Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012.5.30

It was fine.
After work I went to Yokohama to see my old colleague from my first job, junior high school teacher.  It's been a while since we met last.  Since I wrote a book and wanted to give it to him, and recently I got a postcard from him telling that he has just retired.  So we decided to see each other today on the occasion to attend a meeting together.
We ate at Chinese Restaurant before going to the meeting.  As we did not have enough time, we ordered the dishes they could serve soon, that is fried noodle and fried rice with 5 different ingredients.  We shared both.
After the meeting, I introduced him to my friends and we enjoyed chatted at the coffee shop.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012.5.29

Early in the morning when I was in bed there were rather big earthquakes.  I felt it lasted long because I was sleeping.
Late in the evening there were thunders.
In Japan there is a phrase "jishin, kaminari, kaji, oyaji (地震雷火事親父)" meaning "earthquake, thunder, fire, father."  This is the order of things people are usually afraid of.
How about in your country?  Are there anything like this?

2012.5.28

It was fine and warm in the morning, but it became dark around 3 PM and seemed to start raining heavily.  However when I came out from the office around 8 PM, it has stopped raining already.  There just remained the puddles on the road.
In ther northern area they say it rained heavily with thunder (雷:kaminari) and gust (突風:toppuu).
Tomorrow again we need to be very careful for thunder and gust because the weather is unstable.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012.5.27

It was very hot today. 
There was Dousun Matsuri (道寸祭り), Dousun festival in Aburatsubo (油壺) today.  It is held on last Sunday of May every year, but I had never seen it before.  It is the memorial service of a samurai active around this area in the Middle Ages.
Today I went to see a part of the festival, so-called kasagake (笠懸), Japanese mounted archery.  It is one of the three martial arts of mounted archery.  Others are yabusame (流鏑馬) and inuoimono (犬追物).  The archer of kasagake shoots without stopping the horse.
Here is the video. I hope you like it.


video

2012.5.26

It was very warm today.  I stayed at home all day long.
Yesterday there was an advertisement of my book on the Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞), so I wanted to scan the page, but my scanner did not work.....



Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012.5.25

I went to a high school in Tokyo to have  an exchange program with Lao students.  I did not know there is a school in Tokyo which has a close relationship with a certain country.  I was surprised to see a Japanese student say welcome message in Lao and see some Lao musicians, a minister, and an ambassador at the welcome ceremony there.  It seems some of Japanese students have visited there this March to attend the opening ceremony of a school which they supported for construction by donation.
There is Lao Festival this weekend in Yoyogi Park (代々木公園:yoyogi koen), Tokyo.

2012.5.24

I went to a general meeting of stockholders of a film company.  This was the second time for me to attend such a meeting.  Last time when I attended another film company's meeting they offered a box of sweets and two free tickets for the month and one free ticket of the day as a souvenir.  But this time they offered a piece of sweets and two free tickets for the month only.  There were about 1000 people there.
In Japan it usually costs yen 1,800 for an adult to see a movie if you buy a ticket at the entrance.  Advanced tickets are sold about yen 1,500 or 1,300.  You can see a movie at yen 1,000 on Ladies' Day or the Movie Day.   If you are over 60 years old, you can always see them at yen 1,000.
The good thing to have stocks of film companies is you can get free tickets.  The number of the tickets depends on how many stocks you have.  For me I can see 36 movies in a year for free and I have about 16 discount tickets.  So I often invite my friends to the movies on their birthdays.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012.5.23

It was very warm today.  Yesterday it was very cold.  Within a few days the temperature has changed for a few months like April till June.
After 2 big news (annular solar eclipse and the opening of Tokyo Skytree), it was a rather calm day.
I went to MOFA in the morning to attend the presentation session of the 4th batch delegation from the Philippines and overworked till 21:15 or so.
On my way there I happened to receive the free newspaper of Mainichi Shimbum (毎日新聞) which is having a sales promotion.  On someday between May 24 to 30 the advertisement of my book will appear on  that paper, so I am looking forward to seeing it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012.5.22

It was a cold rainy day.  I took a day off to take my father to hospital for a monthly checkup.

For Japan, the biggest news of today was the grand opening of the Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) in Sumida, Tokyo (東京都墨田区:tokyo to sumida ku).  It is the highest free standing broadcasting tower in the world.  The construction has started on July 14, 2008 and finished on Feb. 29, 2012.
The height is 634 meters (2,080 ft).  For us it is easy to remember.  Because the old name of the Tokyo area is called Musashi (武蔵), and mu is 6, sa is 3, and shi is 4 in Japanese. 
There are two observation floors; the 1st one is at 350 meters high and the 2nd one is at 450 meters high.  To go up to the first one, it costs yen 2,000, and you need another yen 1,000 for the other one.
From today to July 10 you need the advanced tickets which are all sold out to enter. From July 11 you can get the daily ticket at the entrance.  It opens at 8:00 and closes at 22:00.
Today it opened to public at 12:00.  9,000 tickets for the first day were sold out and by 16:00 about 4,200 people visited the tower, and about 120,000 people visited the annex shopping area.  And 200,000 people are expected to come within today.
It is estimated that 27.5 million people will visit there within this fiscal year.
I hope to visit there someday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012.5.21

So many people in Japan wished to observe the annular solar eclipse (kinkan nisshoku: 金環日食) today, which happened after 25 years.  In Tokyo area it's been 173 years since it happened last and it's been 932 years since it occurred such widely in Japan.  It was supposed to have a chance to witness the moment for 80 million people.
Unfortunately it was rainy and cloudy this morning around this area.  However it became fine partially and sometimes I could see the partial solar eclipse. 
Last night I watched a TV program about aurora from the space.  There are so many beautiful natural phenomena in this world.
How I wish I was a good photographer to share these beauty with many people!

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012.5.20

It was cloudy.
It was the last day of natsu basho (夏場所) the May Grand Sumo Tournament.  Kyokutenho (旭天鵬), 37 years old, from Mongolia became a champion by 12 to 3.  This is his first victory.  He is the oldest wrestler that became a champion for the first time at his age.   There are 27 wrestlers who are from Mongolia, and this is 50th victory for them.
The other big news was the festival in Asakusa (浅草) called sanja matsuri (三社祭).  This is the 700th anniversary.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012.5.19

It was a nice day.
In the morning I went to massage. 
In the afternoon I went to my friend's concert.  It is annual concert of this time of the year, and this is the 17th year. My friends from high school usually got together to see her perform and go to the French restaurant of my other friend's sisters later.
However unfortunately this year nobody but me could join the concert.  I wanted to go there by all means because she performed the one she composed.  I knew she could play the piano and sing songs but did not know that she also composes the songs.  I was glad to see one of my teachers from high school to give her my book.
My friend and her friend and I went to the French restaurant to have dinner which was delicious as usual and stayed there from the opening till closing enjoying chatting.
I am glad to get a new friend and she bought a book.  Thank you!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012.5.18

It was fine today.
I went to see a movie "Larry Crowne."  Its Japanese title is  Shiawase no kyoshitsu (幸せの教室), meaning Classroom of Happiness.  The English title and Japanese title are quite different here again.  English title is just a name of the main character, but Japanese title depicts the contents.  The main characters are Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts whom I like very much.  There is a Japanese professor which reminded me of the Japanese neighbor of "Breakfast at Tiffany's."  He looks serious but weird.  Are Japanese people still looked weird through Western eyes?
I had delicious lunch with colleagues and enjoyed chatting.  I also met my old friends from Expo '92, who are a father and a son and we enjoyed the reunion.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012.5.17

It was fine.
I had many meetings today.
After work I met one of my colleagues from Expo 2005 and ate delicious Italian foods.  It's been 7 years since the Expo 2005, and we have never met since then.  It was interesting that we remember many "some" things but at the same time we forgot many "other" things including people's name.
The worst day during Expo 2005 was my birthday, May 8, 2005.  Of course I remember the details but she also remembered about it but she forgot why it happened so.  If it happened on other day, I would not have remembered it so well, but it was my birthday, and it became the worst birthday in my life, I can never forget it unfortunately.
We enjoyed seeing each other and eating & drinking at the restaurant this time. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012.5.16

It was fine today.
In the morning I went to MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to attend the workshop presentation session of the Philippines university students.  I always feel their presentation skill is very good.  Japanese school does not have a course of practice presentation nor debate.  So we should have those courses too.
In the afternoon I took Shinkansen (新幹線), the bullet train to come to Osaka (大阪).  It's been about 10 months since I came here last.  I was surprised to know that there were more stations stopped even I took the Hikari (ひかり号:hikarigo) train.  The Nozomi (のぞみ号:nozomigo) train is the fastest, the Hikari is the next, and the Kodama (こだま号:kodamago) is the slowest and stops each station. But the Hikari also stopped many stations which I have never noticed before.
I had a meeting with a colleague in a branch office and came to the hotel.  At the Umeda (梅田) station I could see one of my old friend from Expo '92 and gave him my book.  Unfortunately he did not have time for dinner.
After checked in the hotel, I asked them the good restaurant nearby and I went there for dinner.  Osaka is very famous for good foods and called Tenka no daidokoro (天下の台所), the kitchen of the world.  There are some famous foods but since they recommended me to go to eat Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), kinds of pancake with meat and cabbage.  I went to the one named Tengu (てんぐ).  I ate and drank what I have never had before and enjoyed talking with a master.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012.5.15

There are many festivals which are very famous nationwide and there are three big one in Kyoto(京都).  Today is one of them.  It is called Aoi matsuri (葵祭), Hollyhock festival.  It is the festival of 2 shrines, Kyoto Shimogamo Jinja (京都下鴨神社) and Kamigamo Jinja (上賀茂神社).  Since ancient times, if you say a festival, it has meant the Aoi festival. 
The other two are Gion matsuri (祇園祭), Gion festival in July 17 to 24 for Yasaka Jinja (八坂神社), Yasaka shrine, and Jidai matsuri (時代祭), The Ages festival in October 22 for Heian Jingu (平安神宮), Heian Shrine.
Unfortunately I have never seen any of them though I have been to Kyoto around those times.
I hope to see them someday.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012.5.14

It was fine today.
I went out for lunch with a colleague whom I worked with last September.  We went to a Chinese restaurant.  We ordered the lunch set menu, but we shared the main dishes which is very nice because we could taste two different dishes.
In the afternoon I went to Shin-Yokohama (新横浜) Prince Hotel which seemed having 20th anniversary.  The area around the station is quite different from what I have known two years ago.
After work I visited the bookstore Sanseido (三省堂) at the 8th floor of the station building. There I found my books displayed on the shelf.  I am very happy to see them. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012.5.13

It was fine and very warm today.   The garden is dense with weeds these days.
The second Sunday of May is  haha no hi (母の日), Mother's Day, in Japan.   I went to mother's grave.  It seemed somebody recently visited there because there were some fresh flowers.  Thank you somebody.
Then I went grocery shopping,  took my father to barber,  cooked dinner, and so on. 

2012.5.12

It was fine.
I stayed at home all day long.
Another 500 leaflets have arrived.  I hope many people will read my book. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012.5.11

It was fine today.
This week I have been busy every night for private meetings but tonight I overworked and came home late.
TGIF!
I have just found the review comment on my book at Amazon.com.  and am very happy.  Thank you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

2012.5.10

It was a strange weather today.  It was fine, and rainy later in Tokyo however I hear it hailed a lot in Yokohama.
May 10 is my mother's death anniversary.  It's been already 10 years since she passed away.

Today I had many meetings.  At lunch time I went out with my 3 colleagues to the Japanese restaurant where I wanted to visit for a long time.  It is rather expensive, and I had never had chances to visit there.  We could eat at a small room just for us and the decoration of the room was very attractive.  Foods were delicious.  I said this is a small party for my birthday, then they offered glasses of juice for service.  I got a beautiful pair of wine glasses engraved "Congratulations Kimiko" as a birthday present because this year's birthday is a very special one with the first publishing.  I am so glad to have such nice friends.

After work I had a meeting, then my friends and I went out for dinner after that at the Oyster Bar which is the same one as in New York.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012.5.9

It was cloudy in the morning and rainy in the afternoon.
I went to attend the lecture in the morning.
Then I had lunch at my favorite restaurant where you can eat sweet rolls and buns as much as you want to. With a coupon I had a special lunch course.
I went to the office and worked there in the afternoon.
After work I went to the Imperial Hotel to attend another meeting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012.5.8

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday.  For me it was a very special day this year because I published my first book.  It's been about 20 years since I wanted to publish a book.  From March 1992 to March 1993 I was in Europe and had wonderful experiences and hoped to share them with many people by publishing a book in Japanese, English, and Spanish someday. 
From 2006 to 2008 I had a chance to go to Florida, the USA as a JOI (Japan Outreach Initiative) program coordinator.  It's been 10 years since the JOI program began, however there are only less than 40 Japanese people who were coordinators in Japan.  Therefore I decided to write about this experience to share them. 
My dream is to be a bridge between Japan and other countries.  I hope many people will read my book and understand the US society.  You can order the book from my website too.
Today I took a day off to renew my driver's license, and attend the party.  I had a good day.  Thank you so much.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012.5.7

It was fine today.
I went out for lunch with colleagues who worked together about 2 years ago.  We went to the branch of the famous Italian restaurant.  The building itself was having early summer festival and they gave us speed lotteries.  To my lucky I got yen 500 coupon.
After work I went to the beauty salon (美容院: biyoin) in Omotesando (表参道) to have my hair changed.  I wanted to have my hair permed but it was too late to do so.  Therefore I asked to have it cut. Omotesando is a very fashionable place. They kindly discounted 10% because I went there by my friend's recommendation.


I used to go to the one in Zushi (逗子), but when I called in early May, the phone number was already invalid.  I have been worried because I have been there since my high school days.....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012.5.6

It was fine today. Today is the last day of the Golden Week. In the morning I went to Yokohama (横浜) to see a movie "The Help" with my friend from the university. It was a very nice movie and I liked it very much. Then I met another friend from high school to have lunch. It's been 7 years or so since we saw each other last time. Her son came later and I was surprised to see him after 7 years. He was a boy but now he is a man. Then I went shopping. I bought a bag and went to see bookstores if my book is there or not. I am glad to find my book at Kinokuniya (紀伊國屋) of the Sogo (そごう)department store. At the checkout counter, there are CYBER signages. And I found the advertisement of my book. I hope many people feel like buying it. Then I went to the flea market of a big electrical appliances. There are many campaigns so I decided to buy a smart phone. It is rather difficult to input the letters for now. It was another good day for me.

2012.5.5

May 5 is a national holiday called kodomo no hi (こどもの日), Children's day. It was very fine today. I met many people today. In the morning I saw one of my students whom I taught so many years ago. We have not seen each other for a long time, but I remembered her very well. From 11 AM to 13:30PM I had a meeting, then I had another meeting for lunch. Then I met a couple whom I have wanted to see for a long time for 30 minutes. I gave them my book and he gave me his book in return. Then I had a party to commemorate my birthday and publishing the first book with friends at a cafe in Shinjuku (新宿) from 16:00 to 18:00. There came about 20 people or so. To my glad the publisher sent me a big flower basket. I shared the story why I decided to publish the book. Then I went to Shibuya (渋谷) to meet one of my teachers. We went to the newly opened spot called "Hikarie
(ヒカリエ)." He also celebrated my birthday and publishing. I am so glad to have such nice people in my life.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2012.5.4

Today is a national holiday called midori no hi (みどりの日), Greenery Day. It was fine and cloudy in the morning, cloudy and rain in the afternoon, and cloudy and fine in the evening around this area. However in the northern area it rained heavily and there occurred flood which left many damages. I went to Kamakura (鎌倉) to see my friend. We went to the French restaurant. It was a very nice restaurant and foods were delicious. Then I visited her house which was built about 100 years ago. We enjoyed chatting. When we got to her house, it started raining. When it almost stopped, we left for Tsurugaoka hachiman gu (鶴岡八幡宮), which is the very famous shrine. Whenever my foreign friends come to visit me, I usually take to Kamakura because it is an old historical place. So I have been there many times. But today I found many new places.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012.5.3

Today is a national holiday called kenpo kinen bi (憲法記念日), Constitution Memorial Day. The latter half of the Golden week has begun. This time is 4 days off. It rained heavily today. I went to see one of my friends from high school in the morning. And I watched 2 movies in the afternoon. One is a Japanese movie titled "Thermae Romae" which was very interesting. And the other is "The Artist," the Oscar movie.

2012.5.2

It was cloudy and became rainy in the afternoon. I took an hour off to visit the Japan Foundation Center for the Global Partnership where sent me to The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens as a JOI coordinator from 2006 to 2008. I wrote about the 2-year experiences and my first book will be on sale on May 8, therefore I wanted to hand it to them before that. Then I had another party with my tennis friends at shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) restaurant in Ginza. Shabushabu is a very popular pot dish. You eat meat and vegetables by dipping into the boiling water pot to cook, and eat with sesame taste seasoning or juice pressed from bitter oranges. It was tasty. .

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012.5.1

A new month has started. May is gogatsu (五月) in Japanese, and its old name is satsuki (皐月). It was cloudy and sometimes rainy. Inside the office it was very hot and humid like summer. I went out for lunch with colleagues and enjoyed eating and chatting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012.4.30

The end of April. Today was furikaekyujitsu (振替休日), transferred holiday. Yesterday was a national holiday and also Sunday, so today became a compensate holiday. It is not fine but cloudy, however it was rather warm today too. My colleagues held a birthday party for me at my favorite restaurant in Shinjuku. There we ate crab dishes such as salad, crab with vinegar, raw crab, croquette, crab rice in iron pot, miso soup, pickles, and dessert. In addition my colleagues prepared the whole birthday cake as a surprise. It was the fruit cake of very famous fruits parlor in Shinjuku.
It's been a while since I was celebrated with the whole cake, so I am very glad.