27 Mar 2012

Tokyo Disney Resort


I went to Tokyo Disney Resort with my sister and her children. In Japan, both kids and adults like Disney Resort. I've been there several times, but this time it was very crowded because students are now on their short spring break. Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983, and DisneySea opened in 2001. Disney introduced a Fastpass system. If you insert your park ticket into the machine in front of the attraction, you can get a Fastpass ticket. It shows the time at which you may enter the special priority line at that attraction. So you can cut your wait time for other attractions or shopping. Even so, these tickets ran out early on. But we could get a couple of Fastpasses and go to several attractions, and also could have meals at nice restaurants without booking. The Disney Bears, Duffy and ShellieMay, have been hot in Tokyo Disney. You can see many girls with them. Actually I bought small bears. They are so lovely. As the story goes, Minnie Mouse created Duffy the bear for Mickey Mouse as he was packing for a long voyage at sea, and created ShellieMay as Duffy's friend.

DisneySea; Mt. Prometheus in Mysterious Island

DisneySea; American Waterfront

DisneySea;  nightfall view from Cape Cod in American Waterfront

DisneyLand; Big Thunder Mountain in Westernland 

DisneyLand; It's A Small World in Fantasyland 

DisneyLand; Cinderella Castle

24 Mar 2012

Spiritual Richness

One English woman who married a Japanese and now lives in Japan said, 'Real life starts from your 40's.' These words sound right for me, because I will be 40 this year and am willing to start new life. I don't know what it's like now, but at least until a few decades ago, many Japanese had thought that British people are rich mentally compared with Japanese. Now Bhutan is popular among Japanese maybe because the King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun visited Japan last year. They were familiar and Japanese have friendly feelings toward them and their country. Also Bhutanese people look like Japanese, but their country is mysterious. Above all, people began to be curious about Gross National Happiness. Bhutan is the happiest country in Asia, and over 95% of Bhutanese think they are happy, which is a really big deal. I think Japanese nation's values have greatly changed after the earthquake. As the phrase goes says, 'It is the riches of the mind only that make a man rich and happy'. I am going to search for meaning in spiritual richness for myself. What does spiritual richness means to you?

21 Mar 2012

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is an American author and poet. My bf gave me the book of her poets 'Phenomenal Woman' a few years ago as a present. I hadn't known about her until then, but I thought this poem gives inspiration to all women. It's very powerful, strong and great poem. I read them and I was hoping to translate it into Japanese by myself. And I did it. The word 'phenomenal' was difficult to translate. If you are interested in Japanese version, please visit my Japanese blog.

PHENOMENAL WOMAN
  by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

http://mayaangelou.com/

17 Mar 2012

Sendai City Museum

I visited Sendai City Museum to see the collection of MOA Museum of Art (in Shizuoka). The exhibit is unique in that this collection of national treasures is displayed for a limited run (6-25 March, 2012). The MOA offered to loan this to Sendai for survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The prime exhibit is a pair of folding screens; the 'Red and White Plum Blossoms'. It's a masterpiece of Ogata Korin (1658-1716), who was the renowned Japanese artist. Interestingly, experts discovered that gold leaf and silver leaf were used in this screens. Therefore, the colours of the stream looks now black and goldish or brownish, but originally it was black and silver. It's really beautiful and I think the symmetrical trees are well-balanced.

In the museum, there were some volunteer staff, they explained trivia in each booth. So I made new discoveries about the permanent collection. I also watched a short film about Hasekura Tsunenaga, (also called 'Francisco Felipe Faxicura', as he was baptised in Spain). He headed a diplomatic mission to the Vatican in Rome as the ambassador of daimyo Masamune, but when he returned to Sendai, an effort to eradicate Christianity had been underway, and Japan moved towards the closure of the country. His life was tossed about by the national policy, but he executed his mission. His death is unknown.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201202250045

14 Mar 2012

Sunset

The sun is setting and the day is at an end. I like this view from my window. Electric cables cut off the view though...

11 Mar 2012

3.11

It has been one year since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit eastern Japan. Still the images of this disaster brings a tear to my eye. Every time that events, accidents and scandals happens in the world, the memories of disaster begin to fade.

Many people died and many people's lives have changed. How fragile we are. Our house was damaged by the earthquake, but I didn't witness the tsunami. I haven't had a narrow escape from death. But since then, something struck me inside, as if someone gave me a kick in the back to wake me up from my small world. And everything has started to move forward so quickly. Basically I am conservative and think well before I decide. Now I think it's a shame to bound by fixed ideas and be given over to stereotyped behaviour, because life is fleeting.

The names of all victims appeared in a newspaper today. It extend to several pages. According to the National Police Agency, as of 10 March 2012, the confirmed death toll is 15,854, and 3,155 people is still missing.

After the earthquake in Sendai, around 6:00pm on 11 March, 2011.
Lights went out from the city. You can only see automotive lights.

8 Mar 2012

'Keep Calm and Carry On'

If you go to the UK, you will see many products with the words 'Keep Calm and Carry On'. The first card I bought on my previous visit to the UK was this design. My bf sent me the link of the story of this. It was nice, so I decided to post this article.

Originally, 'Keep Calm and Carry On' was a series of propaganda posters produced by the British government in 1939, at the beginning of the Second World War. The purpose was to strengthen morale in wartime. There were three slogans, 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution, Will Bring Us Victory'; 'Freedom Is In Peril, Defend It With All Your Might'; and 'Keep Calm and Carry On'. Each poster used only two colours and the crown of King George VI, to avoid counterfeiting by the enemy.

In 2000, the poster was rediscovered in a second-hand bookshop, 'Barter Books' in Alnwick, Northumberland. Since then, the poster has been re-issued by many private companies, and the design has been used for other products. The shop 'Barter Books' looks very cosy and nice. A model railway is on display in the shop. Actually the shop is located in part of an old Victorian railway station. Aside from Barter Books, there are very nice second-hand bookshops in the UK. Visiting such shops is one of my favourite things. 'Keep Calm and Carry On' - it might be the essential words for me now.



5 Mar 2012

Memory

People have wonderful memories. One of my precicous memories is the time I spent with my family in Iwaki, Fukushima. There is my grandfather's house. Nomally no one lives there, but we spent holidays there. On our way to Iwaki, always we could see the chimneys of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and the beautiful ocean from the car window. Grandfather's house is not located inside the nuclear evacuation zones, but the neighbours left the village voluntarily and it's so quiet now, according to my uncle who visited there after the event.

Originally, it was a very peaceful area surrounded by rich nature. There's still no bus services near the house. I think it's exactly what an idealized and idyllic image of the Japanese village is. You can find the true values of this life there. I loved playing in the river, setting off fireworks, going to the beach in the summer, getting bamboo shoots in the bamboo grove that behind the house. But suddenly time stopped and all became my precious memory. There are ancestral graves, but I am not sure I can visit there again.

Memory of peaceful view near the grandfather's house

3 Mar 2012

The Dolls' Festival

3rd March is the day of the Dolls' Festival for girls in Japan. It's the day to pray for a young girl's growth and happiness. It is not known when the festival first started, but it traces its origins to about 1000 years ago. Most families that have girls display these dolls at home. The dolls are displayed a few weeks before the festival, but once the festival is over, you have to put them away immediately, because it is believed that the girl will get married later in her life. In modern days, more and more people are putting off marriage until later in life though...