Tag Archives: barack obama

Chocolate for “adults”

18 Nov

I was going to write a post about U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Japan for the APEC Summit that was held in Yokohama, Japan last week.
This summit was for world leaders to discuss free-trade in the Asia / Pacific region.

President Obama made a speech when he visited Japan shortly after his election in which he mentioned that he had visited 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan) near Tokyo on a trip with his mother when he was six years old.
On that trip, he remembered, he visited the 大仏 (Great Buddah) and enjoyed “Green Tea Ice Cream”.

In that speech, President Obama said that he hoped to visit Kamakura again one day soon and eat Green Tea Ice Cream again.

His wish came true on his last day in Japan of this recent trip (well, he actually ate a “Green Tea Popsicle” rather than ice cream this time).

U.S. President Obama eating a Green Tea Popsicle in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.

U.S. President Obama in front of the 大仏 (Great Buddah) statue in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.

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I also wanted to write about the 2010 Asian Games which are currently being played in Guangzhou, China.
Forty-five countries are participating in these games which began on 2010 November 12 and will end with the closing ceremony on November 27th.
Japan is doing pretty good in these games…but China, the host country, has the highest number of gold medals so far.

Japan is upset though by the results of the women’s Judo matches. Judo is a Japanese martial art and Japanese athletes consistently excel in international Judo competitions…but in the women’s Judo match Tomoko Fukumi of Japan lost in her match against Wu Shegen of China.
Although it appeared to most people watching that Japan was winning, the judges awarded the victory to China.

Hopefully this doesn’t add more tension to the relationship between Japan and China.
In both Japan and China recently there have been protests against the other country due to Japan’s arrest (and eventual release) of a Chinese fisherman who entered disputed waters that are claimed as territory by both China and Japan.
And in the same waters, on two separate occasions a Chinese boat intentionally rammed a Japanese Coast Guard vessel that was patrolling the area.

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But I titled this blog post 「Chocolate for “adults”」 because I saw the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 (“(Level of) Sweetness for Adults”).

I don’t eat junk-food often but two types of chocolate that I like are whiskey chocolate and dark / bitter chocolate.
This Kit-Kat is a bitter / semi-sweet chocolate so I decided to try it. It was pretty good.

The Japanese actress / singer 「黒木めいさ」 (Meisa Kuroki) is the promotion model for both the “regular” Kit-Kat (dressed in red) and the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 “Sweetness for Adults” (dressed in black).

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Have you heard any of these news stories before?

A few headlines

11 Nov

A few of the major news headlines in Japan right now:

  • Tatsuya Ichihashi, who was a fugitive in Japan accused of murdering a British English-language teacher named Lindsay Hawker near Tokyo in 2007, was finally arrested today in Osaka.

    He has had plastic surgery done in an obvious attempt to alter his appearance to try to remain on the lam.

    The father of Lindsay Hawker was interviewed via telephone in England by the Japanese television news media and he expressed his relief that his daughter’s accused murderer has finally been captured after over two years.

  • U.S. President Obama is due to make an official visit to Tokyo this Friday and Saturday.

    Before his visit, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invited him to visit their cities…as they are the only cities to have been hit with atomic bombs by the United States.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki have invited every U.S. President since the end of WW2 to visit their cities…but due to the potential of an uproar in America if they did visit, every President has declined the invitation (former Presidents have paid the cities a visit, but never a sitting President)….until now.

    U.S. President Obama told the Japanese media that he will make an official visit to those cities while he’s in office. He said he won’t be able to visit them on this trip due to a tight schedule, but he will visit them on another trip to Japan before his Presidency ends.

  • The U.S. military in Okinawa has arrested a U.S. solider on hit-and-run charges. The soldier hit an Okinawan man and left him to bleed to death in the street.

    The Okinawan public and government want the U.S. military to hand the soldier over to Japanese authorities to be tried in Japanese court.

    This case comes at a time when the people of Okinawa are trying to get some of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa moved off their island and relocated either to mainland Japan or a U.S. territory such as Guam or Hawaii.

  • Also, it has been discovered that members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan have been abusing a privilege that official U.S. military vehicles have.
    An agreement that the U.S. military has with Japan is that official U.S. military vehicles traveling off of their bases on Japanese toll-highways on official military business can use special passes and travel without paying any of the tolls…the taxpayers in Japan (includes me) pay their toll-fares.

    Well, it seems that the U.S. military has been giving the passes to any members of the military who want to take a personal trip around Japan on their personal free time.

Recent news of Americans in Japan

10 Oct

First of all, today is the beginning of a three-day-weekend in Japan.
Monday is 「体育の日」 (Sports Day).

Until a few years ago, this holiday was on October 10th (today), and if that day fell on a Saturday (like it is this year), the day off would be “lost”. (If the 10th was a Sunday, it would be observed on the following day, though).

But now the holiday is the second Monday of October…so it’s always a three-day-weekend.
(Click here to read my short FAQ about this holiday).

Anyways, here are few recent Japan-related news items that involve Americans:

  • Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama sent his congratulations to U.S. President Obama for receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, saying in part that he was pleased by Obama’s call for a nuclear-free world and that it must be difficult for the leader of the nation with the most nuclear weapons in the world to make such a statement.

    Japanese survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also expressed their happiness by Obama’s plan to rid the world of nuclear arms and their support of his Nobel Prize.
    They also reiterated their invitation for him to visit their cities.

  • U.S. President Obama is scheduled to make his first official visit to Japan on (2009) November 12 – 13.
  • An American man was arrested for bringing a handgun into Japan on a flight from America.
    His gun was found by Japanese airport customs officers when he passed through customs at Narita Airport near Tokyo trying to transit to a flight to Thailand.

    It is unclear how he managed to get the gun through U.S. customs at the Dallas / Ft. Worth Airport, where he boarded the plane for Japan.

  • Another American man is in Japanese prison for attempting to kidnap his children from his Japanese ex-wife and bring them back to America.He divorced his Japanese wife in America and the U.S. courts gave him custody of their two young children.

    But his ex-wife (the children’s mother) took the kids to Japan on “holiday” and never returned. So there is an arrest-warrant for her in America…that can only be enforced if she steps foot on U.S. soil again (which is unlikely).
    The Japanese courts, though, granted her full-custody of the children and when their father came to Japan to take the kids back, he was arrested.

    This case shows one of the many differences between American and Japanese culture.
    In America, when parents divorce it is common for both parents to “share” custody.
    But that’s extremely uncommon in Japan. The divorce-rate is still very low in Japan…but it is climbing. And when parents divorce here it is felt that it’s in the children’s best interest to try to keep life as stable as possible by having the father (usually) simply move on and keep out of their lives.

Have you heard about any of these cases? What’s your opinion?

Leaders first meeting

26 Sep

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, went to New York yesterday and had his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

For the U.S., the issue of Japan continued help with the “War On Terrorism” is of top concern.
For Japan, it’s the issue of reducing the number of the U.S. military stationed in Japan…and abolishing nuclear weapons in the world.

But for this first meeting, the only major issue raised was about ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
Both Hatoyama and Obama said that they’d like to see an end to the nuclear threat in the world.

As the only country that has ever been attacked by nuclear weapons, this issue is important to Japan.
Prime Minister Hatoyama reiterated Japan’s stance that all nuclear weapons should be abolished and invited the the American president to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he comes to Tokyo next November.

No U.S. President has ever visited Hiroshima or Nagasaki .

Why is this a problem??

8 Sep

I don’t live in America, and U.S. President Obama’s planned speech to American school students today hasn’t even been mentioned on the news here so far.

obama

アメリカ合衆国大統領オバマ

But I read about it online a couple of days ago. The first I saw about it was on a site recommending that parents keep their kids out of school on September 8th so that they wouldn’t be “subjected to Obama’s propaganda”.

I searched around the internet at various websites about the subject and even found a transcript of the U.S. President’s planned speech and, even though it appears that this is a very controversial subject in America right now…I don’t understand what the problem is!

It seems that U.S. President Obama plans to tell students to stay in school and study hard.

No matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it.

You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it…

(excerpt from U.S. President Obama’s planned speech on 2009 Sept 8)

That sounds like perfectly sound advice.

But it seems to be a problem to some Americans.
I saw a news video clip online from an American TV news program that had people debating whether or not children should hear the President’s speech.

As I said, I don’t live in America and therefore I don’t keep up with the current events and the culture there (which has become foreign to me over the years), but it seems that the people who plan to keep their children home from school today didn’t agree with the plan of the U.S. 教育委員会 (Board Of Education) to have the students write how they could “help the President”.
Or something like that.

Also, while I was reading about this online, I saw a news report about a church preacher in the U.S. state of Arizona who told his church to “pray for the death of the president”.

And it seems that a member of his church carried a rifle and a handgun to a speech that U.S. President Obama was giving. And he wasn’t arrested because it’s legal to carry firearms in Arizona!

This is all one of those “only in America” things, I think. ;)

Have you heard about this?
(If you live in America, maybe you could explain a bit about it better).

President Obama

21 Jan

It’s early in the morning on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 in Japan right now…but in Washington DC, it’s about noon on Tuesday, January 20.

And the United States’ 44th president just took office.

obama

44th President of USA, Barack Obama

He took office today at the age of 47…making him the fifth youngest person to become President of the United States (Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest at 42).

My youngest sister went to Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C.. If she’s able to take some nice photos and send them to me, I’ll add them to this post.

U.S. Election

5 Nov

As everyone around the world knows, the 2008 U.S. Presidental election is over and Barack Obama will take office as the President of the United States in January 2009.

Just as many world leaders did, the Prime Minister of Japan offered his congratulations to Obama:

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Senator Obama on his election as president of the United States of America.

Working together with President-elect Obama, I will strive to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and to resolve various challenges the international community faces when addressing issues such as the international economy, terrorism and the environment…

内閣総理大臣麻生太郎 (Tarou Asou, Prime Minister of Japan)

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Also, as I said in this post, the Japanese city of 小浜 (Obama) has supported Barack Obama ever since he became a candidate for the U.S. presidency. They sent him gifts (and they received a reply letter from his office with a couple words written in 日本語 (Japanese)).

The city of Obama has “Obama hula dancers” and souvenirs with Barack Obama’s image on them.

They’re considering making Barack Obama an honorary citizen of the town.

Of course, the reason for all of this is because Obama is a small town in western Japan that was losing money and the town’s mayor saw an opportunity to attract tourists…and it’s working. Suddenly the town is getting many visitors…some of them from overseas.

The tourism campaign is called “Obama For Obama“.

The mayor anticipates the town of Obama will become a world-famous vacation destination now that Barack Obama won the election.

The “Obama Hula Dancers” hope to perform at Barack Obama’s inauguration in January, by the way.

小浜

10 Sep

There’s a city in 福井県 (Fukui Prefecture, Japan) called 小浜 (Obama).

Obama is the name of the city and is written 小浜. (It translates to “small beach“).

This small town in central Japan has decided to unofficially support the U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama because of the similarities in names. (The names are written the same way in the English alphabet only. In Japanese, the city in Japan is written 「小浜」 but Barack Obama’s name is written as 「オバマ」).

Ironically, near the town of 小浜 (Obama) in 福井県 (Fukui Prefecture) is Masunaga Optical company.
This is the company that made the eyeglasses that U.S. Republican Vice Presidental candidate Sarah Palin wears.

The president of Masunaga Optical said that he’s now in a bind because he had been unoffically supporting Barack Obama with the rest of his town…until the nomination of Sarah Palin, who wears his company’s eyeglasses.

Anyways, it’s not as if anyone is the town of 小浜 (Obama) can vote in the U.S. elections.
It’s all just in fun because of the coincidental similar names.

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