Saturday, January 31, 2015


It was fine.

I left home early in the morning to attend a one day tour to visit two shrines in  Yamanashi with my friend.

We left Kawasaki around seven and first visited a fur factory. We saw very expensive overcoats, muton bed sheet with magnet, carpet, and small goods.
Then we visited wasabi souvenir shop, and the first shrine, Asama jinja(浅間神社), ate famous local food called houtou (ほうとう), visited a wine factory, and the second and the last shrine Takeda jinja (武田神社).
We tasted many local samples here and there.

The landscape was beautiful. I saw th top part of Mt.Fuji here and there.

At the factory I got a key chain of mink, and at the shop of  the restaurant I drew a special prize and got a bracelet.
I felt lucky.

After coming back to Kawasaki, I went to join dinnner with my friends. There got together seven of us.  We enjoyed eating and chatting.
It was a nice day.

Friday, January 30, 2015


It was rainy when I left home but snowing when I got to Tokyo, and piled.  However in the afternoon it changed to rain and melted.  If I was a child, I must be happy to see the snow and enjoy playing.
But as an adult trains tend to be delayed and crowded, and the road becomes messy, so it is not so good.  Furthermore since I go traveling tomorrow, I hope it will be fine tomorrow.


It was very cold this morning.  I saw the ice on the puddle in Tokyo.  I thought it might snow but did not.  The weather forecast said it would snow even in Tokyo tomorrow.

I was rather busy at work today.  When busy, it seems many more things to be done would come.

I saw the sport news at night and knew Ichiro would move to Florida Marlines at the age of 41. 

Both Washington State and Florida State are the places I used to live, so I am glad to hear that.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


It was  a strange weather this morning, very cold and snowing, but at the same it was partially fine and cloudy.
During daytime it became fine. At night stars were so beautiful.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


It seems to have rained last night, but it became fine.

There were presentations of the first year students of graduate school.
This was the first time for me to see their presentations.
The maximum time was 15 minutes but nobody went to such long.

There will be the second year student's presentations on Friday.

I am looking forward to seeing them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


It was cloudy.

I should have mentioned yesterday, but Yokozuna Hakuho (横綱 白鵬) became a champion at the first ground sumo championships of this year.
This was his 33rd victory, which is the best record in the sumo world.
What is more, he won 15 matches straight,which was the 11th total winning for him after 10 tournaments. Congratulations!!
There were 1625 prizes in this first tournament which was the most in history and for the last match between Hakuho and Kakuryu(鶴竜) there were 61 prizes which exceeded the maximum limit of 50.
He will be 30 years old in March.
So we can expect more new records will be made in the future.

Monday, January 26, 2015


It was fine.

I went grocery shopping in the morning.

I went to Kimono-style MIYA to be a kimono model in the afternoon.
The new one is off-white tsumugi (紬) and light  blue obi and they are so beautiful.
I went to Itseyama kotai jingu (伊勢山皇大神宮) and Naritasan (成田山) with kimono.
There were landslide accidents by the typhoon No.18 last year at Naritasan and it was difficult to find
the temporary temple. But when I got there around 4  PM, there was a regular praying ceremony by
monks, and I  felt lucky.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


It was cloudy and rather cold on the contrary to the weather forecast.

I went to get massage after a month, and the masseuse said my body became stiff compared to last time.  It may be because I cannot go to Yoga lessons these days.

After that I went to a Vietnamese restaurant in Osaki to have a new year's party and a birthday party for one of the ex-colleagues.  Eight of us got together.  I was the organizer and used many coupons.  We enjoyed eating, drinking, talking, and taking pictures. Half of them are married and others are single, and they do not have any children. 
I am glad that they had a good time and enjoyed the reunion.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


It stopped raining and was cloudy in the morning, but became fine.
When I got to the office, Mt.Fuji looked so beautiful.  The sunset was beautiful, too.

Today is the last day for the second semester.  One of the international students
came to my office to say goodbye.
It is hard to believe a half year has  passed.      

Have a nice weekend!       

Friday, January 23, 2015


It was a cold rainy day.

I took a day off to take my father to hospital for once a month checkup.
After that we went out for lunch.

After coming back, I went to Seya, Yokohama to attend a senimar.
I was glad to to see some friends there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


It  was cloudy and cold, it was even snowy depends on the place.

After work I went to Shinjuku to attend a special opportunity meeting by American Chief Executive Officer in Marketing.
It was a nice one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


It was fine.

The sunset was so beautiful.
The sun was very close to the Mt. Fuji when it iwas set.
Someday we may be able to see the diamond Fuji from the office.

Today is taikan or daikan (大寒) one of nijyushisekki (二十四節気), 24 solar terms.
The last one was shokan (小寒) on Jan. 6 and the next one is risshun (立春) on Feb.4.
Taikan literally means big cold and this is the coldest season of the year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


It was cloudy and cold.

I went to a kimono shop to buy something small because they have a special sales from January 16 to 19.
I wished to go there on Saturday, but I was too busy to go.  Since today was the last day, I went there.  I am glad to visit there because it was the last day of one of the staff to whom I made a promise and I could keep the words.
Furthermore they offered me to draw omikuji (おみくじ) style lottery. To my surprise I drew daikichi (大吉), the big fortune and they gave me a roll of komon (小紋), small design pattern cloth which I wanted to have.  There were only five of them.
How lucky I am!

Sunday, January 18, 2015


It was fine and rather warm today.

There was the first tea ceremony event of this year called hatsugama (初釜) today.  It started around 11 AM and ended around 4 PM.  There were 6 pupils this time which is a rather small number compared to before.

About 1 year and a half ago one of our masters became sick, and he was hospitalized for some months.  Therefore there was  no hatsugama last year.  He became 90 years old last November.
Usually not only current pupils but also ex-pupils were invited to this kind of events, but this year they decided to hold the ceremony just for current pupils.  Usually the other female master cooks ozoni (お雑煮: soup of rice cake and vegetables) for Kyoto style which is used shiromiso (白みそ: white miso), but this year she did not make it unfortunately. Usually they prepared the lottery at the end, but they did not this year.  Their first son came to help the ceremony for the first time. 
So there were many irregularities.
In spite of that we enjoyed the event itself, eating, talking and taking many pictures in the garden.

The ceremony consisted of 4 parts.  They are sumidemae (炭点前: charcoal procedure), okoicha (お濃茶: thick tea), kaiseki (懐石: Chanoyu cuisine), and ousu (お薄: thin tea).   There were some new utensils today.

I wore the new homongi (訪問着: formal kimono) which I made for hatsugama last year, but since there was no hatsugama last year, today was the kind of debut for the kimono
Here are some pictures.  I hope you enjoy.




Saturday, January 17, 2015


It was fine.

I went to Kimono-style Miya for the 2nd Kimono lesson in the morning.   They offered me a lottery, and to my lucky I drew one of the best prizes, that is free sawing charges.   I was very glad because it usually costs nearly yen 100,000.

In the afternoon I attended a business seminar.

At night we had a new year's party at a Chinese restaurant.  There were about 18 people attended.  It was fun.

Friday, January 16, 2015


It was fine.

I was rather busy at the office today too.  
After work, I went to attend Mr. Ken Honda's New Year's lecture.
I think this is the third time for me to attend his new year's lecture.
The theme was "You can choose the ideal life anytime."
Whenever I go to his lecture, I buy books to get his autograph. Today I bought the newest one titled "Purpose of Life."
I have made friends with three persons  who attended his lecture for first time.


It was cloudy and became rainy and very cold.

Today is my father's 80th birthday.
80 years old is also known as sanju (傘寿).
It is the second coming of age day because being 60 is called "kanreki(還暦)" meaning return to
0 year old.

I celebrated his birthday by red bean rice called  sekihan (赤飯) at breakfast.
I hope he will live longer.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


It was fine.

I have just watched a news program.
There were many news and I was surprised at elephants' attacking cars in Thailand.
I thought they were tame but weren't.

Elephant is zo (象) in Japanese.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


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

After three day weekend everyone looked very busy.

After work I went shopping for my father's birthday present. I am glad to find something tonight.


Today is a national holiday called seijin no hi (成人の日), Coming of Age Day.
It used to be on January 15.

It was fine but very cold.

In Japan to be 20 is to be adult. 
On this day there are ceremonies by local government such as cities.
Women usually wear the long sleeves kimono called furisode (振袖 ).


Sunday, January 11, 2015


It was fine.

I went to grocery shopping in the morning.

After having lunch I went to Yokohama Kimono-Style Miya to learn how to wear kimono.  It lasted for 2 hours but I practiced after that too.  I happened to see my friends there.
Miya is very generous in many aspects.  For example, it will be three years for them to have opened  the shop in Yokohama this spring, they decided to give New Year's Presents to those who received the New Year's cards' last three digit  No. 300 or 333, and the last digit for 3 or 5 or 7.  Fortunately I had two "333" cards, and many 3 or 5 or 7 cards.  They gave me a formal kimono.  They also gave us the transportation subsidy.  And as a new year's greeting present, they gave us kimono hanger.

When we got to the station, the trains were stopped because of the accident.  My friend and I decided to eat dinner.  We walked back and went to a restaurant, and had big dinner.

After that we went to the station to ask if the trains run or not.  Fortunately they restarted and we could come back.

It was a lucky day.

January 11 is known as kagami biraki (鏡開き), literally meaning opening mirror.  It is a custom for us  to eat kagami mochi (鏡餅) which were decorated many places at home.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


It was fine.

I went to Shinjuku to attend a monthly meeting. There were about 600 people. Since I was late, it was hard to find a seat.
After that I checked my Truage as usual.
Then I had lunch with friends.

After that I went to Tama Art University Museum to see the exhibition regarding Shikoku pilgrimage.
There were two ways to get there from Shinjuku. I went there by Keio line and came back by Odakyu line.  Keio line was faster and convenient.
It's been nearly six years since I went to Tama center station. There were many changes since then.

After coming back to Shinjuku, I went to a restaurant where I wanted to visit for a long time. They serve fugu (河豚) globefish, which is expensive winter dish, and they need the license to cook because they contain poison.  They also serve crabs which is my favorite.  I am glad to go there at last.


It was fine.

Mt. Fuji was so beautiful again.  I saw the white moon in the morning, and the orange moon at night.  I have never seen such an orange moon.
I hear the color of the sun on the children's picture differs depends on the country.  I think most Japanese children paint the sun in red.  How about in your country?
I think most Japanese children paint the moon in white and stars in yellow.  How about in your country?

On my way back on the train I happened to see one of the teachers from the
business school I attended last year.  It was a strange feeling that it has been only one year since then.

Today I sent an invitation email for the party to ex-colleagues, therefore I communicated with many friends which was nice.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


It was fine.  Mt. Fuji, the moon and the sun were so beautiful when I left home in the morning.

It's already January 8.  More than one week has passed since the new year.  Until January 7 is called matsu no uchi (松の内), which means the period of decorating pines.  At new year we decorate the bamboo with pine tree called kadomatsu (門松) at the gate.  And we clear them around January 7, though it used to be January 15. So while there are new year's decoration, it is called matsu no uchi.
I thought it was still January 7 today so I forgot clearing the new year's decoration called shogatsu kazari (正月飾り) on the front door this morning. When I realized it was January 8 on the train, I felt ashamed.

There was another embarrassing incident.  I helped my father to write the replies of new year's cards.  Since last year I bought a new PC, I used the new New Year's Card making soft wear so that I had to input everything from scratch.  I forgot to change the name of sender to my father.  And I sent his new year's cards by my name.  Today I got an email from my father's friend.  It's been a long time since all my family visited his house.  He wrote to ask my father's condition because he got a new year's card under my name.  And I realized what I did. 
My brother wrote email saying our uncle called him because he got a new year's card under my name.
It is very rare for him to contact us.  And we knew his recent condition.
So I felt it was like "Bad luck often brings good luck."  In Japanese wazawai tenjite fukutonasu (災い転じて福となす).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


It was cloudy in the morning but became fine in the afternoon.

Today was the first working day of this year.  The trains were delayed for both ways.

January 7 is known as nanakusa (七草), seven herbs.  Since we eat a lot during new year days, we should take care of our stomach after a week.  So we eat nanakusa gayu (七草がゆ),  rice gruel with seven herbs.  They are namely: seri (せり: Water dropwort), nazuna (なずな: Shepherd's purse), gogyo (ごぎょう: Cudweed), hakobera (はこべら : Chickweed), suzuna (すずな: Turnip), and suzushiro (すずしろ: Radish).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


It was fine.
I went to Kimono-style Miya to be a kimono model in the morning. I wore my favorite one.
Then I went to Tokyo to attend a seminar in the afternoon.  There was a year-end party after that and about 24 people attended. Nearly 20 people were strangers but I enjoyed talking with them a lot.


It was cloudy but became rain.

This is the last day of my winter holiday and I stayed home all day long.
I felt glad to have visited the Seven Lucky Gods yesterday when it was very fine and rather warm.

Today is shokan (小寒), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms.  The last one was toji (冬至) on December 22, and the next one is taikan or daikan (大寒) on January 20.
Shokan literally means small cold.  A month from now on is the coldest time of the year.

Monday, January 5, 2015


It was fine.

I went to Ueno (上野) to visit the Yanaka Shichifukujin (谷中七福神), Seven Lucky Gods in Yanaka, Tokyo.  There are many Seven Lucky Gods in Tokyo, but I chose there because they say it is the oldest Seven Lucky Gods in Edo.  The pilgrim of Seven Lucky Gods started in Edo era, and it is still popular as New Year's event.
I started around 11:30 AM, visited seven temples, had noodle called Shichifukujin soba (七福神そば) for lunch, and finished around 15:30 PM. The distance is about 5.5 km in total between JR Ueno Station and JR Tabata (田端) Station.  Between January 1 and January 10, we can see the statues of the gods in the main buildings.

I visited the following seven lucky gods of the seven temples.

Benzaiten (弁財天) at Shinobazunoike Bentendo (不忍池弁天堂)
Daikokuten (大黒天) at Gokokuin (護国院)
Bishamonoten (毘沙門天) at Tennoji (天王寺)
Jurojin (寿老人) at Choanji (長安寺)
Hoteison (布袋尊) at Shuseiin (修性院)
Ebisunokami (恵比寿神) at Seiunji (青雲寺)
Fukurokuju (福禄寿) at Tokakuji (東覚寺)

Benzaiten, Daikokuten, Bishamonten are Indian Gods, Hotei, Fukurokuju, Jurojin are Chinese gods, and Ebisu is a Japanese God.

I bought a piece of paper printed the pictures of Seven Lucky Gods at the first temple for 1200 yen and got stamps at each temple for 200 yen.
There were seven ingredients in Shichifukujin soba, and it cost 770 yen.

While walking, I found some interesting spots such as hot springs, grave yard of the last Shogun (将軍), and Japanese gardens.

Here are some pictures of today's tour.  I hope you enjoy.



It was fine.

I went to TOYOTA to have my car repaired.  There has been something wrong with the left rear light for a few weeks.  Strange thing happened here again.  There  was nothing wrong when I got there.  But after a while they found something, and changed a bulb. They washed the car, and checked the battery and found it low quality, and changed it too. As a new year's gift I got sponge cake, and after fukubiki (福引き) fortune drawing, I got a hand towel with sheep embroidery which is the zodiac sign of this year.

After that I went grocery shoppings.

At night the new 54th NHK's taiga drama(大河ドラマ), big river drama, started.  It is a year long histrical drama broadcast from 8 pm for 45 minutes. The title is Hana moyu (花燃ゆ) literally meaning flower burning. It is a story of a sister of Yoshida Shoin (吉田松陰) who was one of the most distinguished and influential intellectual at the end of Edo period.  He is well known, but his family is not.
It is very difficult to watch every week, but I hope to try.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


It was very fine and Mt. Fuji was so beautiful all day long.

I stayed home doing nothing special.

The first three days of the new year are called shogatsu san ga nichi (正月三が日). Usually many people have winter holidays until the third of January, but since it is Saturday today, they start working from Monday. So the return rush from home town has begun.

There was the second day of the 91st Hakone Ekiden (箱根駅伝), Tokyo-Hakone Round Trip College Ekiden Race.  It is a long distance relay road race betweenTokyo and Hakone by university teams in Kanto area.  There were 20 universities and one mixed team participated. Aoyama Gakuin University won for both ways at 10 hours 49 minutes 27 seconds in total.  It was their first victory after 20 times participating. There were 10 minutes and 50 seconds differences between the first and the second.   Congratulations!
Since there was something wrong with our TV these days, I did not watch the race though.....

Saturday, January 3, 2015


It was fine.

A repair person of antenna came.
However just before he came, it started working. How strange it was!
There was nothing he could do but we needed to pay 3,240 yen for transportation and estimation for renewal.
We missed some interesting TV  programs but it was over.

January 2 is known for the day of hatsuyume (初夢), first dream, hatsuni (初荷) first load, kakizome (書き初め), first calligraphy, and kokyo ippan sanga (皇居一般参賀), general people's New Year’s visit to the Imperial Palace.

I watched the news of Imperial Palace visiting. The second princess Kako (佳子さま: kako sama) of The Akishinomiya (秋篠宮) Family debuted. There were 81,030 people visiting today, which was the third largest number in the Heisai (平成) era.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Happy New Year 2015!

It was cloudy, snowy and cold.  It's very rare to have snow on the New Year's Day (ganjitsu: 元日) here.  Snow is yuki (雪) in Japanese.  At first it was kona yuki (粉雪), powder snow, and it became botan yuki (牡丹雪), large flakes, later but it did not pile. 

I cooked o zoni (お雑煮), rice cake soup this morning and ate o sechi ryori (お節料理) which I received yesterday.  They were rather gorgeous.  There were three boxes piled, and there were so many different dishes inside (See the attached picture with menu).   O zoni and  o sechi ryori are typical Japanese New Year dishes.

After that I went to the nearby shrine for the first visit of this year called hatsumode (初詣). 
Then I went to Yokohama to attend the Kimono Style Miya's New Year event.  About 15 people joined.  I met two of my friends there.  Some of them have stayed there overnight since yesterday.
We ate o zoni and o sechi ryoriO zoni there was Nagoya style, which is rather simple.  And I changed to the new kimono and we went to Iseyama kotai jingu (伊勢山皇大神宮) shrine for the first visit.  There were so many people visiting there, and it took a long time to arrive at the main building.  There were many food stalls along the street for both sides, and many people were eating something here and there. 

At the shrine they offered sacred sake called o miki (お神酒) and they gave us the drinking dish called sakazuki (盃).  We felt very lucky.  Most of them tried to draw the fortune telling called o mikuji (お御籤) for 200 yen, but I did not because I have made up mind not to draw it since I got the big fortune (daikichi: 大吉) at the Sengen jinja (浅間神社) shrine at the top of the Mt. Fuji in the summer of 1984.  The o mikuji of Iseyama kotai jingu looked very cute and there was a charm inside.  So those who drew also felt lucky.

After that we went back to the kimono shop again and ate some foods and went out to the restaurant to have sweets.  There they also offered o miki.  There were 11 of us, and two of them ordered pancakes.  And it took about 40 minutes to be served.  I don't know why it takes such a long time.  I don't care much about pancakes, but they make me miss IHOP in Delray Beach and the cafe in San Francisco though I forgot the name.
There was a drawing called fukubiki (福引), fortune drawing.  And to my fortunate I got a roll of Tsumugi (紬).  I chose very unique design of Yuki tsumugi (結城紬).  How generous they are!

After coming home, I checked the new year's cards called nengajo (年賀状).  I like to read something added by hand.  I really appreciate those who sent me new year's cards or Christmas cards because that means they spared some time for me and thinking of me.   I am glad to have such friends.

I had a very nice New Year's Day.

I hope you also had a good start of the new year!

O sechi ryori


Mt. Fuji this morning from my house
At Iseyama kotai jingu
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