Dec 29, 2008
By the way, the second day of my holiday, I took part in Mochi-tsuki（餅つき） event.
My wife works at a laboratory of a medical college, and its its professor's families including his a lot of relatives held it.
In recent days, Mochi-tsuki is not a routine event for many Japanese, although it is a traditional event to welcome a happy new year.
Dec 27, 2008
Dec 25, 2008
Dec 16, 2008
It is announced "Shingata-Infuruenza-Taisaku-Jyunbi-Honbu-Jimukyoku"（新型インフルエンザ対策準備本部事務局）.
It is said that an outbreak of new influenza must happen in some place in the world in near future.
Dec 10, 2008
Last Sunday, my family had a dinner at a "Chanko"restaurant where is in 15 minutes by car from our home. Its name is "Chanko Ouga"（ちゃんこ 皇牙）. There were several photos related to "Sumou" in the restaurant. I have placed them to share the atmosphere of "Chanko" with you.
Dec 6, 2008
There is also "Chosen-gakkou" in Orio（折尾） area where is next to my town. In the past, especially when I went to high school, I used to often see many female students wearing "Chima-jeogori" styled uniforms. But, now we cannot find them. Why?
Because, now they have been wearing same blazer styled uniforms that are used in many high school in Japan. In other words, we cannot recognize whether they belong "Chosen-gakkou" or not, by their uniforms.
Several years ago, some abuse incidents against "Chosen-gakkou" students had happened in Japan. I think that they have stopped using their traditonal uniforms to avoid that bad situation. It is sad thing, but fact.
Dec 2, 2008
It was a little bit cold, but we were satisfied with this event because we got good "Mikan".
My wife says that Mikan is her favorite in all fruits because we can easily peel it with hands (we must use knife to peel other fruits).
I took several photos of this event. I hope you can feel the atmosphere of Mikan-gari.
Nov 30, 2008
Asahi shimbun explained that Timothy Geithner can speak Japanese very well by using Japanese word "tannou"（堪能）. And it said that he can read "Izakaya"（居酒屋）'s menu.
But, it is very difficult for foreigners to speak Japanese very well because of its difference from languages based on alphabet, I think. "Tannou" should be used for very skilled speaker in Japanese. I hope to see his speaking Japanese on TV program in the future.
And Barak Obama selected Christina Romer to lead the Council of Economic Advisor. She is an economist and an economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley. One of her major is about how the American government dealt with economic crisis during the Great Depression. But, I doubt that her knowledge about those day's issues can be useful to solve difficult economic problems in this time when the globalization of economic have improved and the information by Internet can be spread widely and faster.
I am looking forward to seeing following news about these issues.
P.S. Later, I used a big dictionary named "Koujien"（広辞苑） to comfirm the usage and meaning of "tannou". But, I was a little bit surprised with the result. Because, the correct pronunciation of the word "堪能" is "kannou", not "tannou". (But, many people pronounce it "tannou", so it is not wrong.) Japanese is no walk in the park, for natives. (Thanks, Jon-san!!)
Nov 25, 2008
Last Saturday, I bought their oysters in Moji ward after taking part in a funeral held there. I could get them at lower price than normal.
I and my daughter enjoyed it very well, but unfortunately, my wife and son said that they did not like it very much. I was sorry with this result.
Nov 22, 2008
Last Wednesday, I listened to a lecture by a Taiwanese named Lo, Fu-chen（羅福全） about the modernization of Taiwan and the relationship between Taiwan and Japan at a hotel in Kokura, Kitakyushu.
His explanation about the relationship between Taiwan and Japan before the World War 2 end was almost equal to things written in "Taiwan-ron".
I would like to summarise what he spoke in this lecture in my (poor) English.
In simply speaking, the one hundred years of Taiwan's modern history can be separated to the first 50 years and the second 50 years.
The first can be called the development under the colonial rule by Japanese government. In those days, there were several problems from the colonial policy, such as political suppression, financial exploitation, forced conscription, and some discrimination by Japansese.
However, there were a lot of good things which Japanese left after their withdrawal, and that have led the modernization of Taiwan. He says that people should evaluate them with cool head. These include good education system, good infrastructure, and agricultural development.
During the second 50 years, based on good education and infrastructure left by Japan, Taiwan had modernized themselves straggling with oppression by "big" China. At last, it has become, truly, a democratic country in 2000, following Japan.
Nov 18, 2008
The weather condition was cloudy and had a little bit rain, but it did not bother me.
This time, it was the first event and there were several problems. We had to stop many times at signals because the course was in city areas. I hope that this will be improved next time.
Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a camera with me, so I link this archive to here.
Nov 11, 2008
"Akachan-no-Eki" is a place that have a room where parents can have a short rest for taking care of their babies. They can give mother's milk to their babies or change their diapers. In my direct translation, it is "a place for parents to take care of their babies".
There is a similar expression to this name. It is "Michi-no-Eki"（道の駅） that is a building along national highway for drivers to take short rest.
These expressions are similar, but what they mean are very different, and Japanese language is very complicated, I think.
Nov 9, 2008
This is a document that shows menus of lunches served at my daughter's elementary school. It lets me remind of school lunches （給食） in my childhood.
In those days, it included a food made from wheal meat because it could be purchased at very low cost. I liked it, but now, it becomes one of expensive foods, so we can rarely eat it.
We had not had rice meals（ご飯） as school lunches in those days. Every menu was formed by bread and other foods. I have heard that those day's people believed that children should eat bread, not rice. Because bread could make children smarter like Westerners. Of course, now, there is no people who believe it, my daughter can eat rice as school lunches.
School lunch is one of good communication tools because everyone has similar experience, especially people in same age at same area have eaten same foods.
Nov 5, 2008
Sometimes, I go to fishing, but I have no experience to fish a Black Bass. Because it is said that the fish
Oct 28, 2008
Recent days, we can often see "Ashi-yu"（足湯） in sight-seeing place, mainly "onsen" area. At "Ashi-yu", people can enjoy "onsen" by entering their foot in hot "onsen" water. Last Saturday, I had a little bit interesting experience on "Ashi-yu".
That day, my wife took part in an event held in the city of Miyawaka（宮若） as Jazzercize performer. So, I took her to this place with my daughter by my car. The event name was "Miyawaka-hurusato-matsuri"（宮若ふるさと祭）, and it took about one hour to get to this place from my home.
This "Ashi-yu" was a temporary equipment that I had never seen before. I thought that it was interesting and good. I could enjoy it with free.
There is an "onsen" named "Wakita-onsen"（脇田温泉） near this event area, so the "onsen" staff demonstrated "Ashi-yu" for advertisement by using "onsen" water.
Oct 24, 2008
Oct 13, 2008
Yesterday, I climbed a mountain near Miyajidake-shrine（宮地嶽神社） with my wife, my daughter and my wife's colleagues. The mountain was not so high, so it took about one and a half hour to climb it and go back. The aim to climb it was a light exercise.
Miyajidake-shrine is a historical place where people pray thier success on their business. We can see many people in special time like New year's day, but this time there were not so many people. It is well-known for its big ornament named "Shime-nawa"（しめ縄）. It is made of a lot of rice straws.
I took several photos of the shrine and other places near it, you can enjoy them on the Internet.
Oct 7, 2008
I have learned that Elvis Costello named his latest album "Momofuku" in honor of a Japanese man "Momofuku Ando" through the VOA special English. He invented the world's first pre-cooked instant noodles.
I think that this fact is very interesting. And I am a little bit proud because I am same Japanese people.
Oct 4, 2008
Today, I rode my bike on a cycling road along with the Onga-gawa（遠賀川） river. This place has a lot of cosmos flowers in this season every year. I saw a lot of people to visit there to see them.
These cosmos are planted by many volunteers.
Oct 2, 2008
Last Saturday and Sunday, I spent time with my Singaporean friend who has visited to Japan. I met with him last year's summer and rode bike with him. (Here is his blog about his travel with bike in Japan.)This was the second time of our meeting.
The first day, we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant named "Chi-ka-ei"（稚加栄） in Kokura（小倉）, Kitakyushu-city. It served a traditional Japanese dish named "Kaiseki-ryouri"（懐石料理）. It is formed of many small dishes. This time, he took his girl friend. She has worked as a cabin attendant at Singapore airline. She is very beautiful and charming. She is just "Asian-beauty", I think.
Next day, her girl friend left Kokura early morning to go to Tokyo by using Shinkansen. And I took him to a mountain area called "Hirao-dai"（平尾台） in the city of Kitakyushu.
It took about an hour to get to the top of "Nuki-san"（貫山） mountain. On the top of the mountain, winds were strong and it was a little bit cold. And it was cloudy, the condition for climbing a mountain was not good.
We had a simple lunch there. I boiled water and we ate cup-noodles.
It tooks about one hour to go back to the place where we parked my car from the top. And we entered into a cave that is the biggest in the area. I had experienced it about 40 years ago, so I did not remember it. Entering into the cave was a kind of exploration, and more interesting than I thought.
After going out of the cave, we had a short stop at a big souvenir shop, but it did not have good post cards that he was looking for.
After that, we returned to Kokura. We had about one hour until his departure time, so we ate "Rah-men"（ラーメン） at "藤王"(fuji-ou). It was "Syouyu-rah-men"（醤油ラーメン）, although Kyshu's represetative rah-men is "ton-kotsu"（豚骨）.
I saw him entering into the Shinkansen platform and said "Have a nice trip" to him. I hope he is satisfied with sightseeing with me.
P.S. On that day's evening, I ate moon cakes that was his present from Singapore to me. Moon cake is called "Geppei"（月餅） in Japan. I enjoyed it with my family very much.
Sep 23, 2008
At first, I felt something uncomfortable in my throat on September 1o. This bad condition continued by the weekend and I saw a doctor who lives near my house. He diagnosed my disease as a cold and prescribed a Chinese herbal medicine and a pill that eased the pain.
But, the pain did not decrease, and finally I found that the pain was caused from a stomatitis that came out under my tongue, not throat pain. By that time, I mistakenly thought that it was a throat pain.
After that, I bought a honey（蜂蜜） at a market and put it on my injured part. It helped cure my disease.
My parents taught me that a honey is useful to cure a stomatitis. Now, I have learned that a honey contains a substance to kill germs from Wikipedia.
If you have a stomatitis, I recommend you to try this way.
Sep 15, 2008
At first, "Youtou-kuniku"（羊頭狗肉）appeared in my mind. But, later, it did not look a good example, I thought.
If I find a similar Japanese expression to "lipstick on a pig", I will show it on this blog in the future.
Sep 7, 2008
Japanese language is very difficult. ”牛丼”is pronounced as "Gyu-don", not "Ushi-don". Why?. Occasionally, Japanese language has no rule.
Sep 6, 2008
As you know, there are a lot of hello characters broadcasted by TV program in Japan, but this character mainly acts in Akita prefecture and does not appear in any TV program across the nation. Because, his mission is to save mountains, sea in Akita and Akita itself. And his sayings and weapons links deeply to many products in Akita. Of course, he speaks Akita dialect.
Our area where I live is far from Akita, but I want go to Akita to meet "Chou-jin Neiger" in the future.
Sep 4, 2008
Some days ago, I watched a TV commercial on a canned coffee stared by "Fukuyama Masaharu"（福山雅治）who is a very popular actor and singer. In this commercial program, a young man says that "「自分は不器用ですね」" to him. (However, I am not sure what he said, but, it sounds like that to me. )
Surprisingly, in Kansai（関西） area (Kyouto, Osaka, Koube), "Jibun" means occasionally "you". It is very confused thing, but is fact. And, it is very curious to people in other area.
Aug 27, 2008
We visited the "Yutoku-Inari-jinjya"（祐徳稲荷神社） before we arrived at this day's accommodation. It is locally, a famous place and one of three big "Inari"s （三大稲荷）. But there were less visitors than we expected.
The accommodation that we stayed locates in the middle of mountain area. We could feel good natural circumstance. After using a "Roten-buro"（露天風呂） that is place outside, we had a good dinner and used other bath again, and went to bed. (Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of dinner's dishes.)
Next day's morning, I wake up earlier and rode my bike around there for about an hour. I found a nice view of water-fall in my way. (Later, I took my family to this place to see it.)
The breakfast was buffet style so called "baikingu"（バイキング） in Japanese. So, I ate too much than normal.
We left the hotel at about twelve o'clock. And we ate "Gyouza"（餃子） as lunch in the city of "Takeo"（武雄） before we returned home.
Aug 23, 2008
Aug 19, 2008
"Ponyo on the cliff"（崖の上のポニョ） is now showing in Japan. It is directed by a very famous director, Miyazaki Hayao（宮崎 駿）. I had been interested in it. If I would hear a good evaluation about it from someone who saw it, I would plan to see it.
My wife and daughter went to see the movie on August 6. But, unfortunately, it betrayed my wife's expectation. I decided not to go to a movie theater for it. (But, I will see it on a television program in a few years.)
My wife says that the movie has left uncomfortable, unstable feeling in her mind.
But, I like this song very much. It has a lot of imitative words.
Aug 12, 2008
"Ogu-Shio"（オグシオ） is the nick name of the Japanese women's badminton doubles team. Their families names are "Ogura Kumiko"（小椋 久美子） and "Shiota Reiko"（潮田 玲子）. They are very popular top athletes because of their good looks.
Sunday's evening, I watched their game on the Olympic game television program. They defeated the Denmark team, but their victory did not seem complete. During the game, I felt Ogura's waist had something strange. A little bit later, I found out that she wore a corset on her waist under her uniform because of her waist pain. And later I knew that she had this problem since this July.
Many top athletes have similar problems and they think they have to manage to do deal with this problem. But, I have had a doubt about it. Because they have a plenty of time after they retire from their athlete life. If they have something bad in their body, they have to deal with this problem all of their rest of life.
Almost all people have recognized the worth of sports. But, all top athletes have these problem and we should more consider about them, I think.
Aug 9, 2008
In fact, Japan had invaded other Asian countries in the 1930-40, and still now Japan has been criticized on this issue. But, in the other side, Japan is the only "被爆国"(hibakukoku) that means a country is attacked by using an atomic bomb. I think that Japan should more appeal this position in the international stage.
Aug 2, 2008
谷川 俊太郎(tanigawa shuntarou) is a famous, living poet. This poet sounds good for native speakers=Japanese because it is written in a kind of pattern called "七五調"(shiti-go-tyou). If you know pronunciations of "ひらがな"(hiragana), I recommend you to read this poet aloud.
I do not mind itscopyright problem on quoting this poet because I show where I take it from. If I am wrong on this issue, please tell me about it.
Last Saturday, I was invited to a home party held at my former boss's house. He lives in Tobata ward of Kitakyushu city and I took this video on my way back to my home. This event is called "戸畑祇園大山笠"(Tobata-Gion-O-Yamagasa) that is one of tht most famous and traditonal fesitval in the nothern part of Kyushu.
Jul 27, 2008
Last Friday, I took a paid holiday to help a summer festival as a volunteer. It was held in an area of a district that I am working for.
This is called "子ども山笠" that is mainly held for children.
In Japan, there is a tendency seen in almost area that is called "少子高齢化"(shousi-koureika). It means that children decrease and elder people increase.
In this area, adult people who support the festival have decreased, so I helped them as a volunteer.
The origin of "山笠" is said that religious leader on "山笠" went around a city to keep away evil spirit when contagious disease were spread in ancient days. Of course, modern people are not conscious of its origin.
Jul 21, 2008
Yesterday, I went to my home town to see a summer festival with my daughter. The city is far about 15minutes by car from where we live.
"博多山笠"(Hakata-yamagasa) held in the city of Fukuoka is very famous, but there are many similar events in the nothern part of Kyushu. This one of my home town is called "黒崎祇園山笠"(kurosaki-gion-yamagasa). You can feel the atmosphere of Japanese summer festival by seeing this short video.
Jul 20, 2008
Cars with more than 660cc engine displacement are called "普通車"(futsuu-sha). "軽" owners pay less property-tax than "普通車". "軽" is popular for daily use such as going a market, going to a working place. Now, people have tendency to choose more fuel-efficient cars including "軽".
"i" looks a big egg. My wife loves this design, so decided to buy it. I like it too. It has a unique engine-layout called "Mid-ship". The engine is at backer part than normal "軽".
The Mitubishi Mortors Company announced that it will release an electricity car named "i-MiEV" that has same design of "I" next year. You might see it in some news programs, because it was offered at the Summit in Touya-ko, Hokkaido.
Our first car is the "Legacy" made by "富士重工"(Fuji-Jyukou). It is a four-wheel-drive car, so it is not fuel efficient.(In Japanese expression, "燃費が悪い") And, it has a very unique engine that other car makers cannot develop.
It is luxurious for one family to have two cars, I think. But, now my wife goes "Jazzercize" class more often and we act separately than past. So, we decided to buy "i". My wife mainly uses "i" for going for her office, and I use "Legacy" on Saturday and Sunday.
Jul 13, 2008
Some days ago, I threw away "Muto-happu" because I heard it was a chemical substance that was used for making a poisonous gas. You can make a hydrogen sulfide gas by mixing it with a detergent named "Sanpoll".
"Muto-happu" is a traditional chemical substance in Japan. If you pour it into a bath, water turns into white and looks like some "onsen". And it is used for some skin trouble.
People in Japan say a word with different pronunciations in several cases. "六" is pronounced "mu" or "roku". And "一〇" is pronounced "tou" or "jyuu".
Jul 8, 2008
He in an American poet, but write a poem in Japanese. He talked about many interesting things in good Japanese. They included a Japanese famous poet "Yanagihara Byakuren"（柳原白蓮）,differences between Japanese and English, the problem on Japanese Army's defense system. And they also included many problems on his native country like its heath care system, "war" on terrorism, and its invasion into other countries.
I could really enjoy his speech. But I could not know whether his offensive attitude to his country came from his real thought or his "lip-service"（リップサービス（和製英語？）） to the event holder.
I wondered if he could come back to his native country safely because he strongly criticized the USA government's policy.
After his speech, I bought his book named "出世ミミズ"(syussee mimizu) out of the hole and received his sign on it, and shook hands with him.
Jul 6, 2008
"Urutoraman" is a TV drama's character. It was broadcasted in the 1960s and several series that similar characters appeared in these programs followed.
Most of people in Japan know it as most American know "Superman".
"Urutoraman" came to the earth in an accident, then he stayed in the earth to fight against monsters that invade the earth.
You can learn more, here (in Spanish).
Jul 3, 2008
Jun 19, 2008
Last Saturday, my son took part in "Chikuhou Suisougaku-sai"（筑豊吹奏楽祭） as a member of his brass band and I saw their performance with my wife. This is a part of a bouchure of this event.
It was held in the city of "Iizuka"（飯塚） that is far about 50minutes by car from my house. "Chikuhou"（筑豊） is the name of this area that had many coal mines and prospered in the past. But now, this area has no remarkable industry and its unemployment rate is relatively higher.
But, I saw a lot of students who took part in this festival and thought that this area has had good culture and trend.
Jun 15, 2008
Jun 10, 2008
When I took a short stop during bike-ride last Saturday at a souvenir shop and restaurant in Ashiya-machi, "Maguro-no-Kaitai-show"（マグロの解体ショー） was held there.
It is a kind of entertainment that shows a process of taking a big tuna apart. It is often held at a food store or a food corner in a department store in order to gather people.
They started selling a piece of tuna, but I did not buy it. Because its price was higher than I expected and I did not have a good container to bring it back home.
Jun 4, 2008
It was introduced on a blog site that my Italian friend on the Internet had written. She said in her blog that she could not imagine a life without "nutella".
"Nutella" was good, and I enjoyed it very much.
By the way, I am sorry that I have not read a new archive on her blog since the middle of this March because she has stopped writing it. I have strongly desired that she has re-started her blog, but no one knows when she starts it.
In Japanese sayings, there is "便り（たより）のないのは良い便り". In direct translation, "There is no access from my family members, friends or acquaintances, it means good news". In my translation, "There is no bad news about him (or her), because there is no problem on his (or her) life now. In other words, if he (or she) has been in bad situation, someone must tell me about his (or her) bad news."
P.S. My friend on the net taught me a good English expression, "No news is good news". Thanks.
Jun 3, 2008
On May 25, my daughter's primary school hold its athletic meet. All children wear their caps named "Kouhaku-bou"（紅白帽）. There are two ways of its use. If a child belongs "Aka-gumi"（赤組）, he (or she) uses the red side of it, if "Shiro-gumi"（白組）, he (or she) uses the opposite side, the white side.
I don't know the accurate history of "Kouhaku-bou", but probably, primary schools in Japan have used it for more than forty, or fifty years.
May 27, 2008
I took this photo at a JR station on my way to job.
Now, Japan is becoming a country where people who love to smoke don't want to live. In public space, smokers have to use special places for smoking. I am not a smoker, so I welcome this trend.
The World No Tobacco day, May 31, is coming soon. It is just my 4?th birthday.
May 19, 2008
But, I felt a little bit something strange from my experience.
When I went to junior high school, most of students refused thier parents to see their athletic meet because of their rebel in adolescence. But now, most parents naturally attend their teenage children's athlete meets.
It is said that people in Japan act like what younger people do than the past（幼児化傾向）. I felt this trend from these parents act in this athletic meets.
May 15, 2008
"Hokka-Hokka tei"（ほっかほっか亭） is a representative company that serves "bento"（弁当） that is a kind of Japanese take-out-type fast food. The company has done its business by using franchise system.
But, the largest group in its franchise named Plenus declared its Independence, last year. Today is the first day for the new company named "Hotto Motto".
Whether this new company succeeds or not, this is my interest.
May 11, 2008
May 5, 2008
I was a little bit shocked with this result. Because my friend who took part in this event for the first time run faster than me at about 1 hour short time. I have to re-consider my way of bike training to take part in the next year's event.
From that day's evening to next day's morning, we stayed at a B&B style accommodation in rural area in Ooita prefecture run by a couple. This was a good experience to us.
She also looked to enjoy this local life. She was born in Tokyo and spent almost her life in city area untill they came there. I was impressed with her ability to adjust herself to local community. It depends on her good and bright character, I think.
Next day's morning, he explained to us about some ecological devices that the building has. They has equipped it with "the OM solar system" that uses solar power to warm the building and water. And the building has a good stove (below photo) that burns firewoods. He said that they can keep temperature in the building about 23degrees Celsius in winter. He also explained their outdoor's devices to us . He grows some vegetables and "shiitake"（椎茸）(a kind of mushroom) in organic way, and experiments whether a compost using a cardboard box is useful or not.
Their life in local area gave us a chance to re-consider our now life and future's life.
Apr 29, 2008
This event is held each year in Ooita prefecture on May third, and I will take part in it this year.
It took 6hours 54minute 42seconds for me to ride on a distance of 100km. It includes short time rests and lunch time. This time, I would like to run faster than last year's record.
"Tour de Kunisaki" web site is here.(but only in Japanese)
This poster is put in a train that I use for going to my office. I felt that Japanese people's manner have dropped to the bottom of the ground when I saw it for the first time.
These sayings look me as "Atarimae"（当たり前）that means common sense that everybody knows. But, JR stuffs have to teach people them. Why?
I often see high-school students sitting on the floor in a train. Now is the time when we have to teach younger people about basically simple social rule.
Apr 26, 2008
This is a kind of a noodle named "Champon"（チャンポン）. It is formed of comparatively thin noodle, pig-bone based soup and many sliced vegetables.
It is a popular food in Kyushu area, especially Nagasaki prefecture.(It is difficult to find it in other area.)
There is a recent word in Japan what people say "B-kyu- gurume"B-kyu-gurume"（B級グルメ）is a recently coined word in Japan that means "not expensive, but delicious and popular among ordinary people. "Champon" is one of "B-kyu-gurume", I think, and I like it very much.
Apr 20, 2008
When we pronounce it "ben", it means a solid waste, and when do it "bin", it means a flight.
This poster is a advertisement of an air line company in Japan named ANA and shows that a user can save money by making a reservation for an earlier flight. So, in this context. we should say it "bin", not "ben.
In direct translation, "If you do not use an earlier flight, you would lose your money".
If you say it "ben" in this context, this phrase has no sense. (but, it is funny.)
Apr 19, 2008
Apr 17, 2008
Apr 13, 2008
It is a kind of "triskaidekaphobia". (I have learned this word through the VOA.)
Number 4 is pronounced "shi(or yon)"（四）in Japanese, so people in ancient days had a tendency to link 4 to death that is also pronounced "shi"（死） in Japanese. In other words, 4 means "death" to them. So, still now, some traditional hotels and old hospitals in japan do not have rooms numbers end in number 4.
Of course, modern people do not mind it at all.