Archive | 9:30 pm

Japanese ‘Get Well’ wishes to America

20 Mar

A nineteen-year-old young American man named Christian Schmidt who lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA was recently diagnosed with a severe form of cancer.

He has been receiving extensive, painful chemotherapy treatments nearly everyday for hours at a time. Due to the treatments, he has lost all of his hair…so his mother made a local request of her neighbors for donations of hats for her son Christian.

It must have been a surprise to her when she received hats from all over America. But I bet it was a real surprise for her to receive one from Japan!

Christian Schmidt’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama has a sister city of 千葉県、習志野市 (Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, Japan), and the mayor of 千葉県、習志野市 (Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, Japan) found out about Christian Schmidt’s situation and decided to send him a hat from the Narashino High School baseball team (who are set to play in Japan’s National High School Baseball Championship Tournament for the first time in over three decades).

Along with the hat, 千葉県、習志野市 (Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, Japan) sent Christian 千羽鶴 (1000 Origami Cranes)…which is a Japanese traditional “Get Well” wish.

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Anpanman

20 Mar

Yesterday was my oldest daughter’s 中学校の卒業式 (Junior High School graduation ceremony).
After Spring vacation she’ll start her first year of high school (10th grade). I can’t believe how fast my kids are growing up!

Today is 春分の日 (Spring Equinox). (Click here to read my short FAQ about this holiday).

In Japan, both 春分の日 (Spring Equinox) in March and 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox) in September are holidays, so we have the day off…and they’re days that many people pay a visit to their family gravesite.

So, this morning we went to our family gravesite to leave flowers and pay respects. It’s called 墓参り (Haka-mairi).

After that, we went to the 「アンパンマンとやなせたかし展」 (“Anpanman & Takashi Yanase Exhibit“) at the 日本橋三越本店 (Mitsukoshi Dep’t Store head store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo).

anpanman

やなせ・たかし (Takashi Yanase) is the artist who created the famous and extremely popular children’s cartoon character アンパンマン (Anpanman).
This exhibit at the 日本橋三越本店 (Mitsukoshi Dep’t Store head store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo) is to celebrate やなせ・たかし (Takashi Yanase)’s 60 years of being an artist, the 40th anniversary of the アンパンマン (Anpanman) comic, and the 20th anniversary of the アンパンマン (Anpanman) TV series.

アンパンマン (Anpanman) is about as popular as Mickey Mouse is in Japan. Maybe more.

アンパンマン (Anpanman) is a superhero whose head is made of Anpan, which is a sweet-bean filled bun.
He and his friends (most of whom also have heads made of various types of bread or some other healthy food) fight 「ばいきんまん」 (Germ man) and his partner 「どきんちゃん」 (Dokin-chan) who use various inventions and their army of 「かびるんるん」 (Mildew maniacs) to try and fill the world with germs.
アンパンマン (Anpanman)’s weakness is if his head becomes wet…at which he’s helpless until the friendly baker 「ジャムおじさん」 (Jam-ojisan) makes a new head for him.
「ばいきんまん」 (Germ man)’s weakness is contact with soap.

There are also sub-plots in the story which include:

  • 「どきんちゃん」 (Dokin-chan)’s having an infatuation with アンパンマン (Anpanman)’s friend 「食パンマン」 (Sandwich bread man), much to 「ばいきんまん」 (Germ man)’s chagrin.
  • アンパンマン (Anpanman) helping people in distress. Often by giving them a piece of his head to eat if they’re hungry.
  • and

  • 「ばいきんまん」 (Germ man) gave a black heart to 「ロールパンナちゃん」, the older sister of アンパンマン (Anpanman)’s friend 「メロンパンナちゃん」 (Melon-panna chan). If she sees アンパンマン (Anpanman), her heart turns black and she betrays her friends…but when she sees her sister, her heart turns kind again.
    After she helps her friends, she always leaves to live in solitude for fear of her heart turning black again.

アンパンマン (Anpanman) is very popular with young children in Japan and his image (as well as many of the other characters) can be seen on all sorts of items from toys to clothes to lunchbox sets to just about anything!

アンパンマンの仲間 (Anpanman & friends)

アンパンマンの仲間 (Anpanman & friends)

When my kids were little, they loved アンパンマン (Anpanman).
Last Spring, we visited the 「横浜アンパンマンこどもミュージアム」 (”Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum”).
(Click here to read the post I wrote about it).

Click here to visit the 「アンパンマンとやなせたかし展」 (“Anpanman & Takashi Yanase Exhibit“) website (Japanese only).
Click here to visit the official Anpanman website (Japanese only).

and another popular superhero in Japan is Ultraman. I wrote a post about him, too. ( Click here to read it.)