Friday, July 25, 2008


Do you know Ichiro, a baseball player of Measure league ? Ichiro is super hero in Japan. I'm not baseball fan, however, he is one of my favorite sports athletes.
Baseball has been very popular sports in Japan for a long time. Baseball player is the most popular occupation for Japanese boys. Now a lot of Japanese baseball players play in Major league in USA. Hideki Matsui in New York Yankees, Daisuke Matsuzaka in Boston Red Socks, etc.
Ichiro (Suzuki) is in Seattle Mariners. He is a hero in Seattle,too. His pre-swing pose or warming up is very unique.His behaviors has rhythm and are like ritual. He hits almost every game. American fans are enthused about his marvelous performances, catching a ball or throwing it to home base, the ball is as if laser beam.
I have seen his interview in TV Program. He is always calm, quiet, manly at field and also private time. He do his special training every day. I often think he is like a Samurai without saying vain things. We are so happy to hear his news. If you see his performance, you must be his fan.

These are his photos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


There are a lot of festivals in July and August around our city and town. Bon-Odori, firework (Hanabi) , Ennichi at shrine...
Yukata is a kind of kimono for summer season. Women wear it in these festival. Yukata is popular among young girls now. A lot of Yukata is sold in department store. As other use, it is used as nightwear at Japanese inn.
Now there are a lot of variation for design of texture, simple or modern design. Also we can enjoy color variation for Yukata and Obi. (Obi is used as a belt.)
When women who have long hair wear Kimono, they do up their hair. The posture is very cute and elegant with Yukata.

Please enjoy color variation for Yukata. (This is Uniqlo's web site for Yukata. Sorry for no English explanation.)

Monday, July 21, 2008


Rainy season is over. Is it hot summer this year ? School is in summer vacation.
Karuizawa is one of famous summer resorts in Nagano prefecture. It takes about 1 hour by Shinkansen from Tokyo. It is a small and quite town in winter. However, in summer a lot of tourists visit there to relax or play sports. It is cool in summer, there is no sea but a lot of trees, fresh air make us happy. And rich people have own cottage or villa. Therefore, Karuizawa is famous place and resort for high society.
I'm not rich but I have visited several times. When I was a college student, I used to go playing tennis with friends or stay for relaxation at villa for rental.
There are a lot of shops around Karuizawa station. We can eat delicious food or buy souvenir. Everyone can enjoy fresh air and atmosphere.
I have heard that John Lennon loved this place and stayed in every summer. If you have a chance, I recommend you would go to relax.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Perfume - Techno Pop

Perfume is a name of a J-Pop 3 female vocals group. "Polyrhythm" was a hit song last year. The music genre is Techno Pop (Electropop). They are like dolls have been in Hiroshima. Their dance is so unique like robots or dolls. They are so cute (Kawaii).
Talking of electropop, YMO (Yellow Masic Orchestra ) was a very famous electropop group in '70. (The members are Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi.) YMO was so sensational at that time. The sound was original and mordern in Japan. The group becomes famous in the world. Almost Japanese have listened to "Rydeen" that was smash hit. I like "Tong Poo " personally.
In '90 TM Net Work, the leader of the group, Tetsuya Komuro who was hit maker and talented producer, was popular for electronic sound. He composed for other Japanese artists. Almost songs became No.1 hits.
Now Perfume, techno pop music is popular. New single ,"Love the world " become No.1 hit in Japan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unagi - eel

It is very hot in these days. Rainy season hasn't finished in Tokyo yet. So hot and humid in Japan now. And now is Bon week.
Unagi (eel) is eaten a lot by Japanese in especially summer. Japanese like Unagi. Unagi no Kabayaki (broiled eel) is one of foods to not suffering from summer heat, "Natsu bate". Unagi is grilled with sweet soy sauce (Tare) like Teriyaki souce. And this Kabayaki is put on rice ball. Yakumi is Japanese pepper (Sansho) . The smell is so savory. If you go to Unagi restaurant in Japan, transparent soup with liver of eel (Kimo sui) is served with Kabayaki. "Kimo" means liver and "sui" is soup (O-Suimono).
"Doyou-no-ushi-no-hi" is a day to eat Kabayaki. It is July 24 this year. Unagi is sold in supermarket near July 24. It is essential for summer. We import a lot of Unagi from China. Chinese unagi was sold as Japanese one. It was big topic recently.
The body is like a snake and it is a little grotesque to eat. However, we like it a lot.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ryoma Sakamoto

Who is popular and great historian whom a lot of Japanese admire and respect ?
I think that Ryoma Sakamoto is very popular. At the end of the Edo period, Bakumatsu, he made every effort to change our future and become international and modern country. He is one of the heroes for Japanese people. The history in this period is very interesting.
The people in Bakumatsu might think of the future of Japan most seriously. Japan was very slow and peaceful in Edo period. However, we shut out world outside of Japan and we hadn’t known other modern world.
Ryoma Sakamoto was one of Samurai of Tosa domain and very progressive. And he contributed to make a decision of opening trade with other countries.
After American ambassadors came to establish relations, we had to choose. Which way was better for us, conventional and slow life or modern life? As a result, we were forced to change our life and future.
G8 Toyako summit was over yesterday in Hokkaido, a land of north Japan. Now Japan becomes an economic power and is a member of world leaders through the history of Bakumatsu. Is present Japanese situation ideal future for the samurais including Ryoma Sakamoto or politicians from Bakumatsu to Meiji period ? I don’t know.

However, I hope that our culture and technology help world people and everyone can live safely and enjoy our present life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Garnish (Tsuma) and Relish (Yakumi)

When we eat Japanese food, garnish or relish is sometimes set the food aside. It is not only for taste but other meanings are included.
For example, in case of eating Sashime (row fish), shredded Japanese radish (Daikon), labiate or seaweeds is set with it on the plate. It is especially called "Tsuma". Daikon lets the Sashimi's taste exaggerate. Tsuma has effect to sterilize microbe in our mouth. This is called "Dokukeshi" effect.
Wasabi is one of Japanese relish, Yakumi. We dissolve wasabi into soy sauce. This is for Dokukeshi. Considering to the taste, wasabi is essential seasoning. When you eat Sushi, sour ginger, "Gari" is put on the plate. This is also same effect.
There are a lot of combinations to better the taste in Japan. Almost combination has meaning for the taste or effects to our bodies. Ancient Japanese people wouldn't know about scientific evidence for these effects. However, the wisdom that were gotten by their experiences lives in our food culture.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Today, July 7, is Tanabata festival. We can wish our dream t0day. When we were a child, we hang a card (Tanzaku) that we wrote our wishes on bamboo tree. We were taught that our wish can come true.
And there is a romantic legend in Tanabata day. (Please see "the story" in Tanabata.) Hikoboshi and Otohime are lovers for a long time ago. They were torn apart by milky way, "Amano gawa" in the sky and always couldn't meet. However, they can meet in July 7. It is very special day.
We hope that they can meet in July 7 every year, however, it is usually rainy season. So the possibility is very few every year.
It is cloudy and rainy today. We often talk about Hikoboshi and Otohime. It is very sad that they wouldn't meet in the sky this year.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


"Hitotsudake" is the title of a song. This is one of my most favorite Japanese songs. It is not a new song. I wanted to listen to this song and let you introduce today. It is certainly marvelous song for me.
Akiko Yano is a famous singer and musician in Japan. She is brilliant pianist, too.

Hitotsudake is love song for girls. I attached her other songs that I love.

Hitotsudake Gohanga dekita yo David

Akiko Yano Official Website

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pocket Tissue Paper and Wet Tissue

There is a special service on the street in Japan. We can get pocket tissue (paper) on the street. For free. (We call it “pocket tissue” because it is so small that can be put in our pockets.)
You can see some persons who give someone a pocket tissue paper here and there in town. It is one of tools of advertisement for the shops. For example, advertisement for hair salon or gym for exercise, etc. (These advertisements are sometimes for a little shady shops, for example, consumer credit business etc.) A piece of paper for advertisement is inserted in the case of tissue paper. Almost people don’t always see and use these shops. However, everyone is so glad. I’m so glad for me in Kafun sho (Hey fever) season.
I think Japanese people frequently use some tissue papers outside and in our house. Carrying a pocket tissue and a handkerchief is etiquette for Japanese people. We use it when we blow our nose. Almost Japanese use a handkerchief when they clean their hands. I personally think Japanese prefer to cleanliness.
We have another type of tissue. It is wet tissue. We sometimes use wet tissue. It is so convenient to clean something. When we buy a lunch box or food for takeout in shops, wet tissue is sometimes putted in the vinyl bag. It is for cleaning our hands before eating it. I think it is special service in Japan. Pocket wet tissue is sold in Japan. It is especially useful to go for a trip abroad.
When you come to Japan and someone gives you a pocket tissue in town, never pay the money for it.