Tag Archives: summer

Gari Gari Kun

15 May

It seems that, because of the internet, a number of people know of the myriad of Kit-Kat flavors in Japan.
Click here to read of the posts I’ve written about them.

But many other products, both Japanese and foreign, are sold in unique flavors in Japan.

For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-cola. (Click here to see the posts I’ve written about them.

Also, potato chips, chocolates and other snacks…as well as sandwiches and beverages (besides the colas I’ve mentioned above) come in a variety of flavors here.
Japanese pizza and crepe have unique “only-in-Japan” toppings sometimes.

Maybe I’ll write a blog post about some of those one day.
But today, since the weather is getting warmer, I decided to write about a Japanese ice-pop (or アイスキャンデー (ice candy) as it’s known in Japan) that is very popular here in the summer.

It’s called 「ガリガリ君」 (“Gari-Gari-kun“)

Japanese 「ガリガリ君」 (

Japanese 「ガリガリ君」 (“Gari-Gari-kun”) ice-pop. (This one is “Soda flavor”).

In America, the “Popsicle” brand ice-pop (ice candy) is the most popular…in Japan, it’s “Gari-Gari-Kun“.

And, just like a lot of other snacks here (such as “Kit-Kat“), Gari-Gari-Kun is sold in a wide, diverse variety of flavors.

Here are a few examples:

Tiramisu (Italian dessert)  flavor "Gari-Gari-Kun" ice-pop.

Tiramisu (Italian dessert) flavor “Gari-Gari-Kun” ice-pop.

みかん (Tangerine)  flavor "Gari-Gari-Kun" ice-pop.

みかん (Tangerine) flavor “Gari-Gari-Kun” ice-pop.

Grapefruit flavor "Gari-Gari-Kun" ice-pop.

Grapefruit flavor “Gari-Gari-Kun” ice-pop.

Advertisements

Young semi-chan

8 Aug

We were lucky enough to see this 蝉 (cicada) shedding it’s molt near our house!

image

The Ring milkshake

21 Jul

In Japan, haunted houses and horror movies are popular in the summer.

Cool drinks, such as shaved ice and milkshakes, are also popular in summer in Japan.

So, starting next weekend, the Japanese fastfood chain, Lotteria, will sell a special ラムネ (Ramune) / chocolate milkshake that is supposedly inspired by the Japanese horror movie “The Ring”.

image

Vernal Equinox

19 Mar

Tomorrow, 2013 March 20th, is 春分の日 (Vernal (or Spring) Equinox).

shunbun

春分の日 (Vernal Equinox) is in the third week of March.
This is one of two days per year that both day and night are an equal twelve hours. It’s also commonly considered the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere).

This day is a legal holiday in Japan. So, most people have the day off from work or school.

Six month later, in September, is 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox). That is the other day that both day and night are an equal twelve hours long.
It’s commonly considered the first day of Autumn.
And it is also a legal holiday in Japan.

There is also, of course, 夏至 (Summer Solstice) in June. Daylight is longest on this day. It’s the first day of summer.
And, 冬至 (Winter Solstice) in December. Nighttime is longest on this day. It’s the beginning of winter.

Although both Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are holidays in Japan…oddly, neither Summer or Winter Solstice are.

Maybe you’re wondering how Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are “celebrated” in Japan.
On these days, many people go to their family grave at the cemetery to clean the grave, leave flowers and incense, and remember their ancestors.

What are your country’s summer traditions?

10 Jul

Summer in Japan is very 蒸し暑い (“muggy” / hot and humid).

“Beware of heat stroke in the hot summer!”

Florida, where I grew up, is also hot and humid during the summer. But, unlike Japan, I don’t recall any particular traditions of summer in Florida…other than going to the beach or water-slide parks.

Japanese people like to celebrate the uniqueness of the seasons of the year. There are traditions in autumn, winter, spring and summer in Japan.

A few of Japan’s summer traditions are:

Summer festivals and fireworks shows.
Japan has 祭り (festivals) all year round…but there’s an abundance of them in the summer. And in late July to early August, there are many excellent 花火大会 (fireworks shows).
Click here to see my listing of summer festivals in the Tokyo area.

● スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”)


This is a Japanese summertime tradition that is similar to Mexico’s piñata. In both traditions, people take turns being blindfolded and try to hit the target with a stick, but in Mexico, the target is a kind of paper doll filled with candy that gets hit until it breaks open, Japan’s スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”) has a watermelon as the target. Once the watermelon gets hit and breaks open, everyone enjoys eating it.

● アナゴ (freshwater eel)
Eating eel is believed to give stamina to survive the grueling summer heat.
Click here to read a post that I wrote about it.

蝉 (Cicadas)
Every summer the 蝉 (cicadas) can be heard chirping in Japan. It’s considered one of the sounds of summer.
I wrote this post about the cicada in Japan.

● かき氷 (Shaved ice)

Eating shaved ice with a sweet syrup flavoring is a popular way to people to stay cool in the summer in Japan.
If you want to buy a  かき氷 (Shaved ice) in Japan, you can find them when you see a flag or poster that looks like this:

The character is 「氷」 and means “ice”

● ビアガーデン (“Beer garden”)

In the summertime, many places in Japan offer space to drink beer outdoors (and often on the building’s roof) in the cool night breeze.
Some places offer an “all-you-drink” (within a time limit) special.

●Pools and beaches

Of course, swimming is popular in the summertime in Japan just as it is in Florida.
Pools and beaches in Japan have lifeguards on duty and very few are open year-round.
Most of them are opening around now. Toshimaen, an excellent amusement park / waterslide park / pool in Tokyo opened on weekends only beginning July 2nd this year and will be open everyday from July 16th until September 4th.

What types of traditions does your country have in the summer?

Disneyland for half-price

28 May

From 2011 July 8 until August 31, 「東京ディズニーリゾート」 (Tokyo Disney Resort), which is the collective name for Tokyo Disneyland and it’s neighboring Tokyo Disney Sea together, will offer their one-day passport tickets for children between the ages of four to eleven for half-price (children under four are always admitted for free).

This is the first time Tokyo Disney has cut their prices like this. The reason they’re offering this special bargain is to help raise the spirits of children in Japan since the devastating earthquake last March.

Tokyo Disney Resort‘s “one-day passport” is valid for one park or the other (not both) for one entire day.

The price for the “one-day passport” is normally ¥6,200 (about US$76.68) for ages 18-59, ¥5,500 (about US$68.02) for ages 60 and over, ¥5,300 (about US$65.55) for ages 12-17, and ¥4,100 (about US$50.70) for kids aged 4-11.

But from July 8 – August 31, the kids “one-day passport” will be reduced to ¥2,050 (about US$25.35).

This doesn’t affect me since my kids are all too old for the reduced ticket price…but if you have young kids and you’ll be in the Tokyo area in July or August of this year, you should consider taking advantage of this half-price ticket.

Disaster Prevention in Tokyo

1 Sep

Today is 2010 September 1. The 87th anniversary of the 「関東大震災」 (“Great Kanto Earthquake“) that destroyed the Tokyo area on 1923 September 1.

So every year on September 1st in Japan, it’s called 「防災の日」 (“Disaster Prevention Day”).

On this day, fire departments give fire and earthquake safety tips to people, schools hold earthquake drills, and people are encouraged to check and maintain their “earthquake kits” that are recommended to be in every home.

It is said that in Japan’s history, a major earthquake has struck on average every eighty years. So it is expected that Tokyo is due for another one.
I really hope not!

No major earthquakes have struck Tokyo in a long while (“knock on wood”), but a different disaster has hit Tokyo this summer.
A heat wave.

It was reported on the news today that the temperature this summer in Tokyo has been the hottest in 113 years!
The temperature reached 35°C a number of times this summer.
Over a hundred people died from heat stroke and thousands were hospitalized.

It has been brutally hot in Tokyo this summer…and the forecast for the rest of this week says the heat and humidity will continue.

"Uchimizu" is a traditional Japanese custom of throwing water onto the streets to lower the temperature in the city a bit.