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Autumn leaves in Tokyo

29 Nov

Today my wife and I went to Iidabashi Station in Tokyo.

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From there we walked to Yasukuni Shrine to see the 銀杏 (Ginkgo trees) autumn foliage.

The Budokan can be seen from the entrance to Yasukuni Shrine entrance.

It says 「靖国神社」 (“Yasukuni Shrine”).

“TV Tokyo” was there filming.

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And then we walked to the Budokan:

The world-famous 武道館 (Budokan) in Tokyo.

A beer vending machine at the Budokan.

 

KISS x Momoiro Clover

17 Nov

Where to start this post?

Thirteen months ago, KISS (an American rock band that I’m a big fan of) played some shows in Japan.
My friend and I saw their 2013 October 20th show. (I wrote a post with photos here about it).

I have seen KISS in concert many times, actually…and it’s always been a great show!

Well, it’s been officially announced that KISS are returning to Japan in about three months!

KISS Japan Tour 2015 flyer

The Japan tour dates are:
2015 Feb 23 – Nagoya
2015 Feb 25 – Osaka
2015 Feb 26 – Hiroshima
2015 Feb 28 – Sendai
2015 Mar 3 – Tokyo (at the Tokyo Dome)

A surprising fact about the March 3rd date at the Tokyo Dome is that KISS will have the Japanese band “Momoiro Clover Z” as the opening act.
First of all, many concerts in Japan have no opening act at all. KISS almost never does for their shows in Japan.
But more surprising is that this band, Momoiro Clover Z, though popular in Japan…is a J-pop band!
They have, though, played at “OzzFest Japan” last spring (which I saw). I was surprised that they were at OzzFest…and now I’m surprised again that they’ll be sharing a stage with KISS!

Momoiro Clover Z have also collaborated with heavy metal guitarist Marty Friedman (who lives in Tokyo) on one song, and on another with heavy metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
And now, Momoiro Clover Z and KISS will not only sharing a bill at the Tokyo Dome…but the two bands will be releasing a collaboration song on 2015 January 28th.
This song featuring American hard rock band KISS and Japanese pop band Momoiro Clover will be released internationally on i-tunes…and on two CDs in Japan (an official KISS CD and a Momoiro-Clover one).

KISS with Japanese pop band “Momoiro-Clover Z”

 

“Water Throwing Festival” 2014

18 Aug

Yesterday was one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals. The 深川八幡祭り (Fukagawa-Hachiman Festival).

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Were you there? I was there, but not as a spectator. I have been a member of a group in this festival for nine years. I’m one of the people carrying a 神輿 (portable shrine) in this festival.

This festival isn’t held annually like most festivals. It’s held every three years. So the next time will be in August 2017.

It’s often called 「水かけ祭り」 ( the “Water-throwing Festival” ) because spectators throw buckets of water on the participants. And even the Tokyo Fire Department sprays us with firehoses!

I wrote a post the last few times I’ve participated in this festival. The last time, the Emperor and Empress of Japan attended the festival!
Click here to see that post with photos. It was a rare opportunity that we were able to see the royal couple so close!

Here are a few of the excellent photos that my wife took.

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World Cup 2014

13 Jun

The FIFA soccer championship World Cup matches are currently being played in Brazil.

The first game was yesterday.  Home team Brazil beat Croatia, 3-1.

This is the first World Cup with any Japanese referees. Three Japanese referees officiated yesterday’s Brazil – Croatia game.

The games that Japan and the games that America are scheduled to play are here:

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Dates / times shown are Brazil time (Japan Standard Time is twelve hours later)

Do you watch the World Cup?

I’ve never been very interested in soccer. I watched a few World Cup games when Japan co-hosted the games with Korea in 2002. I think I’ll give it another try, and watch some of the games that Japan and America play. Maybe I’ll become a soccer fan. ;)

McDonalds “World Cup” menu

29 May

Do you know the FIFA soccer “World Cup“? Do you watch it?

It’s like the Olympics or “Super Bowl” for soccer.

I remember when Korea and Japan co-hosted the World Cup in 2002 and many matches were held in the Tokyo area. I tried to get interested in the event. I watched the games that Japan played, as well as the games that America played.

But, if I’m honest, I find soccer pretty boring.

I guess I’m in the minority with that opinion though because soccer, especially the World Cup, is very popular around the world.
In Japan, too.

It wasn’t always like that. When I first came to Japan, soccer wasn’t very popular here. Baseball was by far the most popular sport in Japan then.
When Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup, soccer-fever took off in Japan. And it’s been very popular here since.

Anyways, in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup, which will be hosted by Brazil from 2014 June 12th – July 13th, McDonalds in Japan is offering a special “World Cup” menu.

It says 「一番ウマい国はどこだ。」 (“Which country is the best?”)

They offer a Brazilian BBQ burger, German pork sandwich, Italian Risotto balls, Chicken McNuggets with Italian Basil and Cheese dip, JapaneseRamune” floats, and more.

Is McDonalds doing a World Cup campaign like this in your country too?

Earth Day

22 Apr

Today (April 22nd, 2014) is 「アース・デイ」 (“Earth Day”).  It is observed in many countries, including Japan.

This is the day set aside to remind us to protect the environment, not only on Earth Day, but always.

At the very least, we should remember the “3Rs”…reduce, reuse and recycle.

In honor of Earth Day, a website has been made by Google and Time Magazine that allows visitors to upload their photos of “My Beautiful Earth

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Click here to visit the “My Beautiful Earth” website.

Hina-matsuri

3 Mar

Today is 「ひな祭り」 (Hina-matsuri (“Princess (Doll) Festival“)) in Japan.

It’s sometimes still called “Girls’ Day” because families with daughters set-up special elaborate doll displays of Japanese royalty and eat a special sushi dinner.

The city of Katsuura in Chiba Prefecture is known for their huge Hina-matsuri display.

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This year’s display could be seen there until today (2014 March 3rd).

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Even if you can make it to that area to see their big doll display, Katsuura is still a very beautiful place to visit.

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