Saturday, October 25, 2008

Itareri Tsukuseri

I think that Japanese hospitality at shops, hotels or restaurants is best.

We sometimes use the Japanese word "Itareri Tsukuseri" for good services and hospitality (Motenashi in Japanese). Itareri Tsukuseri means that customers are given a personal service. We often say "The services of that shop is Itareri Tsukuseri." This means the services are excellent.
When you go to a restaurant, you can drink a glass of water and oshibori (rolled hand towel) before meal. These services are free. When you eat Japanese style restaurant, you might be a cup of green tea or Houji-cha (roasted tea) after the meal. To be sure, it is free. This is just "Itareri Tsukuseri"

I remember a cashier during my trip in Europe. When I bought some foods at a supermarket, the cashier worked so slowly chatting with another cashier. A lot of customers waited without complaining. Moreover, she blew her nose in front of us. I was so surprised. This scene was unbelievable in Japan. Almost Japanese cashiers always work quickly to not wait for a long time. And they never blow their nose in front of customers. We think the attitude is impolite.

I think sincerity for visitors or customers are very important at the time in Japan. So the hospitality is comfortable. We are proud of "Itareri Tsukuseri" spirit.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ougon no Tsuki

I heard good music on radio this morning today. The title is "Ougon no Tsuki" (Golden Moon) in 1997.
J-Pop singer, Shikao Suga is very popular in Japan.
He wrote my favorite song "Yozora no Mukou". (夜空ノムコウ) "Yozora no Mukou" was hit song of SMAP in 1998. SMAP is super idol group in Japan. (I listed it up in "My favorite Japanese song". Please try to listen to it.)

I always feel happy that I find good musics, books by chance. It is signal for knowing favorite artists . "Ougon no Tsuki" made me happy today.

Ougon no Tsuki by Shikao Suga

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Inarizushi (Stuffed Sushi)

Now is best season for picnic. We often have lunch box and go for a picnic to see colored leaves. I like Inari-zushi for lunch box. Inari-zushi is a kind of Sushi and it is easy to eat. Sushi rice (Sushi meshi) is wrapped with Abura-age (Fried Tofu). It is simple food, however, so delicious. I sometimes want to eat it.

We can buy it at supermarket or convenience store. Onigiri and Sandwich is very common for lunch box. Onigiri is my most favorite lunch box (I think that Onigiri is soul food for Japanese.) Inari-zushi is second choice, when I go for a picnic.

When I eat lunch box outdoor with warm sunshine and fresh air. I feel happy and more delicious than indoor.
What do you bring when you go for a picnic ? Today is best day for a picnic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shugaku Ryoko (School Trip)

"Shugaku ryoko" is a big event for Japanese elementary school, junior high school, high school students. They go for a trip once with friends of same grade in each school days in order to learn historical places for a few days. Since I have lived in Tokyo, I went to Kyoto and Nara (Kansai, west area of Japan) at junior high school days. I learn and feel Japanese old culture. It takes about two hours by Shinkansen (Super express train). People who lived in other prefectures go to the place that is far from the their area. For example, students in Osaka go to Tokyo or other area but Kansai.

Shugaku ryoko is very fun for almost students. They can travel with classmates and have free time to walk around the city or town as one group. We often meet these groups of students in Tokyo in spring or autumn season. They seems to be fun smiling and finding the way on a map.
I have good memories of Shugaku rhoko. I think Shugaku ryoko is a school custom of only Japan. It is very instructive for young students to visit historical places and learn own history and cooperation with other students.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relax in Autumn

Now it gets cooler and air is so clear and fresh. Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans) is good smell and we fell autumn.
I went to Obuse in Nagano prefecture this weekend. Nagano is a place that Olympic winter game was held in 1998. Obuse is very small town in countryside. Special products of this town are grape, apple and chestnuts. They are autumn foods. I like autumn season because we can eat abundant and delicious foods.

Beautiful Apples in Obuse

The motif of this shop curtain (Noren) of Japanese sweets is three chestnuts.

I visited a museum of Hokusai , Hokusai kan and Gansho-in (I'm sorry for no English site). Hokusai is very famous Japanese artist as you know. He had visited and stayed for several years after he was 80 years old in Obuse. He drew celling painting in Gansho-in when he was 89 years old. The selling painting (Happo Nirami Houou zu) is vivid color and I couldn't feel that it was old work. I was touched.

Autumn is good season for travel. I can so relax. Eat delicious foods and feel good arts or nature... It is very excitied and delightful thing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lost Great Talent

There will be some great actors or actresses in your countries. A great Japanese actor died recently. His name is Ken Ogata. Japanese movie or entertainment fans would be disappointed about hearing this news. I think he was actor just like Robert De Niro or Jack Nicholson. He can act every roles, good person or villain.

When I saw his movie "Kichiku" (The Demon), I admired his performance in this movie. Original story of this film is novel of Seicho Matsumoto, who was one of very famous and popular mystery novelists in Japan. The story was very heavy, however, I recommend to see it.

Though Mr.Ogata knew his mortal disease, he continued to work without treatment in hospital. He chose his life as an actor. We were touched for his choice as professional.
There are a lot of his famous movies. If you have a chance to see his film, you will be able to enjoy his performance.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nobel Prize - Four Japanese

Big news were reported in few days. Four Japanese wins Nobel price. Almost Japanese are proud of this news.
Receiving Nobel prize is splendid, however, we are worried about our future. Because it is said that literacy of young Japanese students declines in few years. We thought that intelligence and cleverness is one of characteristic for Japanese. However, we might correct this idea.
I think that Yutori Education is one of reason for decline of literacy.

On the other hand, a lot of quiz shows are produced as a variety shows at TV now. Or brain training (No-tre) of Nintendo DS is popular. Japanese people including adults are interested in knowledge or study again. And this news for Nobel prize will be one of chance for thinking about our education systems again.

I am assured that Japanese people have always inquiring mind or strive to improve for our ability. Diligence is our proud and have retrieved our life. I think that we must not forget it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Banana Diet

I like fruits and especially banana. It is tropical fruits and many bananas are imported from Philippine or Taiwan. Banana is one of very popular fruits in Japan. Now we can't buy bananas in supermarkets late afternoon. Banana is sold out soon.
There is a reason for this situation. Now banana diet is remarkable in Japan. Banana diet is that we eat only one or some bananas at breakfast. We can't eat other foods. It is OK to eat anything at lunch or supper. I knew it on a TV program recently. A Japanese singer tried to do it and lost weight.
Japanese women are always interested in some issues or products for diet. When a diet method is published on women's magazine or people hear about diet effect, almost women will try to do the methods.

Japanese women tend to think slender women like supermodels are attractive women. I think losing weight is most important topics for Japanese women. Many methods or products have become a topic among women ever. I want to get more slender now.

However, I think that adequate exercises and foods are important for our health. There is a good instruction for health in Japan. We call it "Hara Hachibun me" It is best way for keeping our health to eat quantity of 80 percents as one meal. This means we don't eat full (100 persents) as one meal. Eating too much is bad custom. Also chowing foods enough is good for health.
Anyway, losing weight healthfully is my aim. Do you try banana diet ?