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…

What is Really Cool to You?

Absolutely when you try to open your laptop and start to wonder about what you should write about and nothing came up, you sometimes try to think really strange thing. However, the article on such seeming meaningless topic can be a very useful article to someone I’ll never know. Like people in Kenya. I was simply appreciated when I watch the stats of my blog and Kenyan people visited my blog and read some stuff. Maybe I can’t visit the whole countries and make precious friends, people all over the world can access to this blog and we can even communicate through this internet media. What a beautiful world we are living in now.

Well, so today’s article is about what I’m thinking of Cool so far in my life and now. This article seems really meaningless though, I would be really happy if some researcher or people were inspired by this entry.

These are the thing I think as really cool…

POPEYE MAGAZINE
https://magazineworld.jp/popeye/popeye-english/what-is-popeye-magazine/

It is printed on every issues that it is a magazine for city boys. Of course many Japanese are also confused about this statement though, I love the idea of the “City Boy”. It would mean forever boy heart with gentleman’s appearance, live like really cool modern but traditional way of life? I don’t know the essence of City Boy, but that is exactly what I want to get and be, so I’m subscribing every issues. Next month’s issue will be a “Girlfriend”. Every issue in December is so.

Hillsong Young and Free

Maybe 99.9% of Japanese are not familiar with this music group since the most of Japanese are not that familiar with Christian music, especially contemporary music with Christian music. I personally am not a Christian though, I think this kind of music or attitudes of youth can hardly be seen in Japan. I am somehow a fan of them. My favorite one is “wake”.

RIMOWA
https://www.rimowa.com/us/en/home

You have definitely seen this suit case at least once in your lifetime at airport. I love people with RIMOWA suits case. I have an experience that I saved money and fly to Tokyo to go and buy one of their suits case in Ginza. Wanna go travel with RIMOWA soon again.

SMOKE (MOVIE)

This movie’s plot was written by American famous contemporary writer; Paul Auster. I am a fan of his book, but especially, this movie seems a pure masterpiece and seriously cool to me. If I could live in New York with many troubles but many interesting people and stories, I would think it’s Ok anyway. I also live Woody Allen movies though, this is a bit special. Setting (New York), and the profession of the main character is a writer. These are also the points.

OK. Maybe more cool things or people are there, but today’s are just over now. Thank you very much for reading and please tell me what’s your cool thing to me in the comment section ; )

What I thought when I saw”Demon Slayer” movie *I had no idea of the anime before

This is an official poster of the movie

Hello everyone. Actually, I watched the film which was far beyond the talk of the town and almost talk of the nation from October. The Damon Slayer movie, I’m talking about. Every media took it as a main culture topic those days (maybe still now?), and actually I hated it. Why Japanese TV media is always like this? Aren’t you feeling boring? Every time, every channels pick up the same scandal or slightly hit music topic and they introduce those as a miracle hit or totally bullshit or something like that. Since I don’t own TV, so I am in peace though, please don’t make anything wrong and on air.

Anyway, I’m not writing for Japanese corrupted TV media, but the beauty of the movie. First of all, I was totally not a fan of this animation series, but since the movie made a huge hit in Japan, and that made me to see the movie in a theatre (After all, I’m a huge fan of movies). Before going to the theater, I asked one of my Damon Slayer fan friends, “Hey, can I really understand the movie even if I didn’t have any knowledge at all?” and he says “I think you can enjoy it. At least 70%, or more?”. Then, I actually checked a short clips on YouTube which explain the world of Demon Slayer briefly.

And, actually I went to see it just after the opening date. Since I went to the theatre on Tuesday 3 pm, accidentally the day was my paid holiday, the audiences were almost adults or college students. And I watched the movie. The movie seemed very intense from the beginning to the end, but there are some scenes you gonna be crying. In those kind of scenes, I could hear the sounds of many lazy adults’ crying and sniffing. Then I thought how miserable they are with crying and sniffing too.

After finishing the movie, I realized the movie was really excited and touching. I totally understood why the movie got the super hit even under this COVID term. The down below is my personal analysis of this movie.

Reasons of Hit (Netflix, Matsuri (Japanese word of Festival) and Story)

Actually, in my opinion, the movie was totally unlike to Japanese huge hit animation film family tree like Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki or Your Name by Makoto Shinkai. It is just because the Damon Slayer movie is basically made for the anime series audiences. And in my opinion, the movie was kind of an animation program which can be aired on TV. Of course the movie was well made and must be a masterpiece though, it seems just like the TV animation in the theater.

Then why this huge Japanese people went to see it? Many people assume that is thanks to the Netflix or Amazon Prime Videos which allow people to watch every animation episodes anytime anywhere. If somebody recommended you to watch an anime series, you couldn’t watch without going rental shop. But today, the speed to catch up is dramatically increased. But anyway, I didn’t watch any series (simply because I’m afraid of being into the original series).

However, the biggest reason for the big hit I think is because we all Japanese lost every MATSURI (meaning basically festivals. But it can be used for competition, or some big events in Japanese) in this 2020. We lost Olympic and almost any big events. We had prepared for celebrating or getting high for such festivities, but we lost everything. Japanese really loves Matsuri because it’s a day for the most shy Japanese people to be shameless super Japanese. Then, Japanese almost every main media try to pick this movie as a national festival. And people are dying from quarantine, but try to feel together by watching the movie.

Overall, I made a stupid hypothesis though, the world of this Demon Slayer was really simple, strong and well made. I personally felt encouragement from this movie. The characters are in very scary and terrible world, but there they never forget the truly important spirits or lessons and they try with their all hearts and souls. Then, we watch the beauty of never giving up, and maybe sometimes cried.

I wrote too much though, lastly I’d like to introduce one of my favorite lines from the movie (translated by me). This is the word of RENGOKU san (the person who is trying to kill a demon in that picture up above, known as Hashira; a kind of captain or leader).

However you feel you were defeated by your weakness or incompetence, keep burning your soul, grit your teeth and don’t look down. Even if you stop walking and crouching, time never stop flows. It will never stand with you.

Rengoku Kyojyurou

What a strict but really strong phrases. Please check the movie out, and stay safe!

Lazy Saturday

Good morning everyone. It’s Saturday. You don’t have to go to workplace, and you don’t have to wake up early rubbing your eyes. It’s a beautiful Saturday. I personally like Saturday the best out of every day. The beauty of Saturday is you can enjoy completely free and peace mind on Saturday. There will be no work tomorrow, you can keep watching 12 episodes on Netflix. You don’t have to even wake up on Saturday. Does that mean a philosophical death, by the way?

Anyway, my favorite part of my Saturday routine is reading a newspaper really slowly in peaceful mind. It is said that a typical Japanese newspaper has words are equivalent to an average Japanese paperback. So, it is almost impossible to read the whole articles every day, but Saturday. If you read the paper really close, you realize how world is filled with weird problems and colorful solutions. Since I’m into getting rid of the clutter in my possessions and living with the bare minimum of things, I these days am also into not reading online news articles. It’s because we don’t pay for them. If you throw many things away, you can notice how the money should be more carefully used. Then I realized why haven’t I read the paid paper more carefully and rather read free bullshit online speedy but chaotic news. It is an investment for our democracy to subscribe the newspaper.

Anyway, I prefer reading physical paper. The Saturday edition of my paper has a lot of book feature articles, and I love to read the impressions or critical essay on books introduced on the paper. And when I really want to read the book, I can go to book store and can buy it. What a wonderful Sarturday.

And you can even go to onsen (a hot spring) near your place. The typical Japanese tend to think you want to take a bath in Onsen at least once a month. It’s simply because the there is a huge hot-tub and you can kind of “reset” your life there. And the more typical Japanese drink a bottled milk just after taking a bath in onsen. I have no idea who invented this strange custom though, it is a tiny ceremony in your uneventful life.

So, why don’t you start your lazy and dreamlike Saturday. May you have a great Saturday.