Monday, December 31, 2012

2012.12.30

Last Sunday of this year.   It's been raining and very cold today. 
There are many things to be done but only I did was to finish writing New Year's Cards (年賀状:nengajo).  I have already sent about 200 of them on Dec. 25, and one of them was returned today as unknown address.  I checked the last years' new year's card and knew it was slightly changed and I put it in the envelop to mail it again. 
I usually make two or three different versions for New Year's cards. One is for almost everybody and I write about  my story of the past year and resolutions for the next year.  The other is for colleagues who know my daily life regarding working and I write the appreciation for the past year and ask for the same to the coming year. Since I see them until the very end of the year and the first of the new year, I tend to write them last.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012.12.29

The first day of 6 days year-end and New Year holidays ( 年末年始: nenmatsu nenshi).  How long do you have?  What will you do? This time if you take one additional day off on Jan. 4, you will have 9 days off in Japan so that many people started traveling.  However I cannot do so because I have a new program starting from January 7 and January 4 is the only new year day I can prepare for the program at the office.
Today we installed the new high tech toilet.  There was something wrong with that for 3 weeks or so and the seat could not be warmed up, therefore we decided to buy the new one and the construction was done today.  I am glad to have it.  Japanese high tech toilet is really nice.  I recommend you to use it someday.
After lunch I cleaned the front garden after a long interval to welcome the new year.  Then Father and I went grocery shopping.  We bought many goods for new years such as some seasonal dishes called osechiryori (お節料理), decoration (注連飾り:shimekazari) for the front door, rice cake decoration called kagamimochi (鏡餅), rice cakes, and flowers. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012.12.28

It was a cold day.  It was fine in the morning, but it is raining now.
I was going to leave earlier after work, but unexpected change regarding next program happened and I had to wait for the next information.  It took 2 hours but after all the data we needed did not come.    Today was the last working day of the year which is called shigoto osame (仕事納め), so  I wanted to finish what I could do  but we need to wait until next year of shigoto hajime (仕事始め) on January 4.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012.12.27

It was another cold day.
In the morning I had a slight fever, but since I had important meetings, I could not take a day off.
At lunch my colleagues and I went to a Japanese restaurant where I went to the day before yesterday to have farewell lunch. 
Tomorrow is the last working day of this year, but many people have already started to have a vacation.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012.12.26

It was a very cold windy day.
I went to check the hotel and restaurants where we will use in January with my colleague. 
After that we went to the restaurant where I have been interested in for a long time because there is always a long line waiting when I passed there.  It was a small restaurant of porridge.  I understand the reason why people like there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012.12.25

Merry Christmas!
How did you spend Christmas this year?
In Japan it is not a holiday and I went to work as usual.  At lunch time I had lunch with 10 colleagues at a Japanese restaurant.  Two of them will leave the office at the end of this year, therefore it was a farewell lunch for them .  It is very difficult to make a reservation for the lunch time.  So we went to the one we often use for lunch party.  Everyone ordered what they wanted to eat, and I ordered butashabu (豚しゃぶ) , hot pot pork dish.  Buta is pork, and shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) is a name of popular winter pot dish.
I was an organizer and invited them as "Christmas lunch" so I presented the attendance candy cane candies which I got as my Christmas presents from American best friend.  They enjoyed that special small treatment for Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012.12.24

Merry Christmas!!
It was a cold day.  It was a transferred holiday (振替休日:furikae kyujitsu) today. 
I had lunch with 3 friends from high school tennis club.  It's been a long time since four of us got together.  We enjoyed chatting and eating delicious crab (カニ:kani) lunch.  Although I have totally forgotten, three of us traveled to Hokkaido to eat crab long time ago.  At first four of us were supposed to go there together, but one of them had to cancel. After that we went to have dessert at the different restaurant and enjoyed Christmas cake.
After saying good bye, I went shopping.  It is a good time to shop because you can get lottery tickets per yen 5,000.  There was a long line to draw lottery.   The first prize was travel ticket of yen 100,000 or so.
Unfortunately I only got some pocket tissues.

2012.12.23

December 23 is a national holiday called Emperor's Birthday. He became 79 years old. Since it is Sunday, tomorrow we will be off too.
I went to once a week grocery shopping, and found an interesting cooking utensil and bought it.  It is to make rolled egg and I tried to make it.
In the evening my friends from high school and I had Christmas Dinner at French restaurant.  Three of them include of me were regular members, and two of them joined us for the first time,  one is a doctor and the other is a teacher of primary school.    We enjoyed having delicious dinner and chatting.
By the way in Japan doctors and teachers are addressed as sensei (先生.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012.12.22

It was a very cold rainy day.
The first day of the last three day weekend of this year.  Yesterday I made two reservations for business lunch next week.  Today I made two reservations for reunions of high school.  One is for classmates and the other for tennis club.   Every year I have Christmas dinner with my high school friends at French restaurant which my friend's sister and her husband run.   Usually four of us get together, but this year five will get together tomorrow.   I go there a few times in a year.  This is the fourth time this year.
On Monday four of us from the tennis club will have lunch at Japanese restaurant which specialized in crab dishes.   It's been a long time since all of us get together because one of them now lives in the USA.
I am looking forward to both reunions.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012.12.21

Today is toji (冬至), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was taisetsu (大雪) on December 7 and the next one will be shokan (小寒) on January 5. Toji means to reach winter.
On toji we eat pumpkin and take a bath with yuzu (柚子), kind of citrus not to catch a cold.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012.12.20

I took a half day off to go to medical check for the second time after 3 months.  The result was not bad.
It finished around 11:30 and I went to my favorite bakery restaurant.  It is very popular because they offer a variety of fresh bread and you can eat as much as you like.  There were many people waiting as usual.  I waited for 15 minutes or so.  I ordered the special course and enjoyed about 5 different  fresh bread and got even souvenirs because I had a coupon of JAF member.  I felt lucky.

2012.12.19


It was very cold today.
December is the season for year-end parties so called bonen-kai (忘年会) which literally means forget year party.
I had the one with co-workers. About 20 people got together. Since our directors were changed on Dec.1, it was also their welcoming party.
How many parties do you have this month?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012.12.18

The result of the election was published.  Mr. Taro Kono (河野太郎) from the 15th district of Kanagawa Prefecture got the most votes of 192,604 in the nation.  The number of eligible voters in that area is 456,520 which is the third in Kanagawa. This was the 6th victory straight for him.  The second was Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎) from the 11th district of Kanagawa Prefecture which is my district.  He got 184,360 votes.  Both of their fathers were also famous politicians.
Depends on the district the disparity in the number of voters per representation is quite big and some were elected by the small votes.  And it is the big issue in Japanese election system now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012.12.17

Finally I sent Christmas cards.  I hope they will be delivered in time.  I received two Christmas cards today.  One was with a present which I missed buying when I was in the USA last October.  It is very nice to get what I have wanted.  The other was from an ex-counter partner whose mailing address I lost when he moved.  I  am glad to have them both.
Yesterday there was a general election in Japan and so was there the one of the governor of Tokyo.  Mr. Naoki Inose (猪瀬直樹) who was the vice-governor under the Ishihara (石原) Government was elected as the next governor of Tokyo.  He got the most votes in history which is more than 4,300,000.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012.12.16

It was rather warm today.
In the morning I went to the community building to clean as a community service.
After coming home, Father and I went to vote for the general election at the primary school.  The voting time was from 7 AM to 8 PM, and they started to open the result.  It seems the change of government will occur for sure.   In our constituency, the 11th district of Kanagawa, Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎) is sure to be elected again.  He is the second son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎).

2012.12.15

It was a rainy day.  I started using a new umbrella.
I went to once a week shopping in the morning and to Kamakura to attend a lecture by my professor of the university in the afternoon.  It's been a long time since I met him.  I happened to see another professor whom I know but I haven't seen for a long time there.
Then I went to Yokohama to get massage after a long time in the evening.  I need to exercise.....

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012.12.14

After work I went to two temples tonight.  First one was for a wake (お通夜 : otsuya) of my friend's father who passed away last week suddenly. He ran a company therefore it was a rather big one. 
The other is Sengakuji (泉岳寺) where there is the Gishisai (義士祭), twice a year memorial service for the  Revenge of the Ako (赤穂)  47 warriors of 1702.  It's been already more than 310 years, but the story (忠臣蔵 : chushingura) is still popular among Japanese people, and there were so many people who came to visit the graves of 47 warriors (四十七士 : shijyushichishi). 
This was the second time for me to visit there, but it was the first time to come in the night.  It was worth visiting once in a life time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012.12.13

It was another cold beautiful day.  I do not like the coldness but there are something I like in winter.  The air is so clear that the landscape looks beautiful.  In the morning I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji.  And in the night we can see beautiful stars.  Especially today is the peak of the Geminids, a meteor shower. I could see some beautiful shooting stars.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012.12.12

It was very fine today.  Not only Mt. Fuji but also everything looked beautiful in the clear cold air in the morning.
Today is 12.12.12.  Special number day which happens once in 1000 years.
Every year we choose the kanji (漢字) of the year.  Kanji is Chinese character which has meaning.  This year's kanji is 金 (kin) which means gold.  The reasons are medals of London Olympic Games and the  accomplishment of a monumental achievement such as Dr. Shinya Nakayama's (山仲伸弥) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
金 is also read as kane (かね) which means money. Kin also means Friday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012.12.11

It was very fine today.  Not only Mt. Fuji but also everything looked beautiful in the clear air.
I took a day off to take my father to the hospital for once a month check up.  Unfortunately the doctor became sick and he could not see my father today.  Still we visited two other departments and it took long as usual.  After that we went shopping.  I am glad to buy the heater of kotatsu (こたつ) which was broken recently.
Today's big news was the award ceremony of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.  Dr. Shinya Yamanaka (山中 伸弥) received it at the age of 50.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012.12.10

It was fine but very cold today.  Mt. Fuji was covered with snow about 80 to 90 %.  In many places it snowed a lot.  In Nagano where we were last week, they say it snowed too.
After work I went shopping.  I bought Christmas cards at last.  I was looking for a present to my friend but I found something beautiful and bought them for myself too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012.12.9

It was another cold windy day.  We could not see the TV because of the strong wind for a while.   Since I tend to turn on TV while doing something, I am glad that they are fixed.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012.12.8

My new year's cards (年賀はがき : nenga hagaki) were delivered today.  I need to think about the design and messages, and print and send them in two weeks or so to be delivered on New Year's Day.  These days many people stop writing new year's cards but tend to use e-greeting cards.  However I love receiving new year's cards (年賀状: nenga jo), so I will send them as long as I can.
But before that I have to buy Christmas cards and send them to foreign countries.
How about you?  Do you write Christmas cards and New Year's cards?

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012.11.30


The end of November. How fast time flies! There is only one month left.
I came to Nagano (長野) and stay for 5 days.
Hope it won't be so cold.

2012.12.7

Today is taisetsu (大雪), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was shosetsu (小雪) on November 22 and the next one is toji (冬至) on December 21.  Taisetsu literally means big snow. Shosetsu literally means small snow.
There were rather big earthquakes early this morning and evening and lasted long.  Trains delayed because of the earthquakes.



2012.12.5

From 6 in the morning till 9 in the night I worked today. I came back home after 5 days.
The great Kabuki (歌舞伎) actor Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII (十八代目中村勘三郎:jyuhachidaime nakamura kanzaburo) , 57 years old, passed away.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012.12.6

I took a compensated holiday. It was a fine but strong windy day. I slept long after busy days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012.12.4

It was raining in the morning. But we were lucky enough not to use the umbrella.
We came back to Tokyo. After getting on the bus, it started raining again. So we were lucky again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012.12.3

It was very fine.
I went to Zenkoji (善光寺) temple this morning. This is the fifth time for me to visit there this fall. When I arrived there, the Buddhist monks came out from the main temple. It seems there was a special prayer meeting. The visitors were cowering in line to see them off. The Bishop touched their heads by beads.
It must be they will receive good luck or protection from the Buddha.
I saw this for the first time.

2012.12.2

It was fine and I saw the beautiful mountain range of the North Alps covered with snow.
In the afternoon we visited the castle park and happened to see the film shooting which will be released next fall.
In the evening we had a big party and everyone enjoyed.
Now we moved to Nagano (長野).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2012.12.1

A new month has started. December is junigatsu (十二月), and its old name is shiwasu (師走).
It was cold and snowed today. They say this is the first snow in this area. The first snow is hatsu yuki (初雪).

Friday, November 30, 2012

2012.11.29

This year is an election year here and there in the world.  In the first half there were elections in Taiwan, Finland, Croatia, Yemen, Iran, Russia, Slovakia, Myanmar, France, Greece and Egypt.  In the latter half there were elections in Mexico, India, and China.  In November there was the presidential election in the USA. In December there will be the big ones in Korea and Japan. 
In Japan there will be the 46th general election of the members of the House of the Representatives and the 22nd national judgement for the judges of the Supreme Court on December 16.   The voting time is between 7 am and 8 pm.  Today I got the numbered ticket for the entering of the voting station.
Near my office I was surprised to see the poster of election campaign office for the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor.  Because it was so big compared to the regular poster and I was wondering what it was.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012.11.28

It was cold in the morning.
I was busy and overworked till 9:45 PM or so and came home nearly midnight.  Then ate dinner.  This is not good.
What time do you usually eat meals? I eat breakfast (朝食:choshoku) around 6:15, lunch (昼食:chushoku) between 12:30 to 13:30,  then dinner (夕食:yushoku) after 21:00 on weekdays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012.11.27

It was fine but very cold today. I saw a part of beautiful Mt. Fuji with snow from the hotel restaurant in Tokyo.
I went out for lunch at the Tahitian Noni Cafe in Shinjuku.  Do you know Green Smoothie?  It is very popular in Japan now especially among young ladies because it is good for your health and beauty.  It is a mixture of fruits and green leaves.
I have never tasted before but I did at lunch time for the first time.  It was not bad.

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012.11.26

I got up early enough but left home a little bit late and I was in a hurry. The doors of the train was going to close but the man who passed me hold the door for me and I could get on the regular train. I thanked him a lot.
From the morning till late I was busy today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012.11.25

The last day of the three day weekend.  I slept long to recover from the overworks last week.  In the afternoon Father and I went once a week grocery shopping and to the car shop to change the tires.

Today was the last day of the Grand Sumo Tournament of this year which was held in Kyushu (九州).  Yokozuna Hakuo (横綱 白鵬) became the champion after 4 tournaments.  This is the 6th times straight for him to be a champion there.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012.11.24

It is the second day of the three day weekend.  It rained in the morning, but cleared in the afternoon.

I delivered  a lecture about my JOI experience from 2006 to 2008 at the nearby Citizen Center this afternoon.  I knew about a third to half audience and I am glad to see them again after a long interval.  It's been 20 years since I met one of them last.
My publisher sent me a bouquet and another person also gave me a bouquet which are very beautiful.
I talked for more than 1 hour.  I am glad to have shared my precious experience in the USA.

There was an earthquake at 17:59 this evening.

I have just watched women's figure skating of NHK Trophy.  Both men and women the No. 1 & No. 2 were Japanese, and No. 3 were American.  Congratulations!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2012.11.23

Today is a national holiday called kinro kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日), Labor Thanksgiving Day.  We do not practice anything special but we are glad it is a holiday.
In the United States the fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day or Turkey Day.  In Canada the second Monday of October is Thanksgiving Day.
I only know the food in the USA.  They are turkey with gravy sauce & cranberry sauce, mashed potato, pumpkin pie and so on.  Since it is a big dinner, next few days turkey sandwiches or salad are served for lunch.
Next day is called Black Friday, and it is the time for shopping.

2012.11.22

It was fine but very cold today.
Today is shosetsu (小雪), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季),the 24 solar terms.  The last one was ritto (立冬) on November7, and the next one is taisetsu (大雪) on December 7. 
Shosetsu (小雪) literally mearns small snow and taisetsu (大雪) literally means big snow.  Shosetsu is the time when it is cold and snows a little bit.
I went out with 15 colleagues to have a farewell lunch for the director of our department.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012.11.21

It was fine but cold today.
I got a call from my friend from primary school and junior high school at lunch time.  We have not seen each other for so many years.  So it was a kind of surprise but I am glad to get it.  I heard the news of other friends and teachers.  We talked we should have a reunion. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012.11.20

Do you now the twelve zodiac signs? 
They are ne (子:Rat), ushi (丑:Ox), tora (寅:Tiger), u (卯:Rabbit), tatsu (龍:Dragon), me (巳:Snake), uma (午:Horse), hitsuji (羊:Goat), saru (申:Monkey), tori (酉:Rooster), inu (戌:Dog), i (亥:Wild boar). 
For example this year is the year of Dragon, and next year is year of Snake.  Every day is also the day of those twelve animals.
Today is the day of rooster, and this is the second rooster day of November which is called ni no tori (二の酉).  First rooster day was ichi no tori (一の酉) on November 8.  On these days there are festivals for business prosperity. 
I wish to see it tonight, but I had to overwork and could not.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012.11.19

It is very cold today.  Yesterday in the Tokyo area kogarashi (木枯らし: cold winter wind)  No. 1 blew.  Some colleagues said they started wearing the winter overcoat from today.  Outside it is cold, but inside it is warm, so it's difficult to think what to wear. Layering is useful.

2012.11.18

There is a saying 早起きは三文の得(hayaoki wa sanmon no toku), "The early bird catches the worm."
Are you an early bird or a night owl?   I am the latter.  So I usually sleep till late on weekends.  However today I had many things to do and got up earlier than usual weekend. 
First I cooked lunch for my father.  Second I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (東京都美術館:tokyo to bijutsukan) in Ueno (上野) to see the exhibition in which one of my friend's picture is exhibited.  Then I walked around the nearby shrines and temples.  Third I went to Ginza (銀座) to watch the 3D movie "Cirque du Soleil."  I have seen some 3D movies before, and at those times we borrowed the glasses.  However this time they charged the glasses and we can have them after the movie.  So from next time I only have to pay for the movie, not for glasses any more. Fourth I went to the Japan Foundation to attend the explanation meeting for JOI program.  I am glad to see many people who are interested in the program there. Fifth I went to once a week grocery shopping after coming back.
I had a rather busy weekend.  How about you?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012.11.17

It was cloudy in the morning but started raining around noon.
I had breakfast at the restaurant of the hotel on the 16th floor.  The mountains were very beautiful with red and yellow leaves from there.  There are some local specialities such as nozawana (野沢菜: Japanese leaf vegetable) and himeringo (姫リンゴ: small apple).
After two meetings I have walked around the city.
Nagano is very famous for soba (そば:buckwheat) noodle and I visited the restaurant recommended by someone but unfortunately it was closed when I visited there.  Instead I bought oyaki (おやき: Japanese dumpling) which is also local food there and ate it on the Shinkansen (新幹線) back to Tokyo.
I like to eat special products whenever I travel somewhere.
How about you?

2012.11.16


It was very fine and I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning.
I had a meeting in the morning and met 5 new people and 2 people whom I have known for more than 3 years and a half. We had lunch together at a Japanese restaurant and enjoyed chatting and eating.
Then I came to Chikuma (千曲) in Nagano (長野) prefecture to have another meeting. It has been 7 months since I came here last. I met 2 new people and 8 people whom I have already known. It is very nice to be back where is familiar.
Now I am in Nagano city where I came twice last month.
It is cooler here. So when I got on the local train, I needed to open the door to keep inside warm.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012.11.15

November 15 is known as Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) which is a traditional Japanese festival to celebrate children's healthy growth.  Boys for 3 years and 5 years and girls for 3 years and 7 years.  They are usually dressed up with Japanese traditional costume such as hakama (袴) and kimono (着物) and visit the shrine or temple to wish their good health and happiness.  The special sweets on this day is called chitose-ame (千歳飴), literally thousand years candy which is a very long and thin red and white candy in the bag decorated with crane and turtle which are symbols of longevity.  There is a saying tsuru wa sen nen, kame wa man nen (鶴は千年、亀は万年) which means "Cranes live for 1000 years, and turtles live for 10,000 years."
Since this is not a holiday, people tend to practice this celebration near the weekend of November 15.

As the third Thursday, November 15 this year was the opening the "Beaujolais Nouveau."  Do you like wine?  Have you tasted already?  I have not yet.  Maybe near future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012.11.14

I went out for lunch with colleagues.  It was a farewell lunch for our ex-boss who will move to other position in other organization next week.  We went to a sushi restaurant.  It was almost empty when we got there and we could get the table soon, but after a few minutes, it became so crowded, and we felt lucky.

2012.11.13

I took a day off to take my father to the hospital for once a month checkup.  We visited three departments.  At the ophthalomogy (眼科: ganka) the appointment was 11:00 AM, but we needed to wait for a long time. 
When we went to eat lunch it was almost 2 PM.  Next appointment was at 3 PM and 3:30 PM.
They finished earlier than expected.  At the hospital I met two of my old students and a neighbor.
The weather was unstable, cloudy and fine, and now it is very windy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012.11.12

These days email has been more popular than letters or cards, so we tend to use emails for business and private.  It is easy and fast.  But I like to receive letters and cards and see the stamps.  Today I received a card letter.  That is it was written in the blank postcard but delivered in the envelop.  It was a thank you card for my book which I sent to my university library early this month.  The librarian wrote me and said "Though you wrote "How do you do?" but it was not for the first time for us because I have known you since you were a senior when I worked at the Department of School Affairs."  It's been a long time since I graduated from the university, so I was very surprised but very glad. 
Today I wrote two letters, one was for business and wrote by MS word, and the other was for private by hand. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012.11.11

It is a cold rainy day.
I went to once a week grocery shopping with my father in the afternoon.  We are lucky because the road to the supermarket was jammed on our way back home, and when we got home it started raining.

2012.11.10

Today I went to see the Japanese traditional performing art called Nihon buyo (日本舞踊) in Tokyo.   The venue was very close to the famous shrine named Suitengu (水天宮) where I have never visited before. 
My friend who was a JOI coordinator in West Virginia when I was in Florida sent me an invitation ticket, so I decided to see her performance.  It started at 12:30, and her performance started around 13:50 or so and lasted for about 20 minutes or so.  The last performance finished around 19:30 or so.
Though she started Nihon buyo (Japanese dance)  practice four years and a half ago, I was so impressed by her performance.   She has changed the costumes for 5 or 6 times during this 20 minutes.  They say they weigh about 20 kg. 
It was the first time for me to see these performance.  There were many dancers.  After each performance some audience left the seat and went to see the performer.  So many audience come and leave after each performance.  I have never experienced such way, so that I was surprised at first.
There are many Japanese things that even we Japanese don't know. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012.11.9

It was my colleague's birthday today.   After work five of us went out for dinner to a French restaurant.  Since we reserved the table, we could sit the very nice place where is like a small private room. We ordered the course dinner, which we could choose hors d'oeuvre, main dish, and dessert as you like.  I chose crustacean  foods such as shellfish and lobster, and chocolate cake.  We enjoyed eating and chatting. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012.11.8

It was very fine this morning.  The sunshine was so beautiful. 
It's been 6 months since I published my first essay.  I have presented more than 100 copies to those who are important to me.  Some gave me favorable comments such as it was interesting or I enjoyed a lot or I felt like traveling.  Others said nothing.  I wonder if they have read or not.
There are some more people I want to give and I am waiting for the opportunity to hand them.

2012.11.7

Today is ritto (立冬), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was soko (霜降) on October 23, and the next one is shosetsu (小雪) on November 22.  Ritto is the first day of winter. It was foggy this morning and the train was delayed.
President Obama was re-elected as a result of the hard-fought campaign. 
Compared to the Japanese political election it seems there are some differences.  This presidential election cost a lot.  There were TV debates.  He is younger than most of Japanese politician.  He can serve as president for 8 years......
Whenever there was the presidential election, I have felt that the declaration of victory and defeat are quite different from ours.  I think it is great for the defeated candidate to acknowledge having been defeated and wish the opponent's success.  I do not think I can wish the enemy's success.  How about you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012.11.6

It's getting colder and it rained today. 

Today is the Presidential Election Day in the USA.   It's been already 4 years since the last election.  How fast time flies!  How has your life been changed?  Last time was the historical election because of the chance of the first black president or the first woman president. 
Which do you support as the next leader this time?
Regarding election, there are some differences between the USA and Japan.  One of them is the date.  In the USA, the Presidential Election is held on the next Tuesday of the first Monday of November.  However in Japan it is usually held on Sunday because they are often held at schools and more people can go to vote on Sunday. This year President Obama went to early voting and said that if you do so you do not have to leave the job.
After voting in the USA they are given the sticker "I VOTED. DID YOU?" to invite more people to vote.  However we do not have such things.
There are multilingual instructions depends on the place in the USA, for example in Florida there were 3 languages (English, Spanish, and Creole).  But in Japan I believe there is only Japanese instruction.
Tomorrow we may know the new president.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012.11.5

It is getting colder.  At night it rained too.
At lunch time my 2 colleagues and I went to a Chinese restaurant where I have never been.  We enjoyed talking about Thailand where one of them will visit her daughter soon.  The other also likes Thailand very much and she often visits there.  And I chatted with my friend in Thailand this morning.  So I felt the law of attraction.  They say from the end of October this year there are some direct flights from Sapporo (札幌) to Bangkok. At first there were only three flights per week but they are so popular that they will fly more.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012.11.4

It was fine today.  But I stayed at home all day long. 
There were many things I wanted to do this weekend.  But I did only two of them.  There are still more to do.
Did you have a nice weekend?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012.11.3

November 3 is a national holiday called bunka no hi (文化の日), Culture Day.  There are many events here and there.  There was an award ceremony of the Order of Culture (bunka kunsho: 文化勲章) at the Imperial Palace today.
This year 6 people were awarded.  Among them Dr. Shinya Yamanaka (山中伸弥) who is a Physiology Nobel Prize laureate and Mr. Yoji Yamada (山田洋次) who is a film director are especially well-known to the public.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012.11.2

It was cold but fine today, and I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning.
Finally Friday came.
Last month I have traveled a lot and I was away most of the weekend.  The first weekend was in New York and Florida, the second weekend was in Chicago, the third weekend was in Hakuba, Nagano, and the fourth weekend was in Togakushi, Nagano.
It's been a month since I had a regular weekend.  I hope it will be fine to do many house works this weekend.
Have a nice weekend!

2012.11.1

A new month has just started.  November is jyuichi gatsu (十一月), the old name is shimo tsuki (霜月), literally frost month in Japanese.
There are only two months left. What will you do for the next two months? 
In Japan we exchange the new year's cards.  They are delivered on the New Year's Day if you post early enough before Christmas.  And the new year's postcard called nenga hagaki (年賀はがき) is released today.  3,670,000,000 postcards are issued and will be sold.  To write new year's card is one of the big jobs we want to do within this year.  I will order them to be delivered but I have not decided how many I will buy.
After work I went to the Imperial Hotel to attend a meeting tonight.  I took the different route as usual and was surprised to find the post office in the hotel.  You can buy new year's postcard at the post offices.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012.10.31

Happy Halloween! 
I saw some people wearing costume today.  How about you?
It's already the end of October.  How fast time flies!
After work I went to see a movie titled "The Raven" with my colleagues. Japanese title is quite different again.  It is "推理作家ポーの最期の5日間(suiri sakka po no saigo no itsuka kan)”and its meaning is the last 5 days of mystery writer Edgar Allan Poe.  I remembered reading the books of Edgar Allan Poe at the class of American Culture at my sophomore days.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012.10.30

Today I found the word which I did not know.  It was written as "エギ(egi)" in katakana (カタカナ).  Do you know what it is? 
It was the abbreviation of "エギタリアン(eggitarian)."  Can you imagine what it is?
It seems this word is used in India.  It is a vegetarian who eats eggs and vegetables. 
There are many kinds of vegetarian.  A lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs , an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a vegan or strict vegetarian diet excludes all  animal products including eggs, dairy and honey.
I like to eat delicious foods so I am not a vegetarian at all. How about you?

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012.10.29

It was very fine today.  I took a compensation day off today and could sleep long.
I went to see a Japanese movie titled "Tsunagu (ツナグ)" in Yokohama (横浜).  Tsunagu means to connect in Japanese but in this film it is the person who can connect a dead person and an alive person only once in their lives.  There were 3 episodes in the film.  How nice if I could see my mother again!  Do you have someone whom you want to see again? 

2012.10.28

We started early today too.  We have visited many places in spite of rain.   I  walked nearly 10km today.   The colored leaves were so beautiful.  Light green, yellow, orange, and red.  We had nice breakfast and lunch.  The road coming back was so crowded that I came home around 11:00PM.  I am glad to have taken off tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012.10.27

I got up at 3:30 and came to Togakushi, Nagano (長野県戸隠) by a group bus tour of more than 40 people. This is the third time for me to attend this tour but this is the first time to come in fall. Weather was not fine but fortunately it did not rain when we needed to walk.
We visited many places, some are the same places as before others are the new places. We ate a lot.

2012.10.26

It was rather cool in the morning, but became warmer during daytime. The moon looked very beautiful at night.  It is a nice season for everything, not too cold not too hot.  Spring is for flower viewing and fall is for colored leaves viewing.
Last weekend I was in Hakuba (白馬) on a business trip, and this weekend I will go to Togakushi (戸隠) for a private trip.  Both are in Nagano (長野) prefecture.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012.10.25

It's been getting cooler these days.  Speaking of fall, there are many delicious foods.  I have just watched the TV program titled "50 voice" on NHK.  It is a program consists of  interviewing 50 people.  Today's topic was ekiben (駅弁), literally station lunch box which means a box meal sold at a railroad station.  Each place has its own special lunch box.  When we travel by railway, many people enjoy ekiben. There are many which I have eaten before, but there are more I have not eaten yet.  All looked delicious and people engaging that business had a delicious story to tell.
Last Sunday when I went to Hakuba by Nagano Shinkansen, I bought "Balanced lunch box with 30 items" by yen 850 at the Tokyo Station.

2012.10.24

It was rather cold today.  They say there was the first snow (初冠雪:hatsukansetsu) in Northern Alps.
At lunch time I heard the very interesting story.  There is a popular winter fruit in Japan which is called mikan (みかん、ミカン、蜜柑).  Its English name is Citrus unshiu or satsuma or mandarin (orange) or tangerine.  I have never thought before but they say there are male mikan and female mikan, and that male one is more tasty.  How do you know the difference?  Please look at the bottom center. If there is a projection, it is male. 
There are many famous places, but especially Wakayama (和歌山), Ehime (愛媛), and Shizuoka (静岡) are major source prefectures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012.10.23

Today is soko (霜降), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), 24 solar terms.  The last one was kanro (寒露) on October 8 and the next one is ritto (立冬) on November 7.  Soko (霜降) literally means frost fall.  It is the time that dew changes to frost because of coldness.
This morning it rained heavily therefore I wore raincoat and rain shoes and brought a long umbrella.  However it stopped raining when I needed to walk and I did not have to use it on my way to go to the office.  At night it started raining again and I used it.  When I got on the train on my way back home, I was so tired that I slept there putting my old umbrella at the handrail near my seat.  When I got to my station, I was so surprised to find it disappeared.  Usually Japan is thought as a safe country.  I have left something behind such as umbrella on the train before, but I have never lost anything on the train.  Since I was sleeping, I do not know if it rained heavily or not while I was on the train.  I just could not believe what have happened. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012.10.22

Weather was so nice and it was not so cold today in Hakuba (白馬) and Nagano (長野).  We could see very beautiful mountain range.  It seems it will rain tomorrow, so that I feel we were very lucky.


We had very nice breakfast and lunch today.  For breakfast fresh vegetables and fruits were served from the hotel garden.   Nagano area is called Shinshu (信州) and it is very famous for soba (蕎麦: buckwheat ) . For lunch we had a variety of soba dishes including sweets.    My colleague and I visited many places and had fruitful meetings today.  I came home around 10:30 PM.

Monday, October 22, 2012

2012.10.21


Today I came to Hakuba, Nagano (長野県白馬) on a business trip.
I came by the Nagano shinkansen (長野新幹線) which took about one hour and a half and then took a bus for an hour.
It's been 15 years since Nagano shinkansen started its business because of Nagano winter Olympic in 1998.
Hakuba is very famous for ski resort.
I thought it would be cold but it was not. The view from the mountain was so beautiful with colored leaves.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012.10.20

I slept so long that my father was worried and came to see me upstairs.
We went once a week grocery shopping.
It was rather warm today and I could see the beautiful sunset this evening.
Tomorrow I will go to Nagano on a business trip for 2 days therefore I cooked a lot tonight such as takikomigohan (炊き込みご飯) : mixed rice, oden (おでん) : Japanese Pot-au-feu, and misoshiru (みそ汁) : miso soup and so on.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012.10.19

It was very cool today.  I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji covered with snow.
I only worked for 3 days this week, but I feel glad today is Friday and I can sleep long tomorrow.  Last week on Friday I was still in Florida.  There are only two months and ten days left this year. How fast time flies! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

2012.10.18

It was cloudy and started raining and it was rather cool.
I woke up early because of the boom of mosquito but slept again and got up later than usual.  When I saw my face, it seemed a mosquito bit my right eyelid and it was swelling and I felt shocked.  It became bigger  when I got to the office, and my colleagues were surprised to see my face and worried and advised to see the eye doctor being afraid of something bad such as sty.  So I decided to go to see the eye doctor at the  nearby hospital after lunch time taking one hour off.  It was not sty, perhaps mosquito bite or something as I thought.  Since I did not have any letter of introduction from other doctor, it cost yen 3,000 for the first visit fee plus doctor's fee (yen 1,310) .  He prescribed two medicines which cost yen 540.   I felt how normal is important and the eye doctor is a tough job because even though how funny face the patient is, he can't laugh at.  I hope my eyelid's swelling will be gone soon.
Ophthalmology is ganka (眼科) in Japanese.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012.10.17

The first working day after the late summer vacation.  I brought some souvenirs to my colleagues.  At lunch time I gave 5 colleagues small calendars of 2013.  I knew two of them have strong tastes to horses and cats and it was easy to choose the one for them.  I chose three different designs for others.  It was very interesting to see their reaction.
After lunch I prepared other souvenirs for all the colleagues who are about 50 people.  They were chocolate candies in the plastic jack-o'-lantern.  Before I went to the USA, I made up my mind to buy them for souvenirs for my colleagues because October 31 is Halloween.  Sweets make people happy, and the jack-'o-lantern was so cute, therefore many people enjoyed.  I am glad to see their smiles. 
Souvenir in Japanese is omiyage (お土産).  What do you usually buy for souvenirs?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012.10.16

I am glad to take another day off after the vacation.  It was because I took my father to the once a month check up to the hospital though.
In the night I could read the newspaper for about 10 days to catch up.  During my vacation I did not read any newspaper, but I heard about the Dr. Shinya Yamanaka's (山中伸弥) getting the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells from the conversation with Japanese staff at the Morikami Museum.  How nice it is!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012.10.15

I came home.  When I got on the flight from Chicago yesterday, it was supposed to leave at 12:36, but it delayed for 3 hours or so, and after 12 hours and a half flight when I arrived at the Narita Airport it was already 19:08 or so of today.  We had to wait for nearly one hour for the baggage to appear because of the same door problem we had in Chicago.  I took a train and arrived at home nearly midnight.
I had a nice vacation.

2012.10.14

This morning I had breakfast with my teacher.  At first I was wondering how we eat the vegetable (Paprika?) she has just harvested from her garden, but it was delicious as it was without using any dressing.
My first American friend from University of Illinois came to pick me up at her house and took me to the airport.  It has been 5 years and a half since we met last, but as usual we feel the same as we have known always.  The time was short, but we enjoyed the reunion.
The flight from Chicago delayed for nearly 3 hours.  First we needed to wait for fixing the problem of the doors, and next we needed to wait for the bad weather changed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012.10.13

How fast time flies!  It's been a week since I came to Delray Beach.  And my vacation is almost over.  I left there and went to Miami by Tri-Rail.  The train was delayed but since I had enough time, it was OK.
It rained but I was lucky enough not to get wet.
At the airport I had lunch and took a flight to Chicago.  There I could meet my teacher from university.  We went out for dinner with her son.  It's been 5 years and a half since we met last.  He became taller than I am now!  We enjoyed the reunion. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

2012.10.12

I had lunch with an ex-colleague who helped me to get car insurance while I was here in 2006 to 2008.  We went to a Greek restaurant and enjoyed the reunion.  Especially the story of her mother-in-law was attractive.  She got married at the age of 83 again with a younger man of 76 and lived up to more than 100 years old.  She was fine until a few weeks before she passed away.  And she played golf until 90 years or so.  Isn't that amazing?
In Japan women's average life expectancy is around 87 or so.  I have never heard that Japanese women get married again at the age like that.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012.10.11

In Japan we write the date from year, then month, and  day.  So it is 2012. 10.11 today.  However in the USA, people write the date from month, then day, and year, therefore today is 10.11.12.  Isn't it interesting?
This morning I went to the post office to send my books to my friends in CA and Texas.  There was the same officer in that post office as I used to go there 4 years ago.
I visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens where I have worked for 2 years from August 2006 to July 2008.  There are still many people I know, but there are some people whom I do not know too. 
In the evening I had nice diner with my first host family and neighbors.
I am glad to see them all again and deliver my first book in person. 
At night I went to Walmart to shop.  Inside was quite different from what I knew 4 years ago.  I did not know it is open for 24 hours.  There were so many Halloween candies sold. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012.10.10

It used be a national holiday called "taiiku no hi(体育の日)" Health and Sports Day, and it is supposed to be fine always. Therefore many schools or cities have athletic meeting called "undokai (運動会)" around this time.  And many couples tend to get married on this day too.  One of my best friends from high school also got married on this day many years ago. 
Today I went to my friend's Japanese-style restaurant in Miami where I have wanted to go for 4 years.  Foods were all delicious.  I enjoyed everything.  
Have you ever hard "san dai chinmi (三大珍味)" the three biggest rare tastes?   Japanese peole like to think of best 3 in many things.  San dai chinmi are uni (ウニ): salt-pickled sea urchin roe, karasumi (カラスミ): salt-pickled mullet roe, and konowata (このわた): pickled sea cucumber innards.  I could eat all of them tonight. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012.10.9

I had lunch with a lady named Barbara.  It's been 4 years since I met her last.  I wrote about her in my book so I wanted to hand it to her. What did I wrote about?  Well, I hope you read it by yourself if possible....but there is no English version yet so, I tell you here too.
She lived in Zushi, Kanagawa (神奈川県逗子市) 30 years ago and was going to visit there after 30 years, and wanted to meet her neighbors and was wondering if they still lived there or not.  Actually they had already moved out and everyone lost their contact address.  I have a few friends who lived in Zushi and asked them to find her neighbors.  And one of my friends visited where she used to live and happened to know their relatives living nearby and visited them and finally found the contact address.  Then I contacted with them and made all the arrangement for them to get together after 30 years.  I could tell her about it on her special birthday.  So that must have been the best present I could give or she could receive ever.  Don't you think it is a wonderful story?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012.10.8

Today is a national holiday called "taiiku no hi (体育の日) " Health and Sports Day. It commemorates the opening of the Tokyo Olympic in 1964.  It used be on October 10, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of October to have happy Monday system.
Today I tried the kayak on the lake, river, and ocean and surf-kayak on the ocean for the first time.
In the USA, today, the second Monday of October is Columbus Day, which celebrates the Christopher Columbus' arrival at the new world on October 12, 1492.
When I was working at the Expo '92, which commemorates quincentenary of the Christopher Cloumbus' arrival of the new world , closed on October 12, 1992.  This event was the most impressive work for me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012.10.7

I met my second host family this morning and we went out for brunch at a famous restaurant in Delray Beach.  It is on the coast road and there were so many people waiting.  We needed to wait but it was worth doing.  Sunday Brunch was very nice.  While waiting I went to visitor information and checked the event this weekend.  Then I visited the Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival.  I am glad to get what I wanted there.
At night I met the third host family and went to their house to have dinner.  We enjoyed the reunion.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

2012.10.6

My first day of the summer vacation was very long.  Because I left Narita at 16:35 and flew to Chicago for more than 11 hours but it is still on the same day of 13:49 and waited for the flight to New York for 1 hour 40 minutes (actually arrived 40 minutes earlier and departed about 1 hour late so it was more than 3 hours there) and flew to Newark for more than 2 hours and arrived there about 1 hour delay because the plane had a bad problem with flap and there were fire trucks when we landed there!
Then I went to Manhattan taking NJ transit and subway to see Ms. Beate Sirota Gordon.  I felt sorry arriving too late but we had a very good time together.  Then I returned to Newark by the same route and waited for the next flight at 6:10 to Miami which took about 3 hours.  I saw the very beautiful sunrise from the plane.  At Miami I missed the shuttle bus and the train so I called my best friend to come to pick me up which was much better.  We enjoyed the reunion.
It was chilly and slightly raining in Chicago, fine in New York, and very hot in sunny Florida.

2012.10.5

I am now having my late summer vacation.  I have decided to come to the USA to deliver my book to those who are important to me in my life.
First I go to New York to see Ms. Beate Sirota Gordon whom I have known since 1995 or so.  She is the lady who contributed to input the equality of men and women in the Japanese Constitution.   I was impressed by her first book "Christmas in 1945 (1945年のクリスマス)" very much and went to see her lecture in Fujisawa (藤沢) and to see her drama "Pearl Necklace (真珠のネックレス)" when she was in Japan.   It's been a long time since I saw her last, but I sometimes see her on TV and we exchange the greeting cards at the end of the year.  She is the most famous person in my life. I am very looking forward to seeing her again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

2012.10.4

It was a rainy cold morning, therefore I wore the long sleeves sweater, but it became hot when I got to the office.
Finally I will take this year's summer vacation from tomorrow, though it is already fall.  I will go to the United States (NY, Florida, and Chicago) to see those who are important to me and give them my book.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2012.10.3

It was windy and rather cool and rained too in the afternoon. 
I started working from 6 am till 8 pm.  Very long day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012.10.2


It was still hot today.
During lunch time, I enjoyed talking with my colleagues about episodes of the programs we have been in charge for the past three years and a half.
Last year on October 1, I have made a contract with the publisher.
Through today's conversation I felt like writing the next book.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012.10.1

A new month has started.  October is jyugatsu (十月) in Japanese.  Its old name is kannazuki (神無月), literally god without month.  All of Japanese gods get together in Izumo (出雲) in this month, therefore there are no gods in other places.
October 1 is the time for changing clothing called koromogae (衣替え).  School unforms are changed to long sleeves with jacket.  But it was still hot during daytime.
Today it was the grand opening of the renewed Tokyo (東京) station, Marunouch (丸の内) exit.  They say to renew the station it cost yen 50,000,000,000.  About 760,000 people use the Tokyo station every day.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012.9.30

The biggest typhoon ever No. 17 is approaching.  It's windy now.  Though today is Jyugoya (十五夜), full moon night, I cannot see the beautiful moon.

In the moring I left home to go to Chigasaki (茅ヶ崎) to see a movie "Umareru (うまれる) "  Being Born from 12:45.  This movie was made two years ago, and you cannot see it at the theater any more, and they are not going to make it as DVD.  Today there was the 25th General Meeting of Foster Parents in Kanagawa and as a part of that event they showed this movie for free.
I have wanted to see this movie especially since this August because when I had a chance, I had another appointment and I missed it.
It was a very good movie.  But there were many babies crying in the venue........

After that I went to Hamamatsucho (浜松町) to see my friend who participated in the Dance competition of East Japan.  It's been a few years since I saw her last.  I enjoyed the reunion and watched her dancing.

http://www.umareru.jp/en/

2012.9.29

It was hot again.
I went to once a week grocery shopping  in the morning.  There I knew tomorrow is jyugoya (十五夜), full moon night.  Jyugoya literally  means the 15th night. 
We enjoy viewing cherry blossoms in the spring and moon in the fall.  We decorate Japanese pampas grass and eat dumplings called "tsukimi dango (月見団子)." I bought dumplings too.

Friday, September 28, 2012

2012.9.28

It was rather cool today.  It slightly rained too.
Five colleagues and I went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant.  It is about 10 minutes walk from our office.  We ordered 5 dishes and shared.  It is very reasonable.  We enjoyed eating and chatting.
It's been a week since I went to Nagoya by night bus.  I felt this week passed so quickly. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012.9.27

This morning I left home earlier than usual.  Like yesterday I changed the train at Kurihama (久里浜).  First I went to Ofuna (大船) and changed to Tokaido (東海道) Line and changed again at Shinagawa (品川) station.  It took about 2 hours and 40 minutes to get to the office.
At lunch time four colleagues and I went out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant near the office where four of us have not been before.  We enjoyed eating and chatting.
In the morning after I left home, the Keihin kyuko (京浜急行) line resumed normal service therefore I could come home by regular route.  I am glad to be back to normal.  Thank you very much.

2012.9.26

It was fine.
The Keihin kyuko (京浜急行) line has been closed partially therefore I used JR Yokosuka (横須賀) line between Kurihama (久里浜)  and Shinagawa (品川).  So many people thought the same way, and there were so many people at Kurihama station in the morning.  It is the terminal and I have to ride on for about 1 hour and a half, and I thought more people will get on later and I would be too tired if I keep standing among so many people around.  So I decided to take a green car.  It cost yen 950.  The price differs between less than 50km and more than 51km.  If you buy the ticket inside the car, it will be yen 1200.  The price differs between weekdays and weekends too.  After getting in, you can sit on any vacant seat, and if you use Suica or Pasmo, prepaid card with commuting ticket, you need to touch it at the place above your seat, and the light will be on while you will occupy the place.
Last Saturday I used the green car for Shinkansen, which cost yen 1,000 from Nagoya (名古屋) to Shinagawa.  Compared this, it seemed the cost of green car fee of the Yokosuka line was expensive, but I am glad to sit this morning.
On my way back from Shinagawa to Kurihama, I had to use JR Yokosuka line again, and had to stand for a long time.....
It seems it will take for a while to run the services normally, so I have to use JR Yokosuka line tomorrow too......
We often realize the importance of "usual" when we lost something.  I hope it will become normal again soon. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012.9.25

It was cool this morning.
I took a half day off in the afternoon.  Last night I stayed at a hotel in Harumi (晴海) and knew the train accident of the Keihin kyuko (京浜急行) line which I use every day by the TV news.  The line was partially closed, and I had to take another transportation.  It took longer time, but I came home.   There are some people who sent me emails and called to ask about my safety.  I am glad to have people like this.
Tonight I talked with my professor of university after a long time over the phone and enjoy keeping up.

2012.9.24

It was fine but cool after rain this morning. The weather was nice, fine and not too hot.
In the evening it started raining when we went out for dinner. After dinner, it was pouring heavily.
At night I knew it really rained heavily by the news. It seems there was a train accident of the Keihin kyuko (京浜急行) line which I use every day because of the landslide by the heavy rain.
In Yokosuka (横須賀) it is still raining about 100mm per hour, and there is warning.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012.9.23

It's been raining and a bit colder today.
In the morning I went to grocery shopping.
In the afternoon I went to TABIHAKU (旅博) 2012, the annual Asian biggest travel exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight.  I have been interested in this event for a long time.   Recently my friend sent me invitation tickets so I went there with my colleague.
There were so many people, and there were so many booths.  We met three people whom we know there.
There is a passport.  At the entrance a picture was taken and pasted to the passport.  If you get more than 5 stamps, you get a small gift when you leave.  There were other stamp rallies too.  I think it is a good idea to have a stamp rally, otherwise we are not sure where to visit first.
I hope I will travel more in the future.

2012.9.22

I arrived at Nagoya (名古屋) around 5:40 after stopping at two service areas. There are many local souvenirs there.
In Nagoya I went to take a bath which was included in the bus ticket fee. You do not have to bring anything there, I mean you can borrow every thing including towels, shampoo & rinse, body shampoo, face soap, dryer, tooth brush, lotion etc....  I liked there.  I think it is quite convenient for an overnight traveler.
Then I took train to Okazaki (岡崎) to meet my cousin and had breakfast.  Breakfast in Aichi (愛知) is very famous. It is called "Morning."  They usually serve toasted bread, small salad, boiled egg, dessert, and drink for the cost of only drink.  It is quite generous.
It's been about a year since I saw her last.  Then we went to my aunt's house to have a memorial service for another cousin who passed away last year.  After that all the participants had lunch together. 
Then I went to see my friends in Nagoya again.  We went to a Japanese style restaurant and enjoyed meeting, eating and chatting.  There I knew Mr. Akio Morita (盛田昭夫) , the founder of Sony Corporation, was born in the sake brewery.
I came back by Shinkansen Kodama (新幹線こだま) which stops at every station, so it takes longer than hikari (ひかり) or nozomi (のぞみ).  But I bought a ticket called puratto kodama (ぷらっとこだま) which is quite reasonable including one drink.  The non-smoking cars were all occupied, therefore I paid yen 1,000 extra charge and got the seat of green car ,which is the first class spacious seats.  I recommend you to use this plan when you travel around Japan.  It's cheaper than regular tickets.

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012.9.21

I am going to Nagoya (名古屋) by bus now. It will take about 6 hours.
There will be the first year memorial service of my cousin who passed away last year while I was in Nepal. It is called isshuki (一周忌).

2012.9.20

It was another hot day.
My colleagues and I went out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant.  There were 7 of us.  When I called there to book, all of the private rooms were occupied and I could only book the table for 7 in a big Japanese room.  However when we got there, the guests just finished their lunch and came out from the big private room where there are tables with horigotatsu (掘りごたつ), where you can sit like chair from the floor because the space is open for feet.  So I felt we were lucky.
Four of us were Indonesian interpreters. I asked them why they decided to study Indonesian.  To my surprise their major at the university was not Indonesian, but after going there by traveling or working they started studying Indonesian.  I heard very interesting customs there.
When we left, the owner gave me some grapefruits.  He is always very kind to us.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012.9.19

It rained in the morning.  I used the long umbrella after a long time.  In Japan there are many designs of umbrellas.  When I was in the USA, there were a very few choices.  It seems American people don't use it as much as Japanese people.
I took a half day off in the morning to do some errand.  After that I visited my friend's art exhibition in Tokyo, which was the last day today.  This was the second time for me to visit his exhibition at the gallery. 
Last Sunday I visited another art exhibition which was also the second time for me to visit her exhibition at the same gallery in Ginza as before.
I think it is very good to have one's exhibition at the same place regularly.
I got three invitations for art exhibitions this month, and I am glad to have visited all of them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012.9.18

When you send a book, how do you do?  Last week I sent 3 books by yu mail (郵メール) of JP post which cost yen 290 per book.  If it is printed matter, you can send them cheaper than regular mail.  I mean you cannot include hand-written letter inside.
There is much cheaper way.  If it is thinner than 2 cm, you can send it by yen 160.  That is called meru bin (メール便), mail delivery by home-delivery service. Today I sent 6 books, but it cost about the same amount as last time.
To send abroad, sea mail  (船便:funa bin) is the cheapest way, but it takes time. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012.9.17

It was a national holiday called keiro no hi (敬老の日), the Respect-for-the-Aged-Day.  It used be on September 15, but it has been on the third Monday of September since 2003 because of the Happy Monday System.
Japan is an aging country.  The population of over 65 years old is 30,740,000 which is 24.1 % of the total population.  Men are 13,150,000 and women are 17,590,000 and 21.2 % and 26.9 % respectively.
There are 15,170,000 people who are over 75 years old and this is the first time to exceed 15 million.
There are 51,376 people who are over 100 years old and it is also for the first time to exceed 50, 000.  Among them men are 6,534, and women are 44,842.
The oldest person is 115 years old and he is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

It was hot, cloudy sometimes rained heavily.

I had lunch at the French restaurant with friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012.9.16

It was second day of the three day weekend.  It was cloudy, rainy and sunny later.
I went to see two movies in Ginza (銀座) with my colleague.  One is a French movie titled "Untouchable" which is based on the real story.  The other was a Japanese movie titled "Odoru daisosasen (踊る大捜査線) The Final" Bayside Shakedown.  Both were so crowded and we watched them in the front seat and the second front seat.  They were good movies.
We ate lunch at a restaurant near the theater which is produced by Ms. Harumi Kurihara (栗原はるみ), a very famous cooking researcher.
After that we went to see my friend's art exhibition.
And we went for a stroll at the pedestrian precinct so-called hokosha tengoku (歩行者天国), literally heaven for pedestrian. 

2012.9.15

It was another hot day.
It rained in the morning and became fine later. 
Today is the first day of the three day weekend.
I renewed the car insurance today. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2012.9.14

It was hot again.
After work I went to the Spanish restaurant in Shibuya (渋谷) to meet one of my friends from university.  It's been 10 years since we met last in Spain.  We studied Spanish together and took the same seminar for the graduation thesis when we were university students.  Our counselor was a Spanish language professor who was born in Peru and had worked at the Spanish Embassy in Japan and established Spanish schools in Tokyo.  Unfortunately he passed away while I was in Florida in 2007 and I missed his funeral.
We ate very delicious Spanish course dinner.  My friend has lived in Mexico for 4 years and a half and Spain for 3 years and a half and now teaches Spanish at several universities.  In Spain Thursday seems day for Paella.  Does anybody know the reason why?
When I traveled around Morocco, they said Friday is day for couscous.  Do you have such special foods for special day of the week?  If so, please let me know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

2012.9.13

It was another hot day.

Where, what, and with whom do you have lunch? Lunch is chushoku (昼食) in Japanese.  Or we say "ohiru" (お昼) .  Ohiru is polite way of saying noon.  But we mean lunch.
I usually buy some buns with croquette or something and dessert such as pudding or yogurt on my way to the office and have them with a cup of corn soup and a cup of tea at the meeting room with my some colleagues.  Today I had with 2 colleagues.  Lunch time is a good time not only to eat to fill the stomach full but also to get information. I was surprised to know many news around us today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012.9.12

They say today is the day of marathon.  42.195 km.  Have you ever run?
Some of my friends have run full marathon many times, others do shorter distance. 
When I was a junior high school teacher and in charge of the special needs education class, I ran almost every day with students.  The first month for 1 km, the second month for 2km, the third month for 3km, the fourth month for 4km, and the fifth month and later for 5km.  And after several months' training, students and we (teachers) participated in the city's marathon race for 5 km in March.  Practice makes perfect. 
But basically I do not like running, so I do not think I will do full marathon in my life.
My colleagues go for 5km running around the Imperial Palace after work these days.  I do not want to run, but someday I want to join them for a walk around there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012.9.11

It's been 11 years since 9.11 happened.
And it's been 1 year and a half since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami happened.
How has your life been changed since then?
We are trying to save energy, and at the office we try to use stairs rather than elevators, and we turn off the lights during lunch time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012.9.10

The London Paralympic finished on September 9.  There were 164 countries and regions participated.  Compared to the Olympic, there were fewer programs broadcasted.  Therefore I did not have chances to watch the games and I just knew the results by the news or newspaper. 
Tennis player, Mr. Shingo Kunieda (国枝慎吾) became a champion again which was a big news because it was the first in history.  There was another Japanese gold medal game, Goal Ball, which most Japanese people knew from this event.   Japan got 16 medals this time.  Congratulations!

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012.9.9

It was very hot today.
September 9 is choyo (重陽)  Double Nineth Festival or kiku no sekku (菊の節句) Chrysanthemum Festival.  There are five festivals in a year.  They are jinjitsu (人日) on January 7, joshi (上巳) on March 3, tango (端午) on May 5, tanabata (七夕) on July 7, and choyo on September 9.  March 3 is also known as momo no sekku (桃の節句) Peach Festival which is girl's festival, and May 5 is also known as shobu no sekku (菖蒲の節句) Calamus Festival which is boy's festival.
But as far as I know we do not do anything special these days for choyo.
September 9 is written as 9.9.  9 is read as kyu.  So it is read kyukyu.  Therefore September 9 is known as kyukyu no hi (救急の日), Day of Emergency.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012.9.8

It was very hot today.
There is once a year festival of the nearby shrine.  From the morning we prepared foods for the people who carry the portable shrine called omikoshi (御神輿) , play music called ohayashi (お囃子), and lead them and so on.  We started preparing around 8:30 AM and they arrived 11:20 AM or so. 
Last year a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎) visited there and we took a picture together.  I thought he would come this year too, so I brought the picture, a copy of my blog of the last year, and my book.  And he came.  I handed them and  we took another picture.  This year he was wearing a special coat called happi (法被), which we wear at the festival.
This year I asked him to give me an autograph.  He wrote "Where there is a will, there is a way" in Chinese characters with his name and date.  That was nice.  I hope to have a phrase like this when I write my autograph.

Friday, September 7, 2012

2012.9.7

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 22.  Hakuro literally means white dew.  It is the time when the air becomes cold and dews come out.  However it is still hot in the daytime.

2012.9.6

September is autumn but it is still hot.  Autumn is for art, or sports, or reading, or appetite.  I received 3 invitations for artistic exhibitions for September. 
Today I went to see one of them after work.  It was a group exhibition of photographs titled "My Life 2."  There are many different types of photographs.  I was attracted to some of them, such as the picture of the track of stars around the Polaris and  the picture of the northern lights which I would like to take someday.
Since today was the opening, there was a party at the venue.  After that I joined the second party with photographers for an hour or so and had a good time to know new people.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012.9.5

It was very hot again.  
The feeling of hot and cold depends on person.  I usually buy lunch on my way to the office and eat lunch at the meeting room to save time.  There are four or five together.  Today five of us ate together.  Three of us are regular members and two of them sometimes join.  We asked them why they decided to eat lunch at the office today.   One of them said "Because it became warm enough to eat lunch inside the office.  Usually it is cold so I go outside to get warm during lunch time. "  The other said "Because it's hot outside and I do not want to go out."
Usually I wear the jacket because I commute by the train for a long time, today I did not.  Then I felt so cold.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012.9.4

It was raining this morning here, but when I got to Shinjuku, it was not raining. 
There was an alarm in the late morning, and all of the people working at the building evacuated outside.  We were not sure what happened.  Only people from our building were there.  So it could be fire or something inside the building.  However, it seems it was the machine blunder.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012.9.3

It rained but I was lucky enough not to use the umbrella.  But now  it thunders and we had a few minutes blackout. 
Today is the first day of the second semester for most schools in Japan, therefore the trains were so crowded this morning.
Today I got a letter from my high school teacher.  In May when I met her last time, I gave her my book.  Then she wrote me about the impression of my book.  I am very glad to receive it.  I have already given more than 70 books or so, but most of them said just a few words such as "it was interesting" by email or "I'm impressed by your deed" by face to face and only a few people gave me detailed impressions.  So this is a kind of the first detailed remarks by letter.  Thank you very much.

Monday, September 3, 2012

2012.9.2

It was cloudy when I went to once a week grocery shopping, but when I came home it started raining and it is still raining.  I bought something new today.  One is vegetables, the other is sweets.  I have eaten the vegetable before at the Chinese restaurants  but I have never seen them at stores, so I bought and cooked them tonight. I ate the new sweets too which was delicious.
In the afternoon I read a book "Being in Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires" written by Dr.Wayne W. Dyer and translated by Mr. and Mrs. Yamakawa.  The English title and Japanese title look quite different.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012.9.1

A new month has started.  September is kugatsu (九月) in Japanese.  The old name is nagatsuki (長月), literally long month, meaning long night month.
It was hot in the morning, but rained later.
We will have a local festival next weekend, therefore our community member got together at the precinct of the shrine in the morning and cleaned the area.  Some people cut the grasses, other people gathered them to burn.  Smokes were so thick and tears came out one after another.

Friday, August 31, 2012

2012.8.31

The last day of August.  What did you do in August?  Watched many Olympic Games?   I did so.

I took a compensated day off today.
In the morning I went to Ginza (銀座) to see a Japanese movie "Watashi no michi (「わたし」の人生)" which means my way, but the kanji character michi (人生) means life, so it means my life.  It is a story of a family whose mother passed away suddenly and whose father developed dementia.  There are two daughters, one is a professor of the university after anchor woman who has a husband and a daughter, and the other is a tango singer who has lived in Argentina for a long time.  It is a matter of nursing care which is a social problem in Japan.  Who takes care of aged father, how and where.  I went to see this movie because this tango singer's fan who is a care manager recommended me to see in May.  It was a nice movie.

In the afternoon I attended a study meeting for licensed tour guides in Ikebukuro (池袋).  There were 3 speakers and about 25 audience.  They were so erudite that we learned a lot from their broad knowledge and various experiences.  After that we went to izakaya (居酒屋) to have a party.  

Tonight I saw the beautiful blue moon.  Did you see it?

2012.8.30

It was another hot day.
I saw the beautiful moon tonight.  They say it will be full moon and blue moon tomorrow, so it will be even more beautiful.
I am looking forward to watching it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012.8.29

It was another hot day but the wind became a little bit cooler and the sunset became earlier so that I feel the autumn is coming.
I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji in the morning and the beautiful moon in the night.

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012.8.28

It was another hot day.
I took a compensated holiday to take my father to hospital for once a month check up.
While we were there, my brother came home to bring his souvenir from Greece, which was unexpected.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012.8.27

It was another hot day.  I saw the Mt. Fuji in the morning.   At night I saw the beautiful moon.  Speaking of the moon, the first astronaut on the moon, Mr. Neil Armstrong passed away.  May his soul be rested in peace.
Do you know Japanese popular group AKB48?  They say tonight one of the members Ms. Atsuko Maeda' s (前田敦子) last concert was held.  So many people (229,096) applied for the ticket but there were only 250 seats available, so it was the ratio of 1 seat for 916 people.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012.8.26

The last Sunday of August.  The typhoon No. 15 which is the biggest ever is nearing to the southern part of Japan.
It was another hot day here.
At night I could see the fireworks festival from the second floor.  I really like to see the fireworks festival.  While I was recording the video, something stung my wrist.  It was dark and I did not see what it was.  I just felt like mosquito bit me at that time, but it seems different. There became red and I feel slight pain.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012.8.25

It was another hot day.
I went to once a week grocery shopping.  I usually go to 2 places, one for commodities, and the other for foods.  Both stores have special services on certain days.  The supermarket I buy foods has many services to the regular customers.  For example, on 5th, 15th, and 25th  they give points for 5 times.  And frozen foods become a half price.  I seldom buy frozen foods besides ice cream these days, but today I bought 2 of them.  One is blueberry, the other is broad beans. 
At night there were two fireworks festivals nearby.  I could see one of them from the porch of the second floor of my house and hear the sounds of the other.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012.8.24

It was another hot day.

I had a party tonight with colleagues.  The venue was izakaya (居酒屋) near the Shinjuku station, but the other side of our office.  I usually walk from the station to the office for 15 minutes or so, but we left the office a bit late and we used the subway for 1 station.  Izakaya is a place where we can eat and drink.  It was on the 7th floor but there was a lift only up to the 6th floor and we had to climb up to the 7th floor.  The organizer chose there by searching "private room" and "more than 20 people."
The fee was yen 4,000.  We could drink as much as we want to.  And there were 8 different dishes or so.  More than 20 people attended.  Time was limited for 2 hours.  And since it was Friday, we had to leave soon after 2 hours.  I was at a table of 6.  There was the one whom I have never talked at the office, so it was a good chance to get to know each other.  We enjoyed girls' talk.
The volume of the foods was rather small, therefore 4 of us who joined the company about the same time went to the second party later at a restaurant where was very cute for everything such as glass, cup, the decoration of the dish.  We enjoyed eating and talking.

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012.8.23

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 7, and the next one is hakuro (白露) on September 7.
Shosho is the time when the heat becomes weak.  However it was another hot day today.  In the morning I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji.
Today there was the final match of the high school baseball tournament.  Osaka Toin (大阪桐蔭) became a champion again after spring senbatsu (センバツ) game.  Congratulations!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012.8.22

It was another hot day.  I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning too.

I have finished reading a book titled "30 books" recommended by the authors, Mr. & Mrs.Yamakawa (山川) whom I met on Aug.5.  It was a very nice book.  There are some books among them I have already read before, but there are other books I have never heard.  They are very famous translators.  For example, they translated "The Secret" and "The Power" by Rhonda Byrne.   Most of the books written there were their translated books but there were some translated by others.  I felt like reading all of them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012.8.21

It was another hot day.  It was fine and I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning.

Tonight I watched two TV programs broadcast by NHK.  One of them was the interview program asking people when they feel hot.  Japanese summer is very hot and humid, but there are many good summer things, and many people enjoy different things.  For example, only summer Mt. Fuji (3776 m) is open to climbers.  There was a man who climbed Mt. Fuji 1000 times until this summer, so he decided to talk to 1000 people.  For now he has talked to 166 people or so on his way up or down the Mt. Fuji.  There was a couple who had just got married at the top of the Mt. Fuji where there is a shrine.  They decided to marry there.  They said it was hard to climb up there and and they got married therefore it will be difficult to get divorce.  Other people enjoy summer festivals, or bon dances, or firefly, or fireworks festivals.  Some people were lucky to be able to see the fireworks festival from the Tokyo Sky Tree.  90,000 people or so applied but only 500 were invited there.  Therefore they could enjoy watching fireworks from the above of fireworks themselves.  Other people enjoyed watching them from the boat on the river.  I like fireworks festival very much.  They are so beautiful.

The other program was about the Chinese tourists to Japan.  They come to Japan by the cheap package tour, but they were forced to choose optional tours and after all they have to pay more and  it became not cheap.  And  most of such tours provided the non-licensed tour guides or illegal tourist from Taiwan.  Chinese deceive Chinese. That's sad.

2012.8.20

It was another hot day.
There were many good sports news today such as the victory of Ms. Mika Miyazato (宮里美香) at the Safeway Classic in Oregon and two home-runs of Mr. Ichiro (イチロー) of New York Yankees.
But the most impressive news was the Victory Parade of the Medalists of London 2012 in Ginza (銀座).  71 medalists participated in and about 500,000 people came to see them.  It started at 11 AM, and they marched by 2 open cars and 5 open buses for 20 minutes for about 1 km.
There were 7 gold medalists on the contrary to the expectation but 38 medals in total were the most in Japanese Olympic history.  People got inspired and impressed by each performance.  In spite of the time difference, many people enjoyed watching many games.  Thank you very much. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

2012.8.19

It was hot.
The sky was blue with white clouds and it really looked like summer weather.
I went to once a week grocery shopping in the morning and took a nap in the afternoon.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012.8.18

We had a heavy thunderstorm in the morning.  I have never had such a heavy one.  One after another a big thunder pealed here and there.
When I was in Florida, we often had a thunderstorm and I wished to take a picture of lightning.  It's very difficult to take the one because it disappears soon.  Therefore I took the video in the last time.
Today it rained heavily here and it was reported in the news too.
Thunderstorm is raiu (雷雨) in Japanese.  Rai (雷) means thunder, u (雨) means rain.  Lightning is inazuma (稲妻) in Japanese.

2012.8.17

It was hot.
Today an ex-colleague came to the office and gave us a piece of vegetable called Goya (ゴーヤ), a bitter gourd which is famous in Okinawa (沖縄), the southernmost island of Japan.  These days it is very popular to plant goya which produces shade and vegetable. 
When we visited her house in June, she has just planted them to make a green curtain for energy saving and she harvested many these days and brought some of them to us to share.  That is very nice of her.
Goya is bitter but known to beat summer heat.

Friday, August 17, 2012

2012.8.16

I have had a cold for a week or so.  First I had a sore throat and now I am suffering from cough. Cough is seki (咳) in Japanese.

Today is the last day of obon (お盆), and the sending fire of Kyoto (京都) and Hakone (箱根) are known as daimonji yaki (大文字焼き) of the mountain. The fire is lit as the shape of a kanji character of dai (大), meaning big.  There are other shapes too. The spirits of the ancestors are supposed to go back to the other world today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012.8.15

It was the 67th anniversary of the end of the World War II.  There was a memorial event in Tokyo and there gathered about 5,850 people including the Emperor, the Empress, and the Prime Minister.  The oldest participant of the bereaved family was 98 years old and the youngest was 4 years old according to the newspaper.
I hope the world peace forever.