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?