Tag Archives: 桜

Sakura 2014

2 Apr

Here are some of the photos my wife, kids and I took at 花見 (cherry blossom viewing) we went to yesterday.

We went to a small park, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine), and 千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi) near the 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan).

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The world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan).

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The torii entrance to the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine). We ate “okonomiyaki” for lunch from one of these ‘yatai’ (traditional Japanese food booths).

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The 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

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This old sakura tree in Yasukuni Shrine is the official tree that determines the start of “Sakura season” for Tokyo. When five flowers bloom on this tree, it’s announced that the season has begun.

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千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi) near the Budokan.

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桜まつり

5 Apr

Yesterday we went to a park for 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing), which has been a springtime tradition in Japan for centuries.

Just as most people in Japan do, we had a picnic under the trees.

There was a traditional Japanese dance performance.

It was a bit cold and overcast in Tokyo today…but the five of us were together, the sakura trees looked beautiful, and my wife made a delicious lunch for us. So we had a good time!

At festivals in Japan, there are almost always booths like this selling snacks and food...like these バナナチョコレート (chocolate-covered bananas).

What types of festivals are popular in your country?  Do sakura (cherry-blossoms) bloom were you live? Have you ever been to a 花見 (Cherry-blossom viewing picnic)?

April Fools

1 Apr

Today is April Fools Day.

On this day it has been a common practice for centuries for people to play a practical joke on others.
And if someone believes that joke or prank is true, then they are the “April Fool”.

Many major newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and websites often join this holiday and print a false news article that is usually quite preposterous and unbelievable…but many people “fall for the joke”.
They sometimes give hints in the article that it’s an “April Fools” joke, such as listing a false person’s name such as “Lirpa Sloof” (“April Fools” spelled backwards) as a news source, or listing a false product serial number such as “20100401” (2010/04/01…today’s date).

And then either the next day or somewhere in the same day’s publication, they’ll announce that it was only an “April Fools joke”.

On the “Museum Of Hoaxes” website, they a list of “The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes Of All Time“.

Here are some of the best hoaxes that I’ve paraphrased from their list:

#59: Daylight Savings Contest
1984 April 1: the Eldorado Daily Journal newspaper of Illinois, USA announced a contest to see who could save the most daylight for daylight savings time….whoever succeeded in saving the most daylight would win. Only pure daylight would be allowed—no dawn or twilight light, though light from cloudy days would be allowed. Moonlight was strictly forbidden. Light could be stored in any container. The contest received a huge, nationwide response. The paper’s editor was interviewed by correspondents from CBS and NBC and was featured in papers throughout the country.

#47: Internet Spring Cleaning
1997 April 1: An email message spread throughout the world announcing that the internet would be shut down for cleaning for twenty-four hours from March 31 until April 2.
The cleaning would be done by “five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world.” During this period, users were warned to disconnect all devices from the internet.

This joke was an updated version of an old joke that used to be told about the phone system. For many years, gullible phone customers had been warned that the phone systems would be cleaned on April Fool’s Day. They were cautioned to place plastic bags over the ends of the phone to catch the dust that might be blown out of the phone lines during this period.

#20: The Twenty-Six-Day Marathon
1981 April 1: The Daily Mail in London, England ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles.

#15: Metric Time
1975 April 1: Australia’s This Day Tonight news program revealed that the country would soon be converting to “metric time.” Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days. Furthermore, seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays. They received numerous calls from viewers who fell for the hoax. One frustrated viewer wanted to know how he could convert his newly purchased digital clock to metric time.

#12: Flying Penguins
2008 April 1: The BBC of England announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic had captured footage of penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.
Presenter Terry Jones explained that…(these penguins) flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.”

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper
1998 April 1: Burger King published a full page advertisement in the USA Today newspaper announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans.
Thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Also “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

#4: The Taco Liberty Bell
1996 April 1: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the “Liberty Bell” monument in America and was renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger.

Taco Bell's April Fool ad about the "Taco Liberty Bell"

#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
1957 April 1: The BBC in England announced that thanks to a very mild winter…Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.
Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

Have you ever been fooled by an “April Fools” joke? Have you ever fooled anyone with one?

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On a different note, yesterday I noticed a few Sakura trees blooming here in Tokyo.
Next weekend we plan to go 「花見」 (“Cherry Blossom Viewing”).

Here are a few photos I took yesterday:

Almost spring

21 Feb

Today we went to 柴又 (Shibamata, Tokyo).
It’s a 下町 (traditional, downtown) area of Tokyo that I like alot. (Click here to see my post in which I explain a little about this area and have more photos.)

We also went to a nearby park and saw the 梅の花 (Plum flowers) and 寒桜 (Winter Cherry Blossoms) were in bloom.

梅の花 (Plum flowers)

寒桜 (Winter Cherry Blossoms)

It’s still cold in Tokyo…but spring’s not too far off now.

What kinds of flowers are in bloom where you live in the world?
What are the signs of winter ending and spring coming in your country?

Japanese Festivals in America

12 May

It seems that there are a number of Japanese festivals in America at various times of the year and in various cities around America.

I’d like to attend a Japanese festival in America and see how similar or different it is from a real Japanese festival!

Have you ever been to a Japanese festival in America (or another country)? How was it?

I found information online about a few Japanese festivals in different U.S. cities:

  • Japan Fest, Atlanta (Georgia, USA)

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    2009年9月19日(土曜日)から9月20日(日曜日)まで。 (Saturday, 19 September 2009 – Sunday. 20 September).

    All of the Japanese festivals in America that I found online have already finished this year…except this one.
    If you’re in Atlanta, Georgia USA this September 19 -20, you should consider checking out this festival.

    They have scheduled martial arts shows, 盆栽 (bonsai), 生花 (ikebana), アニメ (anime), Japanese food, etc.

  • The Japan-America Society Of Houston (Texas, USA)

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    This festival was held in Texas, USA on 2009年4月25日から4月26日まで。 (2009 April 25-26).

    Do you go to it?

  • National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C. (USA)

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    This year’s festival in Washington D.C. was held on 2009年3月28日から4月12日まで。 (2009 March 28 – April 12).

    Next year’s will be 2010年3月27日から4月11日まで。 (2010 March 27 – April 11).

    Did you go to this festival? Are you planning to go next year?

    I heard about this festival on the TV news here in Japan because Jero performed at it this year (I wrote a post about it last March. Click here to read it).

  • Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (USA)

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    This year’s festival was on 2009年4月5日。 (2009 April 5).

There are many international festivals in Tokyo…

But I never knew there were so many Japanese festivals in America before. When I lived in America, I never heard about any Japan festivals. Are they a fairly recent* occurence? (* by recent, I mean since 1990.)
Is it because there’s currently a “Japan boom” in America?
Have you been to a Japan festival?

靖国神社の桜祭り

8 Apr

Today my wife and I went to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is a beautiful shrine in Tokyo that is dedicated to all who have died defending Japan in battle.

Some of the WW2 veterans enshrined at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) have been classified as war criminals by Allied courts. So, for that reason, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is a controversial place, especially with neighboring Asian countries.

To me, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is Japan’s equivalent to America’s Arlington Veterans Cemetery in Washington D.C..
Nothing wrong with honoring those who sacrificed their lives for their country. (I’ve written a few other posts about 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)…click here to read one.)

Anyways, the reason we went to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) was to see the 桜祭り (Cherry Blossom Festival) there.

The (Cherry Blossoms) in Tokyo are close to the end of their short life. They are beginning to fall to the ground. Soon they’ll be gone until next year…so, as we do every year, we’re appreciating them before they’re gone.

Whenever the wind gently blew today, the 桜の花びら (petals of the Cherry Blossom flowers) would fall to the ground. It was like a beautiful pink snowfall!

Here are some of the photos we took today (in many of them, you can see the falling 桜の花びら (petals of the Cherry Blossom flowers)):

Entrance to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)

Entrance to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)

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Can you see the falling petals in this photo?

Can you see the falling petals in this photo?

You can see the falling petals in this picture too!

You can see the falling petals in this picture too!

Sakura petals are floating in the lake.

Sakura petals are floating in the lake.

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屋台 (Festival food booths)

屋台 (Festival food booth

Entrance to the world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon-Budokan)

Entrance to the world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon-Budokan)

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Statue of a 19th century Japanese politician 品川弥二郎 (Shinagawa Yajirou)

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さ・く・ら・ま・つ・り

5 Apr

Today we went to a nearby 桜祭り (Cherry Blossom Festival) and enjoyed a 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) picnic that my wife and daughters made.

Our lunch was おにぎり (rice balls), 卵焼き (Japanese grilled eggs), broccoli, chicken, (strawberries), cookies, and beer*!
It was an excellent picnic lunch!

(*Of course, only my wife and I had beer. Our daughters had tea. 😉 )

Here are some photos we took:

Many people were enjoying 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

Many people were enjoying 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

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There are many turtles, ducks and carp in the pond.

There are many turtles, ducks and carp in the pond.

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Drying in the sun

Drying in the sun

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Cherry Blossom tree next to a bus stop

Cherry Blossom tree next to a bus stop

「かき氷」 (Shaved Ice) vendor

「かき氷」 (Shaved Ice) vendor