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The ’90s in Japan

14 Apr

I have been living in Japan since 1990. I know what the 1990s and 2000’s were like in Japan much more than America.

Japan was quite different in 1990! I wrote a post last October about some of the differences...click here to read it.

I found a website by a man who took a lot of photos of Tokyo in the 1990s.
It’s very nostalgic for me!

Here are some photos of Tokyo in 1990 (This was Tokyo when I first came here):

This is the large, busy Ikebukuro train station in Tokyo in 1990. There were no automatic ticket gates back then…station workers punched and collected tickets manually!

 

This is the largest, busiest train station in the world…Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station in 1990. There were many payphones on platforms and station entrances back then!

 

Inside a train in Tokyo in 1990. There were no cellphones back then. Everyone read, slept or sat quietly on the trains here.

 

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Birthday of two famous Japanese

5 Mar

Today, 2015 March 5th, is the birthday of two famous Japanese people.
They’re famous in Japan, at least. Are they known in your country too?

First of all, the world’s oldest person, 大川ミサヲ (Misao OKAWA), was born on 1898 March 5th in Osaka, Japan. She is celebrating her 117th birthday today with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Next, also from Osaka (but wasn’t born there)…today also would have been the birthday of 安藤百福 (Momofuku ANDO).
He is the man who invented instant Cup Noodle!

「カップヌードル」

He was born Taiwan on 1910 March 5th. At that time, Taiwan was a Japanese territory.

At the age of 22, he moved to Osaka, Japan and eventually became a naturalized Japanese citizen.
When he became a Japanese citizen, he changed his name to Momofuku Ando.
“Ando” is a common Japanese family name…but “Momofuku” is an unusual name in Japan. But his first name was changed to Momofuku when he became Japanese because it is an uncommon pronunciation in Japanese of his Chinese first name (pronounced “Baifu” in Chinese). It is written 「百福」 and literally means “One hundred fortunes“.

The logo of Google’s Japanese homepage today is of Momofuku ANDO.

Skyline

14 Apr

My first car in Japan was a Nissan Skyline.

The Skyline is a nice car!

So, it was a nice surprise when I went to the shopping mall today with my family (in the car we have now, a Toyota) and I saw that they had vintage Nissan Skyline cars from the 1950s to the 1990s on display!

Here are a few photos I took:

1957 Nissan Skyline: 

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1962 Nissan Skyline:

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1965 Nissan Skyline:

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Mine wasn’t this old. I had a 1986 Nissan Skyline Turbo years ago.

1941 / 1980 / 2013

7 Dec

Seventy-two years ago today, 1941 December 7th (U.S. time), the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the U.S. Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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And tomorrow, 2013 December 8th, will be the thirty-third anniversary of John Lennon’s murder.

Also, the iconic Nelson Mendela died at the age of 95 the day before yesterday (2013 December 5th).

Sky Day

20 Sep

Today is 「空の日」 (“Sky Day”) in Japan.

soranohi

To commemorate the first manned flight in Japan on 1910 September 20th by Hino Kumazo…just a few years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

Birthday of Anne Frank

12 Jun

Anne Frank (アンネ・フランク) would have turned 84 years old today, June 12th 2013, if she were still alive.

Have you ever read “The Diary of Anne Frank” (アンネの日記) ?

She received the diary as a present from her parents on her thirteenth birthday.
She began writing in it immediately and continued for two years until she and her family were captured by Nazis in early August 1944 when she was fifteen.

Her father was the only member of her family to survive the hard-labor concentration camp.
He had her diary published after the war when a family friend, who had kept Anne’s diary safe, returned it to him.

The Diary of Anne Frank” wasn’t immediately successful in Europe, and  it was mildly successful at first in America…but it was an immediate bestseller in Japan!

In her diary, Anne wrote:

“I want to be useful to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

and:

Will I ever be able to write something great?

She definitely wrote “something great”…and she’ll go on living forever!

– Anne Frank, RIP
June 12th 1929 – March ?, 1945

Machu Picchu exhibit in Tokyo

16 Jun

Yesterday my wife and I went to a special “Machu-Picchu” exhibit at a museum in Tokyo.

Have you heard of Machu Picchu ?

They are an ancient Inka ruins in Peru that wasn’t known to the Spanish when they invaded South America…therefore it wasn’t plundered when it was discovered by an American archaeologist in 1912.

Since this year is the one-hundred anniversary of the discovery of Machu-Picchu, the 「国立科学博物館」 (National Science Museum) has a special exhibit about the Inka people and Machu-Picchu, titled 「マチュピチュ発見100年インカ帝国展」 (“The Inka Empire, 100 Years after the Machu-Picchu Discovery”).

Machu-Picchu flyer

The flyer for the special “Machu-Picchu” exhibit.

Among the items in this collection, you can see actual mummies and a short twelve-minute 3-D movie that takes you “into” Machu-Picchu.

This exhibit can be seen at the 「国立科学博物館」 (National Science Museum), not far from 上野駅 (Ueno train station) in Tokyo until Sunday, 2012 June 24th.