Journal

 

Wednesday
Jun282017

Yasukuni, it ain't

During a long run in an unfamiliar corner of town this morning, I came upon a broad set of stone steps, flanked on either side by massive stone lanterns.

Thinking it was the entrance to a shrine, I climbed up the steps. To my surprise, I found a number of monuments dedicated to those who had died in modern Japan's wars and foreign engagements from the overthrow of the shogun and restoration of the Emperor to power, known as the Meiji Restoration (1886), to the Russo-Japan War (1904/5), the Manchurian Incident (1931), and on to the Pacific War which ended 72 years ago this summer. This sombre memorial to Japan's militaristic past is not listed on the map, nor were there any signs outside of the premises indicating what awaited visitors at the top of the stairs.

 

 

 

I will return in the summer during the Bon Festival to see if there are any special ceremonies taking place, like those which occur every year at Gokoku Jinja.


Wednesday
Jun282017

Month of No Water, indeed

Funny, but this year (2017) June truly has been the "Month of No Water" for Fukuoka. It has for the most part been nice and sunny since the start of the rainy season was announced on June 6th (aka. Roll Cake Day). Although we did get some rain last weekend--why is always Sunday--it looks like we are in for another dry spell.

Meanwhile, the dam level in Fukuoka prefecture is down to the mid 50s, or 30 to 40 percentage points lower than where it ought to be in a typical year. Some dams have fallen to as low as 18%.

If things don't improve anytime soon, we may find ourselves in a serious pickle. It won't be the first time, though. Back in the summer of '94, one year after one of the coolest and wettest summers that caused rice shortages throughout Japan (Remember that?), we had one of the driest summers. If memory serves me correctly, water had to be rationed for over a month.

At first water service was cut off from, I believe, 10 in the evening until 10 in the morning. In those days, I worked from about 9am to 9pm--don't ask--meaning I had one hour to shower, do my "duty", wash clothes, cook, and clean up. It was hell. After several weeks, water service was expanded a bit. And when a big typhoon hit, all was back to normal again. So, hurray for typhoons!

 

For more on why June is called the "Month of No Water", go here.

Tuesday
May092017

1000 Words

 

Students going through a list of the 1000 most frequently used English words to check which ones they were unfamiliar with discovered that four words "eat", "nature", "then", and "through" had all been included in the list twice.

One of the students commented, "The person who made the list must have been really tired."

"And hungry," said another.

 

Sunday
May072017

Boys Have Dingdongs


 

Boys Have Dingdongs & Other Observations is a collection of about 150 mostly silly, occasionally moving conversations I had with my sons from the time they started speaking until the elder one graduated from kindergarten.

Although I originally intended to save this collection until the boys were twenty, after reviewing them during the spring break I decided that now was as good a time as ever to go ahead and publish it. The reaction from my son--he ended up sleeping with the book in his arms--told me that I had made the right choice.

Dingdongs is available as an ebook and paperback.

 

 

 

 

Saturday
May062017

Per Capita GDP by Prefecture

1. 東京都 692.60万円

Tokyo, $61,839

Tokyo’s economy is massive, almost as large as that of the Republic of Korea, the fifteenth largest economy in the world, and larger than Indonesia, Colombia, and many other countries.

2. 愛知県 426.96万円

Aichi, $38,121

3. 滋賀県 426.22万円

Shiga, $38,055

4. 静岡県 418.75万円

Shizuoka, $37,388

5. 大阪府 410.42万円

Osaka, $36,645

Osaka’s economy is about the same size of the U.A.E.’s.

6. 福井県 409.80万円

Fuki, $36,589

7. 富山県 399.82万円

Toyama, $35,698

8. 三重県 397.20万円

Mie, $35,464

9. 山口県 396.42万円

Yamaguchi, $35,395

10. 栃木県 388.84万円

Ibaraki, $34,718

11. 広島県 377.77万円

 Hiroshima

12. 茨城県 376.70万円

 Ibaraki

13. 長野県 372.86万円

 Nagano

14. 群馬県 369.92万円

 Gunma

15. 石川県 364.53万円

 Ishikawa

16. 岡山県 363.24万円

 Okayama

17. 新潟県 362.55万円

 Niigata

18. 山梨県 361.88万円

 Yamanashi

19. 徳島県 359.24万円

 Tokushima

20. 大分県 358.65万円

Oita

21. 香川県 358.53万円

 Kagawa

22. 福岡県 355.72万円

Fukuoka, $31,761

23. 京都府 355.58万円

 Kyoto

24. 福島県 351.21万円

 Fukushima

25. 和歌山県 349.60万円

 Wakayama

26. 宮城県 342.63万円

 Miyagi

27. 愛媛県 341.58万円

Aichi’s economy is slightly larger than Denmark’s, the 34th largest economy in the world.

28. 岐阜県 340.85万円

 Gifu 

29. 佐賀県 337.41万円

 Saga

30. 北海道 334.69万円

 Hokkaido

31. 神奈川県 328.88万円

Kanagawa’s economy is somewhat bigger than Singapore’s, the 36th largest economy in the world.

32. 兵庫県 328.31万円

Hyogo

33. 青森県 325.93万円

 Aomori

34. 秋田県 324.68万円

 Akita

35. 島根県 324.27万円

 Shimane

36. 山形県 319.85万円

 Yamagata

37. 鹿児島県 319.23万円

Kagoshima, $31,181

38. 鳥取県 311.71万円

Tottori, $27,831

39. 宮崎県 308.11万円

Miyazaki, $27,510

40. 岩手県 308.05万円

Iwate, $27,505

41. 長崎県 306.73万円

Nagasaki, $27,387

42. 熊本県 306.00万円

Kumamoto, $27,321

43. 千葉県 305.76万円

Chiba, $27,568

44. 高知県 282.46万円

Kochi, $25,220

45. 埼玉県 279.47万円

Saitama, $24,953

46. 沖縄県 267.48万円

Okinawa, $23,882

47. 奈良県 253.53万円

Nara, $22,637

Thursday
Apr272017

Japanese Literature Survey 2

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