adventure of my life (Hajime Hirayama:平山新)

2015 Digest

Ito city(伊東市)

Ito city(伊東市) Ito is famous for hot spring spa and fishing production. The population is about 70,000. The city is located on the northeast corner of Izu Peninsula, facing Sagami Bay on the Pacific Ocean. The landscape is hilly, and its heavily indented coastline created by lava movement is a scenic area. Ito City is also the town where an atmosphere of the Showa era(middle  20th century) can be seen.
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Mishima City (三島市)

Mishima City (三島市) Mishima City is located 100 km west of Tokyo and the root of Izu peninsula. The city was once flourished by the Mishima shrine and a station town of Tokai-dou, which was the most important road in Edo period, connected between Edo(Tokyo) and Kyoto. The city is also the original place of Shimoda kaido(road) which is linked to Shimoda City, located the tip of the Izu peninsula. The city is easy to access within 30 mins from my Izu villa. Some of the popular sightseeing spots are Mishima Taisya(shrine) and RakujyuーEn. 1. Mishima Taisha(三嶋大社) The shrine was originally built about 1200 years ago in order to enshrine the god of Izu Islands which include Ooshima and  Miyakejima. The buildings are designated as the very important culture of Japan. 2.Rakujyu-En(楽寿園) Rakujyu-en was built by Prince Komatuno-Miya in 23rd year of the Meiji Era (1890) as his villa. Today Mishima City is managing  the villa as the citizen’s park. In this park, there are many trees ,rocks made from lava and ponds . Those are designated as natural monument. The prince’s villa called Rakujyu-kan is also designated as the very important culture of Shizuoka prefecture. The park also has zoo such as alpaca and lesser panda, amusement rides such as merry-go-round and miniature train ride, and the local museum. The most interesting thing in the park for me was the land which is entirely mode from lava. So the ponds’ water is coming from  the spring under the lava. Recently the ponds are rarely full of water and usually almost dried out. However, according to the guide of the park, she said these ponds will be full with water every 7 years. She added to the story that the cause of drying out would be the affect of factory constructions in the area of the foot of Mt. Fuji.  
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Beijyu(米寿)--A Celebration of Longevity

Beijyu(米寿)--A Celebration of Longevity My mother turned 88 years old, so my wife and I, along with my younger sister and her husband, celebrated  her birthday at the Japanese restaurant “Hagoromo” of Shin-Yokohama Prince Hotel on the 44th floor. The restaurant was crowded that day with people who were celebrating the Seven-Five-Three festival. Children who turned 7 or 5 or 3 years were celebrated by their families. They wore Japanese kimono and were very cute. Celebration of Longevity In the old days,  life expectancy was only 50. Although our life expectancy is getting longer thanks to the development of medicine and food production technology, these special celebrations still continue based on tradition. Some special celebration years of longevity are as follows: 1. Kanreki(還暦:respective kanji mean “circulation” and “calendar”) The age of 60 was once considered  as one Chinese combined zodiac calendar circle. Even today the people of this age is celebrated according to the old tradition such as wearing red clothes which is symbolic of a baby’s cloth. It means persons goes back to their infancy and start new calendar cycle. 2.Koki(古希:respective Kanji mean “old ” and “rare”) the age of 70 which is thought in old times that person who reached 70 was very rare . 3.kizyu(喜寿:respective kanji mean “delight” and “congratulation”) the age of 77. This number kanji ”七十七” arranged vertically is similar to the cursive hand of Kanji “喜”. 4.Beijyu(米寿:each kanji means “rice” and “congratulation”) the age og 88. This number kanji “八十八” arranged vertically is similar to Kanji”米” . 5.hakujyu(白寿:each kanji means”white” and “congratulation”) the age of 99. Please refer to the age of 100:next explanation. As you can see, Kanji”白” is short of the vertical bar of kanji”百(100)” 6.Hyakujyu(百寿:respective kanji mean “100” and “congratulation”) In Japan, there are more than 60,000 centenarians, people who are 100 years old or over now.
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Nikko (日光)

Nikko (日光) Nikko is a city located 150km north of Tokyo and it takes 2 hours by car or  Tobu express train from Asakusa takes you there for only 1 hour and 48 mins. This area is famous as a national park and many people visit there through all seasons. Some of the famous sightseeing spots are Kegon Falls, Chuzen-ji Lake, Senzyo-gahara and Tosho-gu. 1. Kegon Falls The falls were formed when the Daiya River was rerouted by lava flows. The main falls had a height of approximately 97 meters (318 ft) and about twelve smaller waterfalls are situated behind and to the sides of Kegon Falls, leaking through the many cracks between the mountain and the lava flows. 2.Chuzen-ji lake The lake was created when the lava from Nantai-san mountain blocked a river. In spring, cherry blossoms are blooming. In summer, people can escape the heat and enjoy bird watching and hiking. In fall of course, there are the famous beautiful autumn leaves and in winter there is the Snow and Ice Festival, plus winter sports like skiing and skating. 3.Senjogahara moor Senjōgahara (戦場ヶ原) is a 4 square kilometers area near the Chuzen-ji lake. It is 1,400 meters above sea-level. Senjōgahara can be translated as ‘battlefield’ but refers to a mythical battle, and not to any historical one. The moor was made by the accumulation of water plants and became peat surface. 4.Tosho-gu The shrine enshrined Tokugaa Ieyasu who controlled all over Japan in 1603 and established Edo government in Tokyo. He died in his own hometown, Shizuoka, but his dying wish was to rest among Nikko’s towering ceders. So the tomb and the shrine was built to enshrine Tokugawa Ieyasu. His ground son, Iemitsu, commenced work on the colossal shrine that can be seen today, using 15,000 artisans from across Japan , who took 1 year and 5 month to complete the project.
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Shed Became Brand-new

I went to Izu in order to hold a meeting with Mr. kubota who is a dealer  of the interior renovation.The meeting started at 10 am and lasted one hour.  I am planning to renovate the kitchen and washstand. I asked him some details of the renovation and the estimate cost.  After the meeting, he promised to sent me the proposal and the estimate cost again as soon as possible. After that, I started to paint the shed in order to prevent the surface from bad effect of rain. This paint is required every three years. The procedures are as follows: 1. Change into work clothes. 2. Wipe the surface of the shed with wet rag. 3. Put the curing tape to protect the part not to paint. 4. Varnish the surface with oak colored oil varnish. 5. Remove the curing tape. After the work, the shed became brand-new!
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Nasu(那須)

My wife and I will visit Nasu on Dec.11 to 12. Nasu is located 200km north of Yokohama and just between Tokyo and Sendai.It will take about 3 hours by car. The season of beautiful fall colorful foliage was over.However, the place is famous a lot of nature, mountains, rivers, forests, pasture and hot spring.During the peak travel seasons, the area is crowed with cars, and some complain that the parking in the area requires drivers to wait for about one hour. Some of the populor sightseeing spots are ”Heisei-no-mori garden”,”Chausu-dake and ropeway”. 1,Heisei-no-mori garden The garden is owned by emperor’s family and half of the garden is opened to the public.  There are many paths for pedestrians. In addition, some walking tours with guide are available.  We are planning to walk the 3km course. On the way, there are many trees like acorn , many animals like raccoon, fox, bear  and many birds like awl. I hope the bear will be well behaved and not harm visitors. 2.Chausu-dake and ropeway Chausu-dake is a volcano and the elevation is 1915 m. the road was well maintained and we can reach at the 8th station. Then we can use ropeway and it takes us to the 9 station. From the point, we can see a beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of mountains. The ropeway fee is 1300 yen round trip (there and back). There are many other sightseeing spots around Nasu area, such as flower park , animal park, pastures and dairy farming food shops. But what my wife and I lool forword to the most is Nasu harvest hotel. This hotel is usually for member only but visitors can stay if the rooms are available. The room charge is a bit pricy at 30,000- 50,000yen. But we will stay there and the charge is only 5000yen with two meals per person. In addition we can enjoy hot springs.
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Electoric Saw was Good in Cutting

Today is Culture day . It was fine day and temperature was over 20 degree Centigrade, so it became good to clean my house. In the morning, I disposed many books, wrapping cardboard and bags. I also changed the new bookcase from old one. The old bookcase was bought about 33 years ago. It was just the time to start my new marriage life at Hiroshima. This bookcase was also used by my sons after that. So the case has a lot of nostalgic memories. But it became old and was needed to be disposed. the size is 180 cm tall, 90 cm width, 30 cm depth. In case of such a large one, we need to apply to the city hall for disposing it and fix the date of disposal and pay the fee prior to disposal . The fee depends on the size and type. In this case, the fee is 1500 yen. I have some other furniture to dispose, bed frame and stool. The total fee will be 2700 yen, In order to save money, I decided to cut these into small pieces, In the afternoon, I bought a electric saw and cut them into within 50 cm per one length as much as possible. Thanks to the saw, It took only one hour to finish to cut them all. This work was fun , because the saw was very good in cutting.
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Oct 24 Became Busy but Memorable day [ 編集 ]

I went to Izu with Mr. Hayakawa who is a friend of high school days. I picked him up at Hiyoshi Sta. at 7 am. and arrived in Izu at 9:10 am. I drove via Shonan coast road to Izu. It was the second time for him to visit there. He is good at gardening, so I asked him to help to maintain the garden in return for treating him for lunch. Fortunately,  trees and weeds didn’t grow as much as I expected. So We had a lot of coffee break and talk about our children and our future. I also took him to the Nirayama reverberatory furnace and had a lunch there. We left Izu at 3:20 pm and reached Yokohama at 6:00 pm. On the way back, there was a car accident on the Tomei express. It took 30 min more in order to pass through the area. But we enjoyed chatting about being back in junior high school in my car. From 7:00 pm., Atushi and Ayano, new married couple visited and celebrated my belated birthday. We toasted a special wine which was presented Atushi’s former company. They gave a present :L’Occitane lotion and their message card saying “Happy birth day. We are sorry to celebrate it  late. We selected your present as hard as we can. Please use it and take care of your health. We appreciate your continuous support. ” Today became busy but very memorable day for me.
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 I Got a Gardening Coordinator Licence!

I  got a gardening  coordinator  license. I finished the gardening correspondence course which I had started from June 12 I completed then submitted 6 tests , a ground design sketch and a picture of Yoseue(寄植え)or group planting for a practical training, to the JGS(Japan Gardening Society). The other day, I recieved a certification diploma of gardening coordinator. This certification licensed by Japanese garden society, can be used to make a business for gardening. However, it is difficult to run business because of lack of gardening experience and knowledge. I think  a certain period of work experience under a professional gardener is required.
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My son’s wedding party

My son’s wedding party The wedding ceremony of my son Atsushi and his wife Ayano was held on Oct. 3. It was nice day for the wedding. The ceremony started at 11:30 am. Then the reception started at 12:30 am. The reception started from my son’s opening speech and wedding cake cutting,  and many guests speeches and performances such as playing musical instruments, singing songs and displaying of  videos and  images made by their friends followed. One of the surprises was that Ayano suddenly started singing a song with her friends from the university. After that, her friend announced that Ayano’s  solo singing with playing piano would be performed  to dedicate to my son. The song name was “愛してるのサイン”:The Sign of Love, a song by a Japanese famous singer group named  “Dream Comes True”. Atsushi and all attendees including me were very fascinated by her song. By the way, Ayano’s birthday and mine were same and Ayano introduced to the attendees the fact and they gave me clap of hands for the belated happy birthday. It was the first time to receive applause  from many people in my life. I was very delighted. I made a thank you speech to the attendance before my son’s ending speech. Atushi and Ayano were fine looking. It became a very pleasant and unforgettable party for me and perhaps for everyone.  
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The Data Management book, of which I am a contributor, was published!

The Data Management book, of which I am a contributor, was published! The book was published by Nikkei BP,  which is written and edited by Data Soken Co. I contributed on the section ‘my company’s data management’.  This chapter consists of 5 points: 1.  History of data management 2.  Meta data administration :the  process and situation 3.  Merits of data management 4.  Some problems of the management 5.  The future plan The chapter had been made jointly with two co-workers of my company.  This chapter is not only introducing of my company’s data management , but also aimed at  handing down the importance of keeping the data management in our company. I expect that my two co-workers will use this book to teach other members.   Because this is the only way to avoid subjectiveness (They create a style which is based on their own principles), and proceed to a model-based real engineering which will  lead to enhanced productivity and quality of IT systems.
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waiians Park
There are numerous sightseeing spots near my Izu house. The most famous one is Nirayama Reverberating  furnace (反射炉) which is about 6 kms from my Izu house. Other spots are Nagaoka hot spring (長岡温泉), Awashima Marine Park , Mitu Sea Park , Izu Panorama Park and so on. I went to the Izu Hawaiians Park with my mother , my sister and brother-in-law. It’s 13.4 kms from the Izu house and takes about 20 mins by car. Once this park was called Orchid Park. So the park is provided with not only Hawaiians dance stage hall , but also tropical botanical garden and zoo. This park also has restaurants  and souvenir factories such as cakes and local beer. Hula Girls show for 40 mins was great and the employees’ hospitality was nice . But I thought the business to manage the park seems to be difficult because there are many similar parks in Japan .
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Travel to Matsumoto

Some topics Morning of Madarao(斑尾の朝) After breakfast, I went outside and enjoyed the fresh air. The air was full of the smell of flowers and trees. This place has been planted with many colorful lilies and zinnia. I also could see beautiful mountains. 姨捨山 ON the way to Matsumoto, we dropped in Obasute Mountain SA. From this place, Breathtaking panorama including Nagano City , Tikuma  River and Japan Alps could been seen. Obasute literally means to abandon one’s old mother. There is a legend that a person took his old mother and left her in the mountain due to his family’s harsh life, but he regretted this conduct when he saw a beautiful moon. Next day he went back and took her home again. 松本市中町通り Traditional old shops are lined along  Nakamachi street. This place was once flourished as wholesale store town such as liquor , clothing. But , the end of Edo period and the initial time of Meiji era, several big fire happened. In order to protect them from the fire, warehouses with thick plaster were built and this simple white and black colored house have produced old good times atmosphere.  
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From top left  pic 1~2: Hotel Harvest Madarao 3:Obasute SA. 4~5:Matsumoto Castle  6~7:Former Kaiti School 7:Nawate St.  8:Nakamachi St.

Travel to Nagano and Around [ 編集 ]

Some topics In zenkouji-temple, I experienced Okaidan(お戒壇). Visitors may descend Okaidan(admission fee 500 yen). A sharp downstairs to a twisted black tunnel under the altar. People proceed to the darkness groping the wall with one’s right hand and find the handle of the Heaven.  Then grab the handle and shake several times.  Proceeding farther after that, people go back to the bright ground . Proceeding in the darkness with uneasy mind is effective to let one’s mind to admire the arrival point( the present). Miso-soft ice-cream: Nagano is famous for miso- fermented soybean paste. But can you imagine miso and ice-cream is a good match?  The blend of sweet ice-cream and salty miso flavor are certainly good match. I enjoyed this simple taste and felt refreshed after eating..  Tea break at a souvenir  shop:There are many souvenir shops along the Nakamise(仲見世) shopping street at Zenkouji temple.  Sometimes salespersons ask visitors to try some samle foods and then ask them to have tea and sit and rest. While drinking tea, other food samples are also provided with  tea. My wife and I  usually buy some foods  because the foods are delicious and their hospitality are nice, too . The Fujiya Gohonjin(藤屋御本陣):This restaurant  was build 360 years ago as a hotel for Daimyo or feudal lord like  Maeda lord who was one of the rich lord of making million -straw bag of rice per year. The building was renovated in 1925  and now became a tangible cuture asset . I visited there and was deeply impressed by its exterior and interior as well.  
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Fireworks display 2015.8.4

Fireworks display  2015.8.4 On the way back home , I noticed that today was the fireworks display at Rinko Park in Yokohama. This is because many people on the train wore yukata and also a train conductor announced  about the fireworks exhibition.  While we were having supper, the fireworks sound could be heard.  The display started at 7 p.m and ended 8:15 p.m.  I could see the fireworks from the balcony and enjoyed it for a while. These pictures were taken using my iphone camera. It took about 3 second to release the shutter. The pictures were not clear but Yokohama’s Landmark tower and other buildings also could be seen. cf. 2015 fireworks in Japan
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Tateshina Heights

Tateshina Heights Tateshina is 200kms west of Tokyo and famous as a summer resort and winter ski area. My wife and I stayed at a hotel in the heights on July 7 after sightseeing Suwa Lake area. The hotel was little bit old but the service was good. The room was spacious and the view from the room was wonderful. Although the weather was not good, we could see the mountains, Tateshina lake, and well maintained garden of the hotel. We enjoyed French course dinner and onsen(hot spring outdoor bath). Next day, we went Kuruma-yama to see the Nikkou kituge – a kind of yellow lilies. According to the internet, the flowers were in full bloom. But we arrived there, we couldn’t see the flowers. Later we found the flowers could be seen in the middle of the mountain. The area was protected against deer by electric fence. In order to clime the mountains in the middle , we used the ski lift on going , and walked down spending 30 mins. After that, we visited an English garden called Barakura Garden, but it was not good than expected. The garden seemed not well maintained and  I felt all garden assistants were busy to sell souvenir goods or served foods.  
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Suwa Lake [ 編集 ]

Suwa Lake and Tateshina My wife and I traveled for two days to visit at Suwa lake and Tateshina Heights from July 7. We left my home at 9 o’clock and arrived at the side of the lake at 11:30. As soon as we arrived, we had an early lunch at Oginoya and ate Kamameshi which is a dish of rice, meat, and vegetables boiled together in a small pot. After lunch we visited several famous sightseeing spots in Suwa . 1. Takashima Castle The castle was build in 1598. Takashima family lived there for over 270 years before the Meiji era. The castle was surrouded by water, so it was named as “water castle” and it could be seen as floating in the lake. The castle was destroyed at the beginning Meiji era , but the tower was rebuilt in 1970. 2.Katakura-kan Kanetaro Katakura, who is the second of Katakuragumi(company) made this Katakura-kan as a recreation facility for their employees . Katakuragumi started silk business in Okaya town near Suwa. and became successful with their business and the number of  factories built became about 100 include Korea and Taiwan. The silk factory in Tomioka, Gunnma prefecture established by the Japanese government also became Katakura’s factory in 1939, which is designated as a world culture heritage in 2014. When he visited in Europe , he was impressed about  the well filled social welfare and decided to build this facility. This facility consists of two buildings,public bath and recreation hall, both are designated as the Japanese important culture property now. The two building were completed in 1928 after the land was reinforced by hammering 1800 pine trees into ground. 3.Suwa Taisya Suwa Taisya is the general name consists of four shrines –上社本宮 kamisya-honmiya, 上社前宮kamisya-maemiya, 下社春宮Shimosya-akimiya,  and 下社秋宮Shimosya-harumiya. The Taisya is one of the oldest shrine and has no main hall. Instead, the Ichi tree or Taxus cuspidata, and cider tree are enshrined in Shimomiya-akimiya, Shimomiya-harumiya respectively. Oyama mountain is enshrined in two Kamisya shrines. It is said that old Shinto shrines had no main hall and enshrined several things of nature. The famous shrine “Onbashira” festival is held every 7 years and the each shrine’s dedicated 4 big pillars are replaced by new cut trees of about 200 years old. 200,000 shrine followers and sight-seekers participate in this festival.
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Gardening correspondence course [ 編集 ]

I started to learn  gardening using a correspondence study from June 12. This course consists of 3 text books, 3 DVDs, 6 drills, 2 design training sheets. This course must be finished within 8 months. *How to proceed with the course: 1.Read the texts and watch the DVDs. 2.To the certain points. The students must submit the drills to the JGS(Japan Gardening Society) and need to get above 60 points. In case of failure, the drill must be re-submitted. After recieving the score and teacher’s comment, the students need to review refering the texts and the DVDs. 3.After finishing the 6 drills, draw 2 designs. One is ” a ground plan and garden sketch” . The other is Yoseue(寄植え) design which is a  style of planting flowers together in one pot. One can get the certification of gardening cordinator after finishing all.
gardening design 2015-06-12 20.09.28

New leaves came out vigorously

New leaves of my garden’s Japanese fern palm “ソテツ” came out vigorously. Every mid June , the new leaves begin to out and the leaves become like water fountains. Then the leaves gradually open and become dark green. I really feel that  nature is mysterious and the scenery is very beautiful. The second picture shows the new leaves are just about  to expand.
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This Year’s Hydrangea

It is said that the best way to enjoy viewing on hydrangea every year is not to prune them, but they grow bigger and some will be about 2 meters. This tall one is not suitable for appreciation(viewing) in my small garden. So pruning is necessary. I did pruning last year after the Hydrangea bloom was over. However, this year’s blue hydrangea is bigger than last year. Actually pruning should be done after bloom, but this year’s one has many flowers, so I cut some flowers for a cut flower viewing. I put them in a vase and decorated it on the dining table.
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留袖(tomesode)

Tomesode is a type  of kimonos and used for formal dress having highest status which a married woman wears. It becomes the first formal dress in the status of the kimono and is equivalent to a Western evening dress. But there is not the limitation of the time and can wear it like an evening dress regardless of the night and day. In the Edo era, the sleeve of long-sleeved kimono which a young fellow wore were shortened after marriage. It is called such a kimono tomesode. This dress once used as a recycled long-sleeved kimono and the colour of the background varied, But a concept of the Western black formal was adopted in the Meiji era , it became a black background as for formal kimono.
Kurotomesode Irotomesode

My younger son left our home

My younger son Satoshi  left my home today and started new life at Nishi-Ogikubo in Tokyo. He rented a 1LDK condo. The condo is located within 5 min from the station and very convenient to commute and do shopping. The company where he works now pays half of the rental fee. My elder son left my home last August and started his life at Shizuoka, My wife and I feel a little sad because two sons left our home within a year.   Nishi-Ogikubo This station is located 20 km west of Tokyo station and 22 km north of my house in Yokohama. His company is near Tokyo station so he can commute about 30 min by Cyuou Line. There are many narrow streets around the station, Many small but cool  or something dear shops are lined along the street.    
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Travel to Osaka and Nara

My wife and I went to Osaka and Nara for sightseeing  during May 8 and 10.
The first day:
We left home at 05:30 and arrived Osaka at 08:16 and our baggage was deposited at Nishi-kujyo Sta. Then we headed to Nara and arrived there at 09:30. We visited (1)Koufuku-ji temple,(2) The observation floor of Nara prefecture’s office,(3) Kasuga-shrine, (4)Todaiji temple,(5)the ruin of Hiejyo Palace,(6) Toshodaiji temple and (7)Yakushiji temple. Those shrine and temples are on the list of World Cultural Heritage. In order to keep this cultural buildings, they need a large amount of money needed elaborate maintenance. Actually, some temples and shrines we visited were under renovation, and covered by thick cloth. We had to pay from 500 to 1000 yen per person as an admission fee. We came back to Osaka at 18:00 and had a dinner at (7 )a Kushi-katui restaurant by the (8)Tuutenkaku Tower. The area is called Shinsekai, which literally means “New world”. This place was once an amusement park which was built in 1912. The tower was imitated Eiffel Tower and built the symbol of the park and entertained many citizens at that time. we stayed Hotel Kintetu Universal city. The hotel is located in front of the Osaka USJ : Universal Studio Japan. **Kushi-katu :deep-fried breaded meat or vegetables on skewers Tako-yaki :grilled octopus-filled balls made of pancake batter Okonomi-yaki:Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients.
The second day:
We enjoyed the  USJ all day by mainly  show attractions such asHarry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Terminator 2:3-D, WaterWorld( A series of tremendous stunts just like in the movies. An adventure show full of breathtaking action). In the night, we dropped in a restaurants arcade adjacent to the hotel which offer from  tako-yaki, okonomi-yaki to ramen. We hesitated about the choice for a while, and finally decided to eat ramen.  Half of the guests were Chinese at that shop.
The third day:
We left the hotel at 08:45 and went to Osaka(Umeda) Sta to deposit our baggage. Then we visited  (1) Osaka castle, (2) Osaka history museum, (3) Douton-bori, (4)Teki-Juju, and (5) Osaka Sta. square. We came back to Yokohama by Shin-Kansen  and arrived at 22:24, then picked up a Taxi and got home at 22:50. ** Amazing accurate Shin-Kansen Do you know how often the trains run during peak hours? The trains run every 3.5 minutes at peak hours. This interval is the time to stop the train not to crash the previous train in case of emergency. **Osaka Castle is widely known as an emblem of the power and fortune of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In 1583, Hideyoshi began construction at the former site of Honganji Temple and completed the magnificent castle, which was reputed as being unparalleled in the country. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who worked for Hideyoshi as his chief retainer, was appointed to the Shogun and he established the shogunate (government) in Edo (Tokyo). In 1615, Ieyasu ruined the Toyotomi family and destroyed Osaka Castle . Thereafter, the Tokugawa shogunate reconstructed Osaka Castle. It held the castle under its direct control until 1868, when the Tokugawa shogunate lost power and the castle fell. In 1931, the Main Tower of the Castle was reconstructed in the center of Osaka Castle, which was used as a military base, with funds raised by the citizens. The present-day Main Tower is the third generation. It follows the Main Tower from the Toyotomi period, which was destroyed by fire during the Summer War, and the tower from the Tokugawa period, which was struck by lightning and was burned down. **hydrological engineering(river management) in Oosaka city
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Edo period(1700’s) Today: Some rivers were made underground Today’s Google Map
Some of the pictures I visited this time  
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Three air crafts topics in Japan [ 編集 ]

Discovery Drone in PM’s Office

A drone was found on the rooftop heliport of the Prime Minister’s Office earlier this week. The drone is equipped with a camera and a container which had radioactive substanses. This morning, the criminal self-surrendered (turned himself ) to the police. The government urgently started to make a law on controling the possession and the regulation of the flight area. Drone are “an unmanned planes” . The size ranges from that of man’s palm to as big as a bomber plane, and the drone is used any purposes such as military affairs ,agriculture, inspection and transportation. Above all, the thing which has the most attracted attention is a military drone. These are examples  in operation now  or under consideration 1)The U.S developed military drone and have used in Afghan, Iraq war now. this drone is used for not only scouting but also bombing. 2)Sony are experimenting to use drone to do inspection of deteriorated bridges and tunnels which are difficult for men to enter or see. 3)Google is thinking to use drone for goods delivery system.

MRJ (Mitubishi regional Jets)

The plane is now in its final stage before the  operation and will start on business flight this year. The price would be 40-50 million dollars(48億~60億円). I’m excited to see the flight and also want to ride. The next-generation commercial airliner of 70-90 seats of classes where Mitsubishi plane develops MRJ. This plane adapted the world’s most advanced aerodynamics design and technologies such as noise analysis technologies and the adoption of the latest engine — which contribute to fuel reduction by approximately 20%. Middle sized jet with the capacity of 70 to 90 passengers will be of great demand in the years to come,  and more than 5,000 jets would be needed. More than 400 planes have been ordered until now, mostly from the USA and Japanese airline companies.

The Honda Jet

The Honda Jet, an advanced light jet plane developed by automaker Honda Motor Co. in the United States, flew over Japan for the first time on Thursday.After the flight, the plane landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.It took a little over half a century for Honda to achieve the milestone of flying its original aircraft over Japan, after its founder Soichiro Honda declared in 1962 that the automaker would enter the aviation business.The flight to Japan marks the beginning of the small business jet’s world tour, during which it is scheduled to travel 26,000 miles and stop in more than 13 countries, Honda said. The price is 40 million dollors(5 億円) , and more than 100 jets have been ordered.
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My first guide experience [ 編集 ]

On April 6, I took a half paid holiday in the afternoon in order to guide the members of the Todd Wolfe Band. They came to Japan to give their rock concerts. They didn’t have concerts on the day. Chris, who is my English teacher, gave me this chance to be a tour guide. I prepared some guide courses and finally chose the shortest two-hour course after consulting Chris. The tour included Tokyo met. Gov. Observation room  and Meiji Shrine. I prepared the contents of this guide using the internet and prior preliminary inspection. Guiding is my first experience and it needed a little bit long time for the preparation. In the morning on that day, Chris mailed me and said “Don’t forget! We are a team.” This words made me ease. In addition, after meeting with the band members –Todd, Roger and Justine at 2 p.m., I soon understood that they were frank and friendly. So I could completely get relaxed. This guide experience taught me a lot of things. Some of my observations from this guide are follows. 1.Americans are generally cheerful, not hesitant, and sociable compared with Japanese. 2.They often asked me some humorous and  sometimes difficult questions. example: They told me to want meet the Tokyo governor as a joke and said “Where is his room?” ( looking up the building) Why crows and pigeons are few in Meiji Shrine? (Certainly no bird dropping was found.) 3. They asked me to translate the short poems of emperor Meiji and empress Shoken into English.(I was embarrassed because two short poems have very deep meaning, It is even difficult to explain even In Japanese. 4. I felt lack of hearing ability. I sometimes couldn’t get the meaning when they speak to each other quickly. 5. If my explanation was not inform to them, I needed to change the other way of sentence. example: Emperor Meiji’s poem have deep meaning.It is a kind of ” the rule of life”. => They didn’t understand. so I changed the sentence like this => It is a kind of”secrets of success in life” On the way, we dropped in the coffee shop in the observation floor. And We had a small talk about our family,job, Chris’s bicycle accident, commuter fee allowance and tax. “爽快” :Beating drum seems  excited or thrilled. Before good-bye, I was given a T-shirt with the picture of the band group and shook hands with them. This t-shirt became a memorial item of today’s  guide experience for me. This experience gave me a boost to continue my English lessons.
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Chris(R) and The Todd wolfe band in front of the Tokyo Met. Government, beside a Cherry tree and the banner showing Tokyo Olympic 2020 Logo T-shirt with a picture of the band. from ( R-L) Todd, Roger and Justine

Cherry Flower Viewing

According to the weather forecast, Cherry flower blooming rate in Tokyo area is 30%. However, some viewing spots such as Rikugi-en and Kouraku-en garden, cherry bloom rate is 70%. So my wife and I went to see at Kouraku-en. Many people visited the garden. Certainly some of the trees were 70% or more in bloom, although other cherry trees are 30% or less in bloom. The trees need to take a couple of days to be in full bloom. After visiting the Kouraku-en, we walked around Yasukuni-shrine and Chidorigafuti – Emperor palace side. Those are also famous spots of cherry flower viewing. On the way, cherry festivals are held here and there. Several performances such as dancing and singing are held, foods and drinks are also sold. Many people enjoyed not only cherry flowers but also eating and drnking under the trees.
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Early Spring in Bousou

I took two paid holidays and went to Minami-Bousou – located 100 km South-east from Tokyo and Yokohama. Minami-Bousou is in the southern portion of Chiba Prefecture, near the southern tip of the Bousou Peninsula. It is surrounded by water on three sides facing the Pacific Ocean to the east and south, and the entrance to Tokyo Bay on the west. This place is famous with early spring beautiful flowers such as poppy, rape flower, and snapdragon. Driving along the sea coast was also attractive. 13:10  arrived  at my home. Total distance traveled was about 250 km.  
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A Plan of Walking and Cherry Blossom Viewing [ 編集 ]

A Waking rally in Tokyo will be held on April 4.  This rally is organized by a health insurance society. My wife and I have joined the last 2 rallies for the last 2 years. However the course of this year is same as last two years, so we got tired of the course. So I decided to make my own route and enjoy walking and the flower viewing by ourselves. Yesterday I went on a preliminary survey of my plan. Today I used a rented bicycle from Tokyo station to confirm the route. So I could check the route easily within one hour.  
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Meeting with OB association members

The OB association was held at a Ginza beer hall on March 7. The association consists of about 50 co-workers who worked at the Ginza office of Taisei corporation until the office was  transfered to Shinjyuku in 1981. This party is organized by four organizers and is held  every March .  This time, 28 members participated and 6 of them are females. The oldest participant was 81 years old and the youngest was 60. The party was very significant .
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My mother’s cataract operation

My 87 years old mother  plays the piano every day for her pleasure. But recently  she has complained about her weak eyesight because of her eye cataract. Those with cataracts often have difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights. In order to recover this situation, she decided to undergo an operation.  I went to the Showa Univ. Hospital in Kohoku word with her and the doctor explained to us about the operation and the schedule. hese are pictures from the station to the hospital.
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A House Warming Party

Mr. Yamamoto, one of my friends from university days invited me and my wife to his new house. His house was built last year in Shin-Yrigaoka, Kawasaki city.  Three other friends and their wives were also invited to his house. The house was designed by his wife who had studied art at a university while doing her house work. Many wonderful ideas are incorporated in their house such as kitchen drawers made of reused paulownia chest, a low table with built-in a charcoal brazier.  Japanese design and western design are integrated. The arrangement of the rooms is also comfortable.  His study was so nice  that Mt. Fuji can be seen from there. Actually, my wife and I were anxious about this get together party because this was our first time to participate in such a party. But Mr. Yamamoto and his wife and daughter entertained with elaborate meal and homey atmosphere. Other friends and their wives were also frank and friendly, so my wife and I enjoyed a lot and it became a memorable day. By the way, Shin-Yurigaoka is a nice town because the town was created by the  town development plan alone with the Kawasaki-station area,  the Musashikosugi area and the Mizonokuti area.  This area is designated as  “The town of art” and many art and music related schools and facilities have been built here. 1200px-Kawasaki_ART_CenterKawasaki Art Center

Plum and Cherry Blossom Festivals

My wife and I went to see  some plum and cherry blossom festivals in Izu from Feb. 12 to 13.  At first, We visited at Kawazu town which is famous for early cherry blossoms.  Although the Kawazu cherry festival started,  we managed to see few blossoms. Most of the cherry trees were still in buds.  Instead pf the cherry blossoms,  we called at   the hot spring fountain park and  the Bagatelle Park- a French style garden park. We stayed at Ito Hervest Hotel and enjoyed sea foods and hot spring.
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Setsubun(節分)

Setsubun is a traditional Bean-Throwing Festival  held every  February 3, the day before the beginning of Spring Season. The aim of this festival is to cast away evil and to welcome good fortune.  People are throwing the beans and shouting  in the house “Devils Out! Good Luck In!.” It is also a custom to eat “Fortune Sushi Roll(恵方巻き).” There are three rules in eating “Fortune Sushi Roll: 1.Face the lucky direction of the year.  This year’s lucky direction is west-south-west. 2.Eat an entire Sushi Roll without stopping. 3.Eat the entire sushi before speaking. It is believed  if you speak before completely eating the sushi,  then  the good fortune will be gone. IMG_2552

Wearable Expo 2015

Wearable Expo 2015  Dates: 2015.1.14(Wed) – 16(Fri)     Venue: Tokyo Big Sight
Latest Devices/Technologies  such as Smart Glasses/ Smart Watches, Long life Batteries, and Textile  Conductive Materials for noise reduction and  electronic poles for the complex Micro Sensors are exhibited  at the Tokyo Big Site. I attended the following four seminars during the Expo: Related keyword  AR(仮想現実:augmented reality ) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. big site

Angina pectoris

It might be a circulatory system problem A incident happened when I got on the train in a hurry in the morning in late December. Suddenly, I felt difficulty to breath and felt strongly sick. A cold sweat flowed. In a few minutes, my health condition recovered. I thought it’s a temporary bad condition and did’t care about it. however, the same situation happened again . It was the day of my first business work of the year, January 5. So I saw a doctor at a nearby general hospital in January 8. The doctor said it might be angina pectoris- a heart disease. To probe the disease possibility, I took several test, such as brood test, electrocardiogram, urine test, taking a X-ray of my heart. The ultrasound scan test of my heart will be performed January 16 and the doctor’s judgement of my symptom will be held Jan, 21. I hope my symptom would not be serious disease and recover by medicine or healthy daily life activities. The picture is Ida general hospital .   The hospital is located near my house and now has been  renovated. 2012-06-29 09.14.18

Shishimai (獅子舞:Lion dance)

Imported from China, the shishimai (Lion dance) is often performed around the New Year by one or two lions accompanied by bamboo flutes and drums. It was performed as a prayer for household safety and a good harvest. There are regional variations; one or two people wearing the lion costume, and one or two lions dancing. At the end of the dance, the lion “bites” the heads of some watchers, to bring good luck. Lion do not live in Japan. It is said that this dance was originally born in India and imported via China along with Buddhism  in the 7th century. The lion dance  has mainly two types – two-player type and one-player type. Two- player type is similar to the Chinese style – one person plays  the role of the  head  and other person plays the role of the tail . 2014-01-05 15.14.36

Shimekazari(注連飾り) 2015.1.1

“Shimekazari(注連飾り)” is a New Year's decoration  - a twisted straw rope with fern(シダ) leaves, an orange and other items of good omen. It is generally hung on doors during the New Year holidays and served as a charm against evil spirits.
A twisted straw rope is called “Shimenawa(注連縄)” which is used in the Shinto religion. It is often found in front of shrines or other sacred locations.
Originally New Year’s day is the day when New Year’s god visit houses and give us the power of living and happiness. So we prepare to welcome God decorating Shimekazari on the entrance door. 2015-01-01 08.11.15
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