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Showing posts from December, 2010

Traditional New Year's Eve in Japan

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New Year's Eve in Japan is called, "Oomisoka" and the typical Japanese family will get together and eat what is called "Toshikoshi soba" at night.
2011 is the Year of the Rabbit
Toshikoshi soba is much like regular soba except the noodles are longer - and I eat them sitting down - not like my usual "Tachigui soba" (standing and eating soba).
The custom of Toshikoshi soba was started in Shimo-Kitazawa in Tokyo during the Edo period about 150 years ago.
The reasons for eating soba on New Year's eve are generally thought of as:
a) One strand of soba is long so eating it represents a long life
b) Soba is easy to cut so biting off one strand of soba represents cutting off the last year and the misfortune that came along with it. 
b) One more reason is that, long ago, craftsmen who used silver and gold for making art and wares would have to gather up the gold and silver dust from the floors of their shops. Raw soba was used like a sort of putty to pick up the …

Kawasaki Shrine Starts Selling Daruma for 2011!

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Kawasaki Shrine that sees over 4 million visitors every New Year's holiday has started selling Daruma dolls.
Daruma dolls are sold to people for luck and good fortune... They are Buddhism's sort of "Goal" setters for companies and personal acheivements.
Wikipedia says about Daruma:  
Dharma doll, is a hollow, round, Japanese doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered an omocha, meaning toy, Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. The doll has also been commercialized by many Buddhist temples to use alongside goal setting.

People usually color in the left eye with a black pen and then, when the year ends, if thei…

My Predictions for 2011

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Well, my friends, it's almost 2011 so I guess I need to start a new tradition for myself: My predictions for the next year.

I used to do silly stuff like make New Year's Resolutions, but, they never worked so I wound up looking stupid, so I shan't be delving into resolution's no more.  Why make resolutions to never drink again when I am drunk and feeling poorly?

But, hey! With all the pundits and trends reporters running around these days, I thought I'd make a name for myself by making my Top 10 Predictions of 2011.

Now, these won't be easy predictions... Anyone can make a silly guess like "I predict a war in the Middle East sometime in 2011..." Yawn! Now, how in the world will I become a world famous prognosticator with silly predictions like that? Nope. I believe in going for the gusto so my predictions will be exact... None of this mealy-mouth whining later on!

Ready? Strap yourself into your seats and fasten those seats belts, because here are my

11 Things You Should Resolve Not to Do at Work in 2011

11 Things You Should Resolve Not to Do at Work in 2011By Megan Malugani, Monster Contributing WriterFrom MonsterThe new year is a perfect time to say “hello” to workplace happiness and “good-bye” to the bad habits that make you miserable and hinder your professional success. You’ll enjoy your time in the office a little more -- and improve your professional reputation -- if you make it your New Year’s resolution to cut down on these 11 counterproductive behaviors:

1. Excessive Complaining

Enough already. Constant whining about insignificant things (“It’s horribly unfair that Department X got a casual day and we didn’t!”) doesn’t serve a purpose and keeps you in a perpetually bad mood. Plus, happy people will avoid you.

2. Gossiping
Ditto for gossiping. The next time a colleague tries to engage you in the office drama du jour, offer a one-word response, like “interesting” or “wow,” and follow it with, “I’ve got to go. See you later.” Repeat as necessary.

3. Heartlessly Criticizing Others

Nintendo Announces that 3DS is Dangerous for Children!

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Nintendo has announced that their 3DS is dangerous for children under 6 years old. Well, no kidding.




I have written about the hazards of TV and watching things on a screen for children at Lew Rockwell here and here. Here's more by another writer on an overview why video games are bad in general.


At the time of the writing of the above articles, hand-held gaming was not the big scourge it is today. But it is a simple line of logic to realize that, if wasting time sitting around watching a TV screen is bad for children, then sitting around and watching a game screen is just as bad.


The Los Angeles Times reports:


Nintendo's 3DS video game system might be hazardous to the health of children younger than 6, according to a warning posted Wednesday on the Japanese video game company's website. The 3DS is the gaming giant's latest version of its DS line of handheld video game consoles. The feature of the 3DS that separates it from Nintendo's popular other DS systems: It can ha…

Japanese Louis Armstrong and Memories of New Year's Past

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This is what you used to see on New Year's TV programs in Japan in the 1980's: Japanese impersonators with black faces singing soul music.... They wouldn't even be any good at imitations, but if they had black faces and kind of sounded like the originals, then it was close enough...




Japanese Louis Armstrong - Watch more Funny Videos

Oh, how much this country has changed.... You don't see stuff like this anymore.

From today, December 29, 2010, most of Japan will be on holiday. I will be heading off to the in-laws home to learn patience.

They don't drink, gamble or smoke cigarettes.

One time, several years ago, I woke up on New Year's morning and started drinking beer. I had finished two tall cans of Asahi beer when my mother-in-law said to me, "Are you alright?" I brightly answered, "Sure!"

Like I said, these are people who do not drink at all, so they thought that drinking from the morning was extraordinary and that two tall cans of beer was …

Japan Makes World Largest Hamburger - 136 kilograms (299.2 pounds)

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2010 was a pretty lousy year for Japan. China surpassed Japan as the #2 economy; the Japanese government allowed public debt to hit over 200% of GDP; Toyota recalled 10 million cars; I have lost count of how many prime ministers we had this year and the Yomiuri Giants didn't win the Japan Series.... Again!

Well, there is one thing that can can, er, stand proud about, sort of... Japan now has the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest hamburger in the world.

From Breitbart:

MIYAZAKI,Japan,Dec. 27 (AP) - (Kyodo)—A giant hamburger, which was created in the city of Miyazakilast year and weighed 136.2 kilograms, has been certified as the world's largest hamburger on sale by theGuinness Book of World Records,its producer said Monday.
The hamburger -- 92 centimeters in diameter, 44 centimeters in height -- was made during a beach event on July 4, 2009, by Phoenix Seagaia Resort, the operator of Seagaia resort facilities in MiyazakiPrefecture.
We're #1! We're #1! We'r…

Enapo & Poni-Camp: Japan's Legendary Punk Queen!

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Yesterday, Dec. 26, 2010 was the final free live show for 76.1 InterFM's BAM! for 2010 and it was a killer show!


The bands that appeared were:


PONI-CAMPMATTERRAT CHILD


Enapou of Poni-Camp
and more with DJ: Wakaan spinning the tunes. It was a great show and thoroughly enjoyed by all. And, yes, I do have a hangover.
I also want to say thanks to my good friend Rob Schwartz from Billboard magazine taking the time out to grace us with his presence. I introduced Rob to Enapo of Poni-Camp and told him that this was a legendary girl in the Japanese punk rock scene. I promised to send Rob some information on Enapo and then decided, "Hey! This is interesting enough for a blog!" So, Rob and all my other friends, welcome to Poni-Camp and Enapo! 




This is a great explanation that I found on Youtube and decided that this says it all. Enjoy!


ENAZOU (later changing her name to ENAPOu) was the guitarist for LOLITA No.18. With her years with the band, the band was produced by Joey Ramone (RAMONES…

Get Ready for More Flu Season Nonsense

It's just past Christmas here and that means it's time to crank up the booga-booga and scare people into thinking that flu is going to kill us all so that the pharmaceutical industry can sell us vaccinations we don't need and the mass media can do something to try to hang on to their ever dwindling audience.

I wrote before how I was a part of the propaganda machine for many years and realized what a farce it all is long ago here.

Sure, the flu is serious business but common sense and living right will take care of it for most people. The only people who might consider flu shots are unhealthy people or the aged. Wash your hands often. Eat right. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fresh water. That's the best cold & flu prevention you can do.

But, that doesn't make for good ratings nor does it sell product... For that, we need our annual flu scare!

Kyodo News reports:

The influenza season is in full force in Japan with the number of patients reported totaling 6,7…

Japan's Government Determined to Bankrupt the Country!

This is just incredible. Japan just cross the rubicon a few weeks ago when our public debt went past 200% of GDP. Now, the government here has announced the new budget for 2011 and will actually increase our public debt once again.

As Yahoo reports:


TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's centre-left government on Friday approved a record 1.1-trillion-dollar budget for the next fiscal year that aims to boost the flagging economy but adds to a mountain of public debt.Prime Minister Naoto Kan's cabinet backed the 92.41 trillion yen draft budget for fiscal 2011 which starts on April 1.To finance the massive outlays, Japan aims to issue fresh bonds worth 44.3 trillion yen -- meaning that for the second year in a row new debt will be bigger than tax revenue, projected to raise just short of 41 trillion yen."I think it is not a normal picture," said Banri Kaieda, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, commenting on the state of public finances. "We must correct it as soon as …

Merry Christmas! This is pretty funny!

Merry Christmas! This is pretty funny!

Merry Christmas to All Father's and Dad's!

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Christmas is special because, if only for one day of the year, dad's will spend the day playing with their kids... It really is too bad that everyday can't be Christmas as they grow up so fast!....Think about it, dad's.

South Korea & United States Continue to Provoke North Korea

South Korea & United States Continue to Provoke North Korea. Why is this game of brinksmanship continuing?

News reports from Russia TV: