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.