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Japanese Firefighters Ceremony

5 Jan

Every year in January there are 出初式 (Japanese New Years Firefighters Ceremonies) around Japan.

Every January 6th, the 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“) is held. Today is 2016 January 5th, so it will be held tomorrow.

I have been to this (and a few other Japanese Firefighter Ceremonies). Click here to see my post (with photos) about it.

The 「横浜消防出初式」 (“Yokohama Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“) is on the second Sunday of January every year…so it will be held on January 10th this year.

If you’re unable to attend one of those festivals this month, there is a similar one in the Asakusa area of Tokyo in May every year.
It’s not as grand as the New Year’s ceremonies. And it’s actually a memorial ceremony for fallen firefighters.
It’s called the 江戸消防慰霊祭 (Edo Firefighters Memorial Ceremony).

I watched this ceremony a couple times. Click here to see photos I took of it almost six years ago. (There are also photos of the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction in that post because it’s near where the ceremony is held, and it was being being at that time).

Here are some videos of last year’s 「横浜消防出初式」 (“Yokohama Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“):

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2015 in review

22 Dec

In ten days, this year will be over.  Time flies!
Google have compiled the biggest news stories for each of the past twelve months by country, according to the most popular internet searches in each country.

All links below are to related posts that I’ve written. By all means, click the links and read (and comment on) my posts!

The Biggest News Stories of 2015 in Japan:

  1. (December 2015) – Star Wars
  2. (November 2015) – Paris attack
  3. (October 2015) – Rugby World Cup / Water on Mars
  4. (September 2015) – Volkswagen emissions scandal
  5. (August 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)
  6. (July 2015) – Women’s Soccer World Cup
  7. (June 2015) – Japan’s Constitution change
  8. (May 2015) – Respiratory Syndrome that started in South Korea and killed 36
  9. (April 2015) – Nepal earthquake
  10. (March 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)
  11. (February 2015) – “The dress”
  12. (January 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)
"The dress"

“The dress”

The Biggest News Stories of 2015 in America:

  1. (December 2015) – Star Wars
  2. (November 2015) – Paris attack / The Royals won the baseball World Series
  3. (October 2015) – Water on Mars
  4. (September 2015) – The Pope visited the U.S. / Volkswagen emissions scandal
  5. (August 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)
  6. (July 2015) – Women’s Soccer World Cup / Cecil the lion / Iran nuclear deal
  7. (June 2015) – Caitlyn Jenner
  8. (May 2015) – Mayweather vs Pacquiao boxing match
  9. (April 2015) – Nepal earthquake / Same-gender weddings legalized
  10. (March 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)
  11. (February 2015) – “The dress” / The Oscars awards show
  12. (January 2015) – (nothing was listed by Google)

Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

OzzFest Japan 2015

23 Nov

Yesterday, my wife, our daughters and I went to OzzFest Japan 2015!
It was great!

OzzFest Japan 2015

Two years ago I went to OzzFest Japan 2013 with my friend.

2015-11-22 10.33.06

Sign outside the Makuhari Messe venue for OzzFestJapan 2015.

It was a long day. We were there for twelve hours!
Here’s the line-up of bands we saw:

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, afternoon line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, evening line-up

I bought an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt and sweatshirt:

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

All of the bands were very entertaining! But the bands that we were really looking forward to seeing were on from 2:50PM til the end.

At 2:50 were the Japanese band “9mm Parabellum Bullet” (called “kyuu-milli” for short).

9mm Parabellum Bullet took the stage.

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” took the stage.

My second daughter has been a big fan of this band for years. She’s seen them in concert a number of times. This was the first time that I’ve seen them on stage…though, I’m familiar with their songs since my daughter is a fan.

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

After that was Black Label Society! I’m a fan of this band! After they played, my daughters said that Zakk Wylde is “cool”.

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the Japanese “horror rock” band 人間椅子 (Ningen-Isu) played. I saw this band before at OzzFest Japan 2013. They were inspired by the Japanese horror writer Edogawa Ranpo (who took his pen-name from his inspiration: horror author Edgar Allen Poe):

人間椅子

人間椅子

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the loud, energetic band Hatebreed took the stage!

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com ) The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )
The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

Next was Baby Metal. Do you know about the Japanese band Baby Metal? They combine heavy-metal with J-pop. (Click here to read my post about them.)
I don’t really care for their music…but they have many dedicated fans! In fact, Baby Metal were the only act at OzzFestJapan to have a rule limiting the number of their T-shirts that fans could buy, and they were still the only act to have their merchandise completely be sold-out!

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

“Baby Metal” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

At 6:50PM, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. This is another band that has many fans but I don’t really care for.
I had heard that Yoshiki would be performing a song with them…and sure enough, before one their songs, the singer announced their “friend Yoo-shee-kee” (a very non-Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese name よしき).

“Jane’s Addiction” with Yoshiki of “X-Japan” on piano. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then…it was time for Ozzy Osbourne & friends!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

In addition to his current band members, Gus G., Rob Nicholson and Tommy Clufetos (who is a very cool drummer!)…Geezer Butler (“Black Sabbath”) played bass on all Black Sabbath songs that Ozzy played, and at times the guitar position altered between Zakk Wylde (“Black Label Society”), Dave Navarro (“Jane’s Addiction”) and Tom Morello (“Rage Against The Machine”).

For the final encore, the Black Sabbath song “Paranoid” was played and all members (Ozzy Osbourne, Gus G., Rob Nicholson, Tommy Clufetos, Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde, Dave Navarro and Tom Morello all took the stage together…and then, as Ozzy promised, the popular Japanese mascot character “Funassyi” (who represents Funabashi, Chiba, Japan) was invited onstage to get hosed down by Ozzy Osbourne. (Throughout his show, Ozzy sprayed the front row of the audience with a foam hose, as he often does at his concerts).

"Let the madness begin!!"

“Let the madness begin!!”

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne!

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom...and Funnasyi!

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom…and Funnasyi!

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends…final bow! Thank you for an excellent show!

(All photos in this post were taken by my wife, my daughters and myself…except for the 19 that are from the official OzzFestJapan website (and labeled as such)).

The setlist that Ozzy Osbourne & friends played:

  1. I Don’t Know
  2. Mr. Crowley (with Tom Morello)
  3. Bark at the Moon (with Tom Morello)
  4. Suicide Solution
  5. Flying High Again
  6. Shot in the Dark
  7. Guitar solo / Bass solo / Drum solo
  8. Iron Man (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  9. N.I.B. (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  10. Snowblind (with Geezer Butler)
  11. Behind the Wall of Sleep (with Geezer Butler)
  12. War Pigs (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  13. Fairies Wear Boots (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  14. I Don’t Want to Change the World (with Zakk Wylde)
  15. Crazy Train (with Zakk Wylde)
  16. Mama, I’m Coming Home (with Zakk Wylde)
  17. Paranoid (with Geezer Butler, Tom Morello, Dave Navarro, Zakk Wylde and Funassyi)

Kawagoe Festival

19 Oct

川越 (Kawagoe) is a town in 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) north of Tokyo.

Kawagoe has many old traditional temples, shrines, statues and other structures standing, so it is nicknamed 「小江戸」 (Ko-Edo), whcih means “Little Edo” (Edo was Tokyo’s name centuries ago).

Kawagoe has connections to the first shogun, Ieyasu. When the shogun died, his remains were brought to Nikko for burial. On the way there, a ceremony was held at a temple in Kawagoe.
Ieyasu died 400 years ago…so this year’s annual Kawagoe Festival was special.

The Kawagoe Festival was held yesterday and the day before. We went to it yesterday. (Click here to see this images in a slideshow):

Little League World Champions…again

31 Aug

The 2015 Little League World Series just ended. As it is every August, it was played in Pennsylvania, USA.
Many times the champion game has been played between USA vs Japan…and it was this year too.

I’ve written a post about the 2010 World Series that Japan won against America. (Click here to read it.)

Japan won the 2015 World Series, too.  The final score was Japan (18) – USA (11).

Japan are the 2015 Little League World Series Champions.

Congratulations to all of the teams from every country! They all played well!

The Japanese team celebrating their victory.

Did you watch the game on TV?  Even better…were you there at the stadium in America to see it?

灯篭流し

16 Aug

Yesterday (2015 August 15th) was 終戦記念日 (VJ day) and there were ceremonies for that around Japan.
It was also the day that 灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is done at the Sumida River in Tokyo.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is a ceremony that is usually held at the end of O-bon (“O-bon” is mid-August usually (some places have it in July) and is a ceremony tradition to honor relatives and ancestors who’ve passed away.)

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) means “floating lanterns“. On this ceremony, people can purchase a lantern and write a message to relative(s) who have passed away and then the lanterns are lit and set afloat on the river.

It wasn’t easy to take photos that do it justice, but it looks beautiful.

This is the boat that some of the lanterns were set afloat from

A huge crowd to watch and set lanterns into the river.

The first of lanterns in the river.

Many people wore ゆかた (traditional Japanese summer kimono), such as this girl standing near the river’s edge.

More lanterns passing near the Tokyo Sky Tree.

12

Here’s the line of people waiting to set their lanterns into the river.

The first group set their lanterns afloat from the boat, but after that a ramp from the dock was used.