Eco and warm /こたつ
カテゴリ: Japan things
How do you warm your house?
We do have air conditioner and it is working fine (Yeah! It is Made-in-Japan-state-of-art thing!) but like most people, we prefer Kotatsu.

This is an example of Kotatsu at the sales display. It is a low table with a heater unit inside and you cover it with thick kilt cover that warm air wont get out.
The government suggests you to use blankets and over-cover and a kilted carpet and sometimes an aluminum sheet to improve the heating efficiency. Great.
Earlier this year, my husband have fixed our old Kotatsu. He went out to Akihabara and got a new heating unit and replaced it with the old one. Akihabara is originally and basically the town for electricians. Even now you can get every kinds of electrical parts there in addition to all Manga, Anime and figures. Otakus are new comers.
So in this space, you put your legs. Warm legs make your whole body warm. Make yourself comfortable cuddling on the carpet, though it is not what samurai should do. Many mothers disagree with kotatsu because you get lazy and makes the posture of kids bad. My in law is. But I love it!
Even this guy knows how to use it.
Well, in Japanese Children's song "Snow", they go "dogs get so joyful an' running around in the yard and cats curl up at Kotatsu when it snows." I really wonder what "at" here actually means; on or in. In my house, it is forbidden to climb on the table, cat or child (we just told both of them not to do so and they understood. Sometimes cats are better than kids. Smart for the alley cats, aren't they?) so they get "in" the kotasu, except this guy, "the Director". He uses kotatsu this way, just like humans.

猫はこたつで丸くなるのは、こたつの上? こたつの中? 

He got his mane "the Director" because tells me when to get up, eat and sleep. He also watch house and tell everybody when to take a break, before they notice they have worked too hard.

In Japanese superstition, old cats change into something supernatural much similar to human called Nekomata. He might be going that way. Just sorry for him he's got a bobtail that can't get his tail separated into two to gain some magical power.

2009.11.30 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

Anatomy Slope 解剖坂
カテゴリ: 日々のネタ/trivia
Another spooky spot. 名前がちょっとの解剖坂。医科大学の脇道です。

Japanese address system is quite different from that of other areas of the Wold. We give the names and numbers to the town blocks, not the streets.

So most of the streets are nameless.
Of course with exception of highways. Or how can we report the traffic jam on radio! We know that!

And other exceptions especially in Tokyo, are slopes. Most of slopes in traditional part of Tokyo have names. In addition, we name the area connected to it like Up the slope and Down the slope.


This is the Anatomy Slope. On the left hand of the slope and up the slope are buildings of a medical school and their hospital. They are old! They had been here more than 130 years. One of the oldest western style medical school in Japan.

Eastern medicine use herbs only. I can imagine how common people living Down the slope got scared by Western medical practices. They must have whispered "they cut dead bodies there, you know?"

Some people think samurai were killing people on the street till mid 19th century and we were used to people killed with sword, but it is absolutely wrong! They must have seen many dead people but anatomy was quite another idea.

So this slope by the side of medical school got a name with some spooky stories. Simple stories like you hear something, or feel weired or when you look back, the medical student passed you are gone.


Oh I know Micro, you are brave girl and not afraid of anything.
2009.11.26 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

sichigosan and Kimono 753 七五三
カテゴリ: 日々のネタ/trivia / テーマ: お知らせ / ジャンル: ブログ
I was at Ueno yesterday and saw some display for Shichigosan or 753.
It is the ceremony for children of age three, five and seven. Girls cerebrate three and seven, boys cerebrate only five carried at shrines in November.,


So you see small kimono for three years old in front, for five years old boys in the middle and red beautiful one for seven years old girls.
My! Days fly. I thought it was just yesterday my kid cerebrated Shichigosan. It was big business when you have two girls and they are only one year apart.


Kimono is suited for a bit chilly season. So you see some more ladies wearing Kimono. I saw her at the station and she looked very nice.

I have to think about wearing Kimono, too. I wear it in the way my mother wear and it was my great grandmother who taught her how to wear it. So it is a bit different from modern way of wearing, but very comfortable, passed from the days when people worked so hard and wore Kimono as their daily clothing.

I am glad I taught this to my girls but it is my turn now,. Or they gonna keep all my good kimono!
2009.11.25 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

神社 Shinto Shrine
カテゴリ: 日々のネタ/trivia
How to recognize Shrine from Temple?
May be it is only matter of Torii or not.

Yes, this is Torii. Somehow we write "where the birds are" in characters. Some say birds are symbol of good spirits and the characters should be read as it is, and others say it must have copied the sound of "toru" the "pass through." Nobody knows for sure.


Then, the hand washer. Here is a tub filled with clean running water. You wash your hand and then clean your mouth before you proceed to the main building. "Clean" is a very important idea in the Shintoism. Going into the shrine means to carry small scale exorcism every time.


ここは「権現」だったので、門や本殿も少しお寺風です。 でも今は神社ですから、二拝二拍手一拝。
But great gate like this would confuse you. It is because there once was a time when Buddhism and Shintoism were merged together. Our Nezu(or Nedu) Shrine was one of them. It was called Gongen, which means Buddhist deity took the shape of Shinto Gods that people can understand Buddhism thorough Shintoism.

So, here, the main gate connected with walls and main building has a taste of temple. Since it is Shrine now (we have a history to tell, but next time) you must bow twice clap twice and bow once again.

But it is all history now. Because Shintoism god supposed to protect your town, I went to the office and paid this year's parishioner's fee. I got new plate saying "This house is protected by Nezu Shrine."

Got to put it at my door to chase bad spirits away. It must be very effective because the the Shrine was started by Yamato Takeru, a son of emperor and a mythological hero who fought with barbarians and the enshrined god is Susanoo, another mythological hero who defeated eight headed dragon.
2009.11.24 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

お通夜 Wake
カテゴリ: 未分類
Sorry I don't have pictures from my camera. I thought it was too rude to take pictures of wake of my dear Togi-san who just passed away.


He was my distant relative, but actually was a very close "uncle" to me. Decades ago, he decided to go his way and left his family to U.S. to teach in UCLA. It must have been quite a decision because his family had a obligation to play music for Emperor.

For he was such a sweet and talented person, he taught many many students and became their sensei in US and in Japan. To me, he was an Uncle in America and we got closer when it happen to me to spend my high School days in US. He made another big decision when he retired from University to come back to Japan. I can't forget how happy he was when he knew that he was welcomed by people in home in spite of his younger day's "rebellion."

Wake was carried in authentic Shintoism. Not usual in Japan, too, because most people carry their wakes and funeral as Buddhists. As Shito Priests told Togi-san's life story, I sank deeply into my thought; how did he think about his creative, rebellious and authentically traditional life.

In Shintoism, the diseased become the family's guardian deity. So I might go to Togis' and would try to talk to him. He must be happy but he also might have many things that he still wanted to do. I feel like I have some obligation to continue at least one thing he wanted to do; talk about Japanese tradition in English.
2009.11.15 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

クリスマス商戦/Christmas Sales
カテゴリ: 日々のネタ/trivia / テーマ: 雑記 / ジャンル: ブログ
Shopping molls look alike everywhere in the world. See the Starbucks there? They serve same coffee everywhere, which is a bit surprising, because even Macdonalds change their flavors in each and every country.


Since we don't have thanksgiving, after the Halloween sales comes Christmas sales.
Here are Japanized Christmas ornaments. Or is it Chistmasized Japanese ornaments?


Christmas ornaments and trees are about the same in Japan, but except real Christian people, who are not great in numbers, it is the time for shopping and LOVE in Japan. For more than three decades, young couples plan their best date in the Christmas eve. All the authentic restaurants are booked, hotel suits are booked, boys visit Tiffany once a year holding their credit cards and girls look for their dresses to ware.
See the big hart ornaments there? That what they means.


If you have small kids in your home, then you want a cozy family evening. Trees, Santa, chickens (Yes we eat chickens, not turkey! And, yes, we eat KFC! But Japanese KFC is very tasty, believe it or not.) and white whip-cream frosted cakes with red strawberries on. Kids go into their beds and futon expecting Nintendo next morning.

Next time I'll try to get a shot from Akihabara.
2009.11.10 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

カテゴリ: 日々のネタ/trivia / テーマ: 雑記 / ジャンル: ブログ
I go suburbs twice a month, and on one of the two days, I go visit a city in Saitama, just north of Tokyo. There,we still have small farms or ex-farmers who keep their farms for the fun of elders in the home.
Here, a lady is selling her persimmons and rice cakes by the street. She must have her farming garden near by. And it is interesting to see that all her customers are old ladies like her, pushing shopping carts.

Well, leaves on the trees in the station circle are turning reddish brown a bit. They are zelkova tree, called Keyaki in Japanese, very much loved in and out of Tokyo area.
2009.11.06 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

FC2トラックバックテーマ  第844回「心に残った絵本」 New Book
カテゴリ: 子どもの本/Children's books / テーマ: 絵本 / ジャンル: 育児

FC2トラックバックテーマ  第844回「心に残った絵本」

(English under the book picture).

探し絵ツアー〈7〉むしの世界にもぐりこめ! (探し絵ツアー 7)探し絵ツアー〈7〉むしの世界にもぐりこめ! (探し絵ツアー 7)
キャロライン ヤング


Well, this is my newest book on the book shop shelves. Original English version was published from Usborn.
This was a hard work. Much much harder than I ever expected. Besides, I am not that much of bug lover. My kids who usually help me to choose the right word for small readers declared "not this one."Even my editor was no sure if this will get as popular as others. If I didn't remember one of my Tanka poetry friend was bug lover, I am sure I was totally stuck. Thanks Friend!
I just hope this attracts kids. Mothers may scream, but the book is good! It filled me with unique lives of bugs and it will your kids, too.
2009.11.05 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

カテゴリ: 未分類

In the day light it is not scary, but this is the most haunted-look house in our neighbor.
I actually know the kin of the old man who is living here. Oh, does he still live here? Well, at least I saw him picking up some important things for him in the early nights months ago, but anyway, he insists on his house. I know it is not a ghost when I see some light in the house.

This used to be a wealthy piano dealer. Too bad Japanese houses are made of wood and when we stop caring for them, they colludes easily.


It was so lush for years, but gardeners came last month to clear the tree branches and the impression became a little different. I love other old buildings and ruins but not this one. This one is too sad to see.

2009.11.03 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑

Sumo wrestlers are popular
カテゴリ: 未分類
Sumo wrestlers are still very popular.
Since they live together at a place called Heya, and they are all men except Okamisan, who is a master's wife, they have special cooking style to feed hungry wrestlers every day; Chanko Nabe aka wresler's stew.
今年限定かな? ちょっと目新しい出し物でした。


Today, my neighbor community held a fair. As the attraction, Sumo boys came to make Chanko and later pound some the rice cake. Aren't they cute? They start their training right after their junior high, so they are really young when they are doing errands and cooking.
2009.11.02 / コメント:: 0 / トラックバック:: 0 / PageTop↑



ナカイサヤカ/Sayaka Nakai

ビジネス・メール翻訳のWhoopee! Mail の翻訳者チームにいます。自動翻訳みたいにちゃっちゃっと使えて早い。だけど訳しているのは少数精鋭の翻訳者チームなので、お仕事のテキストも安心です。
I am a translator, English to Japanese/Japanese to English.

ASIOS の会員・運営委員です。今後はここでも超常現象系のお話をするかも知れません。ことしもASIOSからはたくさん本が出る予定です。
ASIOS is the Japan's skeptics in action.

I am translating and publishing Children's books from English to Japanese. Are you searching a way to publish your books in Japan? I, may be, can help.

毎月第1第3金曜日に< a href=”http://www4.plala.or.jp/yosikawa-culture/index.html”>吉川カルチャークラブで、とってもやさしい英会話を教えています。月1回から2回で若くなくてもちゃーんと伸びて、しかもネイティブっぽい発音になるというちょっと不思議なメソッドです。

Hello from Tokyo
Find out what I found out in Tokyo.
I speak, write, think in English. So ask me!

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