Tag Archives: 茨城県

Two kids with big stories

20 Oct

Do you know the story of 春日めぐみ (Megumi Kasuga) or 佐々木偵子 (Sadako Sasaki)?

They are two young Japanese girls that were about the same age when they each had a tragedy in their life and how they reacted made them both famous in Japan.

Megumi Kasuga was a thirteen year old junior high school student in 茨城県 (Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) when her father died of cancer.
In memory of her father, who wanted to travel overseas on holiday…but never got the chance, Megumi wrote a letter explaining that she hoped people around the world would take her favorite teddy-bear on a world journey.

She gave the letter and the bear to an American visitor in Japan, who in turn gave it to a Swedish tourist in America…who then gave to another tourist when she got back to Sweden.
And the bear’s journey began.

Megumi received letters from people all over the world wishing her well.
Some people were so touched by her story that they came to Japan to meet young Megumi in person.

Here’s the letter she wrote:

Dear Kind Person,

I’m a seventh grade student in junior high school. I’m 13 years old and live in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Kashima is located on the Pacific coast, to the northeast of Tokyo. It takes about two hours by car from here to Tokyo, and about one hour to Narita (New Tokyo) International Airport. Soccer is very popular in Kashima. Our city is the home of the only Japan League professional soccer team in Ibaraki Ken, the Kashima Antlers.

My father, at age 52, died of pancreas cancer on April 26 of this year, 1996. He loved to travel, but he didn’t have a chance to travel abroad, except his honeymoon in Hawaii. He was always very busy as a doctor at his hospital. He was also one of the team doctors for the Antlers. I would like to send this little hand-made teddy bear around the world to carry my father’s spirit to all those places that he never could go. My mother and I share this dream. Would you please help me, and take him with you? When you get to your destination, please give Mack to another person so that he can continue his journey. That way, my father can finally see the world through Mack’s eyes.

Thank you for your kindness. May your dreams also come true.

Peace and love,

Megumi Kasuga

P.S. If you can, please send me a picture of yourself and Mack wherever you go, so that I’ll know he is still travelling.

===

Sadako Sasaki was born on 1943 January 7 in 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).
She was two years old when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on that city.

When she turned twelve, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia and was given less than a year to live.
She had to stay in the hospital.

While she was in the hospital, she began to fold 千羽鶴 (1000 Origami Cranes) which are a good luck gesture in Japan.

千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes)

千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes)

Sadako folded any piece of paper she could find in the hospital into a paper crane. Hospital staff, other patients and friends and family helped her and gave her any paper they could.

On 1955 October 25, Sadako’s mother made a special meal for her and gave it to her in the hospital.
The last word Sadako Sasaki said before she died that day at age 12 was 「おいしい」 (“It’s delicious“).

Sadako only managed to fold less than 700 paper cranes before she died.
Her friends and family folded the rest and put all 1000 paper cranes in Sadako’s casket with her.

Sadako Sasaki’s story has come to symbolize the need for world peace and there is a statue of her in Hiroshima.
People often leave 千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes) at the statue.

Memorial Service

1 Dec

Yesterday we went up to 茨城県 (Ibaraki Prefecture), about 150 Km (about 95 miles) north of Tokyo.

It’s very different from urban Tokyo…it’s all mountains and countryside. A very beautiful and traditional Japanese area.

But we weren’t there for sight-seeing. My wife has some relatives who live there and last year, one of her aunts from that area died. So we went up there last year for the funeral.
And yesterday, as per Japanese tradition, was the 一周忌法要 (one-year memorial service).

The service started at 11:00AM, so we left home at 9:00 and took the express train up to 茨城県 (Ibaraki Prefecture) and got there at about 10:40AM.
We walked to the (temple) where the memorial service was to be held.

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It would take alot to clearly explain Japanese funeral and memorial services because they are quite different than the Western versions.
After the service, we went to the (grave) to leave 御線香 (incense).
Then, we (my wife, kids and I…as well as all of my wife’s relatives who were at the memorial service) went to a very traditional restaurant for lunch.

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Lunch was outstanding…and huge! We had 刺身 (Sashimi), 天ぷら (Tenpura), crab, ウナギ (Freshwater eel), salad, soup, beer and 熱燗酒 (hot Saké )!

Here are a few pictures that I took of the small-town area:

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BTW, today is the seventh birthday of 敬宮愛子内親王殿下 (Princess Aiko) of the 皇室 (Japanese Imperial Family).

aiko-sama

Photos

28 Aug

I went thru some of my photos and decided to post a bunch of them on my blog. Mostly as Slideshows.

For convenience, here’s a menu of the pictures, slideshows, and video on this post:

Turtle Butterfly Beetle
Cicada Kawasaki Halloween Kamakura Horseback Archery
Asakusa Horseback Archery Asakusa New Years Tokyo Disneyland
Park Cherry Blossom Viewing Ibaraki
Yokohama Kameido-Tenjin Harajuku / Shibuya
Ueno Tokyo Tower Tokyo Dome area
Tokyo Stn / Imperial Palace University of Tokyo Tobu Zoo
Ryogoku Bottom of this post

First are some of the small animals that have been living in our house recently.

Our ミドリ亀 (Red-eared slider turtle):

My YouTube video of our ミドリ亀 (Red-eared slider turtle):

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The アゲハ蝶 (Swallowtail Butterfly) (and his (cocoon)).

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Here’s a slideshow of our カブト虫 (Rhino beetle) eating gelatin.

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A slideshow of our (Cicada) emerging from it’s moult (outer shell).

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Here’s ハロウィーン (Halloween) at 川崎 (Kawasaki):

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And here’s a slideshow of the 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery) at 鎌倉 (Kamakura):

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And the 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery) at 浅草 (Asakusa):

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And here’s a slideshow of New Years at 浅草 (Asakusa):

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東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland):

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A park near our house:

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花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing):

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茨城県 (Ibaraki) is a countryside prefecture to the north of 東京都 (Tokyo):

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横浜 (Yokohama):

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亀戸天神 (Kameido-Tenjin Shrine):

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原宿 (Harajuku) and 渋谷 (Shibuya):

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These photos are from 上野 (Ueno):

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東京タワー (Tokyo Tower):

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The 東京ドーム (Tokyo Dome) area (including the amusement park and 小石川後楽園 (Koishikawa-kourakuen Japanese Gardens)). There happened to be a cosplay event on the day I took these photos:

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東京駅 (Tokyo Train Station) and the 皇居 (Imperial Palace):

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東京大学 (The University of Tokyo):

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東武動物公園 (Tobu-Doubutsukouen Zoo):

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両国 (Ryougoku), the area of Tokyo with the 国技館 (Sumo Arena):

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Please leave a comment of what you think of these photos!

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