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74 Years Ago

7 Dec

Today, 2015 December 7th, is the seventy-fourth anniversary of the WW2 attack on the U.S. Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (In Japan, because of the time difference, it was December 8th here).

The JapanToday.com website has a nice story about the ceremony in Pearl Harbor today that united former enemies:

Former U.S. airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, sworn enemies during World War Two, together poured whiskey from a battered canteen into Pearl Harbor on Sunday to commemorate the 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base.

As the sun rose over the USS Arizona Memorial, the two former enemy pilots joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dec 7 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into World War Two.

Standing side by side after meeting for the first time ever, retired Air Force Colonel DeTour and former Imperial Japanese Navy Zero Pilot Wakita together gripped the war-torn U.S. military-issue metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the U.S. Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, after two B-29 U.S. bombers collided overhead. The 23 Americans killed were buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid. Found among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to remember loved ones lost.

Since the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony aimed at maintaining peace.

“To know we have this friendship is great. It’s fantastic,” said DeTour, who wore a purple flower lei over his dark suit.

DeTour now lives in Honolulu and was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

There were no Pearl Harbor survivors among the World War Two veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, said Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on Feb 4 in California at age 100. An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take place at Pearl Harbor on Monday.

At the canteen ceremony, Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, said he keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each year because it is a powerful symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” said Sugano.

終戦記念日

15 Aug

Today, 2013 August 15th, is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the day that Japan surrendered to the U.S. in 1945.

It’s called 「終戦記念日」(“VJ Day”), and it was the event the signified the end of World War II.

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1945/08/09.11:02

9 Aug

As I mentioned last Tuesday, August 6th was the sixty-eighth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

And now today (2013 August 9th) is the same anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

As I mentioned in my post about Hiroshima, the famous 原爆ドーム (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum) is in Hiroshima.

Nagasaki has a peace memorial to remember the war, honor the victims and hope for peace, too.
It’s in 「平和公園」 (“Peace Park”).

The Peace Memorial in Nagasaki’s Peace Park.

The atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on 1945 August 9th at 11:02AM (Japan time). So, there will be a moment of silence in Japan at 11:02AM today just as there was last Tuesday for Hiroshima.

1945/08/06.08:16

6 Aug

Today (2013 August 6th) is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).

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This is a photo of 「原爆ドーム」.

The name literally means “Atomic Bomb Dome” but it’s usually called “Hiroshima Peace Memorial” in English.

Today in Japan at 8:16AM, there will be a moment of silence.

Birthday of Anne Frank

12 Jun

Anne Frank (アンネ・フランク) would have turned 84 years old today, June 12th 2013, if she were still alive.

Have you ever read “The Diary of Anne Frank” (アンネの日記) ?

She received the diary as a present from her parents on her thirteenth birthday.
She began writing in it immediately and continued for two years until she and her family were captured by Nazis in early August 1944 when she was fifteen.

Her father was the only member of her family to survive the hard-labor concentration camp.
He had her diary published after the war when a family friend, who had kept Anne’s diary safe, returned it to him.

The Diary of Anne Frank” wasn’t immediately successful in Europe, and  it was mildly successful at first in America…but it was an immediate bestseller in Japan!

In her diary, Anne wrote:

“I want to be useful to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

and:

Will I ever be able to write something great?

She definitely wrote “something great”…and she’ll go on living forever!

– Anne Frank, RIP
June 12th 1929 – March ?, 1945

The Boss meets the Emperor

26 Mar

First of all, today (2013 March 26) is the fifth anniversary of my blog.

I wrote the first post on 2008 March 26.

As of today, my blog has gotten about 1,600,000 hits … that averages to about 895 hits per day over the five years – – but that’s not really accurate because my blog averages 1000 hits a day now, but less than 50 a day when I first started it in 2008.

Thanks to all my site’s visitors … especially you! Please leave a comment!

Anyways, I found out about a new movie about post-WW2 Japan titled “Emperor” starring Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Army General Douglas McArthur.

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Do you know who Gen. McArthur was?

He is very well-known in Japan.

General McArthur was in charge of the U.S. military  during the war against Japan … and also during the occupation of Japan after the war ended.

Japanese people respect McArthur because he respected the Japanese people.

Tommy Lee Jones is also respected in Japan.
He is known to everyone here as the “face” of Suntory’s Boss Coffee.

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  In the Boss Coffee TV commerials, Tommy Lee Jones acts and sounds like a Japanese man.
He’s an excellent actor.

Have you seen the movie “Emperor” ?

Tokyo Station remade…to how it was

2 Oct

The iconic 東京駅 (Tokyo Station) near the 皇居 (Japanese Imperial Palace) was built in 1914 but it was destroyed in the World War II Allied bombings of Tokyo in the 1940’s.

After the war, it was rebuilt similarly, but not exactly the same, as it originally was.
One main difference was the fancy glass domes on top of the original station building were replaced with a simpler design.

This is how Tokyo Station looked when I came to Japan.

Tokyo Station will be 100 years old in 2014. So, the government decided, a few years ago, to redesign the station back to how it looked when it was originally built.

The renovations were completed on schedule and the renovated (retro) Tokyo Station had it’s grand re-opening yesterday (2012 October 1st (which was 都民の日 (Tokyo Residents Day)).

This is how Tokyo Station looks now…like it looked 100 years ago.

Just like all grand openings, the stores and restaurants in the station had specials and sales for the occasions…so of course, the station was crowded yesterday with people who wanted to take advantage of the specials and also wanted to see the newly designed station.