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Snowy Adults Day

14 Jan

Today is a holiday in Japan.
It’s 「成人の日」(“Coming of Age Day” or “Adults Day”).

In Japan,  twenty years old is the legal age of adulthood.
The drinking and voting age is 20 in Japan.

On the second Monday of January (today), twenty-year-olds in Japan dress in kimono and attend a special ceremony.

My oldest daughter will do it next year!
I can’t believe how fast they grow up!

Anyway, every winter in Tokyo it usually snows once or twice.
It’s snowing today!

The weather had been so nice everyday recently and then, on the day that so many people dressed up for a special day, the weather went downhill.

image

I feel sorry for them!

I hope the weather is nice on this day next year and the following two years … for my daughters’ ceremonies!

This years kanji

12 Dec

Every December a 漢字 (Japanese kanji character) is chosen in Japan that best summarizes the year that is ending…and it becomes the official 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year”) in a ceremony in Kyoto with the temple monk writing the character in calligraphy brushstrokes on a large board.

The 2011 Kanji of the Year is 「絆」 ("Bond").

The official character for 2011 was announced today. It’s 「絆」 (Kizuna)…which means “(to) bond“.

This was chosen because of the way the people of Japan and the world came together to help the victims of the March 11 earthquake.

(Last year (2010), the Kanji of the Year meant “hot”. Click here to find out why.)

Tokyo is to Osaka what New York is to California

26 Nov

My oldest daughter’s high school class took a three-day field trip to the Western Japan city of 大阪 (Osaka).

All of the photos in this post were taken by her during this trip.

The headquarters of the Japanese "Glico Candy Co.", Osaka, Japan

Have you ever visited Osaka? Have you ever visited Tokyo?
Did you notice how different they food and the people are?

Some people say that Tokyo is famous for fashion and Osaka is famous for food.
Do you know the delicious Japanese dishes 「お好み焼き」 (Okonomiyaki) and 「たこ焼き」 (Takoyaki)? Did you know that they are both “Osaka dishes”?

That’s not to say that Tokyo doesn’t have delicious food. In fact, Tokyo has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world.

And Tokyo has original dishes as well. Have you ever tried 「もんじゃ焼き」 (Monja-yaki)?
I guess you could call it “Tokyo-style Okonomiyaki”.

People from Osaka are more outgoing and friendly compared to people in Tokyo. A large number of Japan’s most famous comedians live and work in Tokyo but they’re actually from Osaka.
People in Osaka are famous for asking shop clerks for a discount when they shop. But that’s not done in Tokyo…here people just pay the listed price. People in Tokyo don’t feel comfortable “bargaining” for a discount.

Personally I think Osaka is a fun place to visit but I feel more comfortable in Tokyo than any other city. I enjoy living here. It has become “home”.

Anyways here are the rest of the photos that my daughter took that don’t have her or any of her friends in them:

The famous "Kani-Doraku" seafood restaurant

A type of "Takoyaki" called "Akashiyaki"

"Carl Corn Puffs" snack logo

The famous "Kuidaore-Tarou" statue

A train advertising "Universal Studios Japan" amusement park, which is in Osaka

Entrance to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) with X-mas decorations

Snoopy and Hello Kitty "Nikuman" meat-rolls at Universal Studios Japan. I guess Universal Studios in America doesn't have these.

Is "Hello Kitty" at the Unversal Studios parks in the U.S. too?

The giant X-mas tree at USJ.

53.3% built

7 Apr

Yesterday was the last day of my kids’ spring vacation. And in Japan, after spring holidays the new school starts in early April.

So, today will be my daughters’ first day in the next grade. My oldest is starting 高校2年 (11th grade), my second daughter will begin 高校1年 (10th grade), and my youngest is now in 中学校2年 (8th grade).

They grow up so fast!

As I said, my second daughter is starting 高校1年 (10th grade). It’s the equivalent to tenth grade in America…but a literal translation would be “high school year 1” because it’s the first year of high school in Japan.

So today is her 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony).

Last year at this time my oldest daughter had her 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony) on the same day that my youngest had her 中学校入学式 (Junior High School Entrance Ceremony).
So last year, I went to our oldest daughter’s ceremony and my wife went to our youngest’s ceremony (Click here to read the post I wrote about that day).

But today, both my wife and I will be attending our second daughter’s 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony).

おめでとう (Congratulations) to her!

————-

I titled this post “53.3% built” because the Tokyo Sky Tree is now standing at 338 meters (about 1,109 feet) tall.

That makes it taller than the 333 meter tall Tokyo Tower and the tallest structure in Japan.

When it’s completed in late 2011, it will stand 634 meters (about 2,080 feet)…which will make it the world’s tallest tower.

338 meters is 53.3% of 634 meters…hence this post’s title.

I went by the Tokyo Sky Tree yesterday, so here are some of the photos I took (as with all the photos on my blog, click on them to enlarge):

When completed, the Tokyo Sky Tree will be about twice as tall as it is now!

I held my camera diagonally for this shot.

卒業式

19 Mar

Today was my second daughter’s 中学校の卒業式 (junior high school graduation ceremony).

In early April (after Spring Break), she’ll start high school.

Last year at this time, my oldest daughter graduated from junior high. (Click here to read the post I wrote about that day).

In America, high school starts at grade nine…but in Japan, elementary school is six years (America is only five), then three years of junior high, and three years of high school.
It totals twelve years just like in America but high school in Japan starts at the equivalent to grade ten in the U.S.

Last week she and her friends from school went to Tokyo Disneyland together.

Tokyo Disneyland was having it’s annual 「春のキャンパスデー」 (“Campus Day”).

This promotion is from 2010 January 4 – March 19.
So it ended today.

On Campus Day, students can buy a 「キャンパスデーパスポート」 (“Campus Day Passport“) to enter the park at a discounted price.

The price for junior high and high school students is usually ¥5,000 but during this campaign it’s only ¥4,000 for them.
College students usually pay ¥5,800 admission to Tokyo Disney, but on Campus Day the price is ¥4,500.
Of course, to qualify for these discount prices students must show their student ID card.

I grew up in Florida. Not too far from Orlando Disney World, but I’m not sure if they have “Campus Day Passports” there or not.

Have you ever been to any of the Disney parks in the world? What types of sale promotions do they have?

About five years ago, Tokyo Disneyland began going by the name “Tokyo Disney Resort because they built a second park.

So Tokyo Disney Resort comprises both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea.
They are next to each other, but they’re two separate parks.

————

So, at my daughter’s junior high school, the students who graduated today are now on Spring Break.
They’ll start high school in a few weeks.

My other two daughters have another week of school before their spring break starts.
But this is a three-day weekend. Monday is 「春分の日」 (Spring Equinox), which is a holiday in Japan.

Passed!

2 Feb

I wrote a post last year that my oldest daughter took (and passed) her high school entrance exam…and that I gave her a special Kit-Kat chocolate before her exam (Click here to read it).

Well, last week my second daughter took her high school entrance exam for the same school that my oldest daughter attends.

Just as I did for my oldest daughter, I gave my second daughter a package of special Kit-Kat chocolate to wish her luck.

「ミルクコーヒー味」 ("Milk Coffee flavor")

Today the results of the exams were announced. My daughter passed! 🙂
So beginning this April, my two oldest daughters will go to the same high school (my youngest will still be in junior high).

***

Also, as I wrote yesterday, it snowed in the Tokyo area last night.
There wasn’t much snow in Tokyo this morning…but I had to go to a rural area to the north of Tokyo. There was more snow up there this morning.
I took a few photos with my cell-phone camera.
Here they are (click them to enlarge):

Snow on a mailbox.

***

Tomorrow is the Japanese holiday 「節分」 (“Setsubun“).

Click here to read my post from last year in which I explain this holiday (and some other Japanese holidays in February too).

Already 15

11 Jan

Today is my second daughter’s fifteenth birthday.
They grow up so fast!

Also today is 「鏡開き」 (Kagami-biraki). They day to eat 「お汁粉」 (O-shiruko)…which is a traditional bean and mochi dish.
We had it for breakfast today.

In addition, today is the Japanese holiday 「成人の日」 (Adults Day). It’s the day for young people in Japan who are twenty years old (an adult now) to dress up in suit or kimono and attend a special ceremony…after which they usually go somewhere with their friends (Tokyo Disneyland is popular).

So, if you’re in Japan today, you’ll see many young adults dressed in kimono.

Yesterday one of my favorite TV shows aired.
It’s called 「欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞」 (Kinchan & Shingo Katori’s All-Japan Costume Talent Contest).
This show airs only twice a year.

One of the best skits, I thought, was called 「腹ペコのカエル」 (“The Hungry Frog“).
In it, the father was the frog’s “tongue” and his two very young kids were a bumble-bee and a lady-bug.
The “lady-bug” was nervous and cried and didn’t want to participate. Her father tried to lure her with a cookie.
It was cute.
Here it is:

In the end, this family didn't win any of the prizes…but I still thought it was one of the best.

Click here to read my post about my favorite TV shows.

Click here to read my post about 「欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞」 (Kinchan & Shingo Katori’s All-Japan Costume Talent Contest).

Click here to read my post about 「鏡開き」 (Kagami-biraki)…and it also has a video from last year’s 「欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞」 (Kinchan & Shingo Katori’s All-Japan Costume Talent Contest) show.

Click here to read my post about 「成人の日」 (Adults Day).