Monday, February 28, 2011

2月28日(nigatsu nijyu shichi nichi): February 28

The last day of February. It was very cold. In the daytime it snowed in Tokyo again.
There was the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony. The King's Speech got the Oscar. I hope to see it next month.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2月27日(nigagtsu nijyushichi nichi): February 27

There was the 5th Tokyo Marathon 2011 today. They say 33,353 people attended the full marathon race and 32,416 participants (97.2%) completed the distance of 42.195km.
The first male runner took 2 hours 7 minutes and 35 seconds and got 8 million yen for the prize. The first female runner took 2 hours 27 minutes 29 seconds.
About 330,000 people applied and 1 in 9.5 got the ticket to join. There were chances for those who donate the money as the charity. 706 people joined in this way and yen 71,760,000 gathered. About 1 million yen will be sent to New Zealand where had a big earthquake last week.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2月26日(nigatsu nijyuroku nichi): February 26

It is 100th birth anniversary of Taro Okamoto (岡本太郎:1911-1996). He is a famous artist from Kanagawa(神奈川). His father is Ippei Okamoto (岡本一平), a cartoonist. His mother is Kanoko Okamoto (岡本かの子), a novelist. He has lived in Paris for 10 years when he was young. He made a symbol of the Osaka Expo '70. It is called taiyo no to (太陽の塔), the Tower of Sun.
It is 55th birthday of Keisuke Kuwata (桑田佳祐) of Southern All Stars. He is a famous musician from Chigasaki(茅ヶ崎),Kanagawa. He became a cancer of the esophagus last year and stopped his activity for a year and came back on New Year's Eve.
There were two NHK TV programs tonight. One is a documentary film of Keisuke Kuwata. The other was a drama series of Taro Okamoto.
Happy Birthdays!

Friday, February 25, 2011

2月25日(nigatsu nijyugo nichi): February 25

It was very warm and haruichiban (春一番), the first strong wind blew. Last year it blew on the same day. It is the first strong southern wind blown between risshun (立春), the first spring day and shunbun (春分), vernal equinox day. The instant maximum wind speed of today was 13.6 meters in Tokyo (東京) and 18.3 meters in Yokohama (横浜)until 11 AM. It went up to nearly 20 degrees centigrade.
But it seems going to be very cold again tomorrow.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2月24日(nigatu nijyuyokka): February 24

It rained but not so much. There is a phrase that after each rain, it is getting warmer. Actually at night it was 12 degrees centigrade, but I felt warmer than before.
At lunch time I went out. On the way there is a shrine. And there were white and red plum trees. They were about 40% in bloom. I am looking forward to see them in full bloom soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2月23日(nigatsu nijyusan nichi): February 23

They say February 23 is the day of Mt. Fuji because 2.23 is read as fu (2)ji (2) san (3). Fujisan (富士山) is Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, and its height is 3776 meters high. It is in the middle of two prefecures, Shizuoka (静岡) and Yamanashi (山梨).
The shape is very beautiful. And the Fuji mountain climbing is very popular in summer.
I went up to the summit once. Some people climb up there some or many times.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2月22日(nigatsu nijyuni nichi) : February 22

There was a farewell party tonight. Most of the participants were Vietnamese, so I decided to wear Vietnamese national costume called "Ao dai."
I like to wear national costumes. So when I went to Vietnam in June 2009, I bought one of them. I did not have enough time to make an order-made one, but I still like this.
When I went to Hong Kong, I made a China dress, when I went to Morocco, I bought a beautiful dress which was not so expensive. When I went to Mexico, I bought a white one-piece, but I have never worn it because it was too see-through. When I went to India, I bought a saree and wore some times, but now I can't wear it by myself. I need time to remember how to wear it.
Of course I like Japanese kimono. But to wear kimono, it takes time.....
Here attached tonight's picture.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2月21日(nigatsu nijyuichi nichi): February 21

Welcome to Japan!
A pair of giant pandas arrived at Narita Airport tonight by the airplane which was painted like a panda. The passengers of the plane were given ball point pens of the panda picture. And they were brought to the Ueno (上野) Zoo in Tokyo around 11:30PM. They will be shown to the public during March. It's been two years and 10 months since Ling-Ling died in April 2008 that the Ueno Zoo has pandas.
They are both 5 years old which is equivalent about 20 years old of the human age. The male panda is Bili (比力), and the female panda is Xiannu (仙女). Japanese names will be announced at the release in March.
The Metropolitan Government will pay $950,000 per year for the rental fee to protect wild animals in China.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2月20日(nigatsu hatsuka): February 20

It is the opening day of the 115th umematsuri (梅まつり), plum festival in Mito (水戸). Mito is very famous for the plum garden "Kairakuen(偕楽園)." The festival will last until the end of March. Now about 40 % of the plum trees are in bloom.

Japanese people like to rank best 3. The three most beautiful and famous gardens in Japan are Kairakuen in Mito, Kenrokuen (兼六園) in Kanazawa(金沢), and Korakuen (後楽園)in Okayama(岡山).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2月19日(nitatsu jyuku nichi ): Feruary 19

Today is usui (雨水), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), 24 solar terms. The last one was taikan (大寒) on January 20 and the next one is keichitsu (啓蟄) on March 6.
Usui (雨水) literally means rain water. It is the term when icy snow melts and becomes rain water.

2月18日(nigatsu jyuhachi nichi): February 18

There was an award ceremony of the Japan Academy Prize. Last year when I watched the movie Kokuhaku (告白), confession, I felt this movie will get an award someday for sure. And it became true. That movie got the best film prize and best director prize.
Last fall a Japanese actress Fukatsu Eri (深津絵里) got the best actress award at the Montreal Film Festival. Her movie Akunin (悪人), bad man got the best actor prize, best actress prize, best supporting actor prize, and best supporting actress prize.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2月17日(nigatsu jyushichi nichi): February 17

There was a big news of the Japanese astronaut Mr. Wakata Koichi (若田光一). He will be a commander of the 29th ISS Expedition which starts at the end of 2013 and lasts for about 6 months. He will be the first Japanese that will be a captain of the spaceship. To be an astronaut is hard, to be a commander is even harder. Congratulations!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2月16日(nigatsu jyuroku nichi): February 16

It was a very fine day.
I have been staying at a hotel in Daiba(台場), Tokyo (東京)since yesterday. I have stayed here last December for a few days too.
I like this hotel because ①the view of 360 degrees is wonderful, ②amenity goods are very good including cosmetics, bath powder, washing towel, and so on ③very close from the train station ④both Japanese and western breakfast are very delicious ⑤internet service is free of charge, and so on.
What are your criteria when you choose the hotel?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2月15日(nigatsu jyugo nichi): February 15

It snowed last night, but it became fine today. There were still some snow left at the sides of the roads. Even at night there are still some snow left. Since we are not used to the snow life, some people fell down and broke their bones and they were taken to the hospital.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2月14日(nigatsu jyuyokka): February 14

Happy St. Valentine's Day! How do you celebrate this special day in your country?
In Japan it is a day for girls and women to give chocolate to the boys and men they like unlike in the US where both sides send flowers, chocolate, cards and so on each other.
In return boys and men give sweets such as candy to girls and women they like one month later on March 14. This is called White Day.
Today it snowed and piled! It's been 3 years since it snowed and piled more than 2 cm in Tokyo.

2月13日(nigatsu jyusan nichi): February 13

It was fine today.
There was a surprising news today. I have never been to the horse races, so I do not know how to buy the ticket. But today the highest ever distribution was allotted in the 4th race in Kokura (小倉), Kyushu (九州). It is to guess the order of first, second, and the third horses in the exact order. There were 3,360 possiblities. Two tickets were hit. According to JRA (Japan Racing Association), yen 100 became yen 19,507,010. The highest ever was yen 18,469,120 happened in 2005 race.
We say this situation ikkaku senkin (一攫千金), making a fortune at stroke.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2月12日(nigatsu jyuni nichi): February 12

Second day of a three-day weekend. Weather was not fine. Still cold.
But it is warmer here than other places and kawazu zakura(河津桜), bright pink cherry blossoms are in bloom. There is a kawazu zakura festival from Feb. 5 to March 5 around here.
Besides this, usually it is a time of ume matsuri(梅まつり), the plum tree festival.
It is nice to see beautiful flowers anytime.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2月11日(nigatsu jyuichi nichi): February 11

February 11 is a national holiday caled kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日), the National Foundation Day.
It was sleeting, snowing, and raining again and very cold.
I went to see three movies. The first one was Social Network. It is a story of the founder of Facebook. I also use the Facebook. So it was interesting to know how it started. In today's paper they say in China the movie is not released but the Facebook itself is used by 700,000 people. In December it has only about 100,000 users.
The second one is a Japanese movie, boku to tsuma no 1778 no monogatari (僕と妻の1778の物語), 1778 stories between me and my wife. It is a story of a SF writer whose wife got cancer and he decided to write an interesting story for her every day to improve her immunity system against cancer by laughing. At first the doctor said he was not sure if she could live more than one year, but she lived 5 years longer after all. It was a true story and very moving one.
The third one is Wall Street. It is a story of a sales person of the brokerage firm and his fiance and her father. The figure of money is too much and I felt it is a story of the different world. I went to see with friends for their birthday presents. I am glad to know that they liked it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2月10日(nigatsu toka): February 10

I went to see a Japanese movie "Gene Waltz (ジーン・ワルツ)." It is a story of obstertricians and four expectant mothers. It dealt with medical malpractice, childbearing in an advanced age, sterile treatment, abortion, unmarried mother, substitution delivery, shortage of obstertricians, womb disease, and so on.
There are many people who want to have their own babies by all means, while there are some people who do not want to have them.
One phrase which was very impressive during the movie was said by the lung cancer obstertrician "There is nothing more important than the childbirth."
This became my first movie this year.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2月9日(nigatsu kokonoka): February 9

It was raining when I got up. It's been a long time since the last time it rained. In Tokyo it was sleeting and became snow. But it did not pile. In the afternoon it was fine as the weather forecast said.
Sleet is mizore (霙) in Japanese. Snow is yuki (雪) in Japanese. Rain is ame (雨) in Japanese. Something falling from the sky has rain in the kanji character, which is called amekanmuri (雨冠), literally rain crown.
It was a cold day.

2月8日(nigatsu yoka): February 8

February 8 is known as harikuyo (針供養), the memorial service for broken needles. It is the day to wish for the improvement of sewing skill by thanking for the broken or rusted needles. They are usually put into either tofu (豆腐), bean curd or konnyaku (こんにゃく), devil's tongue and offered to the shrines. Depends on the place, the service is held on December 8.
Do you have such a service?

Monday, February 7, 2011

2月7日(nigatsu nanoka): February 7

Hopporyodo no hi (北方領土の日), the day of the Northern Territory. It is the day to deepen the nation's understanding and interest of the dispute and promote the movement for the return of the Northern Terrytory. The day was established in memory of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia concluded on February 7, 1855.
There are four islands where there is a dispute between Russia and Japan. They are Etorofu to (択捉島), Kunashiri to (国後島), Shikotan to(色丹島) and Habamai gunto (歯舞群島). They are Japanese territories, but since the end of World War II, they have been under control of Russia. There are many native Japanese people that lived there before but were ejected and are not able to return.
I hope this problem will be fixed soon.

Talking of Northern Area, Sapporo  Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり:Sapporo yuki matsuri) started today. It will last until February 13. About 2 million visitors are expected to visit there.
I wish I could visit there someday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2月6日(nigatsu muika): February 6

The first Sunday of February. There were two big news in Japan. One of them is the triple elections in Aichi (愛知) prefecture. They are for the governor, for the mayor of Nagoya (名古屋) City, and the referendum for Nagoya City Assembly. The ex-mayor of Nagoya city, Mr. Takashi Kawamura (河村たかし), 62 years old had a landslide victory. Accordingly the assembly will be dissolved and the members will be elected next month to make a new start. Nagoya is the fourth biggest city in Japan. Therefore this will influence on many cities. As for the governor Mr. Hideaki Omura (大村秀章), 50 years old whom Mr. Kawamura supported won. Congratulations!
The other was the cancellation of the grand sumo tournament in Osaka (大阪) in March because of the scandal of fixed matches. It's been 65 years since the cancellation of the grand sumo tournament happened last time. But at that time the reason was different. The playing field was still under repair.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2月5日(nigatsu itsuka): February 5

There was a rather big earthquake around 11 am. Earthquake in Japanese is jishin (地震). Ji (地) means earth, shin (震) means to tremble.
At night I had a congratulatory party for the person who established her company in December last year. It was held in the party room of the hotel in Sakuragicho(桜木町) , Yokohama (横浜). The night view there was gorgeous.

Friday, February 4, 2011

2月4日(ngatsu yokka): February 4

Today is risshun (立春), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季) the 24 solar terms. Last one was taikan (大寒) or daikan (大寒) on January 20 and the next one is usui (雨水) on February 19.
Risshun literally means stand spring, it is the first day of spring. It is still cold but today it was warmer than before.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2月3日(nigatsu mikka): February 3

Today is setsubun (節分), the day before the beginning of spring. It is the day we scatter parched beans to drive out bad luck by saying oni wa soto fuku wa uchi (鬼は外福は内), literally means devils out fortunes in. After that we eat the same number of the beans as your age wishing the year's good health.
In the night we eat ehomaki (恵方巻), a good luck direction sushi roll. First we face the good luck direction of the year which is south-south-east this year. Second eat the whole big roll without saying anything.
When I went out for lunch, the restaurant owner gave us some beans for a tip. That was very kind of him.
At night I ate ehomaki and beans.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2月2日(nigatsu futsuka): February 2

There were two train related accidents tonight and trains were stopped for a long time. In the morning if something happens and trains delayed, the train company issues the certificate of the delay so-called chien shomeisho (遅延証明書). If you present this certificate, your company may take a consideration.
In the evening, I have never seen they issue such a certificate. But they issue a transportation ticket called furikae yuso (振替輸送). If there are any alternatives, you can use those ways without paying anything. I got that one and took a different route on my way back.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2月1日(nigatsu tsuitachi): February 1

A new month has just started. February is nigatsu (二月) in Japanese. The old name is kisaragi (如月).
It is a season for the entrance examination for high schools and universities.