Tag Archives: Japanese

Review 23: Manabeshima Island Japan

12 Dec

I have received more books from Tuttle Books!
And, as always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of each book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Manabeshima Island Japan” by Florent Chavouet.

"Manabeshima Island Japan" by Florent Chavouet

“Manabeshima Island Japan” by Florent Chavouet

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

Mr. Chavouet is an excellent artist!
This is the second time he spent time in Japan and chronicled his adventures in a book of his hand-drawn pictures and writing.
The first time, he stayed in Tokyo and documented his stay there in a similar book titled “Tokyo On Foot” (Click here to read my review of that book, and enter for a chance to win a free copy!).

This time, rather than a big city like Tokyo, Mr. Chavouet decided to spend two months on the small, sparsely populated, but beautiful island of Manabeshima.

Whether or not you’ve ever been to the island of Manabeshima, or even to Japan at all, anyone can enjoy this book!
The artwork is amazing and the book carefully and respectfully tells about the things and people Mr. Chavouet saw and interacted with on that island.

On the left shows the island's small unique school, and on the right is Mr. Chavouet's realistic drawing of it.

On the left shows the island’s small unique school, and on the right is Mr. Chavouet’s realistic drawing of it.

I enjoyed this book even though there were a few minor mistakes with the Japanese language in it. But those mistakes are minor and actually add to the appeal of the book because they show that the author isn’t real familiar with Japan and the language, so I could see it through his eyes as a “newcomer”.
On the subject of the Japanese language, though Mr. Chavouet couldn’t read Japanese, he was able to draw everything he saw perfectly…even the writing on signs!

Manabeshima Island Japan” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (given) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

***** Updated January 10th, 2016 *****

This special promo ended on 2016 January 10th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Samurai Star Wars

10 Dec

As the new Star Wars will hit theaters soon, advertisements and tie-ins can be seen in many places in Japan now.

But one of daughters saw a unique, “only-in-Japan” tie-in yesterday … Star Wars characters dressed as the samurai that they were likely inspired by in the first place.

My daughter took these photos for me:

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74 Years Ago

7 Dec

Today, 2015 December 7th, is the seventy-fourth anniversary of the WW2 attack on the U.S. Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (In Japan, because of the time difference, it was December 8th here).

The JapanToday.com website has a nice story about the ceremony in Pearl Harbor today that united former enemies:

Former U.S. airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, sworn enemies during World War Two, together poured whiskey from a battered canteen into Pearl Harbor on Sunday to commemorate the 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base.

As the sun rose over the USS Arizona Memorial, the two former enemy pilots joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dec 7 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into World War Two.

Standing side by side after meeting for the first time ever, retired Air Force Colonel DeTour and former Imperial Japanese Navy Zero Pilot Wakita together gripped the war-torn U.S. military-issue metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the U.S. Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, after two B-29 U.S. bombers collided overhead. The 23 Americans killed were buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid. Found among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to remember loved ones lost.

Since the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony aimed at maintaining peace.

“To know we have this friendship is great. It’s fantastic,” said DeTour, who wore a purple flower lei over his dark suit.

DeTour now lives in Honolulu and was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

There were no Pearl Harbor survivors among the World War Two veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, said Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on Feb 4 in California at age 100. An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take place at Pearl Harbor on Monday.

At the canteen ceremony, Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, said he keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each year because it is a powerful symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” said Sugano.

New Yamanote trains

1 Dec

The 山手線 (Yamanote Line) is a train line in Tokyo.
Unlike other some of the other numerous train lines in Tokyo, this one never leaves metropolitan Tokyo. It has some trains going clockwise and some going counter-clockwise in a loop around the major stations in Tokyo. A full loop around every station on the Yamanote Line takes almost exactly one hour…but the longest you’d have to ride it is a half-hour (since it goes in both directions).

The Yamanote Line is easily identifiable because the trains are lime-green in color.

JR (Japan Railways), the company that runs many train lines all around Japan…including the Yamanote Line, began using new, updated trains on the Yamanote Line yesterday.

This is the first time this line has gotten new trains since 2002. I remember when the 2002 trains came out…they seemed so “modern”. But the new 2015 line make those trains look outdated!

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi)

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi).

These new trains has considerably less advertised posters on the train walls. Instead, it has many more digital monitors.

As I mentioned above, the Yamanote Line runs in metropolitan Tokyo only…normally!
Yesterday, as it was the first day for these new trains…one Yamanote Line train made a special trip to Kamakura, about an hour south of Tokyo!

Coincidentally, we drove to Kamakura yesterday (Click here to see my photos).

Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

Shigeru Mizuki, R.I.P.

30 Nov

水木しげる (Shigeru Mizuki), the author of “Ge-Ge-Ge-No-Kitaro” (an anime about monsters that I like), has died today.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 - 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 – 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

I wrote a post about his interesting life story on his 88th birthday (Click here to read it).

(The voice actor for the anime of one of Mr. Mizuki’s most famous characters died almost six years ago. (Click here to read a post I wrote about him.)

OzzFest Japan 2015

23 Nov

Yesterday, my wife, our daughters and I went to OzzFest Japan 2015!
It was great!

OzzFest Japan 2015

Two years ago I went to OzzFest Japan 2013 with my friend.

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Sign outside the Makuhari Messe venue for OzzFestJapan 2015.

It was a long day. We were there for twelve hours!
Here’s the line-up of bands we saw:

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, afternoon line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, evening line-up

I bought an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt and sweatshirt:

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

All of the bands were very entertaining! But the bands that we were really looking forward to seeing were on from 2:50PM til the end.

At 2:50 were the Japanese band “9mm Parabellum Bullet” (called “kyuu-milli” for short).

9mm Parabellum Bullet took the stage.

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” took the stage.

My second daughter has been a big fan of this band for years. She’s seen them in concert a number of times. This was the first time that I’ve seen them on stage…though, I’m familiar with their songs since my daughter is a fan.

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

After that was Black Label Society! I’m a fan of this band! After they played, my daughters said that Zakk Wylde is “cool”.

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the Japanese “horror rock” band 人間椅子 (Ningen-Isu) played. I saw this band before at OzzFest Japan 2013. They were inspired by the Japanese horror writer Edogawa Ranpo (who took his pen-name from his inspiration: horror author Edgar Allen Poe):

人間椅子

人間椅子

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the loud, energetic band Hatebreed took the stage!

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com ) The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )
The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

Next was Baby Metal. Do you know about the Japanese band Baby Metal? They combine heavy-metal with J-pop. (Click here to read my post about them.)
I don’t really care for their music…but they have many dedicated fans! In fact, Baby Metal were the only act at OzzFestJapan to have a rule limiting the number of their T-shirts that fans could buy, and they were still the only act to have their merchandise completely be sold-out!

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

“Baby Metal” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

At 6:50PM, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. This is another band that has many fans but I don’t really care for.
I had heard that Yoshiki would be performing a song with them…and sure enough, before one their songs, the singer announced their “friend Yoo-shee-kee” (a very non-Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese name よしき).

“Jane’s Addiction” with Yoshiki of “X-Japan” on piano. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then…it was time for Ozzy Osbourne & friends!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

In addition to his current band members, Gus G., Rob Nicholson and Tommy Clufetos (who is a very cool drummer!)…Geezer Butler (“Black Sabbath”) played bass on all Black Sabbath songs that Ozzy played, and at times the guitar position altered between Zakk Wylde (“Black Label Society”), Dave Navarro (“Jane’s Addiction”) and Tom Morello (“Rage Against The Machine”).

For the final encore, the Black Sabbath song “Paranoid” was played and all members (Ozzy Osbourne, Gus G., Rob Nicholson, Tommy Clufetos, Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde, Dave Navarro and Tom Morello all took the stage together…and then, as Ozzy promised, the popular Japanese mascot character “Funassyi” (who represents Funabashi, Chiba, Japan) was invited onstage to get hosed down by Ozzy Osbourne. (Throughout his show, Ozzy sprayed the front row of the audience with a foam hose, as he often does at his concerts).

"Let the madness begin!!"

“Let the madness begin!!”

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne!

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom...and Funnasyi!

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom…and Funnasyi!

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends…final bow! Thank you for an excellent show!

(All photos in this post were taken by my wife, my daughters and myself…except for the 19 that are from the official OzzFestJapan website (and labeled as such)).

The setlist that Ozzy Osbourne & friends played:

  1. I Don’t Know
  2. Mr. Crowley (with Tom Morello)
  3. Bark at the Moon (with Tom Morello)
  4. Suicide Solution
  5. Flying High Again
  6. Shot in the Dark
  7. Guitar solo / Bass solo / Drum solo
  8. Iron Man (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  9. N.I.B. (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  10. Snowblind (with Geezer Butler)
  11. Behind the Wall of Sleep (with Geezer Butler)
  12. War Pigs (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  13. Fairies Wear Boots (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  14. I Don’t Want to Change the World (with Zakk Wylde)
  15. Crazy Train (with Zakk Wylde)
  16. Mama, I’m Coming Home (with Zakk Wylde)
  17. Paranoid (with Geezer Butler, Tom Morello, Dave Navarro, Zakk Wylde and Funassyi)

Could you find the proper restroom?

16 Oct

In Japan, nearly every public restroom has a blue picture of a man on the men’s room door and a red picture of a woman on the ladies’ room door.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, especially at places that don’t get many foreign customers, the doors with be marked with black kanji symbols for male and female on the respective doors.

Would you be able to find the correct restroom? Take this two-question quiz to see.

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 1”.

 

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 2”.

How did you do? Did you know the answers, of just guess them? Tell me in the comments section!

My Number

5 Oct

Beginning today, the Japanese Government will begin issuing every resident in Japan a twelve-digit Social Security Number.

In Japan, it won’t be called “Social Security Number” in English. It’s called 「個人番号」 (こじんばんごう), which means “personal number”. It has a more commonly used nickname in English, though…「マイナンバー」 (“My Number”).

It says "Beginning October 2015, each and every person will have a 'My Number' delivered"

It says “Beginning October 2015, each and every person will have a ‘My Number’ delivered”

America has long had a Social Security Number system. American Social Security Numbers are nine-digits long and arranged in a three-digit, two-digit, four digit pattern (xxx-xx-xxxx).

This is a new system in Japan. The new Japanese “My Number” system will be twelve-digits long and arranged in 3 four-digit number pattern (xxxx-xxxx-xxxx).

Just as in America, everyone who lives in Japan will be issued a Social Security Card…but, unlike the American ones which simply have a person’s name, signature and the SSN, the Japanese ones will have a photo of the person, their name, address, gender and date-of-birth on the front, and the “My Number” on the back side. They will also be embedded with an IC chip.

An example of the new Japanese "My Number" cards. (Front (left): photo, name, address, gender, DOB;  Back (right): 12-digit SSN)

An example of the new Japanese “My Number” cards. (Front (left): photo, name, address, gender, DOB; Back (right): 12-digit SSN)

Do you live in Japan? have you gotten you number yet?
Does your country have a Social Security Number system?

 

Review 22: Tokyo Secrets

3 Oct

I was recently given two e-books to review from the author.

They are: “Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea Secrets” and “7 Secrets to the Perfect Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Vacation“.

"Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea Secrets"

“Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea Secrets”

"7 Secrets to the Perfect Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Vacation"

“7 Secrets to the Perfect Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Vacation”

The author has lived in Tokyo and still continues to visit often.  Both books are full of helpful tips and useful advice to see the 桜 (Cherry Blossoms) in Japan…which are beautiful but have a short life. If you’re planning a trip here to see them, it could be difficult to decide on which dates to come.
The book “7 Secrets to the Perfect Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Vacation” helps with that and more.

The book “Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea Secrets” offers, as the title suggests, tips for visiting the Disney amusement parks near Tokyo.
Personally, I have never felt that it was particularly difficult to go to Tokyo Disneyland, but I suppose it could be stressful for first-time overseas visitors.
This e-book would be very helpful for them, I’m sure. One point where I would give contrary advice on is purchasing tickets…Japan has “discount ticket shops” all over the place. They sell all kinds of tickets…for movies, museums, concerts, sporting events, and amusement parks at discounted prices. I always buy tickets there.

Visit Tokyo-top-guide.com to purchase these books and for other helpful tips.