There was recently a protest in Shinagawa - the area where Mama and I stayed when we were in Tokyo. A hotel was closed and all the workers were fired, but they tried to take over and run business as usual, until the police came. I'm waiting for the movie about that to come out. I like that the rioters are chanting, "kaere, kaere" which is "Go home, go home." Nicer than the things rioters say to police in America, ne?
This story about Obama settling into the White House - with little details like eating breakfast with his daughters and surprising the staff with their feet up and having the good taste to like Honest Tea - makes me happy. It's just a job - slightly more exposure than the rest of ours.
I want this grand piano - it's probably the only one that would fit into my apartment.
"Moe" is a word that's hard to explain. It's part adjective, part exclamation, and means something between cute and sexy. It describes a good many Japanese celebrities or characters, especially in anime, that inspire an affectionate or even protective feeling in the viewer. Think the stereotypical HUGE-WATERY-EYED cartoon girls. They're probably a little creepy the first time you encounter them, but they grow on you. And as this little town can testify, they can be beneficial. Ugo, Akita, started printing moe girls on labels of the town's products, such as rice, curry and alcohol. Usually they sell 18 tons of rice in a year - since they started this business venture they've sold 36 tons in a month. It's not entirely unprecedented, though, since there are cute characters on everything here.
Speaking of moe, Harry Potter trying out his two sentences of Japanese.
I woke up at 6:50 the other day to the rhythm of an earthquake, 5.9 off the east coast of Honshu where earthquakes are always reported. I've finally got kinda used to them - I was a nervous wreck the first few weeks. I was slightly unnerved, however, by news of a volcano a couple of days later. It made me do some research on the mountain nearest the school (so close it's even mentioned in the school song) which is classified as an active volcano but hasn't done anything for a few thousand years. Here's knocking on wood.
With their new single, Kinki Kids has continued their Guinness Book of World Records record for having the most singles (28) at number one on the charts. <3
There's been a lot of music specials on TV lately, which I love since it exposes me to new artists and songs. One of me recent favorite finds is Ishikawa Sayuri's "Tsugaru Strait - A Winter Scene." (And check out that hairdo.)
One of the most useful sites for learning a language I've found - and mentioned before - is Lang-8 where you can keep a diary and get corrected by native speakers. I've also been shamelessly using it to collect cultural opinions. I wrote about going to the onsen, and then stated something along the lines of:
"I was worried before I went to the onsen. What if someone gets annoyed with me, I thought. What does everyone think about foreigners entering an onsen?"
After their corrections, I got back the following responses (roughly translated) :
"I am glad when I see a foreigner entering a hot spring! Because it means they like Japanese culture!"
"Many of my friends from overseas aren't comfortable with the idea of a culture where everyone gets in a bath together. So when I meet a foreigner like you who goes to a hot springs I think, 'That person is very courageous.' Please spread the good news about onsens to the people around you."
"I also really like hot springs. Because it is an important part of Japanese culture, I am glad that people from other countries can experience and enjoy it."
"I am happy if people from other countries can fully experience the good points of Japanese onsen and tell people from their homeland. People who swim or bring their towels into the bathtub are unpleasant whether they are foreign or Japanese, right?
A snow-viewing hot springs is wonderful, isn't it..."
Mostly very positive, but I feel bad about that second to last sentence. Obviously, I didn't swim, but if I was told by a Japanese person that these places allowed towels...