Friday, August 29, 2008

Okaeri , Tadaima - I'm home

There are two salutations for going home. They are very heartwarming words.
For example, when I enter into my home , I say "Tadaima" to my family who be my home. "Tadaima" means "I'm home" in English. And my family members say "Okaeri" or "Okaerinasai" to me after I say "Tadaima".
It is so simple word, however, I feel relief when I hear this word, "Okaeri". Also family members feel relief when I can get home safely.
I feel that these words "Okaeri" and "Tadaima" symbolize family ties.
I'm happy that I have my family who say "Okaeri" to me.

I want to introduce a Japanese song of the title "Okaeri" by Ayaka. Ayaka is popular J-pop singer among young people now. This video is Ayaka sings and Hiromi Uehara, very talented Jazz pianist, plays piano. I found special version "Okaeri". It is so excellent.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Takeshi's Castle

I was surprised at knowing Japanese TV show is (was ?) on air in Argentina and Spain. Do you know "Takeshi's Castle" ? and have your watched it ? "Takeshi" is Takeshi Kitano, Japanese comedian and he is famous as a movie director in the world.
The program "Takeshi's Castle" was on air in Japan about 20 years before. It was very interesting and I have watched it. Ordinary people can participate in games of the show. It was a popular TV program.
There is a similar TV show and it was a special show in a year. This is Sasuke and it is on air in some other countries.
I like other program. The title is "Kinniku Banzuke" . Some athletes , models or actors challenge some original games in the show and the one who gets best score in total becomes No.1 athletes. I like a game "monster box". Monster box calls "Tobibako" in Japanese. Tobibako is one of gymnastics for students. I have done it when I was a student. As I explain simply, we jump on the springboard and stride over the boxes. Moster box is a game that how many boxes we can stride. World record is 23 boxes ( 3m 06ch.)

I am glad that other countries people enjoy these programs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Showa, and Heisei

There is a special name of era in Japan. Now is in Heisei 平成 period, 20 years. The name is changed and decided in the year after our emperor would die. In short 20 years passed after former emperor was died. We write and use this Japanese era, when we submit the documents.
Showa 昭和 is the name before Heisei.
Recently we remember the lifestyle nostalgically in Showa period. We often say "Showa was good old period". Though we underwent the terrible war at Showa period, everyone work hard to survive after the war. Japan grew economically after Tokyo Olympic in 1964. And we try to do best to be rich. We think the recovery was succeeded after the war.
Now we can buy anything that we want. Fortunately I have been able to live without worrying about eating until now. However, I sometimes feel that Japanese people don't have an aim to live or survive after our economic recovery. So we will look back Showa period. I don't like to look back the past personally. However, we might have been happier at Showa period than Heisei.

Friday, August 22, 2008

End of Summer - Shonen Jidai

When I woke up this morning and opened the window, cool wind comes into my room. This wind makes me feel the the end of summer.
I have a favorite song for the end of summer.
The title, "Shonen Jidai 少年時代 " that Yosui Inoue sings is so beautiful song. This is written about boys life in summer and almost Japanese know this song.
Yosui Inoue is very popular and famous Japanese artist of folk song and rock. He has been written a lot of good and beautiful songs until now.
Just now, at the end of the summer, I want to listen to this song.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ai 愛

"Ai" in Japanese means "love". We often name "Ai" for girls name in Japan.
Ai Fukuhara is a table tennis player and very popular in Japan. Table tennis isn't popular in Japan, however, almost of Japanese will know Ai Fukuhara, as "Ai chan" of table tennis.
Why we know her ? When she was a little girl, we have seen her plays. She was so cute. (She is certainly cute now.) I remember she was hitting a ball and practiced with her mother crying. She begun table tennis at about three years old. And she won many games. Everyone said she was genius for table tennis. Now she is nineteen years old and participate this Olympic.
Her popularity is not only in Japan. She is an idle in China. Because she played in Chinese Pro League. She speaks Chinese very well. When Japanese athletes normally play in China, the games are perfectly away for Japan. I have heard the booing for Japanese players or athletes several times. However, Ai chan is special. I read the news that she has a lot of Chinese fans.
Each nationalities has prejudice or hate for particular nation. History is generally the reason of needle, especially China and Japan has long history until now. But one person can change the bad feelings to friendship.

"Ai " 愛 becomes a go-between for China and Japan.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Teishoku 定食

When you go to Japanese food restaurant, you see “Teishoku” 定食 in the menu. Teishoku is main dish with rice and Miso soup. For example, Tempra Teishoku, Yaki zakana Teishoku (Grilled fish), Sashimi Tsishoku, Tonkatsu Teishoku, etc. Teishoku is good for nutrition. Also we are happy to eat various dishes one time. Teishoku is one of popular lunch munu for business persons. And the menu of Teishoku is sometimes changed by each day depending on a restaurant. We call it "Higawari Teishoku".
I want to introduce a Japanese restaurant,
Teishoku-ya. Ootoya 大戸屋 is one of chain restaurants. There are a lot of Teishoku in the menu. The price is very reasonable in Tokyo. The restaurants exist in big towns or cities. Almost Teishoku are about 800 Yen. There are the photos of all Teishoku in the menu. We can select the food that we want to eat. The atmosphere in the restaurant is comfortable. I am satisfied with the volume of food for the price. The music in the restaurant is Jazz or relaxed music.
Sometimes I went to Ootoya alone for lunch. It is OK for one person. I am always satisfied with the Teishoku. If you want to eat Teishoku in Japan, I think Ootoya is the best restaurant.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Postcards in summer (暑中見舞い and 残暑見舞い)

We don't recently write a letter or postcard to friends. We can contact them easily now. Almost people use e-mail of cell phone or computer. Even elder people can use e-mail and contact with grandsons or granddaughters with photos. Handwriting is rare thing in daily life or business. It is so convenience, however, e-mail is sometimes literal and it is difficult to feel emotions of the sender. There is a custom to write postcard in summer in Japan.
"Shochu Omimai Moshi Agemasu" and "Zansho Omimai Moshi Agemasu" are first phrases to write in postcards. Japanese write postcards to ask friends how he or she has been getting along in summer. "Shochu" 暑中 means the hot period from the end of rainy season to Liqiu (August 7 in this year). and "Zansho" 残暑 means the heat after Liqiu. So we write "Shochu Mimai" before Liqiu and "Zansho Mimai" (We call each postcards as "Shochu Mimai " and "Zansho Mimai".)
I have received a Shoshu Mimai from my friend this year. I was very glad. Receiving a letter or postcard is glad and special for us. (Do you think so ?) As I mentioned before, we seldom write a letter now. However, I think that this is good custom.
This is image of Shoshu Mimai

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Judo is Japanese original sports and one of the sports for Olympic. The most famous Japanese female Judoka, Ryoko Tani got bronze medal yesterday. She have gotten two gold medals in past Olympics. Almost Japanese were touched her performances and like her fighting spirit. She is very small, , however super strong. We call her "Yawara-Chan". We write Judo in Chinese char actor as 柔道. Yawara 柔 is other reading of Judo.
We had expected she would get gold medal again this time. Because she said famous phrase at her interview after she gave birth to her son.
"I have gotten gold medal when my family name was Tamura (her maiden name) And I have gotten gold medal when my family name is "Tani". And I want to got gold medal after I have a son. "
She hasn't got gold medal and we were so disappointed, however, we are touched again. She is super strong heroine in Japan.
And we will cheer up other Japanese Judoka.  

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nagasaki Peace Declaration

2008 is Olympic year. Opening ceremony was so gorgeous and many countries participate in Olympic.
I heard the news about a fighting today. Some conflicts occur somewhere.
I want to introduce a declaration.

I hope you read it and think about peace.

The Nagasaki Peace Declaration

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cicada - Semi

What sounds do you feel hot summer in your country? I definitely feel summer and heat by the sound of cicadas in trees. Loud sound of cicadas is vibrating in town during summer.
Some kinds of cicadas live in Japan. The sound of Min-min Zemi, Kumazemi (I don’t know the English names.) and large brown cicadas (Abura zemi) is so loud at noon. However, this is the summer in Japan. The sound of Tsuku-Tsuku Boshi is unique. We can hear the sound like this name, “tsuku tsuku boshi”.
Sometimes a cicada comes into the balcony in my house by mistake. I am so surprised at the big sound. Since I hate insects personally, I’m so scared.
However, I like
the sound of Higurashi . The sound of Higurashi is high and quite. Higurashi sings at evening in the end of summer.
A cicada is often used in Haiku, Japanese poetry. “Semi” is a season word in summer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Special Day - Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6 is a special memorial day for Japanese history. Atomic bomb was fallen at Hiroshima. We, Japanese shouldn’t forget the fact that happened 63 years ago. And we have to say “No more war” forever.
Almost Japanese people don’t know the tragedy actually. Only a few atomic bomb victims or who know it live now. And they tell the story for their experiences to young people. Thousands citizens in Hiroshima were killed in a twinkle by atomic bomb. Their life disappeared suddenly. It is estimates that the number of victims were about one hundred forty thousands at Hiroshima.

Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In August we remember last war for us, the Pacific War or atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 9). We often see documentaries and dramas for atomic bomb or the war in TV around today. We see the destroyed city, mushroom cloud, or Kamikaze commando in these programs. I perceive that we shouldn’t repeat same faults and tragedy.
We never have a hate against the soldiers because the hostile soldiers were victims of the war at that time. I want to say that letting everyone the victim's stories for atomic bomb is our mission to extirpate atomic bombs and war.
Japanese can live peacefully at least now. It is so lucky. I always appreciate my situation in Japan. I hope everyone can live peacefully like Japan. And I hope that you don’t forget each past tragedy of your own countries.
Today is special day to think about our future.

Hiroshima Peace Site
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Turists in Japan

I saw the news topics about tourists in Japan in TV. Trips is a topic every summer. A lot of Japanese have gone abroad every summer. However, they don't go this summer because the charge for flight is so expensive now. On the other hand many foreigners come to Japan as tourists. I recently see a lot of tourists in town.
Tokyo is international mega city. I think that Japanese hospitality and services are excellent at hotels or restaurants. But many tourists would be annoyed about language during trip. There are English signs at station or buildings in town. Some staffs at big department store or restaurant in hotel can communicate in English. However, almost Japanese can't speak English. We certainly study English in school for about 6 years, but we have not had a chance to communicate in English in our daily life.
I'd like to advice you for your Japanese trip. You can enjoy your trips in Japan if you ask us by simple Japanese. When we hear that other countries people speak Japanese even a little, we are so glad. We would try to do best to help you even if we can't speak English or your language. I think Japanese are kind for other people originally. We would help tourists who have interests of Japan. And we would warmly welcome you.

"Youkoso Nippon-e ! " (Welcome to Japan !)

Monday, August 4, 2008

High School Baseball Games in Summer

August is very hot in Japan. And a lot of events, festivals, firework, Bon odori, are held in each region. Everyone enjoy them.
A big event, Summer high school baseball games is very attractive for us and makes some impressive dramas every year. Now it begun last Saturday at Koshien stadium in Osaka prefecture. Many Japanese get enthusiastic and cheer the high school in own hometown.
One or two high schools that got through in each prefectures are playing games in Koshien. The games are tournament. Some pro baseball players were heroes of this high school baseball games. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Socks, was big star.
The players including their attitude are well-ordered and fresh. Every players must shave their hair. Since recent young students are so casual, we feel that high school baseball players are cool. Japanese prefer to these well-ordered attitude.
Female students, the parents of each high schools are cheering for the team in heat wave. All games are on air in TV and we can watch these games. We are be able to be touched by the games at home. The players of the defeated team can bring sand in field. This scene is so painful for audience.
Results of these games are our topic in summer. Japanese can feel the summer by watching TV.