Archive

Archive for December, 2009

My extraordinary days in Tokyo

December 27, 2009 8 comments

This weekend was totally NOT ordinary time for me. Actually, I was in Tokyo so that I attended one Internet radio which my master held.

Before radio started, we discussed how we were going to talk in it with each other during lunch. ‘O.K. Let’s talk about topics in English and Japanese alternately! How about changing our language between English and Japanese every 15 or 30 minutes?’ smiled my master. I imagined a tough but exciting time would lie ahead of me.

I was right. It was one of most exciting and thrilled time I’ve ever experienced. There are many English learners in Japan, and there are also many kind of discussions about ‘how to learn English’ or ‘is this method good or bad?’ among learners. We made such topics(arguments?) in English and Japanese.

It might make you who are reading this blog suprised. All people saying ‘I am learning English now’ in Japan are not always people saying ‘I can speak English.’ Ofcourse it depends on ‘how much English skills have you achieved?’, however, you can see the Japanese sometimes say ‘I am not good at English, especially speaking and writing’ even though they can communicate enough with foreigners in English. It’s not only because of our modesty but also because of our background in a way to learn English, I think. Most of English learners in Japan tend to treat English examinations as their first step to learn English. Through preparations for examinations, ‘correct or incorrect’ is often prioritized over ‘communicating.’ Although someone speak English or write something in English, other one tend to check it like a teacher. Learners fear their mistakes when expressing their feelings in English. It’s kind of vicious circle. We talked about such topics in the radio.

By the way…it was a disaster when I spoke English. I know it’s important to express ‘what’, not ‘how’ when communicating each other, but it’s…terrible. No fluency, shabby pronunciations…while talking in English, I thought I was going to be crazy. ‘I should have used these phrases”I could have said it like this’ such ideas were rolling in my mind looking back to the moment I talked. I got a lot of things to do from this conversation with my master and my friends through the radio. I’ll take my new steps to have myself improved.

I by the way got a lot of topics that I can write in this blog. Especially, dogu, which are dolls made out of clay in jomon era, are one of topics I’m supposed to write. Please don’t miss it.

Advertisements
Categories: My diaries

Every little thing in my ordinary life 5

December 22, 2009 16 comments

Game sickness
I already introduced you LEFT 4 DEAD 2, which I bought last month. This time, I’ll show you the other one. It’s Alone In The Dark.

Alone In The Dark was launched last year as the horror and adventurous game. The Central Park in New York, the stage of this game, is known as the place people can relax. There are, however, many mysteries hidden behind this beautiful park in this game. Edward Carnby, whom you play, has to beat his enemies and figure out horrible myteries.

I already finished this game, but let me introduce only the prologue of this game by a film.

Alone In The Dark Prologue 1-1

Alone In The Dark Prologue 1-2

I’d thought I don’t have any difficulty keep playing any games. I’d never imagined I got any game sickness. But I got game sickness while playing the game. As you see it from the film, the points of view are frequently changed every time the character got his action. It was too hard to keep playing the game. Sometimes I felt like throwing up, but I made it lol.

You might think it looks like a movie. Yeah, actually it’s like a movie. When you start playing this game again, you can see the scene like the famous drama 24’s ‘previously on 24’ before you are into the game. At the last chapter, you can feel it’s like a movie again. However, in the middle stage, it’s a little bit boring. I bought it so that I wanted to learn English through this game. I couldn’t help getting bored, especially while driving in the game lol. But it’s a good game, I think.

Voluntary appearance
I went to the Immigration Bureau to apply for the extention of eligibility for my client. There was no problem for application itself, but one sign made me blue. It was ‘Voluntary Appearance’.

As well as other countries, Japan is strict for illegal immigrants. It includes people illegally staying in Japan. It calls ‘over staying’ and the immigration bureau and police are too hard for such person’s arrests.

About three years ago, one of my friends was arrested for overstaying. I knew she deserved it. The gorvenment of Japan ordered her to come back to her country and prohibited her from coming to Japan for five years. I had told her again and again that she should have gotten married with Mr.Right and voluntarily appeared to the immigration. But she didn’t. I don’t know what she is doing in her country now. I hope she’ll get her happy life.

Categories: My diaries Tags:

Funny Dreams Chapter 3…”Down a hill with one celebrity”

December 20, 2009 2 comments

(This article put in this category is just a fictional story I had in my dream. The character, H.P., indicates me.)

-Prologue-

‘I have something to ask.’ said one superior to H.P. in their office. ‘We,’ the superior kept talking to H.P. with an excited voice, ‘got a chance to attend a talk show.’ H.P. didn’t get how he got so excited and asked, ‘Who’s going to talk in front of us?’ ‘Youka and Chiharu Niiyama! Isn’t it hot?!’ the superior said it to me with a you-must-be-suprised-with-them voice. Youka and Chiharu Niiyama are famous talents in Japan, but they had not gotten popular yet at that time. In order to get their fans, they held the talk show as one of promotions. ‘Unfortunately, I’m not so interested in such talents. You can enjoy it alone.’ asked H.P. ‘Hey! Come on! Let’s go!’ insisted the superior. ‘Ummm…if you insist…’ said H.P.

After Youka and Chiharu Niiyama’s boring talk show, they gave the chance to shake hands with them to the attendees. In front of two young ladies, people gathered and lined up. ‘Hey, can I get out of here and take a break in somewhere?’ said H.P. boringly. ‘Come on! You gotta a great chance! Youka and Chiharu! It must be a memorial day today!’ said the superior.

Youka was rather famous than Chiharu Niiyama at that time. At first, H.P. got a chance to shake hands with Youka. ‘Hmmm, it’s just a young girl… I don’t know how come she is so attracted…’ H.P. just thought it. After Youka, kind of lightning hit the head of H.P. when he stood right in front of Chiharu Niiyama. He lost his words as he shook hands with Chiharu Niiyama, who kept smiling as a professional talent. ‘Hello? Are you OK? What happens to you?’ smiled she looking at H.P. ‘No…I just…I just thought…you’re so…so beautiful than I expected…I just lost my words…I don’t even know what I’m talking to you now…’ H.P. struggled to say something interesting to her as much as he could, but he totally couldn’t. ‘Wow! I got a very precious moment with you! I was surprised with you expressing so nervous! You’re so eloquent even though anyone horrible stands in front of you! I should have taken photos of your nervous face!’ chuckled the superior. Yeah, he was right. It’s not any problem for H.P. at all no matter how tough situation goes. But Chiharu Niiyama turned H.P. on completely. Now that she’s been married and has her baby. It was a funny story when H.P. was 25 years old.
(It was not fiction, but a fact. It was just a topic when I was 25 years old during my previous work.)

-The Funny Dream-

H.P. got a chance to have a date with Chiharu Niiyama. He took her driving onto the winding road in a mountain at night. ‘Hey, look at the sky! What gorgeous stars!’ said Chiharu to H.P. The winding road like a snake couldn’t allow H.P. even to glance at them. ‘Yeah, great stars!’ He could only reply for her.

He was finally satisfied with what she said when he arrived at the top of the mountain. He got surprised with stars as if someone stumbled and scattered them in the sky. All stars twinkled and it looked like they say ‘Go for it! H.P.!’

‘Hey, what is that over there?’ Chiharu suddenly pointed out one direction when H.P. tried to put his hand on her shoulder. ‘What? Where?’ H.P. looked at where she pointed as he pulled back his hands like nothing happened. ‘Ummm…it looks like…a lab or something…but I don’t know why it was built in such a place.’ said H.P. skeptically. ‘Hey, let’s check what happens there?’ said Chiharu like a mischievous kid. ‘What? No… I don’t think so… It looks dangerous!’ said H.P. ‘Oh, come on! Just get a little bit closer! That’s all!’ she insisted, pulled his clothes and headed for the laboratory.

‘See? I told you!!!’ the very phrase which sprung in H.P.’s head was such a thing. Chiharu and H.P. got almost 15 to 20 meters steps closer to the laboratory when the warning bell suddenly rung. ‘We got intruders! I repeat, we got intruders!’ people like soldiers holding guns in their hands found us with their search lights. ‘Run!’ shouted H.P. and grabbed Chiharu’s hand. Chiharu and H.P. run as fast as they could throuh the forest. H.P. could hear soldier’s shouts and footsteps closer and closer. ‘Get in the car!’ they barely reached their car. H.P. got into reverse and let the car position toward the road. He hit the accelerator like he hit an enemy. The car was peeled its tires.

The sight Chiharu and H.P. enjoyed before had definitely changed. All gravities had become nothing but their risks. The all kinds of fear when both of Chiharu and H.P. were captured hold his mind. Every corner he turned, the car looked staggering and nearly hit the walls. ‘Hey, H.P.! I’m scared! Please slow down!’ Chiharu said to H.P. in a begging voice. ‘You looked at them, right? I don’t know what they’re gonna do to us when they got us!’ shouted H.P. driving.

Sadly, H.P. didn’t have any skills to drive down a hill like a professional driver. The lights reflected stronger on the mirror. The chasers got closer and closer. Their pressure made H.P. distracted from the road ahead of him…

‘Watch out!’ screamed Chiharu.

The car jumped out of the cliff and flied out to…

I woke up at this scene.

Categories: Funny Dreams

Every little things in my ordinary life 4

December 16, 2009 6 comments

Christmas is just around the corner
I can see people putting clothes like Santa Claus in shops wherever I go. Christmas is just around the corner.

How’s your Christmas party in your country? In Japan, actually we had Christmas parties when I was a kid. Now that we spend recent Christmas being as usual. Maybe it’s only my family lol.

‘How’s your Christmas party?’ I always answer this question like this; ‘As usual. I’m gonna work.’ As I wrote before, I’m going to be busy working in December. In December, people in gorvernments usually end their work earlier than usual. It’s going to be Dec 28 for the last day in this year. There is a ton of applications for governments in my business. Registrations by the end of the year are quite different from the ones after starting another year, especially tax deductions for income tax. ‘You have to register my house within 3 or 4 days.(It usually takes at least a week)’ one of my clients order me without hesitating. I always struggle in Dec 24 or 25 every year lol. After shigoto osame, which means ‘the last day we finish working in the year’, I always say to my staff, ‘Merry Christmas.’

Always difficult ‘right on the cue’
I wrote one article that Japan team won the second place in one FPS competition. I got films in YouTube. I’ll put one of them, which you can see USA vs JPN, the first half of semi-final.

Sattelite, the famous stage in Japan which we choose for clan wars, is quite difficult for CT players to attack, especially the suppression of one place called ‘ROOM.’ You have three ways to enter the room, from the upper hallway through the center, a duct and the lower hallway through the network room. It sounds easy to attack because you have three ways. Before you reach these entrance, however, you have to go through CT’s intercepts.

You can see the scene that USA team struggled in right front of the room around 5:30 in this film. You have to keep silent, listen to CT’s footsteps and strike right on cue.

Incidentally, I recently signed in this game and played for a while, but…I thought I had to retire. Recent players have been sophisticated!

Which punishment do you want?
I told you that I went to Osaka in my previous article. I had a strange experience while I was driving to my home.

In Japan, people don’t be allowed to keep driving in a passing lane for a long time. I drove my car so fast in addition to driving on the passing lane. Something red sparked right behind my back. It was a police car!

‘Hey, Parking on the side of highway is too dangerous. Please follow me.’ younger police officer ordered me to follow their car. I made my car toward the police car which was not ringing its siren, but flickering.

I just thought I drove much faster than the limited speed on highways, so I imagined myself having my driver’s license stripped. However, I faced their strange words when I was in the police car after I parked my car. ‘Which punishment do you want?’

I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Since when do we get multiple choices under this cercumstance? ‘You have two choices. One is that you’re fined 35,000 yen for driving over the speed limit. And the other is that you’re fined 6,000 yen for keep driving on the passing lane. Which do you want?’

I just tried to understand what they were supposed to do. Younger police officer suddenly said to me with his irritated voice. ‘Hey! You can’t get which one? Then I’ll choose the stricter one!’ Hey…am I your subordinate or something? Elder officer commanded him to calm down. It looked like a cheap drama lol.

I got cheaper one in the end. I asked my father why they put two choices on me when I was back. As a matter of fact, my father was a police officer. ‘They don’t want you to be in the court. It’s gonna be troublesome not only you but also them. With suggesting two choices, people can’t help deciding between the two, right? Any possibilities that officers stand in the court and attest has gone if only you confess your violation, right?’ said my father.

Always a catch.

Categories: My diaries

Two shrines in Osaka have their stories.

December 13, 2009 7 comments

Last week, I had a happy time talking with Mugami. Thank you so much, Mugami, and I’m looking forward to talking with you again next Thursday.

While talking, I promised one thing with him. It’s to write an article about joumon era. I was going to the Nagoya museum today in order to learn joumon era. In the museum, they exhibit kaizuka, in which people in joumon era threw away a lot of thing, such as bones of animals or fish, shells, broken plates made from earth. Unfortunately, one of my client had trouble and it made me run back and forth today. Sorry, Mugami, I’ll get next chance to learn joumon era and try to write an article.

Instead of joumon era, I’ll put other topic on Japan up in this blog. I’ve already written that I went to the concert of Eric Martin the other day. Before the concert, I dropped by some shrines in Osaka. Osaka gokoku jinja and Osaka tenmanguu.

Maybe it’s quite difficult to introduce gokoku jinja to you in detail because gokoku jinja is deeply related to World War 2. I was born in 1974, so I have no experience in wars. However, there are still many people sufffering from side effects about the war. I don’t know if my descriptions will get wrong, and someone might feel bad. I’d like you to let me know when I was wrong.

gokoku jinja (by the way, I don’t know if I should choose ‘is’ or ‘are’ when I put Japanese words on my sentences as subjects) is built in order to enshrine people died for wars or for Japan. Basically, each gokoku jinja is established in each prefectures, however, some prefectures such as Hokkaido have 2 or 3 gokoku jinja. Long time ago, before we adopted the system ‘prefecture’, we had other way to divide our country. This old custom affected the number of gokoku jinja as I said. Incidentally, there is no gokoku jinja in Tokyo and instead of it, there is yasukuni jinja. You can tell the defference between gokoku jinja and yasukuni jinja. The former is the place where only Japanese are enshrined. The latter is the place where not only Japanese but also other people from other countries are enshrined. The gorvenment used to make people from other countries change their nationalities into Japan around when the Pacific War. In yasukuni, such people are enshrined.

Some people at that time(maybe even now) think that people died in wars for Japan or died for Japan will become eirei, as the word treating died people who did great things while they were alive, especially did great things for our country. People enshrined in gokoku jinja and yasukuni jinja are treated as eirei.

After Osaka gokoku jinja, I went to Osaka tenmanguu. You can see many tenmanguu at many places in Japan. Michizane Sugawara, the person who lived in heian era, is enshrined in each tenmanguu. It is said that Michizane Sugawara was so smart. I guess I should choose ‘genius’ rather than the word ‘smart.’ Every year, people, especially people who want to pass the entrance examinations, visit tenmanguu in order to share his intelligence. I’ve ever written the article when I visited kitano tenmanguu in Kyoto. Every time I visit there, I write my wish about examinations which I’m going to take on ema which is wooden board.

There is one legend about Michizane Sugawara. He was so smart(genius?) that he was promoted so fast in the gorvenment, what we call, as one of bureaucrats at that time. The power struggle ofcourse happened at that time. He was also involved with it because of his intelligent. The higher his postion in the government got, the bigger other people’s envy grew. At last he got suspected that he robbed many authorities from the emperor, and he got sentenced. After he died, a few emperors died continuously and one building of the government in Kyoto was hit by a stroke of lightning. By this lightning, some bureaucrats who seemed to be related to the conspiracy about Michizane were died. People at that time thought Michizane‘s anger let this happen. He treated as raijin(God of thunder) since. People built shrines in order to enshrine Michizane as tenjin sama and they call the shrines tenmanguu.

I got each signature and stamp at Osaka gokoku jinja and Osaka tenmanguu. I’ll show you photos of these shrines as well.

Osaka gokoku jinja
This is the gate called torii. All shrines have their own torii(I guess).
null

This is the main hall.
null

Osaka tenmanguu
null

This is Osaka gokoku jinja‘s signature. I’m proud of the writer in Aichi gokoku jinja. His signature is better than Osaka‘s. (The left side one is Osaka‘s and the right one is Aichi‘s)
null

This is Osaka tenmanguu‘s signature. I like it as well.
null

Categories: Japanese Culture Tags: ,

Priests run back and forth in this month

December 11, 2009 2 comments

It’s our lunch time in Japan now. I’ll bring this article in my office. My subordinate next to me has her lunch now, glancing at me typing this article. I am writing this, expressing ‘I have to send E-mail in English to my clikent.’ As a matter of fact, I don’t have so many chances to use English in my business…lol

We have a lot of events in December. This time, I’ll introduce a few topics about them.

shiwasu
We call December shiwasu, which literally means ‘masters(or teachers) hastily go back and forth.’ Originally, shi was indicated ‘Buddhism priests’ and they have to chant Buddhism sutras at many places in December. Priests are busy visiting their believers and chanting sutras in this month. We don’t know when the word ‘shiwasu‘ is used, but we treat this month as ‘one of busiest month.’

Actually, we have Christmas parties, preparations for the new year, caluclations for our bonus and others in addition to our routine work. Although I am not such a sacred position like a priest, yeah, I’m busy. (Hey, Am I writing this article in English during business hours? lol)

yuku toshi kuru toshi
I don’t know how exactly I could express it in English. Maybe ‘This year has gone, and The new year has come’? At the very last day of the year, many Japanese visit temples and ring the bell 108 times. There are many theories about why 108 times. As one of theories, I’ll put this. We have one phrase ‘shiku hakkuku‘, which is both translated into ‘horrible infliction, suffering, bitterness.’ 4 times 9 is 36. 8 times 9 is 72. Please add both of numbers. 108.

bounenkai
bounenkai is one of parties held in this season in order to reflect on topics or look back on topics happened this year. We often hold this bounenkai among clients, friends or colleagues. People who have many connections have to attend many bounenkai. Everyday, everynight, you have to drink alcohol and sometimes entertain your clients at the parties. Once the new year has started, the name of parties changes from bounenkai to shinnenkai. bou of bounenkai literally means ‘forget’, shin of shinnenkai means ‘new’, and nen means ‘year.’ Through both of bounenkai and shinnenkai, we reflect on things happened, forget them, discuss them and prepare for new things in the new year.

Oops, sorry, I have to get back to work. I’ll reply all your comments when I’m home.

Categories: Japanese Culture

The Christmas gift from Eric Martin.

December 7, 2009 8 comments

I had a chance to go to Osaka for the concert of Eric Martin.

Eric Martin, the lead singer of MR.BIG, is famous in Japan and he is also singing covered Japanese songs translated into English. I don’t know how much the sales of his CDs are, though, you can hear his voice through the radio at many places in Japan.

Concerts, live, GIGS, I imagine they are passionate and aggressive. This time, it’s my first time to know there is another type of concerts. It’s like…ummm….the dinner show. I don’t know it’s correct usage in English, however, we use ‘dinner shows’ as one of style of concerts in Japan. Dinner shows are often held in hotels. Famous singers, such as Seiko Matsuda or Go Hiromi, walk between their audience while singing. The audience can enjoy their dinner buring dinner show. Audience can feel singers closer by their walking among tables. That’s the secret people go to dinner shows.(I don’t know if my description is right…lol)

Actually, a few months ago, I also went to the concert of MR.BIG. MR.BIG is also popular among Rock lovers in Japan. Once they started playing their opening song at the concert, we all rose our hands, stood up and shock our hip. Eric’s first song this time was ‘PRIDE’, which is the song Miki Imai, a famous female singer in Japan. People would not stand and focus on his voice because ‘PRIDE’ was a mature song. No one stood. After a few songs went, with Eric’s words, we stood and the concert had been back to ‘the concert.’

The song, ‘M’, is the best song he sings in his album I feel, so I hoped he would sing it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get my hope. I’ll show you the song…

Eric Martin – M –

He has a hoarse voice generally, but it sounded like worse than usual. Seemed like tough at the highest part of songs.

I was surprised with another thing, following the topic ‘dinner shows’. The concert was consist with two parts and there was a break between them! This was also my first experience. He sang covered Christmas songs in the second half. ‘Last Chrismas’ and other famous Christmas songs in Japan, he covered them. He’s recently composed these covered Christmas CD and launched them.

By the way, the Japanese often sing ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ at karaoke because they don’t know other famous Christmas songs in English so much, ofcourse including me. “Even though I don’t listen to and sing English songs, I know only ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You'” my friends who can’t speak English often say it.

Ummm…the impression of his concert…I must say ‘not so great’ this time. Choice of songs, his performance, the atmospheres of the hall, I couldn’t get satisfied so much. Next year, I’m going to go to the concert of Backstreet Boys. I have much expectation on it.

I went to a few shrines before the concert. I’ll write articles about them next time.

Categories: My diaries
%d bloggers like this: