we have to take off shoes to be screened.
When there happened the sarin terrorism in Tokyo on March 20, 1995, all the garbage bins at the station were closed and we could not use the coin lockers too. These days we can use them but still there is an announcement regarding unknown bags on the train.
There are 365 or 366 days in a year, but 9.11 is one of the remarkable days people around the world will remember forever.

Friday, September 10, 2010

九月十日(kugatsu toka): September 10

I went to the department stores in Shinjuku. There are two big ones at the station. At the first one, I went to the higher floor where dealt with special products from Hokkaido (北海道), the north Island of Japan. There are many delicious seafoods and sweets in Hokkaido. There were so many people there today waiting in line to buy some obento (お弁当), boxed dish or cakes. I was just looking, but one of the staff gave me a sample of seaweed mix with rice, and onion slices with that seaweed mix, and soup with seaweed later. It was just a sample, but he served generously so that people there felt rather full.
After that I went to the other department store and found the advertisement saying they also had a special sale of Hokkaido products.
I am not sure why they both had the same events, but I feel like going to Hokkaido to eat delicious foods.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

九月九日(kugatsu kokonoka): September 9

September 9 is known as choyo (重陽). It is one of the five seasonal festivals and a festival for chrysanthemum. Other festivals are jinjitsu (人日) on January 7, jyoshi (上巳) on March 3, tango (端午) on May 5, and tanabata (七夕) on July 7.

It became a little bit cooler than before but still hot.

There was a good news. A Japanese actress Eri Fukatsu (深津絵里) received the Best Actress Award for Akunin (悪人), the wicked person at The 34th Montreal World Film Festival. Congratulations!
The movie will be released on September 11. I am looking forward to watching the movie.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

九月八日(kugatsu yoka): September 8

It rained and rained very heavily because of the typhoon No.9 which turned into the torpical cyclone. It's been hot until yesterday so this rain was after a very long time.
I was supposed to walk around the area called Yanesen (谷根千), which means Yanaka (谷中), Nedu (根津) and Sendagi (千駄木) near Ueno (上野), but because of this rain the schedule has been slightly changed. But still I walked in the heavy rain and the water was flooding. After 20 minutes or so the rain was almost stopped. And the flood disappeared soon.
It was so strange.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

九月七日(kugatsu nanoka): September 7

It was another hot day. In Tokyo it went up to 35.7 degrees centigrade and became another moshobi (猛暑日). There are 13 moshobi and it is the tied record as 1995. 21 places out of 154 they renewed the number of moshobi of this summer.
But the tyhoon No. 9 is coming and it may rain in the evening tomorrow this area too.

There were something which did not go on time today, but after all they turned out to be a better way.
There is a saying wazawai tenjite fukutonasu (災い転じて福となす), meaning bad luck often brings good luck. So we should not give up anything soon even if it does not seem good at first.

Monday, September 6, 2010

九月六日(kugatsu muika): September 6

It was another hot day.

It was fourth birthday of the Prince Hisahito (悠仁親王: hisahito shinno), the only son of Prince Akishino (秋篠宮文仁親王:akishinomiya fumihito shinno) and Princess Kiko (文仁親王妃紀子:fumihito shinno hi kiko) today. He was born to the Imperial family after 12 years of his older sister Princess Kako (佳子内親王:kako nai shinno)'s birth. It's been 41 years since the boy was born to the Imperial Family, that is his father Prince Akishino. He is the 3rd in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after Crown Prince Naruhito (皇太子徳仁親王:kotaishi naruhito shinno) and his father Prince Akishino.
He was the first baby in the Imperial Family that was born by the Caesarean Section (帝王切開: teio sekkai).

When I walked near the Shinjuku Station, there were many lanterns, and I was wondering if there is a festival today around that area or not. There were some people who were celebrating his birthday, and I realized that that was a celebration for his 4th birthday.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

九月五日(kugatsu itsuka): September 5

Another record was renewed today. The hottest temperature was 39.9 degrees centigrade in Kyoto, which is the hottest in Japan this year and the hottest in September since the measurement started.
In 128 points it became moshobi (猛暑日), and in 653 points out of 921 it became manatsubi (真夏日).
In Osaka it went up to 36.2 degrees centigrade. And this is the 28th days which became moshobi this summer. This is the tied record with 1994.
The highest temperature in September used to be 39.7 degrees centigrade on September 2, 2000 in Kumagaya, Saitama(埼玉県熊谷市: saitama ken kumagaya shi).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

九月四日(kugatsu yokka): September 4

Another record was made. In 213 points out of 930 in nationwide they recorded as moshobi (猛暑日) which is over 35 degrees centigrade. The highest temperature of today went up to 39.1 degrees centigrade in Hachiman (八幡) in Gifu (岐阜).
In my town it also went up to 35.9 degrees centigrade which was the highest record in September.

Another record was made. That was shut out game by 45 years old pitcher Masa Yamamoto(山本昌) of the Chunichi Dragons(中日ドラゴンズ). He became the oldest pitcher who blanked the game. It's been 58 years since Tadashi Wakabayashi (若林忠志) made the shut out game at the age of 42 years and 8 months old in 1952. Congratulations!

Friday, September 3, 2010

九月三日(kugatsu mikka): September 3

They say September 3 is the anniversary of home run. In 1977 on this day the professional baseball player Sadaharu Oh(王貞治) hit the 756th home run and broke the world record of Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron.
Two days later the Japanese government decided to give him the first People's Honour Award (国民栄誉賞:kokumin eiyo sho).
He has hit 868 home runs in his player's life for 21 years. His uniform number was one, and he has used that number for 30 years straight as a player and a manager. This is the longest record for Japanese players. Now the number 1 was retired by the Giants in honor of him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

九月二日(kugatsu futsuka): September 2

It was another hot day. The average temperature between June to August was the highest for 113 years since 1898 when the first measurement was held in Japan.
It was 1.64 degrees centigrade higher than the usual year, and that of August only was 2.25 degrees centigrade higher than the usual year.
Yesterday the temperature became the highest of September in the history in 242 points among 921 points in Japan, and in 157 points it reached above 35 degrees centigrades which is called mosho bi (猛暑日), heat wave day, and in 789 points it reached above 30 degrees centigrade which is called manatsu bi (真夏日), midsummer day.
The highest year before was 1994.
The Meteorological Agency (気象庁:kishocho) admitted this is the extraordinary weather (異常気象: ijo kisho) in once in 30 years. This heat will continue for a while.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

九月一日(kugatsu tsuitachi): September 1

A new month has started. September is kugatsu (九月) in Japanese. The old name is nagatsuki (長月), literally means long moon.
September 1 is known as bosai no hi(防災の日), Day of Disaster Prevention. It was established in 1960 for the Kanto dai shinsai(関東大震災), Great Kanto earthquake occurred in 1923.
And today is nihyakutoka(二百十日), 210th day since risshun (立春), the first day of spring. Around this time there often comes a typhoon.
There is a saying Tensai wa wasuretakoroni yattekuru (天災は忘れたころにやってくる), meaning "Disaster strikes when it is least expected."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

八月三十一日(hachigatsu sanjyuichi nichi): August 31

The end of August, that is the end of the summer vacation for most of the elementary, junior, and senior high schools in the Kanto (関東) area.
How was your summer?
It has been extremely hot this summer. The sweltering night when the temperature does not go down below 25 degrees centigrade is called nettaiya (熱帯夜), tropical night. There were 47 sweltering nights in Tokyo this summer, which is the No.1 tied record as 1994. It's been sweltering nights since August 10, and the record will be renewed tonight.
It is estimated that this heat will continue during September.

Monday, August 30, 2010

八月三十日(hchigatsu sanju nichi): August 30

It's been a year since the election of the House of the Representatives was held and the ruling party has been changed from LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) to DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan). DPJ won a landslide victory in the election last year.
But at the election of the House of the Councilors in July they lost.
Therefore now it is the twisted situation at the diet which is called nijire kokkai (ねじれ国会).
In these days the attention has been focused on the representative election of DPJ which will be notified on September 1 and voted on September 14.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

八月二十九日(hachigatsu nijyuku nichi): August 29

I went to see three Japanese movies. Since today is the last Sunday of the summer vacation for most of the students, I thought there would be many people at the theaters, but on the contrary there were not so crowded.
The first movie was Karigurashi no Arrietty (借り暮らしのアリエッティ). This is the animation film. The original is The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

The second one was Odoru daisosasen The Movie 3 yatsura wo kaiho seyo!(踊る大捜査線 The Movie 3 ヤツラを解放せよ!). This was the movie from the popular TV drama. This is the third movie from the series. First one was released in 1998 and 7 million people watched and the sales was yen 10,100,000,000. The second one became the number one hit movie in Japan which released in 2003. 12.60 million people watched and the sales was yen 17,350,000,000. After 7 years it came back.

The third one was Hanamizuki (ハナミズキ),dogwood. It is a true love story of 10 years history. The story was made based on the song titled Hanamizuki released in 2004.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

八月二十八日(hachigatsu nijyuhachi nichi): August 28

Tonight I went to The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Shinagawa (品川). The original Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant has been at the Grand Central Station in New York since 1913. And this is the 2nd restaurant which opened in March 2004. There is the 3rd one in Marunouchi (丸の内).
The atomosphere is almost the same as that in NY. There are many American waiters and waitress who speak Japanese. The way of serving the clam chowder was different if my memory is correct. They brought soup in a stainless steel cup on the dish, and poured the contents on the dish at the table.
After that I went to the Shusaron (酒茶論). This is Japanese old sake bar where you can taste old sake since 1970. This is quite different from the image of Japanese sake bar but looked like a wine bar.

Friday, August 27, 2010

八月二十七日(hachigatsu nijyushichi nichi): August 27

It was another hot day. This year the temperature of the air conditioning of the train seemed rather high but today it was rather cool.

After reading the newspaper I knew it was 100th birth anniversary of Mother Teresa yesterday and since she was baptized on August 27 so it is considered her "true birthday" today. I did not know she was from Albania. I thought she was from India.
Did you know?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

八月二十六日(hachigatsu nijyuroku nichi): August 26

It was another hot day but not too hot as before.

Yesterday I was surprised to know that Ms. Seiko Noda (野田聖子), 49 years old Japanese politician, will have a first baby next February at the age of 50 by being offered the egg by a goodwill American lady.
She became pregnant before with her ex-husband of common-law marriage so called jijitsukon (事実婚), but unfortunately she miscarried. She has tried in vitro fertilizaiton (体外受精:taigai jusei) with him for 14 times. Then she wrote a book titled "Still I want to have a baby of my own." And she got divorced.
The progress of the medical world is great and what was impossible before has become possible now.
It must be a very good thing for her, but there may cause a controversial matter.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

八月二十五日(hachigatsu nijyugo nichi): August 25

It was another hot day. It seems this heat will continue for the next 2 weeks.

Tonight I happened to see an interesting TV program which introduced a 360 degrees landscape taking camera. These days most of cameras are digital, and the use of film cameras are decreasing. If you ask the DPE of that film at the regular store, they will appear as 4 pieces of L sized pictures, but if you ask in the certain store, you can have a long picture showing 360 degrees landscape. The camera itself is made in Australia. They will start DPE in the middle of September.
We have had panoramic photos, but the next stage has begun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

八月二十四日(hachigatsu nijyuyokka): August 24

I went to the complete medical checkup. It is called ningen dock (人間ドック) in Japanese. Ningen means human being. So it is like a ship in a dock to check up, human being also goes to hospital to check up.
This is the first time for me to have this complete general checkup. First I had to change the clothing which they rent. An interesting thing was they gave us a pair of socks. They provided the lockers and safe deposits but also they offered the small bag for valuables.
It used to take a few days but it took about 2 hours to finish today. And I had to wait to hear the simple result. The detailed results will be sent in 3 weeks.
Another interesting thing was they gave us about yen 1,000 meal coupon instead of offering lunch. I did not expect neither of this, so I felt it interesting.

Monday, August 23, 2010

八月二十三日(hachigatsu nijyusan nichi): August 23

Today is shosho (処暑), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was risshu (立秋) on August 7 and the next one is hakuro (白露) on September 8.
Shosho is the time when the heat becomes weak and the coolness starts. However this year it has been extremely hot.
Today it exceeded more than 36 degrees centigrade which is moshobi (猛暑日), very hot day.
The heat of late summer which is called zansho (残暑) will be severe this year even in September.
Do you like hot summer or cold winter?
I like the moderate spring.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

八月二十二日(hachigatsu nijyuni nichi): August 22

Speaking of summer sports, it is swimming.
An Olympic gold medalist for Athene and Beijin, Kosuke Kitajima (北島康介) became a champion for the 200 meter breststroke with a world record of this year at 2:8.36 today at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 2010 in Irvine, CA.
He became a champion for 100 meter breststroke too. Congratulations!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

八月二十一日(hachigatsu nijyuichi nichi): August 21

Speaking of the Japanese summer sports, it is the high school baseball games held at Koshien (甲子園). Today there was the final match of the 92nd National High School Championship (summer Koshien) between Tokaidaisagami koko (東海大相模高校) from Kanagawa (神奈川) vs Konan koko(興何高校) from Okinawa(沖縄).
Since I live in Kanagawa prefecture, of course I supported the Tokaidaisagami for their victory after 40 years. However, unfortunately for them, Konan was very strong and defeated Tokaidaisagami by 13 vs 1. Congratulations!
It is the first time for the high school in Okinawa to become the champion and this was the 6th school which won both spring and summer Koshien tournaments in a year since 1998 the Yokohama High School at the 80th tournament. Now the winner pitcher of the Yokohama High School is active in the United States. He is Daisuke Matsuzaka (松坂大輔) of the Boston Red Sox.
Today's hero may be a hero of the future too.

Tonight I could see the beautiful fireworks festival from my house. I felt lucky.

Friday, August 20, 2010

八月二十日(hachigatsu hatsuka): August 20

I went to the Embassy of India, Tokyo to see the Indian Drum - Dance Pung-Cholom and Dhol-Dholok Cholom. It started at 7 pm and lasted for about an hour. There were 7 drum dancers and there were two different music. The addmission fee was free of charge.
The first one Pung Cholom lasted nearly for 40 minutes. They not only played the drums but also jumped and danced. They wore white pants with a kind of scarf.
The second one was Dhol Cholom. It is a drum dance performed during spring festival in Manipur State of India. They wore orange color costume. They also played the drum, jumped and danced. The audience also joined with clapping.
Both performances were so impressive. I am glad to see the performances. Thank you very much!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

八月十九日(hachigatsu jyuku nichi): August 19

Do you have any special mark put on the car if you are a beginner driver or a senior driver?
In Japan the beginner driver have to put the sign called shoshinsha mark (初心者マーク) in the front and back of the car. It is a green and yellow V-shaped symbol, and introduced in 1972. The beginner driver have to put them for a year after obtaining the official driver's license.
The senior people whose age are more than 70 years old are advised to put the sign called koreisha mark (高齢者マーク), an orange and yellow teardrop-shaped sign. This sign is also called momiji mark (もみじマーク:meaning maple leaf mark), kareha mark (枯れ葉マーク:meaning dried leaf mark), or ochiba mark (落ち葉マーク:meaning fallen leaf mark) and they are not good meaning.
Therefore they renewed the sign with four colors (orange, yellow, light green and green) clover-shaped sign with the designed letter S meaning senior today.
(see the picture).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

八月十八日(hachigatsu jyuhachi nichi): August 18

Welcome to Japan!!
Today my favorite American actress Julia Roberts(42) came to Japan for the first time for the promotion of her new movie "Eat, Pray, Love" which will be released on September 17 in Japan.
Since this is her first visit, more than 350 journalists got together at the press interview.
What her movies do you like?
I like Pretty Woman(1990), Pelican Brief (1993), Notting Hill (1999), Erin Brockovich (2001) and so on.
I am very looking forward to watching the new one in September.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

八月十七日(hachigatsu jyushichi nichi): August 17

It was another very hot day. In Tokyo it went up to 37.2 degrees centigrade which was the highest in this summer. The highest in Japan today was 38.2 degrees centigrade. 124 people were brought to hospital because of the heat injury.
The price of vegetables is increasing. The production of beer is also increasing 10% up.
It seems to be very hot this week in the Kanto (関東) area, and the next week too in the Kansai (関西) area.

Monday, August 16, 2010

八月十六日(hachigatsu jyuroku nichi): August 16

It was very hot today. There are 134 points where it exceeded more than 35 degrees centigrade which is called mosho bi(猛暑日),day of very hot, and 680 points where it exceeded more than 30 degrees centigrade which is called manatsu bi(真夏日), day of midsummer all over Japan. In Tokyo it went up to over 36 degrees centigrade which is higher than nomal human temperature.
Many people were brought to the hospitals by ambulance because of heat injury. They say not only in the daytime but also at night even in the rooms heat injury happens.
Therefore we need to be very careful about the room temperature.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

八月十五日(hachigatsu jyugo nichi): August 15

It's been 65 years since the World War II was over in Japan. It is called shusen kinenbi (終戦記念日), the anniversary of the end of the war. There were many memorial events here and there. 
Every year media pay attention to cabinet minister's movement if they visit the Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社:yasukuni jinja) or not. In this shrine those who died for the country at wars are enshrined. This year no cabinet members visited, but some other politicians visited.

The website of the Yasukuni shrine is as follows:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

八月十四日(hachigatsu jyuyokka): August 14

It is the time of obon (お盆), the Bon Festival when the spirits of ancestors come back from the other world. As a custom we visit the grave yard, so I did too. There were many people there.
At this time people can take days off and return to their home town to get together or travel. So there are traffic jams here and there. Tomorrow will be the peak of returning, and there must be heavy traffic on the highways back to Tokyo area.

Friday, August 13, 2010

八月十三日(hachigatsu jyusan nichi): August 13

Today I went to the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Museum of Art to see the Special Exhibition titled World of Trick Art - It's fun to be fooled-. Usually the museum opens at 10 and closes at 6, but on Fridays they open until 8 pm. That is very good. The admission fee is yen 1000 for adult, but you can get the advance ticket for yen 800 at the convenience stores.
There was the same kind of exhibition last year at the different museum, and I wished to visit, but when I decided to go, it was already over. So I am glad to visit the exhibition this time.
It was fun to see many interesting works. It will last until August 29, so if you have a chance I recommend you to visit.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

八月十二日(hachigatsu jyuni nichi): August 12

The typoon No. 4 hit the north part of Japan today. This is the first tyhoon in this summer, and it's been three years since the typhoon hit in August. It was windy and rained a little bit in Tokyo. But now the sky is clear so that I am looking forward to seeing the shooting stars.

It's been 25 years since the crash of a Japan Airline jumbo jet at the Osutaka(御巣鷹) mountain. 520 lives were lost. The bereaved family members climb the mountain every year on this day to have a memorial service there. There were 302 people climbed this year including a mother and a son. She was 3 months and a half pregnant at that time. Here attached the link of the article.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

八月十一日(hachigatsu jyuichi nichi): August 11

The time of the Perseid meteor shower (ペルセウス座流星群:peruseusu za ryusei gun) has come. It seems from the 12th to 14th of August is the peak.
Tomorrow night if you are lucky, you may be able to see about more than 50 shooting stars in an hour in Japan.
When I was in Florida, whenever there were meteor showers, my best friend and I went to see them in the middle of nowhere. The one that wanted to see the shower more was I, but my best friend saw more stars than I saw.
I like to take pictures. I have a dream to take a picture of stars around the pole star (北極星:hokkyokusei) someday. I had the other dream to take a picture of midnight sun moving. I had tried in Barrow in Alaska, but could not get the one as I wished. Maybe someday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

八月十日(hachigatsu toka) : August 10

It slightly rained this morning. I could see a beautiful rainbow. Since it has been extremely hot these days, the rain was a kind of relief. It will be hot again for the rest of the week.

Recently I read an interesting article regarding the reason of traveling in Japan. It is a result of surveys taken at the Narita (成田) Airport and Kansai (関西) International Airport for three times in a year (winter, summer and fall) for about 15,000 foreigners who had traveled in Japan for more than two days.
The best foods in Japan are sushi (寿司), ramen(ラーメン), and sashimi(刺身). What expected most before coming to Japan was also meals.
Those who from Thailand, England, and many other countries chose sushi as the best. Those who from Taiwan chose ramen the best. Those who from China chose sashimi, raw fish best.
The second expected thing was shopping, and the third was onsen (温泉), hot spring.
Yes, there are so many delicious foods in Japan. I am sure you will love them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

八月九日(hachigatsu kokonoka) : August 9

It's been 65 years since the Atomic Bomb called Fat Man was detonated over Nagasaki (長崎). There was a memorial ceremony and about 6,000 people attended including the representatives from 32 countries. 15 among them were the first comers. There were representatives from the nuclear powers, U.K. and France, and Israel which is considered to have nuclear weapons. But there was not the one from the United States though he attended in Hiroshima on August 6.
The total death number by this bomb reached 152,276 by now.
At 11:02 AM when the bomb was dropped, the participants offered a one-minute silent prayer to mourn the victims and wish for world peace.
I wish the World Peace too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

八月八日(hachigatsu yoka) : August 8

Yesterday I watched two movies which I recorded the days before. One is an American movie "Hachiko: A Dog's Story" starring Richard Gere. It was released on August 8, 2009 in Japan. Just a year ago. The Japanese title is "Hachi, yakusoku no inu(ハチ 約束の犬)" Hachi, dog of loyalty. The original story happened in Japan in the early 1920s. It is a stroy of a faithful dog called Hachiko that had waited for the master every night at the station for 9 years after his death. There is a statue of Loyalty Dog Hachiko at Shibuya (渋谷) station where is the meeting spot now. I wonder how they can make with real dogs.
The other is a Japanese movie titled "Yogisha Muroi Shinji (容疑者 室井慎次)", The Suspect which was released on Augsut 27, 2005. This is one of the spin-off movies of the popular TV drama and movie titled Odoru dai sosasen (踊る大捜査線).
For both movies one common thing is dealing with a promise.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

八月七日(hachigatsu nanoka) : August 7

Today is risshu(立秋), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was taisho (大暑) on July 23, and the next one is shosho (処暑) on August 23.
Risshu literally means stand autumn. It is the first day of autumn by the old calendar. It's been 8 days straight that exceeds 35 degrees centigrade. It is still middle of summer.
However the greeting is changed to "zansho omimai moshiagemasu (残暑お見舞い申し上げます)" instead of "shochu omimai moshiagemasu(暑中お見舞い申し上げます)" meaning "I hope you are doing fine in spite of this lingering summer heat."
Speaking of Japanese summer, it is a time of high school baseball tournament. It started today.

Friday, August 6, 2010

八月六日(hachigatsu muika) : August 6

It's been 65 years since the world's first atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima (広島). Up to now 269,446 people have been recorded as death as a result of the atomic bombing.  We are not sure how many people were suffered in total. But there are still many people struggling for both physically and mentally.
There was a memorial ceremony today and the representatives from 74 countries including the USA, UK, and French attended. The U.N. Secretary general also attended and made a speech.
As a citizen of Japan, the only country that experienced the catastrophe, I really wish the World Peace.

Tonight I went to see a movie "SALT" starring Angelina Jolie. I did not expect before watching, but I found she was a great action actress. It is a double spy story, a series of betraying. As a movie it is powerful but as a story I am not sure what SALT wanted to do after all. I believe there will appear the Part II someday.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

八月五日(hachigatsu itsuka): August 5

It was another hot day. In 177 places it recorded more than 35 degrees centigrade. Tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest day in this summer all over Japan, and for about 2 weeks more it is going to be hot.
Speaking of the Japanese summer, besides fireworks, we can think of the songs of insects, especially cicadas. Cicadas is semi (蝉) in Japanese. There are many cicadas in Japan, but the sound is different depends on the species and time (morning, afternoon, evening).
Today I found a very interesting thing in the center of Tokyo. Please see the picture. I have seen many cast-off skins of cicadas in my life, however, it has been always one of them. But today I found many of them on a leaf. I could not believe at first. But when I looked up the cherry tree, there were so many cast-off skins of cicades on a leaf here and there, especially at the tip of the trunks.
The life of a cicada is considered very short like a week, but they have a longer life in the ground. For the very short life, they come up the trunk all the way. And they hatch on a leaf together! I was impressed.

八月四日(hachigatsu yokka): August 4

It was another hot day.
I had a send off party for an ex-colleague who will go to the USA next week to teach Japanese at the university for a year.
We went to the Kyoto (京都)style restaurant & bar called izakaya (居酒屋). The name of the place is Machiya washoku Kyomachi Koishigure(町屋和食 京町 恋しぐれ).
The design of each private room is interesting. So was the washbowl of the restroom.
There are some things I missed about Japan when I was abroad. One of them is izakaya and the other is kissaten (喫茶店), tea or coffee room. There are so many of them in Japan and they are very popular and convenient to eat and drink. At izakaya you can order many dishes and a variety of beverages. They are not so expensive as restaurants. At kissaten there are many desserts. We do not need tips, so it is easy for us to pay. They offer many coupons.
When you come to Japan, please try them.