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Half a million hits

22 Jul

My blog reached the half-million hits mark today.
Thanks to everyone for visiting my site…and for leaving comments. That’s what makes writing a blog worthwhile.

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Anyways, would you like to see some pictures of our pet turtle?
I think she’s cute.

What kind of pet do you have?

Coldest spring in 41 years

17 Apr

Yesterday was cold and rainy in Tokyo again. In the evening the temperature went down to 2°C (about 36°F).

It’s sunny and warmer today…but still cool. The high temperature today is 11°C (about 52°F).

If you’re visiting Japan for the first time right now you’re probably surprised how cold it is for late April.
But this isn’t normal. It’s unusually cold for this time of year.

It actually snowed a bit in Tokyo last night.

On TV I heard that this was the first time that it snowed this late in the year in Tokyo since 1969!

But the weather forecast for Tokyo says that everyday next week will have a high temperature of around 18°C (about 64°F) and a low of around 11°C (52°F).
So hopefully the cold spell is over.

(But it’s forecast to rain next Wednesday to Friday in Tokyo. 😦 )

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My blog averages over 1,500 hits per day.
But yesterday my blog received the most visits in a single day so far…1,986 hits.

Before yesterday, my blog’s busiest day was 2010 February 14. It received about 1,850 hits that day.

Yesterday was my site’s busiest day…but I didn’t get a single comment yesterday. 😦

I appreciate all the visits to my blog. But I especially enjoy reading visitors’ comments…I guess most bloggers feel that way.

So, by all means, leave comments often.

Thanks.

200,000 hits

29 Dec

I started this blog 21 months ago (on 2008 March 26).
In the beginning, this blog only received about twenty hits per day, but since then, the number of visitors has steadily climbed, I’m happy to say.
Now my blog gets an average of 840 hits per day.

My blog's monthly stats for 2008 March - 2009 December

Last summer, this blog reached 100,000 hits.
In the four months since then, my blog has gotten another 100,000 hits.

This blog has had 200,084 visits at the time I wrote this post.

Thank you to all of the people who visit this blog…especially the ones who visit and comment regularly!

My most popular posts are currently about:
A Japanese manga called “Death Note“,
another one called “Detroit Metal City“,
McDonalds in Japan,
the Hollywood remake of the Japanese movie titled “Hachiko“,
King Kong vs Godzilla, and
Sea Shepherd.

Which the first post you read on my site? Which types of posts do you like?

100周年記念

10 Sep

On October 12th, the 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Train Line“) that connects 29 stations in Metropolitan Tokyo in a loop-line will turn 100 years old.

It takes a train on this line an hour to make the whole loop…but there are 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“) trains going in two directions, so the longest you could possibly need to spend on a ride on this line is about thirty-minutes or less.

All of the train lines in Japan are color-coded and the signs and trains for the 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“) are all colored light-green.

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「山手線」の電車 (A "Yamanote Line" train)

But to celebrate it’s 100th anniversary, JR (the company that operates numerous train lines in Japan…including 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“)) has painted some of the normally light-green 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“) trains brown and decorated them with images of “Meiji Chocolate“.

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The reason that some of the 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“) trains are decorated with images of Meiji Chocolate is because Meiji Chocolate will also be celebrating it’s 100th anniversary in a few years.

Meiji Chocolate

Meiji Chocolate

Anyways, if you’re in Tokyo and you want to see a 「山手線」 (“Yamanote Line“) train decorated like a Meiji Chocolate bar, they started running three days ago and will be running until 2009 December 4th.

Here’s a YouTube clip from the TV news program I saw about this campaign:

東京五

24 May

I discovered that I’m not the only “Tokyo Five“.

But I’m the only one that’s actually in Tokyo.

There seems to be an Australian pop band who call themselves “Tokyo Five“.
Not only are they not from Tokyo…but there’s only four members in the band!

Their MySpace page is here.

Then there’s also an American clothing company named “Tokyo Five“!

On the top of my blog here, I write my blog’s name in Japanese as 「トーキョー・ファイブ」 which says “Tokyo Five“. The clothing company writes their name in Japanese as 「東京五」, which are the kanji characters for Tokyo and five…but they are kinda odd together.

Maybe I should buy one of their shirts, and use it to advertise my blog. 😉

tokyo-five

Their website is here.

As I wrote in my About Me page, I live in Tokyo with my wife and our three kids. So, we’re a family of five in Tokyo…that’s where the name of my blog, my YouTube page, and my main website came from…I wonder if that Australian band and that American clothing company got their name from my site!?

One year

26 Mar

Today is March 26, 2009.
I started this blog on March 26, 2008…one year ago today. (Click here to read my first blog post (there’s not much to it!)).

When I first started this blog, I’d get an average of 10 visitors a day…some days, only one or two.
Now, I get an average of about 400 visitors a day…sometimes up to 700.

I’ve written 225 posts so far and received 2,068 comments so far.

Thanks to all my visitors…I hope you all continue to read my blog and comment often!

Miscellaneous…

10 Jan

WordPress has added a new function to the blog comments. It’s an E-mail notification.
If you check the box titled: “Notify me of followup comments via email.” below the Submit Comment button when you write a comment on my blog, then whenever I or anyone else responds to your comment you’ll get an email notifying you.

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(Click the box like this one to receive email notifications.)

Also, if you see pop-up windows when you hover your mouse over an image on this blog, you can turn that irritating function off (Click here to read my post about how to do that.)

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Last Thursday, a TV show that I enjoy alot was on. It only airs twice a year. I try to watch it every time.
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).

Do you live in Japan? Have you ever watched this show? Did you watch it last Thursday?
It’s a great show. People make their own costumes and props and put on a short show and a panel of five judges can award between 0 – 4 points each. If the contestant gets at least twelve points, then they move forward and stand a chance to win one of the cash prizes.

Click here to see the official 「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) website.

Here are a couple of the contestants from past shows on YouTube:

This one’s was one the show last Thursday. It’s called 「ミイラの新体操」 (The Mummy’s Rhythmic Gymnastics):

I enjoyed this one alot.

This one’s called 「ピンポン」 (Ping-Pong). I saw it when it aired on the show a couple years ago:

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Tomorrow is my second daughter’s fourteenth birthday.

(“S”, お誕生日おめでとう! (Happy birthday!) Don’t be in such a hurry to grow-up. You and your sisters are still my babies! )

She’s getting an I-pod® and some clothes for her birthday present.

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Also, tomorrow is 鏡開き (Kagami-biraki).

At お正月 (New Years), one of the many Japanese decorations is 鏡餅 (Kagami-mochi), which is two mochi (pulverized rice) stacked with a みかん (tangerine) on top.

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On January 11, the 鏡餅 (Kagami-mochi), which is brittle by now, is broken and prepared in a hot soup with An beans as a traditional Japanese dish called 「汁粉」 (Shiruko)

shiruko

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Monday, January 12, is a 祝日 (legal holiday) in Japan.

It’s called 「成人の日 (Adults Day).

Click here to read my short FAQ about this holiday. And click here to read about it on my “Festivals In Tokyo” page.

If you’re in Japan on the second Monday in January, you’ll see many twenty-year-old Japanese people in suits or 着物 (Japanese kimono).

(In just five years, my oldest daughter will being doing the 成人式 (Adults Day ceremony). 😦
Time flies!

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Also if you’re in the area on January 25 and 26, you might want to go to 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) for the 中国新年 (Chinese New Year) celebrations.

It’s not on a convenient date if you have to work, like I do…because Chinese New Years Eve is on Sunday, January 25 in the evening…and the real event (including the famous Chinese lion parade) is on Monday, January 26.

冬至

22 Dec

Yesterday was 冬至 (Winter Solstice). This is the day (in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere) that daytime is the shortest and nighttime is the longest in the year.

夏至 (Summer Solstice), when daytime is the longest, is around June 21; and the two days that daytime and nighttime are an equal twelve hours each are 春分の日 (Spring Equinox), on about March 21, and 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox), on about September 21.

There’s a Japanese tradition to eat かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and take a ユズ湯 (a bath with yuzu* floating in the water).
*(yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit).

It is an old Japanese belief that eating かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and taking a ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) on the 冬至 (Winter Solstice) will help prevent colds.

We ate かぼちゃ (pumpkin) with our dinner and took ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) yesterday. I have a bit of a cold…I can use the help. 😉

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Yesterday afternoon, we went to 柴又 (Shibamata, Tokyo).
We’ve been there a number of times before…and once before I wrote a blog post about it.
(Click here to read that post.)

It’s a nice 下町 (traditional area).

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Here’s a store that was selling ダルマ (Daruma*):
(*Daruma are bought at New Years with no eyes. You make a New Years wish and color in one eye. When (if) the wish comes true, you paint in the other eye. Then at the end of the year, whether the came true or not, you bring the Daruma to a temple to be burnt down. The you buy a new one for the following year).

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The old-fashioned Japanese candy shop there had this sign out front that said 「本場アメリカのピンボール・ゲームありマス。」 (“We have pin-ball machines from America.”)

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Some of the candy (including powdered fake-beer drinks!)

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The famous and ever-popular 寅さん (Tora-san):

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A sign warning children not to play too close to the river’s edge:

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This is a boat service that has been taking people across the river for many, many years (there are bridges now, so people ride this ferry only for fun now).
(I wrote about this boat before…click here to read that post):

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This cat was very friendly:

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I took a couple vidos today, too.

This one’s of a おせんべ (Japanese rice cracker) shop:

And this one is of a shop that makes hand-made candies:

印鑑

20 Dec

In Western countries, a signature is used to make contracts and other documents official.
But in Japan (and China and Korea), an 印鑑 (name seal) is used.

In Japanese, these are called 印鑑 (inkan) or 判子 (hanko).
Generally speaking, 判子 (hanko) is used less officially.

When I first came to Japan, all documents required a 印鑑 (name seal). Opening bank accounts, receiving registered mail, contracts, etc.
And before I got one, I would be required to give a thumb-print with the red ink used for name seals in lieu of a 印鑑 (name seal).
But once more foreigners started coming to Japan in recent years, Western style signatures have become acceptable for less important documents. More important documents still require a 印鑑 (name seal), though.

So, although we have a 印鑑 (name seal), if the mailman brings me registered mail, I’ll just sign my name with a pen in the space marked 「印鑑」 on the form rather than break out my 印鑑 (name seal).
But for bank paperwork, tax forms, my kids school registration papers, etc, I need to use our 印鑑 (name seal).

Here’s a photo I took of a shop that makes 判子 (name seals):

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And here’s a picture that I found online from a shop that makes 印鑑 (name seals). You can see the name being carved into the seal, and what the name looks like when stamped with the official red ink:

inkan

And here’s a photo I took of some “off the rack判子 (name seals) that are used for less important documents:

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Here’s another photo I took today (it doesn’t look like anything special to me because I’ve seen these signs everyday for the past eighteen years…but maybe you’re interested):

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Can you guess what this sign means?

It says 「止まれ」, which means “Stop”. (The mirror at many Japanese intersections is to help you check for oncoming traffic).

Most signs in Japan are different from their counterparts in other countries, and they often have no English written on them (eighteen years ago there was even less English here!). If you’re gonna stay in Japan, it helps to learn how to read…but it’s not easy!

Japan’s stop-sign is triangular, but many countries, it seems, have adopted the U.S. style red octogon stop-sign…even China. The stop-sign in China is red and octogon shaped, like in America…but, like Japan, it doesn’t have any English written on it either.

The Chinese stop-sign just has one kanji character on it: 「停」. In Chinese, it’s pronounced as “Ting!“, I believe (I don’t speak any Chinese)…but in Japan, that character for “stop” (「停」) would be pronounced as テイ (tei) or とまる (tomaru).
But, as I said above, the Japanese stop-sign doesn’t use that character…but rather 「止まれ」.

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I finished adding Category listing for all of my previous posts. You can use the “Categories” drop-down menu to the right to find posts that I’ve written by subject. (You can also use the “Search” box, similairily).