Thursday, July 31, 2014


It was another hot day.
The last day of July.  How fast time flies!
From tomorrow summer vacation begins at my university.  Different from students offices are still open but for shorter hours than usual.  There will be about 10 days when everywhere will be totally closed in the middle of August.  Compared to companies it is easier to take longer holidays at universities.
However compared to our counterpart universities in Europe the length of summer vacation seems still short.
I do not have any special travel plans now, but want to do something that I can't do usually.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


It was another hot day.

In the morning I could get on the Happy Yellow Train.

After the ground sumo tournament in Nagoya last Sunday, there appeared the new Ozeki (大関).  His name is Goeido (豪栄道), 28 years old.  He is a Japanese.  Ozeki is the second rank after Yokozuna (横綱), grand champion.  There are three Yokozuna now, but all of them are Mongolian.  It's been two years since a Japanese wrestler promoted last. Congratulations!


It was fine and hot.
Today is doyo no ushi no hi (土用の丑の日), the day of ox during the dog days.  On this day there is a custom to eat eel.  Eel is unagi (鰻).  We usually eat it as either unadon (鰻丼) or unaju (鰻重).  Unadon means unagi (鰻) and donburi (丼), eel and bowl.  It is a rice bowl topped with grilled eel with sweetened soy-based sauce.   Unajyu is set in a tiered food box called jyubako (重箱).  Both tastes are the same but different in style.  Unajyu may look more sophisticated and expensive. 
The history of eating eel on that day started in the early 19th century.

Monday, July 28, 2014


It was another hot day.
I left the hotel around 8:20 am.  I had some time and walked around the Kyoto station which has been greatly changed for the past few years.  Kyoto is a very historical place but the Kyoto station is very modern. You would be surprised at this mixture.
At the roof there are some different spaces to rest.
Then I headed for Bishamondo (毘沙門堂) in Yamashina. This was the second time for me to visit there.
After visiting there I headed for Kobe to see my teacher from Expo 92.  It's been about three years since I met her last. We had lunch and enjoyed talking.
It took more than two hours to go to Kobe and come back to Kyoto and we could stay together for about one hour and fifteen minutes or so but I am glad to see her and hand her my book at last.
I came back to the hotel in Kyoto to pick up the baggage and went back to the station to get on the Shinkansen.
Whenever I go to Kansai area, I make it a rule to buy kaki no ha zushi(柿の葉寿司).  So did I this time, and I enjoyed eating them as dinner on the train.
It was a just two-day trip. But I had a good time and enjoyed a lot.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


It is fine and hot.
I came to Kyoto to see the fire festival of Kenchoji temple.
Before that I met a friend from Expo  92.
It's been a year and four months since I came here and met my friend last.  There were many things happened in our lives since that time.
We enjoyed talking many things.
After saying good bye I went up to the Kyoto tower.  I have come to Kyoto  many times but I have never been to the top of the tower.  It usually costs yen 770 or so, but since I got an invitation ticket from the hotel I am staying, so I visited. 
The view was nice.
I went back to the hotel once and headed to the temple.
I arrived there around 6:45 pm, and I could see the ceremony from the beginning.  It finished around 8:45 pm. There were nearly 100 people from our group.
After coming back to Kyoto ten of us had dinner together.  I chose yuba (湯葉) , tofu skin, dishes which is very famous in Kyoto.
It was a nice day  .


It was very hot today too.

Since the season of mountain lilies was over, we asked the gardeners to clean our garden finally.  Two gardeners came around 7:30 am and finished working around 2 pm with taking lunch break.  We are glad to see the beautiful garden again.

In the morning there was a purification ceremony called oharai (お祓い) of new flags for the festival of the shrine.   I joined there at 9 am.  The ceremony itself lasted for 15 minutes or so but it took about an hour in total.  We got sweets and red beans rice called sekihan (赤飯), which is eaten when there is an auspicious event.

After coming home, I went grocery shopping.

At night there was another community event called aipato (愛パト), which is abbreviation of ai patrol.  Ai (愛) means love.   Five of us have patrolled the school zone for about one hour and a half from 8 pm.  Every weekend on Saturday and Sunday representatives from each area patrol during summer time.  This year and next year I am a representative of my area.  This summer I need to patrol for three times.  We did not find any trouble tonight.

Friday, July 25, 2014


It was another hot day.

After work I went to a bank to withdraw money by ATM and went to some other banks' ATMs to deposit them.  Since it is 25th, for many companies it is a pay day, there was a long line in many places. 
Banks are usually open from 9 am to 3 pm, and ATMs are available from 8:45 am to 9 pm for free of charge within the same banks.  In other time they charge yen 108 for depositing or withdrawing.  When transferring money, the handling charge is quite different from the same banks and other banks, and it also depends on the amount of the money.
Regarding banks, I was surprised at drive through banks in the USA.  In Europe or the USA, I think ATMs were 24 hours open, which was very convenient.  In Japan there are still some time period we cannot use.


It was very hot today.
In the evening it started raining with thunder and lightening, though the rainy season has already been over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It was fine and warm.  Today is taisho (大暑), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季) the 24 solar terms.  The last one was shosho (小暑) on July 7, and the next one is risshu (立秋) on August 7.  Taisho literally means big heat.  It is the hottest season in a year.  Actually the rainy season was over yesterday and it was very hot.  We need to take care of ourselves, especially necchusho (熱中症), heat injury. 
July 23 is known as fumi no hi (ふみの日), Day of Letter.  Every year commemorative stamps are issued on this day.


It was fine and hot.

I walked to the station in the morning because I had a party at night.
In Japan it is illegal to drive after drinking.  Usually I do not drink during weekday but today was exception because it was the first getting together after my joining to the university. 
Before going to the party I went to see my friend.  It was just a few minutes, but I am glad to see her.

Monday, July 21, 2014


It was slightly raining but became fine.  In western part of Japan the rainy season was over.
Today was a national holiday called umi no hi (海の日), Marine Day.   Today was the last day of three day weekend.
I stayed home and did many house work.


It was cloudy and slightly rainy.

I went to betsugeiko (別稽古), special tea lesson in the afternonn.  I used to go to regular tea lesson every Thursday, but since I started working in May I have not been there.  On special lessons we need to wear kimono.  Today we learned 5 lessons.   There were 5 pupils.  So each person became the host.  I was in charge of gozumi (後炭), the second charcoal procedure. Today's sweet was ajisai (紫陽花), hydrangea.
It's been only three months since I stopped practicing but it was rather hard to do seiza (正座), sit up straight.  There is a saying narau yori narero (習うより慣れろ).  Custom makes all things easy.  Or Practice makes perfect.  I should practice by myself even though I cannot attend the regular practice.

After the lesson I went to grocery shopping.  There was a young boy who asked me if there is a festival somewhere tonight because I was wearing kimono.

At night there was an additional meeting for community representatives.

So I was rather busy today.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


It was cloudy and became rain with thunder in the afternoon.  Depends on the place it rained heavily.
Today is the first day of three day weekend.  For the young people it is the first weekend of the summer vacation.
I stayed at home all day long to do some homework such as cleaning, clearing mails, washing, ironing, and, cooking.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


It was Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday and Nelson Mandela International Day.
In the morning when I used google, on the top page there were many words of Nelson Mandela and I was wondering why.  But at night when I checked emails, there was UN news saying about it and I understood.
He said "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."  I think so too.
This year I saw a movie about him and knew his private life too. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


It was fine and very hot in the morning, but became cloudy in the evening as the weather forecast said.

I am now watching sports news on TV.  It was 5th day of 2014 July Grand Sumo Tournament in  Nagoya.  They say Yokozuna Kakuryu (横綱 鶴竜) lost by Egyptian Hiramaku (平幕) sumo wrestler Osunaarashi (大砂嵐).   This is called kinboshi (金星), literally gold star.  He is a Muslim and now it is the time of Ramadan but he won. 

Another big news was the announcement of Akutagawa Prize and Naoki Prize, which are most famous Japanese literary awards given twice a year.


It was fine and very hot from the morning again.

There are many new drama series on TV these days.  It seems the first episode lasts longer than the regular program.  I watched one of them tonight, and it was interesting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


It was fine and hot today.

In the morning before going to work, I went to the nearby shrine.  On the 1st and 15th of each month I hope to visit the shrine as much as possible.

There is a saying "Hayaoki wa sanmon no toku (早起きは三文の得)."  The early bird catches the worm.  Every one minute in the morning is very valuable, but I hope to get up early on the 1st and 15th to accomplish my habit.


Monday, July 14, 2014


It was fine and very hot today.

The FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil was over this morning after about a month's series of games.  Samurai Japan could not win any game, which was very disappointing.  I only watched a few games on TV, and knew the results from the news.
When we had a big reunion of high school in March, we decided to have the one every four years in the World Cup year.
I hope next time Samurai Japan will win some games.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


It was cloudy, rainy and windy.

I went to grocery shopping in the morning.
After lunch I went to Yoga lesson in the afternoon.  It cost yen 1,000 for one hour lesson.  But after the lesson we can use the training room.  So I exercised for 2 hours, using some muscle training machines and walking machines.

After coming home, I cooked dinner and ate with my father.   On weekdays I usually come home after 8:30 PM and I often go out on Saturdays, Sunday evening is usually only chance for us to have dinner together.  We usually have breakfast together, but eat different menu.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


It was fine and very hot.

I went to Yokohama to attend a monthly meeting in the afternoon.  It lasted for nearly 2 hours.  It is nice to get together with those who have the same goal.
Then I visited the shrines where I try to visit every time I attend this meeting. 
Then I went to Kimono-style Miya to pick up the pictures from the first fashion show of last December in Yokohama.  There was a new magazine there.  They issue the kimono model magazine twice a year.  The cover paper was coated shiny one and very beautiful.
Then I went to massage.  After 5 hours commuting every day makes my body very tense.  So I try to get my body massaged for 90 minutes once in a month on the meeting day.  I enjoyed talking with massager.

I was looking forward to seeing the super moon tonight, but it was cloudy and I have not seen it yet.


It was fine and very hot today.  After the typhoon has gone, the weather was very nice.  We call this taifu ikka (台風一過).  I could see the beautiful mountain line including Mt. Fuji from my office building.
The moon looked very beautiful at night.  Tomorrow it will be more beautiful to be full moon and super moon.


Friday, July 11, 2014


The monster typhoon No.8 is nearing.
It did not rain so much today.  Now there are many warnings in many places.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It was slightly raining.  The monster typhoon No. 8 seems still active in the southern Japan.

Today I got a postcard from myself which I sent on January 30 at the big event.  They kept every participant's postcard and sent out after about a half year before another big event.  It was a nice surprise.  There were many changes during these 5 months for me.  There were some goals written, some were completed, others were not.  It was a kind of time capsule. 
Unfortunately I cannot attend the next event, but I hope to attend the one in the next year in Los Angles.  Until then I will try to make my dreams come true.


It was fine and very hot today.
In Okinawa the big typhoon No. 8 seems so active.  And it will move to Kyushu soon.  Tomorrow in southern and western Japan there will be heavy rain and strong wind.
In Japan we count the typhoon by numbers.  In the USA hurricanes have their own names.

Monday, July 7, 2014


It was rainy and cloudy.

July 7 is tanabata (七夕), literally means seven evening.  It is known as Star Festival.  It is the only night of the year when two stars (Altair and Vega) meet across the milky way.  In Japan we decorate the bamboo tree with oblong cards (tanzaku: 短冊) written one's wishes.
When I travel to Suwa (諏訪) on June 21, I wrote one piece of the cards after so many years. I hope my wishes will come true.


It was cloudy.

I went to Jyorokuji (浄楽時) in Yokosuka to see the five sculptures made by Unkei (運慶) who is one of the famous sculptors of Kamakura (鎌倉) era.  These sculptures are only open to public twice a year, but today my friends from high school  made a special tour to see them with limited numbers.  They were used to be National Treasures, but now they are designated as Important Cultural Property.  They say they will be National Treasures in the near future. 
There is a grave of Mr. Hisoka Maejima (前島密) who is known to the world as the Father of Postal Systems in Japan. I knew there is the one, but I have never visited there. So I am glad to be there finally.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


It was cloudy, rain, and became fine.
I went to Shinjuku to attend a monthly meeting.  Then I went to my ex-colleague's house to have luncheon. There got together nine ex-colleagues and four babies.
They celebrated my belated birthday.
Then I had dinner with my teacher from graduate school.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Happy Birthday to the USA!

It was cloudy and rainy.  Yesterday they say it rained heavily in Kyushu area.  It was once in 50 years heavy record.


Thursday, July 3, 2014


I took a day off to take my father to the hospital.  He needed to visit three different departments of two different hospitals.  So we were very busy.  At the first hospital I have happened to see my students whom I taught when they were junior high school students.  I was so glad to see them become adults and have decent jobs.  It took about 2 hours and a half at the first hospital and I drove to the next for an hour or so.
After the second hospital, we went to eat lunch at my favorite crab restaurant.  The menu was different from the one we went to last time.  We enjoyed delicious course dishes.  This is one of our pleasures when we go to the hospital in Yokosuka.
Japanese crab course dinner consists of many small dishes and looks very beautiful. I hope you have a chance to taste them someday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It was cloudy but became very hot today.

Today is hangesho (半夏生), one of shichijyuniko (七十二候), 72 seasons.  One season is a third of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), 24 solar terms.  Hangesho literally means half summer live.  There is a plant called Hangesho around this time and its leaves are half white and half green.
They say there is a custom in Kinki (近畿) area that they eat octopus on this day wishing the rice seeding will make roots like octopus.  Therefore some supermarkets have special sales for octopus today.


Another month has started.  July is shichigatsu (七月), seventh month and its old name is fumizuki (文月) or fuzuki (文月).  Fumizuki literally means letter month.

It was cloudy.

I wanted to get up earlier to visit the shrine, but I could not.  Last night a Japanese tennis player, Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭) won the game at the Wimbledon.  Since there is time difference between Japan and Wimbledon, we tend to be sleepless.  Now he is playing at the 4th round which is the best in Japanese Men''s history.