Tag Archives: Tokyo

New Yamanote trains

1 Dec

The 山手線 (Yamanote Line) is a train line in Tokyo.
Unlike other some of the other numerous train lines in Tokyo, this one never leaves metropolitan Tokyo. It has some trains going clockwise and some going counter-clockwise in a loop around the major stations in Tokyo. A full loop around every station on the Yamanote Line takes almost exactly one hour…but the longest you’d have to ride it is a half-hour (since it goes in both directions).

The Yamanote Line is easily identifiable because the trains are lime-green in color.

JR (Japan Railways), the company that runs many train lines all around Japan…including the Yamanote Line, began using new, updated trains on the Yamanote Line yesterday.

This is the first time this line has gotten new trains since 2002. I remember when the 2002 trains came out…they seemed so “modern”. But the new 2015 line make those trains look outdated!

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi)

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi).

These new trains has considerably less advertised posters on the train walls. Instead, it has many more digital monitors.

As I mentioned above, the Yamanote Line runs in metropolitan Tokyo only…normally!
Yesterday, as it was the first day for these new trains…one Yamanote Line train made a special trip to Kamakura, about an hour south of Tokyo!

Coincidentally, we drove to Kamakura yesterday (Click here to see my photos).

Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

Shigeru Mizuki, R.I.P.

30 Nov

水木しげる (Shigeru Mizuki), the author of “Ge-Ge-Ge-No-Kitaro” (an anime about monsters that I like), has died today.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 - 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 – 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

I wrote a post about his interesting life story on his 88th birthday (Click here to read it).

(The voice actor for the anime of one of Mr. Mizuki’s most famous characters died almost six years ago. (Click here to read a post I wrote about him.)

OzzFest Japan 2015

23 Nov

Yesterday, my wife, our daughters and I went to OzzFest Japan 2015!
It was great!

OzzFest Japan 2015

Two years ago I went to OzzFest Japan 2013 with my friend.

2015-11-22 10.33.06

Sign outside the Makuhari Messe venue for OzzFestJapan 2015.

It was a long day. We were there for twelve hours!
Here’s the line-up of bands we saw:

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, morning line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, afternoon line-up

OzzFest Japan 2015, day-2, evening line-up

I bought an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt and sweatshirt:

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy T-shirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

The Ozzy sweatshirt I bought.

All of the bands were very entertaining! But the bands that we were really looking forward to seeing were on from 2:50PM til the end.

At 2:50 were the Japanese band “9mm Parabellum Bullet” (called “kyuu-milli” for short).

9mm Parabellum Bullet took the stage.

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” took the stage.

My second daughter has been a big fan of this band for years. She’s seen them in concert a number of times. This was the first time that I’ve seen them on stage…though, I’m familiar with their songs since my daughter is a fan.

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"9mm Parabellum Bullet" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“9mm Parabellum Bullet” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

After that was Black Label Society! I’m a fan of this band! After they played, my daughters said that Zakk Wylde is “cool”.

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society"

“Black Label Society”

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Black Label Society" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Black Label Society” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the Japanese “horror rock” band 人間椅子 (Ningen-Isu) played. I saw this band before at OzzFest Japan 2013. They were inspired by the Japanese horror writer Edogawa Ranpo (who took his pen-name from his inspiration: horror author Edgar Allen Poe):

人間椅子

人間椅子

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

「人間椅子」 (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then the loud, energetic band Hatebreed took the stage!

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com )

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

"Hatebreed" (© ozzfestjapan.com ) The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

“Hatebreed” (© ozzfestjapan.com )
The guitarist wore a KISS T-shirt!

Next was Baby Metal. Do you know about the Japanese band Baby Metal? They combine heavy-metal with J-pop. (Click here to read my post about them.)
I don’t really care for their music…but they have many dedicated fans! In fact, Baby Metal were the only act at OzzFestJapan to have a rule limiting the number of their T-shirts that fans could buy, and they were still the only act to have their merchandise completely be sold-out!

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

"Baby Metal"

“Baby Metal”

“Baby Metal” (© ozzfestjapan.com )

At 6:50PM, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. This is another band that has many fans but I don’t really care for.
I had heard that Yoshiki would be performing a song with them…and sure enough, before one their songs, the singer announced their “friend Yoo-shee-kee” (a very non-Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese name よしき).

“Jane’s Addiction” with Yoshiki of “X-Japan” on piano. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

And then…it was time for Ozzy Osbourne & friends!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

"Ozzy Osbourne & friends"!!

“Ozzy Osbourne & friends”!!

In addition to his current band members, Gus G., Rob Nicholson and Tommy Clufetos (who is a very cool drummer!)…Geezer Butler (“Black Sabbath”) played bass on all Black Sabbath songs that Ozzy played, and at times the guitar position altered between Zakk Wylde (“Black Label Society”), Dave Navarro (“Jane’s Addiction”) and Tom Morello (“Rage Against The Machine”).

For the final encore, the Black Sabbath song “Paranoid” was played and all members (Ozzy Osbourne, Gus G., Rob Nicholson, Tommy Clufetos, Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde, Dave Navarro and Tom Morello all took the stage together…and then, as Ozzy promised, the popular Japanese mascot character “Funassyi” (who represents Funabashi, Chiba, Japan) was invited onstage to get hosed down by Ozzy Osbourne. (Throughout his show, Ozzy sprayed the front row of the audience with a foam hose, as he often does at his concerts).

"Let the madness begin!!"

“Let the madness begin!!”

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne and Gus G. (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne!

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

Ozzy Osbourne (© ozzfestjapan.com )

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Tom Morello turned his guitar around to reveal this message.(© ozzfestjapan.com )

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Zakk Wylde on stage with Ozzy again.

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Ozzy spraying Funnasyi

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi being hosed down by Ozzy.

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Funnasyi is a fan of Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom...and Funnasyi!

Ozzy on stage with Gus, Tommy, Rob, Adam, Geezer, Zakk, Dave, Tom…and Funnasyi!

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends

Ozzy & friends…final bow! Thank you for an excellent show!

(All photos in this post were taken by my wife, my daughters and myself…except for the 19 that are from the official OzzFestJapan website (and labeled as such)).

The setlist that Ozzy Osbourne & friends played:

  1. I Don’t Know
  2. Mr. Crowley (with Tom Morello)
  3. Bark at the Moon (with Tom Morello)
  4. Suicide Solution
  5. Flying High Again
  6. Shot in the Dark
  7. Guitar solo / Bass solo / Drum solo
  8. Iron Man (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  9. N.I.B. (with Tom Morello and Geezer Butler)
  10. Snowblind (with Geezer Butler)
  11. Behind the Wall of Sleep (with Geezer Butler)
  12. War Pigs (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  13. Fairies Wear Boots (with Geezer Butler and Dave Navarro)
  14. I Don’t Want to Change the World (with Zakk Wylde)
  15. Crazy Train (with Zakk Wylde)
  16. Mama, I’m Coming Home (with Zakk Wylde)
  17. Paranoid (with Geezer Butler, Tom Morello, Dave Navarro, Zakk Wylde and Funassyi)

Universal Childrens Day

20 Nov

There is a Japanese holiday on May 5th called 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”), but today (November 20th) is “Universal Children’s Day“.

Google's logo for "Universal Children's Day"

Google’s logo for “Universal Children’s Day”

The Japanese 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”) holiday is a day for parents and grandparents to celebrate their children and hope for their future health and well-being.
Universal Children’s Day is different. As Wikipedia explains:

“…Universal Children’s Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination…”

Japan does have an event for children around this time every November. For girls aged three and seven, and for boys aged five, Japanese celebrate 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”) (Click here to read my short explanation of it.)

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 ("Shichi-Go-San").

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”).

Tokyo supports Paris

15 Nov

The Tokyo Tower (which was modeled after France’s Eiffel Tower) is illuminated the colors of the French flag to show solidarity with France in the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris.

image

So is Tokyo Sky Tree:
image

And 東京都庁 (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building):
image

(Photos from @naokiss )

Kawagoe Festival

19 Oct

川越 (Kawagoe) is a town in 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) north of Tokyo.

Kawagoe has many old traditional temples, shrines, statues and other structures standing, so it is nicknamed 「小江戸」 (Ko-Edo), whcih means “Little Edo” (Edo was Tokyo’s name centuries ago).

Kawagoe has connections to the first shogun, Ieyasu. When the shogun died, his remains were brought to Nikko for burial. On the way there, a ceremony was held at a temple in Kawagoe.
Ieyasu died 400 years ago…so this year’s annual Kawagoe Festival was special.

The Kawagoe Festival was held yesterday and the day before. We went to it yesterday. (Click here to see this images in a slideshow):

Could you find the proper restroom?

16 Oct

In Japan, nearly every public restroom has a blue picture of a man on the men’s room door and a red picture of a woman on the ladies’ room door.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, especially at places that don’t get many foreign customers, the doors with be marked with black kanji symbols for male and female on the respective doors.

Would you be able to find the correct restroom? Take this two-question quiz to see.

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 1”.

 

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 2”.

How did you do? Did you know the answers, of just guess them? Tell me in the comments section!

The “Information Age”

9 Oct

Unlike people my kids’ age or younger, people my age and older grew up before there was an internet. Young people can’t imagine it, but we grew up without telephones in our pockets, without cameras on our person at all times (and when we did carry a camera, we didn’t take photos of things such as what we ate for dinner…because cameras used film with a very limited number of photos)…and we also weren’t under a constant barrage of trivial information.

I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate the internet and modern technology…but I’m glad I grew up in the 「昭和時代」 (period before the ’90s). We can understand and use the internet…but we also know how to get along without it – I’m not in a panic if I forget my cell-phone and I know how to find an address in Japan without “Google Maps“.

I do appreciate Google though!
Today I noticed that the Google logo (in Japan, at least) looks like this:

When I hovered my mouse over it, a caption explaining it was displayed:

It says 「プラハの天文時計 建立 605周年」 which means “The 605th anniversary of the building of the Prague Astronomical Clock

I had never even heard of the “Prague Astronomical Clock” before. In fact, I didn’t even know what an “astronomical clock” was!
But, after the clicked the Google logo, I could read about it.

The clock tower of the 「プラハ天文時計」 (“Prague Astronomical Clock“)

I only read a little bit…but now I kinda understand that an astronomical clock shows the current relative location of the sun, moon and some planets, as well as the current time.
And I learned that the “Prague Astronomical Clock” is the world’s oldest astronomical clock that still works properly! It was built on 1410 October 9th! 605 years ago.

The clock face of the “Prague Astronomical Clock“. I have no idea how to read it!

Since I was kid, I’ve always been interested in monsters (here’s a post I wrote about monsters)…so I like that the Prague Astronomical Clock has “death” ring in each hour!

“Death” ringing in the hour on the Prague Astronomical Clock.

Thanks Google for teaching something new today that I probably never would’ve learned otherwise!

How about you? Have you already known about this clock? Have you seen it (in person)?

My Number

5 Oct

Beginning today, the Japanese Government will begin issuing every resident in Japan a twelve-digit Social Security Number.

In Japan, it won’t be called “Social Security Number” in English. It’s called 「個人番号」 (こじんばんごう), which means “personal number”. It has a more commonly used nickname in English, though…「マイナンバー」 (“My Number”).

It says "Beginning October 2015, each and every person will have a 'My Number' delivered"

It says “Beginning October 2015, each and every person will have a ‘My Number’ delivered”

America has long had a Social Security Number system. American Social Security Numbers are nine-digits long and arranged in a three-digit, two-digit, four digit pattern (xxx-xx-xxxx).

This is a new system in Japan. The new Japanese “My Number” system will be twelve-digits long and arranged in 3 four-digit number pattern (xxxx-xxxx-xxxx).

Just as in America, everyone who lives in Japan will be issued a Social Security Card…but, unlike the American ones which simply have a person’s name, signature and the SSN, the Japanese ones will have a photo of the person, their name, address, gender and date-of-birth on the front, and the “My Number” on the back side. They will also be embedded with an IC chip.

An example of the new Japanese "My Number" cards. (Front (left): photo, name, address, gender, DOB;  Back (right): 12-digit SSN)

An example of the new Japanese “My Number” cards. (Front (left): photo, name, address, gender, DOB; Back (right): 12-digit SSN)

Do you live in Japan? have you gotten you number yet?
Does your country have a Social Security Number system?