Happy New Year 2012

Some folks get away from Japan and spend their days in tropical islands such as Hawaii, Guam and Saipan on this holiday season. And some of the others also seem to take their holidays in ski resorts with their families. What a fancy vacation they have!

Me?  Staying home and take some naps, watching TV, reading books, exploring YOUTUBE and take some naps again. But today…It was the first time that I went out for shopping in these holidays and it was to buy a special spanner to remove a fan from the kitchen ventilation. What a vacation I have!

My brother and sister came along with their family members and spent the night of New Year Eve together. In Japan, there is a well known music program on TV which is named Kohaku- Utagassen and a lot of singers appear on NHK. At my mother’s house, they were watching that program after we enjoyed the traditional dinner my mother and my wife made and I was bored with watching the TV program so I came home alone and watched another one, the Beethoven Symphony #9, which is held and broadcast every year-end.

15 minutes before the midnight, I went back to my mother’s home again and counted down the new year with my family. We ate soba, a buck wheat noodle waiting for the new year comes.. Having it with family members at the last moment of new year-eve is kind of a typical Japanese culture. Eating noodle means having a long life in the future.

When new year comes, we greet each other saying ” A Happy New Year” and we adults must give some money to the children,  Including my 3 children, there are 6 kids so my wife and I had to prepare the money beforehand. Insert the money into pretty envelopes and hand them to the children. This is the happiest moment for kids and staying up late until new year comes is worthwhile for them for that reason.

Coming home, I rushed to my bed and had a sound sleep.

The dinner we had on the 2nd day of the new year was okonomi-yaki, which is also a typical Japanse dish. My daughter is very good at making it and she served us as on the photo.

It was tasty.

I enjoyed the dinner she made and drank a couple of glasses of sake, rice wine.

I’m having good holidays.

Hope you are the same.

Ryan arrived in Memuro

My friend, Mark Landon’s son, Ryan safely arrived in Memuro yesterday.

We met with him at the town hall for the first time.

My second son Taiga visited and had time with his last year and he was excited with this reunion.

Unfortunately, Taiga was still at school when Ryan arrived and my daughter’s best friend, Kanami attended the welcome party.

Ryan mad a brief speech in front of the host families.

 

In the evening, we went to Obihiro to pick up Taiga and they seemed to be happy when met each other.

Ryan slept very well last night.

Taiga will take him around this town this after noon and visit some of his friends who visited Tracy last year.

 

My Son Returned Home

My son Taiga came back from Tracy, CA after midnight of last Friday.

Having a jet lag, he sometimes falls asleep in the afternoon but he enjoyed the weekend with us.  When he opened his suitcase in the living room, my daughter Noa said ” I can smell of America!” but my wife and I couldn’t feel any smell :-).   My family and I have hosted 5 people from Tracy for these 7 years and my children always mentioned about the fragrance of the US and they said they loved it.  Once Patrick, one of the student delegations of Tracy stayed with us, I talked about it with him and he said it may have been an aroma of the detergent which is used in his country.

Anyway, Taiga bought a bunch of T-shirts for us and I got a nice present from the host father, Mark Landon.  It is a book of great American short stories and I’m very pleased to receive it.

The 5 days with the Landon’s and deepening the exchange with American students through some educational activities in Tracy seemed to be a great experience and he said he didn’t feel like coming back to Japan. He misses the US a lot.

The most impressive word he mentioned was a question for me when he started off by saying ” Dad, why do people in Japan have so  expressionless faces?  While I was in CA, most of the people smiled at me and said ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ even though they were all strangers to me.   When I arrived at the airport in Tokyo, I felt  somewhat queer about it. American people are so breezy.”

I answered ” Now you found some differences of people and cultures between the US and Japan.  It might be interesting for you to study it.  The culture in one country really acts on the behaviors and lifestyles of the people there.”

He took over 800 photographs with his digital camera and my family and I enjoyed seeing them.

I saw a lot of my acquaintances whom I met with through the sister city project on the photos and I was glad to know they are all doing well.

Once again, I really want to say “Thank you” to people in Tracy for their support and hospitality for the students from my town.  In May, the student ambassadors are coming to our town and we would like to welcome them!

My son in Tracy CA

My son Taiga left for the US on 25th.

Mark Landon, his host father kindly sent me a photo of my son having breakfast with his son Ryan.

As a matter of fact, the night before his departure, he called his mom to his room after midnight and said, ” I love my family because my brother Reo is very kind to me lately and I feel my sister is adorable.  I feel comfortable here in this family so I don’t want to go far away from home”.

My wife and I have been a little worried if he gets homesick but it seems that he is now enjoying his staying in the US.  Good to know that he didn’t wet his pillow with tears of homesick 🙂

It’s his first time to go abroad and he will have to attend some sort of events and play a role as one of the  student delegations on the sister city program.

Hopefully, this trip will be a wonderful experience for him and it will foster his spiritual affluence.

He’ll come home on Friday, April 2nd.

Tracy-Memuro Student Ambassador

My son, Taiga was chosen to be one of the student delegations to Tracy CA next March.   There are 10 students chosen by board of education and he is now very excited.  They will stay at homes of Tracy Sister City Association Members and deepen exchanges with students and people in Tracy.

He is totally new to traveling overseas and I hope this experience makes him understand cultural differences between Japan and the U.S.

One thing my wife and I concern is that he is easy to get homesick.

National Gateball Meeting

32176294_2600008394My second son, Taiga and his team won a championship of gateball last week and will go to a national competition in Saitama pref. in August.   He has played gateball since he was 9 years old.    This sport has been popular for elederly people in Japan for several decades and it’s originated in this town Memuro.

About three years ago, when he was on the way home, he saw old people playing it in the court nearby.  While he was watching them, a man called him and let him join the game.  He didn’t know anything about it but those elders were kind enough to teach him the rule and he visit them after school everyday.   He experienced a lot of games and became a core member of the team.   They became a winning team in this region and when they won campionships, they went to a sushi restaurant to celebrate their victories.  So my son has had more sushi than anyother members of my family for these three years.

This time they won a championship and will take part in a competition which will be held in Kumagaya, Saitama prefecture to contest with teams from other prefectures  for a Prime Minister’s Prize.

I have my fingers crossed for his luck on the games.

Hello World Vol.2

They are  improved ! 🙂