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Archive for August, 2009

The cat’s going to beckon me to somewhere luckier.

August 31, 2009 16 comments

I had one off-meeting with friends who learn English last week. This time, the famous, noble English learner came all the way to the place of the meeting to see us, so it was a fantastic time with him.

One of my friends, master sampa also came to the meeting and brought one souvenir from his business trip at that time. It was a beckoning cat.

Beckoning cats, welcome cats etc, are called maneki-neko in Japan, which is a cat-shaped doll made of porcelain or ceramic. Incidentally, Aichi prefecture, where I live, is famous for porcelain and ceramic, especially tokoname-yaki in Tokoname city and seto-yaki in Seto city. Tokoname city leads the domestic production of beckoning cats.

Originally, beckoning cats were colored black and white in their body, however, the sort of colors have recently changed because the purposes which the cats beckon have recently been diversified. Now that you can see colorful beckoning cats nationwide. For example, pink-colored beckoning cats are for people who want to in love with someone special and get their happy life with him/her.

One more thing, the hands(paws?) beckoning cats hold up has respectively meanings. The right hands(paws?) of cats are to beckon money. The left ones are to beckon our customers. Sometimes you can see the cats holding up their both hands. It means “beckoning money and customers”, but some people say it’s not good and it’s too greedy.

I think people come from other countries, especially Americans and Europeans, must feel something odd from the figure of the cat, like “How come this cat is waving?”. There is a difference on the style of “beckoning” between Japanese and others. In Japan, when we want to beckon someone, we hold our hand up, show someone our palm, and repeatedly fold the fingers down and back up. You might think of this behavior means “good bye”, “get out of here” or something, but in Japan, it means “come on”.

So I guess beckoning cats selling in America or Europe have thier hands’ palm reversed. I’ve never been to other countries before, so I’d like to check them…lol

This is the cat my friend gave me. It is cute, isn’t it?

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Categories: Japanese Culture Tags:

Branding your memory into your book.

August 26, 2009 4 comments

As you can see my blog, I love visiting shrines and temples. I’m embarrased to say I don’t have much religious devotion, however, the magnificent silence on the premises of shrines and temples make my heart refresh.

One day, my grandmother and mother talked about shuintyou. Shuintyou is a kind of books but all of pages are blank. Everytime people visit shrines and temples, they submit thier own shuintyou and ask Buddhist monks of the temples or priests of the shrines to stamp and write their name of temples or shrines.

Shuintyou literally means, “a redly stamped book”, which has the Chinise character “shu” (means “red”), “in” (means “stamp”) and “tyou” (means “book”).

The letters you got in your shuintyou are written by bokujuu, which means “black liquid link”, and hude is used. Hude is an ink brush. I don’t know if children nowadays go learning an art of writing using a brush and ink in Japan, however, my parents had me learn it when I was a kid. But unfortunately, my writing skill didn’t get better.

My grandmother and mother suggested that I get my own shuintyou because they know I often visit temples and shrines. “You can remember a lot of your memories after you’re back looking at your shuintyou.” my mother said that.

So I got three shuintyou. Each of shuintyou is respectively for temples, for shrines, for gokoku shrines. (There is a quite difference between gokoku shrines and shrines, however, it must be a long story, so I’ll write about it someday, in other article.)

This is my own shuintyou. I checked shuintyou on the Internet. There are many kinds of cool-designed shuintyou in temples and shrines nationwide. They look so traditional but beautiful that I feel I want to get them.

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I took a lot of photos and got many stories on shrines and temples I visited. I’ll write about them someday.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Love letters for someone.

August 23, 2009 10 comments

As you know, I am absolute Japanese, and I haven’t been to other English speaking countries before. (As a matter of fact, I didn’t even have my own passport…lol)

Now, in Japan, there are many English learners and they are strugling to improve their English skills. Ofcourse me, either. You can find their blogs in Japan. But I don’t know why… the number of blogs which are written in English is not so much.

I guess the biggest problem on not writing their blogs in English is other English learners in Japan. And the behind the problem, I presume the way they treat English as correct answers or incorrect answers is lying because they tend to seek their chances to improve their English from many English tests.

Ofcourse I know I need to learn a lot of correct grammars from textbooks and need to check if my expressions in English is adequate or not. In order to do that, I believe I should keep using English, however, once someone upload his/her incrrect English sentences in his/her blog, other one sometimes make a fool of him/her, like “Hey, look at his/her fuckin’ English! He/She must get only ○○○ points in TOEIC!”. TOEIC is one of famous English examinations in Japan, which is abbreviated “Test of English for International Communication”. You only can check your own reading and listening English skills in TOEIC, but sometimes someone devious teases not-so-fluent-blogger’s English writings and try to compare writer’s TOEIC scores with writing skills.

There are some friends who came from other countries but aren’t English native speakers around me. Their English grammar, spellings and qualities of expressions in English are ofcourse not comaparable with peoples who live in English speaking countries. However, mainly friends tell themselves “I can speak English.”. As a matter of fact, I haven’t had any chances to hear “I can speak English.” from English learners in Japan. That’s a very strange phenomenon. I guess it’s not only because of modesty as which many Japanese think their virtue, but also because they tend to measure English examinations as “How well can I use English?”.

Over a year ago, I started this blog for three reasons. First, I wanted to introduce someone special my private life. Second, I let people all over the world show “Japan” and wanted to communicate with them. Third, I wanted to interact well with other English learners in Japan in English. These’re what I’ve wanted to do.

Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to have mistakes. The important thing is to get your first step ahead.

Categories: My ideas

How come did they name him “mysterious prince”, not “half-blood prince”?

August 20, 2009 2 comments

My handle name in this blog is “honeypotter”. You all, like an intelligent reader, can already know it originated from “Harry Potter”, who is the magical hero but struggles with a lot of things because of his youth.

Generally, almost heros are…strong. Super man is strong, Spider man is strong, Mr.Incredible as well. However, Harry Potter is not so strong. At his first grade in the Hogwarts, he couldn’t even spell his eternal enemy, Lord Voldemort, but just touched Voldemort’s face (correctly, not Voldemort’s but Professor Quirrell). Anyway, he definitely doesn’t seem to be the hero I’ve ever seen before.

I guess he is not a hero in a heroic movie, but a central chracter in a role-playing game, such as the Dragon Quest. The central character of the Dragon Quest is ofcourse weak at first. As you keep playing the game, you can make your player stronger and find your colleagues. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as well.

Last week, I went watching “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in the theater. Before I watched it, I’d finished reading this original book written in English twice. “How did they abbreviate this long story into the film?” Thinking like that, I started watching the film.

It might be a bit spoiler warning on this movie, so if you haven’t read or watched the book or the movie yet, I don’t think you should read this article.

First of all, Bill, who is the oldest brother of Ron, was not in the movie, so there’s no topic about the marriage between Bill and Fleur in the movie. Second, Tonks, who is one of female characters I like in the stories, already has a special relationship with Lupin! In the movie, at the scene the Death Eater attaked Ron’s home, Tonks said “my sweetheart” to Lupin. I was quite dissapointed. In the original story, after Bill was bitten by Greyback and taken to the hospital, Fleur passionately expressed her love for Bill, and Tonks did as well. No matter how you become, No matter where you go, I love you… No one knows if they can live tomorrow under the war, so they found it important to express their feelings.

However, I’m not such a picky watcher, so I had enjoyed watching the movie. There’s one question on the Japanese title of this movie. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is the original title, but in Japan, “Harry Potter and the Misterious Prince” was named. We have many different titles between the original one and the japanized one. For example, do you know the song, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” sung by Air Supply? It’s changed like this; “A pledge on the beach”. Every time I talk to someone who lives in the other country, I sometimes can’t let them know the titles of movies or songs because I only know the japanized one. Every time I have such chances, I always check its original titles and am surprised with the differences between them.

Categories: My diaries

Crazy for her baby!

August 16, 2009 5 comments

I don’t know if you know or not…I’m single, so I’ve never had my own baby.

In May, my younger sister had her male baby. She guessed I was not so interested in her baby, but he turned me on 😀

During satogaeri, which means the term ladies got a new baby and got back to their own home, I was home as much as I could and felt happiness when I saw his smile on his face. Ofcourse, it was a tough day when he raged…hehehe

My younger sister’s husband often has a business trip, so every time he does, she gets back to my home.

The more time goes by, the bigger the baby grows. Ummmm…I think he got fat…”Hey, my sis, you give him too much your affection, don’t you? Look at him! He got arms and legs like hams! Is he ok??” I said it to her.

Every parents has possibility to become oyabaka(love for one’s baby is blind? lol) for their babies. No matter what I told her, she apparently doesn’t care.

Recently, he got an ability to recognize light and shadow, and swinging right to left makes him smile. Ummmm…I can’t help feeling I forget time clicking.

My younger sister didn’t allow me to take his photo and upload it in this blog, but I got his well-rounded arms and legs. Please take a look.

Hey, how many rubber bands do you got?

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Oops…it’s flesh, not a baby…lol

Wow…what a sexy leg!

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Oops! It’s tonsoku(a leg of a pig)! not the baby’s!

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Our dog always feel lonely when the baby comes because no one say anything for him.

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Categories: My diaries

Tortoises were attracted to my whistle attracted me

August 15, 2009 Leave a comment

I have a few forerunners nationwide, such as master Kanzaki I introduced before.

Mr.Temma is one of the greatest English teachers I’ve ever met, who lives in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture. He gave me one seminar on English, especialy a recitation, so I went to the place he’s going to teach.

I already wrote about that on other blog, so in this blog, I’ll introduce you other topic around Nishinomiya.

There is one famous shrine called, nishinomiya jinja, nearby the place the seminar was held. nishinomiya jinja is the head shrine of Ebisu, which is one God of happiness.

I was surprised with my ignorance about nishinomiya jinja, in which hukuotoko carnival is held. Hukuotoko, which means “lucky persons”, are the three fastest runners achieved the main shrine from the main gate. Every 10th in January, it’s called “touka-ebisu“, which is one of the events in nishinomiya jinja and many people wait the main gate open. As soon as the gate open, they start dashing toward the main shirine. The three fastest runners can get the title as the chosen one in descending order of their speed. The fastest one is ichiban huku(means “the first place of happiness”), the second one is niban huku(means “the second place of happiness”), the third one is sanban huku(means “the third place of happiness”).

Incidentally, I tried to dash on the premises like the participants do, however, I found it hard to do because I wore sandals.

This is the film introducing hukuotoko. Please check it.

These are the photos I took.

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This is the main shrine of nishinomiya jinja. It was about six o’clock in the morning, so there were only a few people praying. Residents around here seemed to took advantage of this place for jogging.

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I was surprised with this bridge. Its slope is so much that anyone can hardly walk over this bridge, I guess.

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There are many tortoises in a pond, instead of carp. There is one phrase like this in Japan; “Tsuru wa sen-nen, Kame wa man-nen” which means “Cranes can live for one thousand years, and tortoises can live for ten thousands years. Both of them are lucky things for Japanese.”.

I was surprised with these tortoises. I’ve ever seen carp in a pond gathering by clapping hands, however, I’ve never seen tortoises in a pond doing as well before. What obedient tortoises! I should have brought a piece of cabbage or something…lol

I took a film of tortoises gathering and trying to bite a leaf I’m holding.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Japanese tolerance for religion

August 9, 2009 4 comments

My uncle died last year.

Technically speaking, it’s because of a cerebral thrombosis. During his work, it suddenly happened. He was driving at that time and pulled over his car. If he had phoned or someone had found him earlier, he would have been alive. However, at his funeral, I felt I was proud of his strong will when something happened with him on the road. What if he couldn’t make it? What if he couldn’t pull his car over? What if his car collided against something or someone?

Someone’s voice woke me up today. It’s dokyou sound, which means “intoning a sutra”. The character do stands for “reading (in this case, reading aloud)”, and kyou signifies “a sutra”.

It’s hatsu bon for my uncle, so my grandmother asked a Buddhist priest to do. I’ll write an article on bon or something next time, so this time, I’m going to refer to dokyou.

Depending on the type of Buddhism, around the date of my uncle’s death each month, a Buddhist priest comes my home and intones a sutra. In front of butsudan, which means “Buddhist altar”, dokyou is kept going. It takes about 15 minutes or so. After that, the Buddhist priest talks us about some topics on life, dignity etc.

Incidentally, my paternal denomination is Joudoshinshuu and my maternal one is Soutoushuu. My uncle is my mother’s older brother, so he is belong to Soutoushuu and me, as I’m the oldest son in my family, I’m belong to Joudoshinshuu.

It is said by Shinto religion that there are over 8 million God in Japan. In addition to Shinto, many Japanese are belong to Buddhism. The Japanese is tolerable for religions. We pray for something in front of Buddhist altar, go to temples to clean our grave up, sing holy songs when Christmas, and hope our wish at the shrine at the beginning of the year.

Categories: Japanese Culture
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