Archive for May, 2005

Jizo For Peace


地蔵 じぞう Jizo at Daisho-in

Found this while reading up on Jizo. A popular Buddhist deity in Japan and the protector of miscarried, stillborn and aborted children, he is being used by members of the Great Vow Zen monastery to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the nuclear armament this August 6th and 9th, the 60th anniversary of the A-bomb detonations over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The monastery hopes to deliver 270,000 Jizo images to Hiroshima in time for the anniversary. “…one Jizo for every man, woman, and child who died as a result of the atomic bombs.”

From the site:

A project to promote peace in the world through art, Jizos for Peace invites people from all walks of life to make a contribution to peace. The mission of Jizos for Peace is to support people in cultivating and expressing peace in their lives.

Create Jizos and Contribute Funds.

A Year In Japan


大鳥居

Some leaving thoughts. I will definitely miss Japan. On a banal level the change in climate has been really nice. After five years of endless gray New England winters, the comparitively sun-flooded and warm Tokyo winter was a bit of a thrill. Many of my Aussie and Kiwi co-expats disagreed, but coming from winters with long stretches in the serious Celsius negatives, this year was balmy.

It will be a rude shock to start using (and planning on) trains that don’t run like swiss watches.

I never realized the extent, for better or worse, to which America is the entertainment engine for so much of the world. I never would have expected TV in the world’s second-largest economy to be so low-budget and uninspired. Not that the endless food and variety programs aren’t popular, but I never realized the production quality I took for granted in the US was not really available anywhere else, fishbowl-living, small-minded me…

The scale of Tokyo is staggering. As an amateur photographer, I am alternately thrilled and in despair over the infinite number of wonderful photo-ops offered by this massive metropolis. There are so many places I haven’t seen, and when I see an older tokyoite walking the city streets weighted down with a couple bags of photog gear, I can totally understand how a hobby can become an obsession with cataloguing the constantly-morphing scenery.

My best memories of Japan will definitely be the trips, however. To see the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and the great Shinto Gate in Miyajima. The air in Nikko. Snow pillowing rocks at Kegon Falls. Steaming onsen and cool afternoon air in Hakone. Fantastic memories. And I can’t wait to come back and see more.

Bakuten.

I just discovered the TV show Bakuten. There is nothing right about that show at all.

This week they tortured a poor monkey by making him sit still, as they built a banana tower around him. That’s right, they plopped a helpless monkey down on the floor and told him, “Don’t move. Okay? We are going to plop all these wonderful bananas around you, but you cannot touch them until we give you the go ahead.” I think they got up to about 500 bananas.

Halfway through the ordeal, the monkey started picking at the skin of one banana, rocking back and forth, and shouting. At this point the owner said, “You can wait, can’t you? You can do it, right?” The little monkey nodded.

Put yourself in his padded feet as the bananas call out, “Little moooooonnnnnnkey. Little monnnnnnnkey. Don’t you want to eat us? Go on, peel one of us. You know you want to.”

Images:
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Tamagawa Josui and Osamu Dazai.

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From Hamura city website

At the beginning of the Bakufu military government (1603-1868), drinking water for Edo (Modern Tokyo) was supplied by the fresh water reservois of Kanda and Akasaka, but as the city grew, a greater volume of drinking water was needed. In the time of Ietsuna, the fourth shogun, the Bakufu ordered the two brothers, Shoemon and Seiemon, to have water brought to Edo from the Tama River, which cut across Musashino, west of Edo. Construction began in April of 1653. In November of that year excavation was finished for the Yotsuya Ohkido canal, approximately 43 kilometers in length, and the Tamagawa Johsui (Tama River Water Supply) was complete. In addition to supplying drinking water for the one millions citizens of Edo at the time, it was also integral for the development of Musashino.
 Nowadays, the Hamura Dike at the entrance of the Tama River water supply remains dear to the hearts of our citizens as a precious place of inherited culture.

Tamagawa Josui was made for water supply for metropolitan people. Edo was the biggest city in the world at that times so they needed more water. you can read about historical facts here.

Now you can not see Tamagawa Josui itself in center of Tokyo because it is below the ground in there. But you can still enjoy walking along the river to enjoy views and smell in suburb area.

If you are familiar with Japanese modern literature, you might know Osamu Dazai was died in Tamagawa Josui. His death was known as suicide but infact, his girlfriend Tomie Yamazaki dragged in him. He tried to kill himself with girlfriend many times but always ended up with girlfriend’s death and his survival. This time, he tried to get away but Tomie didn’t allow it. He was buried in Zenrinji(Mitaka city). Upon his request, he was buried in diagonally opposite to Ogai Mori‘s grave.
June 19, the day of his birthday and his dead body founded, is called 桜桃忌(Outou-ki. Outou means cherry) from one of his work.

日本人と外人の関係について

私は三年間東京住んでいました。その時に日本の文化、言葉と生き方についてたくさんならって、日本の生活たいしてすごく住み心地の良いになりました。でも外人に対して日本で住むことをあまり住みやすくないんです。

日本で住むことを始まる時に外人が日本の文化と言葉、についてなにも分からない。そして日本人とあまり連絡をできません。色々日本人は英語をしゃべれる、だけどまだ日本の文化についてよく分からないで誤解がたくさんがあります。

例えば:

1.日本人にはじめてと日本人よくLets go to the Izakaya sometimeを言っています。外人はこの文を聞くと本との招待だと思っています。そして、外人の答えは、

Recycling.

Coco, you stole my post! Okay, I’ll attempt to augment your post with information on the Law for the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging (Container and Packaging Recycling Law). The law (PDF):

The key message of the law is the “shared responsibility” of consumers, local governments and industry. Consumers will be actively involved in the sorting and collection system. Local governments will operate a system of sorting and collecting packaging and containers waste. Industry, i.e. manufacturers and their clients, will finally be obliged to recycle a percentage of the waste packaging sorted and collected by local governments. The costs are to be shared according to the quantity to be manufactured and used. Importing companies will also be affected.

The law partly came into force in April,1997 for glass bottles and PET bottles. It became fully in force in April 2000 extending the coverage to paper and plastic containers and packaging.

This led to that convoluted calendar and bag system Coco posted. But there is a key to sorting your garbage. I am going to share that key with you.

There are 7 recycling marks (PDF). Five are required by law. Here are the required marks:

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Life in Tokyo vs. Life in Saigon

I’m baaack!! Long time without a post here but I felt a little like an outsider since as most of you know I’m taking a hiatus from Tokyo life and living here in Saigon, Vietnam. But I have often had to explain why I moved to Vietnam if I loved Tokyo so much. Therefore, I thought I would put my explanation here for all of you who are curious about life in other Asian countries and considering leaving Tokyo for a bit.

The MAIN reason I am taking a break from Tokyo is I was afraid of Corporate Japan. I spent three years teaching English and two learning the Japanese langauge and culture and then I up and left! Why did I do this? The answer lies in the quality of life….
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Disposal Rules

Most of cities in Tokyo have strict rules for disposal. It often drives me crazy so, those rules must drive most of non-Japanese freak out.

In my district Fussa, I have to buy certain garbage bags. Blue bags for burnable waste, yellow ones for unburnable waste. If I use other bag, they don’t take my bag. I usually buy M-size bags. 10bags for 300yen.

unburnable.gif

And next, it is the most difficult part. You have to separate garbage. Burnable, unburnable, cans, glass bottles&jars, metals, PET bottles, plastic bottles, newspapers&magazines, cardboard boxes, clothes and large refuses. To dispose large refuses, you have to buy a ticket and call cleaning section. Disposal fee is expensive. Really. To throw old washing machine away, costs about $25.

Except large refuses, CE, PC, you have to place a garbage bag at certain trashstation before 8:30 a.m on certain day. We have a calendar for it.
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I’m sure those rules freak you out when you start living in Tokyo. But it is one of the thing you have to get over in this city.

Melon auctioneer loses money

I heard on the headline news section on the radio yesterday that a company tried to auction on the Internet two melons valued at 300,000 yen ($3000 or so) each and ended up getting only 150,000 yen ($1500 or so) a piece. The newswire reported that the company had lost 300,000 yen in the sale.

Oo. Internet bad.

Do You Know Your Blood Type?

From Japanese Horoscopes :: Blood Types:

Discussing blood type is a key part of introductions. Any high school kid worth their salt will never fail to enquire as to your blood type, as any western teenager would do with star signs.

My blood type is A. According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, this means I am:

calm.
patient.
sensitive.
responsible.
overcautious.
stubborn. (This should really read STUBBORN; I guess they are being generous.)
unable to relax.

Some famous, or infamous, type As would be Souseki Natsume, the author of “Botchan” , Ringo Starr, Britney, George Bush Senior, and – drum roll – Adolf Hitler. Souseki is cool, but the rest are sorta, I don’t know, a let down. Britney? Hitler? Am I really in the same class?

Anyway, if you know your blood type, head on over to Japanese Horoscopes :: Blood Types and read up on your personality.

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