Designing T-shirts as a hobby

Do you like T-shirt? Some say yes, and the others say no. To me? I love T-shirt. No other outfits would be as casual and comfortable as T shirt. It’s so simple but I have never seen Steve J wearing T shirt, but Mark Zuckerberg. He once told the audience of a public Q&A “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community. Anyway, T shirt is such a simple outfit.

At the same time, the thing really matters to me is the role of message board. T shirts sometimes contains many unique messages or graffitis or doodles, anyway, designs. And where there is a design, there is a message. Therefore, if you wear T shirt, you are wearing a message at the same time. So, I’m fond of wearing a unique design which contains unique message. And now, one of my dream is to create my own design T shirt.

And here are some sketches. Which do you think should be actually created?

Movie Review: “BELLE(竜とそばかすの姫)” the latest film of Mamoru Hosoda

Japanese summer needs Mamoru Hosoda’s movies

Hello world. I’ve been living in Japan for 28 years though, now I realize that one of the best things when you live in Japan is you can see the latest great Japanese animation films from the very opening day. There are many sever criticisms about the situation of monopoly of animation films in today’s movie scene in Japan. When you ask Japanese “what is your favorite Japanese movie?”, I bet 80% of its answer would be animation films. That doesn’t necessarily mean Japanese not-animation films are boring though, the power of animation seems to be at its peak.

The day before yesterday was the opening day for the “BELLE” (『竜とそばかすの姫』, A dragon and a freckled princess in Japanese). I have been a huge fan for the director of the movie, Mamoru Hosoda. I fell in love with his 3 must-see legendary movies of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time(『時をかける少女』2006)”, “Summer Wars(『サマーウォーズ』2009)”and “Wolf Children(『おおかみこどもの雨と雪』2012)”, and I realized HE is the true genius after the post-Hayao Miyazai’s era.

However, following 2 movies “The Boy and the Beast(『バケモノの子』2015)” and “MIRAI(『未来のミライ』2018)” somehow didn’t hit my heart like the previous works did to me. According to an interview that my mother watched and told me, Mr. Hosoda was trying to send messages for the generation of his children age. Therefore, me like 28 years gloomy not young child felt somehow tasteless or sense of lack of something. I remember vividly the time I persuaded a girlfriend and told how great his films are and went to see MIRAI together and I had been thinking “It’s not been fun…, but from now it would be really exciting…!!” and the credit came and I was so disappointed that I began to doubt the credibility of his films these days.

But, after all, he was great film maker now I can say. The BELLE was a great one. I can’t say it would be better than the 3 legends though, I think it is very very close to the legends personally.

I think the story would be described as this equation

“The beauty and the beast” + “Summer Wars” + “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”/ 3 = “BELLE”.

If you are a fan of his films, you can find a lot of clues or scenes from his other movies. Some would say it’s Deja-vu and boring, but I would like to say that’s the great factor of great directors. Only great directors can make a form as classic, I think. But, it was different from Summer Wars and these 3 titles. I could cry a lot and the message was strong not enough to make me feel scolded. The balance was great compared to the previous 2 titles.

I don’t think this is a spoiler though, one of the absolute message of this film is about “problem with online smears” or “a war between 99% of people who just watch vs. 1% of people who actually do something”. I personally don’t prefer to write dirty or negative comments on some video or articles, this film would be great textbook for such problems.

Anyhow, I definitely enjoyed this film and something has changed since I watched the film. So, thank you so much Mr. Mamoru Hosoda!

A reply to an American friend asking “How did the Japanese people feel about the Olympics?”

I know Japan is still in a state of emergency, right? Why is it taking so long to get everyone vaccinated? I feel really relieved that we have been able to get vaccinated. When will you be able to get vaccinated? How did the Japanese people feel about the Olympics? I know it is coming up soon.

Thank you very much for sending me a lot of beautiful pictures. Although I am in a mid of the emergency declaration, I could remember how great to go on a trip thanks to the pictures. Billy seems doing pretty fine with Pokemon T shirts and many fun activities. I had no idea what Rogue Ale tastes but I really hope that you could enjoy the taste.

Anyway, speaking of delayed vaccination in Japan, ironically, we also have exact the same question. Why does it take so long time to get vaccinated? Of course there seems many Japanese unique difficulties like slow authorization for using of vaccines, lack of medical staffs, or national character that avoid getting vaccinated. But the most people feel it is the result of misgovernment by a ruling party, which has been infamous for its reckless driving these years. Unfortunately, the opposition parties are also lack of foresight or credibility on today’s politics, the most of nation find today’s politics pretty dull, and have got used to this disappointing situation sadly. My grandparent will take a first shot in a week, and I am going to get it around August or something like that.

Every Japanese are wondering when the prime minister declare cancelation of the Olympic, but there seems a huge pressure from somewhere to make Japan have the Olympic game forcefully with 90% of nation’s opposition to hold the game. Actually, due to the emergency declaration, one of the huge victims are the students from elementary to university. Speaking of high school students, they cannot practice for a big competition in their precious school life, but the government will accept Olympic games? Which is more precious? I’m afraid that they cannot answer this question. I am very embarrassed. We are really angry anyway.

Above all, we Japanese have really mixed feeling. We have no idea if the coming Olympic game is really the Olympic. All I can do is just praying that everything would be peacefully settled down someday soon.

Is that Really Your Favorite Thing?

Hello everyone. “What is your favorite thing?” is a typical Japanese English textbook question. What is your favorite sports, movies, novels… you can create many series of this type of this questions. Anyway, we often talk about our favorite things or things we love. Some people can talk about their favorite things with enthusiasm. They really talk a lot even though I don’t have any interests on the topic. However, their faces when they are talking about their favorite things are really looked fulfilled and cool. During such time, I often think of myself who doesn’t have any specific favorite thing. If I were asked “What do you like?”, I would say “I like fresh clean air in countryside, and rice”. I cannot tell somebody why I love those things or how much money I have been investing to get such things.

Somebody loves collecting things. But I don’t. When I finish reading manga of “Damon Slayer”, I was so touched, but that doesn’t make me to keep owing volumes. I just keep the memories in my mind, and I sold them on Internet flea market site. It got really high price though, some of my friends who love the series said to me “You are so disgraceful”. I want to live simple life. I would rather collect precious memories in my heart instead of keeping stuffs. Things in your heart never be robbed or rusted.

Holi festival in India (throwing color powder each other to celebrate)

So, I have never belonged to some artist’s fan sites, or bought fan goods on anybody. I have never collected complete edition of something. I know how I’m spending boring daily life. Maybe that’s why I got depressed easily somehow. But, I think it is ok. I want to love such abstract things. I love travel especially for foreign countries. I love reading books. I love listening good music. I love writing stupid stuff. I love to meet new people. I love talking with my friends over the phone. I love to know new things or new world. Now I realize, I have many favorite things. Now I am so happy that I can live with my favorite things.

The reason I read books (part 2)

Now I can tell you a lot of things about the importance of reading books. It’s simply because I’ve read a certain amount of books for now. Before reading, I had no idea how to get smart. The easiest way to get smart (in a serious meaning) is just reading books written by really smart authors. It must be difficult to try to bite such an hard stuff because you had enjoyed chewing marshmallow thing so far. But then, you’ve got a word that can describe your world more vivid and concrete. You can get a new language or colors to describe your view. If you didn’t read books, no matter how you try to think of something deeply, the depth of your thoughts can be a puddle’s one. However, reading books can bring you to the real depth.

There is a quote which I already forgot who said though, I really like. It goes like “When you are reading books, you are ultimately reading yourself”. Reading ability of a passage or article can be measured by certain tests, but how about reading ability of life? Reading books can definitely brush up your skill of reading a real life situation with cool head. Of course, there would be a side effect of reading books. One would be like you would feel lonely when you are reading. Or you would think too much about the world. However, still the benefit of reading books would absolutely outweigh the minor impacts of it.

I’ve loved books for almost ten years now (from 18 to 28). I sometimes thought, if I could find myself as a bookworm when I was a child, I can be a fresh writer around my age. But, people have their own time zones, right? Comparing yourself with others can be insulting your self (maybe said by Bill Gates?). So, I never compare. I just compare myself with past myself. Anyway, I have been very interested writing something for almost ten years (weird coincidence, huh?). So, I try to write as much as I can these days. At my workplace, I write a kind of newsletter, or any documents. At home, I write Japanese diary or this English blog. I wish someday I can live with writing for somebody not only in Japanese and English.

Thank you very much for reading this article.

The reason I read books (part 1)

Do you like reading books? When I was a high school student, I would have said, NO, I DON’T AT ALL. But now, I will say, YES, I LOVE TO READ! So, what happened to this man. Today, I’d like to write about why I became a huge book lover even though I nearly hated reading when I was a high schooler.

I can easily remember my high school days. I hate readings. When I bought a magazine, I don’t read anything but looking at some pictures, or checking a horoscope page (even though the magazine was a fashion magazine…and that’s why I still am not good at choosing fashionable outfits…). Anyway, the letters are so small, and the words I read looked seriously boring like reading an explanatory note on old electric dictionary. In short, I hated it. Newspaper seemed the same. Why are letters in newspapers are so small, and boring news that much? I had no idea why they are producing such a boring things to the world. So, I loved watching TV. Everything I learned from was TV. The topic or trivia I talk to a hairdresser was all from information by TV. But somehow I was said like “Oh, you really know much about almost anything. You are excellent! boy”. So, I never felt any guilts of not reading books.

During my high school days, there was a boy who is always reading during short break. Everyone was chatting with friends, or going out to buy some drinks, but he was always reading books. And he was an honor student. There was a different types of honor student. He belongs to soccer club, and he was a kind of “naughty” boy. Listening music during class, chewing gum secretly. So, he was popular with girls. He was in relationship with really cute girl. He seemed not studying hard, but he made really good score in every term examinations. And, he also was reading book during recess with chewing gum.

And, I somehow became a university student. Ironically, my major was English literature. Like the most of student who try to major it, I misunderstood that I could be trained to be a real fluent English speaker. We study literature, in other word, we read English books. I was almost becoming panic since I didn’t finish reading any literature before (I’m feeling so bad for today’s system of entering university though).

The first books I needed to read was “The Scarlet Letter” in Japanese. Since I didn’t have any knowledges on these literature, my reaction was “what the heck of this super ultra boring dictionary like thick book??”. Sorry. But, yes. I couldn’t understand the beauty of literature at all. Then, a professor said very interesting thing is a class. The 60 years old looking man said to us, freshmen, “All you have to do in this university time is reading books as much as you can. You need to read as much as possible. I’m serious. There are books that you can read only in this time. You need to try to read more difficult books that you felt you would’t read. First 20 to 30 books would be boring, but there will come time when you feel it’s so interesting. So, once again, read books.” or like that.

Then, I finally thought, all right, I would do it. I clicked every second hand books that seems fun to me on Amazon, and almost next day, just before my entrance door was full of Amazon packages (I should have taken picture though, I thought that was a surprise or something like that). And then, I realized what the professor said to me was so right. After finishing 15 books, I could somehow understand how great thing to read, and I totally regretted having not read many books until I became university student.

Unplugged

I forgot making an April-fool lie as every year. I or We Japanese seems to be bad at making April-fool lies. Maybe, the most of the Japanese are afraid of being accused after telling somebody a joke. In Japanese society, telling a lie is sometimes thought to be a serious crime. I wonder if you tell a lie and correct it as an April-fool joke in America or some other countries, people can be laughing at each other about the joke, but Japanese… Why Japanese people are so serious and shy and don’t try to understand the funny side of things? Anyway, I wish I would be told a funny lie by my colleagues and laugh at together someday soon (like The Office? I finished watching it recently though, you can not make such a humorous office in Japan).

Anyway, what I wanted to write about today was about being “unplugged”. Are you unplugged these days? Yesterday, I went to drive with my friend and went to a cozy, chilling out cafe. And there was a magazine “Kurashi No Techo (A notebook for Living)” on the bookshelf. This magazine is a legendary magazine in Japan. There are so many things I should mention on this magazine though (like, this magazine doesn’t have a single ad page), I will tell you about it next time.

The magazine was born just after the WWII in hope of never making next word war. And support every women in families in Japan. From the fist issue to the lates one, it simply suggest a better, quality daily life (Kurashi). You can learn tips for cooking or living well, and you can read very serious essays with famous authors or celebrities.

The first Issue in 1946
The lates issue of 2021

During supping a Brazil coffee, I felt really fulfilled with reading warm articles about how to make your life better with simple action. And one thing I’d like to introduce today is about “Unplugged”. According to a tip of this magazine. Someday you should spend a day without watching Internet, TV, listening to Music. Just enjoy talking with people or reading books. Then, you can really hear your inner voices. Hmm. Would you like to try it? I don’t think you really need to unplug from anything though, it can absolutely refresh your mind.

Happy Examination Week (…just for teachers)

Today was really windy day. Windy day creates many noises. It shakes the windows. Since I live in the country side of country prefecture, there is almost no barriers that can break strong winds. Since it is the examination week, all I have to do is supervise classes and read books in the free time. I don’t need to prepare for the next class but I just need to supervise the classroom. Seems easy, right? Actually, it IS easy. Watching students doing self study, I sometimes feels like falling asleep. It is a really peaceful moment of my teacher life. You feel as if you can do anything in this time.

But, of course there is an end of the happiness (maybe Snoopy never agrees though). After the happiness, there comes the exam paper marking work. It is a bit bothering. Seeing very low score, I also feel really down, oh my teaching was such bad even I thought I made an easy one. And calculate average score at the same time. The most of Japanese test (maybe) is made to have around 60% of its total score. And if you have less then 30%, sometimes it is called “AKA-TEN” (Red Score), which often means testing again or need to take supplementary lessons.

During this time, I always remember my old high school days about 10 years ago. I was really bad at studying. I mean the way I study was really awful. I seriously thought the cause of my low score is the brand of the pen I use. So I bought nearly 50 pens during students. Crazy? I know. And the reason is because I couldn’t think as deep as I am now. I didn’t read books at that time. I totally didn’t understand the importance or value of reading at all. All I knew was that every smart students say “My pastime is reading” or like that. My pastime was watching TV laying on the sofa, and I thought I was so smart. Somebody should’ve punched me with a book.

Heavy Snowfall

My car looked like Kagamimochi

I live in a country part of Hokkaido, and from yesternight we are getting heavy snowfall for now. There were less snow compared to these years but the time of balance out anyway comes at some point. The point was simply yesterday and today. Such day, I suddenly woke up with a sound of snow plow truck. Hearing it in the borderland of dream and real, I feel like there comes certain amount of snow finally.

The merit of a heavy snowfall is that you can enjoy ski at a ski resort that was in trouble due to the lack of snow. And if you have too much snow and cause a traffic trouble, maybe the school would be canceled (I felt so happy about it when I was a student). The de-merit of it is just you need to clear the snow away with your spade. It is some work.

Have you noticed that the picture above of my car seems a bit strange? There is an orange on the car. It’s a joke for a Japanese traditional culture. In Japan, almost everyone put “kagamimochi” in your house or office (not these days?). It is cute.

Kagami mochi (鏡餅, “mirror rice cake”), is a traditional Japanese New Year decoration. It usually consists of two round mochi (rice cakes), the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai (a Japanese bitter orange) with an attached leaf on top.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kagami_mochi

When You Read Too Much

So, now is the time of winter vacation to me, and that simply means I have a lot of time to read books. This is one of the best imaginable luxury; spending all the time for reading books. However, some people have already mentioned, book has a negative side effect as there are no vaccine that never cause any side effect (Anyway, the both are artificial). For example, reading too much makes your character a bit depressive and actually, you get depressed or rather makes you physically and psychologically indoor person.

Why if you work out too much and you don’t get depressed but reading too much? This question seems a bit deep to me. To keep the balance, you have to workout before you hurt your back due to too much reading on the sofa. I should workout. Since the world is much colder these days (I live in one of the coldest prefecture in Japan), I totally don’t feel like jogging outside. There are no kendo practice during this new year holidays. Excuse and excuse. I know, I know. I know I just do the push ups right away, but I am too lazy to put a book aside and do this. But, today…