Saturday, June 27, 2009

Off The Wall

I was surprised at a big news yesterday morning. It is that Michael Jackson died. He was an American pop music icon in Japan. There are a lot of his fans and special report for him was reported in TV news yesterday. Now his albums are sold out after his death.

I wasn't an ardent fun, however I used to listen to his songs when I was a junior high school student. "Thriller" , "Bad" or "Billy Jean" was big hit song in our country. His dance was special and fantastic in his music video. I listen to his album "Off the wall" before he became big star and it was one of my favorite albums.

I listen to his songs now. My favorite songs, "Rock with you" , "She is out of my life", "Human nature" , "Man in the mirror" and so on. I think they are good songs and evoke memories of my school days. Also I feel fresh when I listen now.

I can't believe his death, however his songs go down in my memory.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teru Teru Bozu and Snail

It has been humid and muggy in resent days. Rainy season in Japan is very humid.

Teru teru bozu is an essential item for children. It is used as a kind of charm to stop raining. It is a paper doll and easy to make for them. When a child wishes that it becomes sunny next day, he or she makes teru teru bozu and hung it in front of the house. I used to make it before I went to picnic. I believed my wish came to be true.

Snail is symbolic animal of rainy season. It crawls on leaves of Ajisai in raining day. I didn't be scared of snail when I was a child. I could even hold it. However, I dislike it now because it is slimy.

Now I don't like rainy season in Japan. However I didn't feel unpleasant, when I was a child. Teru teru boze or snails is an good memories in my childhood.

Teru teru bozu

Sunday, June 21, 2009

和洋折衷(Wayou Setchu) Compromise between Japanese and Western styles

I think we can eat a lot of foods that have variety. Also we like to research new and original tastes. We are creating many foods that are taken over other countries’ taste. Japanese word, 和洋折衷, means things that compromised between Japanese and Western styles. We have made some foods of 和洋折衷. These foods express our originality.

For example, Anpan あんパン is very standard food for Japanese. It is a bun filled with bean paste and sold in almost bakeries. It is so delicious and one of my favorite foods when I was a child. Anpanman is an anime character that is known well for Japanese children. Bean paste (餡) is Japanese traditional food. However, bun is western food.

There are cakes that is used powdered green tea (Matcha). They are so delicious. Cake is western food, but Matcha is Japanese food. Western and Japan culture grow into one.
Tarako (たらこ) spaghetti is a kind of pasta in Japan. It is mayonnaise and soy sauce based and so delicious. Tarako is ovary of cod and tastes salty. It is Japanese typical ingredient. We normally eat it with hot rice. If Italian eat tarako spaghetti, they might say it is not Italian food. It is certainly not Italian food. It is Wayou Setchu food.
Some Wayou Setshu foods take root in our food culture. They are not traditional, however, another kind of Japanese foods.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hydrangea あじさい

Many beautiful , pink, blue, white or violet hydrangeas あじさい (ajisai) blooms in Japan. It is typical flower of our rainy season.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Rainy season (梅雨 tsuyu) begins in Japan. A lot of hydrangeas (紫陽花 ajisai) bloom around my home now.

This, 1Q84, is a title of a Japanese new novel by Haruki Murakami. Now it is best seller and one million copies has been sold about for two weeks in Japan.
Haruki Murakami is very famous and popular novelists and has a lot fans in my country and well-known to foreign people. We are proud of his talent. Kafka on the Shore 海辺のカフカ, Norwegian Wood ノルウェーの森 etc. You might see his translated books in bookstore.

He received Jerusalem Prize this February and he made a speech at awarding ceremony. I found his speech in English on web site.

“Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.”  

This is impressive phrase for me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

2010 World Cup

Japanese soccer team won Uzbekistan yesterday and qualified for 2010 World Cup.
It is good news for us.

Soccer becomes popular in Japan and soccer player is one of occupations that Japanese boys want to be. (I think baseball is No.1, sports.)
Japanese team was weak about 2 decades ago. Japanese league (J league) set up in 1993. A lot of famous foreign soccer players who retired from Brazil, England or German joined the teams in J League. Zico or Gary Lineker, Pierre Littbarski are some of them. First participation of our team is in 1998 France World Cup.
Next World Cup was held in Japan and Korea. We enthused about all of games.

Some pro Japanese soccer players play at Europe now. The skill of Japanese soccer players is certainly improved. A midfielder, Shunsuke Nakamura who is called "Fantasista" is the most famous in Japan.

I like to watch soccer games in TV. And World Cup is special like Olimpic Game. I look forward to watch good games of Japanese team in 2010.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

初鰹 Hatsugatsuo

We say that it is good for health to eat foods in season. We call these foods in season "Shun" 旬 no tabemono (food). "Shun" is especially important for Japanese life and we use this word for each season.

Katsuo (Bonito) is "Shun no tabemono" now. We call it "Hatsugatsuo" 初鰹. We normally eat it as one kind of sashimi. We call it Katsuo no Tataki. Katsuo no Tataki is raw, however, only surface of a piece of Katsuo is grilled. The relish of Katsuo is grated garlic. I like sashimi and Hatsugatsuo is so delicious.

There is a famous Haiku of Katuo.

目に青葉 山ほととぎす 初鰹
(Meni aoba Yama hototogisu Hatsugatsuo)
It expresses early summer in Japan.
We can see a lot of green leaves (青葉) outside, Lesser Cuckoo (ほととぎす) chirps in mountains and Bonito is in season (初鰹).

What is "Shun" of early summer in your countries ?