Tag Archives: Italy

Summer Olympics 2012…so far

30 Jul

Everyone, I’m sure, knows that the 2012 Summer Olympics are underway…and that they games are being hosted by London.

Have you watched the opening ceremonies?
Did you see “James Bond” escort the Queen of England to the games by helicopter…and “the Queen” parachuted in?
And Mr. Bean playing with the orchestra? David Beckham driving a speed boat? And the “legend” himself, Muhammad Ali?

It was a pretty good opening ceremony. I enjoyed watching it (on television…I’ve never seen an Olympics event “in person”. The closest that I came was when my wife and I took the 新幹線 (bullet train) to 長野 (Nagano, Japan) in 1998 to see the “Olympic city” atmosphere).

Anyways, are you watching any of the games?
Which events do you like best?

Last night, I watched Japan “almost” get gold in men’s judo…but lost to Georgia.

So far, the top three countries with medals won are China, America, and Italy.

Japan is currently in 15th place.

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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

Are dogs more humane than us?

21 Jan

In the news recently there have been stories about parents killing their own children, an American woman who let her ten-year old son get a tattoo, a nurse in Japan who enjoyed torturing her patients, a ship’s captain in Italy who abandoned the ship he crashed while his passengers were stranded on board to die, and other terrible stories about people mistreating other people who they were supposed to help and protect.

Of course, there are stories about people who act honorably too. The Italian Coast Guard officer who berated the aforementioned captain is one recent example.

But there were another two stories in the news recently too.
A dog in Australia and another one in Korea risked their own lives to save their respective families.

In Australia, a family with two daughters aged two and seven had a pet dog that loved the children.
One day last week, the two girls were in their backyard with the dog playing…but there was a very deadly Brown Snake there too!

The highly venomous Australian Brown Snake

The girls didn’t notice the snake, but the snake noticed them and it wasn’t pleased by their presence.
Just as the snake coiled to attack the girls, the dog saw the snake and didn’t hesitate to protect the girls.
The dog jumped on the snake and killed it…but not before the snake bit the dog.
The dog was rushed to the veterinarian to receive anti-venom treatment and is expected to recover…and will be get a “hero’s welcome” when he returns to his home.

The puppy in Korea was hiking with his elderly owner in the cold Korean winter last week when the old man slipped and fell.
He was knocked unconscious and would have frozen to death by the time his family found him…by his dog laid on top of him and keep him alive with his own body heat.
The young dog nearly froze to death himself to save his owner.

These dogs acted more humanly than some humans do.

Interview with an Italian Samurai

6 Dec

Have you ever heard of Holy Martyr? My great friend Masa told me about them.


They are a heavy metal band from Italy. But their album titled “Invincible” is quite unique because the songs on that album are about famous Japanese samurai stories and battles!

The guitarist of Holy Martyr, Ivano Spiga, did an interview with me.

The interview is on my website’s “Interviews Page“…Click here to read it.

Even if you’re not a fan of heavy metal, you should read the interview to learn why they decided to make a Japanese-themed album and also if it’s true that Italians use a spoon when they eat spaghetti, as many Japanese people believe.

Of course, I also recommend that you check out the music of Holy Martyr.

After you read the interview, come back to this page and leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

Volleyball World Cup

19 Nov

Have you ever watched the volleyball World Cup championship games?
They are held every four years…and this year (2011) was one of the years that the matches are held. They are currently winding down…the women’s games ended a couple of days ago and the men’s will finish up soon too.

Did you know that Japan is always the host nation of the Volleyball World Cup?

Italy are the champions of the 2011 Women’s Volleyball World Cup. The American team are the second-place winners and China came in third.
Japan’s team are the fourth-place winners.

America came ahead of Japan in the final results, but Japan beat the U.S. (3 sets to zero) in the Japan vs USA match.

Since Italy, America and China came in first, second and third place (respectively), those teams qualified to play in the Olympics in London next summer.

Congratulations.

“American Quarter Pounder” or “World Whopper”

15 Mar

I wrote about McDonalds Japan‘s “Big America” Quarter-Pounder burger campaign.
(Click here to read it).

They offered the “Big Texas Burger“, then the “New York Burger“, and then the “Hawaiian Burger“. Now they’re offering the final one…the “California Burger“.

Well, to compete, Burger King Japan is selling four different 「世界の美味しさとてつまなくデカイ!ワッパー」 (“World’s Delicious Giant Whoppers“).

 

Rather than a different flavor burger for four different U.S. states, like McDonalds Japan is selling, Burger King Japan‘s new “Whoppers” are four different flavors from four countries.

From 2010 February 1 – 18, they sold the “American flavor 「バーベキューワッパー」 (“BBQ Whopper“),
and then from 2010 February 19 – March 4, they sold the “Malaysian flavor” 「ブラックペッパーワッパー」 (“Black Pepper Whopper“).
Currently they are selling the 「スパイシーイタリアンワッパー」 (“Spicy Italian Whopper“).
And the final one will be the “Japanese flavor” 「てりやきワッパー」 (“Teriyaki Whopper“), which will be offered beginning 2010 March 19.

Burger King Japan has had unique Whopper burgers before…
Click here for my post about their “Bourbon Whopper“, and
Click here for my post about their “Whopper 7“.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

14 Oct

The day before yesterday (Monday, 12 October) was a Japanese holiday…「体育の日」 (“Sports Day“).
Click here to read my short FAQ about it.

Every year on this day, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has an archery ceremony called 「草鹿式」 (“Kusa-jishi-shiki“).

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

My wife and I watched this ceremony last year and I wrote a post about it.

This year, a French couple who visited and commented on my blog many times are in Tokyo until next week.
This is their first visit to Japan, so I met up with them and took them to watch the 「草鹿式」 (archery ceremony) at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

I didn’t take many photos of it this year, but please read my post about last year’s ceremony. On that post, there are photos and videos that I took (click here to read it).

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As I wrote in an earlier post (click here), Tokyo was a candidate city to host the 2016 Olympic Games but lost out to Rio De Janeiro.

Well, it has been announced that Tokyo plans to submit a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games!

But Tokyo isn’t the only Japanese city that wants to host the 2020 games.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki have announced their plan to submit a bid to co-host the 2020 Summer Olympics!

Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2020 games are South Africa, Busan (Korea), Delhi (India), Rome (Italy), St. Petersburg (Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Toronto (Canada), Boston (America), and a number of others.

The candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics will be decided next year and the host city will be chosen in 2013.

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Speaking of 「広島」 (Hiroshima, Japan) and 「長崎」 (Nagasaki, Japan), the city council of Rome, Italy announced their plan to rename a street in their city “Hiroshima Nagasaki Street“!

Their reason is because a 78-year old Japanese man named Hiroshi Nishioka gave a speech in Rome recently that left much of the audience in tears.

Mr. Nishioka is a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He was only fourteen at the time of the bombing and in his recent speech in Italy he recalled how he refused to share the water in his canteen with any of the dying people in the streets of Nagasaki for fear that he wouldn’t have enough left for himself.

Even now, the memory of that, he said in his speech, is “like a splinter in my heart.”