Archive | July, 2011

Dragonball coffee

25 Jul

Do you like the Japanese anime titled 「ドラゴンボール」 (“Dragonball“)?

(I wrote a post in late 2008 about some Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…including a remake of “Dragonball” (which I haven’t seen but it doesn’t look good)).

Well, if you’re a Dragonball fan, you may be interested to know that the Japanese canned coffee / soft drink company “Pokka” is currently selling their “Power Squash” soft drink in twelve different designed cans with various Dragonball characters on them.

From the Pokka company website, here are the twelve different cans…each with a different Dragonball character:

Available until 2011 September 30

And they’re also offering three types of canned coffee, each available designed with ten different Dragonball characters. So, if you really want to, between the “Squash” soft drink and the three different coffee blends, you can collect a total of 42 different Dragonball drink cans!

Three of the "Pokka" / "Dragonball" coffee cans

I like coffee and I buy canned coffee sometimes…so if I got one of these “Dragonball” cans, it would one of the coffees.

Five famous idioms…in Japanese

22 Jul

Awhile back I wrote a post about Japanese idioms called 「慣用句」 (“kanyouku“).

These are expressions in Japanese such as:
「ゴマすり」 (“Gomasuri“) which literally means to grind sesame seeds…but the meaning of the expression is to “brown nose” (which itself is an idiom in English).

A "suribachi" and "surikogi" are tools to actually grind sesame seeds in Japan.

But there is another type of idiom in Japan called 「四字熟語」 (“yojijukugo“).
This type of expression originated in China and uses four characters to give advice in a simple poetic form.

I’m not sure how it is in the Chinese language (since I can’t speak Chinese at all) but this type of idiom doesn’t actually follow proper Japanese-language grammar…but that’s part of what gives them their simple poetic charm.

What I want to do with this blog post is a type of game using five famous Japanese yojijukugo idioms.

You don’t need to know how to read or understand Japanese.

I will write the five idioms and give the literal meaning of the four characters that comprise each expression.
In the comments section of this post, try to guess the English equivalent of each Japanese idiom…and then come back to this post and read the answers which I will have at the bottom of this post.

Try to guess what each expression is in English before you read the answers! The literal meaning of the characters should give you a hint.

So let’s begin. Here are the five idioms and their literal meanings:

1. 「一石二鳥」 (いっせきにちょう)…literal meaning: “One stone, two birds“.

2. 「十人十色」 (じゅうにんといろ)…literal meaning: “Ten people, ten colors“.

3. 「七転八起」 (しちてんはっき)…literal meaning: “Seven stumbles, eight (times) get up“.

4. 「異体同心」 (いたいどうしん)…literal meaning: “Different bodies, same heart“.

5. 「自画自賛」 (じがじさん)…literal meaning: “Own picture, self congratulate“.

OK. Do you think you’ve figured out the English equivalent to these Japanese idioms?
Click here to go to this post’s comment section and write your guess.

And then after you’ve guessed what you think the English is for these Japanese idioms, come back to this post and read the answers at the bottom of this post.

The answers are down here:

Did you write a guess in the comments section?

The answers are at the bottom.

The answers:

1. 「一石二鳥」 (いっせきにちょう)…literally: “One stone, two birds”…meaning: “Kill two birds with one stone“.

2. 「十人十色」 (じゅうにんといろ)…literally: “Ten people, ten colors”…meaning “Different strokes for different folks“.

3. 「七転八起」 (しちてんはっき)…literally: “Seven stumbles, eight (times) get up”…meaning “Never give up (or “Fall down seven times, get up eight”).

4. 「異体同心」 (いたいどうしん)…literally: “Different bodies, same heart”…meaning “Two people in one accord“.

5. 「自画自賛」 (じがじさん)…literally: “Own picture, self congratulate”…meaning “Tooting your own horn“.

How many did you get correct?

I Love Rock And Roll

19 Jul

Do you know the song “I Love Rock And Roll“? If you do, in fact, love rock and roll then I’m sure you know this song well. “I Love Rock And Roll” has been covered by many artists since it’s original release 36 years ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that many years!)…but do you know who wrote and recorded it originally? It’s quite likely you guessed it was Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

But, although her version reached the #1 spot on the U.S. music charts, Joan Jett’s version of the song is a remake. She isn’t the original artist. It was Alan Merrill with his band (at the time) The Arrows who wrote and originally recorded the rock masterpiece “I Love Rock And Roll”.

Alan Merrill in 2011.

Alan Merrill is American and currently lives in his home state of New York…but he has lived in both England and Japan for a number of years…and reached celebrity status in both countries. Mr. Merrill was kind enough to do an excellent and interesting interview with me.

Click here to read his interview with me (and then come back and leave a comment on this post with your opinion of the interview).

My favorite country in the world is Japan.

Alan Merrill

(My interview with Alan Merrill: www3.ocn.ne.jp/~tokyo5/interviews.html#merrill.)

The World Champions

18 Jul

I wrote this post about the Women’s Soccer World Cup championship game being played by Japan against the USA today.

As you probably already know, Japan won the game in penalty kicks.

Here’s a video I found on Youtube that shows the penalty kick attempts by both the USA and Japan.
The announcers in the video sound English. I don’t often watch TV in English anymore…so what mostly got my attention when I watched this video was the way the announcers butchered the Japanese players’ names! ;)

The video ends before it has a chance to show Japan’s team celebrating their win as the 2011 Women’s World Cup Champions.
But here’s what it looked like:

Did you watch the game?
It started at 3:45AM Japan time so I didn’t stay up to watch it. I saw the highlights on the news this morning.
On the news here, they also had a Japanese reporter and cameraman in a sports-bar in New York during the game to get the American fans’ reactions.
Each time the U.S. team scored a goal, the Americans in the bar erupted into a “USA! USA! USA!” chant.  I guess I’ve been living in Japan so long that I was taken by surprise a bit by that. It was like a culture shock! ;)

Upcoming concerts in Japan

16 Jul

What type of music do you like to listen to? Do you go to concerts often?

As for me, I like heavy metal music. Actually I don’t understand why anyone would listen to anything else. ;)

There are a number of great bands scheduled to play shows in Japan soon.

For example:

Linkin Park

- 2011 September 10, 11: Chiba, Japan
– 2011 September 13: Yokohama, Japan
– 2011 September 14: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 September 16: Osaka, Japan

Also, on 2011 August 31, Linkin Park will play a show in Los Angeles, California to help raise money for the victims of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
The Japanese hard rock band B’z will be the opening act.

Anthem

The Japanese metal band Anthem are currently on a tour of Japan until the end of July (2011).

Anthrax

In support of their new album, “Worship Music“, Anthrax will play four dates in Japan this December:

- 2011 December 12: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 December 13, 14: Tokyo, Japan
– 2011 December 16: Nagoya, Japan

The band “Hellyeah” will be the opening act for the Anthrax shows.

Aerosmith

Hard rock icons Aerosmith will play shows across Japan in (2011) November and December:

- 2011 November 22: Kanazawa, Japan
– 2011 November 25: Hiroshima, Japan
– 2011 November 28, 30: Tokyo, Japan
– 2011 December 2: Fukuoka, Japan
– 2011 December 6: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 December 8: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 December 10: Sapporo, Japan

Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival 2011

- 2011 October 15: Saitama, Japan

At this year’s Loudpark, Whitesnake, The Darkness, Stryper and many other acts are scheduled to perform.

Whitesnake

In addition to headlining this year’s Loudpark festival, Whitesnake will play four additional shows in Japan:

- 2011 October 17: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 October 18: Okayama, Japan
– 2011 October 20: Miyazaki, Japan
– 2011 October 22: Nagoya, Japan

Mötley Crüe

- 2011 September 28: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 September 29, 30: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 October 3, 4, 5: Tokyo, Japan

Def Leppard

- 2011 November 5: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 November 7: Tokyo, Japan

This Sunday’s showdown: Japan vs USA

15 Jul

From 2011 June 26 until this Sunday (July 17th), the Women’s World Cup international soccer championship games is being held in Germany.

On Wednesday (July 13th), two semi-final matches were held.
America played against France and Japan played against Sweden.

The U.S. and Japan each won their games with a score of 3-1.

So, now the final match for the 2011 Women’s World Cup Championship will be held on this Sunday, 2011 July 17th.
Japan will play against the U.S.

I’m not sure which country to support!
I’m American. I was born and raised in America. But I’ve been living in Japan since 1990…most of my life now. Japan has become my home.

Well, I’ll support both teams. ;)

Have you watched any of the 2011 Women’s World Cup matches? Will you watch the championship game on Sunday?
Did you watch the Japan vs Sweden game last Wednesday? After Japan won that game, the team members held up a banner thanking the world for supporting Japan after the 2011 March 11 disaster.

Their banner said:

To Our Friends Around The World
Thank You For Your Support
“.

The Japanese Womens soccer team holding their banner

What are your country’s summer traditions?

10 Jul

Summer in Japan is very 蒸し暑い (“muggy” / hot and humid).

"Beware of heat stroke in the hot summer!"

Florida, where I grew up, is also hot and humid during the summer. But, unlike Japan, I don’t recall any particular traditions of summer in Florida…other than going to the beach.
Actually when I was a teenager in Florida, my friends and I couldn’t get enough of the beach. But, it wasn’t actually the “beach” that we were interested in…we would’ve went to the library—if it was full of girls in bikinis!

Japanese people like to celebrate the uniqueness of the seasons of the year. There are traditions in autumn, winter, spring and summer in Japan.

A few of Japan’s summer traditions are:

Summer festivals and fireworks shows.
Japan has 祭り (festivals) all year round…but there’s an abundance of them in the summer. And in late July to early August, there are many excellent 花火大会 (fireworks shows).
Click here to see my listing of summer festivals in the Tokyo area.

● スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”)


This is a Japanese summertime tradition that is similar to Mexico’s piñata. In both traditions, people take turns being blindfolded and try to hit the target with a stick, but in Mexico, the target is a kind of paper doll filled with candy that gets hit until it breaks open, Japan’s スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”) has a watermelon as the target. Once the watermelon gets hit and breaks open, everyone enjoys eating it.

● アナゴ (freshwater eel)
Eating eel is believed to give stamina to survive the grueling summer heat.
Click here to read a post that I wrote about it.

蝉 (Cicadas)
Every summer the 蝉 (cicadas) can be heard chirping in Japan. It’s considered one of the sounds of summer.
I wrote this post about the cicada in Japan.

● かき氷 (Shaved ice)

Eating shaved ice with a sweet syrup flavoring is a popular way to people to stay cool in the summer in Japan.
If you want to buy a  かき氷 (Shaved ice) in Japan, you can find them when you see a flag or poster that looks like this:

The character is 「氷」 and means "ice"

● ビアガーデン (“Beer garden”)

In the summertime, many places in Japan offer space to drink beer outdoors (and often on the building’s roof) in the cool night breeze.
Some places offer an “all-you-drink” (within a time limit) special.

●Pools and beaches

Of course, swimming is popular in the summertime in Japan just as it is in Florida.
Pools and beaches in Japan have lifeguards on duty and very few are open year-round.
Most of them are opening around now. Toshimaen, an excellent amusement park / waterslide park / pool in Tokyo opened on weekends only beginning July 2nd this year and will be open everyday from July 16th until September 4th.

What types of traditions does your country have in the summer?

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