Friday, November 30, 2012


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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?


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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.