Archive | February, 2012

Tokyo Marathon and spring beer

26 Feb

The 2012 Tokyo Marathon was held today.

Twenty-nine year old Michael Kipyego of Kenya, Africa came in first place with a time of 2 hrs 07.37 seconds.
藤原新 (Arata Fujiwara) came in second just a few hundredths of a seconds later.

Arata Fujiwara of Japan and Michael Kipyego of Kenya show their silver and gold medals, respectively.

I don’t enjoy running…or even jogging, for that matter. So I can’t imagine running a 42 kilometer (26.22 miles) marathon!

Do you like to run or jog? Have you ever run a marathon? The Tokyo Marathon?

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Now that it’s getting closer to the end of winter and 花見 (“Cherry Blossom Viewing”) season will be here before long, many Japanese brewers have begun selling beers in cans decorated with 桜 (Cherry Blossoms).

Tribal people in the modern world

18 Feb

Recently there was a show on TV here that showed a tribal family who live in the jungle of a small tropical island.  The tribal family were brought to Japan to stay in the home of a regular Japanese family and to experience life in Tokyo.

Needless to say, the tribal family were overwhelmed with Tokyo but overall they really loved it here.

It made me think…
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century there are still people in the world who live like it’s the “Stone Age” but in South America, Africa, some tropical islands and other places, there are people living in trees or huts who hunt for their food and have no electricity, indoor plumbing, “real” medicine or other modern amenities.

Should we introduce these people to the modern world? Would their life improve with television, internet, telephones, public transportation, fast-food, hospitals, clocks, shopping malls and all of the other things that make the difference between “first world” and “third world” countries?

In Japan, America and other first-world countries, we grew up with those things and most of us couldn’t live without them. I would find a weekend camping trip without toilets, air conditioners, and supermarkets difficult…so I know I could never give them up and live like the tribal people do.
But they grew up in their world and that’s all they know so of course they don’t miss or desire cell-phones or other things that we use every day. But what if we showed them how much easier and convenient our lives are? Wouldn’t they like it better? Or would they prefer their “simple” lives?

And what if all of the world’s tribal people left the jungles and entered the “real” world?
Would it affect the economies and lives of the rest of us? If so, would it be a negative affect?

昨日は・・・

12 Feb

Yesterday, February 11th, was the anniversary of a few things…not all of them good.

For one, February 11th is a holiday in Japan. 「建国記念日」 (“National Founding Day”). (Click here for my short FAQ about it.)

It was kind of a waste that February 11 was on a Saturday this year because most people already had the day off and the holiday wasn’t observed on another day. If it was a Sunday, then tomorrow (Monday) would have been a day off.
Oh well.

February 11th also happens to be my father-in-law’s birthday.

Those two are the “happy” anniversaries of February 11th. The following two are more somber ones:

Yesterday, February 11 (2012), was the eleven-month anniversary of the 2011 March 11 earthquake / tsunami in north-eastern Japan.

The other sad event happened exactly twenty-four years ago yesterday. On 1988 February 11. At my high school in Florida.
It was many years until I was finally able to talk about this. Maybe it was post-traumatic shock.
But at lunch time on 1988 February 11, I was a senior-year high school student (in the final year of high school) and when I went into the lunch room I witnessed two students in a struggle with some teachers and then suddenly one of the boys drew a gun and shot the assistant principal Richard Allen fatally in the head!
All of the students in the lunch room began screaming and running but I suppose I was in shock because I just stood there staring. Everyone seemed to be running past me in slow-motion.
The memory no longer wakes me in nightmare but I will never forget that day.

A memorial photo of Richard Allen at my former high school in Florida (Pinellas Park HS).

If you click here, you can read a newspaper article about the tragic shooting at my former high school that was written four years ago on the twentieth anniversary.

Richard Allen, R.I.P.

KFC Fillet Double…and soybeans

3 Feb

Starting yesterday (2012 February 2), Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants across Japan have begun selling their new 「チキンフィレダブル」 (“Chicken Fillet Double“).

This unusual “sandwich” has no bread. In it’s place, there are two chicken fillets and between them is two pieces of bacon, two slices of cheese, and two dallops of mayonnaise.

You can get the 「チキンフィレダブル」 (“Chicken Fillet Double“) with a drink at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan for the price of ¥500 (US$6.57).

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On a side note, today (February 3) is the Japanese holiday 「節分」 (“Setsubun”).
(Click here to read my short FAQ about it.)