Saturday, March 31, 2012


March 31 is the last day of the fiscal year in Japan. A quarter of the year has passed. How have you been?
It was windy and rained heavily like a storm but became fine later today.
I went to the dentist in the morning.
Finally a part of my first books which will be on sale on my birthday this year arrived at home. Today is my brother's and my dead best friend's birthday. So I felt something like they are supporting me.
At the 2012 World Figure Skating Championship the Japanese pair (Ms. Narumi Takahashi <高橋成美> and Mr. Mervin Tran from Canada) got the bronze medal for the first time in the Japanese figure pair skating history today in Nice in France.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I was so busy today.
We needed to change the desktop PC to the note PC, so I needed to save all the necessary data in the morning then I had a meeting all afternoon. Since there will be newcomers in April, we need to rearrange the seating, and I had to move. It is the end of the fiscal year, therefore we have to submit the attendance sheet of the month. And of course there were regular works, therefore I missed the last train.
Three of us used the taxi together and my place was the last destination. It cost more than yen 30,000. And I came home around 3:30 AM.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


It was fine and Mt. Fuji looked beautiful.
I took a compensated day off because in Japan March is the last month for the fiscal year and we need to take this fiscal year's compensated days off within this month.
I had a very good day to do many things.
In the morning I went to the general meeting of stockholders (株主総会:kabunushi sokai)for the first time in my life. I have had a small amount of the stocks of a movie company for nearly 10 years but I have never attended the meeting. There were nearly 3,000 stockholders there. At the entrance we exchanged the tickets and got a bag of souvenir. In it there was a box of famous sweets and two free tickets of the movie. And with the entrance ticket you can see one movie today. That is just to attend you can get nearly the value of yen 7,000 or so. Isn't this wonderful?
They also offer tea or coffee at the lobby.
I knew the status of the company which is badly affected by the 3.11 earthquake. They passed a dividend (配当金:haito kin)this term.
I watched a movie. The theater was full because it started soon after the general meeting, they did not have to wait for a long time and they could see it for nothing.
I went to massage in the afternoon. I have had lower back pain so I am glad to have my body checked.
Then I visited one of my friend's laboratory and heard many interesting things. We enjoyed very delicious Chinese dinner.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It was fine today.
At lunch time I went out with colleagues to the Japanese restaurant. We ate the set menu of sashmi (刺身,raw fish), fried fish and shrimp, and yakizakana (焼き魚, grilled fish), rice, miso soup and pickles for yen 1,050.
One of them traveled around the world by the Peace Boat last year which I did in 2003 to 2004, so I am glad to hear about her story.
I was very busy and overworked till late and came back by taxi again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It was fine. I took a compensated holiday to take my father to hospital for once a month check up.
In the morning I happened to see a friend of my mother who knows about me but I do not remember her. It's been almost 10 years since my mother passed away. She said my mother was a good sport and very clever with her fingers and often cared about me. I did not know that she talked about me to her friends. People can live in other's mind even if they do not exist any more.
At the hospital I happened to see one of my students who is already a father of a daughter after a long time. That is he is older now than I was his teacher of English at the junior high school then. He said "I think these days how I wish I should have studied English more when I was a student!" I advised him that it's not too late yet to start studying again. People can live in other's mind even if we do not see each other.

Monday, March 26, 2012


It was fine but still cold when I went out for lunch with my colleagues. We went to a Chinese restaurant.
After 3 days business trip, I was very busy and stayed at the office till later than 11 PM.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


It was fine today.
Last Sunday I bought a microwave & oven, and it was delivered today.
As the first dish I cooked grilled chicken with shiokoji (塩麹), salty seasoning which I bought yesterday in Ueda, Nagano (長野県上田:nagano ken ueda). They say it is very popular these days. I baked satoimo (里芋:taro) too. I steamed asari (あさり:short-neck clam) with sake (酒). For rice, I mixed nozawana furikake (野沢菜ふりかけ) which I also bought yesterday. And I cooked miso soup with nameko (なめこ: slimy mushroom), tofu (豆腐:bean curd), abura age (油揚げ: deep-fried bean curd), and negi (ねぎ: Welsh onion).
All were delicious.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


It was fine today.
I had some meetings and visited some places. One of them was a museum. I knew many new things there too.
I was too busy to eat lunch and ate noodles and something special there in the evening.
When I got back to my station, there were already petals of the cherry blossoms on the ground.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It was another cold rainy day.
We had many meetings, met many new people, and knew many things.
We could not have decent lunch but enjoyed dinner with salad, drink, dessert, and icecream bar. There was a cotton candy making machine and I tried making it for the first time. I enjoyed but felt cotton candies are very expensive compared to the price of ingredient.
I am now staying at the Japanese style hotel with hot spring. Hot spring is onsen (温泉) in Japanese. I am very tired so I am looking forward to taking a hot spring big bath.


I came to Nagano (長野) with my colleague on a business trip. We took the Nagano shinkansen (長野新幹線), a bullet train from Omiya (大宮) to Ueda (上田). At the Omiya station we saw a very beautiful shinkansen Hayate (はやて).
After coming to Nagano, we went to Obasute (姥捨) station where we could see the switch back. It was the first time for me to see it in Japan. Only local trains do so to stop at the station. They say it has one of the three most beautiful scenery from the train window in Japan and you can see 9 stations from there.
There is a high way service area nearby, and we could see the beautiful night view from there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


It was a cold fine day.

After 4 days off, there were so many things to do at the office, and I had to overwork till late in the evening.

These days using emails and Internet is quite normal. I sometimes wonder how we could manage the daily business thing without having such things about 20 years ago....only by telephone and fax or telex.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Today is a national holiday called shunbun no hi (春分の日), the Vernal Equinox Day. It was a very nice warm day.
At this time of the year, we visit the graveyard of our ancestors. Father and I went to my mother's graveyard. It's been almost 10 years since my mother passed away.
There are many different kinds of cherry blossom trees, and one of them was very beautiful there.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I took another compensated holiday, and watched two movies. One is "Carnage", and the other is "The Iron Lady." The Japanese title of the former is "otona no kenka (おとなのけんか)" meaning "adults' quarrel" and the latter is "Margaret Thatcher."
And I went to see my friend's exhibition. It was the unique one, and objects were produced by the 3D printer which I knew for the first time.
At night I ate at the delicious crab restaurant.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


It was another cold rainy day. Today was the last day of the extended cherry blossom festival in my city, therefore there were so many visitors to see the beautiful flowers there in spite of the rain.
I had a luncheon at the Indian Restaurant in Yokosuka. There were about 18 people there. One of them was a producer of the movie which will be released on Saturday, April 7. Its Japanese title is "Totecheeta Chiquitita (トテチータ チキチータ)", and the English title is "Gentle Rain Falls for Fukushima." As you can see from the English title, this movie is related to the 3.11 Fukushima incident and the family bonds.
I bought an advance ticket and am very looking forward to seeing it on the opening day because main casts will appear at the theater for greeting.
At today's luncheon the main actress was there, so I asked her for autograph and a picture. Her name is Jurina (寿理菜). She may be a big star near future.
I hope many people will go to see this movie.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


It was a cold rainy day.
I went to the dentist in the morning. Then I went to once a week grocery shopping. In the afternoon I went to massage where I could not visit for 8 months or so. She was so surprised to touch my body. It was badly damaged than we thought.....
In the night I went to see a movie titled "Extremely loud and incredibly close" which was very nice. I recommend you to watch.

Friday, March 16, 2012


It was fine but still cool today.

I went out for lunch with 2 colleagues to the Italian Restaurant which newly opened early this month or so. You can choose 4 different types of noodles and many kinds of source. Plus yen 200 you can have drink. Plus yen 300 you can have salad, drink, and dessert. We ordered plus yen 300 course, but since we had a coupon for free drink, we got salad, drink, and dessert for plus yen 200. That was good.

After work I had a party with 5 colleagues who started working about the same time to celebrate our 3 years anniversary to complete working at the French restaurant. It's been 3 years since we met. How fast time flied! We enjoyed eating and chatting.

To have good colleagues is very nice.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I have suffered from backache since yesterday. So I am glad to have taken another day off beforehand. I wanted to go out but gave up and stayed home all day long.
These days I have not written letters, but finally I found time to do so, and wrote some letters and cards.
Letter in Japanese is tegami (手紙), literally hand paper. Postcard in Japanese is hagaki (葉書), literally leaf writing. Stamp in Japanese is kitte (切手), literally cut hand. It costs yen 80 for envelope, and yen 50 for postcard to send in Japan.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


March 14 is White Day in Japan. It is a day for boys and men to give something sweets to the girls and women who gave them chocolate on St. Valentine's Day as a return. This is only Japanese custom. So if you have a Japanese girl friend, you had better remember this custom.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I took a compensation day off. It is furikae kyujitsu (振替休日), in short, furikyu (振休) in our organization. I worked weekends in December and March. Therefore I have 4 days which should be compensated within this month, because March is the end of the fiscal year in Japan.
I stayed home to check the manuscript.
I heard the birds singing in the morning. I feel the spring is coming.

Monday, March 12, 2012


It was fine but cold today.
At lunch time we had a small party for a colleague whose birthday was yesterday. One of colleagues baked a cake for her. It was so tasty.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


It's been a year since the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. The number of the dead is 15,854, and 3,155 are still missing. 344,000 people are still living in the temporary housing. Temporary housing is kasetsu jutaku (仮設住宅) in Japanese.
At 2:46 PM last year many people's lives were changed drastically and they are still suffering. I pray for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and wish for the early recovery of its stricken area.
I was in the office last year and could not come home because the train stopped.
There were many memorial events here and there this year.
I was on the train from Narita at that time today. At the airport there were so many people.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


It was snowing in the morning when I got up.

There was a party at night and I had a chance to see some traditional dances or songs from Asian countries.

Friday, March 9, 2012


It was a cold rainy day.
We visited another roadside station, michi no eki (道の駅) where we could try strawberry picking. Strawberry picking is ichigo gari (イチゴ狩り) in Japanese.
They say because of the cold weather this winter made the strawberry grow slow. At that place strawberries were raised by water, I mean hydroculture.
We visited another strawberry farm where is the most popular around this area because you can try 5 different kinds of strawberries. There they are raise by soil. The size of the strawberries were quite different and tastes also different. I liked the latter one.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Today I visited 2 roadside stations, michi no eki (道の駅).
One looked very popular and there were so many people shopping there. The other was rather small and there were few people. There is a museum of the famous ukiyo-e (浮世絵) artist nearby. Ukiyo-e is a style of mostly woodblock pictures established in the Edo period in Japan.
The process of making woodblock print is very complicated. It is a cooperative work of designer, engraver, and printer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


It was cloudy and slightly raining in the morning.
I came to Minamiboso, Chiba (千葉県南房総市:chiba ken minami boso shi) again.
Here is famous for its warm climate and there are rape blossoms in the field. Rape blossoms in Japanese is na no hana "菜の花". At lunch time we had a chance to eat cooked nanohana.
In the afternoon we had a lecture about Roadside Station. Roadside station in Japanese is michi no eki "道の駅". Station is usually for trains, but this place is for cars or buses. It has 20 years history in Japan. And there are many roadside stations in this area.
Do you have such facilities?

Monday, March 5, 2012


It was heavily raining in the morning, but it stopped in the afternoon. It was a bit warm today.
Every night when I come back to my station, I see the more and more cherry blossoms are blooming. Spring is nearing.


It was a cold rainy day.
Today is keichitsu (啓蟄), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was usui (雨水) on February 19, and the next one is shunbun (春分) on March 20.
Keichitsu is a day when insects come out from hibernation.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


It was cloudy, windy, and cold today.
There was Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon (びわ湖毎日マラソン:biwako mainichi marason) which is also for selecting the runners for the London Olympics. I did not watch the race because of the job, but it seems a Japanese runner Mr. Ryo Yamamoto (山田亮) became in the 4th.
In my city there was the 30th anniversary Miura International Marathon. This is the sister city marathon of Honolulu marathon. But the length is not 42.195 km, but its half marathon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


March 3 is hina matsuri (ひな祭り), the doll's festival or girl's festival. It is also called momo no sekku (桃の節句), the seasonal festival of peach tree. The family with girls decorate dolls called o hina sama (お雛様), and eat hina arare (雛あられ) and hishi mochi (菱餅), and drink shiro zake (白酒).

It was a warm nice Saturday, and there were many tourists in my city to see the cherry blossom festival. These cherry blossoms are called kawazu sakura (河津桜).

There was a big news in the Japanese World Cup Women's ski jump history. A 15 years old junior high school student, Ms. Sara Takanashi (高梨沙羅) jumped 102.5 meters and became a champion. Congratulations!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Tomorrow is doll's festival. It is a festival for girls. Therefore the director of our department bought sweets called sakuramochi (桜餅) for girls. Isn't it nice?
Sakura means cherry blossom, and mochi means rice cake. It is wrapped with a salted leaf of cherry blossom and rice cake is cute pink, and there is sweet red bean paste inside. So delicious.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A new month has just begun. March is sangatsu (三月) in Japanese. Its old name is yayoi (弥生).
March is the month of graduation and the month of account settlement in Japan.

It was fine today and Mt. Fuji looked so beautiful covered with fresh snow.