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.