Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013.12.31

New Year's Eve.  We call it omisoka (大みそか).

It was very fine.  I have been busy for general cleaning so called osoji (大掃除).
Now I am watching NHK's Kohaku utagassen (紅白歌合戦), the year end music festival on TV.

How was your year 2013?

Mine was interesting.

First three months I had been very busy for Kizuna Bond Project for Indonesian and Filipino Youths.

In April I went to Hawaii to attend Morinda's International Leadership Conference for a week, then went to Thailand & Cambodia, Hong Kong & Macao for three weeks.
 
In Japan I went to Kyoto in March, Ise in June, Gokayama and Hidatakayama in July, and Izumo in October.  For both Ise and Izumo it was a special year of removal of shrines called sengu (遷宮) which occurs every 20 and 60 years respectively.

I started studying journalism in Yokosuka in May but couldn't finish the course because I started studying International Business Administration from August in Yokohama.  There were 30 members in the class in August, but now there are 22 left.  We have studied Business English, Trading, Logical thinking, Marketing, Finance, and so on.  I enjoyed learning new things.

The most impressive experience was to have become a kimono model for several times and participated in  the fashion show in December. 

I started practicing tea ceremony lessons and yoga lessons again after a long interval.  I also participated in some walking tours around here.

2013.12.30

It was fine and Mt. Fuji was so beautiful.

In the afternoon I walked to the Miurakaigan station where I seldom use.  There is a beautiful cherry blossom road on the way and many people come to see them in February.  To my surprise there were some flowers blooming. 
There was the last year-end party in Yokohama.  It was the one of high school classmates.  There were 45 members in our class and 11 of us got together.   They became doctor, dentist, teacher, city servants, banker, office workers, and so on.  Some have only one profession in their lives, others changed their jobs.  Their outside looking were changed somehow but we thought we haven't changed so much inside.  We enjoyed eating, drinking, and talking of our high school memories. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013.12.29

It was fine and very cold.  Mt. Fuji looked so beautiful.

In the morning I checked the New Year's cards which were not so good because of the problem of the printer.  I went to post them.  If you post them by Christmas, they will be delivered on the New Year's Day for sure, but it's already 29th, it may be difficult for them to be delivered on New Year's Day.

In the afternoon I went to grocery shopping. There were many New Year's goods such as gate decorations, rice cake decoration, rice cakes, flowers, and new year's foods. So I spent lots of money to welcome a new year.

2013.12.28

It was fine in the morning but cloudy in the evening.

There were two visitors in the afternoon.

I wanted to finish writing New Year's Cards as soon as possible, but there was something wrong with my printer and it took a long time to do so.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013.12.27

It was slightly raining and very cold.

There was no training today and I started preparing new year's cards though I should have posted them by Christmas.

I went to the Shinagawa Aquarium where is about a few minutes walk from the station.  It was rather smaller than I thought, but there were so many people especially families with small children.  The dolphin show was interesting.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013.12.26

It was rainy and cold.

Today was the last day of the training for this year, and we had a year end party.

There are only five days left this year.  But there are still many things I want to do within this year.

How about you?

2013.12.25

Merry Christmas!!

It was very fine today.

Do you have a nice Christmas?  I hope so.

It is a season of fukubiki (福引), literally means fortune drawing, year end lottery.  Depends on the place cost is different, but every yen 5,000 or yen 3,000 shopping you get a ticket to try lottery.  Since I have some tickets to draw, I went to the place to try.  The best prize was yen 100,000 travel coupon.  But I only got the last prize, pocket tissues.....


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013.12.24

Merry Christmas‼

It was fine in the daytime, but slightly rained in the evening.

I took three hours off to take my Father to the hospital for once a month checkup.  There we had to wait for a while here and there.

On my way to the Bashamichi station, I saw some people pounding rice cakes.  This is called mochitsuki (餅つき), and it is an annual event of preparing the New Year.

At night I had Christmas full course dinner with my high school best friends at a French restaurant.  Every year we get together to eat  the delicious dinner and exchange presents there.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013.12.23

Today is a national holiday called tenno tanjobi (天皇誕生日), Emperor's Birthday.  He became 80 years old.  80 years old is sanju (傘寿).

It was cloudy and cold today.

I went to see a Japanese movie "Eien no zero (永遠の0):  Eternal Zero" in Tokyo.  It was a big theater with about 946 seats.  Since it was released the day before yesterday, and it is a national holiday today, the theater was full, and even to buy a ticket I had to wait for a while though I went there more than one hour before.  It was a war movie which I do not usually like to see.  Many people were crying.  Less and less people know about the war, therefore we may need to have such a movie to avoid wars. 

After that I went to the Tokyo Sky Tree.  I wanted to climb up there, but just to buy a ticket I needed to wait for 50 minutes and it was already becoming dark, so I decided not to climb there today.  There were so many shops at the Tokyo Sky Tree Town and so are many people.

I walked to Asakusa to see the new big lantern of Kaminarimon (雷門: Thunder Gate), Sensoji (浅草寺) temple.  For the past four years I have been there many times to take Asian youths.  It is one of the most popular touristic places in Tokyo.  The big lantern was renewed last month. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013.12.22

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 is shokan (小寒) on January 5.  Toji literally means winter reach, winter solstice.  On this day the daytime is the shortest in the year.  There are customs to eat pumpkin and to take a yuzu bath not to catch a cold.

In the morning I went to grocery shopping, gas station, banks and so on.
In the afternoon I went to yoga lesson which is the last one of this year. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013.12.21

It was fine today.

I went to Shinjuku to attend the lecture in the afternoon.

At night I had a meeting and dinner with friends.  Ten of us got together. One of them is very good at analyzing people's characteristics based upon one's own birthdate and we enjoyed listening to each other's characteristics.  They say it is called Caesarean study, and she said there are three groups mainly.  One is Economy-centered person, the other is Authority-centered, and another is Humanity-centered.  In each group there were four sub-groups.  Each of us has three numbers made of three digits.
We enjoyed eating and talking a lot.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013.12.20

It was a strange weather today, fine in the morning and rain in the afternoon, and it was rather cold.

It's been a month since I visited the Yusen museum.  Today was another entry fee free day.  In the morning there were some people waiting outside the door.
After training I visited there, then went to a bookstore.  I did not intend to buy anything, but I happened to find the schedule notebook which I have used for more then 20 years, so I bought it.  Then I attended the second year-end party which started at 6:00 PM.  There were 8 classmates including the one left recently.  We enjoyed talking, eating and drinking.

Today's big news is Japan welcomed 10,000,000 visitors from abroad this year.  Since Mt. Fuji and Japanese food culture were registered as UNESCO's World Heritage, and the Tokyo Olympic 2020 will come, there will be more and more foreigners come to visit Japan.  I hope to do something for them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013.12.19

It was rainy and very cold.

Usually I have a tea lesson on Thursdays, but last week was the last lesson for this year, therefore no lesson today and next week.
So I decided to go to see a movie "Rikyu ni tazuneyo (利休にたずねよ): Ask this of Rikyu" which my tea companion recommended last week.  Do you know Rikyu?  He is a founder of the way of tea in Japan.  This movie was based on the book which got the 140th Naoki Prize.  It was a love story which I did not expect at all. 

2013.12.18

It was cloudy and very cold, started raining in the evening, and depends on the place it snowed.

I took two hours off to go to hospital to see a doctor to hear about the result of MRI my father took last week.  At hospitals we usually have to wait for a long time, but today everything went within 45 minutes.

After that I went to iPhone shop and asked about the problem I had recently.  They did not know the reason, but they could install the address book data of last year.  I tried to backup from PC tonight but couldn't.  Therefore I lost contacts whom I met during one year and a half....  They recommended to buy iPhone 5s but I just changed the plan which will reduce the payment about yen 2000.
  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013.12.17

It was fine but very cold.   They say it would be very cold, could be snow tomorrow.

There has been something wrong with my smart phone since yesterday.  I could not read emails, so I turned off first, then deleted the old emails in the inbox.  Then all the information I had in the address book has gone too.  I do not know why.  These days I do not remember any phone numbers or email addresses because I have them in the smart phone, but once lost there is nothing left.   I thought to have backup is important.

2013.12.16

It was fine but very cold.

In the morning on my way to class I went to post office to send Christmas cards.  The postage for Christmas card is usually yen 90 for Asia, yen 110 for Europe, America, and Australia, and yen 130 for South America and Africa.  But there was a small packet, therefore I went there to make sure the postage.  I like to buy commemorative stamps, so I used to go to post office whenever they issue the new one.  But these days I buy them when I happen to find a good one.  I use these special stamps whenever I have a chance and send something, especially abroad.   Since there are emails, I send less Christmas cards than before.   But since I like to receive cards, I still send some.  And I bought some more cards today and will send them tomorrow.  I hope they will be in time.

Yesterday they started accepting new year's cards.  To be delivered on New Year's Day, we need to post them by Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013.12.15

It was fine.
In the morning I went to grocery shopping.
In the afternoon I thought of the Christmas letter and thought that I have been  to many places.
In the night I watched a movie on TV.   It was made last year, and I missed watching it at the theater.  So I am glad to see it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013.12.14

It was fine but very cold today.

I went to Yokohama to attend meetings and a year-end party. There were two meetings between lunch.  I went out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant where I wanted to go for a long time.  It is a parents' restaurant of the member of the popular music group, Southern All Stars.  In the bathroom their music was heard as BGM.  I ate a lunch set menu of tendon (天丼), deep-fried shrimp, fish, and vegetables over a bowl of rice with special sauce.   It served with salad, pickles, miso soup, and green tea ice cream and cost yen 945.  It is very close from Kannai Station, and there were many customers in spite of Saturday.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013.12.13

It was fine, but very cold and windy.

The end of the year is nearing.  It is the season for year-end party.  In Japanese it is bonenkai (忘年会), literally forget year party.  In January we have new year party which is shinnenkai (新年会).  So for a month from now there are many opportunities to meet many people, eat, drink, and spend money.
Since I live in a country, I drive a car from my house to the station.  It is prohibited to drive after drinking.  So when there is a party, I need to choose either drinking and taking a taxi or without drinking and driving a car.  In any case if I drink, I need to walk to the station one way for about 1 mile with up and down.  Therefore I prefer having parties on Fridays or the day before holidays because I do not have to walk to the station early in the morning next day.
There will be the first year-end party tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013.12.12

It was fine but very cold today.

New lesson with a new instructor began.  We learn BATIC (Bookkeeping and Accounting Test for International Communication) for a while.

Every year on December 12 which is a day of Kanji (漢字), the Kanji of the year is selected and written with a big brush by a priest of Kiyomizudera (清水寺) Temple in Kyoto.  This event started in 1995.  This year 170,290 people applied and "wa  or rin (輪)" was selected as the Kanji of the year.  Wa or rin means circle.  9,518 people voted which occupied 5.59%.  The reasons of the selection were the happy circles of the news of selected Tokyo as the  host city of the Olympic 2020, Mt. Fuji (富士山) for UNESCO'S World Heritage, and Samurai Japan for Soccer World Cup,  Rakuten Eagles for Japanese No.1 Baseball team, and circles of friendship for supporting devastated areas by natural disasters such as the Typhoon No. 26 hit on Oshima Island or No. 30 on the Philippines.

2013.12.11

It was fine but very cold.  Now it is very windy.

Second lesson of financing and accounting.  In replace of calling a roll, we presented what we will be or do in three years from now.  Some are very realistic, others seemed dreamers.  Me?  I want to publish my second essay both in Japanese and English, and succeed my business and become rich to make people around me happy.
They say to plan 333, that is 3 days, 3 months, and 3 years are important.
And it is said to announce your dream is important.  If you make your dream known, it will be accomplished more easily by the power of attraction.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013.12.10

It was rainy, fine, and cloudy, that is very strange today.

A new lesson with a new instructor started.  As our self-introduction, each of us talked about the wonderful and fearful experiences.  I was surprised to hear there were quite a few people who had unusual experiences.

A classmate got a job.  Since this is a training course, it is a favorable news.  However we had mixed feeling because our classmates have become good friends and we would like to complete the course together.

After the training I went shopping for Christmas cards for foreign friends.  When I got home, I received the first Christmas present and a card from England.  I need to rush.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013.12.9

It was fine.

There was no training today.  I took my father to hospital in Yokosuka to have MRI taken in the morning. Then we went to grocery shopping.

After coming home, I cooked lunch and we ate together.

After having dinner at night I went to small ball exercise.  I thought today was for Aerobics but we practiced Yoga.  This was the last lesson for this year.  I applied the course for the next year. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013.12.8

It was cloudy.

Today there was 2013 KIMONO FASHION FESTIVAL in Yokohama.  This was my biggest event of this month.  There were about 200 Kimono models.  And I was one of them.  It started at 14:00 and ended at 17:00.  I was asked to come at 13:30 and had my hair set at 14:00 and got dressed kimono at 15:00 and had to standby at 15:40 and 16:10.  Therefore I was not sure what was going on and could not see anything.  I participated in Scene 9 and there were about 20 models there.  We wore Homongi (訪問着), formal wear.  Since this was the festival, the way of tying Obi (帯), sash was different from the regular Otaiko (お太鼓). 
I participated with three friends and met some companion who went to Gokayama and Hidatakayama together in July.  We took a memorial photo after the show.
Three of us went out for dinner.
It was a long day and I got tired.  But I am very glad everything went well.

Recently Japanese cuisine and food culture were enrolled as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage.   I hope someday Kimono culture will be listed and known to the world.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013.12.7

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 23 and the next one will be toji (冬至) on December 22.  Taisetsu literally means big snow.  However it is not so cold as it used to be around this time.

Today I went to Shinjuku to attend a monthly meeting in the morning.  Unfortunately I had to leave before it was over.
Then I went to Yokohama to attend a rehearsal of the Kimono Fashion Show for tomorrow.  My appointment time was 14:00 but after all it started around 15:00 so I hoped to stay at the previous meeting longer and do some shoppings.  There I met some people whom I had traveled to Gokayama and Hidatakayama in the summer together.  Since the travel was really nice, it was interesting to see them again.  There will be about 200 Kimono models tomorrow.
Then I went to Yokosuka to attend a meeting for the high school reunion committee in the evening.  We will have the first big reunion of our high school next March.  There were no class changes at our high school,  if you were in a good class, you had a happy high school life, but if you were not in a good class, it must be hard to be there.  There were 10 classes which had 45 students each.  I was rather in a good class and we have had some class reunions for several times after graduation.  But there were other classes which have seldom had the class reunion by now, and it is very difficult for them to contact each other.  It was interesting to see old friends after such a long time. 

2013.12.6

It was fine.

Today was the last day of the Human Resources lesson.  The lecturer is the same as Marketing.  So today was the last day of his lecture.  Yesterday he gave 6 persons titles such as Marketing Master, Best Analyst, and Best Entrepreneur.  Today he decided to give one more title Business Administration Theory Expert by test.  He just wanted to choose one best person.  But there were two who got the highest score.  Fortunately I was one of them.  There were only 6 days taught by him.  But many classmates enjoyed his lessons because of the variety of his episodes according to his actual experience.  Lastly he insisted that parting starts when first met.

After training I went shopping a clock.  It's been more than one month since the clock of the living room became out of order.  It's been very inconvenient.  In spite of no clock on the wall, I looked there so many times.  But finally I bought the best one at the store.  There was a special invitation postcard from the shop, I got a present too.   As a checkout coupon there was a present which I did not understand and asked the staff there how to try.

At the Grand Prix Figure Skating Men's Free Program in Fukuoka, Mr. Yuzuru Hanyu (羽生結弦) became a champion by getting the score of 293.25.  They say today is the last day of his 18 year old life.  Congratulations!  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013.12.5

It was fine.

There was the last lesson of Marketing and we had a vote for the report of analyzing the problem of existing business or new business.   The winner of the former got the title of the Best Analyst, and the latter the Best Entrepreneur.   There were 25 entries and we read all and chose three best reports per person.  Two of them got a prize with above mentioned titles and one of them got the title of the Marketing Master in the class.  Four other reports were selected as winning reports too.  I wrote about creating a new business of low calorie Japanese Sweets for diabetes at a reasonable price though I did not win.  I hope someday this business will be operated to make diabetes people happy.

There was a tea lesson tonight.  These days I was the only one left and I made tea for myself.  Today's sweet was called hatsushimo (初霜), the first frost.  I was glad to see the name on the box because I love this sweet, however I was disappointed to see the sweet itself because it was quite different from the one I knew.  Since I was the last person tonight my master gave me leftover sweets by saying "nokori fuku" (残り福), which is actually "Nokori mono niwa fuku ga aru (残り物には福がある)" meaning "The last one is the best one." (There is a fortune in the last one.)

Tonight I watched Grand Prix Figure Skating at Fukuoka on TV.  Ms. Mao Asada (浅田真央), 23 years old became a champion for Women's short program.  And Mr. Yuzuru Hanyu (羽生結弦), 18 years old, made the first world best record of 99.84.  Congratulations!!

 

2013.12.4

It was fine.

I happened to see my ex-colleague on my way to change the train at Yokohama.  She said she took a half day off to go to hospital.  So if she did not, we would not have met each other this morning.  We went to Nagano together on a business trip at this time last year, and we talked about it for a while.

Today we had Marketing lessons.  We submitted our Marketing plans without names and read every one's project.  We will vote the best three tomorrow.  Some are well written according to the Marketing strategy.  There was a very interesting one which only our class members can enjoy.  There were some similar topics.

After training I went to Shibuya to attend a seminar which started registration at 6 PM and ended at 9:30 PM.  The lecture was worth listening. 

I came home late and I have just known the good news of Japanese foods are listed as intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.

They say it is 1000th day today that the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami happened.   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013.12.3

It was fine today.

We have studied for more than four months together and had self-introduction for some times at classes and I thought we knew somehow each other.  However in today's lesson we wrote our experience in 200 words and exchanged them in groups.  And I found something new which I did not know.  We wrote our short personal history by 300 to 400 words too.

Monday, December 2, 2013

2013.12.2

It was fine today.

There was an announcement of the new word or the popular word of the year today.  Usually only one word or phrase is chosen for the Grand Prix, but today four of them were selected as Grand Prix of this year which is really rare. 
They are: 
"JJJ (じぇじぇじぇ)" which was used in the NHK's morning drama "Ama chan (あまちゃん)" to express surprise
"Bai gaeshi (倍返し)" which was used in the popular TV drama "Hanzawa Naoki (半沢直樹)" to mean revenge double
"O mo te na shi (お・も・て・な・し)" which was mentioned in the speech of Ms. Christel Takigawa (滝川クリステル) for inviting Tokyo Olympic 2020 to mean hospitality
"Ima desho! (今でしょ!)" which was said by a famous lecturer of a cram school for the answer of "When will you do?" and meaning "It is NOW"

Do you have such a contest in your country?

2013.12.1

A new month has started.  December is jyunigatsu (十二月), and its old name is Shiwasu (師走), which literally means teacher run. 
How fast time flies!  There is only one month left.  And this one month will pass very fast.
The first day is tsuitachi (1日).  And I feel refreshed on the first day of each month.

December 1 is known as eiga no hi (映画の日), movie day.  On this day you can see a movie at yen 1,000 at any movie theater.  Usually it is yen 1,800.  I used to go to see a movie on this day but this year I did not go.

It was very fine today and I went grocery shopping and practice Yoga.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013.11.30

It was fine.

The last day of November.  There is only one month left.  How fast time flies!

In Japan we enjoy exchanging new year's cards called nenga jo (年賀状) on New Year's Day.  On November 1 new year's postcards called nenga hagaki (年賀はがき) were started selling.  I usually order the Post Office to deliver them.  And today they were delivered.   If you buy them by today, you have a chance to get a present for every 50 pieces.  They will give 6 presents to 2014 people.
I was surprised to know that each post office person has a Norma of selling a certain amount of postcards. These days email greetings are so popular that less people buy new year's cards and that they are under the pressure.

2013.11.29

It was fine.

There were 6 lessons of Marketing.  At the first class, a lecturer introduced a book.  In the first page there was a question.  "What will you do to make as much money as possible from $5 for two hours?" He used the same idea changing $5 to Yen 500.   We were given for 10 minutes to think and presented each idea.  I thought of 7 ideas.  I thought I had not been a creative person for a long time, so I am glad to find the possible ways.   Listening to other people's ideas was interesting.  Some seemed practical, possible and  to be able to earn lots of money and others were not so much. 

After training I went to Shibuya to meet someone with my classmate.  She taught me the idea of the study of characteristics judging from your own birth date.  I know some fortune telling judging of the birth date, but it seemed a little bit different. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

2013.11.28

Happy Thanksgiving!

The fourth Thursday of November in the USA is a national holiday called Thanksgiving.  They have a big Turkey Dinner.  Usually they have 4 days weekend.  Next day is called Black Friday and so many people go shopping.  To my surprise they go shopping from very early morning such as 5 AM.  It was unbelievable for me.  For the next one month is a good time for shopping. 

In Japan there is no such holiday setting.  Nowadays we have some happy Monday system and some three day weekend but never have a holiday on Thursday to have four day weekend.

After training I went to tea lesson.  There was nobody besides me again, and I made tea for myself again.  Today I used a tall bowl called tsutsu jawan (筒茶碗), which should be dealt with different way as the regular bowl.  The name of today's sweet was koro gaki (ころ柿), dried persimmon, covered with white powder.  My master gave me some umeboshi (梅干し) sour plum which she made two years ago and other stuff. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2013.11.27

It was fine.  From the afternoon it started blowing strongly and became cool.  They say it will be cold until Friday.

There were 30 members at the training course when it started in August.  Today two members left the course.  One got the job, the other we are not sure why.  The purpose of this course is to obtain the abilities to be useful for working therefore getting a job is a final goal.  Therefore it is a good thing, but we feel somehow sad not to be able to finish the course together.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013.11.26

It was fine and rather warm today.

I went out for lunch with 21 classmates to celebrate 5 of them whose birthday is in November.  This was the second time for me to go to that restaurant.  We ate special lunch for yen 840 last time.  This special one only applies to walk in customer.  Since we were very big group, we needed to book the space.  And we could not order this one, but ordered the regular lunch for yen 1260 with salad and coffee or tea plus.  There were two different sauce, Japanese style and demi-glace.  Last time I enjoyed Japanese one and today I tried the other.  The things I like there are its view and the idea of fried egg inside of onion ring,

I took 3 hours off to take Father to the hospital for once a month checkup. 

2013.11.25

It was cloudy.  Now it is windy.

I went to exercise of small ball  at night after a long time. 

Today at the training we presented our strength using pyramid structure. 
I happened to sit next to a classmate who loves rabbits. She and her next person talked about how cute rabbits are and they talked about the story of a rabbit.  It reminded me of the story "Rabbit on the moon" which I told at kindergartens and schools in Florida.  When I came home, I found a present from ex-colleague.  It was sweets of chestnut.  The names of some sweets were tsuki no usagi (月のうさぎ), rabbit on the moon and there was a memo about the story.  What a coincidence!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013.11.24

It was fine.

I dried futon for kotatsu again and set it finally.  Kotatsu is a Japanese typical heater and very comfortable.

I went grocery shopping.  The road was crowded because of the autumn festival of the town.

I changed some summer clothing to winter clothing.

There was senshuraku (千秋楽) of the winter sumo grand tournament today.  Yokozuna Harumafuji (横綱 日馬富士) became a champion by 14-1.  It is his 6th victory after 5 tournaments.  Congratulations!

2013.11.23

It was fine today.

November 23 is a national holiday called kinro kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日), labor thanksgiving day.  Unfortunately it is Saturday today therefore we have a normal 2 day weekend.

I went to Shinjuku to have a birthday lunch for my ex-colleague.  I was an organizer and booked the restaurant, other colleague prepared the card and flowers which looked like a whole cake.  There came 10 adults and 2 babies.  We often get together but there were two whom I met after a long interval.  It is very nice to see them again. 

After that I went to measure my TruAge.  Last time was 23, but this time was not so good because I have had a cold for a week. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013.11.22

It was fine.

November 22 is known as ii fufu no hi (いい夫婦の日), Day of good married couple.  November 22 is written as 11.22, and 11 pronounces ii and 22 pronounces fufuIi means good, and fufu means married couple.  There are some couples which get married on this day hoping to be good couples.

After coming home, I cooked and ate dinner and went to attend a meeting at the nearest hotel.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2013.11.21

It was very fine.  Mt. Fuji looked very beautiful.

The third Thursday is known for the opening of Beaujolais Nouveau.  Some of my classmates went to drink, but I did not because I have tea lesson every Thursday.   There was only one at the lesson today, so I made tea and drank it by myself.  This is called jifuku (自服), self-making tea.  Since I have had a cold, my teacher gave me a bottle of yuzu jam to make yuzu tea for my cold.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013.11.20

It was fine today.

On every 20th from June to December this year the admission fee of the nearby maritime museum is free.  I saw some people waiting in front of the door before opening this morning.  I went to see there after training.  There were some exhibitions I felt interesting such as the route of circumnavigation or the first long voyage.
I have circumnavigated once from Dec. 25, 2003 to March 31, 2004 by the 44th Peace Boat.  I made some friends during my trip.   I exchange emails or new year's cards with some friends, and I see other friends once in a while.  It's been almost 10 years since we first met.  There is a plan to visit Thailand with them next year.  I have some friends in Asian countries, so that if possible, I would like to visit them too if I go to Thailand.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2013.11.19

It was fine today.

It's been 50 years since the US president John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.  His daughter Ms. Caroline Kennedy came to Japan as a US ambassador to Japan last week and there was a ceremony to report to the Emperor today.  She went to the Imperial Palace by horse carriage.  She is very popular both in the USA and in Japan, and we expect her to be active as a bridge between the USA and Japan.

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

2013.11.18

It was fine at daytime but became windy in the evening.  It was cold at night so I cooked pot dish with many different vegetables, meat, tofu, and so on.

I have had a cold since Saturday and have a running nose and feel dull too.  I put yuzu which I used to eat dinner into bathtub to have my body warm.  We usually put yuzu into the bathtub on the night of toji (冬至), the winter solstice.

2013.11.17

It was fine.  I dried futon for kotatsu.   Kotatsu is a kind of heater.

I went grocery shopping.  At the parking lot I happened to see my student.  He said he became a father of two boys and ran a car repair shop.  I taught his older brother too and it seems he is doing fine too.  The pleasure of having been a teacher is this kind of encounter.

After coming home, I went to practice yoga and training and spent there for 3 hours.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013.11.16

It was a very fine, beautiful day.

Two of my ex-colleagues and I attended the walking event "The 6th Tama-Miura Hills Trail" here in Miura.  It is about 9 km long trail starting from Misakiguchi station.   Weather was very comfortable, and the scenery was beautiful.  We enjoyed walking and talking.  We started around 10 AM and came back to the station around 16 PM.  They enjoyed shopping here and there too.

I went back home once, and went out for dinner at an Italian restaurant with my friends and had a very good time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013.11.15

It was fine in the morning, but started slightly raining at lunch time. 
I went out for lunch with my 8 classmates at an Italian restaurant.  It is very small about 15 seats or so.  We enjoyed delicious lunch at yen 1,050.

November 15 is known as shichi go san (七五三).  Children at the age of seven (for girls), five (for boys), and three (for both) go to shrines or temples with family by wearing beautiful kimono or suits to wish their healthy growth and happiness.
Since they usually wear kimono on this day, they say today is day of kimono which was established in 1966.  I like kimono but I did not know about this and happened to find it on today's daily calendar.

After training I went to kimono shop with my friends and enjoyed special event of eating delicious dishes from Kyushu area and trying to wear beautiful kimono.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2013.11.14

It was fine today.
On Thursday I go to learn tea ceremony.  From today we started using ro (炉), hearth set in the tatami mat floor instead of furo (風炉), brazier on the tatami mat floor.  It's been quite a long time since I practiced with ro last time.  But my body remembered how to do.  The sweet was my favorite, inoko mochi (亥の子餅), wild boar cub rice cake.  It is made of chestnut & red bean paste covered with rice cake with sesame.  Rice cake with sesame looks like cub of wild boar.  Wild boars have many cubs.  Therefore this sweet was made with the wish of having babies, which means happiness and prosperity.  They had been eaten on the day of wild boar in November.  Today is not a day of wild boar but as a sweet of November inoko mochi is offered at tea ceremony. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2013.11.13

It was very fine and beautiful but very cold today.  I saw the beautiful Mt. Fuji this morning.

I went out for lunch with classmates.  We went to a fancy Japanese style restaurant nearby where I pass in front every day and have been interested in going someday.  I thought it was too expensive to enter, but they have reasonable lunch menu too.   There were rooms for table & chair, but they ushered us to a Japanese style room with a low table.  The rooms were different from what I have imagined from outside.

After training I dropped at Yokosuka to do something and bought sweets called taiyaki (鯛焼き) which is fish-shaped pancake stuffed with bean jam because it looked different from the one I have known.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013.11.12

It was very cold today, coldest day this year.

In Japan we write the date like the title, 2013.11.12, year, month, and day.  But in the United States they write month, day, year.  So today is 11.12.13.  There is a chance to see the number 9:10, 11.12.13 there.

Talking of time, when I was in the USA, I tried to witness the time change which happens twice a year.
There is no summer time system in Japan, therefore it was very interesting for me to see the same time at one hour later or skip the hour.  At first I missed it because I watched the CNN.  Next time I saw the local program on TV, and took pictures of time coming back.  They say if you have a radio clock or watch with needles, they start rotating very quickly to adjust the time. I wish to witness such a moment. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013.11.11

It was very cold today.  In the afternoon it rained.  In some places it even snowed for the first time this year.  In Tokyo it blew the first cold blast called kogarashi ichigo (木枯らし一号), which was 7 days earlier than last year.

Tonight I went to practice small ball exercise after a long interval. 

2013.11.10

There was a rather big earthquake this morning.

It was windy in the morning, and rainy in the afternoon.

Finally the new sofa & table for living room and table & chairs for dining room were delivered.  I had been looking for them for a long time, and chose them in July and ordered in August.  They are order made goods, it took while to complete.  Today is taian (大安), which is a good day for everything, so I decided to be delivered them today.
When I send someone wedding gift or something, I try to deliver it on taian.  There are many wedding ceremonies on taian.  This is one of the typical Japanese customs.

In the afternoon I went to attend the lecture by a doctor.  Then I went to grocery shopping.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013.11.9

It was cloudy and cool.

I went to Yokohama to have my pictures of wearing kimono taken.  They should have been taken two weeks ago.  But it rained on that day and cold not have taken outside.
Today I wore the dark blue plain kimono with my family crest on the back.  First I used the flower embroidered sash, then changed to the reversible sash and took three different types of pictures.

After that I went to attend a meeting in the afternoon.  Many people were surprised to see myself wearing kimono, and some of them did not notice at first.  There I met somebody who has opened the business recently, therefore I visited her office after the meeting.  It is close from the place I go training every day.

On my way back home I happened to see the exhibition of 10 research centers in Kanagawa prefecture.  I did know the existence of these research centers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013.11.8

It was fine and very warm in spite of November.

At lunch time eight of us went out for lunch.  We were going to eat oyster first but someone found out the menu of the restaurant was not delicious enough to go together.  Second we decided to go to Italian restaurant, but it was very small and when we left the classroom it was already full and we could not go.  Third we visited the coffee shops, but when we saw the dish,  they were so small and we decided to go to other place.  Forth we visited the same restaurant as last Friday, but it was already full and could not enter.  Finally we went to the Chinese restaurant where we went to the other day.  It is a very famous chef's restaurant.  We happened to see him working today.  The menu was somehow different from the one we visited last time.  So I ordered the different menu.  Last time I enjoyed shrimp chili sauce.  This time I chose chicken with cashew nuts.

We are looking forward to going out next time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013.11.7

It was rainy but became fine.  At night I saw the very beautiful crescent moon which is mikazuki (三日月) in Japanese.

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 literally means stand winter.  It is the first day of winter.

There was tea lesson today.  November is the new year for the tea world.  We start using the new tea of the year which is called kuchi kiri (口切), opening the new jar of tea leaves. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2013.11.6

It's been getting cooler and cooler. 

Today another new lesson started and we made self-introduction again.

At lunch time I had an appointment with my friend and ate lunch at an Italian restaurant where we can have appetizer by self service.  She knows many good restaurants around my school area, so we promised to have lunch as often as possible while I go training and talk about our future plans.

After school, I went to Kawasaki to have dinner at a French restaurant.  I have been interested in Galette since last year but never had a chance to try.  Finally tonight I could eat it.

Today I saw the news saying Zuwaigani (Snow crab) season has opened.  Female crabs will be caught by January and males by March.  I love crabs.  Izumo is one of the places where crabs are famous.  I wish I knew about the date before going.  How I wish could go there during the season!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013.11.5

It was fine but cool.

From this afternoon a new lesson by a new teacher started.  We introduced ourselves again.  It's been already three months since our training started.  We have done self introductions twice before, but there were something new that I learned about classmates today.  At the end of January the training course will be over, so we need to find something.

After coming back, I went to grocery shopping.

Monday, November 4, 2013

2013.11.4

It was a cool rainy day.

It was a transferred holiday.

I went to Shibuya to attend en event organized by my teacher who had worked at UNIDO for 26 years.  It started at 12 PM and lasted till 4 PM. The theme was "The Era to Make Your Dreams Come True."  There were some speakers.  The first speaker said "To make your dreams, to think, to say, and to do are important." The next group introduced "Laughter Yoga."  I have never heard that before.  To laugh is very good for yourself.  Even if it is not from your heart, it is still good. The third one introduced how to move "To sit, to stand, and to stand up."  To practice these actions in a certain way every day makes you keep healthy. After the break my teacher gave a lecture.  He is a specialist of African matter.  He told us what we can learn from Africa and the need of international organization in which Japan leads.

I was surprised to see my acquaintance there and asked the reason he attended.  He said he met my teacher at my first book publishing party last year and became Facebook friends and knew today's event.  Here I felt I became a bridge.
 

2013.11.3

November 3 is a national holiday called Bunka no hi (文化の日), Culture Day.   It fell on Sunday, so tomorrow will be transferred holiday.

It usually became fine but it was cloudy today.

I went to Yoga lesson after lunch.  It's been a while since I went to last time.  After that I have exercised for a few hours using training machines.

There I happened to see my student after a long time.  She said she became a mother of four children.  There was Children's event at the venue and she was there at the reception.  There was chorus of a very famous children's group Kamome gasshodan (カゴメ合唱団).  Their songs were used in the TV drama this year and their CDs were sold well.  I could listen to their live songs by chance.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2013.11.2

It was cool and rainy today.

I went to Shinjuku to attend a monthly meeting.  After that I checked my TruAge.  It was 24 last Saturday, and it was 23 today.
Then I went to find a restaurant for my friend's birthday lunch near future. 
I bought two text books for the training which starts next week.

2013.11.1

A new month has started.  November is juichi gatsu (十一月), its old name is shimo tsuki (霜月) in Japanese.  Shimo tsuki literally means frost month.  There are two national holidays this month, November 3 and November 23.  The former becomes three day weekend.

It was fine today.
I went out for lunch at a fancy restaurant with 12 classmates.  We sat separately, four and nine.  It costs a lot if you eat dinner there, but they offer very reasonable lunch menu.  We enjoyed very much.  There was a street market near the restaurant, and we enjoyed there too.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013.10.31

It was fine today.

The last day of October.  It's already passed 10 months.  There are only two months left this year.  How fast time flies!  What have you accomplished by now?  And what would you like to accomplish for the next two months?

Trick or treat?  Today is Halloween.  It has been popular nowadays in Japan too, and there are parades or parties here and there.   But I did not do anything special.   How about you?
I hope you have a Happy Halloween.

2013.10.30

It was fine but cool.

Today there was the last lesson of Marketing I and we discussed the strategy by using SWOT and Cross SWOT analysis.
After the training I went to somewhere in Sakuragicho and walked to the Hinodecho station after that.  I expected to get more steps but not so much.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013.10.29

It was cloudy and cold this morning and started raining too.

I came back to Shinjuku from Matue this morning around 8 AM.  Since the Tomei Highway was under construction, it delayed than schedule. 
I went to training soon after that in Yokohama.
My classmates were surprised to know that I came back from the trip this morning and attended the classes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013.10.28

It was a very fine autumn day.
I went to Miho jinja shrine and a light house in the morning.  There was a commemorative five pines park at the top of a mountain and I climbed there too.

Then I went to the Adachi Museum of Art after having a heavy lunch at a seafood restaurant in Sakaiminato, Tottori.  Adachi Museum is very famous for its Japanese Gardens which have been chosen as No. 1 garden for the past ten years and a collection of the works of Mr.  Yokoyama Taikan.  Therefore there were so many visitors there.  This was the second place I wanted to visit during this trip.
Then I came back to Matsue and visited the Matsue castle and ate dinner.
Now I am on the bus bound for Tokyo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013.10.27

I arrived at Matsue around 7 AM.
In the morning I went to Tamatsukuriyu jinja (shrine), then took a bath at Tamatsukuri  Onsen (hot spring).
In the afternoon I went to Izumo taisha where is the main reason I came here.
Izumo taisha is one of the most famous shrines in Japan.  And this is the very special year because they repaired the shrine which takes place every 60 years.
I visited there nearly a quarter century ago, so it's been a long time.  There were so many people there today.
After that I visited at the Hinomisaki todai,  the light house.  I went up to the top. The panorama view was very beautiful. I visited Hinomisaki jinja, shrine.  I saw the sunset near the light house.
I had a nice dinner at Matsue.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013.10.26

It's been raining.  This morning around 2:15 AM, there happened a rather big earthquake.

In the morning I went to Yokohama to have my pictures of wearing kimono taken.  We were supposed to take them outside but since it rained because of the typhoon No.27, we only took them inside.  I wore the new dark blue kimono with my family crest with three different obi (sash) , a coat, a bag, and zori (shoes).  In total I had four sessions.

After that I went to see a Japanese movie titled "Oshin" which is heroine's name.  This is the story which was on air at the NHK's morning drama about 30 years ago for a year and has been very famous and popular among Asian countries.
If my memory is correct, it dipicted Oshin's life, but this movie only dealt her childhood.  To my interesting the main characters of the drama acted in the movies as different roles.

After that I went to Shinjuku.  
Do you know your TruAge? When I measured it two weeks ago, it was 37, but today to my surprise it was 24.
I recommend you to measure your TruAge to control your health.
If you do not know what's your TruAge, please check the following site.

truage.com/2891884/en-us

Now I am on the bus bound for Izumo.


2013.10.25

It was a rainy day.
The typhoon No. 27 is nearing.  It is raining.  I hope it will be fine tomorrow. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

2013.10.24

It was cloudy and slightly rainy today.

At the Logical Thinking lesson we practiced to analyze the data by MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive).  Group work is effective because we can notice what we are missing.

After the lesson I went to tea ceremony lesson.  Today we learned the procedures of o koicha (お濃茶), thick tea.  In the world of tea ceremony, November is the first month to taste the new tea of the year.  And the style of pot is changed from furo (風炉) to ro (炉) which is placed in the tatami (畳) mat.  Before using ro in November, there is a special procedure at this time of the year when you make koicha, thick tea by furo which is placed on the tatami mat.  We put a scoop of cold water into a hot pot just before we make thick tea to soften water because the tea powder at this time is kind of old, the last tea of the year, boiling water won't make tasty tea.  I think this kind of manner is very considerate. 
According to the news Japanese Foods Culture will be listed at the UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage. It is very honor.  I hope many people have a chance to taste authentic Japanese Foods.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013.10.23

Today is soko (霜降), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was kanro (寒露) on October 8 and the next one was ritto (立冬) on November 7.  Soko literally means frost falling.  It was not so cold as frost falls however it was cloudy and cool today.
Our classroom today was different from the regular one.  It was ocean view room and bigger than usual, and we could enjoy the beautiful Yokohama view.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013.10.22

It was cloudy.

I went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant with 6 classmates.  There were three lunch menus.  I chose shrimp chili source for main dish.  It includes rice, soup, salad, and dessert.  The price was very reasonable, and serving was very speedy.  We enjoyed eating and talking.

I took 3 hours off to take my father to once a month physical check up.

Monday, October 21, 2013

2013.10.21

It was very cool today.

Two big typhoons No. 27 and No. 28 are nearing.  Since No. 26 left a big damage especially on Izu Oshima (伊豆大島), we are worried about their courses.

I have just watched the TV program of Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013/2014.  Yesterday a Japanese Skater Mr. Tatsuki Machida (町田樹) became a champion, and today a Japanese Skater Ms. Mao Asada (浅田真央) became a champion.  What a nice start for the grand prix series for Japanese team!  Congratulations!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013.10.20

It's been raining and very cold today.  It seems winter came before autumn comes.
I went to see a movie "Diana."  It reminded me of the summer of 1996 in Chicago where I saw her in front of the Drake Hotel across the street.  There is yojijukugo (四字熟語), a four-character idiom in Japanese, bijin hakumei (美人薄命), literally means beautiful person short life.  Beauty and luck seldom go together. I think she is the case.
After that I bought another ceiling light for a living room.  Last time I asked someone to come to fix it, but this time I managed to install it by myself.  I am glad to have done it finally after having inconvenience for a few days. 

2013.10.19

It was cool and rainy today.

I went to Shinjuku to attend a lecture in the afternoon.  It's been a long time since I attended his lecture last time though I have heard his speech many times.
In the evening I had a dinner meeting.  Nine of us got together and enjoyed eating and chatting.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2013.10.18

It was rather cool.

At the training of Logical Thinking there were a few case studies. By group working we found what we did not notice by ourselves.  Presentation is a fun part.  Every group has unique way of presenting though groups consist of different members every day.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013.10.17

It was fine but rather cool today.
Today is jyusanya (十三夜), the thirteenth night.  It is September 13 night in the old calendar.   The moon on this day is the second beautiful one after jyugoya (十五夜), the fifteenth night in September which is August 15 in the old calendar.  Different from jugoya which came from China, the custom of jusanya is only observed in Japan.
After the training, I went to tea lesson.  Today's sweet was tsuki usagi (月うさぎ), moon rabbit.  In Japan we see rabbits on the moon.  How about in your country? 

2013.10.16

The typhoon No. 26 was very big and left many damages here and there.

It was raining heavily in the morning but stopped raining around 8 AM or so.  However strong wind was blowing and the trains were stopped.  They did not run until 12:30 PM.  It takes more than one hour to get to school.  The class ends at 16:10 PM.  So I decided not to attend today.

Instead I went to a bank and a post office to send money and bought some commemorative stamps too.
  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013.10.15

It's been raining.  The big typhoon No.26 is nearing.

After the training I went to see a movie "Abduction The Megumi Yokota Story," Talk & Mini Concert sponsored by Kanagawa Prefecture.

They say today eleven years ago five Japanese abducted by North Korea returned to Japan.

Ms. Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korea at the age of 13, and it's been 36 years since then.
She has been said to have committed suicide at the age of 29, but I think she is still alive there, and I hope her family got together as soon as possible.

2013.10.14

It is a national holiday called taiiku no ni (体育の日), Sports Day.  It used be on October 10, but because of the happy Monday system it has become on the second Monday of October since 2000.

It was fine and warm today.

This is the last day of the three day weekend.

I went to Yokohama to visit Hachifukujin (八福神), the Eight Gods of Fortune  in Seya, Yokohama (横浜市瀬谷区:yokohama shi seya ku).
You may have heard about Shichifukujin (七福神), the Seven Gods of Fortune, but this place is famous for Eight Gods.
They are Daikokuten (大黒天), Ebisushin (恵比寿神), Bishamonten (毘沙門天), Benzaiten (弁財天), Hoteison (布袋尊), Fukurokuju (福禄寿), Jurojin (寿老人) and Daruma (達磨).  The course is about 12 km long. My classmate and I started at 11 AM and finished 17:15PM at Seya Station of Sotetsu Line (相鉄線瀬谷駅:sotetsu sen seya eki).  We visited not only temples which enshrine those gods but also interesting places and shrines on the way to visit the next temples.  I saw many flowers including soba (そば) and fruits such as persimmons and Japanese oranges called mikan (みかん) here and there.  I did not expect Yokohama has such fields.  It was a nice walking.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013.10.13

It was very fine today, again very hot like summer in the daytime.

I went to grocery shopping in the morning, then to refresh yoga for an hour in the afternoon, then exercised for two hours.
The road was so crowded that I used the other way to come back from shopping.   Since this is the middle day of the three day weekend, many people must have come to the Miura Peninsula. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

2013.10.12

It was hot like summer again.

I went to Yokohama to have some pictures taken in the morning.  My friend from primary school and I wore the new kimono and walked around Bashamichi area and the professional photographer took our pictures.
We met some people who went to Gokayama & Hida Takayama together in July.
After that we went out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant.  It was very delicious.
Then we attended the monthly meeting in the afternoon and I met some friends there.

I headed for Ichigaya to attend the reunion of the university in the evening and I met some of the same graders and enjoyed meeting and chatting.

It was very nice to see friends.

2013.10.11

It was another very hot day.  It's already October but we are still wearing half sleeves.  They say this heat was the hottest record in October.

After the training I walked to Yokohama Port to see the Peace Boat which came back from the circumnavigation of 3 months.  I have circumnavigated from December 25, 2003 to March 31, 2004 for 3 months by Peace Boat.  It's been almost 10 years since that time.  Our boat was TOPAZ, but it is Ocean Dream now.  I expected to see someone I know from our trip, but I did not see anyone.  I took some pictures there.

On my way to the pier, there were a few museums.  One of them will be free on the 20th, so I hope to visit there next month.  The other was Yokohama Custom Museum which was admission free and I took a look inside.
At the Osanbashi pier there were many people taking pictures.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013.10.10

It was fine and very hot today.
October 10 used to be a national holiday called Taiiku no hi (体育の日), Sports Day to commemorate the opening of the Tokyo Olympic in 1964.  This day is one of the singularities of being fine.

I went out for lunch at JICA's water front restaurant with two classmates and enjoyed chatting.
After the training I went to tea ceremony lesson.  The name of today's sweet was "harvest fall."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2013.10.9

It was fine in the morning, but became very windy in the afternoon.  It was very hot like summer.

There was no training today. 
 I went to hospital to take CT of the chest after 3 months.  There was nothing  wrong.  That is a good news.  But the Doctor and I do not understand why I have a pain, that is a bad news.  It cost more than yen 5,000.
After that I went shopping for my father's clothes because I got a discount ticket a few days ago.  There were so many people there.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013.10.8

Today is kanro (寒露), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was shubun (秋分) on September 23, and the next one is soko (霜降) on October 23.  Kanro literally means cold dew.  But it was very hot like summer today.

After the training I went to China Town with my 4 colleagues.  It's been a long time since I visited there last.  We did not go to a Chinese restaurant but to a Karaoke room.  But it was not for singing but for chatting because it is very cheap, less than yen 300 per person for an hour with free soft drinks in a private room.  We enjoyed talking for an hour. 

2013.10.7

These days there were many good news regarding the men's performances at the 2013 XLIV World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Antwerp, Belgium.  Mr. Kohei Uchimura (内村航平), 24 years old, has become a champion for the  individual all-around for 4 times straight which is the first in history. He became a champion at the Parallel Bars and became a bronze medalist at the Horizontal Bar.   Mr. Ryohei Kato (加藤凌平) , 20 years old, became the silver medalist for the individual all-around.  Mr. Kenzo Shirai (白井健三), 17 years old, became a champion at the Floor by introducing a new technique at a level of difficulty of F which is named after "Shirai."  This is the youngest record.  Mr. Kohei Kameyama (亀山耕平), 24 years old, became a champion at the Pommel Horse.  Congratulations!!!!!!
We can expect good results at the next Olympic and the one after the next at the Tokyo in 2020.  I hope to see the live Gymnastics games at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

2013.10.6

It was a nice autumn day.
I went grocery shopping in the morning.
Then I went to practice Yoga in the afternoon.  This is a new lesson starting today.  It cost yen 1,000 for an hour.  I was wondering why it costs yen 1,000 because the small ball exercise is yen 500.  So I asked.  And I found out it included the cost of the gym which is yen 300.  So I used the gym for the first time.  There were many machines to train muscles.  I have practiced for two hours.  I may have muscle pain tomorrow.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013.10.5

It was a cold rainy day.
I went to Shinjuku (新宿) to attend a monthly meeting in the morning, then went to Yokohama (横浜) to attend the 40th anniversary lecture of Ms. Setouchi Jakucho (瀬戸内寂聴) who entered the Buddhist  monastery at the age of 51.   Though she is already 91 years old, she is very active and her talk was very interesting.  She has written many books and she is still writing.  I was going to attend the lecture with my ex-colleague but she could not come and I went there with my colleague from Expo 92.  After the lecture we went to have a cake set at the nearby restaurant.  To our interesting our father's birthdays were just 1 week differences.
After that I went to see a Japanese movie "Shazai no osama (謝罪の王様)" literally The King of Apology.  It is a comedy written by Mr. Kudo Kankuro (宮藤官九郎) who also wrote the NHK's morning drama "Amachan (あまちゃん)."  I went to see this movie because one of my classmates said she appeared there as an extra.  It was an interesting movie. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

2013.10.4

It was very cool today.
We learned Logical Thinking.  We had some group works and enjoyed discussing.
At lunch time I went out for French restaurant to have a birthday lunch for one of the classmates with 5 classmates.  Lunch menu included soup, main dish with a piece of bread, dessert, and coffee or tea at yen 1,200.  I think it is a very reasonable price.
I got some pictures from friends in Chile whom I met in the USA in 1999.
At night I watched a video which I recorded on October 1.

2013.10.3

It was a nice and warm day today.

A new subject "Marketing" began at the training.  The first lesson was self-introduction for one minute each.  There were always something new even if we have already been studying together for two months.  The last period was a group discussion to number the things to bring when we were left in the desert after the plane crashing accident.

Since the tea lesson was cancelled, I went to see a movie "Soshite chichi ni naru (そして父になる: Like Father, Like Son)" directed by Mr. Hirokazu Koreeda (是枝裕和).    It was an award (Jury Prize) winning movie at the 66th Canne Film Festival (Festival de Canne).  It was a story about two families whose sons were exchanged 6 years ago at the hospital.   After 6 years raising as a family, which should be taken, biological parents or foster parents?  It is a difficult decision to take.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2013.10.2

It rained heavily in the morning.  When I got out from the room in the afternoon, it has already stopped raining and I saw the beautiful rainbow.

Today was the big day in Japanese traditional event.  The most famous shrine in Japan must be Ise Jingu (伊勢神宮) in Mie (三重).  Every 20 years they build the new shrine and transfer the god body.  This is called shikinen sengu (式年遷宮), and this year is the year and today is the day of the transferring the god body.  It is called sengyo no gi (遷御の儀).  And it was conducted from 8 PM.
This was the 62nd event from the year 690 and it's had 1300 years history.  Because of this event there are so many people who visit Ise Jingu this year.  And I was one of them.  I went there on June 9.  I could see both new and old buildings in a sense.
In Izumo taisha (出雲大社) it is also the year of sengu (遷宮).  They conduct every 60 years, and this year's event is called heisei no dai sengu (平成の大遷宮).
In Japanese shinto (神道) history this is the big year. 
I feel happy to experience such big events.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2013.10.1

A new month has start.  October is jyugatsu (十月), its old name is kannazuki (神無月), literally god without month. All of the gods get together in Izumo (出雲), therefore October is called kamiarizuki (神在月), literally god with month in Izumo area.  Izumo is very famous for its big shrine Izumo taisha (出雲大社).  In every 60 years the body of the god is moved to the new shrine and this year falls on that year.  I hope to visit there this month. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013.9.30

The last day of September.  How fast time flies!  It's already 9 months passed.  There are three months left.  What have you done?

It was a nice autumn day.

I was busy tonight.  After coming back, I dropped at Yokosuka to buy textbooks.  But again there were no text books.  Then I went grocery shopping.  After coming home, I prepared supper for my father and went to practice small ball exercise after long time.   

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013.9.29

It was a nice weather.
I went to Totsuka (戸塚) to take TOEIC.  It's been quite a long time since I took it last time.  It is two hours English test consisting of two parts, listening and reading. 

After that I went to a bookstore in Yokohama.  But unfortunately I could not find the textbooks here again.  Then I watched a movie "Kaze tachinu (風立ちぬ)."  It is an animation film directed by Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿).  I seldom see animation films at the theater, but this will be the last long film for him to direct, therefore I went to see it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013.9.28

It was a nice autumn day, though I was staying at home during the day time.

Today was the last day of the NHK morning drama titled "あまちゃん: ama chan."  It was broadcast twice a day from 8:00 to 8:15 and 12:45 to 13:00.  It started in April.  Though I could not watch while I was traveling abroad in April to May, but other times I have watched the drama almost every day and enjoyed it very much.  There were some famous reaction words "JJJ" when you are surprised.  The more you are surprised, the more J is said like JJJJJJ.  The songs sung in the drama became hit songs.  The locations of drama were both Iwate where was attacked by tsunami on March 11, 2011 and Tokyo.  I believe this drama encouraged many people in Tohoku area.

At night I had a meeting at the nearby hotel and I met some friends there. 

2013.9.27

It was fine but rather cool today. 
After the training I went to buy text books for the next month, but unfortunately there was only one of three.  So I need to find other two. 
After coming home, I cooked dinner and eat it soon and then went to attend a  lecture of the history of my city.  The aim of going there was to see the lecturer.  I have seen him before twice.  His talk was very interesting.  He published a book before but it is already out of print. So I wanted to have the book directly from him.  And I did it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

2013.9.26

It was a rainy day.
Today was the second day of Public Speaking in English at the business English training.  There were 26 participants and I made a speech regarding my hobbies as the last speaker again.  There were some very impressive speeches and I knew many aspects of my classmates again.
After the training, I went to learn tea ceremony.  Today's sweets was budo daifuku (ぶどう大福), rice cake with white sweet bean paste and grape.  Daifuku literally means big fortune or great luck, and usually it is made from the sweet filling of red bean paste.  Budo is grape, so it was included a piece of grape inside.  Usually there is the one with strawberry called ichigo daifuku (いちご大福) in spring, but I have never had budo daifuku before.  It was rather delicious than I thought, but since I usually don't eat the skin of grapes, I wished if it was peeled off.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013.9.25

It was a rainy day.
There was no training today, but I was very busy. 
In the morning there were two visitors.  One was from a car insurance company and I renewed the car insurance.  I was surprised to hear the amount which was nearly yen 20,000 up after their merging with other company.  The other was from a life insurance company to claim for insurance for my father's hospitalization .
Then I went to the post office, banks, and shopping.  When I went out from the car parking area, it was not raining, so I didn't bring an umbrella and went to the bank first. When I came out from the bank, it started raining, and I got soaked...... 
After coming back home, I cooked lunch and ate it.  Then Father and I went to post office again and to hospital for once a month check up and the pharmacy to get medicine for Father.
There were two places I wanted to visit tonight, but everything took longer than I expected, and I had to give up going.

2013.9.24

It was rather cool this morning.  Many people were wearing long sleeves shirts today.  The time of sunset seems getting earlier.

At the training course we had 5 minutes Public Speaking.  There were 25 participants today.  I made a speech of my JOI (Japan Outreach Initiative) program experiences from August 2006 to July 2008 as the last speaker.  Some people chose the topic from the given themes, and others chose from the free topic.  And mine was from the free topic.  Some were longer than 5 minutes and others were shorter.  I could learn many aspects of my classmates today.  We will have another speeches on Thursday.  So I am looking forward to learning more about them.

After coming back home, I prepared dinner for my Father and went to dentist.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013.9.23

It is a national holiday called shubun no hi (秋分の日), today.  Shubun literally means autumn divide.  It is autumn equinox day.  It is one of the nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was hakuro (白露) on September 7, and the next one is kanro (寒露) on October 8.  Shubun is the day the length of day and night are equal.

It was cloudy and partially rain. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013.9.22

This morning I went to have breakfast at a coffee shop with my cousin.  It seems to have breakfast at a coffee shop is quite popular in this region and the place became full soon after we arrived there.  We ordered hot sandwich set and ogura an (小倉あん, sweet beans paste) toast set and shared.  

Then we had a third year memorial service of my cousin and 50 year memorial service of my grandfather whom I have never met.
After the ceremony we had lunch together at a restaurant and came back to my aunt's house.
Then I visited my ancestor's graveyard where I have not been to for a long time with my cousins.

After that we enjoyed chatting at my aunt's house.

I left there after 5 PM and my cousin took me to Okazaki (岡崎) station.  I took a local train to Toyohashi (豊橋) and now I am on the Shinkansen Hikari (bullet train, 新幹線ひかり号) to Shin Yokohama (新横浜).

I think I will be home by 9:30 PM.

2013.9.21

It was fine and very hot today.

This morning I visit my mother's grave yard with my Father.  This is a typical Japanese custom to visit ancestor's grave yard during the equinox week.

Then I went shopping to the fish market to buy some tuna goods for souvenirs.

I was going to leave around noon, but there were something to do and I left about two hours later than schedule.

Since today is the fist day of three day weekend, there were many people on the way to Shin Yokohama.  I was worried if I could take a sheet on Shinkansen but I could.  I took on Kodama from Shin Yokohama to Toyohashi and changed to the local trains to Okazaki.  There my cousin came to see me as usual.  We
went out for dinner and then to coffee shop though we didn't have coffee.
Aichi is very famous for its reasonable gorgeous morning set, therefore I am very looking forward to that tomorrow.





Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013.9.20

It was another fine day.  It was cool in the morning, but very hot in the afternoon.
Today is the first day of autumn equinoctial week, and we call it as higan iri (彼岸入り).  There is a saying "Atsusa samusa mo higan made (暑さ寒さも彼岸まで)" meaning "Summer heat nor winter cold does not last after equinox."

In the morning at the training we practiced public speaking in English.  There was a scenario but it was OK to arrange.  Many people tried to arrange.  It was fun to listen to their speech.   Unfortunately I had to leave earlier and could not listen to everyone's presentation.

There was a meeting at home and after that I took my father to hospital.

Friday, September 20, 2013

2013.9.19

It was another beautiful autumn day.  It was fine and clear, slightly windy, and a bit cool in the morning and evening but still hot in the daytime.

Tonight is jyugoya (十五夜), the 15th night.  It is August 15 in the old calendar.  And the moon of this day is especially called as chushu no meigetsu (中秋の名月), harvest moon of mid autumn.  It is rare that the full moon ( 満月: mangetsu) falls on this day, jyugoya.  Today is full moon, and we can see the beautiful full moon.  Next time will be 8 years later in 2021.  So I feel lucky I could see and take pictures of the full moon tonight.

After the training I went to the tea lesson.  Today's sweet was tsukimi manju (月見まんじゅう) moon-viewing dumpling. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013.9.18

It was another nice autumn day.  The air was clean and clear and cool.  The sky was blue.  Tomorrow is jyugoya (十五夜), the 15th night.  We can expect the beautiful full moon.

There was a news about Linear Motor Car tonight.  In 14 years from now the linear motor car will run between Shinagawa (品川) and Nagoya (名古屋) at the speed of 500 km per hour.  So it will take only 40 minutes between the two cities.  Now it takes about one hour and 34 minutes by Shinkansen Nozomi (新幹線のぞみ), bullet train and costs yen 10,070.  It will be only yen 700 plus.  There are 286 km between the cities and 246 km will be in the tunnel of 40 meters deep.  There will be 4 stations in between, but it seems there will be no ticket vending machines.  They say they will use e-ticket or something.

In 7 years there will be the Tokyo Olympic 2020, and in 14 years there will be new transportation systems.  We can expect the booming economy and many job opportunities.  Don't you think so?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013.9.17

After the big typhoon No. 18, it was a very beautiful autumn day.  It was rather cool.

After coming home, I went to dentist. 

At night I watched many TV programs while cooking, eating, and taking a bath.  (Yes, we have a TV set in the bathroom!)  I was surprised to know that a 12 years old Pakistani girl has learned so many things through free Internet college courses.  Whenever you are, if you have an Internet access, you can learn many things.  Even if you are a primary school student, you can learn the college level or even higher level.  Isn't that amazing? Some people even got new jobs after finishing free online courses. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013.9.16

Today is a national holiday called keiro no hi (敬老の日), Respect-for-the-Aged Day.  Therefore we had a three day weekend.  It used to be on September 15, but to have a long weekend the Happy Monday System was introduced and it has been fallen on the third Monday of September since 2003.
In Japan it is said one fourth of the population is aged people of older than 65 years.  There are 31,860,000 aged people and male are 13,690,000 and female are 18,180,000 people.  In 2035 it is said one third will be aged people.

Today the typhoon No. 18 hit many areas of Japan.  In some places there were big damages left.  In my place very strong wind arose and it rained heavily but there is not any serious damage left.
In the evening I could see the beautiful sunset near the Mt. Fuji after the typhoon left.

2013.9.15

It was a strange weather today.  Since the typhoon No. 18 is coming, it sometimes rained heavily.  But other time, it was very fine and hot.
Someone from the electric company came to fix the ceiling light which I bought the other day.  It took very short time to do it.  He was very kind enough to bring back the old light set with him, if not I had to ask the city by paying somehow.
Since I parked and left my car at the station, I went to pick it up and went grocery shopping while it was fine.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013.9.14

It was rainy in the morning but it did not rain in Tokyo.
I went to Shinjuku (新宿) to attend a monthly meeting.  Then I went to see a movie "White House Down."  After that I went to measure my true age.  Today it was rather older than usual but I know the reason.  Yesterday I had a party and came home late and sleep less hours.
At night I had another party at Ebisu (恵比寿).  There were seven of us got together.  The restaurant was rather new.  We ate a lot and drank a lot but it was rather cheap.  We had a good time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013.9.13

It was fine.

After the training, there was the first party among classmates.  There are 30 classmates and most of them attended.
There were three tables and we changed seats at the middle of the party.  
After the first party I needed to visit one place and then returned to the second party.  More than half of the participants remained and enjoyed talking and drinking.
I could know about many new information about classmates.
We really had a good time.

2013.9.12

It was fine and very hot again today.

After 6 hours' English training I went to tea lesson.  There was a pupil there and I made tea for her and myself.  The name of the sweets was rabbit on the moon.  The name of the tea container was the moon.  September is good time to see the Moon and next Thursday falls on so-called jyugoya (十五夜), literally the 15th night,  the Mid-Autumn Festival when we enjoy viewing the full moon.  Japanese people thought there were rabbits pounding rice on the moon.  We decorate sweet dumplings (月見だんご: tsukimi dango) and silver grasses (すすき: susuki) on this day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013.9.11

It's been two years and a half since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami occurred.  And it's been 12 years since the 9.11 happened.
How has your life been changed since then?

It was a rainy day today.

After the training I visited a shrine in Kannai (関内).  This was the first time for me to visit there.  Last Sunday when I had dinner with my friends, someone mentioned about the shrine and it is not so far from the place I study, therefore I decided to visit there.  Then I walked to Koganecho (黄金町) station. 
One of the things which changed my life since those events was I try to wear flat shoes, walk, and use stairs whenever I can. 
Many people had to walk home on the day of March 11.  I was working in Shinjuku (新宿), and it was too far for me to walk home.  Therefore I stayed at the office all day long.
We need to train our body by ourselves.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013.9.10

The air became cooler in the morning and evening but it is still hot in the daytime.

After classes I went to buy a ceiling light.  There were two types of them, one is fluorescent and the other is LED.  LED will last for 10 years or so, and when it is broken we need to change everything.   I chose the latter.  At first they offered the construction date later than Sep. 17.  In that case I had to wait until Sep. 28.  So I asked if there is any possibility before that.  They suggested if I would bring back the ceiling light itself, Sep. 15 would be available.  Therefore I decided to bring it back with me.  Since it was rather big, it was inconvenient to have it on the train.  But waiting for nearly 20 days without having lights was dangerous, so I brought back.

Monday, September 9, 2013

2013.9.9

September 9 is known as choyo no sekku (重陽の節句), Double Ninth Festival.  It is also called kiku no sekku (菊の節句), Chrysanthemum Festival.  It is one of the five festivals in a year.  But we do not do anything special.

It seems the air became cooler at night.

2013.9.8

The venue of the 2020 Olympics was decided to be in Tokyo.  It will be 56 years since the Tokyo Olympic was held last time.  Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo have been trying to be the venue until now, and finally Tokyo won today. 
I started going to see Olympics when I was in Seville, Spain in 1992.  At that time there was Barcelona Olympic.  When I was watching the opening ceremony on TV, I was moved so much and decided to go to see the event because I was in the same country.  Since that time my passion to Olympic started.  I have been to Atlanta in 1996 when I was studying in Washington States, Nagano in 1998, Sydney 2000, Salt Lake in 2002, and Athene in 2004.   Because Athene is the original place, I decided not to visit any more.  But now the venue will be in Tokyo.   Therefore I would like to see some events in 2020.
If possible, I would like to do something to be a bridge between Japan and other countries at the 2020 Olympics.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013.9.7

Today is hakuro (白露), one of nijushisekki (二十四節気) the 24 solar terms.  The last one was shosho (処暑) on August 23, and the next one will be shubun (秋分) on September 23.  Hakuro literally means white dew.  It is the time of early autumn when white dew falls on the grass of the field.
I went to the beauty salon to have my hair cut, then to visit Kimono shop to check my summer kimono and coat, then to see a musical titled "Happa no Freddie inochi no tabi (葉っぱのフレディ いのちの旅)", Freddie the Leaf which I have wanted to see for a long time at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama
After that I went to see fireworks festival of Yokohama Sparkling Twilight 2013 at the Yamashita Park.  The finale was very impressive.
Then I went out for dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant where I happened to see friends.