Saturday, December 31, 2011

12月31日(jyuni gatsu sanjyuichi nichi): December 31

The last day of the year 2011. December 31 is called omisoka (大みそか). It is a day to clean the house and prepare for the new year.
How was your 2011?
For Japanese people and those who live in Japan, it will be unforgettable year because of the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
For the world many movements and changes happened.
I hope the new year will be a good one.

Friday, December 30, 2011

12月30日(jyuni gatsu sanjyu nichi): December 30

There is only one day left before the new year comes.
On New Year's Eve there used to be two music programs on TV. But one of them has been broadcast one day before since 2006, that is today. It is レコード大賞(rekodo taisho)the Japan Record Award, which has the longest music award history in Japan. It is the 53rd tonight.
Though I did not watch it, according to the news AKB48 got the Award. They released 5 singles this year and they ranked top 5 single sales in all Japan this year. The Award song "Flying Get" was sold about 1,587,000 copies on the first day of its sales.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12月29日(jyuni gatsu nijyuku nichi ): December 29

First day of the winter vacation.
It is called nenmatsu nenshi (年末年始). Nenmatsu (年末) means the end of the year, nenshi (年始) means the beginning of the year.
U-turn rush to the home town started. Many Japanese people tend to spend the New Year's Day at their home town with family, and some of them like to spend the New Year's Holiday abroad, especially warm places like Hawaii.
This year I only have 6 days off, therefore I will be staying home.
How about you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12月28日(jyuni gatsu nijyu hachi nichi): December 28

It was the last day for the most companies to open the office this year. It is called goyo osame (御用納め) or shigoto osame (仕事納め). After working, there was a small party at the office.
Then I met my best friend from university. We have been to many restaurants, but all were full. And finally we went to the one where I went to 7 years ago last time or so.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12月27日(jyuni gatsu nijyushichi nichi): December 27

It was another cold morning. I saw the beautiful sun shining in the morning.

Leaves of the ginko trees (銀杏:icho) were fewer on the trees than yesterday and the yellow carpet was there instead. Compared last year I think it is rather late. Does this mean it was warmer this year??

Monday, December 26, 2011

12月26日(jyuni gatsu nijyuroku nichi): December 26

It was a very cold day. I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji.
At lunch time I went out with my colleague who will leave the office at the end of this month. We went to her favorite Japanese restaurant where I have never been to. Usually I eat lunch at the office, and seldom go out. But since I work in Shinjuku, I thought I should enjoy eating out once in a while.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12月25日(jyuni gatsu nijyugo nichi): December 25

Merry Christmas!

In Japan at the end of the year we clean the whole place to welcome the new year. We call this osoji (大掃除), big cleaning.
This morning I went to the nearby shrine to clean the venue as a community work.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12月24日(jyuni gatsu nijyuyokka): December 24

Merry Christmas!

It was a beautiful day.
I took Father to the dentist who is my classmate from high school. He attended the Honolulu Marathon two weeks ago and showed me the certificate of the finisher and the newspaper in which his picture was used. Congratulations!
Yesterday I met 3 other classmates. They have a great plan of near future.
I am glad to know my friends' great activities.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12月23日(jyuni gatsu nijyu san nichi): December 23

Today is a national holiday called Tenno tanjobi (天皇誕生日), Emperor's birthday. He became 78 years old today.
Since it is Friday, we have a 3 day weekend. It was cloudy.
At night I went to eat out French dinner with my high school friends which is my annual event around this time of the year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12月22日(jyuni gatsu nijyuni nichi): December 22

Today is toji (冬至), one of the 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. There are customs to eat pumpkin and take a yuzu (柚子) bath on this day and it is said we won't get a cold.
Tonight I had a year-end party so called bonenkai(忘年会). It was also a farewell party for those who will leave the office. There were some performances and I was surprised to know their secret talents.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12月21日(jyuni gatsu nijyuichi nichi): December 21

It was a fine day.

I asked the gardeners to trim the trees and clean of the garden. Since it is the end of the year they gave me a beautiful garden calendar of 2012.
Every year I asked a pharmacy to give me a page-a-day calendar. Unfortunately they did not have a copy for this year, so I asked them to keep the one for the next year. And I got it yesterday. I like it because there is a saying and other information on each page.
At the office I got a desk calendar. It is necessary to have it to keep the daily schedule.

What kind of calendars do you like?

12月20日(jyuni gatsu hatsuka): December 20

I went to the Narita Airport. The decoration for the Christmas season was beautiful here too.
I came home after 9 days. There were some season's greetings and a Christmas present from my friend in U.K. I am glad to receive them. Thank you, friends!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12月19日(jyuni gatsu jyuku nichi): December 19

I went to the Tokyo Tower at night.
The decoration of the Christmas season was very beautiful both inside and outside. There is a shrine at the observatory. The company which runs the Tokyo Tower was founded on May 8, 1957. My birthday is May 8, so I felt affinity.
Tokyo Tower was built and opened on December 23, 1958. It will be 53 years old soon. Now it is the tallest tower (333 meters) but next year Tokyo Sky Tree (634 meters) will be opened.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

12月18日(jyuni gatsu jyuhachi nichi): December 18

It was a cold but beautiful day. The mountain range was so beautiful with snow. We had a farewell party at lunch time. There were some performances. I saw Karate performance. I had practiced Karate for a year when I was a teacher long time ago. So I felt like practicing again.
On our way back to Tokyo we stopped at 2 service areas on the Express Way. There we can eat and buy something. I bought a kind of dumpling called oyaki (おやき) which is very famous in Nagano (長野). There were some kinds of them, and I tried the new taste.
We could see the very beautiful Mt. Fuji today.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

12月17日(jyuni gatsu jyushichi nichi): December 17

It was a very beautiful day, clear sky, beautiful snow-covered mountain range.
I went to 7 farmers house for home-visit.
At the first place I had a chance to pick apples, ringo gari(りんご狩り) in Japanese. The brand name is Sun Fuji. This was the first time for me to do that. The apple was very delicious.
At lunch I ate soba (蕎麦), which is also very famous for Nagano (長野) prefecture.
At dinner I ate una don (うな丼), grilled eel on the rice in a bowl. I did not know that Iida (飯田) is famous for the eel too. Did you know?

Friday, December 16, 2011

12月16日(jyuni gatsu jyuroku nichi): December 16

It was very cold here in Iida city, Nagano (長野県飯田市:nagano ken iida shi). It slightly snowed.

At dinner time we went to eat sushi. Do you like sushi? It's been quite a long time since I went to kaitan zushi (回転寿司), literally rotating sushi. One or two pieces of sushi on the dish rotate on the belt conveyor and people sitting in front of them can take whatever they like. You can also order whatever you like through the touch panel. When they are ready, they arrive by a kind of miniature train at the table, then we take them and press button OK, and the miniature train goes back. I have never seen this before. Therefore I was impressed.
A dish costs yen 100. We ate a lot, but it was very cheap.
Would you like to try?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12月15日(jyuni gatsu jyugo nichi): December 15

It was a very beautiful day, rather warm at this time.

I went to see Eco-Products 2011 at the Tokyo Big Sight. It opened at 10 AM, but before that there were already so many people there.
There are many exhibitions and it was very interesting to visit each booth. They usually provide "Quizzes" and give the visitors small gifts if they answered.
There were many elementary school students too as a school excursion.

If you have time to spare, why don't you visit there? It's free and very educational.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12月14日(jyuni gatsu jyuyokka): December 14

It was a cloudy cold and partially rainy day.
I went to visit a university in Kanagawa (神奈川). There was a Christmas tree in front of the monument and a pond. There were some solar panels near by. In the evening when I left there, the tree was lit up by that solar panel energy.
There are only 10 days before Christmas.
What is your plan for the Christmas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12月13日(jyuni gatsu jyusan nichi): December 13

It was fine today.

I ate lunch at the Indian Restaurant and dinner at the Taiwanese Restaurant. The latter was the vegetarian food restaurant. There were 7 dishes or so, and all were looked like chicken or ham or something included, but they were made of soy beans or other veggie ingredient. So interesting. But I like to eat the real one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12月12日(jyuni gatsu jyuni nichi): December 12

It was a beautiful day.

Today the kanji of the year was announced. They say there were 496,997 people voted. And the No. 1 is kizuna (絆), tie or bond or knot. 61,453 people voted which occupies 12.4% of all. No. 2 is wazawai (災), misfortune or mishap. No. 3 is shin or furueru (震), shake or shudder.

Kanji of the year started 17 years ago when there happened the Hanshin Great Earthquake. In that time it was shin or furueru (震).

This year through the East Great Earthquake and big typhoons, many people lost their beloved family or friends and felt the strong tie with them. And Nadeshiko Japan, Japanese women's soccer team became the world champion, and people felt their strong tie with teammates.

What kind of things do you think represents this year?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12月11日(jyuni gatsu jyuichi nichi): December 11

It was a beautiful day. I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji covered with snow from my house.
We have distinct 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. I do not like the coldness and used to wish to be a snowbird in Florida someday if possible, but I like the beautiful winter scenery too.

It's been 9 months since the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. How was your life changed since then?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12月10日(jyuni gatsu toka): December 10

It was a very cold beautiful day. Coldest day of this winter.

Today is the day of the total eclipse of the moon. It is kaigki gesshoku (皆既月食) in Japanese. It's been 11 years since it happened in all over Japan last time.
They say we could see it anywhere in Japan, so I expected. But unfortunately it is cloudy around here, and I could not see it. But after that I saw the beautiful moon.

Did you see the total eclipse of the moon?

Friday, December 9, 2011

12月9日(jyuni gatsu kokonoka): December 9

It was a very cold day. It was slightly raining in the morning. I hear it even snowed too.

I overworked and missed the last train (終電:shuden)for my station. Therefore I got on a taxi and came back to the parking lot. The the windshield was frozen. Windshield is called front glass (フロントグラス)in Japanese. There are some Japanese English.
It was a very cold night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12月8日(jyuni gatsu yoka): December 8

It's been 70 years since the Pacific War (太平洋戦争:taiheiyo senso) started.
It's been 31 years since John Lennon was shot.

Today I went out for lunch with colleagues. We ordered 3 different types of sandwiches and 3 different types of chai and shared. We could taste all and enjoyed lunch.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12月7日(jyuni gatsu nanoka): December 7

Today I received a book and a calendar from my Peaceboat friend in Iwate (岩手). He used to be an art teacher and a principal of a junior high school. He has painted many pictures and had exhibitions. The book was the collection of his art works. And the calendar was one of the pictures.
Every year he used to make a big calendar, but this year there happened the Great Earthquake and he was also suffered and his situation was changed greatly. He lost his house. But the studio on the hill was saved. Calendar for 2012 is about the half size.
After the earthquake I could not contact with him, but I could see him again in October finally.
I am glad to see his works because some of them were made by the Peaceboat trip.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12月6日(jyuni gatsu muika): December 6

It was a cold day.

I received a book written by a president of a company whom I met when I circumnavigated the world from December 2003 to March 2004. I have not finished reading but it is a big book with lots of pictures. It seems he became 60 years old and decided to publish a book.

I hear one of my teachers from a vocational school called Ability Garden will publish a book this week. He will be 60 years old too.

I hope to publish my first book of Florida Experience on my next birthday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

12月5日(jyuni gatsu itsuka):December 5

It was a beautiful day.

I came back to Shinjuku (新宿) by the Highway Express Bus. It took about 6 hours which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes late because of the accident.

In the morning TV program I saw that many American people now like to have a Japanese style bath at home. I am glad to hear that. Someday when I visit the USA, I may be able to enjoy Japanese style bath. That's very nice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12月4日(jyuni gatsu yokka): December 4

It was a very beautiful day. I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji with snow from my house.
Now I am in Iida, Nagano (長野県飯田市:nagano ken iida shi) again. I came here by Highway Express Bus which took about 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Before coming here I went to see a movie "Moneyball" in Shinjuku (新宿). I like Brad Pitt, so I did not want to miss any movies and went to see it finally. It was a nice movie even though I am not interested in baseball.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12月3日(jyuni gatsu mikka): December 3

It was another cold rainy day.
I went out in the morning here and there.
In the afternoon I watched the TV program recorded for 2 nights before. It was the drama about Madam Butterfly. I did not know about her background and about the Nagasaki Wedding.

Friday, December 2, 2011

12月2日(jyuni gatsu futsuka): December 2

It was a very cold rainy day. I was very busy and came back home by the last train.

There was the article of the grand prix of this year's vogue-words in today's newspaper. No. 1 was Nadeshiko Japan (なでしこジャパン), who became the world champion of the women's soccer.
Among top 10 there were 5 words which related to the Great East Earthquake.
They are 3.11 which was the day when the Great East Earthquake happened.
Kitaku nanmin (帰宅難民) which means those who could not go home because of the big earthquake on March 11. I was one of them.
Fuhyohigai (風評被害) which means the damage caused by a rumor especially Fukushima Nuclear Plant.
Kizuna (絆) which means the tie made by the big earthquake.
And kodama de shoka (こだまでしょうか) which was the phrase from the CF after the earthquake meaning "Is this the echo?"
For Japanese People the Great East Earthquake was a really big issue of this year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12月1日(jyuni gatsu tsuitachi): December 1

A new month has started. The last month of the year is jyuni gatsu (十二月), the twelfth month in Japanese. The old name is shiwasu (師走), meaning teachers run.
It was a very cold rainy day.
It is a day of movie. You can watch a movie at yen 1,000. Usually the entrance fee is yen 1,800.  There are some movies I want to go to see, but I have been busy and can't go for a while.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11月30日(jyuichi gatsu sanjyu nichi): November 30

There was a thick fog this morning. We call thick fog "noumu (濃霧)". Later it became fine and I could see the beautiful snow-capped mountain range of Japan Alps.
Nagano (長野) is famous for soba (蕎麦) noodle, so I ate it for lunch.
I came back to Shinjuku (新宿) by bus. It took about 4 hours and a half. On the bus I tried Wi-fi for the first time.
Last day of November. How fast time flies! There is only one month left.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11月29日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuku nichi): November 29

It was cold but rather warm compared to average year. I have been very busy for meetings today. I went to 7 places and met many people.

Now I am staying at a Japanese style hotel with hot spring, we call this onsen ryokan (温泉旅館) in Japanese. Japanese people love to take hot spring to relax or to cure health problems. It is open until 8 in the morning. So I am going to take the hot spring bath now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

11月28日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuhachi nichi): November

I am now in Iida, Nagano (長野県飯田市). I came here by highway express bus. It took about 4 hours and 15 minutes from Shinjuku (新宿). If I came here by train, it would take about 6 hours or so and cost more.
When I went out for dinner, it was nearly 8 PM, and the most stores around the station were already closed. I walked around and entered the Japanese style bar near the hotel. I ordered the local foods and drink. They are uma otaguri (馬おたぐり), dish of horse's intestines, and basashi (馬刺し), raw horse, and kikusui (喜久水), Japanese sake. All were good.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

11月27日(jyuichi gatsu nijyushichi nichi): November 27

Today was senshuraku (千秋楽), the last day of the grand sumo tournament of this year. Yokozuna Hakuho (横綱白鵬) became a champion. This is the 21st time for him to be a champion. He was about to make a complete victory but unfortunately he lost the match today. His 26th birthday was March 11, 2011 when the Great East Japan Earthquake happened.
There was another big news in Osaka (大阪). Osaka is the second largest city in Japan. There were 2 elections. One for Osaka City Mayor, the other for Osaka Prefecture Governor. It's been 40 years since the double elections happened in Osaka before. The Ex-Osaka Governor Mr. Toru Hashimoto (橋本徹) became the Osaka City Mayor.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

11月26日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuroku nichi): November 26

It is a season for preparing the new year.
I have ordered the new year's post cards (年賀はがき: nenga hagaki) to be delivered at the post office and they were delivered today as I asked. Until last year there was a chance of getting a present for 50 postcards each, but this year it seems there is nothing like that.
I like to receive Christmas cards and New Year's cards to know how people close to me lead their lives. E-greetings are nice too, but I like to receive the hand-written mailed one best, though I cannot prepare many of them.

Today I was surprised to see the new year's decoration rice cakes (鏡餅:kagami mochi) at the supermarket. New year's cards are reasonable at this time, but foods seem a little bit early. Don't you think so?

Friday, November 25, 2011

11月25日(jyuichi gatsu nijyugo nichi): November 25

It is getting cold, but very beautiful. Not only in the morning, but also in the night sky. Air is clear and clean, and we can see beautiful stars.
It is November 25. In one month Christmas comes. How fast!
In the US it is the day of shopping. They say it is called Black Friday. When I was in the US, I was surprised to know the stores open at 4 or 5 in the morning of the next day of Thanksgiving. But I hear it opened at midnight today.
Did you buy anything?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11月24日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuyokka): November 24

It was cold but a beautiful day.

The Year-end Jumbo Lottery (nenmatsu janbo takarakuji:年末ジャンボ宝くじ) was sold today. The first prize is yen 300,000,000. They say about 1000 people waited at the Ginza booth where is the good luck spot before 8:30 AM.
What would you like to do if you have such money?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11月23日(jyuichi gatsu nijyusan nichi): November 23

It is a national holiday called kinro kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日), Labor Thanksgiving Day today.

It is shosetsu (小雪), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季). Last one was ritto (立冬) on November 8 and the next one is taisetsu (大雪) on December 7. Shosetsu (小雪) literally means small snow and taisetu (大雪)literally means big snow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11月22日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuni nichi): November 22

An astronaut, Mr. Satoshi Furukawa (古川聡) came back to the earth from ISS today. He has stayed in the space for 167 days which is the longest for a Japanese astronaut. Welcome back to the earth!
At the interview he was asked what he wanted to do first, and he answered that he wanted to take a Japanese style bath with hot water in a bath tub. I understand the feeling well. Whenever I go abroad for a long time, the first thing I want to do in Japan is to take a Japanese style bath.

Monday, November 21, 2011

11月21日(jyuichi gatsu nijyuichi nichi): November 21

I thought it would be warm but it was cool today.

This week there is a national holiday called kinro kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日), Labor Thanksgiving Day on Wednesday.
In the USA this Thursday is Thanksgiving, Turkey Day. They have a long weekend.
We do not have a special dish on our Labor Thanksgiving Day, but a holiday in the week is nice for workers.
How will you spend this weekend?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11月20日(jyuichi gatsu hatsuka): November 20

It was cloudy in the morning, but became fine later. It was rather warm, very rare for November.
There was women's Yokohama International Marathon race and Ms. Yoshiko Kisaki (木崎良子) won at 2.26.32. They say if it was cooler, the record was much faster.
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks became the 5th champion after 8 years for the Nippon Series 2011.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

11月19日(jyuichi gatsu jyuku nichi): November 19

It has been raining. It was rather warm but very windy. Strange weather in winter.

Today I got a call from my tea master about the first tea ceremony (hatsugama:初釜) next year. I feel how fast time flies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

11月18日(jyuichi gatsu jyuhachi nichi): November 18

It was slightly raining and cold in the morning. But it was not raining in Tokyo.
In the night it was not so cold. They say it will be warm tomorrow.
It seemed last night was the peak to see the meteor shower of the Lion. Have you seen them?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11月17日(jyuichi gatsu jyushichi nichi): November 17

What kind of beverage do you like to drink? Tea, coffee ,cocoa?
How about alcoholic liquors? Cocktail, beer, wine, or sake?
The third Thursday of November is known as the day for Beaujolais nouveau. I am not a big drinker of wine, but they say this year's wine equals to that of 2009.

11月16日(jyuichigatsu jyuroku nichi): November 16

It was very cold in the morning. Winter is coming.

I went out for lunch with colleagues. It's been a long time since I went to that restaurant. Their lunch menu is very reasonable with a variety of dishes.

On my way back from office I happened to be with a colleague whom I have not talked much before. To our surprise we found we have a mutual friend. What a small world it is!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11月15日(jyuichi gatsu jyugo nichi): November 15

I took a day off to go to hospital for myself in the morning, and to take Father to the hospital in the afternoon.
I have had a neck, shoulder, and back pain, but after all the doctor did not treat at all.

November 15 is known as shichi go san (七五三). It is a day to celebrate 7 years old girl, 5 years old boy, and 3 years old girl to wish their healthy growth.

Monday, November 14, 2011

11月14日(jyuichi gatsu jyuyokka): November 14

It was fine in the morning but rained in the evening.

I left my purse behind at home and did not notice until I went shopping and was going to pay. I have never experienced such a thing. Usually I have some money and credit cards in my other wallet or card holder. But I could not find any money and they did not accept credit cards therefore I gave up buying my lunch there.
At lunch time my colleague invited me to lunch. I said I left my purse at home and to my surprise she also left hers behind at home. What a coincidence!
I paid with my PASMO which is a commuter ticket with some deposit money. This is the first time for me to use PASMO besides buying tickets or using coin lockers. How convenient!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11月13日(jyuichi gatsu jyusan nichi): November 13

It was very warm today.
Since it was very cold two days ago, I prepared kotatsu (炬燵), a low table with heater used with blanket and futon (布団).
I watched the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2011/2012, NHK Trophy on TV. Mr. Daisuke Takahashi (高橋大輔) became a champion, and Mr. Takahiko Koduka (小塚崇彦) became the second. Congratulations!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11月12日(jyuichigatsu jyuni nichi): November 12

I slept long but am still having a cold with cough. Cough is seki (咳). I had a fever but am getting better.
Yesterday it was very cold but today it was rather warm.
I watched the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2011/2012 NHK Trophy tonight on TV. Ms. Akiko Suzuki (鈴木明子) became a champion and Ms. Mao Asano (浅野真央) became the second. Congratulations!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11月11日(jyuichi gatsu jyuichi nichi): November 11

It rained and was very cold like winter.
It's been 8 months since the Great Earthquake happened. Last weekend I went to Iwate (岩手) and saw the earthquake and Tsunami stricken area after a month. There I saw some progress of recovery but there are still long ways to go.
Today is 11.11.11.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11月10日(jyuichi gatsu toka): November 10

Yesterday I had a sore throat. Today I have a fever, headache and running nose. I wore a mask.

In Japanese
I have a sore throat is nodo ga itai (喉が痛い).
I have a fever is netsuga aru (熱がある).
I have a headache is zutsuu ga suru(頭痛がする).
I have running nose is hanamizu ga deru (鼻水が出る).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11月9日(jyuichi gatsu kokonoka): November 9

It was fine but cool. However I have been in the building, I do not know how it was actually.
I've got a cold. In Japanese kaze wo hiita (かぜをひいた). If you hear kaze (かぜ) we imagine two things. One is wind (風), the other is cold (風邪). There are many homonyms. Homonym in Japanese is do on igi go (同音異義語), same sound different meaning word.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11月8日(jyuichigatsu yoka): November 8

Today is ritto(立冬), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. Last one was soko (霜降) on October 24 and the next one is shosetsu ( 小雪) on November 24. Ritto literally means stand winter, it is the first day of winter. Actually it was rather cold.
We went to the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park. Last time we just tried the Tokyo Earthquake 72h Tour and a movie. But this time we could listen to the lecture about the facilities and entered the Headquarter office and operation room and so on. It was a good experience.

Monday, November 7, 2011

11月7日(jyuichi gatsu nanoka): November 7

I went to Jodogahama (浄土ヶ浜) and Taro (田老) District of Miyako (宮古) City, Iwate (岩手) today. It is the place the big earthquake and tsunami hit. They had 10 meters high breakwaters because they have had experiences of big Tsunamis before. However this time Tsunami was bigger than the past one and it flowed over the banks. Light stands were leveled, so were handrails.

In the evening I went to the Tokyo Tower after a while.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

11月6日(jyuichi gatsu muika): November 6

I came to Morioka (盛岡) yesterday and visited Rikuzentakata (陸前高田), Ofunato 大船渡, Kamaishi (釜石), Otsuchicho (大槌町), and Yamadacho(山田町) in Iwate (岩手) today.
I came here last month. I noticed some progress since that time. For example in Kamaishi I saw a big ship "Asian Symphony" was landed on the bank last time, but it was gone this time.

On the way to come to the coast line I saw beautiful red and yellow leaves on the mountains which we call koyo (紅葉), literally red leaves.

There was a shocking accident. A big deer dashed for our bus.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

11月5日(jyuichigatsu itsuka): November 5

I had a chance to listen to the lectures in English by Japanese. Knowing new things is interesting.
At lunch time we went to noodle restaurant. There we ate tempura (てんぷら) first. It was hot and good.
We came to Iwate (岩手) by Shinkansen (新幹線). It stopped more stations than the last one I came here a month ago.
It was rather warm today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

11月4日(jyuichigatsu yokka): November 4

From early morning till late at night there were so many things to do.
I use a step counter (manpokei:万歩計). Man (万) is 10,000, po is (歩) steps, and kei (計) is to measure. Today I walked 16301 steps, which is about 8.15 km.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11月3日(jyuichi gatsu mikka): November 3

Today is a national holiday called bunka no hi (文化の日), Culture Day.
Usually it is fine on this day every year, but it was cloudy today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11月2日(jyuichigatsu futsuka): November 2

I have been getting busier these days. I missed the last train (終電:shuden) again and came to the nearest station by taxi again.
I had a meeting in the morning and had lunch with 6 colleagues. Half of them are new faces. It is nice to know new people.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

11月1日(jyuichi gatsu tsuitachi): November 1

Another month has started. November is jyuichigatsu (十一月) in Japanese. Its old name is shimotsuki (霜月). Shimo (霜) is frost,tsuki (月) is month.
It was rather warm today and it seems tomorrow is also warm and far from frost.
There are only 2 months left. There are still many things to be done.
How about you?

Monday, October 31, 2011

10月31日(jyugatsu sanjyuichi nichi): October 31

A Happy Halloween!
In Japan there is a famous parade in Kawasaki (川崎), Japan. The 15th parade was held yesterday. About 3,500 people participated and marched for 1.5 km and there were about 110,000 spectators. I have been there once.

They say today the world population reached 7 billion. In 1959 there were 3 billion. In just a half century it became more than double. To those who were born today in Japan are given the certificate from UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) Tokyo Office that says "You are one of the 7,000,000,000th babies in the world."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

10月30日(jyugatsu sanjyu nichi): October 30

Last Sunday of October. There are only 2 months left this year.
There were many natural disasters here and there this year, and are still happening.
How about your 10 months?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

10月29日(jyugatsu nijyuku nichi): October 29

There has been something wrong with the washing machine these days. So I asked the repair. It cost yen 13,200, but I am glad it is fixed. It's been 6 years since we bought it. At that time it was the best one and expensive. Since it is possible to wash and dry in one machine, it is convenient. Before that washing machine, washing drum was separated from the dryer drum. We only used the dryer when we needed. But after buying this, we always use the dryer too.

It was a fine autumn day. Sky was blue and beautiful. I dried futon (布団)outside.

Friday, October 28, 2011

10月28日(jyugatsu nijyu hachi nichi): October 28

It's been getting colder.
I was so busy that I could not get on the last train. I had to come back from the next station by taxi. There is only one station, but I do not know why they don't run until the terminal.
After came back home, I watched some TV programs which are interesting. They were about the leading company and the paragliding races in the Alps.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10月27日(jyugatsu nijyu shichi nichi): October 27

It is getting colder.

According to today's newspaper, the population of Japan in October 2010 was 128,057,352. Among them men are 62,327,737 and women are 65,729,615. It is the 10th in the world. It is 1.9 % of the total population of the world. There are 29,246,000 people who are older than 65 years old, which occupies 23.0%.
The world population is expected to reach 7,000,000,000 on October 31. Among them 4,200,000,000 are Asian which occupies 60 %.
China has 1,350,000,000, India has 1,240,000,000, the USA has 310,000,000, and Indonesia has 240,000,000.
In 1987 the world population reached 5,000,000,000 and in 1999 it reached 6,000,000,000.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10月26日(jyugatsu nijyuroku nichi): October 26

Yesterday it was very hot and became a summer day. But today it was rather cool. In the evening the cold winter wind No. 1 called kogarashi ichigo (木枯らし一号) blew.
In today's news I saw many women were active in many different scenes. For example in the morning Yokohama City Mayor, Ms. Fumiko Hayashi (林文子) concluded the agreement with Ms. Sadako Ogata (緒方貞子), president of JICA.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10月25日(jyugatsu nijyugo nichi): October 25

It was warm like summer today. But it will be colder tomorrow.
Today $1 became yen 75.73, which is the highest after the World War II. For those who would like to go abroad, it is a good time. But for the exporting companies, it is a matter of life or death.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10月24日(jyugatsu nijyuyokka): October 24

Today is soko (霜降), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was kanro(寒露) on October 9 and the next one is ritto (立冬) on November 8.
Soko (霜降) literally means frost fall. But it was not so cold today.
Today I got a postcard from Nepal which I wrote during my trip there. It's been almost a month since I came back home. Usually I write many post cards during my trip. I bought many postcards but this time I only sent it to me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

10月23日(jyugatsu nijyusan nichi): October 23

After coming back to Tokyo (東京) by shinkansen Hikari (新幹線ひかり号), I looked around the coin locker to keep my carry case. Unfortunately all were full and I had to bring to the venue of the Nikkei (日経) Senior Work Life Forum 2011.
The special lecture was made by a famous stage director, Amon Miyamoto (宮本亜門) for an hour. The title was "It's interesting because it's different. It's wonderful because it's not different."
The lecture was mainly about his life experience and it was interesting. After the lecture I bought a book with autograph written by him. I asked him to take a picture with me and he was kind enough to do so and we shook hands.
On my way back home, I started reading the book. It is interesting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10月22日(jyugatsu nijyuni nichi): October 22

I arrived at Nagoya (名古屋) around 7 AM.
I took a local train for about 30 minutes. One of my cousins came to pick me up at the station and we went to coffee shop to have breakfast.
In Aichi (愛知) there are many coffee shops. And "Morning" is very famous. If you order a cup of coffee or tea or any soft drinks, there comes toast, salad, boiled egg, and desert with it. But it costs only for drinks.
In Tokyo (東京) if you want to eat such amount, we order "Morning set" and it cost around yen 500 or so.
So I have been interested in visiting coffee shops in the morning in Aichi. I added yen 100 to a cup of tea and got sandwiches.

In the morning there was a memorial service of my dead cousin and I met many relatives.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10月21日(jyugatsu nijyuichi nichi): October 21

There will be the 35 day ceremony of my cousin's death tomorrow in Aichi (愛知). I was wondering how to go.
If you want to save time, you can take Shinkansen Nozomi (新幹線のぞみ) which takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes from Tokyo (東京) to Nagoya (名古屋) and costs yen 10,580. If you want to save money, you can take a night bus, which costs less than a half of Shinkansen, but it takes about 7 hours and a half.
There is an economical way to go there, which is puratto kodama (ぷらっとこだま) plan using Shinkansen but stopping every station between Tokyo and Nagoya. It costs yen 7,900 with a drink. You need to book at least one day before.
Since I was not sure how long I have to overwork, I decided to go there by bus.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10月20日(jyugatsu hatsuka): October 20

Today is the 77th birthday of Empress. 77 years old is called kijyu (喜寿).
There are some milestone birthdays in Japan. They are 20 (hatachi:二十歳), 30 (misoji:三十路), 40 (yosoji:四十路), 50 (isoji:五十路), 60 (musoji:六十路), 61(kanreki:還暦), 70 (koki:古稀) , 77 (kijyu:喜寿), 80 (sanjyu:傘寿), 88 (beijyu:米寿), 90 (sotujyu:卒寿), 99 (hakujyu:白寿), 100 (momojyu:百寿), and 120 (daikanreki:大還暦).
How about in your country?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10月19日(jyugatu jyuku nichi): October 19

It was rather cool this morning and evening. It seemed warm in the daytime, but since I was in the office I did not notice.
They say October 19 is day of travel abroad. Why? October 19 is written as 10.19. and read "toku e iku (遠くへ行く)" ,toku is to(10) ku and iku is i(1) ku (9). Toku (遠く) is far away, iku (行く) is to go. Therefore going far away means going abroad. It is supposed to think of the pleasure of going abroad.
My last trip was to go to Nepal and Hong Kong in September. I could meet some friends and had a good time here and there.
My next destinations are Egypt, Turkey, and Greece via London next summer if possible.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10月18日(jyugatsu jyuhachi nichi): October 18

Today Chunichi Dragons (中日ドラゴンズ) became a champion for the Central league of Japanese baseball for 2 years straight. It is their 9th victory and it is the first time to win two consecutive championships in 76 years of their team history since 1936.
For the manager Hiromitsu Ochiai (落合博満), 57 years old, it was the 4th victory during his 8 years management. He will retire after this season.
I am not a big fan of baseball. But after the championship games, there are bargain sales at the related department stores which is a little bit attractive.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10月17日(jyugatsu jyushichi nichi): October 17

I have just read an amazing article in the evening newspaper and seen the same news on TV.
It happened in Toronto, Canada yesterday. A 100 years old Indian Englishman ran full marathon, finished at 8 hours 25 minutes 16 seconds and made a world record for the oldest person that completed the marathon.
They say he started the marathon at the age of 89 years old and this was the 8th time. He finished at 5 hours 40 minutes 1 second in 2003 and made the record for more than 90 years old.
These days 100 years old persons look active such as Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara (日野原重明) and a poet Ms. Toyo Shibata (柴田トヨ). It's amazing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10月16日(jyugatsu jyuroku nichi): October 16

It is a season of new TV programs. I have just watched one of them titled "Nankyoku tairiku (南極大陸)", Antarctic. It started at 9 PM and lasted for 2 hours tonight for a special version. It is a story of a ship on an expedition to Antarctica.
To make a big project there are so many people involved.

Have you ever been to Antarctic?
I have been there once in Feb. 2004 when I circumnavigated the world by peaceboat. It was different from the place I imaged.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

10月15日(jyugatsu jyugo nichi): October 15

I watched the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Tokyo 2011 on TV today.
The result of Japanese women was not so good but men's was good.
Yesterday, Mr. Kohei Uchimura(内村航平) has become a champion for three times straight for Men's All Around which was the first in history.
Today he got a gold medal for Men's Floor Exercise. It has been 37 years since a Japanese man got a gold medal for this program last time. Congratulations!
He said he was glad to get it but not satisfied with the contents.
We can expect more for his future performance.

Friday, October 14, 2011

10月14日(jyugatsu jyuyokka): October 14

I went to see a movie "Dear John" after work. Its Japanese title is "shin ai naru kimi e(親愛なるきみへ)" meaning "Dear You." English title is the beginning of the letter from a woman to a man named John. But from Japanese title we feel it's a letter from a man to a woman. It's opposite. Interesting, isn't it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10月13日(jyugatsu jyusan nichi): October 13

I went to preview (下見:shitami) a conference room, a banquet room, a restaurant, and a facility for the coming program with a colleague and ate lunch there together. Rooms were fine, but we decided not to use the restaurant because of the menu which had a small variety of dishes than we expected. I think preview is very important.
On our way back to the office we talked many things. We have been working in the same office more than one year but we seldom had a chance to talk about private issue, so we enjoyed knowing each other.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10月12日(jyugatsu jyuni nichi): October 12

Yesterday I took my father to the dentist and hospital. At the dental office where is my high school friend's house I got calendars of 2012. Since I did not expect that at all, I was surprised to realize the end of the year is coming soon. 24 hours a day is surely passing.
What were your resolutions of this year? Did you accomplish them?
I made some resolutions but I wasted much time and have not accomplished yet. I hope to accomplish as much as possible.

10月11日(jyugatsu jyuichi nichi): October 11

It's been 7 months since the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. Last week I went to Iwate (岩手) and visited some devastated areas such as Miyako (宮古), Taro (田老) area, Otsuchicho (大槌町), Kamaishi (釜石), Ofunato (大船渡), and Rikuzentakata (陸前高田). There were many mountains of debris here and there.
Some signals were not working and policemen were directing instead. They say it was because not only matter of electricity but also matter of money. To repair the signal itself costs a lot, but to keep it working costs more.
They say all of the shelters in Ishinomaki (石巻) were closed today, and most of the fugitives went back to their broken house or temporary housing. Some people moved to the waiting place.
I could not imagine how long it will take to recover, but I hope the early recovery.

Monday, October 10, 2011

10月10日(jyugatsu toka): October 10

Today is a national holiday called taiiku no hi (体育の日), Physical Education Day. It was established in 1966 to commemorate the opening of the Tokyo Olympic in 1964. It has been on October 10, but since 2000 it falls on the second Monday of October to have a happy Monday. So it has been 6 years since 2005 which falls on October 10.
This is the three day weekend. It is a good season to see colored leaves. So many people must have been to the northern area to see them.
I was in Iwate last week, but leaves have not turned in red and yellow yet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

10月9日(jyugatsu kokonoka): October 9

Today is kanro (寒露), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shubun (秋分) on September 23 and the next one is soko (霜降) on October 24. Kanro literally means cold dew. It was not so cold today. Weather was fine and it was good for the Athletic meeting. There was the one in my town too, though I did not attend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

10月8日(jyugatsu yoka): October 8

The first day of the three day weekend.
It was fine today.
When you travel in Japan by train, many people enjoy boxed meals called ekiben (駅弁), literally station lunch box, because depends on the place the contents are different. There are many famous ekiben. I bought sanriku uminoko bento(三陸海の子弁当) which was yen 1000. Sanriku is the name of the ocean coast, uminoko is child of the sea.
It included scallops, salmon roes, sea urchin, egg, and seaweed. Sanriku is very famous for seafood. I enjoyed every meal while traveling there.

10月7日(jyugatsu nanoka): October 7

In the morning I walked along the beach of Jodogahama (浄土ヶ浜). The landscape was still beautiful but there seems the remain of Tsunami (津波). I have found many walnuts there, which reminded me of the sea beans of Florida beach.
After that I have visited the devastated areas by Tsunami. There are mountains of debris here and there. There were some buildings left but everything inside seemed washed away. Cars were unbelievably crushed, banks were broken, guardrails and traffic signs were bent. Big ships were landed.
I was astonished by the power of the water which ruined the cities. I can't imagine how long it will take to get normal.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10月6日(jyugatsu muika): October 6

I am now in Jodogahama, Iwate (岩手県浄土ヶ浜). I came here by JR Tohoku shinkansen (東北新幹線) from Tokyo (東京) to Morioka (盛岡) which took about 2 hours and a half, and by car which took about 2 hours and a half. This is the first time for me to get on Hayate (はやて), which is one of the names of the Tohoku shinkansen train. All was the reserved seat. It only stopped at 2 stations before arriving at Morioka, that is, Omiya (大宮) and Sendai (仙台).
At the Tokyo station I found a very interesting vending machine. It sells canned bread. Have you ever seen? I have never seen so that I took a picture.
It was very cold yesterday, but today it was not so cold. In Tokyo it stopped raining and was going to be fine, but here it rained sometimes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10月5日(jyugatsu itsuka): October 5

It has been raining since this morning and getting colder these days.
June 1 and October 1 are known as koromogae (衣替え), changing clothes. Junior high school students and high school students who have uniform change their summer uniform to winter uniform from October 1, that is they start wearing a jacket.
On June 1 they change from winter uniform to summer uniform.
It seems warm in the daytime tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10月4日(jyugatsu yokka): October 4

Happy Birthday to Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara (日野原重明)! He became 100 years old and he is still a medical doctor and writes many books. In today's newspaper there are many advertisement of his books. He wrote more than 200 books. A book titled "Ikikata jyozu (行き方上手)", meaning good at living, is a million seller.
I have been to listen to his lecture in 2005 once when I was in Nagoya (名古屋). I respect him.
I hope he will live long and keep encouraging many people.

Monday, October 3, 2011

10月3日(jyugatsu mikka): October 3

It was rather cold in the morning and in the night. Autumn is coming.
There are only less than 3 months left this year.
There are so many things happened this year so far and many people's sense of value and the life style must have been changed a lot.
How about you?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

10月2日(jyugatsu futsuka): October 2

First Sunday of October.
I read through the newspaper of September because I could not read during my trip to Nepal.

There were 2 women whom I have met / seen before passed away in September. One is Ms. Toshie Kanamori (金森トシエ) who was a journalist died of pneumonia at the age of 85 years old and the other is Ms. Wangari Muta Maathai from Kenya who was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize died of cancer at the age of 71 years old.
Both were very active and I respected them. I pray for the souls of them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10月1日(jyugatsu tsuitachi): October 1

Another month has just started. October is jyugatsu (十月) in Japanese. Its old name is kannazuki (神無月), literally god without month. All Japanese gods gather in Izumo (出雲), therefore there will be no gods in other areas. In Izumo it is called kamiarizuki (神在月), literally god exists month.

The last day for NHK's morning drama ohisama (おひさま), the Sun.

I was very busy today. I renewed the car insurance in the morning and went grocery shopping and to Shinjuku to see the performance of Japanese drams so-called wadaiko (和太鼓). It was very powerful.

Friday, September 30, 2011

9月30日(kugatsu sanjyu nichi): September 30

The end of September. Three quarters of the year was over. Only one quarter is left. How fast time flies!

I had a meeting with a professor in the morning at a famous university in Tokyo. I could hear many interesting stories. Different from my time, though I am not an alumna there, generally speaking, facilities of the university campus looked advanced. And I think students nowadays are fortunate having many information and opportunities.
There seemed many intellectual events in the weekend too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9月29日(kugatsu nijyuku nichi): September 29

I went out for lunch at the Okinawa (沖縄) food restaurant. Okinawa is the southern most prefecture in Japan.
At night I had a reunion of ex-coworkers of a company I worked for the part time job about 18 years ago. While working there, I often went to Hong Kong. This Monday I visited the counterpart company there and knew the president would come to Japan this week. Therefore I arranged to get together. Six of us got together and had a good time eating and talking. We went to Hokkaido(北海道) food bar. Hokkaido is the northern most prefecture in Japan.
So today I enjoyed south and north foods of Japan. There are so many variety of foods in Japan. So I feel we are fortunate. Please come to try them.

9月28日(kugatsu nijyuhachi nichi): September 28

It was cool in the morning. Autumn is coming.

First day after the vacation. There were many emails and meetings.

When I passed out the souvenirs, I was surprised to know that some colleagues have been to Nepal before. I knew about five colleagues have been there before but today I knew at least two more people went there on a business trip.
Among high school friends or college friends I think I am the only one who went there.
But since I am working at the international related office, many colleagues have many international experiences which is very interesting for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

9月27日(kugatsu nijyushichi nichi): September 27

The last day of my summer vacation. Since I came home late last night, I am glad to have another day off.
I took my father to the hospital, went shopping, and received visitors. Therefore I was busy somehow.
It was cool this morning, but fine and warm today.

9月26日(kugatsu nijyuroku nichi): September 26

Today is higan ake(彼岸明け), the end of equinoctial week.

The last day of my trip to Nepal and Hong Kong. I had good times in both countries, visiting many places, meeting old friends, and eating delicious foods.

Monday, September 26, 2011

9月25日(kugatsu nijyugo nichi): September 25

There was a funeral of my cousin today, but I could not attend this either. Funeral in Japanese is kokubetushiki (告別式), literally farewell ceremony.
Yesterday I went to Pashupatinath where is the biggest Hindu temple in Nepal. There I saw the crematory and thought of my cousin.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

9月24日(kugatsu nijyuyokka): September 24

There was my cousin's wake tonight. Wake is o tsuya (お通夜) in Japanese. Since I am traveling abroad, I could not attend. Instead I sent the telegram of condolence to his mother who is my aunt and his family. Telegram of condolence is choden (弔電) in Japanese.
I pray for his soul.

Friday, September 23, 2011

9月23日(kugatsu nijyusan nichi): September 23

Today is shubun no hi (秋分の日), Autumn Equinox Day, which is one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), 24 solar terms. The last one was hakuro (白露) on September 8, and the next one is kanro (寒露) on October 9.
Today is a national holiday in Japan. Therefore it is another 3 day weekend. This is the latter part of the Silver week.
A week between Autumn Equinox Day is called o higan (お彼岸), and we go to ancestor's graveyard and offer sweets called o hagi (おはぎ).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9月22日(kugatsu nijyuni nichi): September 22

I am still traveling.

I got a sad news from Japan. My cousin passed away today. The news came from his younger sister by mobile text message just telling me about the fact and the dates of funeral wake (o tsuya:お通夜 ) and funeral service (kokubetsushiki:告別式).
I have not seen him nearly 1 year and 10 months.
I pray for the repose of his soul.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9月21日(kugatsu nijyuichi nichi): September 21

I am in Pokhara, Nepal. I went to many places today. One of them was the World Peace Pagoda, Nihonzan Myohoji (日本山妙法寺), a Japanese Temple. I saw a Japanese monk there. In Lumbini there was the same kind of Pagoda. They say there are 100 of them around the world.
In the town there are many Japanese signs. So I think there are many Japanese tourists here. I saw some of them today.

9月20日(kugatsu hatsuka): September 20

I came to Pokhara, Nepal. Here I have TV and Internet access. So I knew that the typhoon No. 15 hit Japan by the CNN news. Is everything OK for you?
This is very famous touristic place in Nepal. That is kankochi (観光地) in Japanese. Many shops and restaurants are open until late in the night. There are many places you can use Wi-Fi, but I do not know why in this hotel they charge for Wi-Fi.
It rained today. I hope it will be fine tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9月19日(kugatsu jyuku nichi): September 19

The third Monday of September is keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect for the Aged Day. It has been on September 15 until 2002, but it was changed to the third Monday to have a "Happy Monday."
There are two national holidays in September. Respect for the Aged Day on September 19 and Autumn Equinox Day on September 23. Therefore this week is called Silver Week.
I believe many people travel at this time of the year. I am one of them. I am now in Lumbini, Nepal, where is the Buddha's birthplace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

9月18日(kugatu jyuhachi nichi) : September 18

Second day of the three day weekend.
I am in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
There is no TV nor Internet access at the hotel I am staying, so I do not know what is happening.
But here there happened the earthquake in the evening.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

9月17日(kugatsu jyushichi nichi): September 17

The first day of the three day weekend. How are you spending?
I believe there are many Japanese people traveling domestically or abroad.
I am now in Nepal. I have visited some World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu today.
In Japan two new sites were registered recently as the UNESCO's World Heritage. One is Ogasawara (小笠原) Islands for natural heritage, and the other is Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi (平泉) in Iwate (岩手).

Friday, September 16, 2011

9月16日(kugatsu jyuroku nichi): September 16

We have 2 national holidays next week. So I take 3 days off next week and 2 days off week after next and a day off today to have a late summer vacation. I go to Nepal and Hong Kong by Cathay Pacific.
This is my first trip abroad from the new Haneda (羽田) International Airport which started international flight services last year or so.
It is very convenient for those who live in Kanagawa (神奈川) and Tokyo (東京) area.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9月15日(kugatsu jyugo nichi): September 15

It was another hot day. It's been more than a week that we have the temperature of more than 30 degrees centigrade which is called manatsu bi (真夏日), mid summer day.
In the evening there were weak but a long earthquake.

Today I went out for Japanese lunch with my colleague. I ate grilled saury lunch. This is the best season for saury. Saury is sanma (サンマ) in Japanese. In kanji character it is written as 秋刀魚, fall sword fish. It is typical autumn dish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9月14日(kugatsu jyuyokka): September 14

It was another hot day.

Next Monday is keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect-for-the-Aged Day. So there was an article about the statistics of the Aged people in Japan on today's newspaper.
They say there are 47,756 people who are over 100 years old this year, which is the most in the history. For 41 years it has been increasing.
There are 6,162 men and 41,594 women, that is women occupy 87.1%. Wow!
The oldest Japanese is 114 years old woman living in Saga (佐賀) prefecture.
When they started the research in 1963, there were only 153 people who are over 100 years old, and in 1998 it reached 10,000 people and in 2009 it exceeded 40,000 people.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9月13日(kugatsu jyusan nichi): September 13

It was very hot.
I took a day off to take my father to the hospital (病院:byoin) for the once a month check up and for other reasons. After all he visited the departments of surgery (外科:geka), internal medicine (内科:naika), and ophthalmology (眼科:ganka). We also met a nutritionist to consult about the meals and a nurse to have footcare.
We have stayed at the hospital for a long time.
Then we went to the pharmacy (薬局:yakkyoku).

Monday, September 12, 2011

9月12日(kugatsu jyuni nichi): September 12

Today is jyugoya (十五夜), literally the 15th night, meaning full moon night. It is also called chushu no meigetsu (中秋の名月), the harvest moon of August 15 of the lunar calendar.
We view the beautiful moon decorating some dumplings and Japanese pampas grass.
This year I found very cute manju (饅頭), Japanese-style bun stuffed with adzuki-bean paste. Why cute? Because on the surface there was the design of rabbit.
In Japan we believe there are rabbits pounding the rice cake on the moon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9月11日(kugatsu jyuichi nichi): September 11

9.11. It's been 10 years since that day. Was it short or long for you? Even after 10 years we still remember that scene clearly.

It's been half a year since the Great Earthquake happened on March 11. The casualty amounts to 15,781 and 4,086 are still missing. There were many memorial services here and there. Many people lost their houses and beloved family in a moment. How sad it was!
I hope the early recovery of the devastated areas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9月10日(kugatsu toka): September 10

It was very hot like summer today.
There is an annual festival of the local shrine today and tomorrow.
This morning I went to the Assembly Hall of the town to prepare for the party. When there came the portable shrine (神輿:mikoshi, see the picture) there, there was a surprise.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi(小泉進次郎), appeared there suddenly too. His father is Ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎) who served as Prime Minister from April 26, 2001 to September 26, 2006 which is the third longest since the World War II. His older brother is Kotaro Koizumi(小泉孝太郎) who is an actor.
He listened to people's voice and took pictures with them. I asked him to take a picture too. I have seen him several times during the election campaign but this was the first time for me to talk with him. He is a coming young politician. In a quarter of a century he may become a Prime Minister.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9月9日(kugatsu kokonoka): September 9

September 9 is known as "choyo no sekku (重陽の節句), the Double Ninth Festival." Odd number (奇数:kisu) is positive, and 9 is the highest. September 9 is 9.9 and double highest positive, therefore it is regarded as the luckiest day.
It is also called "kiku no sekku (菊の節句), Chrysanthemum Festival."
On September 9, 1999 and 2009, I believe there were so many couples got married in Asian countries.
There are 5 festivals: January 7(人日:jinjitsu), March 3(上巳:joshi or 桃の節句:momo no sekku, Peach Festival), May 5 (端午:tango or 菖蒲の節句:shobu no sekku, Iris Festival), July 7(七夕:tanabata), and September 9.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9月8日(kugatsu yoka): September 8

Today is hakuro (白露), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shosho (処暑) on August 23, and the next one is shubun(秋分) on September 23.
Hakuro (白露) literally means white dew. The air becomes cool and the dew looks white.

Tonight I went to the Italian restaurant with my colleagues. We ate 4 appetizers, 3 pizzas, 2 pastas, and drank many glasses of beverage.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9月7日(kugatsu nanoka): September 7

In the morning I felt the air was cooler and the autumn has come, but the sunshine was still strong and it was very hot today. The sky was blue with white clouds like summer.
But at 6 PM it is already getting dark and the season is surely changing to autumn.

There was an earthquake in Hokkaido. It rained there too.
The damages left by the typhoon No. 12 turned out to be very big.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9月6日(kugatsu muika): September 6

It was fine and beautiful after the rain. Typhoon No. 12 did not come here, but we had some rain. So it was like "taifu ikka (台風一過): typhoon transient."

Monday, September 5, 2011

9月5日(kugatsu itsuka): September 5

It rained today.
In Hokkaido it will rain heavily tonight.

They say it's been 10 years since the Disney Sea opened on September 4, 2001. I have never been there yet. I can't believe there has been already 10 years.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

9月4日(kugatsu yokka): September 4

The typhoon No. 12 left a big damage in Kii peninsula (紀伊半島:kii hanto). In many places the amount of the rainfall was record-making. One half of the year's precipitation was made just in a few days. Depends on the place it rained 1800 ml in a day. 20 people were killed and 55 people are missing. About 33,000 people were advised to evacuate.
There are still possibilities of heavy rain in many places tomorrow too.
In the morning there was an earthquake.
This year we are facing the threat of natural disasters.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

9月3日(kugatsu mikka): September 3

The typhoon No. 12 hit Japan today. But not around here. It was hot and windy, and rained sometimes here.
It hit Kochi(高知) in the morning and Okayama(岡山) in the evening、moving very slowly.

Do you know Doraemon (ドラえもん), Japanese famous cartoon character? Today the museum of its author, Fujiko F Fujio Museum (藤子F不二雄ミュージアム) opened in Kawasaki (川崎). They say September 3 is the birthday of Doraemon. This museum is only available by reservation 4 times in a day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

9月2日(kugatsu futsuka): September 2

I went out for lunch at the Chinese Restaurant with my colleagues. Every day I walk the same route from the station to the office and usually eat lunch at the office. Therefore I did not know that restaurant. The street looked quite different from the one I walk every day even if it is just a few blocks away. I felt I have missed many things by just having a routine life.

Today the new cabinet was formed. I do not know how long it will last.....

Now a big typhoon is coming and it is raining heavily in Shikoku(四国), Sanin (山陰), and Sanyo (山陽) area and many people have already evacuated.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9月1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 long month.
September 1 is known as bosai no hi (防災の日), Day of Disaster Prevention. This is established in 1960 after the Great Kanto Earthquake happened on September 1, 1923.
There was the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 this year. Therefore evacuation training was practiced in so many places this year.
There is a saying, sonae areba urei nashi (備えあれば憂いなし), "Forewarned is forearmed." or "Providing is preventing."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8月31日(hachigatsu sanjyuichi nichi): August 31

I went to massage today. It's been nearly 2 months since I went there last time. I thought I was more healthier and less tired than last time but the massager said I was more tired and the level of stiff shoulders was worse today. She said the reasons must be from the stress which I am sure that I have had since last time and that I slept only for 3 hours today.
She said the unhealthiness is caused by three reasons. One is from mental reason such as stress, second is physical reason, and third is from unknown reason such as evil spirit.
In my case it was from the stress and physical fatigue.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8月30日(hachigatsu sanjyu nichi): August 30

Today I went to Asakusa (浅草). When I went there last time was in April but the landscape was different since then. The Sensoji (浅草寺) temple has been under renovation, but today the cover was gone and I could see the beautiful temple.
I could also see the Tokyo Sky Tree, which has been also under construction.

Monday, August 29, 2011

8月29日(hachigatsu nijyuku nichi): August 29

The new leader of the Democratic Party of Japan was elected today. He is Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda (野田佳彦), 54 years old. There were 5 candidates. At the first vote nobody got the majority and at the second vote he was chosen. This is the third leader since the DPJ took the power in 2009.

Mr. Koji Murofushi (室伏広治), 36 years old became a champion for the shot put at 81.24 meters for his season best at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, Korea.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

8月28日(hachigatsu nijyuhachi nichi): August 28

I had a luncheon at a Chinese restaurant in Yokohama (横浜). Yokohama is famous for the China Town. The other day I ate at the restaurant in the China Town, but this time it was not in the China Town.
There were about 8 dishes or so today. I enjoyed eating and talking.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

8月27日(hachigatsu nijyushichi nichi): August 27

I went to the seminar of the publishing company in Yokohama (横浜). There were two parts, first was the talk by CEO and the latter was how to write the book.
They say there are 3 condition of the good book, one is if you can summarize the contents in a few words, second is originality, and the third is universality.
I hope to write about my Florida experiences.

Friday, August 26, 2011

8月26日(hachigatsu nijyuroku nichi): August 26

It was fine and hot in the daytime but heavily rained in the evening.

I went to visit an oil factory in Yokohama (横浜). It was very interesting to see the bottling, labeling and packaging. Factory visit is usually free and they give us souvenirs. If it is food or drink factory, you can taste. You can learn many things too. I recommend you to visit these places if you have a chance.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8月25日(hachigatsu nijyugo nichi): August 25

I went to the National Diet building. There is a tour of the building. The guide told us about the best position to take pictures of the building. From where you could take a picture of the building and the fountain. If you move a little bit, the building will appear with tall buildings.
I remember the idiom, mochi ha mochi ya (餅は餅屋), meaning leave the rice cake baker to rice cake making. That is the professional knows the best.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8月24日(hachigatsu nijyuyokka): August 24

I am now staying at a hotel in Tokyo. I was surprised when I came here this evening because there was a queue for checking in. It's been a long time since I waited for the check in at the hotel.
I am afraid of the crowded restaurants tomorrow morning....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8月23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 8 and the next one is hakuro (白露) on September 8. It is the time when the heat is going to leave.

I went to the Ministry of the Environment today. I was surprised to see the room. It was dark because the lights were off to save energy.
I remember the four word idiom sossen suihan (率先垂範), which means example by leadership.

Monday, August 22, 2011

8月22日(hachigatsu nijyuni nichi): August 22

It rained again, but it stopped in the afternoon.
There were earthquakes again. We are not sure how long more we will have aftershock.

They say yesterday was the peak of the return of the people who went abroad for the summer vacation. About 44,500 people came back to the Narita (成田) Airport which is about 2,500 people less than last year because of the Great Earthquake. Nowadays yen is strong and it seems they enjoyed shopping a lot.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8月21日(hachigatsu nijyuichi nichi): August 21

It rained and was rather cool today. Until two days ago it has been unbelievably hot. We still have earthquakes these days.

I went grocery shopping. Supermarket is the place where we can feel the season. Today I found some autumn foods there. They are grapes and ingredients for cooking rice such as chestnut (栗:kuri) and matsutake (松茸) mushroom. They are called kuri gohan (栗ごはん) and matsutake gohan (松茸ごはん) when cooked. Gohan (ご飯) means rice. Autumn is a season of good appetite.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

8月20日(hachigatsu hatsuka): August 20

There was the final match of the high school baseball games. Nichidai sanko (日大三校)from west Tokyo area became a champion at the 93rd summer tournament. It's been 10 years since they became a champion last time in 2001. They are the top of 4014 teams all over Japan. They had a match with Koseigakuin (光星学院) from Aomori (青森) and won by 11 to 0. Congratulations!
There were about 47,000 spectators at the Koshien (甲子園) stadium today.

Today I was glad to find a newspaper article of the person whom I met in Expo '92.

Friday, August 19, 2011

8月19日(hachigatsu jyuku nichi): August 19

It was fine and hot in the morning, but rained a lot later. I did not go out during daytime so I am not sure how much it rained but my colleague said it rained heavily at lunch time. When I came home at night, it seemed it rained with strong wind because there were many leaves on the pools in the roads.
In the afternoon we had rather big and long earthquakes.
TGIF! Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

8月18日(hachigatsu jyuhachi nichi): August 18

It was very hot today too.
I went out for lunch with colleagues at the Chinese Restaurant. Chinese foods are very popular.
The good thing to eat Chinese foods with others is we can taste many different dishes for a reasonable price. We could eat 4 different dishes with rice, soup, and pickles.
Chinese food in Japanese is chuka ryori (中華料理).
In Japan there are very famous China town in Yokohama (横浜) and Kobe (神戸). The China town in Japanese is chuka gai (中華街).
I will eat Chinese at the China town next week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8月17日(hachigatsu jyushichi nichi): August 17

The other day I went to see a movie "The Tree of Life." Brad Pitt is my favorite movie star so that whenever there is a movie of him I try to see it. I was very looking forward to seeing it because it got the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
However unfortunately I did not understand the movie well.
Have you seen the movie yet? Please let me hear your comment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8月16日(hachigatsu jyuroku nichi): August 16

Do you know taiyaki (鯛焼き)? It is a popular snack. The shape is a beam. Beam is tai (鯛) in Japanese. Yaki (焼き) means grilled or baked. It is a baked sweet like waffle. Usually there is sweet bean paste inside. Sometimes there are cream or other stuff.
Today I found a quite different one. It contains potato with spicy cod eggs.
Usually taiyaki is a snack, but with this ingredient it was like a side dish.
Would you like to try?

Monday, August 15, 2011

8月15日(hachigtsu jyugo nihci): August 15

It was another hot day. It seems this will continue till Thursday.

Today is the Anniversary of the End of the War (終戦記念日:shusen kinenbi). It's been 66 years since the World War II was over.
Every year there is a memorial service at the Nihon Budokan (日本武道館). This year about 7,200 people attended to pray for the souls of about 3,100,000 war dead. The oldest attendance was 97 years old wife who lost her husband at the age of 38. The youngest attendance was 5 years old great-grandson whose great-grandfather passed away at the age of 28 years old.
The number of survivors who attended the service was about 4,900 people. Among them wives are only 0.9 %, brothers and sisters are 13.5%, children are 64.9%, and grandchildren are 2.8%. Those who are born after the war occupies 9.2%.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8月14日(hachigatsu jyuykka): August 14

It was another hot day. It was windy too. They say the hottest temperature was 38.1 degrees centigrade today.

When I was watching the TV program regarding the World War II in the afternoon, I happened see Ms. Beate Sirota Gordon was interviewed. I was surprised but very happy to see her fine because I have personally known her.
In the night there was a TV program regarding the earth, Photo journalist Mr. Koichi Fujiwara (藤原幸一) was in it. I was glad to see his worldwide activity because I have also known him since the 44th peace boat cruise in 2003 to 2004.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

8月13日(hachigatsu jyusan nichi): August 13

It is Obon (お盆) now. Obon is the time when the spirits of the ancestors come back home. At this time many people go back to their home town to visit the graves of ancestors. Father and I went to the graveyard of my mother.
In the afternoon I had a luxurious lunch with friends from high school tennis club. It's been 5 years since we got together last time. Then we went to the very nice restaurant to have tea and cake for my friend's birthday.
After that my friend and I decided to attend the general OB meeting of our high school tennis club. It's been 20 years since I attended there last. At that time we had played tennis together once a month or more, but I have not played tennis these days.
After the meeting three of us went to have something to eat. It is nice to have someone who had the same experience because they are the only people we can share the same memory.

Friday, August 12, 2011

8月12日(hachigatsu jyuni nichi): August 12

It was another hot day.
I went out for Chinese lunch with colleagues.
After work I had a small reunion of my high school classmates. Four of us got together in April too when one of them came back from London for a short visit. And we met the other after a long time, maybe more than 10 years.
We have spent 3 years together, and had quite different lives since we graduated from high school. Three of us became teachers but quitted. One became a doctor, and another works for the oil company.
Three of us had lived in the USA, and I visited both of them in North Carolina in 1996 and Texas in 2007 while I was in the Washington and Florida.
Three got married and have two to three children. Two are still single.
We enjoyed eating and talking.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8月11日(hachigatsu jyuichi nichi): August 11

It's been 5 months since the Great Earthquake happened. As of July 28 the death toll climbed to 15,689 in 12 prefectures, the missing number is 4,744 in 6 prefectures, and refugees and those who had to move were 87,063. About 11,000,000 self-defense forces members and policemen were dispatched to the devastated area. Volunteer of 3 prefectures were totaled to about 660,000 as of August 8.
There are still many places and people to be helped.

Today it was another hot day, maybe the hottest day in this summer.

8月10日(hachigatsu toka): August 10

It has been very hot these days.
151 points among 920 places in Japan it recorded the moshobi (猛暑日), that means the temperature went up to more than 35 degrees centigrade. They say the usage of electricity reached 49,030,000 kw which is the biggest in this summer because of using air-conditioning.
The highest temperature was 38.7 degrees centigrade at 15:41 in Tatebayashi(館林) , Gunma (群馬).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8月9日(hachigatsu kokonoka): August 9

August 9 is day of Atomic Bomb dropped in Nagasaki (長崎). It was 66 years since it happened. There was a memorial service, and about 6,000 people from 44 countries attended. 3,288 people passed away within a year until July, and the name list of 155,546 people who are victims of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki was dedicated.
In the night of August 6 I watched the TV program titled "Letters from hibakusha (ヒバクシャ)." Hibakusha is atomic bomb victims. What happened on August 6 and 9 in 1945 were really horrible.
This March we had nuclear plants tragedy in Fukushima (福島).
We should really think about the renewable energy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

8月8日(hachigatsu yoka): August 8

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 (立秋) literally means stand fall, that is the beginning of fall. However it was very hot and humid today.
The temperature of the office is kept at 28 degrees centigrade this year because of saving energy. And it is very hot outside too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

8月7日(hachigatsu nanoka): August 7

It was hot.
In every prefecture it became manatsubi (真夏日), which temperature went up to more than 30 degrees centigrade. In many places it became moshobi (猛暑日), which temperature went up to more than 35 degrees centigrade.
Depends on the places there was thunder rain. But not here.
They say it is going to be hot tomorrow too.
Until today we greet shochu omimai moushi agemasu. (暑中お見舞い申し上げます。)
From tomorrow we say zansho omimai moushi agemasu. (残暑お見舞い申し上げます。)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

8月6日(hachigatsu muika): August 6

There are some days in a year that every Japanese people cannot forget. Today, August 6 is one of them. 66 years ago the Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima (広島). There was a memorial service in the morning at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the name list that 5,785 people that passed away within last year added was dedicated. The total casualty became 275,230 people.
It's been 66 years but there are still many people suffering. We are worried about the Fukushima (福島) case too.

There was another big news. It was the opening of the 93rd high school baseball tournament so-called Koshien (甲子園). Seiko gakuin(聖光学院) from Fukushima (福島) won at the 10th inning.

Friday, August 5, 2011

8月5日(hachigatsu itsuka): August 5


In Japan we do not have such a phrase, but nowadays most people work from Monday to Friday, many people feel happy when Friday comes. Friday is kinyobi (金曜日). So it was used to called hanakin (花金), literally flower money, meaning to have fun on Friday. It was used from 1985 but after the bursting of the bubble economy, this became obsolete word.

Have a nice weekend! In Japanese yoi shumatsu wo(よい週末を)!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8月4日(hachigatsu yokka): August 4

They say August 4 is day of chopsticks. Chopsticks in Japanese is hashi (箸). August 4 is written as 8. 4. 8 can be read as ha, and 4 is read as shi. Therefore 8.4 is hashi and it is a day of chopsticks. This anniversary was established in 1975.
There are many homonym in Japanese.
If we hear hashi, we can easily think of hashi (箸) which means chopsticks, hashi (端) which means tip or end, and hashi(橋) which means bridge.
I want to be a bridge between Japan and other countries. In that case we can say kakehashi (懸け橋) for bridge too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8月3日(hachigatsu mikka): August 3

It rained heavily in Tokyo (東京) in the afternoon. But it was not raining in Yokohama (横浜).
There was the fireworks festival tonight at the Miurakaigan (三浦海岸) beach. The train was so crowded. There were many street stalls here and there. I haven't seen so many of them before.
Because of the Great Earthquakes, many places forbear the fireworks festivals and other fun events. Therefore more people must have come to see the fireworks festival all the way.
It started at 7:30 PM. I expected to see for an hour. But it finished around 8:10 PM. Climax was very nice.
I hope you will have a chance to see Japanese fireworks festival someday.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

8月2日(hachigatsu futsuka): August 2

Nadeshiko Japan will be given the People's Honour Award (国民栄誉賞: kokumin eiyo sho). Some sports men and women have received the award before, but as a group this will be the first case.
To have become a world cup champion made Japanese people encouraged, especially those who had damages by the Great Earthquake on March 11.
The never-give-up spirit is very important.

Monday, August 1, 2011

8月1日(hachigatsu tsuitachi): August 1

A new month has started. August is hachigatsu (八月) in Japanese. The old name is hazuki (葉月), literally leaf month.
They say it is day of sightseeing, and this week is sightseeing week. There are many festivals around this week, especially in the Tohoku (東北) area.
Speaking of August there is high school baseball tournament. It will start this Saturday. 49 teams from each prefecture were selected by today.
There were rather big earthquake.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

7月31日(shichigatsu sanjyuichi nichi): July 31

The second day of the Togakushi (戸隠) Tour. Got up early and went to see the very special performances called daidai kagura (太々神楽) at a shrine. Then visited the pond and some shrines.
At lunch time ate very delicious meal. And visited Zenkoji (善光寺) temple. I went up to the second floor of the third gate (三門・山門,sanmon) for the first time. The weather was fine there.
After everything finished, it started raining.
I felt lucky.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

7月30日(shichigatsu sanjyu nichi): July 30

I went to Togakushi (戸隠) where is one of the most sacred places. 
This is the second time for me to visit there. It's been about a year since I went there last time.
There were something I did not notice last year.
There were some shrines in that area and I visited three of them today. Then I took a hotspring bath.
Every meal was delicous.
The weather was cloudy and slightly rain, but I did not need an umbrella.
I felt I am lucky.

Friday, July 29, 2011

7月29日(shichigatsu nijyuku nichi): July 29

It slightly rained around here.
But in Niigata (新潟) and Fukushima (福島) they say it rains heavily so that there are much damages here and there. Depends on the place it poured 120.5 mm per hour. There are heavy rain warning and advice to evacuate there. 

I hope it stops soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

7月28日(shichigatsu nijyuhachi nichi): July 28

I read the article about the average life expectancy today. Japanese women are expected to live up to 86.39 which is a little bit younger than last year, but it's been the oldest in the world for 26 years straight. Japanese men are expected to live up to 79.64 which ranks in the 4th in the world.
Last summer was extremely hot therefore many old people passed away in July and August. The number of the people who lost their lives due to heat injury reached 798 which is 8 times higher than usual. Please take good care of yourselves.

To live long is a good thing but to live happy is much better.

Today Ms. Aya Terakwa (寺川綾) got a silver medal for women's 50 meters backstroke at 27.93. Congratulations!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7月27日(shichigatsu nijyushichi nichi): July 27

There is only a year to go until the London Olympics will begin.

Sometimes one year seems long, and other time one year seems very short. It applies to many things. Sometimes one day seems long, or one day seems very short. One year is usually 365 days or 366 days, and one day is always 24 hours. But people's mind decide its actual length. Generally speaking if you feel happy or busy, you think time flies. But if you are unhappy or there are nothing to do, it may pass very slowly.

What year are you going to spend?

Today Mr. Takeshi Matsuda (松田 丈志) got a silver medal for 200 meters butterfly at 1.54.01 at the World Championship Swimming in Shanghai.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7月26日(shichigatsu nijyuroku nichi): July 26

I have just watched the sports news and known that Mr. Ryosuke Irie (入江陵介) got the bronze medal for men's 100 meters backstroke at the World Championship in Shanghai. Time was 52.98. This is the first medal for Japanese at this meeting. Congratulations!

Backstroke in Japanese is either haiei (背泳) or seoyogi (背泳ぎ).

Monday, July 25, 2011

7月25日(shichigatsu nijyugo nichi): July 25

I went to the annual complete medical checkup today. In Japanese it is ningen dokku (人間ドック). Ningen is human being. Dokku is dock. So human body is examined like the ship is done at the dock.
It includes height, weight, sight, hearing, blood test, blood pressure, internal disease check with ultrasound, X-ray, stomach check with barium, breathing capacity, electrocardiogram, and interview with doctor. As options, there were breast cancer check with mammography and ultrasound, uterine cancer check, bone density check and so on.
It is nice to have the health check once a year at the same institution because we can compare the results with the one of last year.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

7月24日(shichigatsu nijyuyokka): July 24

Today is a big milestone for the 58 years TV world history in Japan. Analog broadcasting ended except Iwate (岩手), Miyagi (宮城), and Fukushima (福島) where had a big damage of the Earthquake at noon and completely switched to the digital broadcasting.

Today was the last day for the summer grand sumo tournament. Yesterday Haruma Fuji (日馬富士) became a champion without waiting for the last day. It's been a year since he became a champion last. Congratulations! Though he could not have a complete victory unfortunately.

There are many earthquakes here and there today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

7月23日(shichigatsu nijyusan nichi): July 23

Today is taisho (大暑), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shosho (小暑) on July 7 and the next one is risshu (立秋) on August 8.
Taisho literally means big heat, but it was not so hot today.

July 23 is known as fumi no hi (ふみの日), day of letter of month of letter. I like to receive letters, and I used to write letters, but these days I seldom write letters because of the convenience of emails.
How about you?

Friday, July 22, 2011

7月22日(shichigatsu nijyuni nichi): July 22

It was rather cool today.

After work I went to see a movie "127 Hours." I heard the ending is very painful. And it sure was. This is the true story happened in April 2003. The movie was made based on the book "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Aron Lee Ralston, the mountain climber.
I think he is really brave. It was a miracle to be saved from the place nobody thought of.
It tells if you do not give up, you can make it. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7月21日(shichigatsu nijyuichi nichi): July 21

It was rather cool today. The typhoon did not come.

I took a half day off to attend the Return Reporting Session of th 8th Coordinators of JOI (Japan Outreach Initiative)Program at the Japan Foundation in Tokyo.
I am a 5th year coordinator from 2006 to 2008. Before they left Japan, I attended their orientation. Therefore I was interested in knowing what they have experienced for 2 years.
"Each site is different." This is what we have often told before we started the program. But everyone seemed to have a good experience. Congratulations!

Today is doyo no ushi no hi (土用の丑の日), the ox day of dog days. We are supposed to eat unagi (うなぎ), eel. I ate it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7月20日(shichigatsu hatsuka): July 20

The big typhoon No. 6 is still nearing. It moves very slow. Now it is still calm, but it seems going to rain heavily tonight.

I happened to see my American ex-boss who sent me to Florida in 2006 to 2008. She came from the USA this Monday. We were going to meet tomorrow. But at the Shinjuku station I happened to find her. It was a nice surprise. I really appreciate that I was sent to Florida. People were nice, housing was nice, job was rewarding, weather was nice, etc... Commuting was just 5 minutes to 20 minutes at the longest, now it takes 5 hours... I feel I was in heaven. I miss Florida life!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7月19日(shichigatsu jyuku nichi): July 19

The biggest typhoon No. 6 is nearing. They say it is going to rain heavily from tonight. Many flights have been already canceled for tomorrow.

Ozeki Kaio (大関魁皇) who recently made a big record decided to retire today after the match. He has been a sumo wrestler for 23 years. Otsukare sama deshita (お疲れ様でした), we appreciate your hard work.

Nadeshiko Japan ladies came back to Japan. Their victory really encouraged many people. Thank you for your nice play!

Monday, July 18, 2011

7月18日(shichigatsu jyuhachi nichi): July 18

Today is a national holiday called umi no hi (海の日), Marine day which was established in 1995 and enforced from 1996. At first it was on July 20 but since 2003 it has become the third Monday of July.

Today's biggest news was the victory of Nadeshiko (なでしこ) Japan of Women's World Cup Soccer in Germany. They have become the No.1 of the world. Congratulations!!!!!
In Japan there were so many bad things happened such as earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear power plant issue. This victory brought the spirit of never-give-up to the people in Tohoku area and encouraged them very much. Players also mentioned that they got the encouragement from people in Tohoku area. This is the best news of today.

We asked the gardeners to come to trim the trees and cut grasses. Two of them came around 7:10 in the morning and worked till 2:40 PM or so.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

7月17日(shichigatsu jyushichi nichi): July 17

The second day of three-day weekend. I went grocery shopping. The road was so crowded.
It was a very hot summer day. The highest temperature of today seemed to go up 38.7 degrees centigrade in some places. If it goes up to more than 35 degrees centigrade, it is called moushobi(猛暑日), heat wave day.

What I like in summer is the fireworks festival. This year because of the Great Earthquakes many fireworks festival were canceled. However tonight I heard the sound of fireworks and went up to the 2nd floor. Form the porch I could see beautiful fireworks. I felt very lucky to live here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

7月16日(shichigatsu jyuroku nichi): July 16

The first day of three day weekend.
I went to the banks. Interesting to say, some banks needs handling charge when we use on weekend, and others don't.

I used this PC after 2 weeks or so. And the display was differnt somehow, and I tried to fix it, but I could not for a few hours. But the reason was very simple. And it was so irritating while I could not use the one I used to.

Friday, July 15, 2011

7月15日(shichigatsu jyugo nichi): July 15

I went to see a movie "Super 8." I did not understand the title at all at first, but after the movie, there appeared a short movie taken in the movie and I understood.

This is the 3-day weekend because of a national holiday on Monday. I hope to see some more movies if possible.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

7月14日(shichigatsu jyuyokka): July 14

Another new record was made in the Sumo world. Ozeki Kaio (大関魁皇) who will be 39 years old soon has won 1046 times which is the most in history and broke the former record of 1045 victory of Chiyonofuji (千代の富士) who retired in May 1991.

There was the announcement of the Naoki (直木) Award which is selected twice a year with the Akutagawa (芥川) Award which no one was selected this time. They are most prestigious literally awards in Japan. Mr. Ikeido Jun (池井戸 潤), 48 years old will receive it by "Shitamachi roketto (下町ロケット): Downtown Rocket."


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7月13日(shichigatsu jyusan nichi): July 13

New records were made in the Sumo (相撲) world, and women's world cup soccer. But they are still on the way to go to the new goal. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7月12日(shichigatsu jyuni nichi): July 12

I went to the travel agency to check the flight tickets for my summer vacation. It seems the custom made tour is cheaper than making private tour. Flight tickets cost less than yen 100,000 but if the surcharge and tax are added it becomes about 1.5 times.
Today the exchange rate became about yen 79 for $1 which is higher than last week.
But I felt the flight tickets were still expensive.
They say from August the surcharge will increase again....

Monday, July 11, 2011

7月11日(shichigatsu jyuichi nichi): July 11

It's been 4 months since the Great Earthquake happened. They say there are about 99,000 people still living in the temporary housings so-called kasetsu jutaku (仮設住宅).
There are still many people missing. There are still many places to be recovered.....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

7月10日(shichigatsu toka): July 10

It was fine and very hot today.

Around 10 in the morning there were rather big earthquakes again.

The grand sumo tournament has begun after two tournaments. It is called shichigatsu basho (七月場所) or Nagoya basho (名古屋場所). Basho means place. Shichigatsu means July. Nagoya is a name of place. Nagoya is the third biggest cities in Japan after Yokohama (横浜) and Osaka (大阪).
I have lived there for 7 months in 2005 when there was Expo 2005.

7月9日(shichigatsu kokonoka): July 9

It was very hot. They say the rainy season in Kanto (関東) area is over. It was 12 days earlier than last year.
To enter the rainy season is tsuyuiri (梅雨入り) and to finish it is tsuyuake (梅雨明け). Tsuyu is rainy season.

I went grocery shopping. I visited the newly opened store which sells the fresh vegetables produced in the area thought I did not buy there.

I cooked dinner after a while.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

7月8日(shichigatsu yoka): July 8

Today was the last day for one of colleagues. Some of us went to have lunch together.
We ate udon (うどん), white noodle. There were many different kinds of udon. Usually I like to have cold one in summer, but I chose the hot one with iron pot. There were many vegetables and meat in it, and it was delicious.
This kind of udon dish is called nabeyakiudon (鍋焼きうどん), and we usually eat in winter.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

7月7日(shichigatsu nanoka): July 7

July 7 is known as tanabata (七夕), Star Festival. It literally means seventh evening. It is a day for Hikoboshi (彦星), Altair and Orihime (織り姫), Vega to meet between Amanogawa (天の川), Milky Way once a year.
We decorate the bamboo tree with tanzaku (短冊), oblong card by writing the wishes. This year many people wrote the wishes for early recovery of the Tohoku (東北) area.

Today is shosho (小暑), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was geshi (夏至) on June 22 and the next one is taisho (大暑) on July 23. Shosho literally means small heat.

It was slightly raining in the morning and cloudy later, therefore we could not see the stars and it was not so hot.

7月5日(shichigatsu itsuka): July 5

I came back to Kansai (関西) area from the Fukuoka (福岡) Airport. There is an airport in Saga (佐賀), but there are only 4 flights each between Saga and Tokyo (東京). And there is no flight between Saga and Osaka (大阪).

There was a farewell dinner at the Kyoto (京都) University. I had a chance to see Indonesian dances which was really nice.

7月4日(shichigatsu yokka): July 4

July 4. What did you do? From 2006 to 2008 I was in the USA. At night I used to see fireworks.

This year I am in Saga (佐賀). At lunch time I went to the restaurant at the same building of the prefectural office. There was demonstration against the nuclear power plant.

What do you think about the nuclear power plant? It is a big issue in Japan now.

7月3日(shichigatsu mikka): July 3

There was a party at lunch time. About 100 people must have come. The venue was a very nice wedding ceremony hall. Foods looked nice but I could not eat because I had to take many pictures. There were many performances which were very attractive.

In the afternoon I went to the Saga (佐賀) Castle History Museum. Entrance fee is free there. There are not tall buildings left, but it is worth visiting.

7月2日(shichigatsu futsuka): July 2

It slightly rained.

I took a local train to visit two families. The station was unmanned (mujineki: 無人駅). There was nobody at the station nor taxi, no convenience store around. I was at a loss and called to get a help. What a relief to have a cellphone! Luckily the house was within the walking distance from the station.
There were three girls at the first family, and there were three boys at the second family.
It seemed there were hot springs nearby at the station of my return, but I did not have enough time to enjoy it. Maybe next time.

7月1日(shichigatsu tsuitachi): July 1

A new month has begun. July is shichigatsu (七月) in Japanese. The old name is fuzuki or fumizuki(文月). In Kanji character it means letter month.
July 1 is known as the opening of Mt. Fuji (富士), yamabiraki (山開き), literally mountain opening.
I have climbed the Mt. Fuji once when I was a senior at the university. It was cold there because the height is 3,776 meters high.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7月6日(shichigatsu muika): July 6

I came home after 10 days business trip.

On my way back from Osaka (大阪), I flew from the Kansai (関西) International Airport where I have not been for a long time.

Then I went to the massage after arriving at Haneda (羽田) Airport. It's been about a month since I went there last. I felt good.

Friday, July 1, 2011

6月30日(rokugatsu sanjyu nichi): June 30

I moved from Osaka to Kyushu (九州).
The weather was not so good, and we had a thunderstorm in the afternoon.

I went to many places such as Dazaifu Tenmangu (太宰府天満宮), Kyushu National Museum, and Yoshinogari Historical Park. There I made a comma-shaped bead called magatama (勾玉) from a rectangular stone. It took about one hour to make it. First draw the line on the stone, then scrub against the block and sharpen. Then dipped into water and polished with sandpaper. Lastly thread the cord into the hole.
It was very cheap, but it is the only necklace in the world. So I like it very much.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

6月29日(rokugatsu nijyuku nichi): June 29

It was very hot from early morning.

At night I went to the restaurant near the Osaka castle and cooked takoyaki (たこ焼き) , octopus fritters for the first time. Takoyaki is a very popular fast food. It is a round dumpling of flour and octopus. So tasty. They are often sold at stands at festivals.
I hope you have a chance to taste it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6月28日(rokugatsu nijyuhachi nichi): June 28

It was fine and very hot in Osaka (大阪).

They say June 28 is anniversary of trade. It was established in 1963 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
On June 28, 1859 the Edo shogunate decleared the authorization of the free trade with Russia, England, France, Holland, and the United States at Yokohama(横浜), Nagasaki(長崎), and Hakodate(函館).

Monday, June 27, 2011

6月27日(rokugatsu nijyushichi nichi ) : June 27

I was busy today.

After work I came to Osaka (大阪) by Shinkansen (新幹線). It was nearly 9 PM, but there were many people. I am glad to have a reserved seat (shiteiseki:指定席). I arrived at the hotel just before midnight.
It was a long day.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

6月26日(rokugatsu nijyuroku nichi): June 26

It was cloudy.

In the morning Father and I went to Yokosuka (横須賀) to get a pair of glasses we ordered 2 weeks ago.
In the afternoon the new TV sets arrived which we ordered 2 weeks ago.
Then we went grocery shopping.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

6月25日(rokugatsu nijyugo nichi): June 25

It was fine today.

The new washbowl was installed today. It's been more than 10 years since we changed the washbowl last time. I dropped a bottle on the sink and it was damaged in May. I ordered the washbowl through Internet, and it arrived about 2 weeks ago. The plumber has been busy and finally he came today. I am glad to have the new one.
I asked the carpenter to change the wall socket, then the washing machine started working. So I canceled the repair. I am glad to be able to use the washing machine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

6月24日(rokugatsu nijyuyokka): June 24

It was hot again.

There is something wrong with the washing machine, and it did not operate at all. So I called the service center. When we bought it, we extended the warranty period up to 5 years, but it's been 5 years and a half since we bought it, therefore we have to pay for the repair.
They said the earliest possibility is tomorrow. What a relief!
Since we are used to the convenience in many points, we cannot go back to the days without washing machine or micro wave.
Hope it will be fixed tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6月23日(rokugatsu nijyusan nichi): June 23

It was hot today too.

These days I have watched Wimbledon Tennis Games on TV which broadcast midnight. Yesterday Ms. Kimiko Date-Krumm (クルム伊達公子 40) played a game against Ms. Venus Williams (31) who had been a champion for 5 times at Wimbledon. Though she lost after all, I think she had a really good game.
Tonight Ms. Misaki Doi (土井美咲 20) won the game. Congratulations!