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Friday, July 28, 2006

Summer and Winter

Answering to ragge's request and relating to below post, "The highest Temperature in Japan", I introduce my old post on February 26th, 2006 from my old blog.


Having much snow causes many problems. It can be traffic accidents, burst in the water pipes because of the freeze, injury while one is clearing snow on the roof. There is one more thing that obstructs people’s lives relating to much snow. That is jamming.

Thick snow walls which surround people’s houses shut the radio waves. Therefore, it would be hard to listen to radios because of the noise interruption. Moreover, the inside of a house would turn to be the outside of a mobile phone’s service area, so the first floor is worst place for cell phones to be used. I have found a few places where the mobile phones can receive waves on the first floor. Then, if I want to send e-mails to my friends on the floor, I need to move the good points in my house.

Tiny snowflakes accumulate slowly on the ground, and it makes huge snow mountains. The power of nature is immeasurable.

Here is difference between winter picture and picture in summer in my hometown.




Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Highest Temperature in Japan

Today, July 25 is Memorial Day for Japan weather. Yamagata prefecture which is in northern Japan and located next to my hometown had highest temperature 73 years ago on that day.

Yamagata Local Meteorological Observatories recorded 40.8 degree around 3:00 pm. This record is an official, highest temperature in Japan that has not been broken now. Yamagata newspaper at that time told as “the asphalt of the streets were about to melt and horses seemed to cause cardiac paralysis because of the heat.”

Japanese shaved ice society decided July 25th as "Day of the shaved ice" It is commemorating the highest temperature in Yamagata.

By the way, the lowest temperature in Japan was recorded in Hokkaido 94 years ago. It was -41 degree on January 15th.

I have experienced -40 degree world at ice pavilion in Hokkaido. I honestly couldn’t enter the place because of cool air, and I even couldn’t breathe at all. It is good place to cool down your body in summer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ashiyu ~Japanese Relaxation~



Have you heard about “Ashiyu”? As “Ashiyu (足湯)” is know as its Chinese characters, it means “footbath” in English. 足 (ashi) means foot and 湯 (yu) means hot water. In Japanese footbath, Ashiyu case, people can soak their leg to under knees.

Onsen (hot spring) in Japan may be well-known by people from all over the world; however, Ashiyu rises in popularity among Japanese well because of the easiness.

If you take Onsen in Japan, you need to prepare many things like towels, shampoo set and a change of underclothes which is lot of work. Besides, people especially from other country are reluctant to take hot spring naked with other people. In these points, Ashiyu is very simple and people feel free to take Ashiyu because they just need to show their leg.


There are many Ashiyu places, and some of them are free of charge especially in Onsen town. I took Ashiyu at Minase village in Akita prefecture the other day which was my first time. Although I just put my legs in hot water, my whole body became warm and felt really comfortable. Moreover, Ashiyu doesn’t impose a burden on heart which could happen while you take Onsen. What is good one more about Ashiyu is men and women can use the same Ashiyu place together enjoying conversation different from Onsen!

Some photos of Ashiyu from Flickr

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Twist Your Tongue!! Vol. 2

Here is second challenge of Japanese tongue twist! Tongue twist is called “Hayakuchi-kotoba (早口言葉 in Kanji, はやくちことば in Hiragana). Here is the first one.

Try this one.

“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.”
“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.”
“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.”

(桃もスモモも桃のうち)
(もももすももももものうち)

This is easy for you? How about this one?

“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.
Sumomo mo Momo mo Momo no uchi.”

“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.

Sumomo mo Momo mo Momo no uchi.”

“Momo mo Sumomo mo Momo no uchi.

Sumomo mo Momo mo Momo no uchi.”

(桃もスモモも桃のうち。スモモも桃も桃のうち)
(もももすももももものうち。すもももももももものうち)

If I translate this Hayakuchi-kotoba into English, I would say “Peach and plum belong to peach. Plum and peach belong to peach.” “Momo(桃)” means “peach”, and “Sumomo(スモモ)” means “Plum”.

Here, Japan is good season to have peach and plum.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apology

Hi everyone who read this message.

Some of you may think something is wrong with my blog because I don't post new article. I am really sorry about that.

I have hectic days since last weekend.

I was thinking that I could renew my blog on Sunday after my English speaking test. However, my great grand father passed away on Saturday morning.

My great grand father died at 92. It is generally considered as longevity died at 92, but it was still sad to see his silent and pale face. There will be a funeral tomorrow.

I feel sorry for readers, but I will update my blog after things are settled.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New Communication tool, Mixi

Have you heard “Mixi” before? Mixi is the biggest SNS in Japan which has over 2 million and a half members. This is such a huge community to meet people or share information.

You can join Mixi by registering their profile. There are various functions. You can provide your diary on Mixi, exchange e-mail among Mixi members, and join some communities which you have interested in. For example, you are interested in a singer and want to find the singer’s information community; you can join it and exchange ideas what you think of him/her or get newest information from people who love the singer.

Also, there is a function called “My Mixi” which means friend in Mixi. If you register someone or your friends on your Mixi, the person would be shown as “My Mixi” on your page. After the registration, you can check newly-arrived diaries of your “My Mixi” easily because new information always pops up on your Mixi page.

I have been using Mixi since last year. Mixi is very flexible and nice tool to meet people. What was greatest experience on Mixi for me is that I could meet my old friend. Since I have joined my high school and collage community on Mixi, I could find my old friends who haven’t met for a long time. That was nice surprising for me and my friends.

Mixi is free, and anybody can join. However, you need to receive an invitation from Mixi member. (If some of you really want to join, I can give you an invitation)



Among Mixi members, baton message fly about frequently. This is nice way to know what people like or dislike and how they think. Here is an example of baton message which was given my friend.

[1, What is your name?]

I am Mayuko. I prefer to use Kayanon on the internet. (My friend used to call me Kayanon)

[2, What did you eat last night for your supper?]

I had broiled fish, rice, miso soup with eggplant, something like Okonomiyaki, and potato salad.

[3, What is your job?]

I work in nursery school 4 days a week, and work in my mother’s restaurant on weekends.

[4, What do you like to do?]

I like to play the guitar and alto saxophone. I seldom go to Karaoke these days, but like singing in the bathtub.

[5, What is you favorite type?]

Person who is witty, generous, and give me massage (since I have stiff shoulders).

[6, What is your special ability?]

Taking photos? and cooking.

[7, Do you have any license or qualification?]

Driving license, MOS, Eiken (English test), TOEIC (English test), Kanken (Chinese characters test), and Calligraphy.

[8, Do you have concerns?]

I have terrible stiff shoulders. I tend to have headache when my shoulders are stiff.

[9. What is your favorite food and dislike food?]

Favorite: chocolate, Japanese pears, and rich tofu.
Dislike: picked plum which is very Japanese food, sea urchin, row oysters.

[10. Say a word for person you love]

I love you soooo much!!

[11, Write 5 people you want to give this baton message]

Fabi, Piccola, Pierre-yann, Soursop and Erika.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Get Through Japanese Summer with This!

As summer is coming in Japan, climate here is getting hot and humid. Since Japan is consisted of some islands and surrounded by ocean, air is moisture-laden and it makes people feel hot even if degree is not high.

What is good to eat when you are hot is Hiyashi-chuka in Japan. Hiyashi-chuka (冷やし中華、ひやしちゅうか) is one of the represent summer dish which is noodles served cold in a bowl with bits of meat and vegetables. Hiyashi means cold and Chuka means China (because noodles come from China). As temperature is getting high, you can see the sign “we began to serve Hiyashi-chuka” at many restaurants, and it makes Japanese people feel want to have cool and tasty dish. These are a kind of summer things Japanese.

Here is an example of Hiyashi-chuka which is served in my mother’s restaurant.



Noodles are boiled first, and cooled quickly with water. As you can see from the photo, display above the noodles is important. Following my mother’s way, she uses tomato, chopped cucumber, seaweed, seasoned jellyfish, roasted pork fillet (called Chah-shu, チャーシュー), chopped Tamagoyaki which is a sweetened and soy-flavored omelet, and Benishouga which is pickled ginger tinted with red food dye. People eat this dish putting soy-based sauce, and some people prefer Japanese mustard with the dish. The top display very depends on every family. People sometimes put melon or water melon on the top; I don’t like that way to eat Hiyashi-chuka though.

Hiyashi-chuka is very nutritious dish for people who are tired of hot weather. Besides, it cools your hot body and you can taste it very deliciously! To over come hot summer in Japan, Hiyashi-chuka will help you.