Tag Archives: Showa Day

新幹線 in Florida?

29 Apr

I grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I left there two decades ago…but it’s still where I grew up.

So I was interested when I heard a story on the TV news recently that involved both Tampa, Florida and Japan.

The news said that Florida plans to build a 新幹線 (bullet train) line from Tampa to Orlando and continue on to Miami.

When I lived in Florida, there was no public transportation system to speak of…and definitely no train—especially a bullet train!

Many countries, including Japan, are putting bids in to build this new train line for Florida.

The trains in Japan are spotless, safe, and extremely punctual. But I wonder if it’ll be the same situation in America, even if Japan builds the bullet train system for them…because a big factor in Japan’s excellent public transportation system is not only the technology but also Japan’s culture itself.

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Until yesterday, Japan had a fifteen year 時効 (Statute of Limitations) for murder.
That meant that if someone killed another person in Japan and the police couldn’t catch them with that time limit they would be free of any chance of prosecution for that crime from then on.

But a new law was passed yesterday that completely abolished the Statute of Limitations for murder…and it’s retroactive. So there is now no Statute of Limitations for any murder committed on 1995 April 28 or later.

Actually, this bill was rushed through the Japanese Senate in order to be passed yesterday because there is an unsolved murder case that occurred on that exact date of 1995 April 28…so if this bill wasn’t passed into law yesterday, whoever it was that stabbed an elderly couple to death in their home and then burned their house down (apparently in an effort to cover their crime) would be free from any possibility of being punished for that heinous crime.
But now there is no longer a time limit for the police to catch murderers in Japan.

(Thankfully though, the violent crime rate in Japan is extremely low.)

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縁日祭

29 Apr

今日は「昭和の日」 (Today is “Showa Day“).

Until 1989, April 29th was 天の誕生日 (the (Showa) Emperor’s birthday), but when the (Showa) Emperor died in 1989 his son became the (current) Emperor…so in honor of the Showa Emperor’s love of nature, his birthday became the Japanese holiday 緑の日 (Greenery Day).
But a few years ago, 緑の日 (Greenery Day) was changed to May 4th and April 29th became known as 昭和の日 (Showa Day).

You can read about Japanese holidays on my FAQ page by clicking here…and you can read about 昭和の日 (Showa Day) in particular by clicking here.

At a 神社 (shrine) near our house, our town had a 縁日祭 (Neighborhood Festival).
We usually go to this festival every year.
In past years at this festival, my youngest daughter has played the Koto* with her Koto class, my oldest daughter played the trumpet with her brass band when she was in Junior High, and I volunteered once to help at one of the booths.
(*Koto is a traditional Japanese instrument).
Even though this festival is small, I enjoy it alot because I have lived in this neighborhood for many years so I know many people and it’s enjoyable to have a beer and talk with friends and neighbors and enjoy the festival.

This year, my wife volunteered in help at one of the booths. She helped at the booth selling かき氷 (shaved ice).

Today is Wednesday but it’s a day off. It was nice to have a day off in the middle of the week. A nice break.
We all had a good time at the festival. Each of my daughters went to the festival with their friends.
I saw my father-in-law there talking with some neighbors…I sat with them and had some beer and food and small talk.
I saw my daughters and their friends walking around, so I bought them all some イカ焼き (grilled squid).

We all had a good time.

Here are some photos I took:

「こいのぼり」 (Carp streamers). It's a traditional 子供の日 (Children's Day (May 5)) decoration.

「こいのぼり」 (Carp streamers). It's a traditional 子供の日 (Children's Day (May 5)) decoration.

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お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki)

お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki)

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What types of neighborhood festivals do you have where you live?

Golden Week

6 May

Right now, it’s “Golden Week” in Japan.

黄金週間 (usually referred to by the English name “Golden Week” or simply “G.W.”) is May 3 (健保記念日 (“Constitution Day”)), May 4 (緑の日 (“Greenery Day”)), and May 5 (こどもの日 (“Children’s Day”))…but just before these holidays is 昭和の日 (“Showa Day”) on April 29, so some companies give their employees the week of April 29 until May 5 off for Golden Week.

By the way, until 2006, Greenery Day was on April 29 and May 4th was called 国民の記念日 (Residents’ Day).

(If you want to read a bit more about Japan’s holidays, click here to see my summary of Japanese holidays on my FAQ page.)

This year May 4 is on a Sunday so Greenery Day is observed on Tuesday, May 6. So this year’s Golden Week is from Saturday, May 3 til Tuesday, May 6…a four day weekend.

So today’s the last day of Golden Week…tomorrow we go back to work (or school, in the kids’ case), so we’re just relaxing at home today.

Yesterday, though, we went to 原宿 (Harajuku). We knew it’d be especially crowded during the holidays…but Harajuku is where all the teenagers hang out and shop, and many stores were having sales for Golden Week so my kids wanted to go there.

Here’s a couple pictures of the famous 竹下通り (Takeshita Street)…it’s always crowded there, but it was unreal yesterday:

From there, we walked to 表参道通り (Omotesando-doori), which is like the Rodeo Drive of Japan with all the luxury brand stores. We went to the giant “Kiddy Land” toy store.

Then we got dinner and went home.