Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Abe in TIME's 100 People

TIME magazine has chosen Japan's Prime Minister Abe as one of The 100 Most Influential People. They say that his politics were designed to defeat deflation, ignite consumer spending and restore economic dynamism. I think it's worked well for major companies but not for individuals because the sales taxe rose in April. I think it might decrease consumer confidence and the economy might be slow down. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Old Man and the Sea

I'm reading "The Old Man and the Sea" now. I'm reading several books at the same time, though. I read the novel, which was translated in Japanese, many years ago when I was a middle school student. I remember the story, especially the ending. I'm really excited to read the famous novel again, this time in English. Can I feel the Hemingway's world in English? Of course, I hope so.

Monday, April 28, 2014

World Table Tennis Championship 2014

The World Table Tennis Championship has just started in Tokyo. Since I've been playing table tennis for many years, and since my friend's daughter is taking part in the event, I'm really interested in this tournament. 
Japan used to win the world championship many times, but it hasn't received any gold medals for over 30 years. I also think it's hard to get a gold medal this time because the Chinese players are much stronger than the Japanese players. The European countries are very strong, too. 
I hope the Japanese players perform well and at least get silver medals.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My American Friend

My American friend and I talked to each other on Skype in this morning. We met on a language exchange site and became friends 13 months ago. We've been busy recently, so it was the first time in a month we talked online. Other than that, we've been chatting almost every Sunday. It's not only good for studying, but also a precious time for me. I learn lots of things from him.
He lives in Florida and has studied Japanese  by himself for several years. He kindly teaches English to me and his attitude toward studying Japanese has inspired me a lot.
I hope we can visit each others countries and drink beer together.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Busy Week

As the sea conditions stay well, I've been busy this week as a middleman of a fishery company. Lots of fish are coming to the fish market from the sea. The fish prices are decreasing. It's good for family budgets. I hope many people eat fish this time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dangerous Iceberg

A massive iceberg has left Antarctica and is drifting towards the ocean. When winter comes, it will be hard to trace the mountain of ice, and the area around the iceberg can become dangerous for cruising ships.
According to NASA, iceberg "B31" is about 660k㎡ and 500m thick.
A crack was found in the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica in 2011 and after that, a mass of ice was separated from the glacier in November 2013. The huge iceberg left Pine Island Bay, and now, it is drifting into The Amundsen Sea. It will soon ride the stream in the ocean.
As Antarctica enters winter, the area will go into the polar night season. Researchers say, it will be a hard time to trace the iceberg during the season. The huge size of the iceberg will take at least one year to melt down.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Twelve Gold Bars Found in Belly

The police said on April 22 in India, 12 bars of gold were found inside a 63-year-old man's belly when he got a surgery. He went to the hospital in New Delih due to stomach pains.The man brought the gold bars to India hiding these in his stomach to skip the import tax. The gold bar was 33g each.The hospital sent the gold to the customs through the police. The customs is investigating this criminal now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Canadian Woman Receives Letter 45 Years Later

CBC news reported on April 22, that a letter sent by a Canadian girl 45 years ago has just reached her sister.
The recipient, Anne Tingle, told CBC that her sister sent the letter in 1969. At that time, her sister was nine years old.
 The letter, which it arrived, was covered with a plastic bag. An apology from the Canada Post was inside the bag. It said, "Sorry for the bad condition of the envelope", but they did not apologize for the delay. 

 受取人のアン・ティングル(Anne Tingle)さんがCBCに語ったところによると、手紙は1969年に当時9歳だった妹がアンさん宛てに投函していた。
 届いた手紙はビニールで包まれ、封筒の状態に関するカナダ郵便公社(Canada Post)からの謝罪文が添付されていたが、遅延についての謝罪はなかった。

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teen Stows Away to Hawaii in Jet's Wheel

A 16-year-old American boy who lives in California flew to Hawaii by creeping into an airplane's landing gear. After a 3,700km flight with Hawaii Airlines, he was found at the airport in Maui. Officials said, " It's a miracle that he was able to survive."
The boy climbed up into the jet and stole into the narrow landing gear and arrived at Maui. The airplane flew more than 38,000 feet( 12,000km) above sea level. That means it was below zero degrees and there was little oxygen inside the wheel space. He withstood those sevear conditions for almost five hours.


Monday, April 21, 2014

The Patriot

TIME magazine recently featured the Japanese  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The article described Abe as a powerfunl leader wanting to bring Japan to the world stage. The title of the article was The Patriot. 
I checked the word "patriot" in the dictionary. It says "Someone who is a patriot loves their country and feels very loyal toward it." I think that is what politicians should be. I want the Prime Minister of this country to love and to feel loyal towards Japan. I think that's a quite normal feeling. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Men Without Women

I've read Haruki Murakami's new book today. It was a collection of short stories. Six short stories are inside it. I really enjoyed Murakami's world.
The main theme of the book is a man who lost a woman. The lost has changed the man completely. These stories shook my heart. I'll read the book again in the near future.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The New Book

I got the the new book today. Haruki Murakami's new book as I said that yesterday. I could not study English while reading the book. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Haruki Murakami's New Book

I received an email from Amazon. It said they have shipped Haruki Murakami's new novel to me. I'm really looking forward to reading the book. I'm a big fan of his work. I've read all of his books since he published his first book, Hear the Wind Sing, in 1979.
To tell you the truth, I like his early works more than his recent works but I'm always waiting for his newest one. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

South Korea Ferry Disaster

A ferry carrying over 400 people, mostly high school students, sank near Jind island in Korea yesterday. One hundred people have been rescued but 300 passengers are still missing. The government is trying to rescue passengers but they have to fight against the severe conditions of the sea.
Why did this tragedy happen? It's still under investigation but some sources say their faulty repair are to blame. They added a one story cabin on the top of the ship after they purcahsed it from a ferry company in Japan. The vessel might have lost its balance due to the new constraction.
I don't know if it's true or not, the captain was rescued immediately without helping others but I hope the rescue team will save as many people as they can.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

British Accent and American Accent

British and American accents are different. I thought British English accent is older than American one but I was wrong. According to some research, the standerd British accent has changed a lot in the past two centuries but the typical American accent has changed only a little. American speakers pronounce the "R" sound, rhotic, but British are not, non-rhoticp. Rhotic is older than non-rhotic because there are so many words including R in the words. That means originally the words was pronounced R otherwise they didn't spell R in it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Time flies. TIME has come. I subscribe this magazine more than two years. Recently, I checked lots of unfamiliar words in TIME using English-English dictionary and wrote them down on the blank space of the page. It looks like a kind of word book. I can't remember most of them, though.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Learning English

I don't feel my English skills are getting better recently. I think I should select what I do carefully. I don't have enough time to spend learning English. Choice and consentrait are important.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Table Tennis Friends

I took part in a local table tennis tournament today. After that I went drinking with my table tennis friends. We  are along with each other for a long time. We talked about not only today's matches but also our old memories and it was a precious time for all of us.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sales Taxes in Japan

Sales taxes in Japan have risen from 5% to 8% since April 1st. Some prices rose more than 3%. For example, the price of canned drinks sold in vending machines has risen from ¥120 to ¥130. That means rose by 9%, not 3%. Things like that. Our daily spending will tighten and I'm afraid that Japan's economy will go from bad to worse day by day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Takenoko, Bamboo Shoots

My mother gave me some boiled bamboo shoots, or takenoko in Japanese, today. It was the first takenoko this year.
My mother lives in a rural area that has bamboo forests. Many residents go into bamboo forests and get bamboo shoots for their meal or gift for neighbors. When my mother comes home, she often finds abandoned bamboo shoots in the entrance during this season. It's a gift from nature and neighbors.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


According to a survey, the book sales in the U.S. are increasing every year. By contrast, book sales in Japan has been decreasing for the past 18 years.
I think one of the reasons is the net. Japanese people are busy using the Internet, especially the younger generation. They don't have enough time for reading books. If people don't read books when they are young, they will not read books when they grow up. 
Why do American people read books more than Japanese people? I think school education is the reason. Students in the U.S. have to read lots of books for preparing class but Japanese students don't. What do you think of this?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Woman Flushes Her €400,000 Lottery Ticket Down the Toilet

According to a local media in Germany, a 63-year-old woman accidentally tore up and flushed a lottery ticket that won €400,000 down the toilet.
The nursing home where her husband stayed untill he passed way charged the payment because she won the lottely.
When she was drunk, she found the bill while opening the envelope and got angry. Then she tore and flushed the lottery ticket.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Indian General Election

India is called the world largest democratic country and has begun to vote for the general election. The number of the eligible voters is 814 million, more than the U.S. and Western Europe population.
Prime minister Dr. Singh who has lead the Indian goverment for ten years announced his retirement from politics. This election would be important to India more than any elections before.
Suffering corruptions, high inflation rate and slowing down economic growth, voters have to chose INC, supporting the Singh administration, or the largest opposition party BJP.
The election lasts until May 12th. Eleven million people will work for the voting stuff and the guards and the cost would reach $5 billion.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Homeless Man Withdrows $37000 from ATM

A homeless man was arrested because he illegally took out $37,000 from an ATM in a bank even thoug he was allowed to withdraw only $140 from his account in South Portland, Maine early in the morning on April 6th.
The bank said this incident was due to a computer error.
According to the police, after the homeless man withdrew $140 from his bank account using his cash card, he attempted to withdraw additional cash from the ATM and was successful.
The local TV station WGME said, a woman who waited to use the ATM next to the man called the police because the man used the machine for a suspiciously long time. The plice came and found the homeless man with a large amount of money in his bag.
The $37,000 was returned to the bank.
The bank dose not intend to sue the man but the police did not deny the possibly to charging him.
According to the bank, the incident did not affect their customer accounts.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Samurai Tour Guide

Matsue Wakamusya Tai, Japanese samurai style armed warriors, have started acting as tour guides to Matsue near JR Matsue station from April 4th. They help travelers to go to sightseeing  spots such as Matsue castle or Yaegaki-jinsya. They also try to improve the satisfaction level for tourists. They will help tourists at between 10:30am and 3:30pm on weekends and national holidays until the end of March next year.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Go to Hanami

My older son has just finished high school and now he's working as a prefectural servant. He moved to prefectural dorm to take some job training.
He and his younger brother were really close to each other. My younger son looks so sad after his brother went to the dorm on March 31st. My wife and I decided to take him to Hanami or cherry blossom viewing tomorrow. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Welcome Event at Shimane University

Students in Shimane university held a welcome event for freshmen called Syuntou-sai on April 2nd in Nishikawatsu-cho, Matsue. The freshmen waiting the entrance ceremony on April 4th, they enjoyed the lights from lots of lanterns in the campus.
Students association learned this event from Matsue Suitouro that many lanterns light in the area around Matsue castle has been held for five years.
About 200 lanterns lighted the aisle running through the entrance gate to the north and it looked fantastic. Freshmen visited there as watching the tender lights and took some pictures. The association member students talked with freshmen and gave some advice about college life.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Machi no ne

Local restaurant owners in Isemiya-cho, Matsue, are making a plan that musicians can perform on the streets whenever they want to. They named the plan "Machi no ne, or Sound of the town" and it will start in the middle of April.
Toshiro Yamano, 36, who runs a restaurant called Piano Man, is the leader of the event. He came up with this idea from Matsue's frendship town New Orleans. The city is known as the cradle of jazz and is famous for street live performanses.
Restaurants in Isemiya-cho and around JR Matsue station will allow professional and amateur musicians to perform in front of their shops. Both musicians and restaurants will benefit because the musicians will get a chance to play music and shop owners will get attention to their restaurants.
The event will take place several times per month at the biggining and the area will be filled with music every day in the future. Plays and art performances will also be allowed in the area.

 ライブは月に数回から始め、将来は毎日、どこかから音楽が聞こえてくる街を思い描く。演劇や美術の活動も受け入れる。 山陰中央新報

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shidare Cherry Blooms in Senjuin

Senjuin is one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing or hanami in Matsue. Now, you can see beautiful weeping cherries or shidare cherries there. Many families and couples are coming to the temple which is located near the historic Matsue castle to see the full-blown cherry tree.
They say some samurai that lived here gave the temple the tree about 300 years ago. The shidare cherry is about 8 m high and 90 cm in diameter. The tree was about to collapse over ten years ago but a tree doctor saved its life and after that it continues to blooming every year. The cherry bloomed at the end of March and the date was two or three days later than usual. You can enjoy cherry blossom viewing there until this weekend.  

約300年前に松江藩士が寄贈したとの言い伝えが残る桜で、高さ約8メートル、幹の直径は約90センチ。10年以上前に腐朽菌に感染して樹勢が衰えたことがあったが、樹木医の手当てで助かり、今も毎年花を咲かせている。ことしは例年より2、3日遅く3月下旬に開花した。今週末まで楽しめるという。 山陰中央新報

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Health Risks in India

The recent cover story of TIME is about India. I haven't read the article yet, but when I think of India, I think about the broblems they have there. It's about health problem in India.
I listened to a radio show the other day and the topic was the world health report. The report said India still has widespread malnutrition, but at the same time, obesity-related diseases such as heart disease are increasing in the country. Twenty percent of people living in big cities are overweight or obese. China is seeing the same problem, the radio show said.
An authority said they need start teaching students about obesity in schools.