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Fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

10 Oct

Today (2014 October 10th) is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Summer Olympics that were hosted by Tokyo.

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This was the first time the Olympics was hosted by an Asian country.

The Tokyo government had new stadiums built (which are still in use today) and the world’s first 新幹線 (bullet train) was built by Japan Railways (called “Japan National Railways” back then). The bullet train connected Tokyo to Osaka, and it’s service commenced on October 1st, 1964…so, nine days ago was the 50th birthday of the world’s first bullet train.

Since Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics fifty years ago, Japan has hosted the Olympics two more times: the 1972 Winter Olympics were hosted by Sapporo, Japan and the 1998 Winter Olympics were hosted by Nagano, Japan.

A new bullet-train service was also started in 1998 to connect Tokyo to Nagano for the ’98 Games. My wife and I took that bullet train to see the Nagano Olympics atmosphere.

Tokyo put a bid in to host the 2016 Olympics, but lost. (I wrote a post about Tokyo’s 2016 bid and also my trip to Nagano in ’98…here).

Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics was successful though. In July 2020, Tokyo will not only be the first Asian city to host an Olympics Games…but also the first Asian city to host the Games twice!
(I wrote a post about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics here).

Both the 1964 Tokyo Olympics logo and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics commenced on 1964 October 10th. October isn’t summer…it’s autumn. The reason that the Games were in October is because summer is extremely hot and humid in Tokyo. The weather in October (now) is much more comfortable.
After the 1964 Olympics, October 10th became a holiday in Japan: 体育の日 (“Fitness Day”). The date of the holiday was changed in the year 2000 to ‘the second Monday in October’. So, 体育の日 (Fitness Day) isn’t today…next Monday (October 13th, 2014) is the holiday.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) changed the rules and now the Summer Olympics must be played in July. So, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be in July. It’s gonna be hot!

 

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Summer Olympics 2012…so far

30 Jul

Everyone, I’m sure, knows that the 2012 Summer Olympics are underway…and that they games are being hosted by London.

Have you watched the opening ceremonies?
Did you see “James Bond” escort the Queen of England to the games by helicopter…and “the Queen” parachuted in?
And Mr. Bean playing with the orchestra? David Beckham driving a speed boat? And the “legend” himself, Muhammad Ali?

It was a pretty good opening ceremony. I enjoyed watching it (on television…I’ve never seen an Olympics event “in person”. The closest that I came was when my wife and I took the 新幹線 (bullet train) to 長野 (Nagano, Japan) in 1998 to see the “Olympic city” atmosphere).

Anyways, are you watching any of the games?
Which events do you like best?

Last night, I watched Japan “almost” get gold in men’s judo…but lost to Georgia.

So far, the top three countries with medals won are China, America, and Italy.

Japan is currently in 15th place.

History timeline

21 Nov

By no ways a complete list, but here is a timeline of some highlights of world history.

Japan-related dates are written in red.

  • 1281: Mongolia was conquering most of Asia. As the Mongolian Navy was heading to Japan to invade, a giant typhoon sunk their entire fleet. Thus saving Japan.
    That typhoon was called 「神風」 (“Kamikaze“), which means “Divine Wind“, in Japan.The World War 2 Kamikaze pilots were named after this typhoon.
  • 1346: The Black Plague started and eventually killed nearly half of Europe’s population.
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus lands in America. But he believed he was in India and called the inhabitants “Indians“.
  • 1603: 「江戸時代」 (The “Edo Period“) begins in Japan.
  • 1680: The 将軍 (Shougun), Tsunayoshi, loved dogs and enacted a number of laws protecting dogs and making harming them a criminal offense.He is therefore often called “The Dog Shogun”.
  • 1776: America declares it’s independence from England.
  • 1789: French Revolution began.
  • 1804: Napoleon became the Emperor of France.
  • 1854: U.S. Naval Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to open to trade with the West.At first Japan resisted and the island of Odaiba was built in Tokyo Bay to defend Japan from the American forces. But Perry’s fleet of black ships were too intimidating and Japan enacted law to allow trade with the West in general and America in particular.The resulting influx of American goods and culture sparked Japan’s “Westernization”.

An Ukiyoe portrait of Cmdr. Perry. His name is written as 「ぺルリ」 ("Peruri") because that's what it sounded like to the Japanese when Perry said his name with his American accent.

  • 1859: Charles Darwin published his book “The Origin Of Species“.
  • 1861: The U.S. Civil War began.
  • 1868: 「明治時代」 (The “Meiji Period“) started in Japan. This was a period of modernization.
  • 1876: Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
  • 1904: The Russia-Japan War began. Russia underestimated Japan and lost the war.
  • 1905: Albert Einstein published his “Theory Of Relativity” (E=MC?)
  • 1912: The “unsinkable” RMS Titanic sunk.
  • 1914 – 1918: World War 1.
  • 1937: The zeppelin Hindenberg exploded over the U.S. state of New Jersey.
  • 1939 – 1945: World War 2.
  • 1941 December 7: Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
  • 1945 August 6: America dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of 広島 (Hiroshima).
  • 1945 August 9: America dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan. This time on the city of 長崎 (Nagasaki).
  • 1961: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first man in space, starting the “Space Race” to the moon between America and Russia.
  • 1964: Tokyo, Japan hosted the Summer Olympics. The first Olympic games hosted in an Asian city.
  • 1969: U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first (and so far, only) man to walk on the moon.
  • 1972: Sapporo, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
  • 1990 October 17: I (“Tokyo Five”) came to Japan.
  • 1995 January 17: 「阪神淡路大震災」 (Hanshin-awajidai-shinsai), (“The Kobe Earthquake“) destroyed the city of 神戸 (Kobe, Japan).

    A collapsed overpass after the Kobe Earthquake; 1995 January.

  • 1998: Nagano, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
  • 2001 September 11: Both of the World Trade Center in New York City, USA and The Pentagon in Washington D.C. are attacked by commercial airplanes hijacked by terrorists. Both of the towers in NYC were destroyed completely.
  • I know that I left out many important dates. Feel free to write any that you can think of in the comments section of this post.

    And did you witness any historic events?

    Sister cities

    27 Sep

    Many cities in the world have a 姉妹都市 (“sister city“) partnership with a city in another country. Some cities have more than one “sister city”.

    Tokyo, for example, has eleven sister cities.
    – 中国北京市 (Beijing, China)
    – Berlin, Germany
    – Cairo, Egypt
    – Jakarta, Indonesia
    – Moscow, Russia
    – New South Wales, Australia
    – New York City, America
    – Paris, France
    – Rome, Italy
    – Sao Paulo, Brazil, and
    – Seoul, Korea
    are Tokyo’s sister cities.

    Cities make “sister city” contracts with other cities in the world to help promote each other’s culture, industry and tourism.

    I just found out that the city I grew up in…Clearwater, Florida, USA is a sister city with 日本国長野市 (Nagano, Japan).

    And that this year (2009) is the 50th year that Clearwater, Florida and Nagano, Japan have been sister cities.
    To celebrate, both Nagano and Clearwater are doing more than usual to promote each other’s culture.

    I also found out that every year, a small group of American students and teachers spend two weeks of the summer in Nagano, Japan…and a similar small Japanese group from Nagano visit Clearwater, Florida.
    I wish I knew about that when I was a teenager in Florida! I might have applied for the program!

    I remember, though, when I was in elementary school, a group of teachers from Japan visited my school in Florida. I guess they were from Nagano. I remember that they seemed very interested in my school lunch and what I thought of it (I know now that it’s because American school lunches are so very different from Japanese ones!).

    What city do you live in? What’s your town’s “sister city”? Have you ever visited the sister city?

    I have been to Nagano once. In 1998, to see the ’98 Olympics that were hosted by Nagano, Japan.
    And I’ve only been back to visit Clearwater, Florida once since I moved to Tokyo in 1990 (in 2004, my family and I visited Florida for a couple weeks in the summer).

    As for Tokyo’s sister cities, years ago, I visited Seoul, Korea and New York City once each.

    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?

    Volcano eruption

    2 Feb

    浅間山 (Mount Asama) is a 火山 (volcano) between 群馬県 (Gunma Prefecture) and 長野県 (Nagano Prefecture).

    It’s about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Tokyo.

    asama

    Yesterday, the 気象庁 (Japan Meteorological Agency) issued a level 3 warning* that 浅間山 (Mount Asama) could erupt within 48 hours. About 45,000 residents near the volcano were told they may need to evacuate.

    * (There are five volcano warnings. Level 1 is normal / safe. Level 2 is stay away from crater. Level 3 is non-residents should stay away from the volcano. Level 4 is nearby residents need to prepare to evacuate. Level 5 is evacuation / major eruption imminent.)

    Japan has many 火山 (volcanoes)…the most famous is the symbol of Japan, 富士山 (Mt. Fuji)…but most are dormant.
    浅間山 (Mount Asama) is one of Japan’s most active 火山 (volcanoes).

    The 気象庁 (Japan Meteorological Agency) was correct.

    浅間山 (Mount Asama) had a minor eruption this morning (Monday, February 2, 2009) just before 2:00AM (JST).
    No one was injured and there was no reported property damage.

    The last time 浅間山 (Mount Asama) erupted was on September 1, 2004. That eruption was also fairly minor…although ash from that eruption went 200 kilometers from the volcano.
    It’s biggest eruption was about 220 years ago. There were 1500 casualties and alot of property damage in that eruption.

    Tokyo Olympics

    7 Jun

    Tokyo, as well as 26 or so other cities, had put a bid in to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
    From those 27 cities, the list of candidate cities has just been reduced to four…Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.

    As of right now, Tokyo looks like it may be the most likely choice for host city because Tokyo’s “score” is 8.4 (the highest of the four cities).

    The final decision of which city will host the 2016 Olympics will be decided on October 2, 2009 (over a year from now).

    If Tokyo hosts the 2016 Olympics, I think I might volunteer as a guide or something. 2016 is still eight years away, so I’m not giving it too much thought right now, though.

    The last time (and only time, so far) that Tokyo hosted the Olympics was the 1964 Olympics. It was the first time a “non-Western” country hosted the Olympics!
    The “National Olympic Stadium” that was built in Yoyogi, Tokyo for the ’64 Olympics will be re-used as one of the venues in 2016, if Tokyo is chosen as the host.

    Have you ever been in a city when it hosted the Olympics?

    In 1998, Nagano, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
    We didn’t have tickets for any of the events, but we wanted to see an “Olympic city”…so we took a 新幹線 (Bullet Train) from Tokyo to Nagano (it was the “Asama” Shinkansen Line that was just built at the time especially for the ’98 Olympics).

    Even without event tickets, it was fun.

    While we were in Nagano during the ’98 Olympics, we saw Andy Hug before he died.

    If you live outside of Japan or you weren’t in Japan in the 1990’s, you probably don’t recognize that name. But he was a very popular K-1 fighter in Japan from Switzerland.

    He was in Nagano helping to support the Swiss Olympic team.

    He was very polite and was often on TV in Japan in the late ’90s. So it was quite a shock to Japan when he died suddenly at a young age just two years after the 1998 Olympics.

    Compared to the other three candidate cities for the 2016 Olympics, a relatively low number of people in Tokyo support the Olympics coming to this city. Many are afraid it will get even more crowded than it already is here and the morning train commute to work will have many tourists filling the trains.

    I think, though, that if Tokyo is chosen, it will force the government to build more train lines in the city to accommodate them…and that will benefit those of us that live here in the long term after the Olympics are over.

    So I support Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.