Monday, December 31, 2012


Last Sunday of this year.   It's been raining and very cold today. 
There are many things to be done but only I did was to finish writing New Year's Cards (年賀状:nengajo).  I have already sent about 200 of them on Dec. 25, and one of them was returned today as unknown address.  I checked the last years' new year's card and knew it was slightly changed and I put it in the envelop to mail it again. 
I usually make two or three different versions for New Year's cards. One is for almost everybody and I write about  my story of the past year and resolutions for the next year.  The other is for colleagues who know my daily life regarding working and I write the appreciation for the past year and ask for the same to the coming year. Since I see them until the very end of the year and the first of the new year, I tend to write them last.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


The first day of 6 days year-end and New Year holidays ( 年末年始: nenmatsu nenshi).  How long do you have?  What will you do? This time if you take one additional day off on Jan. 4, you will have 9 days off in Japan so that many people started traveling.  However I cannot do so because I have a new program starting from January 7 and January 4 is the only new year day I can prepare for the program at the office.
Today we installed the new high tech toilet.  There was something wrong with that for 3 weeks or so and the seat could not be warmed up, therefore we decided to buy the new one and the construction was done today.  I am glad to have it.  Japanese high tech toilet is really nice.  I recommend you to use it someday.
After lunch I cleaned the front garden after a long interval to welcome the new year.  Then Father and I went grocery shopping.  We bought many goods for new years such as some seasonal dishes called osechiryori (お節料理), decoration (注連飾り:shimekazari) for the front door, rice cake decoration called kagamimochi (鏡餅), rice cakes, and flowers. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012


It was a cold day.  It was fine in the morning, but it is raining now.
I was going to leave earlier after work, but unexpected change regarding next program happened and I had to wait for the next information.  It took 2 hours but after all the data we needed did not come.    Today was the last working day of the year which is called shigoto osame (仕事納め), so  I wanted to finish what I could do  but we need to wait until next year of shigoto hajime (仕事始め) on January 4.

Friday, December 28, 2012


It was another cold day.
In the morning I had a slight fever, but since I had important meetings, I could not take a day off.
At lunch my colleagues and I went to a Japanese restaurant where I went to the day before yesterday to have farewell lunch. 
Tomorrow is the last working day of this year, but many people have already started to have a vacation.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


It was a very cold windy day.
I went to check the hotel and restaurants where we will use in January with my colleague. 
After that we went to the restaurant where I have been interested in for a long time because there is always a long line waiting when I passed there.  It was a small restaurant of porridge.  I understand the reason why people like there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Merry Christmas!
How did you spend Christmas this year?
In Japan it is not a holiday and I went to work as usual.  At lunch time I had lunch with 10 colleagues at a Japanese restaurant.  Two of them will leave the office at the end of this year, therefore it was a farewell lunch for them .  It is very difficult to make a reservation for the lunch time.  So we went to the one we often use for lunch party.  Everyone ordered what they wanted to eat, and I ordered butashabu (豚しゃぶ) , hot pot pork dish.  Buta is pork, and shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) is a name of popular winter pot dish.
I was an organizer and invited them as "Christmas lunch" so I presented the attendance candy cane candies which I got as my Christmas presents from American best friend.  They enjoyed that special small treatment for Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Merry Christmas!!
It was a cold day.  It was a transferred holiday (振替休日:furikae kyujitsu) today. 
I had lunch with 3 friends from high school tennis club.  It's been a long time since four of us got together.  We enjoyed chatting and eating delicious crab (カニ:kani) lunch.  Although I have totally forgotten, three of us traveled to Hokkaido to eat crab long time ago.  At first four of us were supposed to go there together, but one of them had to cancel. After that we went to have dessert at the different restaurant and enjoyed Christmas cake.
After saying good bye, I went shopping.  It is a good time to shop because you can get lottery tickets per yen 5,000.  There was a long line to draw lottery.   The first prize was travel ticket of yen 100,000 or so.
Unfortunately I only got some pocket tissues.


December 23 is a national holiday called Emperor's Birthday. He became 79 years old. Since it is Sunday, tomorrow we will be off too.
I went to once a week grocery shopping, and found an interesting cooking utensil and bought it.  It is to make rolled egg and I tried to make it.
In the evening my friends from high school and I had Christmas Dinner at French restaurant.  Three of them include of me were regular members, and two of them joined us for the first time,  one is a doctor and the other is a teacher of primary school.    We enjoyed having delicious dinner and chatting.
By the way in Japan doctors and teachers are addressed as sensei (先生.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012


It was a very cold rainy day.
The first day of the last three day weekend of this year.  Yesterday I made two reservations for business lunch next week.  Today I made two reservations for reunions of high school.  One is for classmates and the other for tennis club.   Every year I have Christmas dinner with my high school friends at French restaurant which my friend's sister and her husband run.   Usually four of us get together, but this year five will get together tomorrow.   I go there a few times in a year.  This is the fourth time this year.
On Monday four of us from the tennis club will have lunch at Japanese restaurant which specialized in crab dishes.   It's been a long time since all of us get together because one of them now lives in the USA.
I am looking forward to both reunions.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Today is toji (冬至), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was taisetsu (大雪) on December 7 and the next one will be shokan (小寒) on January 5. Toji means to reach winter.
On toji we eat pumpkin and take a bath with yuzu (柚子), kind of citrus not to catch a cold.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I took a half day off to go to medical check for the second time after 3 months.  The result was not bad.
It finished around 11:30 and I went to my favorite bakery restaurant.  It is very popular because they offer a variety of fresh bread and you can eat as much as you like.  There were many people waiting as usual.  I waited for 15 minutes or so.  I ordered the special course and enjoyed about 5 different  fresh bread and got even souvenirs because I had a coupon of JAF member.  I felt lucky.


It was very cold today.
December is the season for year-end parties so called bonen-kai (忘年会) which literally means forget year party.
I had the one with co-workers. About 20 people got together. Since our directors were changed on Dec.1, it was also their welcoming party.
How many parties do you have this month?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The result of the election was published.  Mr. Taro Kono (河野太郎) from the 15th district of Kanagawa Prefecture got the most votes of 192,604 in the nation.  The number of eligible voters in that area is 456,520 which is the third in Kanagawa. This was the 6th victory straight for him.  The second was Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎) from the 11th district of Kanagawa Prefecture which is my district.  He got 184,360 votes.  Both of their fathers were also famous politicians.
Depends on the district the disparity in the number of voters per representation is quite big and some were elected by the small votes.  And it is the big issue in Japanese election system now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Finally I sent Christmas cards.  I hope they will be delivered in time.  I received two Christmas cards today.  One was with a present which I missed buying when I was in the USA last October.  It is very nice to get what I have wanted.  The other was from an ex-counter partner whose mailing address I lost when he moved.  I  am glad to have them both.
Yesterday there was a general election in Japan and so was there the one of the governor of Tokyo.  Mr. Naoki Inose (猪瀬直樹) who was the vice-governor under the Ishihara (石原) Government was elected as the next governor of Tokyo.  He got the most votes in history which is more than 4,300,000.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It was rather warm today.
In the morning I went to the community building to clean as a community service.
After coming home, Father and I went to vote for the general election at the primary school.  The voting time was from 7 AM to 8 PM, and they started to open the result.  It seems the change of government will occur for sure.   In our constituency, the 11th district of Kanagawa, Mr. Shinjiro Koizumi (小泉進次郎) is sure to be elected again.  He is the second son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎).


It was a rainy day.  I started using a new umbrella.
I went to once a week shopping in the morning and to Kamakura to attend a lecture by my professor of the university in the afternoon.  It's been a long time since I met him.  I happened to see another professor whom I know but I haven't seen for a long time there.
Then I went to Yokohama to get massage after a long time in the evening.  I need to exercise.....

Saturday, December 15, 2012


After work I went to two temples tonight.  First one was for a wake (お通夜 : otsuya) of my friend's father who passed away last week suddenly. He ran a company therefore it was a rather big one. 
The other is Sengakuji (泉岳寺) where there is the Gishisai (義士祭), twice a year memorial service for the  Revenge of the Ako (赤穂)  47 warriors of 1702.  It's been already more than 310 years, but the story (忠臣蔵 : chushingura) is still popular among Japanese people, and there were so many people who came to visit the graves of 47 warriors (四十七士 : shijyushichishi). 
This was the second time for me to visit there, but it was the first time to come in the night.  It was worth visiting once in a life time.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It was another cold beautiful day.  I do not like the coldness but there are something I like in winter.  The air is so clear that the landscape looks beautiful.  In the morning I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji.  And in the night we can see beautiful stars.  Especially today is the peak of the Geminids, a meteor shower. I could see some beautiful shooting stars.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It was very fine today.  Not only Mt. Fuji but also everything looked beautiful in the clear cold air in the morning.
Today is 12.12.12.  Special number day which happens once in 1000 years.
Every year we choose the kanji (漢字) of the year.  Kanji is Chinese character which has meaning.  This year's kanji is 金 (kin) which means gold.  The reasons are medals of London Olympic Games and the  accomplishment of a monumental achievement such as Dr. Shinya Nakayama's (山仲伸弥) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
金 is also read as kane (かね) which means money. Kin also means Friday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


It was very fine today.  Not only Mt. Fuji but also everything looked beautiful in the clear air.
I took a day off to take my father to the hospital for once a month check up.  Unfortunately the doctor became sick and he could not see my father today.  Still we visited two other departments and it took long as usual.  After that we went shopping.  I am glad to buy the heater of kotatsu (こたつ) which was broken recently.
Today's big news was the award ceremony of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.  Dr. Shinya Yamanaka (山中 伸弥) received it at the age of 50.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


It was fine but very cold today.  Mt. Fuji was covered with snow about 80 to 90 %.  In many places it snowed a lot.  In Nagano where we were last week, they say it snowed too.
After work I went shopping.  I bought Christmas cards at last.  I was looking for a present to my friend but I found something beautiful and bought them for myself too.

Monday, December 10, 2012


It was another cold windy day.  We could not see the TV because of the strong wind for a while.   Since I tend to turn on TV while doing something, I am glad that they are fixed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


My new year's cards (年賀はがき : nenga hagaki) were delivered today.  I need to think about the design and messages, and print and send them in two weeks or so to be delivered on New Year's Day.  These days many people stop writing new year's cards but tend to use e-greeting cards.  However I love receiving new year's cards (年賀状: nenga jo), so I will send them as long as I can.
But before that I have to buy Christmas cards and send them to foreign countries.
How about you?  Do you write Christmas cards and New Year's cards?

Friday, December 7, 2012


The end of November. How fast time flies! There is only one month left.
I came to Nagano (長野) and stay for 5 days.
Hope it won't be so cold.


Today is taisetsu (大雪), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was shosetsu (小雪) on November 22 and the next one is toji (冬至) on December 21.  Taisetsu literally means big snow. Shosetsu literally means small snow.
There were rather big earthquakes early this morning and evening and lasted long.  Trains delayed because of the earthquakes.


From 6 in the morning till 9 in the night I worked today. I came back home after 5 days.
The great Kabuki (歌舞伎) actor Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII (十八代目中村勘三郎:jyuhachidaime nakamura kanzaburo) , 57 years old, passed away.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I took a compensated holiday. It was a fine but strong windy day. I slept long after busy days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It was raining in the morning. But we were lucky enough not to use the umbrella.
We came back to Tokyo. After getting on the bus, it started raining again. So we were lucky again.

Monday, December 3, 2012


It was very fine.
I went to Zenkoji (善光寺) temple this morning. This is the fifth time for me to visit there this fall. When I arrived there, the Buddhist monks came out from the main temple. It seems there was a special prayer meeting. The visitors were cowering in line to see them off. The Bishop touched their heads by beads.
It must be they will receive good luck or protection from the Buddha.
I saw this for the first time.


It was fine and I saw the beautiful mountain range of the North Alps covered with snow.
In the afternoon we visited the castle park and happened to see the film shooting which will be released next fall.
In the evening we had a big party and everyone enjoyed.
Now we moved to Nagano (長野).

Saturday, December 1, 2012


A new month has started. December is junigatsu (十二月), and its old name is shiwasu (師走).
It was cold and snowed today. They say this is the first snow in this area. The first snow is hatsu yuki (初雪).