Monday, February 29, 2016


It was rainy in the morning. Weather forecast said it would be hot in the daytime but it was not as expected.

Today is a leap day of the leap year. Leap year in Japanese is urudoshi (閏年).
I wonder when those who are born on Feb. 29 celebrate their birthday, on Feb. 28 or March 1?

They say finally Leonard Dicaprio got the Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards Ceremony.  The movie "The Revenant" has not been released in Japan yet, and it is scheduled to be released on April 22.
I am looking forward to seeing it.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


It was fine.

I went to Yokohama to see a Japanese movie titled "Saraba abunai deka (さらば あぶない刑事)" meaning "Good bye Dangeroud Cops. "
It's  been about 30 years since this TV program series were on air.  It was one of the most popular detective dramas at that time.
The movie was shot in Yokohama, so the locations were very familiar.  There are two heros.  In five days they are going to retire. And incidents happened.

After that I went to the beauty salon to have my hair cut and perm. Then I went shopping.

On my way back I dropped at Miurakaigan to see the Cherry Blossom Festival. I walked to Misakiguchi station and enjoyed taking pictures of Kawazu zakura (河津桜) and rape blossoms along the railway. They were very beautiful.
After coming back to the parking lot, I went grocery shopping.

It was a nice weekend.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


It was cloudy and cold.

I went to Tokyo to attend the million seller writer Ken Honda's one day seminar. This is the second seminar of the three seminar series.
It's been a month since I attended last time. I met two participants who attended last time.
Today five participants made a group and conducted workshops.  One of them was a 20 years old Chinese woman. I was surprised to hear that she started the primary school at the age of three and has already completed the college and had already 4 jobs experiences. She spoke Japanese well.
China is our neighbor country but I did not know that they starts school that early and they don't read books as we Japanese people do on the train.
It is interesting to get to know foreign people.

The most impressive person was a graduate of Harvard who studied brain science and published a book recently. The reason why he was so impressive was when he was a child he accomplished running marathon or something and felt great. At that time he decided 7 goals of 7 items each that means he has accomplished 49 items such as mastering 7 languages, mastering 7 musical instruments, and  studying in 7 countries and so on.

The next impressive person was a man who wore kimono and hakama. And that kimono was made of cloth of jeans which I have never seen.

There was a publishing producer who helped to produce 1800 books in 32 years. 

There was a picture book writer who has published a book and got brain stroke and stayed in hospital and could not do anything for several months.  After recovering from that she wrote a book about her fighting illness story and now she has been invited by hospitals to talk about her experiences.

It is stimulus to hear layman 's success stories.

Friday, February 26, 2016


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

After work I went to a Spanish bar to book for next week.
Have you ever heard about Groupon? It is a coupon we can buy through Internet. There was a special offer of a course dinner of half price.  But they only accept three groups per day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So I wanted to buy the coupon after confirming the availability.  It is located between my office and the station.  So I visited there on my way to the station.
To my lucky, it was still available. So I bought the coupons there and booked.
I am looking forward to going there with my colleague next week.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


It was cloudy.

There happened something in the evening and I came home late around 9 pm.
I was wondering if I should cook or not. But after all I cooked two dishes.
One of them was what I read the recipe in yesterday's newspaper. I happened to have every ingredient and from the morning I was going to cook, but since I came home late I was wondering what to do.  Ingredients are pumpkin, pork, onion, ginger, dry plum, oil, salt, soy sauce and water. First slice pumpkin and onion, cut pork.  Then put oil in the pan and  stir-fry pumpkin. After it became transparent, put water and lid and steam for a minute.  Take them out.  Stir-fry pork, ginger and onion. Then put dry plum and mix. Then put pumpkin back to the pan and mix. Put soysauce for seasoning. That's all.  It was easy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


It was cloudy and cold in the daytime, and slightly rained in the evening.

These days I take a bath very late at night after midnight. I take a bath watching TV. Therefore it takes longer to stay there than before.

I happened see the program that dealt with bakugai (爆買い) yesterday.  Bakugai means to buy something in a big volume and this word became the popular word of last year. It started to express for Chinese travellers to buy Japanese medicine, cosmetics, baby goods, electronics devices, and so on in a great volume.
In yesterday's program there were three guests.  Two women buy toiletery at the drug stores. One man who is only 21 years old college student buys very expensive things such as car which costs about yen 40 million or accessories which cost more than a house in Tokyo.
I was so surprised at his ways of spending money.
His mother is an owner of a company and his father is a doctor and runs hospital. 
How unfair this world is!
Many people die in young in developing countries, and live within one dollar in a day but the rich people like him spend more than what we earn in a year in just 10 minutes or so.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It was cloudy.

In the morning there was a passenger accident and the Keikyu line was delayed. When I changed to the Yamanote line, there were many announcements about the delay for JR lines on the monitors above the doors. The reasons of delay were different depends on the lines. The display were both Japanese and English.
First it was appeared in Japanese and then it was translated into English.
I was wondering how to express the situation of a bird crash accident. Then it said "animal collision." Birds are indeed one of the animals, but I felt it did not express the precise situation.
I wonder what animal foreigners would imagine.

Monday, February 22, 2016


It was cloudy in the morning  but became rain.

They say today is a day of cats because of  meowing.  It was established in1987. It seems many countries have a day of cats but on different day. In Japanese they cry like nyan nyan nyan, and Feb. 22 is 2.22, and 2 is pronounced as "ni" and it sounds similar.  

The cry of animals or insects sounds different in Japan and other countries. For example in English dogs bark "bow wow" but in Japan we hear as "wan wan. " We like the chirping of bell crickets in the fall, but in other countries they are just noise.

It is interesting, isn't it?

Sunday, February 21, 2016


It was fine.

I went to the Kimono-style Miya to have my pictures taken. The background was hinaningyo (雛人形), which is the dolls' decoration for Girl's Festival on March 3.

There were seven steps which is called sichidan kazari or nanadan kazari (七段飾り). On the top there are prince and princess called odairi sama (お内裏様) and ohina sama (お雛様), or obina(男雛) and mebina(女雛). On the second shelf there are three women attend to them called sannin kanjo (三人官女).  On the third shelf there are five musical bands called gonin bayashi (五人囃子). On the fourth shelf there are two zuijin (随身) who protect the palace like knights.  On the fifth shelf there are three followers called jicho (仕丁). One of them tends to cry, the other to laugh, and another to scold after drinking. They are called nakijyogo (泣き上戸), waraijyogo (笑い上戸), and okorijyogo (怒り上戸) respectively.  This means parents want their daughters to grow with rich expressions. The red cloth under the dolls is called himosen (緋毛氈). They say the color red has power to drive away evil spirit.

I changed to another kimono and went to crab luncheon in Ofuna. It's been a long time since I went there last. The station was changed a lot and I was so surprised. Lunch was very nice.

I went back to Miya and have my pictures taken again.

After coming back,  I went to grocery shopping.

It was a nice day.


Saturday, February 20, 2016


It was cloudy when I left home but started raining before noon.

I happened to see my friend from primary school when I got on a train.
We have talked until I got off at Shinagawa.  Then she went to see kabuki, and I went to work. Usually I am off on Saturdays and Sundays, but there was an entrance examination for graduate school and I needed to arrange many things.

After work I went out for dinner with my teacher from the doctor's course in  Shinagawa . I ate a lot and tasted four differrent sake.

Friday, February 19, 2016


It was fine.

There was blackout between Tobe and Kamioooka, and my train delayed for 30 minutes in the morning.
On my way back, someone's bag was stuck in the door and the train delayed again.

There was a good thing too. I was chosen for the one of the two slots for attending the seminar in a discounted price. I felt lucky.

Today is usui (雨水), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節季), the 24 solar terms. The last one was risshun (立春) on Feb. 4, and the next one is keichitsu (啓蟄) on March 5.
Usui (雨水) literally means rain water.  It is the time snow melts and becomes water. Sprng is nearing.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


It was fine and cold.

There was an article about "the 29th Salaried man's senryu contest" in today's newspaper.
Senryu (川柳) is one of the shortest houmorous verses in three lines of five, seven, five syllables.

As the shortest poem haiku (俳句) is very famous, which is also composed of in three lines of five, seven, five syllables.
Haiku needs a word which shows the season.

But senryu does not.  And senryu is very witty, cynical, and interesting.

There were 39551 entries and the best 100 were chosen and will be voted by March 18 by Internet and top 10 will be announced at the end of March.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


It was fine and cold.

My commuting time is very long. It takes about two hours and a half in one way, that means five hours per day.  I use two trains and if I wait I could usually sit for the longer part which is about one hour and a half.  I can listen to the world news by radio, read and write emails, search something by internet, watch movies or TV program by smartphone, read books, do games or solve puzzles or sleep.

I tried to find a restaurant and applied for the seminar ticket by writing a short essay today.
After changing the train I noticed the advertisement for a cram school, and there were some quizes and I enjoyed sloving. It was fun.
If you enjoy learning, you may learn more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


It was fiine and cold.

In the morning when I went to the station, I happened to see my English teacher of the junior high school. It's been so long to see him again.
Maybe since when I quitted the teaching job at the junior high school after 6 years working to go on to graduate school.
I heard he has already retired.  But it seemed he was there to see off his students who would take entrance examinations for high schools.
I could not have time to talk a lot but greeted.
During my junior high school days, he has taught us English for three years.
When I was a high school student, in spite of there were three different lessons (reader, grammar, composition), our class was taught by only one teacher though there were some English teachers at our school.
So until I entered the university I have been taught English by only two teachers for 6 years.
Therefore when I was a teacher of English at the junior high school, I used the same method as my teacher did for us.
That is to name each student English name.
So even now sometimes I do not remember students' real name but their English name.

Monday, February 15, 2016


It was cloudy and rainy, and getting colder gradually in afternoon.
And it started sleeting in the evening.

Since it was rather warm like June, the pink cherry blossoms called Kawazuzakura (河津桜) at the station were full in bloom.

Since I had four days long weekend, I was rather busy at office today.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Happy St. Valentine's Day!!

How do you spend this day?
In Japan it is a day for women to give chocolates to men they like.  However according to the recent survey, it is increasing for women to give chocolates to female friends or themselves and even for men to give to their friends.
There are many kinds of chocolates sold at the stores around this time of the year.  Some are so expensive, and others are reasonable.
I got the one which were small spicy rice crackers coated with white chocolate from someone I helped as a thank you token. I dare not to buy such opposite combination foods, but they were not so bad.

It was windy and rainy like typhoon in the morning.  Wind was so strong.  In the afternoon it stopped raining and became fine and rather warm.
According to the weather forecast, haru ichiban (春一番), the first spring storm has blown in the Kanto area and temperature went up to around 24 degrees centigrade like June. However it will be cold again from tomorrow.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


It was fine and cloudy and rather warm.
I stayed at home all day long.

There was my favorite TV program broadcast tonight.  It was 93rd All Japan Kaso Grand Prix (第93回全日本仮装大賞), Masquerade.  32 teams performed; some did by him or herself, and others did with groups.  There were many awards, namely, Idea Award, Humor Award, Performance Award, Fantasy Award, Effort Award, Technical Award, and 3rd Prize, 2nd Prize, and 1st Prize.  I agreed most parts, but not all.  Besides these awards judged by guests, there were votes by TV audience. More than 126 thousand people voted.  The 2nd prize was the same as guests' judge but others were different. 
Prize money is 1st prize for yen1,000,000, 2nd prize for yen500,000, and 3rd prize for yen300,000.
There were some professional comedians, but one of them only got 2 points out of 20,
There were some people who performed twice.


Friday, February 12, 2016


It was cloudy.

I took a day off to attend a monthly meeting in the morning and afternoon in Yokohama.
There were two hours lunch break. So I went to a bank. I have had an account in Citibank since 1996 but it became a new bank last November, so I have been wondering what I should do with the cash card and credit card.
Usually banks in Japan open from 9 am to 3 pm.  Therefore it is rather difficult to visit because there is no branch near my working place.  So I decided to visit  today. 
After all the current card will be valid as long as it works. There are Citibanks around the world, so I think it is better to keep it. Therefore I did not make the new one. 
It took longer than expected, and I did not have time to eat lunch.

After the afternoon session, I  went to the Kimono Style Miya. I was surprised to hear about the change of the fashion festival in Paris. Because of the terrorism last year, the venue will be in Italy instead of Paris, and they won't have the fashion festival like the one we had in Kyoto in October.  And the date was also changed.
I am not sure what I will be doing at that time, but I hope I can join to introduce Japanese culture to people living there.

At night I had a reunion of JOI coordinators in Shinjuku.  It is the 15th anniversary this year and 8 coordinators from 1st year to 13th year and 5 administrators from Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and The Laurasian Institution got together. I only knew three people but since we have the same kind of experiences I enjoyed meeting them. I was very surprised to hear about their foreign experiences.
I am glad to give my book to the person in charge finally, and met 1st and 4th coordinators after 10 years or so.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


It was fine but a bit cool in the morning.
I attended a gender forum after working. The speaker was a Japanese woman living and working in Connecticut, USA.  The theme was "Intellectual Approach to the Global Career- Japanese women, American Society, Business World-."
Since I am a Japanese woman having worked in the USA and now working at a College of Business, it seemed interesting andI decided to attend.
She talking about racial profiling. I have beestartedn very interested in the national characteristics since I was a college student. So it was interesting to hear the different characteristics among Asian people in the USA compared to sports.
The most people part was the famous Japanese people known to US citizen. If men, people can easily think of many baseball people or writers or politician. But people of Japanese women, people to her, only Ms. Yoko Ono and Princess Masako people been known to the people people USA. I thought Ms. Sadako Ogata or Murasaki Shikibu should be one of them.  Murasaki these days they say Ms. Marie Kondo has been known to New Yorkers Kondo San Franciscan. And her book Kondo sold 1.5 million copies in the USA. To my surprise her nick name konmari is my used as verb which means to clean thec do not feel excited.
Isn't it interesting?


It was fine and beautiful today.

Today is a national holiday called "Kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日)" foundation day.

I stayed at home all day long. 

My friend from primary school and junior high school came to see the place where I want to ask to fix in the afternoon.
We met on November 7 last year when there was a City's disaster drill after so many years.  He runs the plasterer business,  and I asked him to estimate the construction to fix the cliff.  It's been already three months since then.  And finally he came to see the spot. I am not sure how much it would be, but it seemed cheaper than the estimation I asked to the gardener.
After checking, we enjoyed talking about our school days.  We have not met more than 20 years, there were so many things we do not know about each other.   We may plan the school reunion in the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


It was fine and beautiful, but cold.

In the morning trains delayed twice, and in the evening another train delayed.

Regarding three, there are two different sayings in Japanese. One is "nido aru koto wa sando aru (二度あることは三度ある)", meaning what happened twice will happen again. The other is "sandome no shojiki (三度目の正直)", literally  meaning the third is the truth, and it means third time is the charm.

There are some other opposite sayings.
For example, "zen wa isoge (善は急げ)" meaning "Strike while iron is hot" and "seite wa koto wo shisonjiru (急いては事を仕損じる)"meaning "Haste makes waste."
"Nito wo oumono wa itto mo ezu (二兎を追うものは一兎も得ず)" meaning "If you run after two hares, you will catch neither" and "Isseki nicho (一石二鳥)" meaning "kill two birds with one stone."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


It was fine but cold today.

February 9 is fugu no hi (ふぐの日), day of blowfish. It is very expensive winter food. There are many ways  to cook, but I like raw fish called tessa (鉄鎖).
In some blowfish restaurants they offer special price for a week around today such as yen 1 for a dish of tessa.
Last year I went to eat the course dinner of blowfish on February 6 with my ex-colleague.
This year I have not made any plan for that yet.

Monday, February 8, 2016


It was fine but very cold today.

Kawazuzakura (河津桜), bright pink cherry blossoms at the station were in bloom and I saw birds called mejiro (目白), Japanese white-eye on the tree this morning.

Now is an entrance examination season. We are reqired to wear the arm band and to enter from the designated gates to the campus.

I finished reading a book I bought at the one day seminar on Jan. 30 written by Ken Honda.  The title is Kimeta mirai shika jitsugen shinai (決めた未来しか実現しない) "Only the future you decide will come true. "
The contents was almost the same as the seminar but included more private stories.  I enjoyed reading it.
His new book will be sold this week too.
He is so productive these days.

I am looking forward to reading the new book.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


It was fine but very cold.

I went to Kinugasa to see my friend's concert in the afternoon.  It was consisted of two parts.  The first was an Italian Opera "Cavalleria Rusticana." The latter was assortment of famous opera music.  There were some professional musicians, and they were very impressive.

My friend appeared in the second part and sang Madam Butterfly and other songs with beautiful costume.
She used to be a teacher of junior high school, but quitted the job and got married and have three children. Now she is a business owner.  I respect her because she keeps singing in spite of her busy life.

In the evening I had a monthly meeting of the local representatives. There I knew about the traditional local events for the first time.

After all I went out for both Saturday and Sunday, I could not do what I wanted to finish.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


It was a cold cloudy day.

I went to Shinjuku to attend a monthly meeting after four months.
I got on the Keikyu Love Train which runs for a month in February. The seat was decorated with hearts and there were two red heart shape straps. 
After the meeting I measured AGE. It was 40 years this month and I felt relieved because last time it was 60.

I ate lunch with my friend.

After that I went to see the exhibiton of the northetn lights.  There were tests related to the Northern lights and I got two budges for the prize.
There were pictures of the northern lights  taken in Iceland where I have wanted to visit for a long time. There was the photographer there and I had a chance to talk with him and I got information about Iceland.
I am glad to have been there.


Friday, February 5, 2016


It was fine and beautiful.

I walked to the station this morning because I had a dinner appointment tonight with an ex-colleague of JICE. She had worked at the same university as I am working now and happened to see each other last April at the seminar. She's got a new job in Bangladesh and leave Japan this month, so we decided to have dinner before that. It's been nearly half year since we had lunch together. How fast time flies!
We went to my favorite Spanish restaurant where I have been to since I was a university student. They send me invitation cards twice a year at the new year and summer and offer a bottle of wine.  This time they offered me either a bottle of wine or hamon serrano.  I asked to change it to Sangria as usual. So I left the car at home.
We enjoyed talking and eating delicious dinner.

I am looking forward to seeing her next time to hear about the country where I have never been to. 
Good luck, my friend!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


It was a cold fine day.

Today is risshun (立春), one of nijyushisekki (二十四節気), 24 solar terms. The last one is daikan (大寒) on January 21, and the next one is usui (雨水) on February 19.
Risshun literally means stand spring, and it is the first day of spring.
On calendar it is already spring even though it is still very cold.

But I feel the spring is coming because kawazu zakura (河津桜), one of the cherry blossoms which bloom in February, started blooming. They are bright pink and very beautiful. What is more, they last longer than somei yoshino (染井吉野) which bloom late March to early April.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


It was another cold cloudy and fine day.

I took a day off and did three things I wanted to do.

Today is setsubun (節分), literally means to divide seasons. Tomorrow is risshun (立春), the first day of spring.
There are four seasons, therefore there are four setsubun in a year, but we usually mean the day before the first spring day.
On this day there is a custom called mamemaki (豆まき), which is to scatter roasted soybeans to drive demons away.  We say "oniwa soto fukuwa uchi (鬼は外 福は内)," meaning go away demons come in fortunes.
At the famous shrines or temples, many famous celebrity, especially those who were born in the same zodiac year as the current year, that is year of monkey for this year, join this event. They are called yoshiotoko (年男) for men and toshionnna (年女) for women.   
And we eat the same number of soybeans as age wishing good health.
Recently there is a popular food for this day called ehomaki (恵方巻), good luck direction roll. We eat this big sushi roll without saying anything facing the good luck direction of the year. It is south-southeast this year.

I need good luck!

I wish you too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


It was a cold cloudy and fine day.

Since there was a big event starting at 10 am, I needed to go to work about one hour earlier than usual.
I usually set five alarms, but this morning I set more than seven alarms because I stayed up late last night.
Fortunately I could wake up early before using every alarm and get the earlier train. There I used another alarm.

There used to be only clocks to set the alarm. But these days we can set many alarms using the smartphone.
Life  is getting convenient, isn't it?

Monday, February 1, 2016


A new month has started. February is  nigatsu(2月), the second month. Its old name is kisaragi (如月).

It was a cold cloudy day.