Tag Archives: Sports Day

ハッピー・マンデー制度

19 Jul

Today is 「海の日」 (Sea Day) in Japan.

This is a holiday to remember the sea and all that it provides.
(Click here to read the post I wrote at last year’s 「海の日」 (Sea Day).)

Today is Monday and it’s a national holiday in Japan therefore Japan has a three-day weekend now. 「海の日」 (Sea Day) is always on a Monday, so it’s always a three-day weekend.

But it wasn’t always like this.

Actually when I first came to Japan, there was no 「海の日」 (Sea Day) holiday. There were no holidays in Japan during July at all.

This holiday started a few years after I came here. And it was always on the 20th of July.

Then about six or seven years ago, the Japanese government decided to start what is called the 「ハッピー・マンデー制度」 (“Happy Monday System“) in Japan.

Under this system, all national holidays that don’t fall on a date that can’t be changed (such as the Emperor’s Birthday, New Year’s, etc) now fall on the closest Monday.

So now 「海の日」 (Sea Day) is on the third Monday of July rather than July 20.

There are a few other holidays on the 「ハッピー・マンデー制度」 (“Happy Monday System“) as well.
These are 「成人の日」 (“Adults Day”) in January, 「敬老の日」 (“Respect For The Aged Day”), and 「体育の日」 (“Sports Day”).

Does your country have a system for holidays on a Monday to make three-day-weekends?

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Today…

4 Jun

Today was my youngest two daughters’ 運動会 (Sports Day Event) at their Junior High School.
It was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but was postponed until today because it rained last Saturday. (I wrote about it on an earlier post. Click here to read it.)

I wasn’t able to attend their 運動会 (Sports Day Event) because I had to work…but my wife went and videotaped it. So I’ll be able to watch it.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of the 六四天安門事件 (4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests) in 天安門広場 (Tiananmen Square) in China.

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

And tomorrow will be my oldest daughter’s High School 運動会 (Sports Day event).

Also tomorrow is the 57th birthday of Nicko McBrain.
Certainly you know that Nicko McBrain is the drummer for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden!

maiden

Iron Maiden's "Eddie" mascot.

Rain, rain, go away….

29 May

It was raining in Tokyo yesterday and today, and it’s forecast to rain tomorrow too.

Tokyo's weather forecast for 30 May - 5 June 2009.

Tokyo's weather forecast for 30 May - 5 June 2009.

I don’t like rainy weather…but it only really bothers me when I have plans that depend on good weather.
And I have such plans tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my youngest two daughters’ 運動会 (“Sports Day event“) at their 中学校 (Junior High School)…unless it rains.

If tomorrow is a rainy day, then my youngest two daughters’ 運動会 (“Sports Day event“) will be postponed to next Thursday and I won’t be able to attend. 😦

Japanese children have school 運動会 (“Sports Day events“) every year from kindergarten to high school.
In kindergarten, the events consist mainly of easy races, games and dances…as the kids get older, the events become more competitive.
It’s a fun day.

I hope the weather is nice tomorrow.

So, to wish for nice weather, I will “hang” a てるてる坊主 (“Teru-teru-bouzu“) on my site:

てるてる坊主

てるてる坊主

What should I call 「てるてる坊主」 (“Teru-teru-bouzu“) in English?
Fair Weather Monk“? “Nice Weather Baldy“?
I guess a literal translation is strange. I’d call him “Fair Weather Charm” in English.

A real てるてる坊主 (“Fair Weather Charm“) is made of tissue or cotton and hung outside the home by Japanese people to hope for nice weather when an event is coming up that depends on nice weather.

And just like there’s a rhyme about rainy weather in English that goes: “Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day…“.
In Japan, children sing:

てるてる坊主、てる坊主、明日天気にしておくれ

Which means: “Fair weather charm, fair weather charm, please make tomorrow’s weather nice!”

Three Day Weekend

11 Oct

昨日 (Yesterday) was 十月十日 (October 10). Until a few years ago, that day used to be 体育の日 (Sports Day). But, along with a few other 祝日 (holidays), it’s been changed to the closest 月曜日 (Monday).

Therefore, this 月曜日 (Monday) (十月十三日 (October 13)) is 体育の日 (Sports Day). So, 今日 (today) is the first day of a 三連休 (three-day weekend).

(You can see my short FAQ post about 体育の日 (Sports Day) here.)

There are many 秋祭 (Autumn Festivals) around 日本 (Japan) this weekend and next. We plan to go to a couple of them.

Today (土曜日 (Saturday)), though, we’re just staying home because our daughters need to study for exams that they’ll will have at school on 火曜日 (Tuesday).

*****
I’m part of “Generation X” (born in the late 1960s – late ’70s). I was in Elementary school in the 1970s and a teenager in the 1980s.
I can remember (vaguely) the election of the US President Jimmy Carter. More vividly I remember when Rubik’s Cube®, Sony Walkman® (that played cassettes), MTV®, “Nightmare On Elm Street“, and Pac-Man® were big.

Growing up I loved Star Wars, The Incredible Hulk (TV show), Knight Rider (I’ve seen an episode of that old show recently…I can’t believe I liked it as a kid!), Evel Knievel, The Fonz, and heavy metal music (some of my favorites were (and still are): KISS (see my post here), Judas Priest, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, and Scorpions).

Recognize any of those? Some things on that list were from the ’70s (until I was ten years old) and others were from the ’80s (when I was eleven years old til high school).

(BTW, all of the band logos above are copyright© of their respective owners. And I got the images from the Hard Rock Hideout website).

My three kids were born between 1993 and 1996. Their generation doesn’t remember a pre-internet or pre-cell phone world. They were too young to understand the “9/11” attacks when they occurred.


Anyways…what was popular with you when you were growing up? (Write about it in the comments section!)

Akihabara

6 Oct

Last year and this year, I have been on the PTA of my daughter’s school.

My wife was on the PTA every year since our kids were in 保育園 (Nursery School)…quite a few years.
So I decided it was my turn.

As most fathers do, I have to work full-time so all that is usually expected of the fathers on PTA is to help set up for the festivals and events the school might have, and clean up afterwards.
Occasionally, we have meetings and sometimes gatherings at an 居酒屋 (Japanese pub/restaurant).

But on Saturday, there was a meeting with dinner (刺身 (Sashimi)) and drinks for the PTA for all the schools in our vicinity. A couple of weeks ago the PTA president asked me to give a speech at this meeting.

I wrote a short speech (in 日本語 (Japanese), of course) and had been practicing it everyday.
I was so nervous on Saturday before I gave the speech…but I think I did a pretty good job. (But I hate speeches, and I hope I never have to do that again! 🙂 )

+++
Yesterday was our town’s 運動会 (Sports Day event). My youngest daughter played the trombone in the event’s opening ceremony (as she did for her school’s 運動会 (Sports Day event) last week).
+++

After my daughter finished with the town 運動会 (Sports Day event), my three kids went to my in-laws’ house for dinner…so my wife and I went to 秋葉原 (Akihabara).

Have you ever heard of 秋葉原 (Akihabara)? Have you ever been there?

It has an interesting name. If you can read Japanese, you know 秋葉原 (Akihabara) translates to “Autumn leaves field“.
Also it technically should be read “Akibahara” (the b and h transposed)….that’s why the town has the nickname “Akiba” (it used to be that only dorks would call the town “Akiba”…but it’s become a common nickname).

Part of 秋葉原 (Akihabara) is called 「電気街 (“Electric Town“) because of all the electric and electronics stores in that area.
And that is what 秋葉原 (Akihabara) is famous for…being one of the biggest electronics shopping areas in the world.

It used to be that only オタク (fanatics; nerds) and those who needed to be there were found in 秋葉原 (Akihabara). All of the shops there, back then, were small and only the オタク (fanatics; nerds) really knew where the good deals were.

But two things changed 秋葉原 (Akihabara) a bit. One was a TV drama that was popular in Japan a few years ago in which the hero was an オタク (nerd) who hung out in 秋葉原 (Akihabara).
The other was the fairly recent opening of the “Yodobashi Camera” superstore near 秋葉原駅 (Akihabara Train Station).

Yodobashi Camera” is big, popular chain of electronics stores that are in many locations around Japan. When this store finally opened their 秋葉原 (Akihabara) branch (which is surprising that they didn’t have one there before), alot more non-オタク (fanatics; nerds) starting going to 秋葉原 (Akihabara).

We went to the “Yodobashi Camera” there to look at TVs. I bought our current Sony® TV years ago and it’s about ready to be replaced.

We didn’t buy a new TV, we just checked out what’s available and the prices.

Here’s something I saw that used to be a much more common sight in Japan:

There’s an old wives’ tale in Japan that says if you put plastic bottles of water around your property it will keep stray cats away. These bottles are called 猫よけ (Scare-cat).
Supposedly, the cats see their reflection in the water and think it’s another cat and run away.

Anyways, I saw those 猫よけ (Scare-cat) bottles and took a photo because it’s one of those only-in-Japan things.

Here’s a picture I took of 秋葉原 (Akihabara):

And a few videos:

Afterwards, we went to a small restaurant for dinner.

Many times in these types of restaurants in Japan, they’ll have a ticket vending machine at the front of the shop. You’re meant to buy the ticket for the food and beer (the drink menu at these places often consists of beer or water), and give the ticket to the cook behind the counter.

He’ll call you to pick up your order from the counter when it’s ready.

Here’s the ticket machine at the place where we ate:

This restaurant had old, retro Japanese “Asahi Beer” posters hanging on the wall (today’s beer ad posters usually have girls in bikinis).

This one is read top to bottom. It says 「アサヒビール」 (Asahi Beer):

This one also says 「アサヒビール」 (Asahi Beer)…but it’s written right to left. Writing this way isn’t as common in Japan as it used to be, so at first glance, I read 「ルービヒサア」 (Ruby Hisaa) (which doesn’t make any sense):

運動会

29 Sep

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s 運動会 (Sports Day event) at her school.
She’s in the sixth grade (which, in Japan, is the highest grade in 小学校 (Elementary school)), so this was the last Elementary school 運動会 (Sports Day event) for my kids.

運動会 (Sports Day events) are usually held from kindergarten to high school in Japan in September or October…but my oldest two daughters had their 中学校 (Junior High School) 運動会 (Sports Day event) last June (it was the first of my kids’ 運動会 (Sports Day events) that I didn’t attend because it was held on a weekday due to rain on the original day it was scheduled. (Click here to read my post about it)).

運動会 (Sports Day events) at Japanese 保育園 (Nursery Schools), 幼稚園 (Pre-schools) and 小学校 (Elementary schools) usually are decorated with strings of world flags hung over the school yard (中学校 (Jr High) and 高等学校 (High School) usually don’t decorate this way for their events).

My daughter played the trombone in the marching band for the commencement of the 運動会 (Sports Day event), and she ran in a couple races and other events during the day. As they usually do, the 運動会 (Sports Day event) started at 9:00AM and went until noon and we stopped for lunch (my wife and daughters had prepared an excellent lunch for us) and after lunch, the games re-started and the 運動会 (Sports Day event) finished at about 3:30PM.

I participated in the PTA 綱引き (Tug-Of-War).

A long day. But, as always, alot of fun!

This was the last 運動会 (Sports Day event) at the 小学校 (Elementary School)…next year, my youngest two daughters will be in 中学校 (Junior High School) and the oldest will begin 高等学校 (High School)!

Rained out

1 Jun

Yesterday was supposed to by my oldest two daughters’ 運動会 (Sports Day) at their Junior High School, but it got postponed due to rain.

I knew it was forecast to rain today…but I hoped that the rain would hold off.

But now their Sports Day event will be held on Monday (June 2).

I’m not gonna be able to go and watch it because I have to work on Monday. Of course, I’ll watch the video of it that my wife will take.

This will be the first of any of my kids’ 運動会 (Sports Day Events) that I’ve ever missed since they were in 保育園 (Nursery School).

A 運動会 (Sports Day) is an annual event at Japanese schools from Nursery School / Pre-school until High School. It’s often held in October to coincide with the Japanese holiday 体育の日(Sports / Exercise Day), (See my FAQ page about this holiday), but will sometimes be held in other months (usually Spring or Autumn, though).

Pre-school, Elementary school, Junior High, and High school events are all different, of course. There are some similarities, as well.

They all start and end with speeches from the school principal and “warm-up” and “cool-down” stretching.

At all of them (even Nursery School), the school band performs and it’s a well choreographed event for the parents and grandparents who are in the audience with cameras and video-cameras.

At the Nursery School / Pre-school Sports Day Events, there are lots of dances, games and races…many of which involve “Parent and Child” teams.

From Elementary School on, the events are more “conventional” team events with no “Parent / Child” teams anymore (the parents, though, can participate in a “Parents tug-of-war” event. I always participate in that every year…except this one 😦 ).

The kids in Junior High run really fast! When my oldest first started Junior High, I was surprised how fast the kids run the races at the Sports Day. I can imagine what they’re like in High School!

You can always tell when a school in Japan is getting ready for 運動会 (Sports Day)…Japanese Nursery Schools and Elementary Schools put up strings of flags of the world. It’s a Japanese Sports Day decoration like pumpkins at Halloween.

Also, from Elementary School on, some of the students design and paint giant banners for their class’ “team” flag.

This year, both of my two oldest daughters helped paint their respective class banners…and my second daughter is the person who designed her class’ banner herself!

I was really looking forward to seeing their artwork.

Anyways…I’m really disappointed that it rained today and I missed my daughters’ Sports Day, but I look forward to seeing the video of it on Monday. 🙂