Tag Archives: 雷


11 Dec

Have you ever heard the story of Commander 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) of the 大日本帝国海軍 (Imperial Japanese Navy) who, during World War 2, was the captain of the Japanese naval destroyer 「」 (Ikazuchi)? (The name “Ikazuchi“, by the way, is an uncommon pronunciation for “thunder” in Japanese).

How about Sir Sam Falle who was a sailor on the destroyer, HMS Encounter of the English Royal Navy, during World War 2?

Just like most people, you probably aren’t familiar with either.

I recently watched a special about their story on TV. It’s an amazing story about Sir Sam Falle and Commander 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU), who lived by 武士道 (the Way Of The Samurai).

The story began in early March 1942. The HMS Encounter and the US Navy ship, the USS Pope were sunk after a heavy battle with the Japanese Navy.
442 survivors of those two ships were left floating in the Java Sea with no realistic chance of rescue by the allies (who weren’t in the area). One of those survivors was Sam Falle.

There weren’t enough life boats for all of the men, so most were holding onto the boats or debris and floating in the fuel drenched sea. Many got oil in their eyes and couldn’t see.

After the men of the HMS Encounter and USS Pope had been floating for over twenty hours and were close to death, the Japanese destroyer (Ikazuchi) entered the Java Sea.

The (Ikazuchi) was on high-alert and the sailors onboard were at their battlestations because the area was known to be heavily populated with enemy (re: Allied) submarines that could torpedo and sink the ship.

When the stranded Allied sailors initially saw the destroyer, they thought it was a friendly ship and began to wave madly to make their presence seen. But once they realized that it was a Japanese warship, they were certain they were doomed.

When the sailor on lookout watch onboard the (Ikazuchi) saw the American and English sailors in the water, he informed the ship’s captain, Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU).

The commander knew that they must have been the survivors of the sea battle the day before. And much to his crew’s surprise, he ordered a rescue operation!
He was informed that in order to rescue them all, almost all ship’s crew would be required to help…which would take men off of submarine watch and from manned guns. And also it require a great deal of the ship’s fuel…if an enemy ship approached, they might not have enough fuel for evasive battle measures.

On top of that, he was informed, taking onboard all of those additional sailors would more space, medicine and food than they had onboard.

Despite all of this, Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) believed that even in war, there are moral rules to live by. And he repeated his order to rescue each and every man from the sea.

Sir Sam Falle was surprised and moved that the crew of the (Ikazuchi) rescued them and gave them their medicine and food.

After the war was over and Sam Falle was living back in England, he still could never forget about the kindness of Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) and he wanted to travel to Japan to meet him again and thank him in person.

The only problem was that shortly after that incident, Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) was transferred to command another ship…and the Japanese naval destroyer 「」 (Ikazuchi) was sunk in battle and all of the sailors onboard died.

Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) never spoke of the war or his experience (even about the rescue operation). Some people think this was because he felt bad about the sinking of his former ship and the deaths of his former shipmates.

Because Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) never spoke of his experiences, it was difficult for Sir Sam Falle to locate him.
It wasn’t until Sam Falle wrote a book (titled “My Lucky Life“) about his experiences in WW2 (including, of course, the rescue operation in the Java Sea by the Japanese destroyer) and the book was translated into Japanese that fate stepped in.
A former Japanese crewman of (Ikazuchi) who was part of the rescue operation (but had also transferred before the ship sunk) contacted Sir Sam Falle and they met in 2003.

At the meeting, Sir Sam Falle told the Japanese sailor (whose name is Shunzo TAGAMI) about his desire to meet Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) and thank him in person.

In 2004, Mr. Tagami told Sam Falle that he was finally able to find out about Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU). He had unfortunately died of cancer in 1979.
After Mr. Tagami was finally able to find the grave of Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU) in 埼玉県川口市 (Kawaguchi, Saitama), Sir Sam Falle was able to come to Japan and pay respects at the grave of Cmdr. 工藤俊作 (Shunsaku KUDOU)…on December 7, 2008. Just a few days ago!


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.


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.


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:


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:


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.


28 Jul

Yesterday I took my two youngest daughters to a shopping mall that’s a short train ride from our home because they wanted to buy some things that they “really needed“.

I agreed to take them…but only for a short time because it looked like it would rain. And when we left the mall, that’s what it did. Really hard!

First there was thunder and lightning, then the rain came pouring down. But it was a summer shower…so it ended soon after it started.

Actually, we got lucky. It started raining soon after we boarded our train home, and stopped just before we got off the train. So we didn’t have to walk in the rain at all. Perfect timing!

Anyways, there are many summer festivals and fireworks shows in Japan this time of year. And many people wear 浴衣 (Japanese summer kimono) and 甚平 (Japanese traditional summer outfit) to these events.

At the mall, we saw a couple of girls who were probably going to a festival or fireworks show after the mall (it might have gotten rained out, though). I saw them browsing in a CD store.

It seemed like it’d make a good photo. So here’s the photo I took of them:

Here are some videos I took of the train ride while looking out the conductor’s window (a couple of them are from the ride home, so it’s raining hard):

Stabbing spree

10 Jun

Yesterday morning (Monday) on the news, they said that on Sunday, a 25 year old man drove a rental truck into a pedestrian-only street in the 秋葉原 (Akihabara electronics district) section of Tokyo to purposely hit people who were walking on the street.

Then he stopped the truck, got out and stabbed seventeen random people, killing 7 of them!

The police caught him and he told them that he was abused by his father during his childhood and he was sick of the world and wanted to kill people…any people.

It’s a tragedy and, luckily, not something that happens often in Japan…although the crime rate has gone up in recent years. But Japan is still one of (if not the) safest countries in the world.


On a different note…the rainy season has begun in Japan about a week ago.

It’s been raining alot…but today was especially bad! It started out a warm, slightly overcast day and it rained a little bit on and off throughout the day. Just light sprinkling, though.

But then, at about 5:00PM, it started to rain really hard with thunder and lightning!