Archive for June, 2010

Every little thing in my ordinary life 23

June 29, 2010 5 comments

Back Ground Movies
As I wrote in my previous article, I’ve recently been busy. However, I can enjoy watching, I mean, listening to movies while studying.

I’ll introduce one movie to you. This time, “You’ve Got Mail.”

Kathleen Kelly, Meg Ryan acted, was a single and beautiful woman who ran her own book store “Shop Around the Corner.” She’d been told by her mother it’s important not only to sell books to children but also to let them know what the worth was through reading. Joe Fox, Tom Hanks acted, on the contrary, had been expanding his book business without such a educational concept. He planned to build his outlet right in front of Kathleen’s store.

Kathleen and Joe had started conflicting for each survival. But they had their different lives and names. Ironically, they’d already known each other and kept in touch with each other…on the Internet. “You’ve got mail” was their precious phrase which could make them relieved and relaxed when they got exhausted with their each tough lives. Each other only knew each names on the net. One day, Joe had finally known who his correspondent was. He also did know she was an enemy on his business but start finding her talents and thoughts for book. Her passion for book could make children engrossed.

Joe’s huge capital resulted in his victory and took up her store, though, he tried to build a new relationship with Kathleen and tried to combine himself in real and himself on the Internet. Did the phrase “You’ve got mail” bring a happy ending to two of them?

It’s already taken over ten years since I saw this movie. The sound when they signed in on the Internet in the movie exuded nostalgia. I believe many people in Japan were inspired by this movie and selected their ring tones of their cellphones, “You’ve got mail.” So did I.

Kathleen and Joe couldn’t end in happiness in the original, I guess. I also felt it would be quite difficult if I were Kathleen. What if the man standing in front of me with whom you’re dying to meet is your ex-enemy? Ummm…it’s quite complicated.

Incidentally, my younger sister got crazy for Starbucks coffee after she watched this movie, and she started working.

Assembly season was over
I had two grand assemblies last weekend, one of which was so tough. There are a lot of demanding members of one of associations throwing a bunch of difficult questions based on disbelief for the board. The fiscal reports had been certified by their audit and basically it’s no need to be adopted as a bill. Nevertheless, they kept questioning. It’s ofcourse necessary to ask and keep track on what the board paid the money for, however, it’s also crucial to be understanding for how the board has been struggling. Anyway, all the bills on the assembly were passed in the end. Ofcourse my contract has been extended.

Categories: My diaries

Every little thing in my ordinary life 22

June 25, 2010 8 comments

I’ve been busy
I’ve been sidetracked with preparation for an English test on Sunday July 25th, which is named TOEIC. I got 910 points out of 990 points last year. This time, I don’t know how much I get, but I promised to get a striking score. I’m sure I can make it.

There are a lot of companies in which employees are required to achieve designated scores for their promotions. In order to compete with foreign businesses, several companies decided to speak only English during their work. Ironically, one of those companies adopt TOEIC as a measure of employees’ English communication skills. How do you judge who is the best or who is the worst with the score of TOEIC? TOEIC consists of just two parts, just only READING and LISTENING. I just want to know the reasons why the companies choose TOEIC even though they know what the test exactly is.

There are a bunch of learners who insist on only the scores of TOEIC and can hardly speak and write English(or they are not used to speaking and writing).

Why do I take TOEIC? Because it’s fun. I know there are a lot of things I should know, I should learn, I should acquire in TOEIC.

Far beyond my expectation
I’m watching a soccer game in the 2010 World Cup. Japan is leading by 2 points now.

Before the World Cup started, I didn’t expect too much from Japan national team because they lost their four test matches in a row. I didn’t care their results, but did care their performance. It was awful, a disater. However, look at their play in the World Cup. Their cool persistence could beat Cameroons. Their spectacular dedication suprised Netherland.

I must say I’m sorry and I admire their great growth. It must become a big meaning for the histroy of Japan’s soccer when they clear the preliminary rounds.

Look at Honda‘s cool and quick turn with his right heel and his last pass to Okazaki! Great!

They did it!

Categories: My diaries

Every little thing in my ordinary life 21

June 21, 2010 2 comments

freezed man
I was supposed to write a journal about my travel in Tokyo, especially Yasukuni shrine, but I’ve been quite busy. I’ll show you several photographs which I took.

He is conjured by someone and petrified. I just left a map at the hotel, which indicated the place I was going to have dinner. Thanks to the Internet and internet cafe, we can check our mail even though we are outside. I dropped by an internet cafe to read mail in which my master showed me the name of the restaurant and where it was.

I saw him attracting pedestorians on the street neaby station. At first, I didn’t know what he was doing at all. I gazed him for a while. He seemed he didn’t even take a breath. Good performing.

No such gates in Nagoya
Before I went to the grave of the Emperors in Tokyo, I checked in the hotel. On the way to the hotel, I got on the subway. I was suprised at gates. Here it is.

I don’t know what’s exactly for. For passengers’ security? The gate was opened simultaneously when trains arrived and their doors was opened. I guess the gates are set in order for passengers’ not to fall in spaces between platforms and trains. There are no such gates in Nagoya.

They were so rare for me that I just wanted to take a photo. However I knew taking such a photo totally showed I was a hick. I just felt embarrassed a little that I held up my camera in front of people getting on and off the train. I just waited for people were gone. lol

A bowl to savor the smell, not a glass
My master, my friends and I went to a cafe in Tokyo after dinner. The staff at the cafe served genuine coffee to us. I ordered a glass of iced coffee. “Here it is,” I was astonished at the bowl and joked the staff gently. “Um…The glasses for iced coffee are out?” The staff smiled at me and said, “No, sir. We would like you to smell our coffee with wide mouthed things, like a bowl. We’re glad that you would enjoy smelling before drinking.”

The staff explained two containers of milk. One is the milk of vegetable origin and the other is animal one. “You can be sure which is which with the size of containers.” smiled the staff again.

A few minutes later, my friend and I were not sure which was which. lol

I need kimono
I wonder…if I said I used to play shamisen, one of traditional music instruments in Japan. I played shamisen in the hall as a member of a consort when I was a high school student. My grandmother bought me a bright purple-colored kimono at that time.

I have a plan for an event which is going to be held in a few months. I think I need the kimono. I asked my mother and grandmother where it was. They told me cooly that they threw it away. Oh, my Gosh. I just told them why I needed the kimono, then my mother suggested that I should use my father’s one. Great.

I have to prepare for the event.

Categories: My diaries

The forest embraced me softly

June 19, 2010 5 comments

I went to the graves of two Emperors and two Empresses in Tokyo last week.

The present Emperor is 125th and all of 124 emperors’graves have their own graves in Japan. This is my first visit to the graves. This time, the graves of Showa, Taishou Emperors and their each Empresses was where I visited.

Emperors and Empresses are given their new name after they die, which is called okurina, such as the Showa Emperor. You must not call the present Emperor the Heisei Emperor. It’s quite impolite. As long as the present Emperor is alive, you have to call him the kinjou Emperor. The name “Heisei” is going to be given him after he dies.

The graves are in Hachiouji city, Tokyo. The word “Tokyo” brings me imagine “urban city”, but the closer I got to Hachiouji, the stronger I felt as if I was in my peninsula. It looks countryside.

I asked a clerk which way for the graves when I was at the station. “You can take a shortcut for the grave. Over there.” She smiled at me and pointed one direction.

I crossed this river and walked along the narrow street for 10 or 15 minutes. Here it is.

“Not again!” I couldn’t help shouting. Did you remember that the appearance of the snake surprised me before? This time, another one did me either. The relationship between snakes and me is old ties. I succeeded in taking her photo this time. She was not poisonous one.

This is the main road, not the shortcut. You can enjoy the tunnel of trees.

Look at this, the entrance of the forest is waiting for you. The sign shows all the names of the Emperors and the Empresses.

My every step sounds comfortably on the gravel road. I savored the atmosphere of this forest, silent but brave one.

This is the grave of the Showa Emperor, which is called “Musashino misasagi. The Showa Emperor often quoted a poem from an ancient anthology, Manyoushuu. Musashino is the place which the Showa emperor referred when he brought out his last poem. Incidentally, the limited people such as the Emperors or the Empresses can be allowed to use the word misasagi as grave. The grave to me in Japanese is “haka”.

This is the grave of the Koujun Empress (the wife of the Showa Emperor).

This is the grave of the Taishou Emperor, which is called “Tama no misasagi.” Tama is one of places as well as Musashino is, which appeared in an ancient anthology.

Take a look at this great forest. I could hear some voice without any sounds from the forest.

This is the grave of the Teimei Empresses (the wife of the Taishou Emperor).

After I visited each grave and prayed, I dropped by the office of this premises in order to get Emperors’ stamps. They are called “goryouin.”

Here they are. The stamp on the right side is the Taishou Emperor’s, and the left one is the Showa Emperor’s.

There are still over 120 graves to go so that I complete all the stamps. The next destination I’m planning to go to is Kyoto.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Their last visit to our town

June 17, 2010 7 comments

There is a museum in my town which features one famous author of fairy stories, Nankichi Niimi. Surprisingly, the Emperor and the Empress visited the museum this week. My colleagues and I went to welcome them.

Newspapers said that the mother read the Empress fairy stories by Nankichi Niimi when she was a child. A series of stories by Nankichi Niimi seemed to be pivotal books for her. Both the Emperor and the Empress are quite elder that we think this was the last visit to our town.

Unfortunately, it was sprinlking, however, we went to the museum without any umbrellas. We thought a lot of people gathered and it would hardly see the Emperor and the Empress if all of us held up the umbrellas.

People were already crowded along the streets. We couldn’t enter the museum premises because we didn’t have special invitations. We tried to find the best place to see the Emperor and the Empress and wave them.
(By the way, how could I say “to see V.I.P like the emperor” in English?)

The audience along the streets, ofcourse including us, wanted to see the Emperor and the Empress closely and clearly. Police officers and officers from Imperial Household Agency asked(sometimes ordered) us to stay calm and not to break the line. Some people, especially the elder, complained that they were too small to see the Emperor and the Empress at all although they came late. The officers asked the people waiting at the front line to give the elder some space.

“They will cross in a minute!” one of officers received infromation with his walkie-talkie and exclaimed. It’s about time. People held up their own cameras or cellphones in order to take photographs.

The black-colored and luxury car(named “Century” by TOYOTA) passed in front of us. I saw the Emperor waving from the car. I tried to take a photo…but thanks to my damn skills, only someone’s hands were all I took.

The car turned right silently and parked. The Emperor and the Empress got out of the car and walked towards the museum without umbrellas. People kept apprauding them until they entered the building. I could see only the figures at great distance.

While we were waiting for the time and seeing the Emperor and the Empress entering the building, we were bothered with umbrellas of others, especially the elders. My colleagues and I got irritated and finally said like this; “Recently, people, especially the elder, claim that the young are impolite in public. Look at this, the Emperor and the Empress held no umbrellas. The Emperor Hirohito(the emperor in Showa era) stood on the stage without any umbrellas or raincoats when people waited for him in heavy rain. He always took care of the people. Who is the rude? Hey, tell me, the elder, tell me what oomigokoro is?”(oomigokoro is the feelings or thoughts of the emperor in people’s respectful way)

The emperor in Japan literally means “the highest preist to Shinto like Pope to Catholic” rather than “monarch.” The emperor’s male line has lasted for over 2600 years, which is the longest line in the world. We should be honored of it.

I reported this topic to my grandmother when I was home. She went back to her room after my talk finished and returned with one photograph in her hand. “Look at this. This is a photograph when I volunteered a few days at the Imperial Palace.”

When the Japanese gorvenment was under control of G.H.Q., there was no budget to clean the Palace. People at the time visited the Palace and cleaned without salaries. The Showa Emperor came all the way to reward the people. It is said the origin of the celebrations for the people at the beginning of every year by Imperial family.

I’ll put several pictures.

This is the photograph which my grandmother showed to me.

Police officers paid attention to the directions where the Emperor comes.

I wish I would be there…

My colleague did a good job. He took a nice photograph. She is the Empress Michiko, who was the first Empress from commoners.

I’ll post a new journal about the tombs of the Emperors in Tokyo.

Categories: Japanese Culture

A lame officer and cool gates

June 11, 2010 4 comments

In Japan, we have a law which is called “City Planning Act.” The aim of this Act is that administrations, such as the government of Japan or municipal governments, can control their urban plans. Lands of Japan are divided three types, urbanization-designated area, urbanization-restricted area, and other. In urbanaization-designated area, municipal governments are required to put parks in a law-fixed distance. Those who want to have their own homes must pay attention to the height of the house and so on. On the contrary, in urbanization-restricted area, people basically can’t build their houses or buildings at will.

However, any laws have exceptions. Under some conditions, governments can allow people to have bulidings in the restricted area. To get the permission is one of my jobs.

One of my clients asked me to check if it is possible to build a house in one real estate in the restricted area. I went to the town hall in order to acquire information about the town’s unique rule.

One town hall officer was so kind of him. He gave me a lot of advice. At first, the status of the estate I wanted to check was a field, which meant it was difficult to sell, but it’s been a bamboo grove for a long time in real, not a field. The officer told me to go to get aerial photographs which were taken over 10 years ago at Geographical Survey Institute.

The other officer was so lame. “Read this practical book. Ask the branch of the prefectural government,” was what he said to me. “I have the same book and I know the outline of the system. I’d like to know the original rule of this town. Are there any unique rules or restrictions on buliding houses in this town?” I just kept insisting. “We just receive applications and hand over them to the prefectual government. That’s all. Oh, you have to take care of these other laws. You have to go to the divisions relating each law, respectively.” said the officer.

“So…what’s your job? Receiving applications and submit them to the prefectural government? Oh my…” I nearly said to the officer, “What a nice job! I could work with you. I’ll call you a delivery man.”

After this, I returned to my city (the branch of the prefectual government is in my city!) and got the information.

I had a new experience at the Geographical Survey Institute. I have seen a lot of aerial photographs at city halls, Fixed Property Tax Division. They get on their cars with photos in their hands, sometimes ride on bicycles when they work in big cities like Nagoya, and go check if they can impose taxes on buildings. However, I haven’t visited the Geographical Survey Institute itself.

I was surprised at a ton of aerial photographs. There are a lot of lists covering our region in the shelves. One title drew my attention. It said “the aerial photographs by the U.S. army.” “By the U.S. army?? May I try this?” I asked the officer. “Sure.” he said it with smile and handed it to me. “The photos at the Greater East Asian War? Ummm…they could already survery with such advanced skills.” I said to myself.

I was satisfied with the result at the Institute. I checked the photographs in 1990 and 1975. Both of the photographs had no evidence showing the estate was a field. I made an application for the photographs.

I have another topic about the Institute. When I entered the building, the guards demanded me to write my identity and gave me a card. No one exculding officers who work in the building can enter the building without this card. I couldn’t help joking and smiling, and said to the guards while writing my name, “Sir, There was no gate like this when I used to visit. You’ve just started handling so important and critical intelligence, like C.I.A?”

I took some photos on the gate.

People can go through the gate with this card. By touching the panel with the card, the gates can open.

Luckily, I could take a photo of a nice-looking officer going through the gate. It’s not me, incidentally.

Categories: My diaries

Every little thing in my ordinary life 20

June 9, 2010 2 comments

my konkatsu front is so painful
There has recently been a new word in Japan, regarding activities for looking for Mr./Mrs.Right. It’s called konkatsu. Many young or middle-aged men in Japan rush to cooking class when questionnaires say that women love a man who can cook very well. That is one of activities of konkatsu. What we call, men try to acquire something in order to get higher status or attract women.

Many people advise me to do such efforts. Piss me off! But I often use the word konkatsu so that I make someone laugh. Today, I used it.

Unfortunately, I have a skin disease. I am an atopic person. Thanks to advanced but traditional eastern medicine, it’s quite difficult to let you recognize I’m suffering itchiness or so. My former ointment, steroid, has corroded my skin, especially the color of my face. Extremely strong steroid ointment has reddend my face.

Most of my friends, especially friends from other countries, tell me that I don’t need to care. On the contrary, many Japanese often chuckle me and say, “What happened to you? You played golf yesterday? So sunburned!” or “You’ve already drunk?.” Give me a break.

Last year, I decided to have a laser treatment at a clinic. It’s so expensive and…painful. Everytime the doctor shot the laser, I smelled my skin burned.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor. The second time for the laser treatment. It was also…terrible. Although the doctor covered my eyes with something like sunglasses to prevent my eyes from lightning, I could see something sparking when the doctor lasered my skin.

One of nurses was with me while I had the treatment. She was quite talkative, found the badge on the coller of my suit, and started talking about qualifications she wants to get. During the small talk, she asked me why I decided to have the treatment. I just said, “For my konkatsu. The market value on me is falling down, down, down.” “You’re kidding.” she was flattering.

The treatment was like the hell.

so thick
Do you know Charles A. Lindbergh? He was a famous pirot and you might know him as the first man flying over the Atlantic ocean without any landing in the middle of his flight. He also observed the second World War. “The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh” was written his experiences at war. There must be two aspects at war and we can’t judge which is right. In Japan, teachers have taught us “Japan chose a bad dicision,” “Japanese soldiers massacred civilians,” etc. The book by Lindbergh, on the contrary, described how American soldiers did to Japanese soldiers in the theater. I just wanted to read it.

Before I ordered the book, I didn’t imagine how much the volume of the book was. I was just surprised at the book itself. Please take a look at this picture. You can smell an old and typical book.

I was astonished at this. This book came from school. Many students probably read this book. How did they feel?

I have a banch of books which I already bought but I haven’t read yet. So I don’t know when I start reading this book. I hope it’ll be soon. But I have concern, which the book is so thick and big that it’s hard and inconvenient to carry.

Categories: My diaries
%d bloggers like this: