Tag Archives: obama

Obama met Asimo

29 Apr

U.S. President Obama was in Tokyo last week.

He had sushi dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Abё at the world-famous Sukiyabashi-Jiro Sushi in Ginza, Tokyo.

That restaurant in said to be the world’s best sushi … and the most expensive. A twenty-piece set costs ¥30,000 (about U.S.$300 ) .

And he could also meet Honda Corp.’s famous “Asimo” (pronounced “Ah-she-mo”) robot:

Storm on Grandparents Day

16 Sep

It’s a three-day-weekend in Japan.
Today is 敬老の日 (Respect For Elders Day).

Even though today is a holiday, we’re staying indoors … and if you’re in the Tokyo area, you should too!

Because a big typhoon is currently hitting eastern Japan!

Trains have stopped, bridges are closed, houses and cars have been torn up, some parts of Kanagawa had a black-out, Kyoto and the city of 小浜 (Obama) have been flooded.

(Speaking of the Japanese city with the same name as the U.S. president, I wrote a post here:
https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/obama/ )

Lady Kaga

30 Nov

In 2008, when U.S. president Obama was campaigning for the presidency, a small town in western Japan called 小浜 (Obama) was taking advantage to the similarity in their names in an attempt to draw tourists…they were especially hoping that Barack Obama himself would pay a visit to Obama, Japan (but he still hasn’t).

Well, there is another small town in western Japan that is trying to capitalize on a similarity in the town’s name to that of an American celebrity.
加賀 (Kaga) is a town near 日本海 (the Sea of Japan) that has many 温泉 (hot springs), temples, shrines and traditional Japanese culture.

The name “Kaga” is similar to “Gaga” (as in “Lady Gaga”, the American pop star). When the two names are written in Japanese カタカナ (katakana) characters, they’re even more similar…「カガ」 (“Kaga”) looks quite like 「ガガ」 (“Gaga”).

The town of Kaga gets many tourists from 「関西地方」 (the “Kansai” region) in western Japan, which includes 「大阪」 (Osaka)…but not so many from 「関東地方」 (the “Kanto” region) in eastern Japan, which is where Tokyo is.

So, Kaga has recently begun a new tourist campaign on TV in the Tokyo area in an attempt to attract more tourists from this area.
This new TV ad takes advantage of the similarity in name to “Lady Gaga”, and shows a number of women who work in the tourism industry in Kaga and calls them 「レディー・カガ」 (“Lady Kaga”).

Here’s the ad:

Supposedly, Lady Gaga is scheduled to come to Tokyo sometime next month. Maybe she’ll she the ad on Japanese TV while she’s here…and take a trip to Kaga!

Is it right to cheer?

3 May

It was reported on the news yesterday that the self-credited mastermind of the 2001 September 11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in America, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by the American military.

Without a doubt, anyone responsible for crimes against humanity such as Bin Laden was should be brought to justice.

But I’m not sure I agree that the celebrations and cheering across America that was shown on the TV news yesterday is appropriate.

A crowd in Washington DC cheered the news that Osama Bin Laden was killed in a firefight with the U.S. military.

The Americans crowds that were shown on TV were chanting “USA! USA! USA!” and singing pro-America songs such as the American National Anthem.

It reminded me of the images of the reaction in some Middle Eastern countries about ten years ago after the WTC attacks on America.
There were some anti-American crowds in some countries who were cheering America’s loss.
It was quite offensive to see!

I certainly wouldn’t compare a villain such as Bin Laden to the innocent lives lost on 2001 September 11th…but seeing Americans cheering may fuel “anti-American” feelings in some countries.

Japan will bring bullet train to Florida?

23 Nov

Japan is well-known for it’s excellent public transportation system. Especially in big cities like Tokyo.
Japan’s trains, buses and subways are clean, safe, extremely punctual, convenient and affordable.

Even though the taxis here aren’t really affordable (a taxi ride in Japan is pricey), they’re also clean, safe and convenient.

You may also know that Japan has an excellent 「新幹線」 (“Bullet train” (or “Shinkansen” in Japanese)) system.

"Shinkansen" (Bullet train) passing Mt. Fuji.

Japan’s 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system is the world’s busiest and fastest bullet-train service.
The speed record was set a few years ago when the 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) reached a speed of over 580 km/hr on a test-run. With passengers though, the trains travel up to about 300 km/hr.

When U.S. President Obama announced that America would begin building and using bullet-trains systems in various parts of America with the first one scheduled to connect Tampa, Florida (my hometown) to Orlando and Miami, Florida many bullet-train companies around the world began bidding for the contract to build Florida’s first high-speed train service.

Map of Florida showing the planned bullet-train routes.

Companies in Canada, Germany and France are competing with Japan for the contract.

But it seems that Japan’s JR Tokai company has a good chance of winning the bid.

If Japan wins the bid then Florida will have a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system like Japan’s.


One of JR Tokai's 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) trains.

I wonder if America will be able to maintain the punctuality, safety and convenience of Japan’s train systems.

Have you ever ridden a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) in Japan? Or any of Japan’s trains or subways?
Have you taken public transportation in other countries?
What are your impressions?


By the way, today is a national holiday in Japan…「勤労感謝の日」 (“Labor Day”). (Click here to read my short “F.A.Q.” about it.)

Chocolate for “adults”

18 Nov

I was going to write a post about U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Japan for the APEC Summit that was held in Yokohama, Japan last week.
This summit was for world leaders to discuss free-trade in the Asia / Pacific region.

President Obama made a speech when he visited Japan shortly after his election in which he mentioned that he had visited 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan) near Tokyo on a trip with his mother when he was six years old.
On that trip, he remembered, he visited the 大仏 (Great Buddah) and enjoyed “Green Tea Ice Cream”.

In that speech, President Obama said that he hoped to visit Kamakura again one day soon and eat Green Tea Ice Cream again.

His wish came true on his last day in Japan of this recent trip (well, he actually ate a “Green Tea Popsicle” rather than ice cream this time).

U.S. President Obama eating a Green Tea Popsicle in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.

U.S. President Obama in front of the 大仏 (Great Buddah) statue in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.


I also wanted to write about the 2010 Asian Games which are currently being played in Guangzhou, China.
Forty-five countries are participating in these games which began on 2010 November 12 and will end with the closing ceremony on November 27th.
Japan is doing pretty good in these games…but China, the host country, has the highest number of gold medals so far.

Japan is upset though by the results of the women’s Judo matches. Judo is a Japanese martial art and Japanese athletes consistently excel in international Judo competitions…but in the women’s Judo match Tomoko Fukumi of Japan lost in her match against Wu Shegen of China.
Although it appeared to most people watching that Japan was winning, the judges awarded the victory to China.

Hopefully this doesn’t add more tension to the relationship between Japan and China.
In both Japan and China recently there have been protests against the other country due to Japan’s arrest (and eventual release) of a Chinese fisherman who entered disputed waters that are claimed as territory by both China and Japan.
And in the same waters, on two separate occasions a Chinese boat intentionally rammed a Japanese Coast Guard vessel that was patrolling the area.


But I titled this blog post 「Chocolate for “adults”」 because I saw the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 (“(Level of) Sweetness for Adults”).

I don’t eat junk-food often but two types of chocolate that I like are whiskey chocolate and dark / bitter chocolate.
This Kit-Kat is a bitter / semi-sweet chocolate so I decided to try it. It was pretty good.

The Japanese actress / singer 「黒木めいさ」 (Meisa Kuroki) is the promotion model for both the “regular” Kit-Kat (dressed in red) and the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 “Sweetness for Adults” (dressed in black).


Have you heard any of these news stories before?

Odd news from around the world

19 Apr

Here’s a summary of some unusual news stories that I read on 「毎日新聞」 (“The Mainichi Newspaper“) website:

● Japan’s Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, is in Washington for the “Nuclear Security Summit”.
After Mr. Hatoyama met with U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. newspaper wrote an article that described the Japanese prime minister as “loopy”.

The Japanese government said in a news conference that Japan was displeased with the lack of respect and courtesy that the newspaper showed a state leader.

● The New York Society Library, the oldest library in New York, discovered that the first American president, George Washington, borrowed two books from the library and failed to return them.

The books are still listed as checked out by George Washington and overdue since 1789 November 2!

Mr. Washington owes the library over 220 years in late fees!

● A man in America was recently arrested after he got into a quarrel with another guest at a motel he was staying at…and then hit the man in the face with his 1.2 meter (4 feet) python snake.

● In Germany, a meat supplier delivered steaks to a restaurant but was angered when the restaurant manager informed him that the restaurant didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay his €400 (¥50,120 (US$541)) bill.

Rather than wait to be paid later, the meat seller recollected all of the steaks…including the ones that were already cooked and on customer’s plates at their tables.

● Reminiscent of Orsan Welles famous radio show “War Of The Worlds” in which he described an attack on Earth by aliens from the planet Mars in the 1930’s in America that caused mass panic when the public believed the show was actual live news….a newspaper in the country of Jordan printed an “April Fools” joke in their paper on the first of this month.

The paper said that giant aliens from space were attacking their city of Amman in Jordan. It caused mass hysteria.
Even the city’s mayor believed the story. He sent troops to search for the aliens and was considering a citywide evacuation.


Have you heard these news stories? have you heard any other odd or funny news stories recently?


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