Tag Archives: 中国

三つ巴

14 Aug

Do you know the Chinese yin-yang symbol?

Chinese yin-yang

Chinese yin-yang

It’s meant to symbolize how opposites complete everything.

Life and death. Male and female. Good and evil. And so on.

Many people in the West think that that symbol is used in all of Asia.

But it’s Chinese.

Other Asian countries have similar ones, though.

In Korea, they use a similar symbol but without the two contrasting colored dots. And their symbol is usually red and blue.korean-yin_yang

This symbol is on the Korean flag.

Flag of South Korea.

Flag of South Korea.

In Japan, the closest symbol to these is the 「三つ巴」 (“Mitsudomoe“).

Japanese 三つ巴

Japanese 三つ巴

There’s also a less-common version with two tomoe like the Chinese and Korean ones above…but it’s still uniquely Japanese. It’s called 「二つ巴 (“Futatsudomoe“):

Japanese 二つ巴

Japanese 二つ巴

In Japan, the mitsudomoe is more common than the futatsudomoe. It’s often seen on 提灯 (Japanese paper lanterns) and 太鼓 (Taiko drums).

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

Japanese 太鼓 drum

Japanese 太鼓 drum

It also can be seen as a 家紋 (Japanese family crest).

Here are a few common 家紋 (Japanese family crests)…the mitsudomoe is amongst them:

家紋

家紋

Japanese appreciate simple and less-flashy designs. So, 家紋 (Japanese family crests) are much simpler than colorful European family crests.

A European family crest

A European family crest

Today…

4 Jun

Today was my youngest two daughters’ 運動会 (Sports Day Event) at their Junior High School.
It was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but was postponed until today because it rained last Saturday. (I wrote about it on an earlier post. Click here to read it.)

I wasn’t able to attend their 運動会 (Sports Day Event) because I had to work…but my wife went and videotaped it. So I’ll be able to watch it.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of the 六四天安門事件 (4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests) in 天安門広場 (Tiananmen Square) in China.

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

And tomorrow will be my oldest daughter’s High School 運動会 (Sports Day event).

Also tomorrow is the 57th birthday of Nicko McBrain.
Certainly you know that Nicko McBrain is the drummer for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden!

maiden

Iron Maiden's "Eddie" mascot.

Airplane crash

23 Mar

At 6:48AM JST this morning (Monday, March 23, 2009), a Federal Express (FedEx) cargo plane arriving at 成田空港 (Narita (Tokyo Int’l) Airport) from Guangzhou, China crashed and burst into flames.

Image from TV of the plane crash in Japan's Narita Airport.

Image from TV of the plane crash in Japan's Narita Airport.

This was a cargo plane, so there were no passengers on this airplane…only the American pilot and co-pilot were onboard. They both died.

Just like yesterday, it is very windy in the Tokyo area today. At the time of the crash, the wind was blowing up to 72Km / hour (about 45 miles / hour).
The wind is being blamed for causing the airplane to bounce on the runway and burst into flames.

Here is a YouTube video of the news report showing the tragedy:

Chinese New Year

25 Jan

Today is New Years Eve in China. The last day of the 子年 (“Year Of The Mouse”).

If you’re in the area, and you have a chance, I recommend going to 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan) tomorrow.

If you went there tonight, they are having New Years Eve celebrations as I write this.
But if you can go there tomorrow (Monday, January 26, 2009), that’s when the bigger celebrations will happen.

The most famous is the parade with the Chinese dragon dance.

Chinese Dragon Dance

(The Japanese version of this is the 金竜の舞い (“Golden Dragon Festival”) in Tokyo every March (Click here to read a bit about this festival on my “Festivals In Tokyo” page)):

As in Japan, New Years is China’s biggest holiday.
Actually there are a number of similarities between Chinese and Japanese New Years…although in Japan, the details are Japanese style and in China, they’re uniquely Chinese, of course.
For example, just like New Years in Japan, in China New Years is a time for getting together with family for a big traditional dinner and first visit of the year to a temple and family grave.
Also, in both countries, children receive お年玉 (gift money) in a special envelope. In Japan, the envelope is usually white with cartoon characters on it…in China, it’s almost always red (red is a lucky color in China).

Japan uses the Chinese horoscope with twelve creatures. So, January 1, 2009 began the 丑年 (“Year Of The Cow”) in Japan…and in China, the “Year Of The Cow” begins tomorrow.

Also, both countries have their own unique calendar. So, the official year in Japan is currently 平成二十一年 (Heisei 21). In China, tomorrow will begin the year 4706!

Click here to read the short bit I wrote about Chinese New Year in Yokohama Chinatown on my “Festivals In Tokyo” page.

Also, I’ve been living in Japan since 1990, so I know about Japan’s culture, holidays, etc…but I don’t know much about China. So, the parts I wrote in this post regarding China are based on what I’ve read and heard over the years.

(I also wrote about Japanese New Years, of course. Click here and here to read about it.)

今週末

25 Aug

The 2008 Summer Olympics in 北京 (Beijing) have ended.
Did you watch the closing ceremony?

The top ten countries for medals:

  1. 中華人民共和国 (China) – 51 gold (100 total)
  2. アメリカ合衆国 (USA) – 36 gold (110 total)
  3. ロシア連邦 (Russia) – 23 gold (72 total)
  4. グレート・ブリテンおよび北アイルランド連合王国 (Great Britain) – 19 gold (47 total)
  5. ドイツ連邦共和国 (Germany) – 16 gold (41 total)
  6. オーストラリア (Australia) – 14 gold (46 total)
  7. 大韓民国 (South Korea) – 13 gold (31 total)
  8. 日本国 (Japan) – 9 gold (25 total)
  9. イタリア共和国 (Italy) – 8 gold (28 total)
  10. フランス共和国 (France) – 7 gold (40 total)

Speaking of sports, a Russian 相撲 (Sumo) wrestler in Japan named 若ノ鵬 (Wakanohou) was recently arrested for possession of marijuana and dismissed from the Sumo Federation.

Japan has very strict drug laws. If he is convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and / or deportation.

What a stupid mistake.

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Last Saturday (2008/8/23), lightning struck the 醍醐寺 (Daigoji Temple) in 京都 (Kyoto, Japan), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, causing a fire which destroyed part of the centuries old cultural asset.

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Also on Saturday we took our oldest daughter to an exhibition of Tokyo high schools and colleges to help us decide which one should attend next school year which begins in April in Japan.
She’ll be starting high school (10th grade).

Here’s a picture I took of the event. It was pretty crowded:

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From there, we went to the 米国空軍有効祭 (U.S. Air Force Friendship Festival) at the U.S. Air Force base in western Tokyo.

This is the only time that the U.S. military bases are open to the public. Actually, going on the U.S. bases is almost like going to America. The food, clothes, and the way everyone speaks loudly (and in English) are all very American. It’s kinda a culture shock for me (and of course, my family)…I guess I’m not used to America anymore.

It was a little bit rainy the day of this year’s festival, so it wasn’t so fun (but it wasn’t hot, so that was nice). We went to this festival three years ago…it was nice sunny weather on that day (although quite hot).

I couldn’t get any nice pictures from this weekend’s festival at the U.S. Air Force base because of the weather…but here are a couple pictures from the event when we went in 2005. They had a sky-diving show and let the public look inside the aircraft:

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And yesterday (Sunday), I volunteered to help set up and run a booth at a local summer festival near our house.

It was still raining (and it’s still raining today :( ) but a fairly large number of people still turned up. I helped run the drinks and かき氷 (flavored shaved ice) booth.

The weather was pretty cool, so not many people wanted shaved ice…but we sold alot of drinks. Especially beer!

It was a 盆踊り (Bon dancing) festival…but I was surprised that so many people still did the dancing despite the weather.

I was busy helping out so I didn’t bring my camera. But I took a picture with the cell-phone. It didn’t turn out so good because it was rainy and evening.

It was fun.

新聞より

1 Jul

Yesterday I read the newspaper while I was riding the train.

A few stories made an impression on me (let me know if you’ve heard any of this news…and what you think!):

  1. At the Six Flags amusement park in Georgia, USA, a 17-year old boy climbed two fences that surrounded the perimeter of a roller-coaster ride.
    He went in there to get his hat or something…and the roller coaster hit him and decapitated him!
    I was shocked to read this…but, then again, I’ve read quite a few stories about tragedies at amusement parks. That’s why I’m always hesitant to let my kids go to one with their friends (I let them go…but I’m always nervous about it).
  2. Many countries are sending their Olympic teams to Japan to practice for the upcoming Olympics in 北京 (Beijing) rather than have them practice in 中国 (China).
    This is because, the newspaper said, many countries are concerned about air pollution, food safety, and political tension in China.
    Also, they said, Japan has good training facilities.
  3. Tokyo is the largest city in the world. And it’s the most densely populated (Tokyo has 36 million people…nearly double the population of New York City. There are more people in Tokyo than in all of Canada!)
    But, despite Tokyo’s large population…this city was recently voted the third most livable city in the world by the London magazine Monocle!
    Copenhagen and Munich were voted first and second respectively…but those two cities have only just over one million people. Tokyo has nearly 36 times as many residents…but the magazine says Tokyo is “a big city getting the basics right”.
    The link to the Monocle magazine’s article is here (they require a paid subscription to read the entire article…but you can see the headline for free :( (whatever)).
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