Join and Leave

Two hamsters joined our family a few months ago.  My daughter was eager to have a pet.   So I thought a small one would be nice to take care of.    We bought two one-month-old hamsters at a pet store.  They were both male, of course.   If they were a breeding pair,  we would be troubled by a lot of baby hamsters.   At first, I let them live in the same cage, but one of them wasn’t active.  The other one ran around energetically.   I thought they weren’t getting along well and bought another cage to keep them apart.  However,  the inactive one died soon after this.  The active one is still alive.   It is said that the lifetime of hamsters is only two years.  How short!

はむちゃん1

はむちゃん2

はむちゃん3


On the other hand, my daughter is leaving home.  She was accepted to a college which is located far away from home.   Recently I’ve been busy for helping her move.   In Japan, the new school year starts in April, not September.  I think spring is a good season to start something.   I wish her good luck with her new life!

Rice-Cake Making By Firefighters

Hello, everyone.   It’s been a while.   How did you spend your holiday season?   I hope that you’ll find hapiness and success in 2014.    For Japanese, New Year’s day is more important than Christmas.    Till the end of the year, we clean our house and prepare “osechi” the special dishes for the coming year.   On New Years,  we eat osechi foods with family and relatives.   One of New Year’s foods is “zoni” vegetable soup.   Japanese eat “mochi” rice cakes boiled in zoni on New Year’s Day.    Not only that, we eat mochi with ground soybean, or sugar and soy sauce, in winter.

Near the end of the year, I happened to see rice-cake making (pounding boiled rice into mochi) festival by firefighters when I went to a shopping mall.   Firefighters served rice cakes out to shoppers.  Besides, they were giving a chance of riding a fire ladder truck to them.

Tsujunkyo Bridge

– A continuation of the last story –
After leaving Heitate Shrine I visited Tsujunkyo Bridge.  Both are located in Yamato-cho.
Tsujunkyo Bridge is Japan’s largest stone-arch aqueduct bridge, which was built in 1854 for water supply to local farmers. For more information  please click Japan Web Magazine.

通潤橋

Fancy meeting Kumamon there!
矢部のくまモン

Fortunately, I was able to see the waterfall which is a rare occurrence.

A Spiritual Place – The Heitate Shrine

The other day, I drove to a country side “Yamoto-cho” where it took an hour and a half to get from Kumamoto city.   There are several sightseeing spots in Yamato-cho.  One of them is the Heitate shrine.   Most people living in Kumamoto don’t know it.   However it is famous among some Japanese because it is known as a spiritual place, where a mystic force provides energy, good luck and healing to a person who stands there.   It seems that many people outside Kumamoto visit there.

You have to go up a long stone stars to reach the shrine.

幣立神宮

This is the main shrine.

幣立神宮2

The history of the shrine is written on the board.   It has a long history as nobody knows when it was founded.   It worships several Shinto gods.

幣立神宮3

There are many huge trees around the shrine.   Somehow I felt refreshed.

幣立神宮5

幣立神宮6

幣立神宮7

幣立神宮9

The Shinto priest was performing a purification ceremony.    Some Japanese go to shrine to pray or purify something such as wishing their happiness, good health, or exorcising a person or place of evil spirits.   I’m not a religious person, but I have also gone to a shrine for a purification ceremony a few times before.

幣立神宮4

American Cartoons

When my family stayed in Hawaii, my daughter found a funny American cartoon on TV.  Does anyone knows the title of it?  Please leave a comment.  I want to watch it !  The story was very interesting.   The father turned out to be a gay, then he got a sex change surgery and became a female!  lol   What a story!  I’ve never heard the story like that even on a TV program for adults in Japan.  In addition, pictures of American cartoons are very different from Japanese ones.   They are very unique.     Some of American cartoons are available to watch on pay-TV in Japan.

1

2

Good Bye, Hawaii

Our very fun trip was over.   We flew from Kona again, transferred at Honolulu and went back to Japan.

1airport

At the Kona airport, my son bought a plain hotdog, which was six dollars.  How expensive!  I saw a ketchup pump for the first time.  I wonder if Americans like ketchup very much.   In Japan, I haven’t seen additional ketchup even in McDonald’s.   I think that Japanese prefer mayonnaise to ketchup.   In addition,  I wonder why hotdogs aren’t popular in Japan.

2airport

3airport

4airport

5airport

We got on a shuttle bus for transfer as soon as we arrived at Honolulu airport.  Then, we were able to get the international gate directly.

6airport

7airport

The cookies of this company are very delicious.

8airport

9airport

10airport

Good by, Hawaii.  I’ll for sure come back someday.

11airport

Hawaii Report #16