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Little League World Champions…again

31 Aug

The 2015 Little League World Series just ended. As it is every August, it was played in Pennsylvania, USA.
Many times the champion game has been played between USA vs Japan…and it was this year too.

I’ve written a post about the 2010 World Series that Japan won against America. (Click here to read it.)

Japan won the 2015 World Series, too.  The final score was Japan (18) – USA (11).

Japan are the 2015 Little League World Series Champions.

Congratulations to all of the teams from every country! They all played well!

The Japanese team celebrating their victory.

Did you watch the game on TV?  Even better…were you there at the stadium in America to see it?

灯篭流し

16 Aug

Yesterday (2015 August 15th) was 終戦記念日 (VJ day) and there were ceremonies for that around Japan.
It was also the day that 灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is done at the Sumida River in Tokyo.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is a ceremony that is usually held at the end of O-bon (“O-bon” is mid-August usually (some places have it in July) and is a ceremony tradition to honor relatives and ancestors who’ve passed away.)

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) means “floating lanterns“. On this ceremony, people can purchase a lantern and write a message to relative(s) who have passed away and then the lanterns are lit and set afloat on the river.

It wasn’t easy to take photos that do it justice, but it looks beautiful.

This is the boat that some of the lanterns were set afloat from

A huge crowd to watch and set lanterns into the river.

The first of lanterns in the river.

Many people wore ゆかた (traditional Japanese summer kimono), such as this girl standing near the river’s edge.

More lanterns passing near the Tokyo Sky Tree.

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Here’s the line of people waiting to set their lanterns into the river.

The first group set their lanterns afloat from the boat, but after that a ramp from the dock was used.

Review & Giveaway 21: Tokyo – Capital of Cool

16 Aug

One more review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Tokyo: Capital of Cool” by Rob Goss.

Tokyo: Capital of Cool

Tokyo: Capital of Cool

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

This is a handcover book full of wonderful, large color photographs of Tokyo’s landscape, architecture, people, festivals, restaurants, and much more!

It includes maps of the areas shown and explains about them in detail.

There is also a chapter about Tokyo’s neighboring areas.

This book is perfect for anyone living in Tokyo, planning a visit, or just interested in Japan in general (and especially Tokyo, in particular)!

Tokyo: Capital of Cool” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Review & Giveaway 20: More Making Out In Japanese

13 Aug

Here’s another review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “More Making Out in Japanese: Completely Revised and Updated with new Manga Illustrations – A Japanese Phrase Book” by Todd Geers and Erika Hoburg; revised by Elisha Geers.

More Making Out in Japanese: Completely Revised and Updated with new Manga Illustrations - A Japanese Phrase Book

More Making Out in Japanese:  A Japanese Phrase Book

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

This is a Japanese language phrase book mainly aimed at people looking to hook up romantically with a Japanese person, either short-term or even possibly long-term.

Most of the language and phrases in it are extremely casual…and some are even vulgar. So, it’s not particularly useful as a standard phrase book / study guide.

Though it’s best to stick to speaking polite Japanese in almost all cases…especially if you’re not really strong with the Japanese language – but there are some situations where this type of language is more appropriate…but, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and use “standard” polite language.

More Making Out in Japanese: Completely Revised and Updated with new Manga Illustrations – A Japanese Phrase Book” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 August 31st:

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Night Zoo

11 Aug

One week in August, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo has a “Night Zoo” event. We went to it yesterday. We’ve been to it before too (click here to see my post about it in 2011).

Before we went to the zoo, we stopped for lunch at 東京駅 (Tokyo Station):

An 「駅弁」 (Train station “bento”) shop. Have you ever had a Japanese “bento”?

You can watch them preparing the bento meals.

The 「銀の鈴」 (“Silver Bell”) in Tokyo Station…a popular meeting spot.

2015-08-10 11.24.48

「チキンラーメン」 (“Chicken Ramen”)

The one on the left says 「有休とります」 (“I’m gonna take a holiday”) to give your boss or co-workers. The other says 「ごめんね」 (“I’m sorry”) to give someone as an apology.

The Ultraman Shop’s “manager”.

The less-photographed entrance of 東京駅 (Tokyo Station).

Break time

The popular Japanese cartoon character “Doraemon” in the small children’s mini-amusement park outside Ueno Zoo.

I have many memories of taking my kids to this 「こども遊園地」 (Kids’ Amusement Park) when they were little.

The entrance to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. We went to the zoo in the afternoon and stayed until the end of the “Night Zoo” event.

We could see the pandas eating, rather than sleeping – as they usually are.

パンダ (Panda)

シンシン (メス) … (“Shin-Shin” the female panda).

リーリー (オス) …. (“Ri-Ri” the male panda).

The polar bear was a highlight for us because it was feeding time when we happened to go to that exhibit…and also, Ueno Zoo has added a new viewing area where we could watch him swim!

Huge ゾウガメ (Giant Tortoise)

コビトカバ (Pygmy Hippo)

Sleeping seals.

The sun was setting and “Night Zoo” began.

 

Review & Giveaway 18: Writing Japanese Katakana

9 Aug

Here’s another review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As usual, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” by Jim Gleeson.

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

The written Japanese language has three scripts: hiragana and katakana (collectively known as “kana“) and thousands of kanji.

The script that is taught in this book is katakana. This script is mainly used for writing foreign words (such as English), onomatopoeic words and also it’s used for emphasis (in a similar way that italics are used in English).

I’d recommend learning hiragana before katakana, just as Japanese children do…so, if you don’t already know hiragana, there’s still time to enter the drawing for the free copy of the (a) hiragana study book in this series. (Click here)

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” is a good book for those who wish to learn Japanese. When studying Japanese, you should start by learning to read and write hiragana…and then, you should study katakana next.
Not only will it help you to be able to read signs, menus, etc in Japan…but knowing and using katakana will help you to pronounce foreign words and onomatopoeia in the way that Japanese people understand them.

This book has plenty of spaces for you to practice writing the katakana characters as you learn them…which is the best way to remember them.
It also has you write some example sentences using the characters you’ve learned up to that point.

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 August 31st:

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

70th Anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki

9 Aug

Today is the 70th anniversary of the 1945 August 9th atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

The 「平和祈念像」 (Peace Statue) in the 「平和公園」 (Peace Park) in Nagasaki.

The 「平和祈念像」 (Peace Statue) in the 「平和公園」 (Peace Park) in Nagasaki.

I first came to Japan in 1990, the year of the 45th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Just as there is every year, there will be a memorial service in Nagasaki today to mark this solemn occasion…and a moment of silence across Japan at 11:02AM, the time that the bomb was dropped on the city seventy years ago.

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