Monday, August 24, 2009

the 91th National High School Baseball Tournament

Chukyo High School baseball team from our city, Nagoya won 1st national high school championship in 43 years!!! Gee, it was a good and thrilling game. The school team from our city, Nagoya pulled out a 10-9 victory over the Niigata school but Niigata showed their tough spirit in the last inning with two outs almost catching up to 10.
Every year in August the National High School Baseball Tournament takes place for about two weeks at Koshien Baseball Stadium, which has the oldest history in Japan. For all the high school baseball players, playing games at Koshien is their final goal. However, there only 49 high school teams out of about 4000 schools can come to Koshien as the representative team of each 49 prefectures in Japan.
The National High School Baseball Tournament is so popular and loved by most people across the country. Why? It's only a high school baseball. You might think. Most Japanese love the young players' pure sportsmanship, their enthusiasm to baseball, effort, teamwork, dedication-----most Japanese see the spirits of good old days on those high school players. I'm not so much crazy about watching professional baseball games in general but this "Koshien" is something different. There are many more people like me regardless of ages and sexes. People are paying so much attention to the games during the tournaments. In the end I just feel proud of two team respectively. Here is a slide show from a Japanese newspaper. Seeing is believing. ( be aware of background sound volume)

Friday, August 21, 2009

My father's new digital toy!

Well, it's not really a toy. It's an new electronic dictionary that my father has bought recently. When I visited my parents' house the other day, my 88-year-old father proudly took out this lovely red colour dictionary. "Here it is. Have a look." Wow, he loves electoric devices. As a matter of fact, an electronic dictionary is an essential learning tool for any student and businessman/woman and housewife but is not popular among the aged people. They have many hurdles to clear to make the best use of these types of dictionaries. This may not be true in the case of my father. Actually this is his second model. He enjoys learning how to use it with an instruction book and in the end he knows how to use it much better than I do. This new model carries so many dictionaries and encyclopedias as you see in the picture below.

It has the voice function as well. He doesn't have to be bothered by any heavy dictionary or encyclopedia. Just a handy electronic dictionary gives him a great world of knowledge and information.

If he were ten years younger than his age, I'm pretty sure he must have been so addicted to a PC. Now I'm really thinking of the possibility to connect the digital TV set in their living room to the Internet.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

farewell to all the deceased spirits

Well, it's about the last day of "Obon".
Today, after three days of receiving the ancestors spirits at our house altar, giving the small set of meals three times each day, we then sent them off to their world of the dead by visiting a temple with some incenses from our house altar, which is believed that spirits come along in lights of incenses to the family grave at the temple.

Well, this is a very common way of sending the spirits off and there are also many other ceremonies held at very historical and famous temples all over Japan. One of the most impressive event is one I saw in Kyoto. It's called Gozan-no-Okuribi(roughly sendoff fires on five mountains). At around 8 o'clock in the evening, the giant fires in the shape of five different Chinese characters and images on the hillside of five surrounding mountains in Kyoto are lit one after another.
This event has been long held for centuries. Tourists as well as local residents gather at many locations in the city to see Okuribi and send off their ancestor spirits. Here are the pictures I took from the hotel roof top when I went to see it with my daughter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Now it's time to pray for our family ancestors

I believe owing to the unusual weather in our country for these days, several unexpected natural phenomena have taken place here and there such as the past heavy rainfall in the west part of Japan, the earthquake hitting some cities in the central part of Japan and at last the record-breaking summer heat in many cities and towns. These phenomena taken place in each area changed many people's lives into disastrous ones one day all of a sudden. Yet, time is just passing by. I really wish they get their usual lives back into normal as soon as possible.


From the early beginning of August, most Japanese are busy for a summer holiday. There are many ways to spend this holiday season but in fact there is the major event called "Bon" in our country. We call it in more casual way "O-bon". Obon is the event which is very important for us next to the New Year's Day. During the Obon holidays, we visit our family grave at each family temple and then a Buddist priest visit our home and pray for our ancestors at our family altar. So this time is not an exception. Most housewives are busy for getting prepared for "Obon" cleaning the house, cleaning the garden, getting fruits and other offerings to place on a family altar, visitng a temple to clean the grave and attend the ceremony to welcome the ancestors spirits at home and then having a priest at home. Every event takes place from the early beginning of August. I would say all these events are mostly on housewives' role. Of course a husband and children are glad to help his busy wife but as a matter of fact, there is not much they can really do.

Anyway the season of Obon is very busy for everyone, every family. Many young families in big towns are heading for their parents homes of local cities and towns to attend this Bon ceremonies along with their little children. For kids, this trip to their grandparents' are the great excitements as well as their young parents since this should be a big family and relatives reunion. As it is always the same, every transportation is packed with people and cars at the beginning and at the end of the Bon holidays. Gee, my family is so lucky in that we live close to my parents and the family temple.

We are ready for having a priest tomorrow and the final event falls on August 15th.
It is a good opportunity for every one to think back of the ones who used to be our members of the family and anyones who used to be very important to us. As for me, especially during Obon, I think of my dear grandparents so often. I have so many dear memories I spent with them.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

News over the last few days

The city of Hiroshima commemorated the 64th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city on Thursday.
More than 50-thousand people from officials to common people gathered today to remember the world-changing event. Though I belong to the generations after the war, I've been reading many books, heard many sad stories and watching TV programs since a childhood about this tragedy. I visited the memorial museum like many other people pay a visit to this city at least once in their life like schools throughout our country chose Hiroshima as the school trip destination or just like a family trip choice. TV program broadcasted the ceremony on live and at exactly the same time that the bomb was dropped 64years ago, many of us over the country stopped for the moment and prayed for the victims and for the world peace.
And here is the happy family-reunions by two journalists who had been finally released from the detention in North Korea after 140 days. No matter what was there behind this detention and release, I'm just pleased that they finally came back to where they belong to------their precious families.(three pictures are from Mainichi Daily News)
And here is another coming home. My husband is back from Johannesburg, South Africa. It was sooo good to find him coming out from the gate and looking for me in the crowds as well. We talked a lot while we drove back to our house about his trip, his job, the cities he visited, his long-time friend as well as business partner. I feel proud of him working so close with people over there more than 15 years. I love to hear lots about this country and I mostly enjoy their highly qualified wine from Cape Town he brings home with him.
These are some news which have impressed me most over the last few days.
May peace be on earth and on every people and family.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


(from South Africa)

To me as well as many other Japanese, a candle is a source of light when the electricity gets down all of a sudden and for most of the Japanese, candles are just the necessary items for some limited occasions like religious rituals and birthday candles. I didn't think of any other occasions besides them.

(from Germany)

I'm wonder how many people here are really enjoying aromatherapy candles. I'm glad that two of my swap friends in the US put each nice candle in their gifts and they surely gave me a chance to try out for lighting a candle as a mean of aromatherapy.
How awesome it is to have aromatherapy candle in my daily life! I use aroma oil to burn in a bottle like a lamp. It's OK. It is really relaxing to inhale clear air.
But one point which I like about a candle better is that I can feel relaxed just by watching its soft lighting. Right now I use an aroma candle with a scent of freesia which Jo sent to me. I put it besides a bath tub every night and the moment of relaxation is so rewarding.

(from Jo in the US)

Please tell me what is your favorite brand of candles and how you use candles in your daily life. I'm very much interested in.