Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sayonara Bokutachi no Youchien

Do you know the song "さよならぼくたちのようちえん(Sayonara Bokutachi no Youchien)"?


This is a kindergarten graduation song that has become common in the last several years.

It was recorded on Toshihiko Shinzawa's CD, and it was released about fifteen years ago.




And the same titled NTV drama special was aired last night.

That drama made 6-year-old actress Mana Ashida the youngest lead role ever in Japanese drama history.




Well......I would have been moved to tears more and more if it hadn't been for the accident on the broadcast.





Anyway, the song was so nice, I think.




The following video shows the last 8.5 minutes of that drama including the song in the final climactic scene.


Warning: If you didn't see that drama yesterday and are thinking about watching it in future, do not see the following video!!


video

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

King Kazu





Did you see today's football charity match?



Japan national team had 2-1 victory over J-League select side.

But......regardless of the victory, that charity match could encourage the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, I think.



Especially the wonderful goal shot by a 44-year-old striker Kazuyoshi Miura, who is known as for his nickname "King".


video


He must be a king!! (^o^)

Tendenko

Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School and Unosumai Elementary School are located in the devastated city on the jagged estuary coastline of Iwate.


But......all of the 212 junior high school students and 350 elementary school children on the site are alive.



Why?



......The answer is "Tendenko".


"Tsunami tendenko" is an old saying in the region, which means that if you want to survive a tsunami, you should run away without even stopping to worry about your family.





Just after the earthquake, students and children rushed out of the school and headed to higher ground.

Grabbing the hands of elementary kids in the lower grades, they kept running for an elderly nursing facility on a hill about one kilometer away.

When they saw the waves closing in from behind, they did not wait for instruction from teachers.

About 10 minutes later, both school buildings were engulfed by the tsunami.





Thanks to repeated tsunami drills, they managed to escape the first wave of tsunami to hit Kamaishi.



Was it a miracle or an inevitable conclusion?



Whichever it was, there was no doubt that education at school saved their lives.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where Is The Love?

The term between March and April means both the end of previous lives and the biginning of new ones.


Also in Eigonoie, students have just finished their class.



I'm so glad that many students go to Eigonoie and take my lesson every week.

I really want to say 'thank you' to all of my students.




Well, showing my gratitude, I had my students listen to one of my favorite foreign songs "Where is the love?".


Adding to our nation's woes caused by a monster earthquake and tsunami, this song has a meaningful  and strong message for us.


That's the only my impression, but have a look at this music video below and lyrics, too.



video

"Where Is The Love?"(2003)    The Black Eyed Peas

[ Lyrics ]

What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurtin’, you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
Would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love......

It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin' in
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret, it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where's the love, y'all, c’mon (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, c’mon (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurtin', you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
Would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love......

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' our wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found
Now ask yourself

Where is the love (×4)

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love......

Sing with me y'all, (One world, one world)
We only got (One world, one world)
That's all we got (One world, one world)
And something's wrong with it (Yeah)
Something's wrong with it (Yeah)
Something's wrong with the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got (One world, one world)
That's all we got (One world, one world)





If you're interested in The Black Eyed Peas, go to http://www.blackeyedpeas.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackEyedPeasVEVO.


Especially their latest single music video "Just Can't Get Enough" were shot one week before the devastating disaster occurred in Japan.


video

Friday, March 25, 2011

3 exposed to radiation

Aftershock related to the radiation has been a serious problem.



Japan's nuclear safety agency said yesterday that three workers had been injured when their feet came into contact with radiation-contaminated water while laying cables in the turbine areas of reactor 3.

They were exposed to radiation levels of 170-180 millisieverts, he said, which is lower than the maximum level permitted for workers on the site of 250 millisieverts.

And they were taken to the hospital.






I believe heros never die and will be back in safe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

White Day swept by tsunami

Time flies.


We're in the very last week of the school year.



I've been so busy as a bee since the massive earthquake on March 11th; Each time when TEPCO announces an up-to-date blackout schedule, we have to reorganize the classes and call the students if necessary. Plus, we have to make grading report cards by the last classes.






Then, one popular event held on March 14th also seemed to be swallowed up by the monster tsunami.


In Japan, one month after Valentine's Day on March 14th, men are expected to answer the gifts they received by giving women gifts.


We call the day "White Day."






Annually I prepare some gifts to express my gratitude on the day.

But this year I didn't do that because of my dizzy days.


So sorry for some students and friends...




By contraries one kindhearted junior high school student gave me a White Day gift.




Homemade cookies!!



It didn't look so good but tasted very nice! (^o^)/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What should we do?

Attention has focused on the battle to avert a nuclear crisis at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, but Japan is also facing a massive humanitarian challenge.


Although more than seven days have passed after the massive earthquake and tsunami, some communities remain isolated and survivors are in danger of hypothermia and dehydration.





Of course many people tried to improve this situation.

We can see a lot of volunteer activities to help the victims in many places.






But...most of the roads to the emergency shelters or evacuation centers are badly damaged.


What's worse, many relief efforts are being hampered by freezing temperatures and snow, shortages of fuel and hundreds of aftershocks, delaying deliveries of vital food, water, blankets and medicines to survivors and evacuees.




I feel sad when I see the scene of eldery people huddled at a wood stove in the vast hall of an evacuation center staring blankly into the flames...





The government has earmarked ¥5.4 billion to pay for fuel for the SDF(Self-Defence Forces) to transport aid and the petrol to affected areas to power heaters and heavy machinery.


Exactly it's helpful, but I think that the government should manage to use more choppers to deliver necessities to survivors as soon as possible.


Using civilian or private choppers may be a disobedience to the ongoing law.


But we've never experienced such an terrible disaster.


The first thing that we have to do is to do what we can do for the victims now, I think.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flashlight

In the confused aftermath of the massive earthquake, devastating tsunami, and the electricity shortages, we're facing the panic-buying: canned goods, batteries, bread and bottled water have vanished from store shelves.


I was so surprised to see the news reporting one woman bought three big cabbages at the supermarket.


Must be crazy!! Does she live on cabbages?




Of course the Japanese government and the media have been warning consumers not to hoard.



Foods, water, and batteries are necessary for our daily lives now, but above all, flashlights are needed under the unclear rolling blackouts.





Eigonoie tried to get flashlights to prepare for the blackouts, but all the flashlights were sold out at any shops.



The only lights I brought from my house are here.






Hmm...better than nothing.


Forewarned is forearmed(^o^;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Repair

The front wall of Eigonoie building is now being repaired.





Some tiles are peeling off and the big signboard is unsteady.



Now the entrance is like this.





Watch out your head!!

Why is there no looting in Japan?

In the wake of Japan's deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant explosions, we have witnessed the almost indescribable chaos that follows a disaster of this magnitude: loss of life, severe injuries, homelessness, lack of water, food and proper medical care, the physical destruction of towns and cities, and growing fear of radioactive contamination from power plants that seem beyond anyone's ability to control.



But one heart-wrenching byproduct of disasters like this one has been missing in Japan, and that's looting and lawlessness.



Looting is something we see after almost every tragedy; for example: last year's earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the floods in England in 2007, and of course Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

It happens when some people who've seen life as they know it get tossed out the window feel that all morality has been tossed out too.

It's survival of the fittest and whatever you can get your hands on is yours, no matter who it belongs to.



But that's not happening in Japan.


(omission)


Here's my question to you: Why is there no looting in Japan?


CNN Cafferty File updated March 15th,2011





Many of foreign media got surprised the fact that there is no looting in Japan, and that simple question has been the focus of their attention.


When you go to his site, you can see a lot of responses toward the question.
http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/15/why-is-there-no-looting-in-japan/





Some people said, "Because Japanese culture is based primarily on honor and dignity."


The other people said, "It's a nation pride."







In my opinion, Japanese primary sense of love is made of this peaceful world even in this chaos.


Since ancient times Japanese people have made good interpersonal relationships with a power of peace called 和(wa).


And I think that kind of sense has been engraved in our mind still now.


See your around, and you'll find yourself being in any groups and feeling comfortable with a lot of love.


Unconsciously we seek a peaceful place and stay there.


And this love never goes away.








I believe in being warmhearted that all Japanese people primary have.






Then, I want to ask you again: Why is there no looting in Japan?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kizuna311

This is the message uploaded on YouTube.


The internationally acclaimed Japanese actor Ken Watanabe is sending a message to all the YouTube users in the world.


video



Hello everyone. This is Ken Watanabe.


Japan is currently suffering the aftermath of the largest earthquake to ever hit my country.


When I heard about this, I was so surprised (and) saddened. And I felt (that) I needed to do something as soon as possible. (Plus) I received many messages from friends around the world.


I'll do my best to upload them for everybody to see on this website. Please send any messages of any support. So that we can continue to help the victims of earthquake in different ways.


I plan to act as a bridge between the victims and people of the world until the day their smiles return. And please keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers.


Thank you.








If you want to see more messages, visit here → http://www.youtube.com/user/kizuna311.

Small Patience

All the lights were suddenly turned off at 15:40 today.






The air conditioner stopped working and it got very cold.


So we moved to Royal Pines Hotel lobby (because it was a little warmer there than in Eigonoie) and waited there until the blackout span was done.








At first I tried to read some English books but soon I found it difficult to do it under the natural light.

I got tired of waiting there, then I went for a walk.





In front of Isetan, I found many of our Urawa Reds players standing and collecting a relief fund for the earthquake victims.


Of course I raised money to the collection box which Yosuke Kashiwagi held.




All the J-League matches have been canceled because of the devastating earthquake.


They showed their wonderful attitude outside the pitch!!





When it comes to footballers, Inter Milan's defender Yuto Nagatomo sent an encouraging message again after the 3-2 Champions League victory over Bayern Munich.




He held a Japanese flag with "You'll never walk alone" written on it.






I think trying to do something for victims is much better than doing nothing.


Madam, do not buy too much only for yourself.



Imagine that every small patience will turn into the sufferers' smile.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Operation Tomodachi

In addition to my former article, I uploaded some more football players showing a message for the victims.



Tomoaki Makino (Köln)






Ryo Miyaichi (Feyenoord)





Michihiro Yasuda (Vitesse Arnhem)






Akihiro Ienaga (Mallorca)




Each footballer from Japan wore a shirt bearing a message, expressing their concerns for people
affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.




Moreover, Nagatomo's former team Cesena players wore shirts saying "FOR THE JAPAN" while doing their pre-match warmups.



We can feel a deep connection and friendship through their encouragement.


"Operation Tomodachi" is the name of the operation established by the U.S. to reconstruct ruined areas and to rescue undiscovered victims.


Actually this is the time to show the power of Tomodachi!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Never Give Up

A minute's silence was observed before the start of all the Spanish football matches as a mark of respect for the victims of Friday's deadly earthquake in Japan.


The following photo shows us a strong message.




Just before the match Barcelona and Sevilla players bore a big banner saying "Ganbare, Nippon! Bokurawa Kimito Tomoniiru. (Go, Japan! We stand beside you.)"





And other football teams in other countries also showed a message of solidarity to the Japanese earthquake victims.


Inter Milan and Brescia players including a small Japanese left back Yuto Nagatomo wore black bands in mourning for the victims. Soon after Inter's striker Samuel Eto'o scored in the 18th minute, immediately pointed toward Nagatomo, and ran to hug him. It was only one of the many displays of sympathy toward the victims of the earthquake.






Schalke's defender Atsuto Uchida poses with a jersey after their German Bundesliga football match win against Eintracht Frankfurt in Gelsenkirchen on March 12th. The words said "Nihon no minae, Sukoshidemo ookuno inochiga sukuwaremasuyoni, Tomoni ikiyo! (Dear friends in Japan, in the hope that many lives are saved, let us stand together!)".





And our Urawa Reds coach Zeljko Petrovic suggested that Urawa Reds players should find something to do for the victims and hold a charity match to contribute a part of profits to the reconstruction in the devastated areas.




I was greatly touched with their kindness.


Their encouragements must be a boost to our flagging morale.





Do not give up till the end.

If we give up now, the game will end...

Blackout hasn't been conducted yet

The first group of blackout has not been conducted.



As TEPCO anounced yesterday night that they would conduct the rolling blackouts, most of JR lines has stopped working and the stations has been blockaded.



Urawa station has also been sealed off.



So many people are panicked now.



What will happen to our daily lives and works...??



We are cooperative toward the rolling blackouts, so please let us know the exact information...

Blackout Tomorrow

Tokyo Electric Power Corporation said that it would conduct its first-ever rolling blackout from Monday to help prevent an unexpected large-scale power outage after a powerful earthquake shut two nuclear plants indefinitely on Friday.


On the TEPCO's homepage, we can see the list of the districts and each of the blackout time.


But my residential district has two schedules so that I can't find the exact blackout time tomorrow.



It's a slipshod announcement, isn't it?



I feel so anxious about our lives tomorrow..

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Catastrophe in Japan

Japan has been hit by a massive tsunami triggered by a monster earthquake majoring magunitude 8.8.



That devastating tsunami has engulfed entire towns and villeges in north-eastern Pacific coast, and authorities has alerted to evacuate quickly for the duration of the tsunami attack.


The following NHK video shows the terrible situation in Kamaishi, Iwate.


video



Umbelievable...


It's just like a movie scene.






Fortunately my family and I are fine.




When the first earthquake hit, I was teaching English to a high school student at Eigonoie.

I heard the creak of air conditioner and walls, and then I felt the earth shaking.

The traffic was paralyzed and we had a bad connection.

And people made a long line in front of Eigonoie to use a telephone box.





In that chaotic situation, Twitter was much helpful for me.


I could know what was happening then, and whether my friends were fine or not.





And happily there's no bad news with my acquaintances so far.





A small earthquake occers in various parts of Japan in every five minutes today.

I hope a massive earthquake never comes in a couple of days...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maher's Nest

The U.S. government has sacked Kevin Maher as head of the Japan affairs office of the State Department following his remarks that reportedly disparaged the people of Okinawa.




In off-the-record lecture in Washington in December before 14 students who were about to visit Tokyo and Okinawa, Kevin Maher allegedly said "Okinawans are masters of 'manipulation' and 'extortion' " when they deal with the Tokyo government and that "although Okinawans grow goya, other prefectures grow more than Okinawa. Okinawans are too lazy to grow goya."



Goya is a kind of bitter gourd and is used in Okinawan cuisine as a significant ingredient.


But that alleged gaffe tastes much more bitter than goya for people living in Okinawa.

Another Takeaki Matsumoto

Hi, my name is Takeaki Matsumoto.


But now another Takeaki Matsumoto comes into the spotlight.




Prime Minister Naoto Kan named political blue-blood and former banker Takeaki Matsumoto as the new Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister.



He has the same name as I!! haha

Only the kanji are different; He is 剛明 but I'm 岳朗.



The 51-year old politician traces his family to Japan's first Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito, who played a key role in te colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before he was assassinated by Ahn Jung Geun(安重根) in 1909. His mother is Ito's granddaughter.


Now the Kan Cabinet is facing a pile of pressing diplomatic issues, including the contentious relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, territorial tussles with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and Russia over the four northern disputed islands in Hokkaido.


Absolutely Matsumoto is in the severe situation soon after the Seiji Maehara's abruptly resignation.




I do not favor the Democratic Party of Japan over the other parties, but I wish well to another Takeaki.




※ Takeaki Matsumoto's official website → http://www.m-takeaki.jp/

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

3月9日 (March 9th)

It is March 9th today.


Every year many students sing Remioromen's "3月9日(Sangatsu Kokonoka: March 9th)" at their gaduation ceremony.






This song is also unforgettable for me.




I started to work at cram school as a part-time teacher when I was a freshman in college.

It was my very first time to teach English and to deal with the students, so my first 9th graders' graduation has a special meaning.

At the end of the graduation ceremony of them, every teacher made a passionate speech of congratulations.

We used "3月9日" as a background music during the speech, and that song moved me to tears.






 Whenever I hear this song, I strongly remember their smiles.


And I'm quite sure that experience must be a root of my every single motivation.




3月9日(Sangatsu Kokonoka)
by Remioromen


[Lyrics Translation]

In the middle of the flowing seasons
I suddenly feel the length of the days
During the days when it is too busy
You and I sketch out our future

With my feelings on the March wind
The sakura buds continue on into spring


The overflowing drops of light
Little by little warm up the morning
After giving a large yawn
I'm a little shy being by your side

Standing at the door to a new world
What I've realized is that I'm not alone

If I close my eyes, you are there
Under my eyelids you live
How strong has that made be?
As for you and me, I want to be together

The dust carried by a whirlwind
Entwines with the laundry to be done
Just before noon the white moon in the sky
I was somehow fascinated by how beautiful it was

Although there are things that don't go well
If I look up at the sky
Even they seem small

The blue sky is sharply clear
The sheeplike clouds quietly sway
The joy of waiting for flowers to bloom
If it's sharing that with you, that is happiness

In the future as well gently smile next to me

If I close my eyes, you are there
Under my eyelids you live
How strong has that made me?
As for you and me, I want to be together

Arima Cider

Last night I drank with one of my ex-coworkers to celebrate her graduation from university and resignation from her part-time job for 4 years.



And there, you know I can't drink, I ordered "有馬サイダー (Arima Cider)".




Arima Cider, or Teppo Water, is a popular drink in Arima Onsen in Kobe (→http://www.arima-onsen.com/eng/index.html)

On the label it states that carbonated water gushing from the ground had been thought to be poisonous and been afraid of, but later served as the origin of Japanese cider.




I think it's a robust soda with less sugar.


Showa flavor and taste!! (^o^)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Nagatomo's 1st Goal in Italy

Inter Milan demolished Genoa 5-2 with a stunning second-half display at the San Siro to keep up the chase of AC Milan at the top of Serie A.


But on this time we have to put an eye on the fantastic play of Yuto Nagatomo.


video


He scored his first goal for Inter in the 84th minute!!


Beautiful goal, isn't it? \(≧▽≦)/




Nagatomo got his best evaluation 6.5 points from the bitter critical magazine "La Gazzetta dello Sport".





And it also showed us an unique performance with a Japanese word 先輩(sempai).




Inter teammates including Eto'o, Sneijder and the captain Javier Zanetti jokingly exchanged a Japanese-style bow with Nagatomo after the left back's close-range leftfoot effort hit the top of the net.



Congratulations, Yuto Nagatomo!! (^o^)

Latest Purikura

Yesterday my friends and I took some photos in the purikura machine.



Purikura is the photo sticker booth and it's quite popular among the girls in Japan.



I've never used that machine since I graduated from high school.





I was so surprised to see myself in the photos because my eyes got bigger and my face got smaller.


Hmm...much thinner cheek than actual.




......Yuck...creepy me! (´Д`)



Anyway, cute girls in purikura photos must be treacherous!!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

J-League 2011 Open

A new season of J-League 2011 opens this weekend.



The openers are like this.


[Saturday, March 5th]

Kashiwa Reysol v.s. Shimizu S-Pulse
Kawasaki Frontale v.s. Montedio Yamagata
Ventforet Kofu v.s. Jubilo Iwata
Nagoya Grampus v.s. Yokohama F・Marinos
Gamba Osaka v.s. Cerezo Osaka
Sanfrecce Hiroshima v.s. Vegalta Sendai
Avispa Fukuoka v.s. Albirex Niigata



[Sunday, March 6th]

Kashima Antlers v.s. Omiya Ardija
Vissel Kobe v.s. Urawa Reds





I hope that Urawa Reds will win the opener.


But I also want to support Vissel Kobe's #26 forward player Kohei Mishima (→http://www.vissel-kobe.co.jp/first-team/mishima.html).


He and I were in the same class when we were 8th graders.

Also he was just next to me in the attendance book.




We used to play soccer during the lunch break, and I noticed that his play had already been quite well.


I love Urawa Reds, but I really want to see his play in the professional soccer game!!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sakura Is Here

Drinking coffee now.


I ordered SAKURA latte.




It's a little difference between the picture outside and my actual one.


Hmm......but it smells fine.(´∀`)



We'll be soon in Sakura season!

Hair Cut

I cut my hair by myself this morning.


I don't like to have my hair cut and washed at the beauty salon, so I've cut my hair for more than five years.




Actually it's still difficult to cut the back side of my hair.


But I think it's not so difficult to cut the other parts with the thinning shears.

Also I can save time and money.



Boys, how about cutting your hair by yourself? \(^o^)/

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

aicezuki

What an inexcusable behavior behind my birthday.




Some entrance examination questions at Kyoto University were uploaded to the Yahoo! Japan question-and-answer bulletin board called "知恵袋 (Chiebukuro)" from a mobile phone during the test time.


The alleged cheater, who used the online pseudonym "aicezuki", is also believed to have posted questions on the bulletin board while taking the entrance exams for Doshisha, Rikkyo, and Waseda universities.


It has been unclear how aicezuki posted them and got the answers.



Here is the aicezuki's record.
      ↓
http://my.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/my/myspace_quedetail.php?writer=aicezuki




I think that aicezuki must be clever and intelligent because he or she took those exams of such prestigious universities.


I wonder if academic background-oriented society produced by the latest difficulty of getting jobs could be a hotbed of not only the network crime but also contaminating people's innocence...