Tag Archives: Nagano

Fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

10 Oct

Today (2014 October 10th) is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Summer Olympics that were hosted by Tokyo.

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This was the first time the Olympics was hosted by an Asian country.

The Tokyo government had new stadiums built (which are still in use today) and the world’s first 新幹線 (bullet train) was built by Japan Railways (called “Japan National Railways” back then). The bullet train connected Tokyo to Osaka, and it’s service commenced on October 1st, 1964…so, nine days ago was the 50th birthday of the world’s first bullet train.

Since Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics fifty years ago, Japan has hosted the Olympics two more times: the 1972 Winter Olympics were hosted by Sapporo, Japan and the 1998 Winter Olympics were hosted by Nagano, Japan.

A new bullet-train service was also started in 1998 to connect Tokyo to Nagano for the ’98 Games. My wife and I took that bullet train to see the Nagano Olympics atmosphere.

Tokyo put a bid in to host the 2016 Olympics, but lost. (I wrote a post about Tokyo’s 2016 bid and also my trip to Nagano in ’98…here).

Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics was successful though. In July 2020, Tokyo will not only be the first Asian city to host an Olympics Games…but also the first Asian city to host the Games twice!
(I wrote a post about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics here).

Both the 1964 Tokyo Olympics logo and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics commenced on 1964 October 10th. October isn’t summer…it’s autumn. The reason that the Games were in October is because summer is extremely hot and humid in Tokyo. The weather in October (now) is much more comfortable.
After the 1964 Olympics, October 10th became a holiday in Japan: 体育の日 (“Fitness Day”). The date of the holiday was changed in the year 2000 to ‘the second Monday in October’. So, 体育の日 (Fitness Day) isn’t today…next Monday (October 13th, 2014) is the holiday.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) changed the rules and now the Summer Olympics must be played in July. So, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be in July. It’s gonna be hot!

 

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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.

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.

Volcano eruption

2 Feb

浅間山 (Mount Asama) is a 火山 (volcano) between 群馬県 (Gunma Prefecture) and 長野県 (Nagano Prefecture).

It’s about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Tokyo.

asama

Yesterday, the 気象庁 (Japan Meteorological Agency) issued a level 3 warning* that 浅間山 (Mount Asama) could erupt within 48 hours. About 45,000 residents near the volcano were told they may need to evacuate.

* (There are five volcano warnings. Level 1 is normal / safe. Level 2 is stay away from crater. Level 3 is non-residents should stay away from the volcano. Level 4 is nearby residents need to prepare to evacuate. Level 5 is evacuation / major eruption imminent.)

Japan has many 火山 (volcanoes)…the most famous is the symbol of Japan, 富士山 (Mt. Fuji)…but most are dormant.
浅間山 (Mount Asama) is one of Japan’s most active 火山 (volcanoes).

The 気象庁 (Japan Meteorological Agency) was correct.

浅間山 (Mount Asama) had a minor eruption this morning (Monday, February 2, 2009) just before 2:00AM (JST).
No one was injured and there was no reported property damage.

The last time 浅間山 (Mount Asama) erupted was on September 1, 2004. That eruption was also fairly minor…although ash from that eruption went 200 kilometers from the volcano.
It’s biggest eruption was about 220 years ago. There were 1500 casualties and alot of property damage in that eruption.

Tokyo Olympics

7 Jun

Tokyo, as well as 26 or so other cities, had put a bid in to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
From those 27 cities, the list of candidate cities has just been reduced to four…Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.

As of right now, Tokyo looks like it may be the most likely choice for host city because Tokyo’s “score” is 8.4 (the highest of the four cities).

The final decision of which city will host the 2016 Olympics will be decided on October 2, 2009 (over a year from now).

If Tokyo hosts the 2016 Olympics, I think I might volunteer as a guide or something. 2016 is still eight years away, so I’m not giving it too much thought right now, though.

The last time (and only time, so far) that Tokyo hosted the Olympics was the 1964 Olympics. It was the first time a “non-Western” country hosted the Olympics!
The “National Olympic Stadium” that was built in Yoyogi, Tokyo for the ’64 Olympics will be re-used as one of the venues in 2016, if Tokyo is chosen as the host.

Have you ever been in a city when it hosted the Olympics?

In 1998, Nagano, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
We didn’t have tickets for any of the events, but we wanted to see an “Olympic city”…so we took a 新幹線 (Bullet Train) from Tokyo to Nagano (it was the “Asama” Shinkansen Line that was just built at the time especially for the ’98 Olympics).

Even without event tickets, it was fun.

While we were in Nagano during the ’98 Olympics, we saw Andy Hug before he died.

If you live outside of Japan or you weren’t in Japan in the 1990’s, you probably don’t recognize that name. But he was a very popular K-1 fighter in Japan from Switzerland.

He was in Nagano helping to support the Swiss Olympic team.

He was very polite and was often on TV in Japan in the late ’90s. So it was quite a shock to Japan when he died suddenly at a young age just two years after the 1998 Olympics.

Compared to the other three candidate cities for the 2016 Olympics, a relatively low number of people in Tokyo support the Olympics coming to this city. Many are afraid it will get even more crowded than it already is here and the morning train commute to work will have many tourists filling the trains.

I think, though, that if Tokyo is chosen, it will force the government to build more train lines in the city to accommodate them…and that will benefit those of us that live here in the long term after the Olympics are over.

So I support Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.