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English diary

2017-08-13

In the middle of August Japan enters into a holiday season, that continues around 1 week.
It is called "Bonyasumi (盆休み)", or simply "Obon (お盆)".
It is not a public holiday, but has been observed as a traditional holiday season.
During Obon most private companies stop their businesses, and people leave their residences for their ancestral homes.
It is a bit like Korean "Chuseok (秋夕)", but Korean counterpart is taken in September to October, around one month later than Japanese Obon.
Both "Obon" and "Chuseok" have their origin in ancient Chinese tradition, in that clan members gather and visit their ancestral graves and hold a ceremony. Japanese "Obon" is the mixture of ancient Chinese tradition with Bhuddist belief.

On August 16 of every summer in Kyoto City, "Gozan no Okuribi (五山の送り火)" festival is held.
It is held at the end of "Obon".

Once upon a time Kyoto was the Japanese capital city.
"Gozan no Okuribi" festival is said to have begun several hundred years before now.
Torches are lit on the surfaces of 5 hills to draw 5 symbols.

"Gozan no Okuribi" festiva has a close relation to "Obon".
It is held to say farewell to ancestral spirits, who are believed to come back for a short time in "Obon".
This belief is a bit like western Halloween.

"Gozan no Okuribi" festival has been practiced by Kyotoite residents generation to generation.
It is a religious ceremony, although attracting sightseers.



(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT. Image is taken at Rokuharamitsuji (六波羅蜜寺, a temple also in Kyoto)’s Obon festival, not Gozan no Okuribi)


2017-07-12

Tsuyu(梅雨) is Far East Asia’s rainy season in early summer.
It brings much rain in central China and Korean peninsula to Japan except for Hokkaido.
In Japan Okinawan archipelago enters "Tsuyu" first, usually in May.
Tsuyu is the forerunner of Japan’s hot summer.
Every year in all around Japan many people are knocked down by the heat.

Japanese traditional houses are mainly made of wood.
They are constructed by wooden beams and planks.
Tiles are put onto the roof, and walls are made of a very simple structure - paper-made "Shoji(障子)" and "Fusuma(襖)".
Such houses are very inflammable, naturally.
Back in 200 years ago Tokyo was called Edo (江戸).
There was a saying about this shogun’s capital:

- Fires and fights are flowers of Edo. (火事と喧嘩は江戸の華)

Edo was once samurai’ capital, and residents had their high respect for bravery.
So they were notorious to be easy to resort to fights when they got mad.
And the great city often got thoroughly burnt by great fires in its history.
Fires were inevitable disasters for a city filled with houses made of wood and paper.

The reason why Japanese people have chosen such a fire-vulnerable house structure is that it is suitable for getting along with Japan’s climate.
Japan’s summer is very hot and humid.
If Japanese people had lived in a house in western style, whose walls were made of stones and bricks, its inside wouldn’t have been livable in summertime due to the heat without any flows of the air.
Japanese traditional houses have a space under their floors through which the air can blow in and out.
"Shoji" and "Fusuma" are easily opened and even sometimes are all removed in a very hot season, in order to make the air blow inside rooms freely.
A traditional Japanese house has a structure that can make ways for the air to blow fully in every directions.
It is an adaptation to Japan’s climate.
Before modern times people got through hot summer days and nights with the Shojis or Fusumas open, and residents set their bed inside a net hung from a ceiling, that was used in order to avoid bugs like mosquitoes.
It is called "Kaya(蚊帳)", that once could be seen in every household in summer.

Modern Japanese people tend to live in apartments and condos of western style rather than houses of traditional style.
Houses made from concrete and iron beams can’t cool down its inside.
Although Japanese people like "Gaman" - to keep patient as long and as much as possible, heats in urban areas should make us think again.



(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT)




2017-06-11

Ajisai(あじさい, 紫陽花) is the most symbolic flower in Japanese rainy season "Tsuyu (つゆ, 梅雨)", that lasts from June to July. Ajisai is one of Japanese indigenous flowers.

There are two types of Ajisai.

"Gaku Ajisai (がくあじさい)" is said to be the archetype of Ajisai family. It is recorded in Japanese ancient literature as "flower with four petals (’Yohira no hana’ in ancient Japanese)".



The most common type of Ajisai is the western developments of Japanese indigenous species. It is as popular as its old archetype flower also in Japan.



(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT LLC)


2017-05-29

Oda Mitsuo and Sumida Masanori, both YouAT staff, visited the Philippines in the end of May 2017.
We firstly flew to Cebu City and after that went to Manila before we came back to Japan.
In Manila we met Mr Mabaga.
He was in the past in Japan as a trainee and after returning Japan he has given us YouAT LLC his cooperation in Manila.
We three visited Mall of Asia at Pasay bay area and had a precious time.

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT LLC)




2017-05-11

There are a variety of iris species that can be seen in Japan.

Ayame (あやめ、菖蒲) and Hanashobu (はなしょうぶ、花菖蒲): The most popular iris flowers. They are symbolic flowers in Japanese May.

Kakitsubata (かきつばた、燕子花、杜若): Another indigenous iris in Japan.

Ichihatsu (いちはつ、一初): Imported iris from China.

Shaga (しゃが、射干): They can be seen in urban areas as a weed.


This is pictures of wild Kakitusbata at Midorogaike (深泥池), northern Kyoto.

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT LLC)





2017-04-28

Fuji (藤, ふじ) is one of the most famous indigenous flowers in Japan.
The original species can be seen in mountains in Japan, but nowadays we can see them in parks and gardens in cities. When cherry blossoms are gone in April, Fuji flowers open.

The original kanji "藤" in Chinese culture indicates vine plants without flowers, but Japanese culture turns this kanji’s meaning into an indigenous vine-like plant with purple or white flower.

We can find many Japanese people who have kanji "藤" in their surnames.
Their surnames derive from Fujiwara clan (藤原氏) - one of the most influential families in Japanese history. Throughout Japanese history Fujiwara clan bore many famous imperial nobles as well as samurai warlords, that makes contemporary Japanese families have surnames with one of Fujiwara’s kanji "藤".

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT)





2017-04-19

In Kyoto cherry blossoms quickly fell away.
It lasted only one week.
Japan is a long archipelago from southwest to northeast, and cherry blossoms move from Okinawa to northern Japan throughout 2 months.
From now on Tohoku and Hokkaido regions are going to see beautiful blossoms.

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT LLC)






2017-03-31

If asked what they imagine about Japan’s springtime, many people will answer the beauty of cherry blossoms.
It is forecast that there will be full blossoms in Tokyo in a few days and one week later in Kanasai area including Kyoto and Osaka.

Full blossoms of cherry trees last only a week. After only one week passes, they start to fall away quickly.
Compared with western roses, what a short period we can enjoy them!
But Japanese people do love cherry blossoms, and do love the short period to enjoy it.
So parks and streets in every corner of Japan are filled by cherry blossoms in this period.

(Oda Mitsuo, YouAT)












2017-03-24

- Maebashi District Court issued a judgement that Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company were responsible for the disaster of 2011 Fukushima Nuke Station and they were obliged to pay a compensation to ex-residents who had lived near the station before the disaster.
- The government decided to file a bill of the act for conspiracy crimes to the present Diets.
- Prime Minister Abe visited 4 European countries, and had talks with President Hollande in France and Chancellor Merkel in Germany.
- Moritomo Gakuen’s president Kagoike was summoned to two Diets and he testified his elementary school problems.


2017-03-17

- 6 years passed since 2011 great earthquake and tsunami, that hit eastern Japan on March 11th of that year.
- The government decided to pick up a plan to make Japanese Self Defense Forces withdraw from South Sudan, now being dispatched under the Peace Keeping Operation of UN.
- The employer and labor union of Yamato Transport, the biggest home delivery service company in Japan, agreed a plan to cut its total delivery lots as well as service hours in order to alleviate employees’ excessive labor. Yamato Transport just recently paid its employees "unpaid" wages for the past working hours.
- Actor Watase Tsunehiko passed away at age 72. Watase was featured in many movies and TV dramas, from historical to contemporary themes. He was the young brother of Watari Tetsuya who is still alive, also a famous actor.


 

Pension topics
2017-06-14
Note for over 10 year’s contributors and PR holders | 年金納付期間10年以上の方および永住者の方はご注意ください | 请注意!年金缴纳10年以上、以及日本永住者:
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English dialy
2017-08-13
Obon (Japan’s summer holiday season)
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