Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The last day of February. Once in 4 years. We call the leap year "uruu doshi (うるう年)" in Japanese.

It started snowing in the night, and in the morning it has been piled about 8 cm or so on the car roof. I tried to drive, but it was snowing heavily, and I gave up driving this morning. So I had to walk to the station. And trains were delayed for 5 minutes or so.
In Tokyo it was also snowing but not so much as my home town which is very rare because where I live has very warm climate usually.
It stopped snowing in the afternoon, and when I got out of the office at night, there were little snow left on the street.
When I got to my station, there was only one taxi left, and I was lucky to catch the one. There were some snow left under the roof around my house, but most of snow has been already melted.
There were earthquakes in the afternoon and night today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It was cold. They say it will snow tomorrow.
I took a day off to take my father to the hospital for once a month checkup.
I could do something in the morning that I can't usually do on weekday.

Monday, February 27, 2012


It was fine and very cold, especially the wind was so cold when I went out with my colleagues for lunch. We ate special oyakodon (親子丼), which is literally means parent-child bowl. It is a bowl of rice topped with chicken and eggs. Usually it is cooked with soy source, but this one was made with salt.
After work I went out for dinner with my friend at the Spanish restaurant where we have been for a long time. Usually we order the course menu but this time we ordered a la carte to taste everything we want to.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


There was the Tokyo Marathon 2012.
More than 36,000 people registered for the entry, and 34,674 people could finish running. It started at 9:10 AM and closed after 7 hours.
The winner was Mr. Michael Kipyego from Kenya and the record was 2 hours 7 minutes 37 seconds. And the second was Mr. Arata Fujiwara (藤原新), 30 years old Japanese professional runner. His record was 2 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds.
There were about 10,000 volunteers.
My friend from university has also participated in and completed! Congratulations!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


It was a cold rainy day.

I went to the dentist in the morning.
And I went grocery shopping in the afternoon. And I have my car inspected. It is called shaken (車検). It has been almost 3 years since we bought the car, therefore it is the time of the car inspection. It costs a lot in Japan. This time it cost about yen 130,000.-

I bought green jumbo lotteries today. This is one of the support policies for the reconstruction of the Tohoku area where was stricken by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, last year.
The first prize is yen 300,000,000 which is the most in the history. And the total prize will be yen 500,000,000 if you have the number before and after too.
The estimated amount of the sales is yen 66,000,000,000 and the revenue is yen 28,800,000,000. Among them yen 8,800,000,000 will be used in 9 prefectures and 2 designated cities for the reconstruction.
It costs yen 300 for one piece and has been sold from February 14 to March 14.
Why don't you try buying and contribute for the reconstruction?

Friday, February 24, 2012


It was warm today, but it seems cold tomorrow again.

I went to Tomiura (富浦), Chiba (千葉) by bus to have a meeting in the afternoon. It took about 1 hour and a half from Yokohama (横浜) to Tomiura by stopping only one bus stop in between and cost yen 2,500 for one way. Since the weather was very nice, the view of Yokohama was so beautiful from the Rainbow bridge. Then I fell asleep.
After the meeting, I took the same route, and the view from Aqua line was also nice. I felt like running on the sea like 7 mile bridge in Keywest.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It was cold and rained.

After work I went to join the party of the Brunei's 28th National Day. There were so many people invited. Before entering the room, the ambassador was standing at the entrance, and everyone greeted one by one. I think it took more than 30 minutes for all the guests to enter.
Many people of Bruneian are Muslim, therefore I was wondering what kinds of foods were arranged. Choices of the drink was either oolong tea or cider. Unfortunately most foods were gone before I could try. Especially the sushi counter looked very popular.
I am not sure how the party started. There was a stage and many flower stands in front but while I was there, there was no speech nor performance.
Before leaving everyone tried to talk with the ambassador to say congratulations and thank you and take a memorial photo with him. He was very kind enough to do so for everyone wished.
There was a gift bag which included a 600 ml bottle of water, snack, and a tumbler.
Usually the Japanese pet bottle is 500 ml, therefore it was the first time for me to see that bottle size.
Besides those who I knew, I had a chance to talk with English and German.

It was our Crown Prince's 52nd birthday today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It was fine.

They say today is the World Friendship Day which has started since 1965. It seems the origin is the birthdays of Mr. and Mrs. Powell, the founder of boy scout and girl scout. It is the biggest world youth organization which is joined by 30,000,000 youths in 161 regions and countries. In your country is it popular?

Today is also the day of cats which has started since 1987. I think this is just in Japan. Because it is from the call of cats "meow" which sounds like nyan nyan (ニャンニャン) for Japanese ears. Sound nyan reminds 2 which sounds ni in Japanese.  Today is 2.22 (nyan nyan nyan).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


It was fine but cold today.

At lunch time I went out with my colleague and ate at the Japanese restaurant. This week's special was the fish named sawara, Japanese Spanish mackerel.
Do you know anything about Japanese letters? There are three different ways to write Japanese. They are hiragana (ひらがな), katakana(カタカナ), and kanji(漢字), Chinese character.
Sawara in hiragana is さわら, in katakana is サワラ, and in kanji is 鰆. Look at the kanji. This kanji 鰆 is composed of two different kanji, left one 魚 means fish, and the right side 春 means spring. Sawara is the fish to tell the coming of spring because spring is the season for egg-laying. And they are often found at the seashore.

Spring is coming.

Monday, February 20, 2012


It was a cold but very beautiful day.

I went to the publisher to submit the revised first galley proof of my first book. Publisher is shuppansha (出版社), and first galley proof is shoko (初校) in Japanese.
It's been about a year since I decided to publish my first book from that publisher and started contacting them.

But it's been 20 years since I first wanted to publish my book. My dream at that time was to write about 5 months traveling experience around Europa by Eurail Pass with 3 languages, that is Japanese, English and Spanish.
How fast time flies!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


It is usui (雨水), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was risshun (立春) on February 4, and the next one is keichitsu (啓蟄) on March 5. Usui literally means rain water, that means the ice melts and the rain water becomes warm. But it was still very cold though it was very fine today.

The Japanese toilet is very advanced and when you enter the room, the toilet cover is open and starts warming up the seat. There are shower, bidet, and drier. These days there was something wrong with the toilet seat at my house. The seat does not warm up. Therefore I asked the repair. And it was fixed today. Since I was used to the convenient life, I am so glad it became comfortable again.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


It was very cold today, but I could see the beautiful Mt. Fuji and the sunset.

I went to the dentist in the morning. Then I went to the tea ceremony of the cultural festival in the next city which my tea masters organized. There I met their 4 pupils whom I met at the first tea ceremony of this year last month. They all wore kimono, but only I did not.
Then I went to banks and grocery shopping as usual. There are many things to do at the weekend.
How about you?

Friday, February 17, 2012


It was very cold but fine in the morning, however it started snowing again.

These days there are many new staffs coming in to the office and there is the one who left today, therefore we had a farewell & welcome lunch at the Japanese restaurant nearby. I tried the new menu kaisen seiro (海鮮せいろ) which is steamed rice with seafood. It was hot and tasty.

After work I went to see a movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" directed by David Fincher because my colleague said it was interesting. There were some psychotic scenes by which I was shocked, but the problem solving story was interesting.
After getting home, I happened to see the interview of David Fincher about the movie.
I am glad because I have just watched it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It was another cold day. In the morning and night it was slightly snowing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There is a coffee shop I have wanted to go in the morning. It is a chain store, and there are many stores of that coffee shop here and there in Tokyo. There is a signboard showing 4 different morning sets in front of the store and they were so cheap. So I have been wondering why for a long time. The reason was you need to order the drink besides the morning set. Therefore it is not so cheap after all. It would be cheaper if I chose other coffee shops for the morning set.
Thinking of that, the coffee shops in Nagoya offer the very cheap morning set. I recommend you to try.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14 is St. Valentine's Day. In Japan it used to be a day for girls and women to give chocolates to boys and men whom they like. And in return on March 14 boys and men give some sweets to girls and women who gave them chocolate on St. Valentine's Day. This is called White Day.
However it seems these years there are some new trends such as to exchange chocolates between girls or from both side.
I like American Style, that is not only girls and women give chocolates to boys and men but also anyone can present to anybody such as sweets, flowers, and cards.

How will you spend this special day in a year?

I hope you have a happy time with your beloved person.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day. Yesterday was off so my colleagues baked cakes and they brought them to the office, therefore we had many snacks today. Our business makes us travel here and there, and whenever we go on a business trip, we buy some souvenirs. Today we have sweets from Tohoku area. Sweets make us happy.
Snack is oyatsu (おやつ), souvenir is omiyage (おみやげ), and sweets is okashi (おかし) in Japanese. What kind of sweets do you like? I like chocolate, cake, and Japanese sweets (和菓子: wagashi).

Sunday, February 12, 2012


It is a fine and beautiful Sunday. There are many things to do and I stayed at home all day long.

In the evening my friends suddenly visited me. I was surprised but I enjoyed talking. To have good friends is a pleasure of our life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


February 11 is a national holiday called kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日), National Foundation Day. Since it is Saturday this year, it seems like the regular weekend.

It has been 11 months since the Great East Earthquake happened. There are still many people missing and there are still many places to be recovered.

I had a good day for visiting my friend and practiced the tea ceremony and went shopping. How about is your weekend?

Friday, February 10, 2012


I was busy today. I had more than 5 places to preview for the program such as hotels, conference rooms, and restaurants. Since it was a fine day, I felt lucky. Yesterday there were 2 places to visit. But it seemed I walked about the same distance according to my pedometer, which showed about 17,500 steps or so. Pedometer is man po kei (万歩計) in Japanese. Man means 10,000, po means steps, and kei means measure. How many steps do you usually walk every day?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It seemed to have rained last night, and the Mt. Fuji looked so beautiful.

I had two appointments today. In between I had some time, and walked around the places nearby. At one place there was an exhibition about Tokyo and famous writers.
At the another building there were many pilot stores from some prefectures.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It is the season of the snow festival (雪まつり:yuki matsuri)in Sapporo, Hokkaido and other northern places.
It started on Feb. 6. Yesterday the temperature in Sapporo went up to 2.2 degrees centigrade which is 0.5 degrees centigrade warmer than the average year.
Therefore a statue of snow has melted down and there was an accident that was the first in its history. They decided to break down the 6 statues which had the possibilities of melting down.

There are earthquakes here and there almost every day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


It was very warm and rainy this morning, but it became very cold.

Today is hoppo ryodo no hi (北方領土の日), the Day of the Northern Territories.
The Northern Territories are Etorofu (択捉) Island, Kunashiri (国後) Island, Shikotan (色丹) Island, and Habomai (歯舞) Islands which are also known as the Kuril Islands.
They are occupied by Russia but are claimed by Japan.

Monday, February 6, 2012


There was a train accident on my way back home. The trains were delayed and I had to wait for a long time at the station. I was wondering if I'd better to use the alternative transportation so called furikaeyuso (振替輸送), but after all I have to change the train again to go home, so I just waited. I am glad to have a book to finish while waiting.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


There was a big news. A 17 years old Japanese high school student, Ms. Madoka Sugai (菅井円加) got the 1st prize at the 40th International Ballet Competition in Lausanne, Switzerland (Prix de Lausanne). She was the best for classic and temporary.
It's been 23 years for a Japanese to be a champion since Mr. Tetsuya Kumakawa (熊川哲也) won.
She said she has practiced every day till in the night.
Practice makes perfect, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Today it is risshun (立春), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was daikan (大寒) on January 21, and the next one is usui (雨水) on February 19.
Risshun literally means stand spring, and it is the beginning of spring.
On the calendar it is already spring, but we have a cold winter.
Today I went to the dentist, and now I have a tooth pain.

We have had a reform of the kitchen since yesterday. We were informed it would take 3 days. So I was ready to cook something very simple for 2 days. But the carpenters in charge were very professional and they finished just for 1 day and a half. So it was a nice surprise.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Today is setsubun (節分). It literally means season divide. That is there are 4 setsubun in a year. But it usually means the day before the beginning of spring.
On this day we scatter parched beans to drive out bad luck by saying "oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (鬼は外、福は内)" meaning devils out fortunes in. After that we eat the same number of beans as our own age to wish our good health.
Recently there is a trend of eating a long big roll sushi called "eho maki (恵方巻)" Eho means the direction where there is a god of the year. We eat it wishing our dream.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It was snowing when I opened the curtain this morning. Boso (房総) peninsula in Chiba (千葉) is famous for its warmth and early blooming of the flowers, therefore they seldom have snow. And at the weather forecast of TV was saying "it is fine" but it was not.
In the northern area of Japan also have lots of snow and there were some accidents of snowsliding (雪崩:nadare) and removing the snow from the roof (雪おろし:yuki oroshi) these days. They say this is the coldest winter in Tokyo area in 26 years and the average temperature of last month was 4.8 degrees centigrade.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


A new month has started. February is nigatsu (二月) in Japanese. The old name is kisaragi(如月).
It was a very cold windy day.
I came to Tomiura (富浦), Chiba (千葉) by bus for the meeting.
Now I am staying at the hotel. I enjoyed eating delicious seafood outside and taking a Japanese style public bath here which has sauna and open-air bath.