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Japanese Columbo, RIP

24 Sep

石田太郎 (Taro Ishida), a Japanese actor who also did voice dubbing for many Japanese releases of Hollywood movies.  He was the “voice” of Gene Hackman in most of Hackman’s movies in Japan.  He was also the Japanese voice of the late Peter Falk’s TV detective character “Columbo“.

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Mr. Ishida died this past weekend.

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Taro Ishida, 1944 Mar 16 – 2013 Sept 21, R.I.P.

Storm on Grandparents Day

16 Sep

It’s a three-day-weekend in Japan.
Today is 敬老の日 (Respect For Elders Day).

Even though today is a holiday, we’re staying indoors … and if you’re in the Tokyo area, you should too!

Because a big typhoon is currently hitting eastern Japan!

Trains have stopped, bridges are closed, houses and cars have been torn up, some parts of Kanagawa had a black-out, Kyoto and the city of 小浜 (Obama) have been flooded.

(Speaking of the Japanese city with the same name as the U.S. president, I wrote a post here:
https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/obama/ )

2012 Kanji of the Year

12 Dec

Every December (for the past seventeen years or so), a 漢字 (Japanese (Chinese) written character) is chosen which has a meaning that best summarizes the passing year.

Last year the character 「絆」 (bonding) was chosen because of the way the world came together to help Japan after the March 11th earthquake.

Well, this year, for the first time since this tradition began, the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“) will be a repeat.

In the year 2000, the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“) was 「金」 (“gold”) because Japan won gold medals at that year’s Olympics and also because “Kin-san” of the famous elderly Japanese twins “Kin-san and Gin-san died that year—and her name meant “gold”.

This year too, 「金」 (“gold”) was chosen again to be the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“).
And once again the reason for this choice was because of the gold medals that Japan won at the Olympics. Other reasons cited were the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree, the Nobel Prize won by a Japanese professor, and the solar eclipse last spring.

The character 「金」 for "gold".

The character 「金」 for “gold”.

Writing the Kanji of the Year for 2012 in the official ceremony.

Writing the Kanji of the Year for 2012 in the official ceremony.

“New” Kanji of the Year

25 Dec

Every December a kanji character is chosen in Japan that represents the year that coming to an end, and the character is written in traditional 習字 (calligraphy) by the head monk at a temple in Kyoto and presented in a ceremony to the public.

Last year (2008), the character 「変」 (“change“) was chosen. Click here to read my post from last year to see why that character was chosen.

It was decided that since the U.S. elected a historic new President, Japan elected a Prime Minister from a new party, and also because of the global epidemic of “Swine Flu” which is called 「新型インフルエンザ」 (“New Flu”) in Japan…that the kanji character for 2009 is 「新」, which means “new“.

The 2009 Kanji of the year is the character for "New"

Here’s a picture of the head monk writing the character 「新」 (“new”) in traditional Japanese calligraphy:

Kyoto trip

7 Sep

My 二女 (second daughter) went to 京都 (Kyoto, Japan) and 奈良 (Nara, Japan) with her junior high school class for a three-day field trip.

She just returned a few hours ago.

Of course she had a great time. And she took many photos…but almost all of them have her and/or her friends in them, so I can only post here the few photos that don’t show my daughter or her friends.

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東大寺 (Toudaiji Temple)

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東大寺大仏 (Great Buddah of Toudaiji)

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平安神宮 (Heian Grand Shrine)

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A vending that sells only お茶 (green-tea).

A vending that sells only お茶 (green-tea).

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Yokoso Japan!

14 Jun

「ようこそジャパン」 (Yokoso Japan!) means “Welcome to Japan!“, and is the Japan National Tourism Organization‘s official slogan of their campaign to attract foreign visitors to Japan.

「Yokoso Japan!」 logo

「Yokoso Japan!」 logo

Here are some of their Yokoso Japan! campaign ads.

Most of the scenes in this first one are of Tokyo (there are a few shots of Osaka, etc…but most of it is Tokyo):

These show many parts of Japan:

Do they make you want to visit this beautiful country?

News

23 Jun

Today, my oldest daughter leaves with her school class for a field trip to 京都 (Kyoto).

They’ll travel by 新幹線 (Bullet train) and stay in Kyoto for three days.

My daughter’s very excited! But, as for me, I always have mixed feelings whenever my kids go on a field trip…I’m happy that they get to see many great places and experiences—but I can’t relax until they’re back home safe!

Kyoto is gonna be nice for her to see. It was once the capital of Japan and is very traditional. Kyoto still has many 芸者 (Geisha) (or 芸妓 (Geiko) as they’re called on that side of Japan). There are still Geisha in Tokyo, but not as many as in Kyoto.

I can’t wait to see the pictures my daughter takes on her trip!

Next month, my second daughter’s class will take a three-day trip to 新潟 (Niigata).

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Last month, my wife started a small vegetable garden on our porch.

Last week, we ate (strawberries) from her garden and tonight we had a salad with ピーマン (green peppers) and トマト (tomatos) from the garden.

They were delicious!

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It was raining all day yesterday. Probably due to that 台風 (typhoon) that hit the Philippines.

I hope it doesn’t hit Japan! (By the way, did you know that typhoon is from a Japanese word…in Japanese, it’s 台風 (taifuu)).

Anyways, the weather forecast for Tokyo this week:

June 23:

June 24:

June 25:

June 26:

June 27:

June 28:

June 29: