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.

Spring has come to everyone!

A photo of Meguro River in Tokyo sent from my friend

Hello guys. Finally, a new post here today. Spring has come. I have no idea though, the most of Japanese love to use this expression in English. Like, “Ah.. Sakura ga saite masune(ああ、桜が咲いてますね。「スプリングハズカム」ですね). “Spring has come” desune (Ah.. Cherry blossom looks beautiful. Spring has come, eh?)” By the way, “Spring has come” is “Haruga Kita(春が来た)” in Japanese.

Yes. Spring has come. Spring means a lot for Japanese. Spring can be metaphor of “New Love”, “Passing the entrance exam” or such new things. It’s a new season for anything for Japanese. And the Sakura (cherry blossom) is one of the best metaphor of spring for Japanese.

Friday Night

So, it’s Friday. I don’t hit upon any interesting ideas to write about as usual but I just wanna sleep as soon as I can. Today was a bit miserable day, the meat in the curry I had yesterday was a bit law, and my condition in the morning was terrible. I tied to vomit in the toilet but but I somehow couldn’t. So, I highly recommend that you don’t eat partially law meat.

Tiring day of human relationships

Human relationship. In other words, 90% of trouble in your life is maybe this. Today, I experienced this kind of trouble. Why some people are so stubborn enough to make trouble anytime with everyone. Why there are people who can never bend your opinion and others who can talk with flexible stance. I sometime lose meanings of how important it is to be stubborn. Hope you are not in difficult, problematic human relationships troubles.

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.

All you need to know about Japanese Weird Custom of Valentine’s Day (2021 updated.)

So, I have been hating myself since I cannot keep writing just for a week. One of the main reason for that is because I can’t find suitable topic I should write about everyday. But then, some of my friends told me a great simple ordinal idea, which is “Why don’t you write about what happened in your daily life?” Wow..is that what we call “diary”, right? Yes…Yes… The blogging was originally meant to be diary kind of thing. Why did I miss that? Of course, I can write about my daily life because we have never spend the exact same day. Then, my story can be really unique one! Why did I forget the idea. I can write about my daily life. And I can even attach the photo of bento you eat!(almost every meal I eat is uploaded to my Instagram account)

Thank you for giving me chocolates (I thought I could get more, actually).

So, yesterday was Valentine’s day, right? Japanese Valentine culture seems totally different from the western original one. If you try to give some loved one a bouquet, you are seemed like an American here. Every girls are trying to give “Tomo-Choco(Friend Chocolate)” to their friends.

Yeah, firstly I have to tell you the Japanese definition of “Valentines day” custom. Actually, there are mainly 3 types of chocolates. Not sweet or bitter one.

  1. GIRI-CHOCO…chocolate you give to your colleagues or people whom you don’t care. GIRI means duty. So, call of duty chocolate you can also say, maybe.
  2. TOMO-CHOCO… tomo means friend. My name is TOMOharu, which means friend and spring or knowledge or sun or…man, Chinese character has such a countless meanings but, why we call CHINESE character? Chinese characters are different from the Chinese character we use. Anyway, TOMO choco is chocolate school girls or school girls minded girls in your office try to share with your friends. Such a sweet chocolate, huh?
  3. HONMEI-CHOCO… This is what we should call the real valentine chocolate!!! It’s the chocolate women try to give to the person she really loves! So, stupid boys or seniors always try to make fun of their sad GIRI-CHOCO as HONMEI-CHOCO. To the men, the number you get this chocolate sometimes means your value as a humankind.

Hahaha…So unique custom right? Anyway, if you know these types chocolate, you can somehow understand the Japanese Valentines chocolate custom.

However…. It seems that there comes a NEW TYPE of chocolate. Can you believe that? Why Japanese people try to make it more complicated even it is too complicated. It looks like the Japanese toilet shares this culture.

The one I heard 2021 is this.

4. AWAYOKUBA-CHOCOAwayokuba means “If there is a chance”. So, this chocolate is more than GIRI-CHOCO but less than HONMEI-CHOCO. Are’t you GENIUS???!!! So, if there is a man you love but hesitate to give him HONMEI, you can give this one. Why hadn’t we noticed? Are we stupid??? Thanks to this new type, girls can live much easier.

These are the brief summary of Japanese Valentine culture. I can talk about much more, but this is just a personal blog, so I’m sorry (Saying I’m sorry to much is another Japanese custom. We use it as Hello♪ALOHA♪, no I’m serious). Hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Should we stop every fun thing?

Going to McDonald’s is a kind of trip for residents in countryside of Hokkaido

Long long time no see everyone. I was really busy for reading books and writing Japanese fiction (it’s true) these days. Anyway, since the state of emergency was declared in some populated prefectures in Japan, the atmosphere in Japan is a bit heavier than before. The first declaration of a state of emergency was for all Japan, but some prefectures are not an area for this declaration. However, since we are Japanese, we love to sympathize or reading somebody’s way of feeling. Japan is the nation of peer pressure.

So, many people seems that they give up some fun stuff really easily even your area is not under the state of emergency. Of course, preventing the pandemic, and do our best for not getting infected must be really important, and we still have to make efforts for this even this whole year. But, still, I believe we still have rights to have fun with something.

For example, trip to near tourist sites. We should avoid crowd area though, it would also be a good thing to go and help the economy of tourist sites. Many companies are becoming bankrupt. This is really hard time to think about whether going out or not. But, easy “STAY HOME” is really bad for our health especially on our mind. The scenery would be very monochrome or tasteless.

We should prevent the spread of COVID-19, but we should not give up any fun things that easily. I hope people can live decently with COVID pandemic soon.

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