Archive | August, 2009


31 Aug

I mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t watch much anime or read many manga. But there are a few I like.
(Click here for my post about it).

If I read manga, it’s to study Japanese and the theme is usually family life (Or monsters. I like monsters).

One of the manga I like is called 「ダーリンは外国人」 (“My Darling Is A Foreigner“).



The writer of this manga is 小栗左多里 (Saori Oguri) and the stories are about actual events in her international marriage in Japan with an American named Tony Laszlo.

Well, the manga is being made into a live-action movie with a Japanese actress named 井上真央 (Mao Inoue) playing the part of 小栗左多里 (Saori Oguri) and a foreign actor named Jonathan Sherr playing Tony Laszlo.


On the TV

31 Aug

At the moment, all that is on the TV in Japan is either the 台風 (typhoon) that is hitting the Tokyo area today, and the national election results.

Tokyo is in the path of the approaching typhoon.

Tokyo is in the path of the approaching typhoon.

Be careful if you’re on the east coast of Japan and you have to go out today.
The weather will be bad all day today, but it’s forecast to be nice tomorrow (normally, after a typhoon passes the sky is very clear).

Regarding Japan’s election today, the results are still not all in yet, but it’s winding down and the 民主党 (Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)) is winning in a landslide.
This is an upset victory because the 自由民主党 (Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)) has won nearly every national election in Japan since the end of WWII. The current Japanese Prime Minister (Taro Asou) is the president of the LDP.

The next Prime Minister of Japan will more than likely be 鳩山由紀夫 (Yukio Hatoyama).

鳩山由紀夫 (Yuki Hatoyama)

鳩山由紀夫 (Yuki Hatoyama)

Japanese 9-Year-old Randy Rhoads

29 Aug

I’m a fan of the rock band KISS…but I also like Ozzy Osbourne just as much.


So, I thought it was great when I found out that nine-year-old 宮澤佑門 (Yuuto Miyazawa) is also a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne and the late-Randy Rhoads!

I had seen 宮澤佑門 (Yuuto Miyazawa) on a Japanese variety TV show last year. He’s a nine-year-old Japanese rock guitar child prodigy.

His favorite guitar is his black with white dots “flying-V” guitar that looks exactly like the one Randy Rhoads used to play when he was a member of Ozzy Osbourne‘s band in the ’80s.

宮澤佑門 (Yuuto Miyazawa) finally made his American debut after becoming a minor celebrity in Japan.
And he deserves it!
He can play heavy metal guitar as well as any adult musician…maybe even better!

Here he is playing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Free Bird” in a small Tokyo club:

He was on the the American “Ellen DeGeneres” TV talk show. And he played the song “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne“. After which he was surprised when Ozzy himself came out to meet him.
Here it is:

And if you don’t know how close his playing is to the “real” song.
Here is a video of Ozzy Osbourne and his band including the late guitarist Randy Rhoads performing the same song (I wasn’t able to find a YouTube clip that showed Randy playing this song with the same guitar that 宮澤佑門 (Yuuto Miyazawa) was using.):

After 宮澤佑門 (Yuuto Miyazawa) met Ozzy Osbourne on that American TV show, Ozzy remembered him and invited Yuto to play the song with his band on stage earlier this year!
Here it is:

Observation deck

29 Aug

Yesterday my wife and I went to the top floor of a tall building that had an observation deck from which you could get a bird’s-eye view of the Tokyo area.

A sign there said that 富士山 (Mount Fuji) and 東京タワー (Tokyo Tower) could be seen from that observation deck on clear days.

The sky was fairly clear when we went…but there were some clouds. We could see Mt. Fuji and Tokto Tower…but just barely.

But it was still a nice view.

We went to observation decks in Tokyo before (Click here to see a post with photos from one in Shinjuku).
The difference between those and the observation deck we went to yesterday is that this one was in a Tokyo suburb…so the surrounding buildings weren’t as high, but the tall skyscrapers of downtown Tokyo could be seen in the distance.




After we left there, I saw a line of  「ヤマト運輸」 (Yamato Transport), also called 「クロネコ」 (“Black cat“), trucks going down the highway one behind the other. I took a photo only because I was mildly surprised to see a convoy of package delivery trucks.


虎の「タイガ」 R.I.P.

26 Aug

Last May, at the Kushiro Zoo in 北海道 (Hokkaido, Japan), three baby tigers were born on the brink of death.

The zookeepers were able to save two of them. A male that they named 「タイガ」 (Taiga) and his sister 「ココア」 (Cocoa).

「タイガ」 (Taiga) and 「ココア」 (Cocoa) when they were cubs.

「タイガ」 (Taiga) and 「ココア」 (Cocoa) when they were cubs.

Soon after their birth, the zookeepers discovered that both 「タイガ」 (Taiga) and 「ココア」 (Cocoa) were handicapped.
Their hind legs and back bones had deficiencies and the tigers could only walk by dragging the back of their bodies.

「タイガ」 (Taiga) and  「ココア」 (Cocoa)

「タイガ」 (Taiga) and 「ココア」 (Cocoa)

I remember when a program about these two tigers was shown on TV here in Japan. They became very popular, and many people went to Kushiro Zoo to see them.

But tragically, today 「タイガ」 (Taiga), the male tiger choked to death on his food. The zookeepers attempted to save him with first aid, but 「タイガ」 (Taiga) was pronounced dead today at 5:28PM.



26 Aug

The weather has been very nice these days in Tokyo.
And it’s forecast to continue like this…until Sunday.
The 天気予報 (weather forecast) says it’ll rain on Sunday, August 30th.

Weather forecast for Tokyo from August 26 - Sept 1

Weather forecast for Tokyo from August 26 - Sept 1

It says:

  • Wed, Aug 26: Sunny / partly cloudy (22-28°C) (20% chance of rain (COR))
  • Thur, Aug 27: Sunny / partly cloudy (23-29°C) (20% COR)
  • Fri, Aug 28: Mostly sunny (23-31°C) (10% COR)
  • Sat, Aug 29: Sunny / partly cloudy (25-31°C) (20% COR)
  • Sun, Aug 30: Scattered rain (24-29°C) (50% COR)
  • Mon, Aug 31: Cloudy (23-27°C) (40% COR)
  • Tues, Sept 1: Cloudy (22-27°C) (40% COR)

So, if you’re in Tokyo and plan to do some outdoor activities this weekend, doing them on Saturday rather than Sunday, if possible, would probably be a good idea.

If you’re looking for an idea for something to do this weekend in Tokyo…there’ll be the annual Brazilian Samba Fesival in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo) on Saturday.

News in Japanese

24 Aug

I get most of the news from Japanese TV news programs and Japanese online news.

It’s more accurate and up-to-the-minute for domestic (Japan) news than the English-language media in Japan…and they help improve my Japanese language ability (both written and spoken).

Do you ever watch the Japanese news on TV or read it online or in a Japanese 新聞 (newspaper)?

Here’s a story about a big fire that broke out last night in Tokyo. Have you heard about it? Can you read this:


(I got this article online at at this site.)

Here it is again with ふりがな (hold your mouse over the kanji to see the readings):

民家火災2人死亡品川 8棟全半焼

<span title="(炎)ほのお">炎</span>を<span title="(上)あ">上</span>げて<span title="(燃)も">燃</span>える<span title="(東京都品川区西大井)とうきょうと・しながわく・にしおおい">東京都品川区西大井</span>の<span title="(火災現場)かさいげんば">火災現場</span>=<span title="(23日)にじゅう・さん・にち">23日</span><span title="(午前3時3分)ごぜん・さんじ・さんぷん">午前3時3分</span>ごろ(<span title="(提供写真)ていきょう・しゃしん">提供写真</span>)








This is my English translation:

Fire in Shinagawa burns 8 homes and kills 2 people

<span title="(炎)ほのお">炎</span>を<span title="(上)あ">上</span>げて<span title="(燃)も">燃</span>える<span title="(東京都品川区西大井)とうきょうと・しながわく・にしおおい">東京都品川区西大井</span>の<span title="(火災現場)かさいげんば">火災現場</span>=<span title="(23日)にじゅう・さん・にち">23日</span><span title="(午前3時3分)ごぜん・さんじ・さんぷん">午前3時3分</span>ごろ(<span title="(提供写真)ていきょう・しゃしん">提供写真</span>)

Taken at the scene of the blaze in Nishi-Oi, Shinagawa, Tokyo on (Aug) 23rd at about 3:03AM (freelance photo)

On (August) 23rd at about 2:40AM, in Nishi-Oi, Shinagawa, Tokyo, a fire broke out in the home of Jyo Katayama (age 75). The fire spread to the neighboring homes and destroyed a total of eight homes.
The corpses of a man and woman were found in the house and the Ooi Police Department confirmed that they are the bodies of Mr. Katayama and his 90 year old mother Eiko.

According to the same police station, Mr. Katayama’s wooden 2-story house completely burned down.
Mr. Katayama’s son, Akio (42 year-old office worker), who was on the second-floor watching TV when the fire broke out escaped unharmed.
The three members of the Katayama family lived together and the two bodies were found on the first floor.

A female neighbor burned her leg.

The neighbor who lives across from the Katayama family, Yuriko Fukazawa (age 30, self-employed), said “I heard shouting and when I looked outside I saw the house was bright red. Their son was yelling ‘There are two people inside!’.”

The scene was on a residential street about 500 meters south-west of JR Nishi-Ooi Station.

Sunday, 2009 August 23

Japanese Kids Games

22 Aug

When my daughters were younger, there were a couple of Japanese games that I used to play with them that help improve my Japanese language ability.

「しりとり」 (“Shiritori“) and 「カルタ」 (“Karuta“).

Do you know these games? Have you ever played them?

▲ 「しりとり」 (Shiritori):

This is a word game that two or more people can play.
The first person says any Japanese noun. It can be any word as long as it doesn’t end with the 「ん」 (“n“) character.
– The next person says any Japanese word that begins with the same character that the previous word ended with.
– And the next player does likewise.
– The game ends when a player loses by either saying a word that has already been used or saying a word that ends with the 「ん」 (“n“) character (because no word in the Japanese language begins with 「ん」).
– When a word end with a character with 濁点 (「゛」) or 半濁点 (「゜」), the next player can use the character with or without it (ie: If a player’s word ends with 「ば」 or 「ぱ」, the next player’s word can start with either that character or simply 「は」).

An example of how the game would go:
「ネ」(“Neko“)→「」(“Koala)→「イオ」(Laion (lion)) (The  player who said 「ライオン」 (lion) would lose because you can’t choose a word that ends with 「ん」(「ン」).)

▲ 「カルタ」 (Karuta):

This is a Japanese card game that can be played by three or more players. It’s often played at New Years time in Japan (I still play this game every New Years with my daughters).

Karuta has two decks of cards. One deck is called 読み札 (Reading deck), and the other is 取り札 (Taking deck).

Each card in the 取り札 (Taking deck) has a picture illustrating a phrase and the first character from that phrase…the 読み札 (Reading deck) have the phrases.

– The 取り札 (Taking deck) is spread out on the floor and all players, except the one player who will be the “reader”, sit around the cards.
– The reader shuffles the 読み札 (Reading deck) and reads the top card.
– The other players have to find and hit the card on the floor that corresponds with the one just read before another player gets it.
– Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.

A couple of cards from a Karuta game

A couple of cards from a Karuta game

Wanna play 「しりとり」 (Shiritori) against me in the comments section?
I’ll write a word here and you can write the next one in the comments section of this post and we can go back and forth until someone loses.

My word is:
「ゴリラ」 (Gorira (gorilla))…(you have to write a word that starts with 「ら」 (“ra“).

Free coffee

21 Aug

It seems that McDonalds in the U.S. had a campaign from 2009 July – Aug 3rd where they gave away free coffee.

There were a few stipulations…
– The free coffee was only iced or hot McCafe Mocha.
– It was only free on Mondays during the campaign period and between the hours of 7:00-19:00 (7AM – 7PM).
– The free coffee was only available at participating McDonalds in the U.S. that had a McCafe.
– Free coffee was limited to one cup per person per week.

McDonalds U.S. free coffee campaign ad.

McDonalds U.S. free coffee campaign ad.

McDonalds in Japan has a similar campaign, but I think it’s better.
– First of all, the free coffee at Japanese McDonalds is “Premium Coffee“. Real coffee…not the overly sweet type that the U.S. McDonalds offered (To me, types of “coffee” such as Mocha taste like “hot chocolate”. That’s why I don’t like Starbucks).
McDonalds Japan gives the free coffee everyday for an hour a day, rather than once a week for twelve hours.
– The free coffee is available at every McDonalds in Japan.
– There’s no limit to the number of cups a person can have during the campaign period. (In fact, McDonalds in Japan always gives free refills for their coffee.

The current campaign period that McDonalds Japan is giving away free cups of coffee is from today until Thursday, August 27 from 8:00AM – 9:00AM.

McDonalds Japan free coffee campaign for August 21-27 (8-9:00AM each day)

McDonalds Japan free coffee campaign for August 21-27 (8-9:00AM each day)

Next week, from Friday, August 28, McDonalds Japan will give the free coffee from 18:00-19:00 (6:00PM – 7:00PM).