Tag Archives: 横浜

The 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th

12 Feb

Have you seen the photos of the “2001 September 11th attacks” on the World Trade Center towers in New York City that were recently made public?

These photos were taken by New York Police Officers who were on the scene in a police helicopter.

Here are some of the photos they took:


The 2010 Winter Olympics will take place in Vancouver, Canada.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin on Friday, 2010 February 12th in the evening…Canada time. So, it’ll be Saturday, 2010 February 13th here in Japan when the ceremony begins.

The official 2010 Olympics logo.

The games will go from 2010 February 12-28 (Canada time).
Do you watch the Olympics?
I watch them…but the games go for over two weeks—I don’t watch everyday of the games. I like to watch some of the opening ceremony and some of the closing ceremony and a few games in between.

This year, Japan is sending 95 athletes to compete in the Olympics, America is sending 216, and Canada (the host country) will have 206 athletes play.
How many athletes from your country will be at the 2010 Olympics?


Sunday, February 14th will be Valentine’s Day.
How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in your country?

In Japan, it’s done the opposite of how America celebrates it. And Japan has another holiday (called “White Day“) in March that is more similar to Western-style Valentine’s.

Click here to read my FAQ about Valentine’s Day in Japan…
and click here to read my post that explains Japanese Valentine’s (and other holidays in February) in more detail.

Also, this year on February 14 will be the Chinese New Years.
I mentioned it on my site’s “Festivals In Tokyo” page….click here to read it.

Have you ever experienced a Chinese New Years ceremony?
If you’re in the Tokyo area this weekend, you can go to 「横浜中華街」 (“Yokohama China Town“) and see a Chinese New Years ceremony.


熊田千佳慕 R.I.P.

13 Aug

熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) was an artist born in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan) in 1911.

He was a graphic designer until the age of 26 when he changed careers to do something he was passionate about. He became a botanical artist.

He loved children and he loved nature…especially insects. So he wrote books for children about plants and insects.


He was often called the 「日本のファーブル」 (“Japanese Fabre“) or even 「プチファーブル」 (“Petit Fabre“).

He was called that because ジャン・アンリ・ファーブル (Jean Henri Fabre) was a French entomologist (insect scientist) who lived from the early nineteenth century until the early twentieth century.
He’s pretty famous in Japan.

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

My family and I are interested in insects. (Click here to see a couple photos of our latest “pet”.)
Last year we went to a ファーブル (Fabre) exhibit at a museum in Tokyo.

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Like Fabre, 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) loved insects.
And he drew detailed illustrations of plants and insects for children’s book even when he was into his late 90s!


This year, the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store in 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) is celebrating it’s 140th anniversary.
As part of it’s celebration, they’re having an exhibit of the artwork of 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) on the 8th floor from yesterday (2009 August 12) until August 24.

kumada-art01But what makes this exhibit especially significant is that it is now a memorial to the artist…since, one day after the opening of the exhibit, he died today at the age of 98.

Tragically, it wasn’t old age that took him. He may have very well lived past 100. He died today when he choked to death on food that he swallowed wrong.

My family and I plan to go to the exhibit of his artwork in the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store this month.


熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada): 1911 July 21 – 2009 August 13 (age 98), R.I.P.

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13


Anpanman in the Guinness Book

28 Jul

There’s a very popular children’s cartoon character in Japan called 「それいけ!アンパンマン」 (“Go! Anpanman“).


2009 has been a big year for 「アンパンマン」 (Anpanman) and for his artist Takashi Yanase.

This year, Takashi Yanase turned 90 years old, he’s been a professional artist for 60 years, the 「アンパンマン」 (Anpanman) comic started 40 years ago, and the 「アンパンマン」 (Anpanman) television series started 20 years ago. (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this).
And now, 「それいけ!アンパンマン」 (“Go! Anpanman“) is in the Guinness Book Of World Records for having the “Most Characters In A Single Animated Series“.

「それいけ!アンパンマン」 (“Go! Anpanman“) has over 2000 characters, but the Guinness Book only recognized 1768 characters…which still sets the record as the most characters.

Here are some of the main ones:

anpanman-fullMy kids grew up watching 「それいけ!アンパンマン」 (“Go! Anpanman“). It’s a wonderful cartoon for kids!

Have you ever watched 「それいけ!アンパンマン」 (“Go! Anpanman“)? I like 「バイキンマン」 (Baikinman), 「ホラーマン」 (Horror-man), and 「だいこんやくしゃ」 (Daikonyakusha) best.

Click here to see my post about the 「アンパンマン」 (Anpanman) Exhibit we went to last Spring.


24 May

First of all, today is my mother’s birthday. So…Happy birthday, Mom.

Yesterday, I watched the movie 「ラーメン・ガール」 (“The Ramen Girl“).


Have you ever seen this movie?

It’s not bad. It’s much better than that other Tokyo-related but over-rated 「ロスト・イン・トランスレーション」 (“Lost In Translation“)!

A boring movie....

A boring movie....

The movie “Lost In Translation” is about an American woman who follows her boyfriend to Tokyo when his work sends him here and he is too busy to spend time with her so meets another American who is working in Tokyo and just as lonely as she is.

If you haven’t seen it…don’t bother. It’s painfully boring.

The movie “The Ramen Girl“, though not great, is a much better movie than “Lost In Translation“.
Ironically, it has some similarities in the story.
An American woman follows her boyfriend to Tokyo when his work sends him here in this story, too. He decides she’s cramping his style and he moves to Osaka without her.
She becomes depressed and lonely and one night has a bowl of ラーメン (Ramen*) at a nearby Ramen shop that are all over Japan.
(* Real ramen. Not the instant type that is cheaply sold in supermarkets. It’s quite different.)

She falls in love with Ramen and decides she wants the Ramen chef to allow her to become his apprentice. Which is grudgingly agrees to…even though she can’t speak any Japanese and he can’t speak English.

It takes her awhile to understand that, in Japan, that a student is expected to take his role seriously and follow everything his teacher says…without question.
(Much the same lesson that “Daniel” learned in the movie 「ベスト・キッド」 (“The Karate Kid“).)

Karate Kid Japanese movie flyer

Karate Kid Japanese movie flyer

The movie 「ラーメン・ガール」 (“The Ramen Girl“) definitely wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen. But it was fun. It had parts that over-simplified or stereotyped Japan…but it also showed Tokyo better than alot of other overseas movies do. They even showed the Yokohama Ramen Museum briefly.

(You can also click here to read a review of this movie by “Manmanchi“).

Japanese beer

22 Feb

Do you like beer?
Have you ever tried Japanese beer?

I beer!

「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) is my favorite…but I’ll take any cold lager!

Kirin Tanrei Double

Kirin Tanrei Double

Japan has five major brewers:

  • Kirin Beer – This beer began in the late nineteenth-century in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan). It’s named after a mythological creature called a 「麒麟」 (kirin) that looks like a dragon (it’s featured on the beer cans)…not named after a giraffe (which is 「キリン」 (kirin), also).
  • A mythological "kirin".

    A mythological "kirin".

    Many people don’t know that hidden in the creature on Kirin Beer cans is the word 「キリン」 (kirin):

    「キ・リ・ン」 (Ki-ri-n) written in the creature's mane.

    「キ・リ・ン」 (Ki-ri-n) written in the creature's mane.

    (I wrote another post that mentions Kirin Beer. Click here to see it.)

  • Asahi Beer -Started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
  • asahibeer_logo1

    The Asahi Beer brewery is a Tokyo landmark.

    The Asahi Beer brewery is a Tokyo landmark.

    (I have pictures of old Asahi Beer posters on the end of another post. Click here to see it.)

  • Suntory Beer – Also started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
    Suntory Beer got it’s name because the founder’s name was Mr. Torii…or Torii-san. So, he took the words Torii and san and reversed them into San-torii and changed the spelling to Suntory.
  • (Another famous Japanese company got their name in a similar manner. The Bridgestone company was founded by Mr. Ishibashi…which translates into Stone bridge, which he reversed to Bridgestone.)

    Suntory Beer

    Suntory Beer

  • Sapporo Beer – Started in 北海道札幌 (Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan).
  • Sapporo Beer

    Sapporo Beer

    Sapporo Beer bought the Yebisu Beer brewery (which was from Tokyo), so they make that beer as well.

    Yebisu Beer (pronounced "Ebisu")

    Yebisu Beer (pronounced "Ebisu")

  • Orion Beer – From 沖縄 (Okinawa, Japan)
  • Orion Beer

    Orion Beer

Have you ever tried Japanese beer? Which ones have you tried? Did you like them?
What’s your favorite beer in the world?

As I said above, I like 「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) best…and probably オリオンビール (Orion Beer) as my next favorite.


4 Feb

Yesterday was 節分 (Setsubun).

Click here to read a post I wrote last week about it.

On this holiday (the first day of Spring in the old Lunar calendar), people (usually children) throw soy beans at someone dressed as the (demon) (usually the father) while shouting 「鬼は外!福は内!」 (“Bad luck out! Fortune in!”).

Setsubun demon masks.

Setsubun demon masks.

Also, many temples and shrines have festivals on 節分 (Setsubun) that often include sumo wrestlers and other celebrities throwing beans at the crowd.

Tokyo’s 増上寺 (Zoujyouji Temple) is one of the most popular places at 節分 (Setsubun).

Setsubun 2009 at Zoujyouji

Setsubun 2009 at Zoujyouji

This year’s celebrities at 増上寺 (Zoujyouji Temple) included Chadha, the Indian singer of Japanese Enka music and Tamao Nakamura, an actress.


Tomorrow, the world famous annual 札幌雪祭 (Sapporo Snow Festival) begins and goes for one week.

2009 �幌雪まつり

2009 札幌雪まつり

I went to this festival in 1992. It was great! I’d like to go again one day.

A highlight of the festival are the big, elaborate snow sculptures.


Click here to visit the 札幌雪祭 (Sapporo Snow Festival) website in 日本語…or click here to visit the English version.


横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) is having various 春節 (Chinese New Year) events until February 28.

You should check it out if you have a chance…even though the best parts (lion dance, dragon dance, etc) were on January 26, the date of Chinese New Year this year…there are still parades are other things scheduled various days this month.
Click here to visit the official 横浜中華街 (Yokohama Chinatown) website’s 春節 (Chinese New Year) page. (Japanese only).

I wrote a post about Chinese New Year (click here to see it) and I mention in that post about the difference between the Chinese dragon dance and the Japanese one.

At New Years time, both China and Japan also have lion dances…but, just like the Chinese and Japanese dragons are quite different, so are the Chinese and Japanese lions.

The Chinese one:

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

The Japanese one looks and moves quite different. In Japan, it’s called 「獅子舞」 (Shishimai):

Japanese "Shishimai" Lion Dance

Japanese "Shishimai" Lion Dance

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.)