July 2009 Archives

UCHIWA & FINLAND

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We had UCHIWA (paper fan) workshop at our café on July 25th.

 

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Miyuki and Mitsuko were instructors. GOOD JOB !

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After the workshop, they moved to Sakura Hostel Asakusa and enjoyed Sushi Party and then went to see Sumida River fireworks.

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Zoe and Viivi, from Finland, had a good time with UCHIWA workshop, SUSHI PARTY at Sakura Hostel Asakusa and Sumida River Fireworks.

I am jealous. I was too tired from working a night shift to join the events. Shame on me.

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Also, I wanted to meet 3 sisters in Yukata at Asakura ... well, I have to wait until next year.

 

Finland ...I bring up the image of 'Kamome Shokudo' (The movie is set in Helsinki, Finland and I like the atmosphere in the film) and Kimi Raikkonen (my favorite Finnish Formula One race car driver and he was the 2007 Formula One World Drivers' Champion)

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At Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka on October 12th, 2008.

A girl was enthusiastically cheering for Kimi.

 

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I did not know at that moment that this race would be the last race for Formula One at Fuji Speedway.

PIANO

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A new friend joins us at café ... adorable antique piano.

If you would like to play the piano, please go ahead and have fun!

 

 

When you are thirsty, hungry, angry, lonely, happy...

Pease come to our 'hand-made' café.

This is not a formal luxury café where you can barely breathe, but a home where you can get cozy and take a deep breath.

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They are from Barcelona. Recently I watched the movie 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'

and I enjoyed Woody Allen's world. I am hoping that I could make a trip to Spain

in the near future.

 

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Matsuri in the rain

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Rains kept hitting against umbrellas on the night of July 24.

 

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I stopped by Rokugo-dori shopping center's matsuri before going to work.

 

 

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Yakisoba (fried noodles) ... I was hungry and I bought 2 packs.

 

 

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I saw people stand in line waiting for something???

 

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Answer : Watagashi (cotton candy)

 

 

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Konjac (devil's tongue) ...it feels like rubber and tasty

 

 

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Children are trying to scoop as many small rubber balls as possible.

 

 

Children's smiles are shinning in Matsuri, no matter where Matsuri takes place.

MATSURI

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Our neighborhood ROKUGO-DORI SHOPPING CENTER will have MATSURI, summer festival, on July 24th and 25th, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The shopping street will be filled with colorful food and toy stalls. Not only children enjoy them but also adults get crazy about them and they become kids again.

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HATAGAYA SHOPPING STREET'S Bon Festival Dance will be held on August 1st and 2nd, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bon odori (dances) was originally a religious ceremony to send ancestral spirits back to the spiritual world, but nowadays bon odori becomes one of the major summer entertainments in local MATSURI and people wearing yukata (light cotton summer kimono) gather and dance together. The movement of dance is soft and like cool sea breeze.

 

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Fireworks are colorful, powerful, glamorous and romantic, but MATSURI is more delicate, sentimental and emotional ... maybe it is because MATSURI respects harmony among people and touches deep inner spiritual world.

Across The Universe

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To be honest, I was not interested in solar eclipse and I could not understand why people got crazy about it because it seemed to me that it did not mean much to our life and the event was made for romantics.

However, since I learn how a solar eclipse occurs, I appreciate the greatness of the universe and science. SUN is 400 times bigger than MOON, but the sun is totally obscured by the moon and complete darkness appears in the total solar eclipse that is unbelievable mysterious natural phenomenon.

 

 

 

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The solar eclipse was visible from India, Nepal, China and Japan, and islands in the southwestern Pacific yesterday. Total solar eclipse was seen for the first time in 46 years in Japan.

 

Unfortunately, Tokyo was covered with clouds yesterday.

 

 

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Tokyo Tower - gloomy day

 

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People looked up at overcast sky at Shiba Park in Minato-ku, Tokyo

 

 

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The sun was obscured by clouds, but I was able to see partial

solar eclipse slightly for a second.

 

The next total solar eclipse will be observed in Japan 26 years from now.

 

 

We have mysterious worlds across the universe that are beyond our imagination.

Our curiosity is endless and it is not too much to say that we are all romantics at heart.

 

Speaking of 'across the universe,' I like The Beatles's song 'Across the Universe' and also the movie 'Across The Universe' is one of my favorite movies.

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BASEBALL

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The 80th Major League baseball All-Star Game was held last Tuesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. President Barack Obama threw out ceremonial first pitch at the game and Ichiro was selected to make his ninth consecutive appearance in All Star game. 

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I was happy to see the players from the towns, such as Minnesota (Twins), San Francisco (Giants) and Toronto (Blue Jays) where I used to live. 

 

Here in Japan, Japanese professional baseball's All-Star games will be held at Sapporo Dome and MAZDA ZOOM-ZOOM STADIUM on July 24th and the 25th. MAZDA ZOOM-ZOOM STADIUM is the home of HIROSHIMA TOYO CARP and is its opening year. 

 

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  MAZDA ZOOM-ZOOM STADIUM

 

When I visited Hiroshima last month, I had a chance to watch a night game between the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles as interleague games.

 

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One the game day (June 18), the whole city seemed to be filled with fervor of Carp fans and covered with RED colors.

 

 

 

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Natural grass is impressive and beautiful. It reminded me of AT&T Park, home of San Francisco Giants.

 

 

 

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I was very lucky to see 'MARKUN' Masahiro Tanaka, 21-year-old ace pitcher of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He was the starting pitcher for the game. I saw his 'guts' even from the distance.

 

 

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This ballpark's limited edition 'Kappa ebisen' shrimp-flavored snack. Oishi ! I bought 3 bags of the snack and I enjoyed them with 5 glasses of beer. Watching baseball game with beer makes me feel like I am in heaven.

 

 

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The special bento is a little bit expensive. 1,000 yen 

 

 

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Hiroshima Carp won the game with game-ending home run hit by Carp catcher Ishihara in the 10th inning.

 

 

 

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I met Nakata-san, a volunteer in the stadium and I had a nice talk with her.

'Nakata-san, Thank you for your kindness and smile'

 

 

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By the way, I am a big fan of Hanshin Tigers. 

 

 

 

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May 9, 1999 at 3COM PRAK in San Francisco (Nomo playing for Milwaukee Brewers)

July 2, 2001 at SkyDome in Toronto (Nomo playing for Boston Red Sox)

 

Hideo Nomo is my hero...forever and ever. 

 

SUMMER FESTIVAL

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The Japan Meteorological Agency announced the end of the rainy season in Kanto region yesterday.

No more rain! I saw a lot of women put up their umbrella for the protection against the sun rather than from the rain in the street

 

It is time to come to Japan. We will have 'HANABI' fireworks displays almost every weekend, from July to August, and also there are many local summer festivals called 'MATSURI' and outdoor rock festivals, such as FUJI ROCK, SOMMER SONIC and more...

 

 

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Sumida River Fireworks Festival, July 25, 2009

Sakura Hostel Asakusa will have a party.

 

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 Our local shopping area 'Nishihara Shotengai' will have summer community festival on July 19.

 

 

 

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I went to SOMMER SONIC last year. COLDPLAY was awesome and Allicia Keys was beautiful and sexy. http://www.summersonic.com/

 

 

 

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My favorite 'ap bank fes' will be held on July 18, 19 and 20 at Tsumagoi, Shizuoka.

Kazutoshi Sakurai (Mr. Children) that I respect is one of the founders of the fes and the fes brings up environmental issues. http://www.apbank-ecoreso.jp

 

 

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We will have a workshop of UCHIWA , paper fan, on July 25. Come & join us!

 

 

Don't miss them!

 

ELECTION - Tokyo

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Yesterday was the election day of Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.

The election for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is said to be a prelude to the election for Japan's House of Representatives.

 

 

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Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall

 

If we want to make things better, we have to take action.

One of the actions we could take is vote in elections.

 

 

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Undecided voters look at a billboard displaying posters of candidates

 

 

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Voting station, elementary school gymnastic hall

 

 

We have to open our eyes and see what's going on in front of us.

Ignorance is a dangerous thing.

THAILAND

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I had a dinner at Thai restaurant 'Spice Market' near our hotel.

 

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I ordered my favorite Thai beer 'SINGHA' and pad thai.

 

I love our local beer 'Asahi Super Dry', but SINGHA is as good as Asahi.

I used to live in Phuket, Thailand, but I had a hard time with spicy food.

I had always ordered MILD pad thai and SINGHA at beer garden almost every night.

 

I had a vivid flashback of those days in Phuket while drinking SINGHA ...

 

 

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Sunrise before breakfast

 

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Riding motorbike to the beach

 

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Lunch at MacDonald in Phuket Town

 

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 And more ...

TANABATA STAR FESTIVAL

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July 7th is the day of Star Festival called Tanabata in Japan.

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Rinshinomori Park - I often take an hour-long walk there

 

The Star Festival is considered to be a mixture of Chinese tradition and indigenous religion of Japan. Actually, it was introduced into Japan in the 8th century and became popular during the Edo Period.

 

In the story, a couple, Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair), can only meet across the Milky Way once a year on the night of July 7th.

 

 

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Osaki Station

 

On the day of Tanabata, people write their wishes on colorful strips of paper and hang them on bamboo branches. When I was a child, I always wished I could become a professional baseball player.

 

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Osaki Station

 

Women wear a Yukata, Japanese summer kimono at Tanabata.

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Beautiful Hatagaya ladies

 

PHOTO

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World Press Photo 2009 is taking place at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography at Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo from June 13th to August 9th.

5,508 photographers from 124 countries sent their works and about 200 works

were chosen.

 

 

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I majored in photojournalism at University in Minnesota.

Robert Capa was one of the photographers who inspired me and made me get into photojournalism.

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His famous photo of The Normandy Landings is on the outside wall of the museum.  

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Also, Robert Doisneau`s 'Kiss by the Hotel de Ville' is on the wall. I bet you have seen this romantic photo once. However, the action was not spontaneous, but the pose was staged. I did not want to know the fact ... Anyway, I still like the photo.

 

Photo is powerful and profound because it captures the moment and reveal the truth.

 

It seems to me that black-and-white photo is more meaningful than color-photo. Color shows reality too much. On the other hand, black-and-white gives us a chance to imagine behind the photo.

 

 

By the way, today is America's Independence Day. It reminds me of that I used to drive '85 Chevy Camaro to Lake Superior from Minneapolis to see fireworks on the Fourth of July. GOOD OLD DAYS!

 

new cafe opens!!

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At our hotel, a new cafe called "Sakura Cafe" opens!

 

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Coffee, tea, juice, sweets, pizza, snack foods and more...

 


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I ordered double chocolate latte and apple cake with Ice-cream!
Sweeeet and yuuuuum!!

 

The cafe serves very tasty coffee, just 190yen!!!

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Please taste it:)

We are looking forward to your coming:)