Wednesday, June 30, 2010

六月三十日(rokugatsu sanjyunichi): June 30

The last day of June, that means a half year has passed. How was your half year of 2010? For me many things happened, and are still happening.

For Japan we had many things too.

Last night there was a match between Japanese team vs Paraguay team at the FIFA World Cup Finals. After the extended game, Japanese Samurai Blue team was defeated by the penalty shoot out of 5-3. They could not be Best 16 but had a good game though I did not watch by live.
In tonight's news they say many boys started joining the soccer team dreaming of the future World Cup games. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

六月二十九日(rokugatsu nijyuku nichi): June 29

I happened to see my student today whom I taught so many years ago soon after I graduated from the university. He is autistic. I had never seen autistic until that time. I did not know how to deal with those students at that time because my major was not special education but international relations. But we've spent for 3 years. There are so many memories. The most impressive thing was we ran every day. For the first month for 1km each, in the second month for 2km each, in the third month for 3km each, in the fourth month for 4km each, in the fifth month for 5km each, and we participated in the Miura International Marathon Race for 5km in all the class. Though I do not like running, but we could feel the sense of achievement.
I am glad to know that he and his mother are fine and that he still remembers me.
The job of teachers is sometimes very difficult. The results of efforts won't come out soon. But after many years they may be rewarded.

Monday, June 28, 2010

六月二十八日(rokugatsu nijyuhachi nichi): June 28

It was very hot and humid today, which is a typical climate of the rainy season. Hot and humid is mushi atsui (蒸し暑い) in Japanese (mushi: soggy, atsui: hot). But at night it became clear and I could see the beautiful moon.

Recently I sent a birthday e-greeting to my friend from university from the cellphone. I was wondering why she does not reply. But today I got a letter with a beautiful stamp from her. Her hand writing is very beautiful too.
These days we tend to send emails rather than cards or mails because they are fast, easy and cheap. But the hand writing letter is really nice to receive.
I like writing and always reserve some birthday cards or writing paper and try to buy commemorative stamps, however I have been too busy to use them.
What medium do you like to communicate?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

六月二十七日(rokugatsu nijyushichi nichi): June 27

Recently I have read three books written by Enrique Barrios in Japanese. They are Ami, el niño de las estrellas (アミ 小さな宇宙人:ami chiisana uchujin) , Ami, Regresa (もどってきた アミ: modottekita ami) , and Civiliza Ciones Internas (アミ 三度目の約束 愛はすべてをこえて: ami sandome no yakusoku ai wa subete wo koete).
I was recommended these books my ex-boss. I enjoyed reading them.
They were written in 1990, 1991, and 1998 and translated into Japanese in 2000. Now they are translated into 11 languages, or more.
However for Japanese edition, there are illustrations drawn by Momoko Sakura (さくらももこ). I felt this is very special because she and her most famous character of manga (漫画) Chibi Maruko-chan (ちびまる子ちゃん) were born on May 8 which is the same birthday as mine.
I have been thinking of international marriage for a long time. In the foreword of the third book he said "Please look at those people if you have ever fallen in love with foreigners and felt it is difficult to overcome the different culture and different races. They were born in the different planets....." Please read them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

六月二十六日(rokugatsu nijyuroku nichi): June 26

Yesterday I went to see the Photo Exhibition titled "Voice of the Earth is heard - Looking at the Precious Biological Diversity : Koichi Fujiwara: Selection of Environmental Photographs" (『藤原幸一・環境写真セレクション』 地球の声が聞こえる -かけがえのない 生物多様性を見つめてー). It is the partnership project of Aichi-Nagoya COP10 Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 and it is a traveling photo exhibition of Bird Life Asia.
I met Mr. Fujiwara when I joined the optional tour to go to the Antarctic from the 44th Peace Boat Cruise in February 2004 for the first time. He sent me the invitation of this exhibition the other day and I went to see the pictures at the Meiji Jingu (明治神宮), Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.
This exhibition will be held in 6 shrines in Japan for a half year from May to October. There are many beautiful pictures, but some of them were rather shocking to see the bad human life hurt the animal lives.
After that I walked around the Meiji Shrine, where I used to visit on New Year's Week when I was a university student. This was the first time I visited by myself.
Now Meiji Jingu is one of the most popular places to have a power spot, and many people visit there. 1000 tickets to be able to visit there has already given away in the morning only, and I could not see the place. Maybe someday I hope to see the place.

Friday, June 25, 2010

六月二十五日(rokugatusu nijyugo nichi) ; June 25

Today's big news was the victory of the World Cup against Denmark by 3 to 1. The game was broadcast from 3 AM in the morning. So I did not see the live game but knew it through the morning news. Congratulations!

Today is the 1st year death anniversary of Michael Jackson. He was 50 years old then.
Therefore there was a special TV program regarding his life.
The movie "This Is IT" was seen by 509,251 people and sold yen 646,636,400 during 4 days from Oct. 28 to 31 last year in Japan. At first it was said to be shown only for 2 weeks, but it was extended.
There is a special exhibition at the 1st floor of the Tokyo Tower now.
They say the movie "Michael Jackson Commemorated" was released today. I'd like to see it too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

六月二十四日(rokugatsu nijyuyokka): June 24

There will be an election for the members of the House of Councilors on July 11. The announcement was made today and the election campaigns have started. The House of Councilors is san gi in (参議院議員) in Japanese. There are 242 members in total but the half of them will be elected. Their term is 6 years, and every three years we have an election for half of them.

At the age of 20 years old, you have a right to vote. And at age of 30 years old, you can run for the members.

When I was in the USA in 1996, there was a presidential election of the 2nd term of Bill Clinton. It was Tuesday, I guess. I was so surprised to know the date. In Japan elections are usual ly held on Sundays. And the ballot paper was very big and long.

When I was in the USA 3 years ago, there was an election. Iwas so surprised to know that it was done using PC and after voting they are given the sticker written as "I voted!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

六月二十三日(rokugatsu nijyusan nichi): June 23

From today I am staying at the same hotel as last week again. When I checked in last week, the room smelled of smoking. So I asked to change the room. Today again when I entered the room, it smelled. I asked the front desk to change the room, but non-smoking room was full and I could not change the room at that time.
In the night when I tried to use Internet, I could not, so I called the front desk again to check. After a while, they did not know the reason and decided to change the room. But before changing, they noticed that all the server of the hotel was down and they called the telephone company to reset.
I brought two computers. One for work the other for myself. After finishing using the work computer, I could not connect Internet from my PC. So I called the font desk again to check.
They did not know why I could not connect and offered me to change the room. So I changed and tried to connect but could not. We did not know why. After some minutes struggling, they find the reason. So I am using my PC now.
There is a saying nido aru koto wa sando aru (二度あることは三度ある), which means what happened twice tends to happen again. This is often used for bad things to draw attention.
There is another saying, sando me no shojiki (三度目の正直), which means the third is the charm.
Which do you believe?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

六月二十二日(rokugatsu nijyuni nichi): June 22

Today I read an interesting article in the local morning newspaper. It is about the egg drop contest. Using only a piece of paper (about A2 size: 42cm x 59.4cm), both sides tape, and Scotch tape students created crafts to protect an egg in spite of dropping from the 4th floor (about 15 meters high).
The contest was held at the Osaka Electro-Communication University (Osaka Denki Tsushin Daigaku: 大阪電気通信大学) on May 24. 13 teams (about 50 freshmen of 3 to 5 students each) applied for the contest and 3 of them protected the egg without breaking. It is the contest of making a buffer.
The best award was given to the lightest one which weighs only 33 g. The shape looks like a palm tree.
The teacher in charge commented that the objective of this contest was to learn by playing, and they invented to attain that goal.
Don't you think it is interesting?

Monday, June 21, 2010

六月二十一日(rokugatsu nijyuichi nichi) : June 21

Today is geshi (夏至) one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季) 24 solar terms. The last one was boshu (芒種) on June 6 and the next one is shosho (小暑) on July 7. Ge shi (夏 至) literally means summer reach, that is the summer solstice. It is the time when the day time is the longest and the night time is the shortest in the Northern Hemisphere (北半球: kita hankyu).
The opposite of geshi is toji (冬至), the winter solstice.
There are distinct four seasons in Japan. Season is kisetsu (季節). Four seasons is shiki (四季). They are shun ka shu to (春夏秋冬). Spring is haru (春), summer is natsu (夏), fall is aki (秋), and winter is fuyu (冬).
Which is your favorite season? I like spring the best.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

六月二十日(rokugatsu hatsuka): June 20

It was cloudy in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. I stayed home all day long.
The third Sunday of June is Father's Day in Japan. Father is chichi (父) in Japanese. So it is chichi no hi (父の日) in Japanese. How about in your country?
I baked hotcakes (ホットケーキ) at lunch, had kuzuzakura (葛桜), Japanese sweets and mattcha (抹茶) , green tea in the afternoon and made inarizushi (稲荷寿司) at night for my father. As presents I prepared shirts, a bottle of sake (酒), and a card. I think he liked the bottle of sake best.
I like surprise parties, gifts and cards. But at the same time I want to make somebody happy by giving their favorite things on the special occasions.
In Japan wedding gifts are usually money. Depends on the relationship the amount is different, but among friends or colleagues, it is usually about yen 30,000. But in the USA a couple registers at the department stores the things they want to have as their wedding gifts, and people can choose something according to their budget.
In a sense both are practical. Which way do you like?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

六月十九日(rokugatsu jyuku nichi): June 19

I went to Yokosuka (横須賀) to go some shopping for Father's Day. When I came out of the shop, there were so many people on the street. I wondered why.
There will be the House of Councilors (参議院:san gi in) election on July 11. Therefore there was a street speech. The candidate was from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But the reason of the crowd was his campaign speech.
Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎), a member of the House of Representatives (衆議院:shu gi in) from his home election district was there to support him. His father was the former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎). His older brother is an actor Kotaro Koizumi (小泉孝太郎). He is 29 years old and became a member of House of Representatives last year. He is the 4th generation politician in his family. His speech was a crisp and clear manner of speaking. He is very popular. He may become a great politician someday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

六月十八日(rokugatsu jyuhachi nichi): June 18

Harrison Ford (67) got married Calista Flockhart (45) finally on June 15, 2010. Congratulations!
Both are from Illinois. For him this is the third marriage. I like his movies such as Indiana Jones Series, Witness, Six Days Seven Nights, The Devil's Own, The Fugitive, and so on. He is very popular in Japan and he has appeared in some Japanese commercial films. I like Ally McBeal which has broadcast since 1998 in Japan under the title of "Ally My Love (アリーマイラブ)".
If you are in the 20s, such age difference might matter feeling as if the relationship of a father and a daughter. But from a certain age, age does not matter so much.
What is the most important thing for you regarding the romantic relationship?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

六月十七日(rokugatsu jyushichi nichi): June 17

Today it was fine and hot unlike a rainy season.
I had a chance to visit TEPIA in Tokyo. TEPIA means technology utopia. It was established in 1989 but I did not know about it until recently. It is a kind of museum which exhibits the Japanese cutting-edge technologies. There are five themes at the Advance Technology Exhibition Hall at the first floor: 1. Life and Communication 2. Health and Medical Care 3. City and Mobility 4. Environment and Energy/Resource 5. Small World and High Functional Material. On the second floor there is a video library. There are tours for about an hour if you like.
The best thing is the admission. It is free of charge.
I saw many interesting technologies there. One of them was a segment sensor which analyzes the face appeared on the monitor and estimates the sex and age. Their data is only made for Japanese people, so if a foreigner stands in front of the camera, the data is not always correct. The other was an estimation machine of the degree of smile. If you smile in front of the camera, it measures the degree of your smile from 0% to 100%. This technology is applied for the digital camera to take the most photogenic picture.
It was so interesting that I recommend you to visit there someday.
Please check the following website.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

六月十六日(rokugatsu jyuroku nichi): June 16

It was raining in the morning. Since I will stay at a hotel for a few days, I was wondering what kind of umbrella I should bring. It was raining rather heavily, I thought of bringing the long one, but on the second thought I wondered if it is fine tomorrow, I do not want to carry the long one. Therefore I decided to bring the folding umbrella. It is called oritatami gasa (折り畳み傘) in Japanese. And the decision turned out to be a better idea. Because it became fine later and very warm like summer.
In summer time, ladies use parasol called higasa (日傘). The umbrella which can be used for both fine and rain called seiu kenyo gasa (晴雨兼用傘) is very useful.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

六月十五日(rokugatsu jyugo nichi): June 15

The rainy season (梅雨:tsuyu) has started. It is 6 days later than usual and 11days later than last year. In Japanese it is tsuyu iri (梅雨入り), entering the rainy season. The end of rainy season is tsuyu ake (梅雨明け). It is estimated around July 20.

Today's biggest news was the first victory of the Japanese team at the FIFA World Cup. They had a game with Cameroon, and won by 1-0.

Monday, June 14, 2010

六月十四日(rokugatsu jyuyokka): June 14

There are four newspapers at my office, and we have one in my house.
The top article of the front page of today's paper was all about the Hayabusa (はやぶさ) capsule landed in desert. Hayabusa is the space probe launched in May 2003 and landed on the asteroid Itokawa (イトカワ) which is about 300 million km from the Earth. It's been 7 years since it came back to the earth.
This is the world's first splendid accomplishment to travel to the celestial bodies besides the Moon. It was a long voyage of about 6,000,000,000km which is about 5 rounds around the Sun.
The capsule looks like a Chinese flying pan of about 40cm in diameter and 20cm in height. It was found in the Australian desert, possibly containing the first asteroid surface samples.
The new exploration of the space has started.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

六月十三日(rokugatsu jyusan nichi): June 13

I like isseki nicho (一石二鳥), literally one stone two birds, meaning to kill two birds with one stone. Today I went to the optician to ask the repair for my father's eyeglasses.
After that I went to see two movies. One is koko no mesu (孤高のメス), meaning "The aloof knife." The other is Flowers. Both are Japanese movies. Koko no mesu is a story of a surgeon dealing with the organ transplant. The original was manga (漫画), comic appeared for 4 years since 1989. It was sold for 700,000 copies. In 2005 it was made to a novel. The movie was released on June 5, and for just two days more than 62,263 people watched in the 256 theaters in Japan. I did not know about these facts but just went to see the movie. There are many people in the theater. And it was a very good one.
The other one was released yesterday. It was a story of 6 women of three generations. It was a larger theater but there were fewer people there.
I like the former better too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

六月十二日(rokugatsu jyuni nichi): June 12

Another week has passed. I have been busy and come home late every night and spent a few hours on bed. Therefore I have slept for a long time at last to catch up.
It was fine today. June 11, yesterday was nyubai (入梅), one of zassetsu (雑節), special calendar date to catch the change of the season precisely. Nyubai literally means enter plum, actually means the start of the rainy season.
There are nine zassetsu. They are :
setsubun (節分), the one day before the first day of spring
higan (彼岸), the Spring and Autumn Equinox
shanichi (社日), the day to worship ubusunagami (産土神), the god of the native land
hachijyuhachiya (八十八夜), the eighty-eighth night, 88th day since the first day of spring
nyubai (入梅), the start of the rainy season
hangesho (半夏生), around the time the herb called hangesho grows
doyo (土用), about the last 18 days of each season
nihyakutoka (二百十日), 210 days since the first day of spring
nihyakuhatsuka (二百二十日), 220 days since the first day of spring.

Friday, June 11, 2010

六月十一日(rokugatsu jyuichi nichi): June 11

2010 FIFA World Cup (ワールドカップ)South Africa has begun, it will be held between June 11 and July 11.
The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930. This is the19th World Cup, and the first one held in South Africa. 32 teams are divided into 8 groups and the Japan team belongs to Group E with Holland, Denmark and Cameroon.
There are many special TV programs regarding the World Cup. And actually I am watching the documentary now.
During the 18 tournaments that have been held, only seven national teams have wond the title. Brazil has become a champion for 5 times by now and this is the most. Other champions have been Italy, Germany, Uruguay, Argentine, England and France.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

六月十日(rokugatsu toka): June 10

June 10 is toki no kinenbi (時の記念日), Anniversary of Time. It was established in 1920 to let the Japanese people develop the awareness of the importance of time. It is one of anniversaries but not a holiday.
Japanese society is very punctual. Usually trains come on time. If express trains were delayed for more than 2 hours, the fares will be reimbursed.
Today my commuting train was delayed for 15 minutes. In this case the certification of the delay called chien shomeisho (遅延証明書) is issued. If you present that paper, usually you are not regarded as latecomer.
If there are alternative lines, there will be provided the alternative transportation called furikaeyuso (振替輸送).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

六月九日(rokugatsu kokonoka): June 9

Memory of umbrella (傘: kasa).
I usually bring an umbrella with me even if it is fine.
One day long time ago when I forgot bringing it, it started raining suddenly. My best friend and I decided to buy the same one then. Though she passed away more than 10 years ago, I still have that same umbrella, but I do not use it often. I put it in the office as okigasa (置き傘), a spare umbrella for sudden rainy day.
Today at lunch time, it was slightly raining so I brought it to the restaurant though I did not use. On my way back, it seemed I lost the cover by accident without knowing. When I got to the office I noticed that I lost it. So I went back to the restaurant to find it. On my way there I could not find. At the restaurant there was not there. But after a while the cover was there on the side of the street. How happy I felt!
Even if it is trifle for other people, for me it is something important to link to my dead best friend.
There are some people that are already dead but are still in my heart always.
I wonder how many people would remember me if I disappear from this world?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

六月八日(rokugatsu yoka): June 8

It was slightly raining when I left home today and I brought a long umbrella, but I did not have a chance to use it.
There is a rainy season in Japan, therefore there are a variety of umbrellas, long or folding, and rain goods such as rain coat or rain shoes. When I was looking for an umbrella in the US, I could not find such variety. Therefore I thought a folding umbrella would be a nice souvenir.

Today the new ministry was established. The new Kan Cabinet (菅内閣: kan naikaku) is called Kiheitai naikaku (奇兵隊内閣). Kiheitai is one of the Irregular Militia raised by Choshu (長州) domain during the Bakumatsu (幕末) period of Japan.
There are 11 ministers who are reappointed. 5 new ministers entered the Cabinet. The youngest is 42 years old mother of twin who used to be an anchor. The oldest is 73 years old.
I have been watching the recorded press conference of each minister.

Monday, June 7, 2010

六月七日(rokugatsu nanoka): June 7

Today it was very fine and warm. It's been already a week since June started. June is famous for rainy season, but it seems we will have another week till it starts.
There were big news regarding professional baseball games. In Japan baseball is one of the most popular sports. During the interleague tournaments two new records were established today.
One was at the 7th innings 10 consecutive base hits were made by Chiba Lotte Marines (千葉ロッテマリーンズ)against Tokyo Yakult Swallows (東京ヤクルトスワローズ). This was the first in the professional baseball history.
Soon after that Orix Buffaloes (オリックス・バッファローズ) achieved the same record at the 6th innings against Hiroshima Toyo Carp (広島東洋カープ). Total of these two teams made the 43 base hits (Orix 25, Carp 18) which was the most during the interleague match.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

六月六日(rokugatsu muika): June 6

Today is boshu (芒種), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shoman (小満) on May 21 and the next one is geshi (夏至) on June 21. Boshu is the time around the sowing of cereals which has protuberances like needles.
It was very fine and warm.
Since the PC was repaired, I went to pick it up. Luckily it was repaired for nothing under the 5-year warranty.
Like last Sunday, I watched 2 movies near the electrical appliances shop. One is American movie, Sex and the City 2, the other was Japanese movie Kokuhaku (告白), meaning confession. Both were released yesterday and both are R15+ which means only those who are older than 15 years old can watch these movies. I expected many people were there, but not so much. Last night Sex and the City 1 was broadcast on TV. But of course some scenes were deleted. I felt both were worth watching. Especially the latter one might receive a prize I felt.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

六月五日(rokugatsu itsuka): June 5

It was very hot like summer today.

There were two big sports news today. One was the 4th victory of wheel chair tennis player Shingo Kunieda (国枝慎吾) at the French Open. He also won the doubles.
The other was the 16 consecutive victory of Koji Murofushi (室伏広治) of hammer-throwing at the 94th National Championships of Athletics. His record was 77 meters 35. His father was also a famous hammer-thrower.

Friday, June 4, 2010

六月四日(rokugatsu yokka): June 4

Since Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山由紀夫) stepped down the day before yesterday, there was an election for the representative among the Democratic Party of Japan today. There were two candidates. Among 420 votes cast Mr. Naoto Kan (菅直人), 63 years old got 291 votes and became the representative. After that he was nominated as the 94th Prime Minister of Japan.
It's been 14 years since somebody whose family members were not politician became a Prime Minister. The last one was Mr. Tomiichi Murayama (村山富市) who resigned in January 1996.
After that Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto (橋本龍太郎), Mr. Keizo Obuchi (小渕恵三) whose fathers were members of the House of Representatives and whose children are also politicians followed. Then Mr. Yoshiro Mori (森喜朗) whose father and grandfather were mayors followed. Then Mr. Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎) whose father and grandfather were also members of House of Representative became the Prime Minister. Now his second son became a politician whose constituency is my residential area.
After that Mr. Shinzo Abe(安倍晋三), Mr. Yasuo Fukuda (福田康夫), Mr. Taro Aso (麻生太郎), and Mr. Yukio Hatoyama followed. Their fathers or grandfathers were also Prime Ministers. We call them seshu giin (世襲議員), hereditary politician. Especially Mr. Hatoyama was 4th generation politician. His father was former Foreign Minister, his grandfather was former Prime Minister, and his great-grandfather was a member of the House of Representative.
Do you have hereditary politicians in your country?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

六月三日(rokugatsu mikka): June 3

It was very fine and hot today.
In the morning I had an appointment at the Edo-Tokyo Museum (東京江戸博物館) in Ryogoku (両国) and went there. It is a very big museum. Please check the following site.

Edo (江戸) is the former name of Tokyo (東京). Ryogoku is very famous for sumo (相撲) and there is a big sumo hall called Ryogoku Kokugikan (両国国技館).

After the meeting, I had lunch at a restaurant near the station. I was surprised to see a sumo wrestling ring called dohyo (土俵) inside the restaurant. I asked them if there is the match there or not. They said they have a special show called sumo jinku(相撲甚句) in the every evenings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00. The special dish for sumo wrestlers are called chanko nabe (ちゃんこ鍋), one pot dish.  But I didn't eat it there. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

六月二日(rokugatsu futsuka): June 2

Prime Minister Mr. Hatoyama (鳩山) resigned today. The chief secretary of the Democratic Party of Japan, Mr. Ozawa (小沢) resigned together.
We have noticed that the supporting rate for the Prime Minister and the ruling party has been declining these days, especially since the end of May. But the resignation was a sudden decision for Japanese people, and the extra edition called gogai (号外) was issued today.
Since I was busy today during the daytime, I was informed about this from a foreigner at the reception this evening. Headline news of the evening paper and TV news was this.
We are wondering who will be the next leader of Japan. I hope somebody that can serve for the country and people for a long period will be chosen next time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

六月一日(rokugatsu tsuitachi): June 1

Another month has started. June is rokugatsu (六月) in Japanese. The old name is minaduki (水無月), literally water without month. But June is famous for rainy season. Rainy season is called tsuyu (梅雨). Tsuyu is also read as baiu (梅雨), literally plum rain. That is the rain around the time when the plum fruits get ripe.
June 1 is known as koromogae (衣替え), literally clothes change. It is the time to change the winter clothing to summer clothing. At schools uniforms are changed to the shirts and bottoms without jackets.
This year the weather is still unstable, sometimes hot and other times cold. So we still need jackets sometimes.