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.