Tag Archives: Hawaii

Message in a bottle

19 Sep

In March 2006, the sixth graders at an elementary school in Kagoshima, Japan wrote notes and put them into glass bottles along with photographs or whatever they decided.

Then they dropped the time-capsule bottles into the ocean.

This was done because in Japan the school year ends in March and sixth grade is the last year of elementary school…so those kids would move onto to junior high school the following month.

It took five-and-a-half years but last week an American sailor with the U.S. Navy found one of the bottles washed up on shore in Hawaii.
Inside was a note written by, then twelve-year-old, Saki Arikawa that said it was an “elementary school graduation memory”, a few origami cranes and a photograph of Saki and her classmates.

The photo of Saki Arikawa and her sixth-grade classmates that was in the time-capsule bottle

When a news reporter contacted Saki Arikawa to tell her that the bottle had been discovered in Hawaii, she said it was an “incredible miracle” because she had long given up hope that it would ever be found by anyone.

Saki and her classmates are all seventeen years old and will be graduating from high school next March. But after the news of the bottle’s discovery, Saki had a reunion with her sixth grade teacher and some of her classmates…all of whom had not seen each other since March 2006.

Now, Saki said, she would like to meet the kind American sailor who found her bottle.

Little League World Series ’10

29 Aug

Japan has become a powerhouse in the sport of baseball.

In the American MLB there are many Japan star players such as Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, the Japan team was the world champions in both the 2008 and 2009 “World Baseball Classic” games (which, unlike the so-called “Baseball World Series”, is a real international baseball championship), and tonight (4:00 AM Japan Standard Time (JST)) Japan will play in the final game of the 2010 Little League World Series.

Just like the World Baseball Classic, the “Little League World Series” is an international championship match for the best baseball teams of boys up to age thirteen.

The “Little League World Series” is held every August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA since it was started in the late 1940s. At first, only American teams played, but in the ’60s it became an international event.
The Japan team took the championship the first two years that the series became open to other countries, and has held the championship a total of six times so far (only America and China were champion more times).

The Tokyo Little League won their game against Taiwan yesterday and tonight they will represent Japan in the final match of the 2010 Little League World Series against the Hawaiian team (who are representing America).

After the game tonight* (it will be nighttime in Japan, but 3PM in America where they’ll be playing), either Japan or America will be the 2010 World Little League Baseball champions and the other team will be second place.
A great job by both!


28 Feb

Yesterday a very strong 地震 (earthquake) hit the South American country of Chile.

Damage in Chile from 2010 Feb 27 earthquake

This earthquake caused a strong 津浪 (tsunami), tidal wave, in the Pacific Ocean…and it’s currently headed straight for the Pacific coast of Japan (which includes Tokyo)!

Tokyo is in part of the orange highlighted area.

On this map, the areas in red are in danger of 3m waves, in orange is in danger of 2m, and the yellow areas have a warning of 0.5m waves.  Tokyo is in part of the orange area.

This tsunami is forecast to hit Japan at about 2:30PM today. People near the east coastal areas of Japan have been advised to evacuate. We live far enough inland that we should be fine.

The last tsunami warning Japan had was after the Indonesian earthquakes last winter. (Click here to read the post I wrote about it.)
No tsunami hit Japan that time.
The last tsunami to hit Japan was in the summer of 1993. Over 200 people died in the northern island of Hokkaido.
Hopefully no one will even be injured in this one!

—By the way, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, the 2010 Tokyo Marathon is being held today…and a friend of mine is running in it.
Hopefully everyone will be OK. It was raining very hard this morning in Tokyo, so I didn’t go out to watch the marathon…I’m watching it on TV.

In 1941 and 1980

8 Dec

I already wrote about this last year, so I’ll try not to repeat myself (please click here to see my post from last year…with pictures).

At 8:30AM on 1941 December 7 (Hawaiian time), (and 3:30PM on December 8 in Japan), the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by Japanese Kamikaze pilots.

It is taught in America that it was a sneak attack by the Japanese, but in Japan it’s said that America’s embargo on Japan was a declaration of war.

Either way, war is bad all around and it’d be nice if the world could be peaceful.

And also, as I mention in my post last year, 1980 December 8 was the day that John Lennon was murdered.

July 4

4 Jul

Today is America’s 独立記念日 (Independence Day).

Of course, Japan (or any other country) doesn’t observe other countries’ Independence Day holidays.

In America on this day, people commonly have BBQ dinners and watch 花火大会 (fireworks shows).

Do you live in America? Do you watch the fireworks? Do you have a BBQ? What do you cook? Hamburgers and hotdogs?

On many weekends in the summer, Japan has amazing 花火大会 (fireworks shows).
We always go to the 花火大会 (fireworks show) near our house, and my wife packs an excellent picnic dinner.
We have stuff like イカ (squid), chicken, おにぎり (rice balls), 枝豆 (soy beans), salad…and beer (cola for the kids).
It’s alot of fun and great food!

Anyways, besides America’s 独立記念日 (Independence Day), here are some other notable events that happened on the fourth day of July:

  • 1959 July 4: A 49th star was added to the U.S. flag in honor of Alaska becoming a state.
  • 1960 July 4: The 50th star was added to the U.S. flag in honor of Hawaii becoming a U.S. state.
  • 1826 July 4: Both Former U.S. President John Adams and former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson (second and third U.S. Presidents, respectively) died.
  • 1872 July 4: Former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was born.
  • 1973 July 4: Japanese pop-singer Gackt was born.


10 Feb

Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the sinking of the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru).

Do you know about this news?

If you were in Japan in 2001 you do, I’m sure. And probably if you were in the U.S. Navy or in Hawaii at the time, you know about it too.

The えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru) was a Japanese high-school fishing training vessel from 愛媛県 (Ehime Prefecture, Japan).

(Many ships in Japan have (Maru) as part of their name. This is because maru means “circle” in Japanese, so it implies the ship will always make round-trips…never one-way.)

In February 2001, the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru) was near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with a crew of 35 people…twenty boat crew, thirteen high school students who were studying to become fishermen, and two teachers.

Unbeknown to them, the U.S.S. Greeneville, a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine captained by Commander Scott Waddle, was under the water below them. Some of the U.S.S. Greeneville‘s sonar equipment was damaged and they didn’t know the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru) was above them.

Onboard the U.S.S. Greeneville were “distinguished guests“…mostly politicians and journalists.

Cmdr. Waddle decided to demonstrate an “emergency main ballast blow” for his guests. This is a technique for a submarine to quickly surface in an emergency by forcing water from the sub’s ballasts with high-pressure air.

As the submarine’s sonar was damaged, Cmdr. Waddle checked the surface of the water for any ships by simply using the sub’s periscope. He didn’t see the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru) above them.

So, from a depth of 120 meters (almost 400 feet), the U.S.S. Greeneville performed an “emergency ballast blow” and flew to the surface in a matter of seconds…and crashed into the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru), sinking it.

Nine people, including four high-school students, were unable to escape and died.

In Japanese culture, it would be very important for all involved to personally apologize to the victims’ families…but the U.S. Navy forbade Cmdr. Waddle from formally apologizing.
The U.S. Navy issued a public statement expressing their regret for the incident.

But the victims’ families were disappointed by the results of the U.S. Navy’s hearing that found Cmdr. Waddle guilty of professional neglect and his punishment was simply a half-month’s pay for two months and suspension of his pay for six months, as well as a verbal reprimand in which his “resignation was expected”.

After Cmdr. Waddle resigned from the Navy, though, he made a trip to Japan on his own and personally apologized to the families of the victims. His apology was sincere and earned him the respect of the Japanese people.

The bodies of all who died on the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru) were recovered…except one. The body of 水口峻志 (Takeshi Mizuguchi), who celebrated his seventeenth birthday in Hawaii just two days before he died, is the only one divers were unable to find.
They did find his digital camera, though. And scientists were able to recover the photos on the camera’s photo-card. These photos include images of the boy celebrating his birthday, hauling a shark he caught onto the ship, and some others.

Understandably, the parents of the boy treasured these photos and kept them private. But the parents, who are in Hawaii for a memorial service for the victims of the えひめ丸 (Ehime-maru), decided yesterday to release some of the images from their son’s camera for public viewing.

I would like to see them when they’re shown in Tokyo.

The father of 水口峻志 (Takeshi Mizuguchi).

The father of 水口峻志 (Takeshi Mizuguchi).