Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Recital: Showtime

Besides the violins there were several pianists as accompaniment, two flautists, one lute player(cool instrument) and his lady partner who played a wooden Japanese recorder. Everyone took their turns on stage to perform. The flautists were excellent. The lute player and recorder player were really good. The violin players were a mixed bag. That means that they were all different shapes, sizes and levels. The best was an 80 year old woman. She was smooth. She was accompanied on the piano by her daughter. One younger lady, maybe 40, has been studying for 3 years. She was nervous. But while her bowing was scratchy, it was very straight and she hit all her notes correctly. One guy, about 50, has been playing on and off since he was 24. He was excellent at practice but nervous during his recital. Then there was me. I played two songs. The first was one minute long so I played it twice. My performance was so-so. The second song was 90 seconds and I was off key the whole time. The teacher said try it again. I did. I was off key exactly as the first! So, I was consistently bad. The ensemble was good but I got lost trying to watch my music and watch the guy at the same time. Again I was so-so. Try, try again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Recital: The rehearsal

The Recital was Sunday. I was excited about it and got up at 4AM. The rehearsal was scheduled for 1PM. I watched some TV before going to the school to practice violin. I don't think I could have practiced anymore. I was as ready as I was going to be. We drove to the restaurant in Yono an arrived at 12:45. My teacher invited 5 of her students including me. I already know one. She is 10 years old and used to be my student. The others there were strangers to me. Of course we met and chatted. We then practiced on stage one by one. It was cool that Miwako could accompany me on the piano. Everyone had different violin experience and levels. We then all rehearsed Bach's Aria (or AIR in English). That was so cool. I did practice that a lot. I had never played in an ensemble before. I could not play everything. But, I chose a part here and a part there. I did practice those very hard. My biggest concern (worry) was the timing. We all played together. The teacher was so surprised. She said we sounded wonderful! But then she told me that I played some notes too short. I decided to keep one eye on the veteran guy who played next to me at showtime. That was a mistake.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Puzzler Answers

My recital was yesterday. Was I wonderful? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

And now here is  a Super Scrabble Puzzle for your perusal. Cool Words:

REMIX        MUSED     EMERY     BRUTE     HOOF      WIDTH      VINE    CHIRP

And how about them BLANKS? Can you figure them out? The answers are way down below.









































RIB/ROB/RUB           QUIT           YOUTH        TOUCH

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Puzzler Hints

Violin Recital today...Yes, I can! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for December 2016 :  “I wanted to...”

「~したかったけど~しなかった。~できなかった。」 を言いたい時に使います。

1.  “How was the party?”
     “I don’t know.  I wanted to go but I had to work late.”  (=I didn’t go there.)
     「パーティーはどうだったの?」
     「知らない。行きたかったんだけど、遅くまで仕事しなきゃいけなかったんだ。」
2.   “I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid that you might get upset.” (= I didn’t tell you.)
     「言いたかったんだけど、君が気にするかもしれないと思って。」
3.   “ I really wanted to buy a ticket. But they were already sold out.” (= I couldn’t buy it.)
     「そのチケット本当に買いたかったんだよね。だけどもう売り切れだったんだ。」
4.   “ I wanted to eat that piece of pie but somebody beat me to it. (=I couldn’t eat it.)
「あのパイ食べたかったのに、誰かに先を越されちゃった。」

Rice field and November snow.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Puzzler

I will not drink this weekend BUT who knows what will happen next weekend? Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for December 2016 :  “I wanted to...”

「~したかったけど~しなかった。~できなかった。」 を言いたい時に使います。

1.  “How was the party?”
     “I don’t know.  I wanted to go but I had to work late.”  (=I didn’t go there.)
     「パーティーはどうだったの?」
     「知らない。行きたかったんだけど、遅くまで仕事しなきゃいけなかったんだ。」
2.   “I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid that you might get upset.” (= I didn’t tell you.)
     「言いたかったんだけど、君が気にするかもしれないと思って。」
3.   “ I really wanted to buy a ticket. But they were already sold out.” (= I couldn’t buy it.)
     「そのチケット本当に買いたかったんだよね。だけどもう売り切れだったんだ。」
4.   “ I wanted to eat that piece of pie but somebody beat me to it. (=I couldn’t eat it.)
「あのパイ食べたかったのに、誰かに先を越されちゃった。」

What did you want to do?

Beautiful snow!





Friday, November 25, 2016

Violin Practice

I will have my first ever violin recital this coming Sunday, November 27th. I will play two simple pieces on the violin. My lovely wife, Miwako, will accompany me on the piano. That is helpful because we could practice together. The other piece is an ensemble. It is Bach's AIR. It is wonderful music. There will be five students in the recital. One pro will keep beat on the piano. There are two violin parts. Two students will play the "upper" part. My teacher and one student will play the "lower" part. The other two students can pick and choose when and where they wish to play, upper or lower. At first I was completely bewildered (confused) about the music. And I decided since this is my recital (and I am paying for it) I will practice hard and try to play as much as possible. My teacher recommended several parts that I can play but we didn't have time to practice. I tried to play and keep time with the music (I have a CD). So, I practiced by myself at first. It was difficult. I found the places that I just couldn't do. I called my violin mentor, Yuko-san, and she was kind enough to come and assist me. We practiced for over an hour this past Tuesday afternoon. Then I practiced with Miwako on the piano Wednesday evening. I practiced again yesterday afternoon. I have some time today and tomorrow to practice. Yes, I can! Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Home alone

I took Miwako and her mother, Yumiko, to Omiya station by car last Saturday AM. They traveled by Shinkansen to her mom's hometown in Toyama prefecture. From then until Monday at 3PM I was home alone. What to do? Saturday was easy. Teach English until 4:45PM, go to the gym, have "dinner" (Miso Ramen and gyouza) at Kurumaya, then home to watch TV. Sunday was a challenge. I was free all day. First I cut my hair. Then I cut my finger! I didn't want to cut my finger. It was an accident. I did it while washing a small glass. How awful! I can't play the violin, I thought. But it wasn't that bad. I bandaged it up and then went outside to clean up the garden. Then time for a nap. Then I went to the school to practice violin But it was such a nice day I first went to the park near here and read my magazine while enjoying the autumn colors and falling leaves. Then to school to practice violin for 2 hours. Then to Kurumaya for another dinner very similar to Saturday night's dinner. Then home to watch the movie Titanic on cable TV. I then watched the news and fell asleep on the sofa....three times.
NishiGuchi Park, Okegawa

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Labor Thanksgiving Day

November 23 is Labor Thanksgiving Day, a second national holiday in November. It became a holiday in 1948 as a day for citizens to express gratitude to one other for work done throughout the year and for the fruits of those labors.
Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro Kansha no Hi in Japanese) is actually a modern name for an ancient ritual called Niinamesai (Harvest Festival). In the ritual, the Emperor makes the season's first offering of freshly harvested rice to the gods and then partakes of the rice himself.
The history of Niinamesai goes back hundreds and hundreds of years; the first written account is found in the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicle of Japan) - one of the oldest histories of Japan, dating from 720 - which says that a Niinamesai took place in November 678. The origin of the ritual is believed to be much older, going back to when rice cultivation was first transmitted to Japan more than 2,000 years ago. Niinamesai came to be held on November 23 during the Meiji era (1868-1912) and was a nationally celebrated event.
After the World War II, Labor Thanksgiving Day was established to mark the fact that fundamental human rights were guaranteed and rights of workers were greatly expanded in the postwar Constitution. Today, Labor Thanksgiving Day has become a national holiday while Niinamesai is celebrated as a private function of the Imperial Family.
A number of major events are held on this day. One such event is a labor festival held every year in the city of Nagano, which hosted the Olympic Winter Games in February 1998. Local labor organizations sponsor this event to encourage people to think about issues affecting peace, human rights, and the environment.
In the suburbs of Tokyo, nursery school pupils present drawings and handicrafts to local police officers, who look after their safety every day.
This photo is in front of our house last Sunday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Autumn leaves Part 2

Autumn Preparations for Winter

As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees "know" to begin getting ready for winter.
During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves.
As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can't see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.
The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the online slots leaves turn this glucose into a red color.
The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves.
It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful fall foliage colors we enjoy each year.

Michigan colors are best!




Monday, November 21, 2016

Puzzler Answers

Did you see the Super moon last week? Me neither. But, I heard that it was BE-A-U-TI-FUL! Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

And now here is a Super Scrabble Puzzle for your perusal. Cool Words:

GANDER      INFINITE     FLOG      MOJO    FABLE       BRINE     TOTTY    QUAINT   

And now, how about them BLANKS? Can you figure them out? The answers are way down below. 











































BEWARE         THING/RAISE       CURED/PRESS       WHEAT    

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Puzzler HInts

It's as quiet as a mouse here. Yes, very peaceful. I think I'll study music this day. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!
Autumn colors form my home...Michigan


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Puzzler

I will be "home alone" this weekend. Yes, just me and the cat. I have to practise for my upcoming (coming soon) violin recital. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!

Hakone last Sunday




Friday, November 18, 2016

Autumn Colors Part 1

PART 1
We all enjoy the colors of autumn leaves. The changing fall foliage never fails to surprise and delight us. How and why do fall leaves change color?
To answer this question, we first have to understand what leaves are and what they do.

Photosynthesis

Leaves are nature's food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Oxygen is a gas in the air that we need to breathe. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growing.

The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. That means "putting together with light." A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.

PART 2 IS NEXT TUESDAY.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to...use the on-sen

As I blogged yesterday we visited a hotel in Hakone for one night on Sunday. It is the HOTEL MARROAD HAKONE. Look at the Onsen Manners chart below. It says:
Do not add cold water if the Onsen is too hot for you.
Put a cold towel on top of your head to avoid dizziness.
Do not put towels in the bathtub.
Long hair should be tied up so as not to soak in the water.
No swimsuits are allowed.
Take plenty of rest and drinks liquids after bathing.
No tattoos are allowed (as a general rule).
Wipe your body before getting back to your locker.
Avoid bathing right after dining and drinking alcohol.
Do not bathe more than three times a day to prevent dizziness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A trip to Hakone

I had Sunday, November 13th, off. Miwako and I had a plan to visit the Sky Tree in Tokyo. But, suddenly the Kindergarten where I teach on Monday mornings informed me (told me) that there would be no lesson on Monday, November 14th. Beautiful! We found a not so inexpensive hotel in Hakone (Gora) and reserved a room. My only concern (worry) was that I had to get back in time for my violin lesson at 2PM on Monday. No worries though. We left home at 9:15 Sunday morning and got on the Ken-O-Dou. It took us straight to Hakone. But we met a couple of nasty traffic jams and finally arrived at 1:15PM. It was early, but they let us ( allowed us) to check in. The on-sen was not big and quite H-O-T! I couldn't go in at first but I got up my courage and slid in for a few minutes. I got as red as a beet, as my mother always said. However the outdoor bath was perfect. I was in and out three times during our stay. The hotel was not gorgeous but very comfortable and the food was excellent. The autumn colors were also peaking especially at the top of the mountains where we were. Lots of wonderful scenery and a very relaxing way to spend our 28th wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Veterans Day USA

Veterans Day is the memorial for honoring American soldiers who served and sacrificed their lives in all the warfare from World War I (WWI). The original name was Armistice Day which marked the end WWI on the 11th hour, 11th day and 11th month of 1918. An anonymous US soldier was laid to rest at the national cemetery at Arlington. Similar events took place in Arc de Triomphe, France and Westminster Abbey in England on the same day. Since 1954 it was renamed as Veterans Day in The US, declaring it as a formal holiday.
On this day, the president of the United States will lay a wreath at the foot of the unknown soldier in Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC. This is the same cemetery where John F Kennedy's grave is. It has the eternal flame burning above it. In 2000 I took my family to America. First we went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Then we visited my family and friends in Michigan. Then we travelled to Philadelphia and finally Washington DC. In Washington on a cold and windy day my younger daughter and I visited Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I cried here. It is a solemn place. American soldiers have been fighting and dying all over the world for many years for many reasons. The main reason is to preserve freedom. Thank you.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Puzzler Answers

And now back to Monday. Time for another full week of work. ITM you can get the Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE

So, here is a Super Scrabble Puzzle for your perusal. Cool words:

BOLD        SCOUT      PICKY      HEX      EXACT    COCOONS      GERMS     ERR 

Now, how about them BLANKS? Can you figure them out? The answers are way down below











































WATCH/WITCH                     SHINE/SHIRE                     QUIP 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Puzzler Hints

We are going to an On-sen in Hakone today. It was a spur of the moment thing. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!

Same as yesterday only a different angle

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Puzzler

Another weekend. And this time America has a president elect. Yikes! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!

Early this morning: rose bush with bamboo island in the background



Friday, November 11, 2016

Provide Offer Supply

This is a vocabulary lesson. I want to introduce three words to you. They are similar. Here you go.

Supply = to provide something that is needed, especially in large quantities.
Provide = to give something or make it available for use.
Offer = to say that you are willing to do something for somebody; to say that you are willing to give something to somebody. Offer also gives the recipient the option to refuse it.
Consider the following:
JR provides seats for disabled, elderly people and expectant mothers on their trains. If you are sitting in such a seat you should offer it to a person in need. By the way, Mitsubishi supplies the materials to JR to build these seats.

If you have trouble please check the meaning in your English Japanese dictionary.

Cheers.


Sunrise by our house yesterday.



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Congratulations Donald Trump

The election in the USA is over. It is finished. It has ended. This was a very unique election. It was actually very strange. That is because Donald Trump has never been an elected official. He is not really a politician. He has never been a mayor of a city. He has never been a governor of a state. He has never been a representative or a senator of a state either. Of course he has never been president. He has never even been a dog catcher, which is an elected position. On the other hand Hillary Clinton has been the first lady (wife of a president). She has been a senator (of New York state) and she has been the Secretary of State which is a very high and noble position. Mr. Trump says he can fix all the problems of America by himself. He is also a big mouth. That means he talks too much, too loud. He is not a politician so he can bring a big change to the government. Hillary has been in politics for over 30 years so she has too many friends perhaps. I can't believe this is finally over. I'm glad that there were no big problems. There was a lot of name calling and bad words between the two candidates. And I don't think that is over. America has many problems. I hope Mr. Trump,  et al (and all), can fix them soon than later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

4DX

We were relaxing on Sunday. I was up all morning watching TV and cleaning up here and there and in the garden a little. We had a date to go to a restaurant for lunch. I then suggested that we go to see a movie. Miwako checked the theater and found the movie INFERNO was playing. It stars Tom Hanks. It was also in 4DX. Do you know (Are you familiar with) 4DX movies? 4DX is a motion picture technology which allows a motion picture presentation to be augmented with environmental effects such as seat motion, wind, rain, fog, lights, and scents. Each row of four seats move up and down or side to side. It rains on your head. Mist sprays on your body. There are air puffs by your feet and behind your ear (when someone shoots a gun at somebody). The seat will jab at your back (very lightly) when someone gets stabbed with a knife. Your seat rocks and rolls when they are riding in a car or airplane or train. There are scents that you can smell bit I didn't notice any. I must say it was a pleasant experience.  It was kind of like (sort of like/similar to ) a ride at the amusement park. I had to chuckle mostly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

World Series 2016 USA

The Chicago Cubs baseball team became the champions for the first time in 108 years. The last time that team won a championship was in 1908. This year the Chicago Cubs played the Cleveland Indians. They had not won a Championship since 1948. And because they lost this time they have still not won a Championship in 68 years. This 2016 World Series was truly wonderful. It was so exciting. There were a handful of rookies, many young, gifted (talented) players and several veterans. This series was full of ups and downs. There were many twists and turns. There were many heroes and "goats". The coaches had to make many hard (difficult) decisions. Some were successful, some were failures. Both teams did their best. Nobody gave up. They played hard and the final game was absolutely thrilling. And the end of the 9th inning the score was tied 6 to 6. Then it rained! Oh my God! But the rain only lasted 15 minutes and in the 10th inning the Cubs got two runs. But the Indians also scored one run in the bottom of the 10th. Finally, three outs. Game over. The Cubs were Champions. Congratulations to both teams and thank you for such a memorable series. (The pic is the 1908 Champion Chicago Cubs team)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Puzzler Answers

Back to work. Next Holiday is 11/23, the Winter Solstice. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

And now, here is a Super Scrabble Puzzle for your perusal. Cool words:

DOZE               COZY               MERRIER           SOUGHT            JURY                 SMOG

And how about theme BLANKS? Can you figure them out? The answers are way down below.



















































SQUIRMY      BADGE/BUDGE      BOUNCE

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Puzzler Hints

I'll probably relax at home today. I may do some chores in the house because I did the gardening last week. Of course, no booze. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!

This is a moo-moo (cow)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Puzzler

I'm gonna be dry this month. That is, no alcohol for me in November. I want to lose weight for my violin recital. Oooooh! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for November 2016 :  “ful” 接尾辞 (suffix) がついた言葉
「~がいっぱい」 「~に満ちている」 「~を持っている」という形容詞を作ります。

delightful = delight + ful   楽しい、うれしい、快適な
hopeful = hope + ful  希望に満ちた、有望な
doubtful = doubt + ful  疑わしい、不確かな
harmful = harm + ful  有害な

1.  I couldn’t believe how graceful the skater was.そのスケーターは信じられないくらい優雅だった。
2.  Everyone had a wonderful time at the party.みんながそのパーティーで素晴らしい時を過ごした。
3.  His jokes are always so awful.  彼の冗談はいつもとても不愉快だ。
4.  Unlike me, my son is very bashful.  私に似ず、息子はとても内気です。

Have a wonderful day!




Friday, November 4, 2016

A day off

As you know, it was a holiday here in Japan yesterday. It was Culture Day. I had the whole (entire) day off. I was free to do as I pleased. So,
1. I woke up at 5AM.
2. I drove my daughter to the station at 6AM.
3. I watched Game 7 of the World Series live, from9AM to 2:30PM. It was the final game. It was a "winner take all" game. The Cubs won 8 to 7 in 10 innings. It was very quite dramatic and very eventful.
4. I cut my hair.
5. I took a walk for 30 minutes as it was a beautiful day.
6. I went to the gym.
7. M and I went to Enomoto Farm to eat gelato.
8. I practiced violin as M played the piano at our house. It was a rehearsal for my recital later this month.
9. M and I went to Kurumaya for dinner.
10. I lounged on the sofa and watched "Dirty Harry" but only for one hour.
11. I went to bed at 9:30!
As I was at home most of the day, I did  a lot of cleaning with my handy vacuum. All in all, it was a very restful day.
What did you do?
Lot of kids at Enomoto Farm



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Culture Day in Japan

November 3 is Culture Day, a national holiday. It is the Meiji Emperor's Birthday. Also on this day in 1946 the present Constitution of Japan was officially announced. To commemorate this event, the date was made into a holiday two years later to foster the ideals of the Constitution - the love of peace and freedom - through cultural activities.
A variety of events are held on sunny Culture Day. At the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the presentation ceremony of Order of Culture Awards is held. The Emperor personally presents the awards - in the shape of an orange plant with a light purple cord - to those who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of science, art, or culture.
Around this date, many festivals are held to promote the spread and development of the arts, and awards of various kinds are given by public and private organizations around the country.
How will you celebrate Culture Day?




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Halloween

I always celebrated Halloween when I lived in America. When I was a kid, my mother took me and my brother and sister out to "Trick or Treat". Once I was a cowboy and once I was a ghost. When I got older there were parties for adults. In Colorado I was the Pope and then in Hawaii I was a "backward" woman. I shaved my head bald, painted a woman's face on the back of my head, put on a dress backwards and then walked backwards down the streets of Lahaina, Maui. I think that was my favorite. But since coming to Japan I dress up for Halloween as part of my job. I started working at the Mida Kindergarten in Kounosu 4 years ago. They have a special Halloween celebrations for the kids there. My job is to go and hand out the "treats". The kindergarten prepares them in small Halloween bags. The kids ocean groups and we say "Good Morning". And then they come to me one by one and say "Trick or Treat" (very Japanese pronunciation). I give them a bag of goodies and say "Here you are". They reply "Thank you". There are about 280 kids. Of course they are all so cute. I was lucky to get a special wig this year. What do you think? I'm cute, too, eh?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween

Did you know that they also celebrate Halloween in other countries besides the US? I saw the big celebration in Shibuya on the news yesterday. So, I decided to check the Internet. First, I found that a blend of religious activities and pagan (non-religious) celebrations combined to start Halloween in Europe long, long ago. When the first people came to America they brought these celebrations with them. These people heard "ghost" stories from the American Indian. These Indians also had customs. So, little by little the American Halloween came into being (was born). I also found info about what happens in Europe these days. Please check out the following.

England

  • Take a tour of London Dungeon, which is done up special freaky for Halloween. Make sure to book tickets in advance though, as they sell out every year!
  • If you're more of the party type, London has a Halloween pub crawl across several spooky venues. Costumes, of course, are optional.

Scotland

  • Edinburgh has a robust Halloween scene, with guided tours through the city's scarier landmarks.

France

  • Disneyland Paris goes all out for Halloween every year, so if you're travelling with children, a hotel package could be an interesting family solution.

Italy

  • Italy has gone Halloween crazy in recent years. Restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and other tourist attractions have all gotten in on the action. Check your local guides for specific offers.
  • The medieval walled city of Corinaldo organizes a massive Halloween festival every year, with many revellers trekking to its picturesque location. 

Transylvania

  • For the seasoned Halloween fan, you can go all out and visit the birthplace of a lot of scary folklore: Transylvania, home of Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. You can take eerie tours through the country's medieval castles, including Dracula's own former home. 
Many other European countries have also jumped on the bandwagon, so it now makes sense to plan a trip to some places in Europe to experience a new twist on America's favorite holiday.