Thursday, February 28, 2013


It rained and very cold.
The 10 days program was over today and I came back home. 
At my nearest station I found the cherry blossoms (河津桜: Kawazu zakura) were already blooming in spite of this coldness, and I felt spring is coming.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It was fine but very cold.
The ten days program will be over tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2013


It was fine but very cold.
The air was clear and we could see Mt.Fuji on our way back to Tokyo. I
was surprised to see it because I did
not know we could see it even from Ibaraki and Chiba too.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


It was fine but very windy.
We had 5 programs today.
One of them was to visit the roadside station (道の駅いたこ: michi no eki Itako).
They say there are about 1000 roadside stations in Japan.
Michi no eki has many purposes. It is a service area providing rest rooms and dining space. They also sell fresh products and souvenirs.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


It was fine and beautiful, but cold and windy.
We went to see the earthquake stricken area in Itako. The main damage of this area was caused by liquefaction (液状化:ekijoka).

Friday, February 22, 2013


It was fine today.
We visited one of the most famous companie's factory in Kashima Industrial Belt and harbor park.
I was suprised to know the variety of products.
The view from the top of the tower was very nice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


It was fine and beautiful, but very cold.
I went to Sawara, Katori in Chiba. Sawara has 300 years history. The most famous person in Sawara is Ino Tadataka ( 伊能忠敬) who walked around Japan and made a map of Japan for the first time in history.
He started learning astolonomy at the age of 50. Surprizing, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


it was fine and beautiful but very cold.

I went to Kashima Jingu (鹿島神宮) and Kashima Soccer stadium today and the volunteer guides showed us around and I knew many interesting things.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


It was very cold, and snowed again in the morning.
I came to Itako and will stay here for a while.
It was a long day.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Today was usui (雨水), one of 24 sekki(二十四節気:nijushisekki), the 24 solar terms. The last one risshun ( 立春) on
Feb. 4 and the next one is keichitsu ( 啓蟄 ) on March 5.
Usui literally means rain water. It is a time to change from snow to rain.
But it was cold today.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


It was a very cold day.
I went out for lunch with my friend from primary school. We haven't met for a long time because she has lived in other prefectures.  We enjoyed eating and chatting.  Since her birthday was the Friday before last, I gave her my book as a present.  I hope she will enjoy it.
From tomorrow I will go on a business trip to Itako, Ibaraki (茨城県潮来市:ibaraki ken itako shi) and other places for 10 days.


It was very cold today.
I went to massage in the afternoon in Yokohama (横浜) and went to the Orchard Hall in Shibuya (渋谷) to see Symphonic Concert 2012 Kei Ogla & Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra with my high school friends at night. It was consisted of two parts, starting 6 PM and ending 8:50 PM.  There were two guests, Ms. Peggy Hayama (ペギー葉山) and Mr. Tomio Umezawa (梅沢富美男).  This was the first time for me to go to this concert, but my friends had been to before. 
Mr. Kei Ogura (小椋佳) is a famous musician.  He used to be a bank clerk.  His talk was very interesting.  He said he is now 69 years old  and produced about 2000 songs though he can't play any instruments nor read or write notes.  Interesting, isn't it?  There are some hit songs.  He decided to retire at the age of 70 and will have four-day funeral concerts while he is arrive so-called seizenso (生前葬) September next year.  He will sing 25 different songs each day.  So he will sing 100 songs out of 2000.
We went to have dinner and celebrate one of the friend's birthday after the concert.
It was a nice day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


It was a cold day, maybe snowed in many places.  It slightly rained in Tokyo.
At lunch time I went out to see a photo exhibition of the landscapes from Mt. Fuji.  They were beautiful.  I like to see beautiful pictures of natures very much.  Someday I hope to take pictures of Pearl Fuji or Diamond Fuji.
I am getting busier therefore I overworked until nearly 10 PM and came home around midnight. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


Happy Valentine's Day!
How did you spend today?
In Japan girls and women give chocolates to boys and men whom they like on St. Valentine's Day.  And in return one month later on March 14 boys and men give sweets to girls and women whom they like.  This is called White Day.
I got chocolates from women colleagues today.

At lunch time I went out to a Japanese restaurant with 10 colleagues.  I enjoyed talking with four new faces.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


It was another cold day.

They say today is the anniversary of establishment of surnames.  In 1875 all Japanese were obliged to have a surname.  The order of Japanese name is surname first and the first name next.  We do not usually have middle names, therefore my name in Japanese way is Kitani Kimiko (木谷公子).  Most of Japanese women change their surnames legally upon their marriage.
The most popular Japanese surnames are Sato (佐藤), Suzuki (鈴木), and Yamada (山田).
How about in your country?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


It was very cold.
Today I took a compensated holiday to take my father to hospital for check up.
The last day of my four day weekend.   I will be busy for the rest of February to prepare and attend the program for 10 days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


It is a national holiday called kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日), National Foundation Day.  It was fine but very cold today.
This is the third day of three day weekend.  I went to Yokosuka (横須賀) for shopping and Yokohama (横浜) to see movies.  I watched 3 movies.  I was going to see 3 Japanese movies but just before entering the theater, I saw a big poster of Tom Cruise and changed my mind to watch "Jack Reacher" instead of "Tokyo Story."  The Japanese title of Jack Reacher is "Outlaw."  So I watched one American, two Japanese movies.

Monday, February 11, 2013


It was fine today.
I went to once a week grocery shopping.  The road was so crowded that it took longer to go and back than usual.
In the afternoon the goods which Father ordered by mail was arrived.  It was with a  gift.  When we saw it on the paper, it looked very big, but it was rather small.  So we laughed a lot.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


The first day of three day weekend for general people.  I had three events today.  First was the luncheon with colleagues and ex-colleague at my favorite restaurant in Shinjuku (新宿).  Five of us got together and enjoyed delicious lunch.  We got souvenir too.  Second was the home visit to our ex-colleague to see her first baby boy.  He is 4 months old.  So cute.   Seven of us visited and celebrated her belated birthday with a cake and roses bouquet.  Third was the new year's party with tennis friends.  Five of us got together.  It's been a year since all of us got together last time.   It was cold but became a nice day.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


It was very cold today.
After work I went to look for something to the food corner of the department store.  Since this is the last Friday before St. Valentine's Day next week, there were so many women shopping chocolates.   In Japan there is a custom to give chocolate from women to men on St. Valentine's Day and give some sweets back from men to women after one month later on March 14 which is called White Day.
In USA not only women but also men give something such as card, flower, and/or chocolate to both men and women.  I remembered that I got shrimps from my host family who knew I like shrimps.
Which customs  do you prefer?

Friday, February 8, 2013


It was cold today and in Shinjuku there was still snow left at the roadside.  But they say in Hokuriku (北陸) area the first gale of spring (春一番: haruichiban) blew today.  In Hokkaido there was snow storm.  Japan is a small country but I feel it is still big having winter and spring at the same time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


It was a very cold day.  In many places it snowed in Japan but it sleeted where I was.
We have visited many places and met many people and known the condition after the Great East Japan Earthquake in Katori, Chiba (千葉県香取市) and Itako, Ibaraki (茨城県潮来市).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I came to Itako, Ibaraki (茨城県潮来市) by bus on a business trip in the afternoon with a colleague. It took about an hour and 20 minutes. They say the route between Tokyo and Itako is one of the most popular bus routes in Japan. There used to be 84 times in a day, and now 79 or so.
We visited four places to have meetings.


Today is risshun (立春), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was taikan (大寒) on January 20 and the next one is usui (雨水) on February 18.
Risshun literally means stand spring.  It is the first day of spring.  It is cold but the spring has come on calendar.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I went to once a week grocery shopping in the morning.  I went to fill up my car too.  While I was in the USA, it was normal for me to do it by myself.  In Japan usually servicemen fill up the cars.  But today I filled up my car for the first time in Japan.  If you make a member's card, you can buy gas for yen 3 cheaper than non-members but it only applies for cash.
Today is setsubun (節分).  There are 4 setsubun in a year, because it means to divide the seasons. But we usually means the one before spring.  On this day we scatter parched beans to drive out bad luck by saying "鬼は外 福は内: oni wa soto fuku wa uchi" which means ogres out fortunes in.  After that we eat the same number of beans as our age to wish good health and happiness.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


It was raining in the morning but became fine.
I had a luncheon.  I went there with my friend from primary school.  We have not seen each other for a long time.   There were about 12 people.  I knew most of them but two were new persons.  We ate delicious Italian with tea and cake.  We stayed there for 6 hours or so and talked many things. 
Then my friend and I went to the restaurant to have dinner where I often went to when I was a teacher.  I was surprised to hear the stories of my friend.


Another month has started.  February is nigatsu (二月), the old name is kisaragi (如月) in Japanese.  It is the coldest month in Japan.  But today it was rather warm, and tomorrow it will be even warmer.  Spring is nearing.
I went out for dinner with my friend from high school at a Spanish restaurant.  We enjoyed eating and chatting.

Friday, February 1, 2013


January 31.   It's been a month since the new year started.  How fast!   One twelfth of the year has gone.   How did you spend?
January is  the time of new year's party.  Through new year's cards we know people's recent lives.  There are many people with whom we contact each other only once a year through this opportunity.  It is the time to make new year's resolutions..... I had a chance to see many people.
It is the cold season and we even had snow.
Today I went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant to celebrate one of the colleague's birthday with 3 colleagues.  We shared 4 different dishes and enjoyed.