Tag Archives: Germany

Japan is the healthiest country

19 Jun

The online magazine Health Fiend recently published their list of the World’s Healthiest Countries (and their list of “the world’s least healthy countries” too).

Japan was ranked the World’s Healthiest Country based on the magazine’s criteria of:

-the longest healthy life expectancy at birth,
-lowest pollution,
-the percentage of a country’s population with access to improved drinking water and sanitation,
-low infant mortality rates,
-low rate of prevalence of tuberculosis,
-the density of physicians per 1,000 people and
-low undernourishment rates.

Three aspects of Japan were credited in particular with giving Japan the world’s highest life-expectancy:
the healthy Japanese diet,
Japan’s health-care system, and
ラジオ体操 (government-sponsored exercise)

Here are the magazine’s list of the top ten world’s healthiest countries:

10. Australia
9. Austria
8. Denmark
7. Italy
6. France
5. Germany
4. Switzerland
3. Iceland
2. Sweden
1. Japan

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The World Champions

18 Jul

I wrote this post about the Women’s Soccer World Cup championship game being played by Japan against the USA today.

As you probably already know, Japan won the game in penalty kicks.

Here’s a video I found on Youtube that shows the penalty kick attempts by both the USA and Japan.
The announcers in the video sound English. I don’t often watch TV in English anymore…so what mostly got my attention when I watched this video was the way the announcers butchered the Japanese players’ names! 😉

The video ends before it has a chance to show Japan’s team celebrating their win as the 2011 Women’s World Cup Champions.
But here’s what it looked like:

Did you watch the game?
It started at 3:45AM Japan time so I didn’t stay up to watch it. I saw the highlights on the news this morning.
On the news here, they also had a Japanese reporter and cameraman in a sports-bar in New York during the game to get the American fans’ reactions.
Each time the U.S. team scored a goal, the Americans in the bar erupted into a “USA! USA! USA!” chant.  I guess I’ve been living in Japan so long that I was taken by surprise a bit by that. It was like a culture shock! 😉

This Sunday’s showdown: Japan vs USA

15 Jul

From 2011 June 26 until this Sunday (July 17th), the Women’s World Cup international soccer championship games is being held in Germany.

On Wednesday (July 13th), two semi-final matches were held.
America played against France and Japan played against Sweden.

The U.S. and Japan each won their games with a score of 3-1.

So, now the final match for the 2011 Women’s World Cup Championship will be held on this Sunday, 2011 July 17th.
Japan will play against the U.S.

I’m not sure which country to support!
I’m American. I was born and raised in America. But I’ve been living in Japan since 1990…most of my life now. Japan has become my home.

Well, I’ll support both teams. 😉

Have you watched any of the 2011 Women’s World Cup matches? Will you watch the championship game on Sunday?
Did you watch the Japan vs Sweden game last Wednesday? After Japan won that game, the team members held up a banner thanking the world for supporting Japan after the 2011 March 11 disaster.

Their banner said:

To Our Friends Around The World
Thank You For Your Support
“.

The Japanese Womens soccer team holding their banner

Disaster in the sky 74 years ago

6 May

Nearly everyone is familiar with the images of the 「ヒンデンブルク」 (Hindenburg) disaster.

The shot of it bursting into flames just as it was landing in New Jersey, USA on it’s three-day flight from Germany is one of the most famous photographs in the world.

The hard rock band Led Zeppelin used it on the cover of their 1969 debut album.

Led Zeppelin I

But did you know that the Hindenburg disaster happened on 1937 May 6…seventy-four years ago today?
Neither did I. But that’s one of the wonders of living in the Information Age. Without even leaving my living room I can check Wikipedia‘s page about the Hindenburg and learn that there were only 97 passengers and crew on board the zeppelin on it’s fatal journey…and most managed to survive somehow. There were 36 fatalities.

Besides the famous shot of the Hindenburg burning, the radio news announcer, Herbert Morrison’s broadcast is also well-known. Especially his line:

“Oh, the humanity!”
–Herbert Morrison

Another wonder of the internet is YouTube.
I was able to find a YouTube video showing a newsreel from 1937 about the Hindenburg Disaster:

Japan will bring bullet train to Florida?

23 Nov

Japan is well-known for it’s excellent public transportation system. Especially in big cities like Tokyo.
Japan’s trains, buses and subways are clean, safe, extremely punctual, convenient and affordable.

Even though the taxis here aren’t really affordable (a taxi ride in Japan is pricey), they’re also clean, safe and convenient.

You may also know that Japan has an excellent 「新幹線」 (“Bullet train” (or “Shinkansen” in Japanese)) system.

"Shinkansen" (Bullet train) passing Mt. Fuji.

Japan’s 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system is the world’s busiest and fastest bullet-train service.
The speed record was set a few years ago when the 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) reached a speed of over 580 km/hr on a test-run. With passengers though, the trains travel up to about 300 km/hr.

When U.S. President Obama announced that America would begin building and using bullet-trains systems in various parts of America with the first one scheduled to connect Tampa, Florida (my hometown) to Orlando and Miami, Florida many bullet-train companies around the world began bidding for the contract to build Florida’s first high-speed train service.

Map of Florida showing the planned bullet-train routes.

Companies in Canada, Germany and France are competing with Japan for the contract.

But it seems that Japan’s JR Tokai company has a good chance of winning the bid.

If Japan wins the bid then Florida will have a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system like Japan’s.

 

One of JR Tokai's 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) trains.

I wonder if America will be able to maintain the punctuality, safety and convenience of Japan’s train systems.

Have you ever ridden a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) in Japan? Or any of Japan’s trains or subways?
Have you taken public transportation in other countries?
What are your impressions?

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By the way, today is a national holiday in Japan…「勤労感謝の日」 (“Labor Day”). (Click here to read my short “F.A.Q.” about it.)

Oktoberfest in Tokyo

23 May

Do you know what 「オクトーバーフェスト」 (“Oktoberfest“) is?
Have you ever been to one? What city did you go to Oktoberfest in?

Oktoberfest is a German festival that involves a lot of German music, German sausage, and German beer.
The festival began in ミュンヘン (Munich), Germany in 1810.

I’m not German and I’ve never been to Germany, so I don’t know if the festival is the same in Germany as it is in other cities around the world.
But I love drinking beer and eating meat…so I think Oktoberfest is a great festival! I’ve attended Oktoberfest festivals in Japan a few times and once in America.

As I wrote above, the first Oktoberfest was held in ミュンヘン (Munich), Germany in 1810…so this year is the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest.

Well, right now, the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) is going on.
It started last Friday (2010 May 21) and will continue until Sunday, 2010 May 30 at 日比谷公園 (Hibiya Park) in Tokyo.

As the name implies, “Oktoberfest” is usually held in October (10月)…so I don’t know why this festival is being held in May–but it is.

I have been to the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト」 (Hibiya Oktoberfest) before. And I’ve been to the 「日比谷ワインフェスト」 (Hibiya Wine Fest) at the same park before, too.

Admission to the 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) is free and they have many German beers available with alcohol content ranging from 4.8% to 7.2% depending on the beer.

(Click here if you want to see the beer list on the official 「日比谷オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Hibiya Oktoberfest 2010“) website.)

I have also been to the 「横浜オクトーバーフェスト」 (“Yokohama Oktoberfest“) before at the 横浜赤レンガ倉庫 (Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse). That Oktoberfest is held in October every year.

Ad for last year's Oktoberfest in Yokohama

Also, for people in the 仙台 (Sendai) area of Japan, there will be two German beer festivals in that area this year…the 「仙台ジャーマンフェスト2010」 (“Sendai German Fest 2010“) from 2010 June 11 – 20, and the 「仙台オクトーバーフェスト2010」 (“Sendai Oktoberfest 2010“) from 2010 September 17 – 26.

Sister cities

27 Sep

Many cities in the world have a 姉妹都市 (“sister city“) partnership with a city in another country. Some cities have more than one “sister city”.

Tokyo, for example, has eleven sister cities.
– 中国北京市 (Beijing, China)
– Berlin, Germany
– Cairo, Egypt
– Jakarta, Indonesia
– Moscow, Russia
– New South Wales, Australia
– New York City, America
– Paris, France
– Rome, Italy
– Sao Paulo, Brazil, and
– Seoul, Korea
are Tokyo’s sister cities.

Cities make “sister city” contracts with other cities in the world to help promote each other’s culture, industry and tourism.

I just found out that the city I grew up in…Clearwater, Florida, USA is a sister city with 日本国長野市 (Nagano, Japan).

And that this year (2009) is the 50th year that Clearwater, Florida and Nagano, Japan have been sister cities.
To celebrate, both Nagano and Clearwater are doing more than usual to promote each other’s culture.

I also found out that every year, a small group of American students and teachers spend two weeks of the summer in Nagano, Japan…and a similar small Japanese group from Nagano visit Clearwater, Florida.
I wish I knew about that when I was a teenager in Florida! I might have applied for the program!

I remember, though, when I was in elementary school, a group of teachers from Japan visited my school in Florida. I guess they were from Nagano. I remember that they seemed very interested in my school lunch and what I thought of it (I know now that it’s because American school lunches are so very different from Japanese ones!).

What city do you live in? What’s your town’s “sister city”? Have you ever visited the sister city?

I have been to Nagano once. In 1998, to see the ’98 Olympics that were hosted by Nagano, Japan.
And I’ve only been back to visit Clearwater, Florida once since I moved to Tokyo in 1990 (in 2004, my family and I visited Florida for a couple weeks in the summer).

As for Tokyo’s sister cities, years ago, I visited Seoul, Korea and New York City once each.