Do you cook for yourself?

Cooking had been basically not a fun activity for me since I started to live by myself. I am 28 years old right now, and I can remember exact the first dish I cooked when I was 18 in a tiny apartment room in Yokohama, Tokyo. The dish was “Cup Noodle”. That is a reality of a dish that the male young guy who had just graduated from high school could make. Then, I repeated to cook Cop Noodle kind of things every day, and I felt really depressed when I finished eating up the 3rd day of Cup Noodle.

Unfortunately, The year I entered my university was the same year of Great Japan Earthquake happened in 2011. The entrance ceremony was cancelled, and the first day of classes was postponed from April to the mid of May. Therefore, I was not able to make friends, and even go to university’s facilities. I was raised in Hokkaido (the northern part island of Japan) and I tried to start a whole new life in near Tokyo. But, the start was such a miserable. Everyday I was talking over Skype with my high school mates and eventually I found myself in Hokkaido again just after a week ago I arrived in Tokyo (My mother advised me to come back home and eat decent food). I couldn’t bear with such a miserable, stressful lonely life. So, I’m always thinking like, if I were a university student now, how hard is it, and I couldn’t bear with it.

Needless to say though, the food is such an important thing in your life. I’ve found that if I keep eating bento kind of food sold in convenience store for 3 days, I can catch a cold. It’s wired though, the food of convenience store tastes yummy when you seldom eat it, but if you keep eating it, it tastes kind an awful. You can eat food cooked by yourself everyday, but not convenience store foods. We all know there is a reason why we keep eating convenience food. Mainly, it’s because we are busy. We try to make time by buying food or eating out. However, definitely it costs more than you cook. I’m 28 and I need to save money for my marriage or something like that. I want to save around $10,000 a year. And for that, I need to start cooking by myself more seriously. Not 3 days for a week, but everyday.

Now, not to brag though, I cook every single day for this 2 weeks. I cook for bento everyday. Then, I could save money and I literally became healthier than before. Keep doing everyday makes you grow up day by day, so I could feel that my skills of cooking somehow improves day by day. “Eat well, Live well” is what I realize right now. I really want to recommend you to cook everyday by yourself, for yourself.

Real Good Japanese Songs: “Kaerou” by Fujii Kaze

Today, I’d like to talk about music especially the real good Japanese music. Perhaps Maroon 5 or Lady Gaga is not the real good music for the most of Americans. You must know there are much more, sometimes hidden, great songs or artists. Of course this is my taste and choice, and I am not supposed to argue with another Japanese. I’m actually a bit confident in the real good songs, so if you feel like the song, I’m really appreciated.

Today’s Song: “Kaerou” by Fujii Kaze

If you are familiar with Japanese culture, he is the one who you should remember in today’s J music scene. He has a great talent to make beautiful songs and gorgeous but catchy and light songs. More and more companies try to offer him to collaborate with commercials. The most famous one was with HONDA’s new car commercial song of “Kirari”.

Just by my intuition but nearly 60% of the Japanese youth recognize him these days, he is still a new pop star in today’s J music scene. But this song “Kaerou” ,meaning let’s go home in English, is a bit hidden but one of his early masterpiece which will be accepted and acclaimed from the every generation and gender in Japan because the song is about “death” or “forgiveness”. That’s why there are many comments from 50s or over 60s people’s comments just aside from teenagers ones.

Like another his songs, you would find yourself in peaceful mind after you finish listening his songs. But this one is a bit outstanding. I cried naturally and felt so fulfilling with this song. I have no idea why this young early 20s guy could write and sing this awesome song, you can really understand how beautiful and great singer he is. All right, the video contains English subtitles, and if you liked it, it’s my pleasure. I also put the English lyrics down below. Please enjoy one of my fav songs♪

You are melting into the sunset

I am fading into the sunrise

If our paths never cross again,

then, that is the way it is

You’re turning on the lamp

I’m searching for the light

We both have nothing to fear

nothing to lose

We both have nothing at all in the first place

See you, see you again

Those boy’s eyes aren’t innocent anymore,

Those evening bells are ringing out

but can’t be heard anymore

That is, that is almost like

Everything seems to be over

Far from it, we’ve got a long way to go

and I’ll never forget…

Ah, let’s forget everything and go home

Ah, let everything flow away and go home

Though that scar hurts

this thirst never be quenched,

it doesn’t matter anymore, let’s blow ’em all away

Let’s go home with a nice breeze

Let’s go home with gentle rain

What is the use of hating each other

I’m, I’m gonna be the first one to forget

You are worried about the future

I am still attached to the past

This is our last time,

I’m supposed to be a god,

but still, we’re too much human

I looked at the world without me

From above, and I found out

It keeps on turning exactly the same as always

That made me feel easy somewhat

See you, see you again

We said farewell right before the highway

Leaving all hustle-bustle behind, I walk alone

Taking, All my life was about taking

And not a bit of giving

Not knowing the meaning of this life I’ve lived

Ah, let’s give everything and go home

Ah, with empty hands, let’s go home

What we can give is just what we’re given

Let’s be thankful and be honored

I’m waiting for you, let’s go home

Let’s go home where happiness never ends

What can we take with us when we leave this world?

Let go of the burdens we’re carrying, one by one

What is the use of hating each other?

I’m, I’m gonna be the first one to forget

Ah, how am I going to live from today

Imagination and Coins

Summer warm rain has fallen for several days in here. It is due to the approaching typhoon no. 9. Unlike to American hurricane, we don’t name it but we call it by numbers. There comes several typhoons and it gradually draws autumn.

The air changes dramatically day after a typhoon rain. We have to forget the summer dull hottest days suddenly, and then we realize the days was not gonna forever. Sometimes we recognized time as retrospective.

There is a famous sales copy for a publishing company’s ad for summer reading. It says, few hundreds yen and imagination.

想像力: imagination 数百円: few hundreds yen

I personally like this sales copy. It means, by imagination and few coins to buy a paperback , you can go everywhere. And now I also wonder, I can go everywhere if I could write my own story with cheap notebook and a pen by 300 yen ($3).

Summer vacation is a nice time to look back your history or verbalizing your hidden story. Let me try some tonight.

Night Before Medical Exam

As a kind of civil servant, high school teachers, we are kindly offered an annual health check in every August. And it actually always bother me nexuses there are many regulations on the day before the exam. You are not allowed to drink, eat and smoke after 20:00. But, that doesn’t make sense, right? The dinner time to me is around 20:00, so should I die for the health check? We are already unhealthy as long as we live. Medical exam is a bullshit to me. My favorite professor when I was in college once said that we should own right to reject taking health check. Now I think I can’t do that because I’m so sleepy to object…

3 signs that prove you are in good mental condition according to my mentor

Speaking of mental health, there seem so much unique ways that indicate your mental health condition that we don’t even know what kind of mental health is good for us today. To the Japanese school teachers, there comes “stress check test” in my email box and it is anyway offered to check and improve teachers mental condition. Huh. First of all, you need to find this ID and Password and please spare 10 min. For this test and you will need… taking the test is a huge stress to me now anyway.

Besides this, my mentor, who was an acclaimed professor in a Japanese university and is really famous, so I’d rather not mention his name though, here is what I heard from him directly when we happened to eat lunch in the UK.

There, he says, are three definitions or criteria to me to show my good mental health. The first one is you can enjoy having foods. If you are too stressed out, you would find the food’s taste boring. Secondly, you feel like to start new things, things like a hobby, studying or weekend plan. That means you have an afford to don something new. And thirdly, you feel like to write. It doesn’t only means to write to someone but also a diary or blogs. I personally think it means you are in a creative mood. Creating something really cultivate your heart Kurt Vonnegut once said.

Above all, I am totally non specialist for this kind of topics, but I instinctively can agree those things and I’d like to highly recommend you to indicate your mental health level by these. That is my personal stress check, and I’d like to propose it to the school education board near future to reduce stress of stress check!

The gap between summer and winter in Hokkaido

Says 37.5 degree Celsius
Was about -20 degree Celsius

Now I’m feeling disturbed by a humid hot temperature right now 23:37 on this bed. It’s really difficult to sleep comfortably these days due to the high temperatures. But I know that Hokkaido’s summer will soon leave after a couple of weeks. Only now we feel so disgusting, but maybe next week, we look back today retrospectively, and feel a bit sad. But it’s ok. Hey winter! I really miss you now…

You should take a day off after 2nd COVID jab

Comparing the COVID-19 cases around the world, Japanese cases seems slightly lower, and it is somehow thought to be one of the reasons why Japanese COVID-19 vaccination is delayed. According to the government statement, those who request their vaccinations would be fully vaccinated by the end of November.

However, the pace of the vaccination, actually, depends on which local government you belong to. Since I live in not a big urban city of Japan, rather countryside’s small town, I could get the 1st one on July 6th, and second one on July 26th. It must be a rare case for 20s in this country, and I somehow could finally appreciated that I became a kind of public servant as school teacher.

By the way, what I want to write is so called “side effect” of it. In fact, this is totally my personal empirical opinion though, after a 1st jab, I could scarcely feel any side effect except a slight hurting on my arm where jabbed. It felt like a muscle pain that can be felt when you finished weightlifting by right arm after a long time.

However, 2nd jab HAS a side effect to me. I took the jab on 15:40 the day before yesterday, and the day was totally fine anyhow. And next morning I woke up as usual, and I didn’t set a day off, so I worked as usual. But, slightly you began to feel discomfort and feverish. Around noon time, I became such a tired and had some headaches. Then, I took afternoon off immediately, and jumped into my bed. That was around 15:00. And the next time I opened my eyes were at 5:00 am. During sleeping, I felt fever and trouble for sound sleep, but I just tried to sleep.

And now, today, I feel much better but a slightly dull. I think I will have been back to the. Eat condition by tomorrow. Therefore, if you are wondering if you take a day off or not after the 2nd jab, here is my advice. It is your choice though, you may not perform well on the day. Take care of yourself.

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!

How to deal with my Sleeping Hours?

Basically, I need to sleep for 8 hours to charge my energy fully. However, you cannot take a full charge everyday because you are somehow busy. You must be busy to cook, take a bath, watch movies, read books, and be lazy. Without laziness, I think I would be dead. Sometimes I feel we need space in our lives like a margin of a book. You cannot live completely the same schedule because you are not a robot like a Roomba. As for me, I sleep for 7 on Monday, 6 on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday… or like that. I cannot make my sleeping hours stable because I have a lot of thing to enjoy in a night.

Sometimes, I want to watch a movie, read a book, talk with a friend over the phone. I want to accept this me. But, at the same time, I found myself a bit less performative when I have 6 hours sleeping time. Just 2 hours makes a huge difference to my performance. My brain feels a bit tighten. I tend to forget tiny things. And I tend to get upset easily. These things exactly means that I lost a certain space in my brain. And unfortunately, you cannot recover the dullness by a day’s 8 hours sleeping. That is really tricky. Once you felt lack sleep, you tend to have it for 2 to 3 days. Oh my.

Anyhow, I need to deal with this. I should keep living up. Tomorrow is Friday. Friday makes everything brighter. The only time do you see the goal, you can try your best sometimes. So, I want to make the most of it tomorrow even I feel a bit of sleep deprivation. If I could do my work more faster and more efficiently.