Last year and this year, I have been on the PTA of my daughter’s school.
My wife was on the PTA every year since our kids were in 保育園 (Nursery School)…quite a few years.
So I decided it was my turn.
As most fathers do, I have to work full-time so all that is usually expected of the fathers on PTA is to help set up for the festivals and events the school might have, and clean up afterwards.
Occasionally, we have meetings and sometimes gatherings at an 居酒屋 (Japanese pub/restaurant).
But on Saturday, there was a meeting with dinner (刺身 (Sashimi)) and drinks for the PTA for all the schools in our vicinity. A couple of weeks ago the PTA president asked me to give a speech at this meeting.
I wrote a short speech (in 日本語 (Japanese), of course) and had been practicing it everyday.
I was so nervous on Saturday before I gave the speech…but I think I did a pretty good job. (But I hate speeches, and I hope I never have to do that again! )
Yesterday was our town’s 運動会 (Sports Day event). My youngest daughter played the trombone in the event’s opening ceremony (as she did for her school’s 運動会 (Sports Day event) last week).
After my daughter finished with the town 運動会 (Sports Day event), my three kids went to my in-laws’ house for dinner…so my wife and I went to 秋葉原 (Akihabara).
Have you ever heard of 秋葉原 (Akihabara)? Have you ever been there?
It has an interesting name. If you can read Japanese, you know 秋葉原 (Akihabara) translates to “Autumn leaves field“.
Also it technically should be read “Akibahara” (the b and h transposed)….that’s why the town has the nickname “Akiba” (it used to be that only dorks would call the town “Akiba”…but it’s become a common nickname).
Part of 秋葉原 (Akihabara) is called 「電気街 (“Electric Town“) because of all the electric and electronics stores in that area.
And that is what 秋葉原 (Akihabara) is famous for…being one of the biggest electronics shopping areas in the world.
It used to be that only オタク (fanatics; nerds) and those who needed to be there were found in 秋葉原 (Akihabara). All of the shops there, back then, were small and only the オタク (fanatics; nerds) really knew where the good deals were.
But two things changed 秋葉原 (Akihabara) a bit. One was a TV drama that was popular in Japan a few years ago in which the hero was an オタク (nerd) who hung out in 秋葉原 (Akihabara).
The other was the fairly recent opening of the “Yodobashi Camera” superstore near 秋葉原駅 (Akihabara Train Station).
“Yodobashi Camera” is big, popular chain of electronics stores that are in many locations around Japan. When this store finally opened their 秋葉原 (Akihabara) branch (which is surprising that they didn’t have one there before), alot more non-オタク (fanatics; nerds) starting going to 秋葉原 (Akihabara).
We went to the “Yodobashi Camera” there to look at TVs. I bought our current Sony® TV years ago and it’s about ready to be replaced.
We didn’t buy a new TV, we just checked out what’s available and the prices.
Here’s something I saw that used to be a much more common sight in Japan:
There’s an old wives’ tale in Japan that says if you put plastic bottles of water around your property it will keep stray cats away. These bottles are called 猫よけ (Scare-cat).
Supposedly, the cats see their reflection in the water and think it’s another cat and run away.
Anyways, I saw those 猫よけ (Scare-cat) bottles and took a photo because it’s one of those only-in-Japan things.
Here’s a picture I took of 秋葉原 (Akihabara):
And a few videos:
Afterwards, we went to a small restaurant for dinner.
Many times in these types of restaurants in Japan, they’ll have a ticket vending machine at the front of the shop. You’re meant to buy the ticket for the food and beer (the drink menu at these places often consists of beer or water), and give the ticket to the cook behind the counter.
He’ll call you to pick up your order from the counter when it’s ready.
Here’s the ticket machine at the place where we ate:
This restaurant had old, retro Japanese “Asahi Beer” posters hanging on the wall (today’s beer ad posters usually have girls in bikinis).
This one is read top to bottom. It says 「アサヒビール」 (Asahi Beer):
This one also says 「アサヒビール」 (Asahi Beer)…but it’s written right to left. Writing this way isn’t as common in Japan as it used to be, so at first glance, I read 「ルービヒサア」 (Ruby Hisaa) (which doesn’t make any sense):