Tag Archives: 蝉

The Sound of Summer in Japan

18 Aug

Are they (Cicadas) in your country?
(Cicadas) are a large insect that spends most of it’s life underground in it’s egg. It spends a few years underground before it hatches, then it digs it’s way to the surface.

(Cicadas) emerge from the ground every summer in Japan. Shortly after emerging from the ground still a “baby” that can’t yet fly, they grow into an adult and shed their hard skin.

As an adult, (Cicadas) can fly but they are harmless. They don’t bite or sting…they feed on tree sap so they spend most of their time on tree trunks.

Once they mature, they have a short life-span. They need to quickly find a mate because they will die in just a few weeks.
In order to find a mate, the male (Cicadas) chirp loudly and continuously during the daytime.

So the sound of (Cicadas) chirping is the “sound of summer” to Japanese people.

Anyways, yesterday I had some errands to run in downtown Tokyo. After I finished, I took a few photos…including photos of (Cicadas) that I saw in 上野公園 (Ueno Park).
I also took a short video of a couple (Cicadas) so you can hear them.

Here are the photos and video I took:

Kasumigaseki Police Station

Kasumigaseki Police Station

The engine of Japan's first train in front of 新橋駅 (Shinbashi Stn (one of Japan's oldest train stations))

The engine of Japan's first train in front of 新橋駅 (Shinbashi Stn (one of Japan's oldest train stations))

In front of 新橋駅 (Shinbashi Station)

In front of 新橋駅 (Shinbashi Station)

不忍池 ("Shinobazu Pond") at 上野公園 (Ueno Park)

不忍池 ("Shinobazu Pond") at 上野公園 (Ueno Park)

A Cicada's skin after shedding.

A Cicada's skin after shedding.

蝉 (A Cicada) on a tree

蝉 (A Cicada) on a tree

A Cicada against Tokyo's skyline

A Cicada against Tokyo's skyline

不忍池 (Shinobazu Pond)

不忍池 (Shinobazu Pond)

Mr. Cicada serenading the ladies.

Mr. Cicada serenading the ladies.

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At Ueno’s Toshogu Shrine, there are monuments in honor of the first pair of eyeglasses in Japan, Japanese instrument called “Biwa“, and blowfish.

「ふぐ供養碑」 ("Monument to the blowfish")

「ふぐ供養碑」 ("Monument to the blowfish")

Cicada in front of Ueno's Toshogu Shrine.

Cicada in front of Ueno's Toshogu Shrine.

And here’s a video I took where you can hear the chirping of the (Cicadas):

東武動物公園

7 Sep

Yesterday, we took the kids to the 東武スーパープール (Tobu Super Pool), which is one of the pool amusement parks in the Tokyo area with a current pool, a wave pool and four water slides.

We woke up early and got ready (and my wife and kids made a picnic lunch) and we took the train up north into 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) where the park is.
The weather forecast on the TV said that there was a chance of rain but we decided to go anyways because the pool will close next week for the season (and we have other plans for next weekend)…and it was good that we went because the weather was perfect.

We arrived there at about 11:00 AM and stayed until 3:30PM. My kids were in the pools and water slides the whole time (my wife and I went in for awhile too), and only got out for lunch.

The lunch that my wife and daughters made was おにぎり (rice balls) with salmon inside, chicken, chips and ビール (beer) (the kids drank Coke®).

The only photos that I took there were of my family (which I don’t put online). I didn’t take any other photos at the pool because I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of other people.
Well, I did take this photo of a (cicada) that we saw there:

The 東武スーパープール (Tobu Super Pool) is a part of the excellent 東武動物公園 (Tobu Zoo Park).

So, to get into the Super Pool, you need to buy admission tickets to enter the 東武動物公園 (Tobu Zoo Park), which has an 遊園地 (amusement park), a 動物園 (zoo), a わんこビレッジ (dog village), as well as the 東武スーパープール (Tobu Super Pool).

With that ticket, you can visit the zoo, but the dog village (where you can hold and play with different dogs), the amusement park, and the Super Pool cost extra.

We bought the admission tickets at a discount ticket shop last week, so we saved some money on that cost.

We have been to 東武動物公園 (Tobu Zoo Park) a few times before.
You can see a slideshow of our last visit there at this link.

and another post about it here.

When we left the Super Pool yesterday at 3:30PM, we walked around the zoo and looked at the animals until it closed at 5:30PM.

We were surprised when we were looking at the chimpanzees, they suddenly became quite agitated and started yelling and running around the cage throwing the tires and their water!

Then, at 5:30PM, we headed home for dinner. My wife made excellent 豚キムチ (Pork kimchee (spicy cabbage)).

Here are some videos I took of the animals at the zoo (including the angry chimps):

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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Bike ride…

13 Aug

Yesterday we went on a bike ride to a park not too far from our house.

At the park, my kids caught (frogs) and (cicadas).

They’re girls and they’re teenagers…but they’ll still go out with their parents. And they still wanna catch bugs.
I’m glad! As their father, they’ll never grow up…in my mind!

Here’s a video of my second daughter holding a couple of (cicadas) she caught. At the end, she asks me 「もういい?」 (“Enough?”):

There’s a Japanese style garden at the park.

(A wooden lantern) (Looking thru a stone lantern)

Here’s a couple of shots of the river near the park:

And here are a couple of videos that I took of trains going over the bridge:

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One the way home from the park we stopped at 「ザ・ダイソー」 (“The Daiso“) for a couple things.

Do you know “The Daiso” (usually just called “Daiso”, or 百均 (Hyakkin (which is an abbreviation for 百円均一 (Hyakuenkinitsu), or 百円ショップ (¥100 Shop))?

There are other ¥100 shops…and even a ¥99 shop. But Daiso is almost synonymous with ¥100 shop.

Daiso is basically the Japanese version of the American One Dollar Store. (¥100 is almost equal to US$1)…but Daiso sells better merchandise. Better quality and more useful.

So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to learn that they’ve expanded overseas.

There are now Japanese Daiso stores in Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the west coast of Canada and America (among other countries)!

Here’s the Daiso website.

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It’s obvious by their manners…but now it’s official:
Japanese travelers are the best tourists.

花火大会

3 Aug

Yesterday my wife, our two youngest daughters and I went to a 花火大会 (fireworks show).

My oldest went to the fireworks show with her friends.

One of our daughter’s friends came with us, too.

My wife and daughters prepared a wonderful picnic for us to enjoy during the show (just as they do every year 🙂 !)

We had おにぎり (rice balls), 枝豆 (soy beans), イカ (squid), 寿司 (sushi), corn on the cob, pineapple slices, and beer (the kids had grape soda)! Wonderful!

Fireworks shows in Japan are great. It feels like summer has officially started with the fireworks shows.

Even before the fireworks begin, the feeling of Japanese summer is in the air…

the sounds of (Cicada (if you don’t know what a Cicada is…you can read about them on this Wikipedia page)), people eating スイカ (watermelons), the jingling of 風鈴 (wind chimes), and people wearing 浴衣 (summer kimono) and 甚平 (traditional summer outfit).

Here’s photo of some people sitting down before the start of the fireworks show:

Here’s a couple videos I took of people finding a spot to watch the fireworks (there were many people dressed in 浴衣 (summer kimono) and 甚平 (traditional summer outfits) but not so many can be seen in these videos 😦 ) :

If you ever have a chance to watch a 花火大会 (fireworks show) in Japan, you’ll feel they’re excellent, I’m sure.

Also you may hear people shout 「タマヤ」 (“Tamaya!”) and 「カギヤ」 (“Kagiya!”) when the fireworks go up and explode. It’s not heard as much today as it used to…but some people still do.

This came about because centuries ago, fireworks shows were done by the Tamaya company. After a while, some workers formed a rival company called Kagiya. When that company started, the two groups would compete at fireworks shows to put on better displays.

From then on, Japanese people would call out “Tamaya! Kagiya!” at fireworks shows.

Anyways, here are six videos that I took at yesterday’s fireworks show (it’s hard to appreciate fireworks works on small YouTube screens…to really appreciate Japanese fireworks shows, come to Japan in the summer and watch one in person!)