Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It was already the end of January. How fast time flies! One twelfth of the year was gone.
How was your January?
Mine was good I think. There were many things. New Year (新年:shin nen), new year's card (年賀状:nenga jo), new year's party (新年会:shin nen kai), first tea ceremony (初釜:hatsu gama), lectures, movies, books, visiting seven gods of fortune (七福神めぐり:shichi fuku jin meguri), shopping, dentist, and so on

It was cold today too.

Monday, January 30, 2012


It is cold today. In the evening it started snowing.

There was the final match of the Australian Open yesterday. After 5 hours 53 minutes, Selbian professional tennis player Mr. Novak Djokovic won against Mr. Rafael Nadal from Spain by 5-7,6-4,6-2,6-7,7-5. This was the longest Grand Slam final match.
This is the 3rd time for him to become a champion at the Australia Open and it was two years in straight.

Our hero Mr. Kei Nishiori's (錦織圭) ranking became No. 20 in the world.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


It was a cold day. They say from the day after tomorrow till February 3 it may snow heavily.

There was the 31st Osaka International Women's Marathon. Japanese runner Ms. Risa Shigetomo (重友梨佐) won the race by 2 hours 23 minutes 23 seconds which is the 9th record for Japanese women. This is her second marathon and it is the first time for her to win the race. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


There were earthquakes this morning and afternoon.

Today's big news was the gold medal of Mr. Daiki Ito (伊東大貴) for Men's Nordic Ski Jumping at the World Cup in Sapporo (札幌). He jumped 134 meters and 130 meters. Congratulations!

I got a call and my friend invited me to her house. In the afternoon I visited her. In her house there is a tea room and we enjoyed practicing tea ceremony with delicious sweets. It's been a very long time since I made weak tea (usucha:薄茶 ) with hot pot on the furnace in the floor so called ro (炉). In the winter time we use ro to make tea, and from spring to autumn we use the hot pot on the furnace on the floor so called furo (風炉). While I was in Florida, I had chances to use furo, but never had a chance to use ro. I really like this Japanese tea culture.

In the late afternoon I went shopping and bought 10 books.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I had a new year's party with my tennis group though I have not played tennis for a long time. Seven of us got together and went out for dinner at blowfish dishes restaurant. Blowfish is fugu (河豚) in Japanese. It is rather expensive, so I seldom have a chance to eat, but the restaurant we went today was not so expensive. It was very delicious and we enjoyed eating, drinking and chatting.
For the post-party party which is nijikai (二次会) in Japanese, we went to the pub. It was Irish style, that means when we ordered beverage and foods, we paid by cash.
Have a nice weekend!


It is cold today.
It was fine and I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning.
There were still snow left in Tokyo.
I miss my Florida life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It was cold today.
In Tokyo there were still snow left on the side road. It was fine in the morning, but in the evening it started snowing again.

Unfortunately the professional tennis player Mr. Kei Nishikori (錦織圭) could not be the best 4 at the Australian Open, but I hope he will become a champion someday.

Today's big news was Japan has become a country with trade deficit (貿易赤字国:boeki akaji koku) after 31 years because of high Yen and the effect of the Great East Japan earthquake.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It was a cold day.
I took a day off to take Father to the hospital for the once a month check up. I was surprised to know that the parking lot was no longer free of charge. If you come to the hospital to see a doctor, the charge is a little bit cheaper than visiting someone in the hospital.
The reasons for collecting money are to help the business management and to avoid the parking without permission.
But for those who in need to go to the hospital, it is inconvenient.

Monday, January 23, 2012


It was very cold. In the evening it started snowing again. In Tokyo it piled more than 4 cm. It has been 6 years since the last time it piled that much.

After work I went to have dinner with a colleague and an ex-colleague. We enjoyed eating and chatting.

I am glad to know that the professional tennis player Mr. Kei Nishikori (錦織圭) won the game and reached the quarter finals at the Australian Open today. They say it's been 80 years since the Japanese player remained as best 8 at the Australia Open and it's been 17 years since the Japanese player remained as best 8 at the Grand Slam.
Yesterday he won the game with Ms. Kimiko Date Krumm (クルム伊達公子) for mix doubles too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It was a very cold rainy day, but in the afternoon it stopped raining and became fine.
I attended the tour of visiting the Seven Gods of Fortune so-called shichifukujin meguri (七福神めぐり) conducted by the city center. I have lived in this city for a long time, and wanted to visit the Seven Gods someday, but I have never tried before.
This tour of seven shrines and temples is usually done during a month in the new year to wish the better fortune.
This seven gods belief started in the middle of Muromachi (室町) era and in the latter Edo (江戸) era the current Seven Gods from Japan, China, and India were fixed as seven gods. They are Ebisuson(恵比寿尊), Daikokuten (大黒天), Bishamonten (毘沙門天), Benzaiten (弁財天), Fukurokuju (福禄寿), Jurojin (寿老人), and Hoteison (布袋尊). Their graces are business prosperity, wealth and longevity, courage and wisdom and talisman, wisdom and skill and art, happiness and fortune and longevity, good health and longevity, happiness and peace, respectively.
I am glad to have joined this tour and learned many new things today.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Today is daikan (大寒), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was shokan (小寒) on January 6 and the next one is risshun (立春) on February 4.
Daikan literally means big cold. Today it was really cold. This is the coldest season.
Today's big news was the baseball player Mr. Yu Darvish's entering major league Texas Rangers.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It was very cold and snowed in Tokyo for the first time in this winter.

After work I had a first New Year's Party with my colleagues at a Mexican Restaurant. There are some courses. We chose the course of nomihodai (飲み放題) for yen 1,500. That means you can drink as much beverage as you want for yen 1,500 for 2 hours. And each person had to order 2 dishes. There were 2 persons whose birthdays are in this month. So it was not only for the new year's party but also for the surprise birthday party. We had ordered the surprised complimentary birthday cake for them.
We enjoyed drinking, eating, and chatting.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It was very cold. It may snow tomorrow.
I took a half day off to be in time for the lecture at night. Since I had time in the afternoon I went to banks and post office where it is usually difficult for me to go weekday and watched a movie "The Devil's Double" after that.
Lecture started at 7 PM and lasted for 2 hours. It is about shichi fuku jin (七福神), the Seven Gods of Fortune. They are Ebisu (蛭子), Daikokuten (大黒天), Bishamonten (毘沙門天), Benzaiten (弁財天), Fukurokujyu (福禄寿), Jurojin (寿老人) and Hotei (布袋). I learned something new such as those who have suffix "ten" are from India. Only Ebisu is Japanese origin, and others are from China. Did you know about that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It is the time of the Akutagawa (芥川) Prize and Naoki(直木) Prize which are the most prestigious Japanese literature awards. They are selected twice a year.
This year for the 146th prize "Tomogui (共喰い): Cannibalism" by Mr. Shinya Tanaka (田中慎弥) 39 years old and "Dokeshi no cho (道化師の蝶): Clown Butterfly" by Mr. To Enjo (円城塔), 39 years old were selected as Akutagawa Prize.
Naoki Prize will be given to "Higurashi no ki (蜩ノ記): Record of higurashi cicada" by Mr. Rin Hamuro (葉室麟), 60 years old.
Both Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Hamuro received the prizes after 5th nomination. They will get one million yen for the additional prize.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It was cloudy and cold.

It's been 17 years since the Hanshin (阪神) Great Earthquake happened and 6,434 people's lives were lost. And today is the day of disaster prevention and volunteering.
Now that area is recovered.

I believe the Tohoku (東北) area will also recover like the Hanshin area did.

Monday, January 16, 2012


It was cloudy and very cold today.

January 16 is yabuiri (藪入り). It used to be a holiday for apprentices and brides to be able to go back home in Edo (江戸) era. There were only two holidays for them in a year, that is January 16 and July 16 because January 15 and July 15 were very important festival days.
After World War II, Sunday became day off and yabuiri went out of use.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


January 15 is known as koshougatsu (小正月), literally small new year. There are some events or customs on this day such as eating azukigayu (小豆粥), rice porridge with red bean and donto yaki (どんと焼き) or sagicho (左義長), fire festival burning the new year's decoration.
But for me it is my father's birthday. I cooked sekihan (赤飯), red bean rice.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I went to dentist today. Dentist in Japanese is haisha (歯医者). I have had a slight pain on the right teeth for a week or so. It seems it is hyperesthesia, which is chikakukabin (知覚過敏) in Japanese.

Now the season of the entrance examination for the universities has begun. It was the first day of the National Center Test for the university admissions. There were about 555,000 students who took the examinations at 709 venues today. Good luck!

Friday, January 13, 2012


It was a nice day.
I took a half day off in the afternoon to make sure I would be in time for the evening plan.
First I went to see a movie.
Then on the train I happened to see my friend from Expo '92 after almost 2 years. We went to the restaurant and I ate an American style hamburger after a long time. We enjoyed talking.
After that I went to listen to the best seller writer's lecture. His name is Mr. Ken Honda (本田健) and he has lived in Florida before. Lecture was very nice. It's been 2 years since I went to his lecture last time. I bought his 3 books today and got his autograph and had a small talk. I am glad to know that he lived in Boca Raton. Because I also lived in Boca Raton. What a coincidence!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It was very cold today.
I used the disposable warmer for the first time this winter. It is very convenient and I have never seen them abroad. My American friend in Seattle was pleased when I gave her them as a souvenir.

Tonight I watched 2 TV dramas which have just started. I happened to see the shooting of one of them on the last day of my working last year in Shinagawa (品川). At that time I did not recognize who they were. But I am glad to see the scene tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


January 11 is known as kagami biraki (鏡開き), literally mirror opening. It is a day to eat the New Year's round rice cakes called kagami mochi (鏡餅) thanking gods and ancestors and wishing the happiness and good health. I ate them as oshiruko (お汁粉), red bean sweet soup.

It has been 10 months since the Great East Japan Earthquake happened.


I went to see the exhibition of the Dragon art at a gallery of the department store in Shinjuku (新宿) after work with my colleague. It was a small exhibition but there were pictures, specimens, sculptures, and so on. There were unique works which were made with a mirror. There was one side of the body of the dragon on the mirror, and the other side was the reflection. I think the Japanese image of dragon and that of other countries are different.
After that we visited two pilot stores of Miyazaki (宮崎) prefecture and Hokkaido (北海道). There were many local foods there.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Today is a national holiday called seijin no hi (成人の日), Coming-of-Age Day. Until 1999 it was celebrated on January 15, but from 2000 it became the second Monday of January. In Japan being 20 is regarded as adult. How about in your country?

Tonight I watched a TV program which I like very much. It is the 87th All Japan Masquerade. There were 35 groups attended. And all the groups passed. This has never happened. And the first prize was given to the first group who performed "The Dance of the Dragon Bone." It was the first time for the first performed group to get the first prize.
This is the year of the Dragon. In Japanese it is tatsu doshi (辰年).

Sunday, January 8, 2012


There was hatsu gama (初釜) today. Hatsu gama literally means first pot. It is the first tea ceremony of the year. Usually we have hatsu gama at my masters' house. But this year they decided to have the one at the Ikkeian (一景庵) of Shiosai (しおさい) Park in Hayama (葉山) which used to be an attached house of the Imperial Villa, where the Emperor Showa (昭和) succeeded to the throne on December 25, 1926 at the age of 26 years old. There is a museum inside the park where there is a marine lives collection of the Emperor Showa.
At the end of the tea ceremony there was the drawing of the lottery. To my lucky I got the second prize! I feel this year is going to be a good one.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


January 7 is known as nanakusa (七草), seven herbs. It is a day to eat nanakusa gayu (七草粥), rice porridge of seven herbs.
Seven herbs are seri (芹): Water dropwort, nazuna (薺): Shepherd's Purse, gogyo (御形): Cudweed, hakobera (はこべら): chickweed, hotokenoza (ほとけのざ): Nipplewort, suzuna (菘): Turnip, and suzushiro (すずしろ): Radish.
We tend to eat many delicious food so called osechiryori (お節料理) in the New Year's Days, so we need to eat something light after a week.

Friday, January 6, 2012


It is shokan (小寒), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was toji (冬至) on December 22, and the next one is taikan or daikan(大寒) on January 21. Shokan literally means small cold. Taikan literally means big cold. It is the time getting colder and colder. This morning was the coldest so far in this winter.

After work I went to see a movie Mission Impossible with my colleague. It was very interesting. I recommend you to see.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


It was very cold today. They say tomorrow it will be the coldest. Weather was fine. I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji.
It is a season of the new year's sale here and there. I went shopping for my father's birthday present after work at the department stores.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The first day of working this year. We call it shigoto hajime (仕事始め).
There is a shrine near our office so I went there for the first visit (hatsumode: 初詣) at the lunch time. It used to be a big precincts and when there happened the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 last year we evacuated there. But last autumn the construction started and the shrine was moved at the corner. It was sad to see the change.
Then my colleague and I had lunch at a small cafe. We were very lucky to find the seat.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Last day of the winter vacation. Until January 3 we call "shogatsu sanganichi" (正月三が日), the first three days of the New Year. Many people start working from tomorrow.
There was the return road race of the 88th Hakone ekiden from Hakone to Tokyo for 109.9km today. Yesterday Toyo (東洋) University won by 5 minutes 7 seconds ahead. Today they made a new record of 10 hours 51 minutes 36 seconds and became a champion for the third time after the year before last.
Last year they lost by only 21 seconds behind which made them arouse.
The second was Komazawa (駒沢) University and the time was 9 minutes 2 seconds behind from Toyo University.
There are 10 distances and there were 2 new records and they got the 4 distance awards.
They felt disappointed very much last year. But that experience made them strong and faster. Without that experience, they would not have such a great record and complete victory. I feel everything is the process of being happy.

Monday, January 2, 2012


January 2 is known as the day for hatsuyume (初夢): the first dream, kakizome (書き初め): the first writing, Kokyo ippan sanga(皇居一般参賀): general people's New Year's visit to the Imperial Palace, and the first day of Hakone ekiden (箱根駅伝): long-distance relay road race between Tokyo and Hakone.
How about in your country?

Sunday, January 1, 2012


新年明けましておめでとうございます。(shinnen akemashite omedeto gozaimasu
A Happy New Year!!
Feliz Ano Nuevo!

It is a beginning of the new year.
What kind of resolutions do you have this year?
I am going to publish my first book on my birthday May 8.
I want to travel Egypt, Turkey, and Greece via London in summer which was my long-term dream. I also want to visit Mongol and other Asian countries where I have been working for the invitation programs for the past 3 years in the near future.

Today there was a rather big earthquake in the afternoon.
On March 11, 2011 many people's lives were changed completely. Man is mortal. We do not know what will happen in the future. We should live our lives as the way we think the best for ourselves. Life is only once. We do not have time to feel depressed for a long time even if it seems everlasting. Let's look up and concentrate on being happy and making others happy. Happiness is all we need.

I wish all of you have a very happy prosperous healthy new year 2012!