31 Dec 2014

At The End Of 2014

Thank you for your visiting and reading my blog. And a happy new year from Japan.

@Mt.Fuji from Mt.Takao
 

What Japanese Thinks About Japan Now

If you live abroad for a while, especially in a different culture, it makes you see your country in a different way. It's a very interesting experience. That is what I am experiencing now.

I came back to Japan, and I re-realised that Japan is a crazy country.:) I think there is a very strong collective sense in the society, compared with the UK. I don't mean its patriotism, but people are enthusiastic for riding a wave of current trends. If something becomes popular, people come to see it or get it in waves. Japanese people accept Western cultures as their own while ignoring real meanings. Most of the fashion magazines feature what foreigners wear, especially in NY, Paris and London. You can see a lot of English or European language signboards, even though sometimes they are not properly used. If Japanese people accomplish a great achievement in the world, Japanese media always perk up their ears on what other countries' media say.

Of course, I don't mean to put down on my country. Japan has a beautiful culture, and is a wonderful country. That's why I always browse Japanese things in shops, more than before. But also I noticed that if you go to the stylish shops, there are a lot of imported items. I used to consider that was normal when I was young, but I feel it's a bit crazy now;) But that is the country called 'Japan.'

Harrassment is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset. The other day, I was watching TV and I was very surprised that there are a lot of 'harassments' in Japan. For example;
  • Sexual Harassment - bulling or coerion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Power Harassment - harrassment or unwelcome attention of a political nature, often occurring in the environment of workplace, hospitals, schools and universities, which involve forced activity beyond the boundaries of the job description.
  • Academic Harassment -abusing of authority in a research institution.
  • Moral Harassment (Mobbing) - bulling of an individual by a group in any context, such as a family, friends, peers, school, workplace, neighbourhood, community, or online.
  • Smoking Harassment - claiming and insisting on the right to a smoke-free environment.
  • Alcohol Harassment - making people to feel obliged to keep a company (out of a sense of duty) by forcing to drink alcohol.
  • Doctor Harassment - bulling, abusing against patients
  • Blood-type Harassment - undergo a personality assessment by ABO blood type. It's a common belief in Japan that a person's blood type is predictive of his or her personality, temperament, and compatibility with others.
  • Karaoke Harassment - forcing people who don't like singing to sing a song.
  • Religious Harassment - forcing people to join religious, to obey the organization or to donate money.
  • Electronic Harassment - the alleged use of electromagnetic waves to harass a victim.
  • Air Harassment - making a bad sense the atmosphere
  • Smell Harassment  -a person with unpleasant body odor or strong perfume
  • Pet Harassment - abusing or mistreating against pets
  • Love Harassment - show intimacy in the office or in public
  • Marriage Harassment - saying 'are you STILL single?' 'why don't you get married?' 'when are you going to get married?' against single person. 
  • Silver Harassment - harassment or abusing against over 60 years old people who need care.
  • Housework Harassment -wife force husband to help housework and child-rearing with complaining (under the notion of women's equality) etc...
I was really surprised by these phrases. Some words are global common knowledge, but some are created under the Japan's own culture. Seems like Japanese people make new words in amusement, but I think there is danger lurking. If people feel uncomfortable with something, they can complain about being harassed by someone specific. Human beings want to gain an advantage over someone. But we should to think about yourself before using the word 'Harassment'. I think it's so crazy and an overreaction. I think there is a possibility to rationalize someone to justify his actions.

29 Dec 2014

The Master's Word

『子曰、飯疏食飲水、曲肱而枕之、楽亦在其中矣、不義而富且貴、於我如浮雲』
The Master said, ‘With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow;– I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honours acquired by unrighteousness, are to me as a floating cloud.’
It's a part of Chinese 'The Analects.' It means that just accept simple life as it is. Do not attach to possessions or status, because they are like floating cloud beyond your control. Sort of simplicity elevate you moral and ethical awareness. And also you can find a real joy in it.

I think a hurdle to overcome is getting higher and higher, because there are a lot of temptations and information all over the world for us, and modern societies are diversified and complicated. However, it's a good time to take a close look at the end of the year.

Shibuya

We walked Shibuya the other day. It was so crowded. Mmm... it was the first time in a long while to walk around Shibuya.
 


Otoshidama

On New Year's Day, Japanese people have a custom of giving money to children. This is called 'otoshidama' which is handed out in a small envelope. Sometimes it is a stab in the wallet for an adult, but children are looking forward to get much pocket money:) I got a lovely sheep envelop, designed by the zodiac sign of next year. I am going to give some money to my nieces.

28 Dec 2014

Muji Cafe

Some of the well-known Japanese Muji store have a cafe, called Muji Cafe. They offer so Japanese and so healthy natural food. I enjoyed  the lunch menu the other day.
 

25 Dec 2014

Omotesandō

We walked along Omotesandō. It's an avenue located in Shibuya and Minato. It was originally created as the frontal (Omote) approach (Sando). Now there are many famouse high brand shops and fast fashion retailers on the avenue.
 
 
 
It was Sunday morning, so it was quiet, but it was nice to walk.:) We walked past the volunteers who clean up the avenue. After that, we walked past another volunteers who also clean up the avenue. It was funny because they said 'it's clean'. Of course, the volunteers had already cleaned up there!
 

Majolica Majorca

Majolica Majorca is a cosmetics brand from Japan's Shiseido. I bought a manicure, because it's a small bottle. I wanted to buy red manicure, but I suddenly changed my mind. That name is 'jealousy (PK412).' I haven't felt jealous of anyone though... Mmm... it's very pink...

24 Dec 2014

Earthquake Hazard Map

We've had some earthquakes at least 5 or 6 times since we came to Japan. The other day, a new Earthquake Hazard Map was released by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion. It shows the chances of a quake of at least lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 within 30 years. Kanto region is very red, that means possibility is higher. I think that's horrifying...
 

When Did Santa Claus Come To Japan?

Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, is a folkloric figure that it is said brings gifts to the good children on the night before Christmas Day. Obviously, it has been part of western culture ever since ancient times.

Japanese people seemingly are free of Christmas, but actually we celebrate Christmas as an enjoyable event, rather than a religious celebration. Most Japanese people decorate homes, enjoy giving gifts to each other and having a nice meal with a special person or family. Especially for young couples, it's popular to have a romantic meal in a restaurant and to walk together to look at the Christmas illuminations, rather than spending with family. We spend new year's holiday with family, because new year is a more important event for us. So, soon after Christmas Day, Christmas decorations in the town change quickly into New Years decorations.

When did Santa Claus come to Japan? Nobody knows for sure, but according to websites, Christmas decorations were introduced in Ginza, Tokyo in the 1900's. Japanese people like events and are good at adopting new ways as a sales war. And, kids' magazines inserted the image of Santa Claus. Also, between 1926 and 1947, 25th December became a national holiday after the death of Emperor Taishō. So, I assume that all of these factors might boost the Christmas event. Have a nice Christmas!

23 Dec 2014

Merry Christmas 2014


 

Christmas In Central Tokyo

I can't believe how quickly the time goes! Already one month has passed since we came to Japan. Today, 23 December is the Japanese Emperor's Birthday and is a national holiday. We walked around Nihonbashi area and saw interesting events.
 
Men were making snowmen in front of the office, in the business district, under the sunshine, without snow...
 

I don't feel any Christmas atmosphere at all, even though we saw an illmination event or Christmas decorations. It's very strange. A church choir on the boat was singing a choir. I thought every idea is unique:)

22 Dec 2014

Kōrakuen

Accidently I went to Tokyo Dome City Attractions. It's an amusement park (which was formerly known as Kōrakuen until 2003.
 
 
According to Wikipedia, Big O is a centerless Ferris wheel and was listed as the world's largest centreless Ferris wheel by Guinness World Records in 2006.
 
 
The roller coaster passes through a hole in the building of shopping centre, and through the centerless Ferris wheel as well. It was not this amusement park, but a roller coaster reminds me of my grandmother. When she went to an ammusement park with her friends in her 50's, she thought it might be the last chance to ride on a roller coaster, and she rode in the front seat. How brave she was! She was a very spirited woman:)


 

21 Dec 2014

To Get A Ticket

When I passed by Tokyo Dome the other day, there were a lot of girls. Tokyo Dome is the biggest concert venue in Japan. Seemed like a popular Japanese idol group Arashi consisting of five members held their concerts there at that day.
 
 
Actually I've never been a great fan of a band, so I had never been to Tokyo Dome to see a concert. I saw many young girls were standing everywhere holding paper saying 'please sell me a ticket'. It was an interesting action for me. I wonder how many girls could get a ticket that way...
 

20 Dec 2014

Ultraman

I saw Ultraman figure. Ultraman is a Japanese TV series that first aired in 1966. He is a heroes and fight against various monster. Actually it followed up to other series, and was popular especially among boys:) It reminded me of a boy who sang this song in a bus of school trip, when I was young.
 

19 Dec 2014

The Analects


I read this book 'A word of Lunyu' (in Japanese). It's about some sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries. Japanese writer gives an explanation how to understand the meanings. It's a sort of self-help book based on the analects.
 
The Analects has been one of the most widely read and studied books in China, and Japanese students have an opportunity to learn some of the collection at school. At that time, I wasn't interested in this very much, but now I think these are very meaningful and valuable. When you are not interested in, any word doesn't resonate with your mind.
 
Confucius taught people five basic virtues; kindness, righteousness, sobriety, wisdom and trustworthiness. He gives us some idea to have harmony and balance in our lives. There are many different kinds of people in the world, and sometimes you lose your genuine self in difficulty. I wanted to see myself through my different eyes. That's why I picked up this book from shelves.
 

18 Dec 2014

Today's Sky

A massive storm hit some parts of Japan, and at least three people die in heavy snow. My mother said it was snow in Sendai. There is no snow in Tokyo, but it has been cold.


16 Dec 2014

Pen or Penn

When we walked towards Ginza, the big mouse responded to this sign board. Pilot Corporation is a Japanese famous pen manufacture based in Tokyo. It is best known for its pens. That is why the sign says 'pen station'. But the big mouse said that there is 'Penn Station' in New York City. It is also known as Pennsylvania Station.:) Spellings are different though...


Mochitsuki

It was a happy accident that we could see Mochitsuki event on a shopping street, which was held by a local neighbourhood association. Mochi-tsuki; making rice cake is one of Japanese traditional events for the new year. However, nowadays, people have become not to make mochi using a Japanese wooden stamp mill by themselves because you can buy it at shops easily. My parents have an electronic Mochitsuki machine, and making mochi using a special rice my uncle produced was familiar for me for a year-round.
 

 
 
They friendly shared fresh made mochi with us;) So we had free meals including ozoni (mochi in soup),  roasted soybean flour, Sweet bean paste and a cup of tea as well! They were so yummy. Thank you very much for your hospitality!! We enjoyed tasting them and watching the event very much.

14 Dec 2014

Illumination

We walked Marunouchi to see the Marunouchi Illumination 2014. Marunouchi Naka-dori (1.2km) is lit up with hundreds of champagne-coloured LED (light-emitting diode). Wow, it's beautiful:)

As a person from Sendai, I would say that 'Sendai Pageant of Starlight' is the best, because four rows of the zelkova trees increase great lights density and make a tunnel of romantic illumination.
 
 
We noticed that many people pointed at and looked at one tree. The rumor was that there was the hidden Micky Mouse on the tree, as a collaboration with Disney. We found Micky-Mouse-shaped lights on the tree. It was funny that people had been really excited with small hidden Micky Mouse:)

Asakusa

We went to Asakusa, a famous for a Buddhist temple; the Sensō-ji. And it's popular destination for tourists. I've been to there several times, and it was not the first time to visit there for the big mouse as well.
 
 

At first, visitors enter through this Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). There is a famous shopping street, called Nakamise. This busy shopping street leads you to the temple.

 
There are a lot of shops, and you can buy very Japanese things from sweets/snacks to lovely Japanese items such as fan and kimono. 
 


 
We saw Buddhist monk pilgrims on that day. You can see the tall Sky Tree behind them as well.
 
 
 
It was nice weather. There were already many people gathered in the temple. After we visited the temple, we strolled off-streets. The big mouse said off-streets were more interesting than busy Nakamise shopping street, because you can see a part of the local way of life. I agree with him. We enjoyed walking around Asakusa very much.
 


13 Dec 2014

The Nobel Prize

Three Japanese scientists; Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes. It has been the biggest news in Japan for recent.

The Sky Tree is now lit up with three colours - red, green and blue - to memorialize the three heroic Noble Prize winners.


10 Dec 2014

Reunion

When I was making arrangements for my move to the UK, I gave up this pair of trousers to bring and didn't pack this in my suitcase nor cardboard boxes. It was one of my favourites, but I was getting fat and it was too-tight at that time...

A few years later, I went back to my parents house and reunited with this trousers. Hooray! It suits best to me now.:) I feel it's very fresh item after such a long time.

Panda Bread

Ueno is famous for Panda, because pandas are in Ueno Zoo. I got a panda bread:) Lovely!


Evening View

9 Dec 2014

Ameyoko

I walked around Ameyoko today. Ameyoko is a busy market street near Ueno Stations. The name "Ameyoko" is a short form for Ameya Yokocho (candy store alley), as candies were traditionally sold on this street. Also after the World War II, it was a black market and many 'Ame'-rican products were sold.


 
There are many fish markets because Tsukiji, the biggest fish market is very nerarby.


And, fruits, dry food, snacks and so on are opened. I saw some asian food markets as well. Not only food but also bags, cloths and trainers are opened too. I don't like crowded place but Ameyoko gives you energy. I got nice fruits today:)