Tag Archives: New York

Ichiro was traded to the Yankees

24 Jul

I’m not a big baseball fan but I have written a few baseball related posts…including two about Ichiro Suzuki.
( Click here to read the post I wrote about Ichiro playing baseball in Japan against Japan…and click here to read my post about Ichiro and the rest of the “Samurai Japan” team).

Even to someone (like me) who isn’t a baseball fan, it’s well-known that Ichiro was a member of the Seattle Mariners MLB team…but that’s no more.

Ichiro was just traded to the New York Yankees.

(Picture from the New York Yankees website).

And, in a bit of ironic fate, his first game as a player for the Yankees is today…against his former team, the Mariners!

100 year old Japanese trees in America

25 Mar

Did you know that there are 3,000 Japanese さくら (Sakura (Cherry Blossom)) trees in Washington DC, America?

Japanese Sakura in Washington, DC (photo from Yahoo! News)

Did you know that those trees were a gift of friendship to America from Japan? And that the first two trees were planted near the White House by the then American “First Lady” and wife of the Japanese Ambassador to America?

I knew all of that already and I also knew that there are Japanese-style 花見 (“Cherry Blossom Viewing” parties) in Washington DC every spring when the flowers are in bloom.

But I didn’t know that Japan gave the trees to America in March 1912. One hundred years ago this month.
And I also didn’t know that the first two trees (the ones planted by the wives of the then U.S. President and Japanese Ambassador) are still standing in the same spot the were planted in Washington DC in 1912.

So, this year’s 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) in Washington DC is special because it’s the one-hundredth anniversary of the gift of the trees from Japan.

The さくら (Cherry Blossoms) are already in bloom in Washington DC because of unusually warm weather in America now.

Another event to help mark the occasion took place in New York City earlier this month.
2012 March 1-6 was called “Japan Week” in NYC.

I don’t know much about this event but from looking at their website, it appears that visitors could experience a lot of Japanese culture that week in New York.

A woman playing the "Koto" (Japanese harp-like instrument) at "Japan Week" in NYC.

I Love Rock And Roll

19 Jul

Do you know the song “I Love Rock And Roll“? If you do, in fact, love rock and roll then I’m sure you know this song well. “I Love Rock And Roll” has been covered by many artists since it’s original release 36 years ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that many years!)…but do you know who wrote and recorded it originally? It’s quite likely you guessed it was Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

But, although her version reached the #1 spot on the U.S. music charts, Joan Jett’s version of the song is a remake. She isn’t the original artist. It was Alan Merrill with his band (at the time) The Arrows who wrote and originally recorded the rock masterpiece “I Love Rock And Roll”.

Alan Merrill in 2011.

Alan Merrill is American and currently lives in his home state of New York…but he has lived in both England and Japan for a number of years…and reached celebrity status in both countries. Mr. Merrill was kind enough to do an excellent and interesting interview with me.

Click here to read his interview with me (and then come back and leave a comment on this post with your opinion of the interview).

My favorite country in the world is Japan.

Alan Merrill

(My interview with Alan Merrill: www3.ocn.ne.jp/~tokyo5/interviews.html#merrill.)

JapanNYC

15 Mar

Carnegie Hall in New York City, USA is currently having a festival of Japanese arts and culture that they call “JapanNYC” from 2011 March 14th until 2011 April 9th.

Some may feel that they should have canceled the event after the earthquake struck the Sendai area of Japan on 2011 March 11th…but Carnegie Hall decided to continue with the planned Japan festival in honor of the earthquake victims:

Everyone at Carnegie Hall was deeply saddened to hear the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday. While plans for our JapanNYC festival proceed, we offer our thoughts and prayers to those affected. At this incredibly difficult time, we feel it is particularly important to pay tribute to Japan and its people through these festival events.

–Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, NYC

If you’re in the New York City area from now and April 9, you should consider checking out some of this event.
I’ve never seen a “Japan festival” in America but this one looks interesting. Among the scheduled events, they will have Taiko Drumming, Noh Theater and concerts led by the famous Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa.

Here’s a promotion video for the event:

Tokyo is to Osaka what New York is to California

26 Nov

My oldest daughter’s high school class took a three-day field trip to the Western Japan city of 大阪 (Osaka).

All of the photos in this post were taken by her during this trip.

The headquarters of the Japanese "Glico Candy Co.", Osaka, Japan

Have you ever visited Osaka? Have you ever visited Tokyo?
Did you notice how different they food and the people are?

Some people say that Tokyo is famous for fashion and Osaka is famous for food.
Do you know the delicious Japanese dishes 「お好み焼き」 (Okonomiyaki) and 「たこ焼き」 (Takoyaki)? Did you know that they are both “Osaka dishes”?

That’s not to say that Tokyo doesn’t have delicious food. In fact, Tokyo has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world.

And Tokyo has original dishes as well. Have you ever tried 「もんじゃ焼き」 (Monja-yaki)?
I guess you could call it “Tokyo-style Okonomiyaki”.

People from Osaka are more outgoing and friendly compared to people in Tokyo. A large number of Japan’s most famous comedians live and work in Tokyo but they’re actually from Osaka.
People in Osaka are famous for asking shop clerks for a discount when they shop. But that’s not done in Tokyo…here people just pay the listed price. People in Tokyo don’t feel comfortable “bargaining” for a discount.

Personally I think Osaka is a fun place to visit but I feel more comfortable in Tokyo than any other city. I enjoy living here. It has become “home”.

Anyways here are the rest of the photos that my daughter took that don’t have her or any of her friends in them:

The famous "Kani-Doraku" seafood restaurant

A type of "Takoyaki" called "Akashiyaki"

"Carl Corn Puffs" snack logo

The famous "Kuidaore-Tarou" statue

A train advertising "Universal Studios Japan" amusement park, which is in Osaka

Entrance to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) with X-mas decorations

Snoopy and Hello Kitty "Nikuman" meat-rolls at Universal Studios Japan. I guess Universal Studios in America doesn't have these.

Is "Hello Kitty" at the Unversal Studios parks in the U.S. too?

The giant X-mas tree at USJ.

Sadako’s crane part of WTC memorial

11 Sep

Today is 2010 September 11.
Nine years since the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Last year I wrote a post about Sadako Sasaki. She was a young girl in Hiroshima when America dropped the atomic bomb on that city in 1945 and she developed leukemia from the radiation and died at the age of twelve.

The story of the 千羽鶴 (“1000 origami cranes”) that she folded while in the hospital is well-known in Japan.
(Click here to read that post.)

Almost all of the origami cranes that Sadako Sasaki folded were cremated with her when she died, but her family kept a few of the cranes.

Sadako Sasaki’s surviving brother learned of a memorial in New York to the Japanese employees of Fuji Bank‘s New York branch in the World Trade Center who died in the 2001 September 11 attacks.
This memorial included thousands of origami paper cranes…and now one of those cranes is one of those folded by young Sadako Sasaki before she died in 1955.

Godzilla in Tokyo and Godzilla in Hollywood

2 Apr

The Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui used to play for the New York Yankees major league team until he began playing for the Los Angeles Angels last December.

(Click here to read the post I wrote last December about him moving from the Yankees to the Angels.)

His nickname is “Godzilla“.

He is currently the spokesman in Japan for the Kirin “Fire” canned coffee and in 新宿 (Shinjuku, Tokyo) there is a huge balloon in his likeness wearing a baseball uniform similar to his L.A. Angels uniform that has “Fire” emblazoned on the front.
The balloon statue is leaning on a giant can of “Fire” coffee.

The campaign is called 「ビッグマツイ」 (“Big Matsui“).

My daughter had to go to Shinjuku today, so she took a couple photos of this giant display with her cell-phone camera when she passed by it.

Here are her photos of the giant Hideki Matsui balloon in Shinjuku (you can see how big it is in proportion to the people standing near it):

"Godzilla" has hit Tokyo again!

Speaking of Godzilla…this time the iconic Japanese monster called 「ゴジラ」 (“Gojira“) in Japan and “Godzilla” in other countries that continually destroys Tokyo in his countless movies from Japan’s Toho Studios.

I wrote a post last summer (click here to read it) about the numerous Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…including a 1998 remake of Godzilla that was poorly received by both critics and fans.

Hollywood's "Godzilla", circa 1998

I also wrote a post last April (click here to read this one) about both America’s “King Kong” and Japan’s “Godzilla“…and the classic film in which they battled each other.

Well, America’s “Legendary Pictures” has just announced their intention to film another “Godzilla” movie.

The movie is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.

A major complaint that many people had about the 1998 American remake of “Godzilla” was that both the storyline as well as the appearance of the monster were too different from the Japanese movies.

Legendary Studios has implied that their version of Godzilla will stay true to the Japanese original.

According to their press release:

“…Legendary intends to approach the (Godzilla) film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible….”

That would probably be a good strategy if they want their movie to be successful…especially here in Japan.
Because in Japan many of the characters from Japanese classic movies, such as Ultraman and Godzilla, are still very popular.
Their movies are still made nowadays.

2009 Dec "Ultraman" movie poster

"Godzilla: Final Wars" movie poster; circa 2004

Godzilla will move to California

15 Dec

I just heard on TV today that the Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, who was recently chosen as the New York Yankees MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the World Series game that they just played not long ago, will be changing teams after playing for the Yankees for six years.

Once the 2010 professional baseball season starts, Matsui will begin his one year contract playing for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team…and will earn US $6.5 million (about JPY ¥583 million).

Hideki Matsui started his professional baseball career playing for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants baseball team from 1993 -2002.

He was given the nickname “Godzilla“…originally because of his bad skin complexion, but later it referred to his powerful batting.

Tokyo Giants

In 2003, he began playing for the New York Yankees of the Major League Baseball (MLB) in America.

Even in America, he was still called “Godzilla“…and he still batted powerfully!

Godzilla demolished his bat!

I guess New York Yankees fans are disappointed to see him leave for Los Angeles…possibly the same way Tokyo Giants fans felt when he left to play in America six years ago.

Tokyo’s voted one of the best…again

24 Oct

It seems that the world’s cities are constantly being rated.
And Tokyo, Japan has often been ranked #1 (for example, Tokyo has been voted the city with the world’s best cuisine many times)…and at least Tokyo usually makes the ranking’s “Top Five”.

A recent survey asked five groups of people to rate the world’s cities.
The groups were “Business managers”, “Scientists and researchers”, “Artists”, “Tourists”, and “Residents of the cities”.
Then the five lists were averaged into a final ranking of the “World’s Best Cities”.

The “Business managers” Top Ten cities are:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Singapore
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Shanghai
  6. Paris
  7. Tokyo
  8. Beijing
  9. Zurich
  10. Geneva

The “Scientists” Top Ten are:

  1. New York
  2. London
  3. Tokyo
  4. Paris
  5. Seoul
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Boston
  8. Singapore
  9. Berlin
  10. Chicago

The “Artists” list:

  1. New York
  2. Paris
  3. Berlin
  4. London
  5. Tokyo
  6. Chicago
  7. Vienna
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Amsterdam
  10. Madrid

Tourists” voted like this:

  1. New York
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Beijing
  5. Shanghai
  6. Vienna
  7. Tokyo
  8. Berlin
  9. Singapore
  10. Hong Kong

And finally “Residents’” Top-Ten:

  1. New York
  2. Paris
  3. Berlin
  4. Tokyo
  5. London
  6. Amsterdam
  7. Zurich
  8. Vienna
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Vancouver

When the lists were averaged Tokyo was fourth place in the Global City Rankings.

News summary

28 May

A few items that were in the news recently:

  • Takamiyama, the first foreign sumo wrestler in Japan (he was Hawaiian (he’s become a naturalized Japanese years ago, though)), will retire this June.He’s already retired from wrestling about 25 years ago, but he has his own sumo stable (a training ring and dormitory for a group of wrestlers) and he will turn 65 years old this June, so he’s planning to completely retire from sumo next month.
  • 自由の女神像 (The Statue Of Liberty) in New York City had been off-limits to tourists since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks…but it has recently been reopened and now tourists can go all the way to the top again for the first time in nearly eight years.
  • North Korea tested nuclear weapons on last Monday and Tuesday. As a result, the Peace Clock in 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) that counts the number of days that there has been no nuclear testing in the world had to be reset back to “00001”.

peace-clock

  • A police officer in France was arrested after he cut of the genitals of his cheating wife’s boyfriend with a box-cutter knife.
  • A woman was caught shoplifting from a Wal-Mart store in America and in an attempt to escape, she threw her infant child at the store’s security guards. Almost killing the baby.