Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

31 2013



Basically, Japanese love seasonal events as occasions to together, enjoy eat and drink, and do something fun. In many cases, we don’t much care about cultural and religious backgrounds of foreign events and just have fun in an innocent way.

Halloween has been popular in Japan over the past dozen years or so. It took a longer time than foreseen. The event is just perfect for not only people who love a festivity but also for confectionary manufactures who are always seeking a theme of seasonal promotion. Quick-witted manufactures should have been introduced it much earlier.

It’s the busiest time of year for me, so I cannot enjoy Halloween, but it’s nice to see lovely child in the costume.


Posted by Kinakinw | 22:53 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

23 2013

The Way to Work

Mao Airveave

I took time out from my schedule to watch Skate America live the past weekend, and next morning, on the way to my office, rubbing my sleepy eyes, I saw her adorable smile.

There are a lot of things we are learning from her if only she goes wherever her heart leads her.

Congrats, Mao.


Posted by Kinakinw | 08:11 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

13 2013

Expiration Date

Expiration Date

The refrigerator broke down days ago. Accurately, the ice making function and vegetable chamber completely broke down (the panel in the photo says “arrest of ice making function”), and the freezer hasn’t worked right. Even though I try to turn the temperature settings down, it doesn’t drop to less than -3 degrees Celsius). Now we are waiting for the arrival of new one we ordered.

Actually, I want to write about the expiration date of athletes after one's retirement, not the fridge.

Several Japanese big-time figure skaters announced that they will be retiring this season. Though the judging system and operation of competitions that is bristling with defects and drawbacks has dampened my spirits, I have no choice but to watch the games because this is their last season.

At the same time, I sometimes think about their lives after retirement. All competitive figure skaters are armature and retire earlier than other sports. Most of them would retire when they finish college. Limited talented skaters keep their competitive career after that, but they would retire before thirty, in any case.

It’s unprecedented that the sport has been lionized by the media for the past eight or nine years in this way or manner, and it’s also unprecedented that many skaters who have been lionized will start their new lives all together.

It’s entirely my own personal opinion that Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi can do anything they want. In any field, they can get on quite well if they chose it. Akiko Suzuki wants to be a choreographer. Yes, she can, but I think she can be a good coach. Anyway, I really want to see her at Kiss & Cry with her future pupils. Nobunari Oda said he will be a coach in an interview. I hope Takahiko Kozuka who doesn’t announce his retirement officially yet stay in the figure skating field and get into the Japan Skating Federation in the future. In either case, I think they can hold one's ground and live alone.

A single exception is Miki Ando. She will be a professional skater after her retirement, and she will certainly receive show appearance requests from all over the world. However, way I see it, her fulfilling life depends on whether she can get someone who keep pacifying her or not. Watching her inconsistency and straying from its predicted course these years, I realize that her ex-coach kept her mentally stable for a while though I thought she were grown-up. It’s a pity.

What she’s doing these years, especially these months, reminds me of a trouble-plagued Japanese actress who was deprived of any chance to appear on television or movies because she showed a poor attitude toward the staff and audience. She escaped from Japan for a while, then she got private patrons called sponsors and got the chances by their money.

I’m NOT saying that Ando strategy is wrong. That's always an option for some people. What I concern is that she has no facility in that. The actress I mentioned is native-born thick-skinned celebrity-minded person who can gulp down poison and still maintain the way she is. In contrast, I see Ando is an attention-seeking person who has dependent personality. They only share “celebrity-mindedness”.

As for newsworthiness, The expiration date of athletes after one's retirement is so short that one loses all one's news value after one’s retirement. Even a national icon, Mao Asada, will be extremely less exposed through the mass media than now. Well, not apply only to Mao Asada, the situation that many skaters get a lot of media exposure lasts only this season. Ando won’t have to worry about being scrutinized by a press and fly under the media radar from nest spring. Very few ones will be interested in her any more.

When the time is up, Ando has the most to lose as compared with the others. Unless she sells oneself or her closest family member by the piece much further than she already does, she cannot keep the profile of herself.

I hope she will have her expectations realistic.

Posted by Kinakinw | 17:06 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

06 2013

Cousin Meeting in Takayu Hot Spring Resort in Fukushima

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We, my four cousins, my sister and I, hold a once-yearly meeting. Actually, we just enjoy hot spring baths, dinners and sightseeing on our trip.

This year, we went on an overnight trip to Takayu hot spring resort in Fukushima.
We got together at Fukushima Station at lunchtime and headed to a famous soba noodle place named Oyama-Kadoya in the foot of Mount Shinobu that rises 275 meters from the surrounding flat Fukushima Basin.

Oyama-Kadoya has several restaurants for purposes. We select a casual one named Yukko where we can sit by the fireside and have dishes including noodles.

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The restaurant is famous for dishes using yuzu (species of aromatic Asiatic citron). Before the Great East Japan Earthquake, they used locally grown yuzus, but now they order them from western Japan because some people don’t want to eat local ones even if its amount of radioactive substance is below a predetermined threshold.

We looked across the sweep of the Fukushima city from a viewing platform in Mount Shinobu.

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In the parking lot we met a friendly cat who spotted and followed us. It rested at ease for a while at the platform with us.

Following my visit to Takayu last year, it was second time for me to go there.
Discovered 400 years ago, Takayu hot spring resort located 750 – 800 meters above sea level is one of celebrated spas in Tohoku. It’s relatively small resorts dotted with a little more than 10 inns, and you can enjoy abundant amounts of fresh milky white water having a sulfurous odor in all those inns.

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The Japanese Inn, Azuma-ya, at which we stayed has a 400-year-old history back to the Edo period. While there are 10 rooms, there are 8 hot spring baths (3 for male, 3 for female, and 2 reserved ones). The outside bath with a view appears in the opening photo is situated in the woods, which is just 3 minute walk from the main building.

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On the way to the outside bath, there is a cottage where the guests can stop by freely. The furniture and furnishing goods make us feel the inn’s history.

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On the next day, we drove along a famous sightseeing road, Bandai-Azuma Skyline, through the mountains. It was a toll road before the earthquake, but now it’s for on a permanent basis. When you visit Fukushima area, we must run through it and enjoy marvelous prospects.

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Posted by Kinakinw | 17:50 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

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