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.