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Emperor’s 80th birthday

20 Dec

This is another three-day-weekend in Japan.
Monday, December 23rd is 「天皇誕生日」 (“The Emperor (of Japan)’s birthday”).

The Emperor will turn 80 years old on Monday!

When I participated in the 「深川八幡宮水かけ祭り」 (Fukugawa-Hachiman-gu Water-throwing Festival) in August 2012, I passed in front of the Emperor and Empress who had come to watch the festival.

In Japan, Christmas isn’t a legal holiday. It’s a regular working day.
But the Emperor’s birthday is a holiday…almost everyone has the day off.

The Emperor of Japan greets the public at the palace grounds twice a year. On his birthday and on January 2nd.
These are the only two days a year that the public are permitted into the inner palace grounds.

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).

1963.11.22.12:30

22 Nov

It’s November 22nd (2013). Former U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated fifty years ago today.

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JFK, 1917 May 29th – 1963 Nov 22nd, RIP

(His daughter, Caroline Kennedy, has recently become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, by the way. Click here to read my post about that.)

I was born in November 1969. Six years after the JFK assassination. My parents were junior high school students back then…so, of course, they remember that day well.

Since I hadn’t been born yet, I obviously have no memory of that event in history.

The earliest historical event that I can remember is the U.S. bi-centennial in July 1976. I was only six years old, so I didn’t really understand it…but I seem to remember it somewhat.

The earliest historical event that I can remember clearly and that I understood was was the U.S. diplomats in the U.S. embassy in Iran being taken hostage in 1979. There were yellow ribbons tied to trees, car radio antennas, etc all over America.

How about you?
Do you remember the JFK assassination? What are your memories?
What other historical events do you remember?

Tokyo-jidai Matsuri

6 Nov

Last Sunday (November 3rd) was the Japanese holiday 「文化の日」 (Culture Day).

On this day, the Emperor of Japan presents awards to people who have contributed to Japanese culture.  And there are also many “culture related” festivals on this day, such as 「流鏑馬」 (Horseback Archery) shows and 「時代祭り」 (Era Festivals).

The 「東京時代祭り」 (Tokyo-era Festival) is in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo) every year on November 3rd from about 1:00-4:00PM.

「東京時代祭り」 (Tokyo-era Festival)

We didn’t go to a festival on Culture Day this year because we’ve gone to them a few times before.

Click here to read my post that I wrote after I went to this festival five years ago. It has photos and videos.

Zombies in Tokyo!

31 Oct

Today there was an event at the Tokyo Tower to promote the U.S. TV series “The Walking Dead”.

About 1,200 celebrities and locals were made-up as zombies!

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KISS “Monster Tour”, Japan

20 Oct

I saw KISS in concert today!  I have seen KISS a bunch of times…but this was one of their best shows!

They changed their stage, costumes and set list!  They played a number of songs that I’ve never heard in concert before!

The setlist:

  • Psycho Circus
  • Shout It Out Loud
  • Do You Love Me?
  • I Love It Loud
  • Hell Or Hallelujah
  • War Machine   (Gene’s fire breathing)
  • (Sukiyaki)
  • Heaven’s On Fire
  • Calling Dr. Love
  • Say Yeah
  • Shock Me / Outta This World
  • (Tommy’s guitar solo / Eric’s drum solo & bazooka)
  • (Gene spits blood , bass solo and “flies” to rafters)
  • God Of Thunder
  • Lick It Up
  • (Paul “flies” over audience to mini-stage)
  • Love Gun
  • Rock N Roll All Night

Encore:

  • Detroit Rock City
  • I Was Made For Lovin’ You
  • Black Diamond

Here are some photos that I took:

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Have you ever seen a KISS show?

Which shirt?

14 Oct

The members of KISS have landed at Narita Airport near Tokyo a couple hours ago (at about 5PM JST on Monday, October 14, 2013).

Tomorrow (October 15th), the Japanese convenience store chain “Sunkus” will begin selling “KISS spicy chili tomato” buns until late October.

I’ll be buying one tomorrow.

And next Saturday (October 19th) is their first show on their 2013 Japan Tour!
It’s sold-out but I have a ticket!

I saw the merchandise that they’ll be selling on their Japan tour … many things, including ten T-shirt designs.

There are two shirt designs that I like.
Which do you think is nicer?

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Baskin-Robbins Halloween

9 Oct

In Japan, Baskin-Robbins is popular.

It has been popular in Japan for at least as long as I’ve lived in Japan (which is since 1990).

Halloween, though, wasn’t very well-known or popular in Japan when I first came here…but it has become increasingly popular over the years.

Japanese children don’t knock on their neighbors’ doors asking for “Trick ‘R Treat” candies like they do in America. But Halloween events at Tokyo Disneyland and other places are popular.

Also, in Japan nowadays, many famous brands, such as Kit-KatStarbucks, etc. offer special Halloween treats.

So of course, the aforementioned popular American ice-cream chain Baskin-Robbins has been offering a limited-time Halloween menu of treats every year.

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Loudpark ’13

5 Oct

Loudpark, the annual heavy-metal festival that is held every October in either Saitama or Chiba (near Tokyo) will be held at the Saitama Super Arena on October 19th and 20th (2013).

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Many bands will play, including Stone Temple Pilots, Europe, Lordi, King Diamond and many others.

Personally, I don’t like music festivals much. Usually there are too many bands that I don’t care about.
I did go to OzzFest Japan last spring because I wanted to see Black Sabbath … but I usually prefer regular concerts with only one or two bands.

But I’m definitely not going to Loudpark this year because it is scheduled on the same weekend as the KISS concert that I’m going to!

Are you going to Loudpark ?
Are you going to see KISS in Japan?
Which seems like a better concert to you?

都民の日

1 Oct

Today (October 1st) is 「都民の日」 (Tokyo Residents’ Day).

I wrote about this day last year (Click here to read it).

Students in Tokyo have the day off today, and public zoos, aquariums and museums offer free admission today (private ones normally don’t).

If you’re in Tokyo and you want to go somewhere free (and don’t mind the inevitable crowd)…here’s a list of places in Tokyo offering free admission on October 1st every year (there may be others…these are the ones I remember off hand):

- Koishikawa Korakuen
- Tama Zoo
- Ueno Zoo
- Tokyo Sea Life Park
- Inokashira Zoo
- Yumenoshima Greenhouse
- Edo-Tokyo Museum
- Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

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