Monday, January 31, 2011

Two shots of the day

Yesterday my husband took me to the dealer's garage to show me his new car which had just landed all the way from PGO across the ocean. It will take some more time to go through an automobile inspection.
He gave himself a big belated birthday gift for himself. He decided to renew his car. What a big buy! But I know he had been planning it for these past years and I believe it was perfectly considered. Man's shopping sometimes costs a lot at one time. On the contrary, I'd rather enjoy shopping throughout a year including eating out. So as he was content with his new car, we stopped at his favorite Japanese restaurant to have this grilled eel with heavy sweet soy sauce for lunch. Perfect Sunday! Now I have a good reason to get a new spring dress next time. Don't you think so?

Um, it's about snow again

It's really a bad joke that almost every Monday in this January, we have snow. What a nice start to a day. Today is not an exception. When I went outside to see the road condition, it was just a slight snowfall and yet the roads were icy and slippery. Two of our cars looked pretty wearing powder snow so I added some finger touches to look much prettier though mine was just OK in the garage.

Our area is not basically snowy so I don't get used to driving in this weather. Hope it won't snow all day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My goodness! It's still snowing!

Well, when I woke up this morning, the snowfall was just moderate enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery. However I must say now, "No more thank you." The transportation is getting paralyzed. Trains delayed, cars trapped, people slipping. I don't feel like driving on such a awful day. So here I am sitting at my laptop making the slide show. What a good way to spend the Sunday afternoon.

Too bad, however, there are many senior high students who have been taking the entrance exams across the nation since this morning despite this bad weather.
Some students could not arrive at the exams venues on time due to the paralyzed transportation system so many exam organizations made it possible to give them a full time right after they sit at the desks. That's the way it should be. Yet,I know how much stressing for the students to concentrate on the exams all after the fuss.

It's the season of the entrance exams in Japan for these three months. Two-day unified college entrance examinations, known as the National Center Test, started at 706 venues across the nation yesterday. Today is the last day. It's the beginning of the exams season. With today's results, students are to go on to the next exams at each university which they apply for.

I don't know why but the snowy weather often falls on around the date of the National Center Test. I remember it did snow on the day when my daughter went to take this exams almost six years ago.
No more hardship on them. Hope they will finish the exams making their best.
Their own "spring" will be arriving soon.


First snow of the year in Nagoya!
Our garden is just lightly covered with snow!
It's not a heavy snowfall.
But at an area like my city where a snowfall is not so frequent,
it is big enough to make the news.

Have a nice and cozy Sunday wherever you are on this planet !

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is your New Year's resolution?

I've read this in one Japanese blogger's page.

He introduced the original site here.

Every resolution is art. They are so cool, funny, and so true.

What is your resolution?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Japanese Daddy long legs "Tiger Mask"


It started at the end of the year when every Japanese household is busy getting ready for having the very first day of the New Year.
Ten school backpacks were found in front of the entrance of a children's welfare facility on Christmas in Gunma Prefecture by the name of "Tiger Mask," a great Japanese cartoon(manga)
hero that every one knows for more than 30 years. After the director of the welfare house consulted with the police, they have decided to accept the knapsacks.
Ever since this news, there are more and more anonymous "Tiger Mask" being inspired by the first one, send the brand new "randoseru" to children's welfare houses across the country.

Well, I was not the great fan of this "manga" when I was a kid yet I know some basic information on "Tiger Mask" since he is the great hero of the day. He himself came from the foster home and after he became a famous professional wrestler, he kept sending his money to his foster home as the anonymous sender till he died by accident.
This news means so much to us especially when today's economy is not so healthy that there is less good news in our society.

Sending a knapsack to a child has a special meaning among any Japanese adults. A knapsack, a school bag or a backpack, whatever you may call it in English, we name it "ra-n-do-se-ru," which originally came from "a ransel" in Dutch.
A compulsory education starts in Japan when children reach the age of seven in spring. It's a happy event for any parents and grandparents to celebrate their child/grandchild's beginning of the school life and getting a first randoseru for their child is such a welcoming and rewarding gift that they proudly make.

Every day we get the news that some more "Tiger Mask" appear by way of sending not only "randoseru" but also some other gifts such as books, toys and what's more, tons of rice and vegetables!!! One of "Tiger Mask" left the message "Children are the gifts from the heaven. So we've got to take care of any children with all our might."
Well, we're so thankful to every "Tiger Mask" but then, how the government understands this, I wonder. It's not the only charity to children but also the big caution to the government for their good policy to the citizens.

As of today, 96 anonymous "Tiger Mask" left 171 "randoseru" and other items in all the 47 prefectures in the nation.

(all the imges from the web news and the backpack online shop)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

First visit to the Shinto Shrine

Most Japanese make the first visit to shinto shrines and Buddhist temples on the very first day of the New Year. This is the biggest annual event for us throughout the year. We visit there to pray for good health and good luck for the newly coming year. Actually the visits start at midnight. There are many families and groups of friends and relatives who leave home for their destinations before the clock strikes the change of the year at midnight. At many shrines and temples across the country are ready for welcoming the crowds of people. We see many policemen are on duty for our safety at the sites.  Every year it is reported that millions of people pay visits to shrines and temples during the first three days of the year.

(three pictures are from the website)

So this year too, my family visited one of the big shrines downtown in the first morning of the year. We passed the tall shrine archway at the entrance, which meant that we stepped into the sacred area. Usually the path which is covered with pebbles leads to the inner shrine where we make our respects to the shinto god.
In front of the altar, we make some donations by throwing some coins into the large alms box and now it's time for praying and making some wishes!
Every year I never forget to pray for happiness and good health for my family and make some more extra wishes such as "Let me accomplish my desire to lose my weight this year" or "Please let my husband and I have lots of fun together."------making endless wishes until I hear my husband laughing "How can you be so greedy with a small donation? Let's go."
Along the side way, some free hot drinks such as sweet rice wine and specially sacred rice wine are provided. Sweet rice wine is my favorite. It's so good to have such a rich drink of very mild alcohol on a wintry day.

Along the way, we enjoyed drawing fortune lots. We made a small donation and got each fortune told on a small stripe of paper. It was really fun and thrilling until I opened the folded small paper to find a largest letter which described the general luck of the year. Here you see the "omikuji(fortune lots)" I drew that day in the above picture, it said "Chu-kichi," which means "middle blessing" out of 7 or 12 levels. Great! "Chu-kichi" is the top second. My daughter got "Kichi," which means just"Blessing." It's still lucky enough. We both kept them in each bag and brought these good blessings back home with us. If we got results of less blessings, then we were supposed to tie these stripes of paper to a tree or a wall of metal wires so that bad fortunes would remain in the temple or shrine grounds. In general we just enjoy this for fun. Even if I get a bad luck, I just take it for a good reminder that I will be able to make this new year much luckier if I take care of things a little more attentively.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Hop! Step! Jump!

In Japan, we often talk that each year reflects the character of the animal symbols in the Oriental zodiac. 2011 is the year of the hare in this zodiac calender.
People who were born in the Year of the Hare are said to be as gentle and good tempered as a rabbit and also they are believed to be very successful like a rabbit makes beautiful jumps.
As we see this character in persons so we do this in our economy. Every one doesn't hesitate to believe that the economy makes a big leap and our life turns to be better especially in the year of the hare. Yes, I do hope so.
And at the same time, I wish for all of you here that you will happily hop, step and jump to your New Year's resolutions and make your days fruitful !