news

Past News (August 2007)

August 30th

In Japan, September 17th is a national holiday called [Respect for the Aged Day]. We celebrate the day annually to honor elderly citizens. The national holiday used to be held on September 15th, but Japanese government implemented the Happy Monday system, which moved a number of national holidays to Mondays, in 2003. Respect for the Aged Day is one example. I think itfs a good idea because we can have more chances to visit our grandparents to say hello if we have a longer weekend. I will send a gift to my grandmothers this yearcwhat shall I send?... (Risa)

August 24th

How was your week? I know most of you have one more day to goclast day before a fun weekend, right? I canft believe August is nearly overcitfs still very hot every dayc Actually it was a bit cooler yesterday, but the heat has come back already! The temperature went up to 36 degrees here in Kyoto todayc I prefer summer to winter, but I am really so sorry a lot of people were killed by the heat this yearc Hope you have a lovely weekend! (Risa)

August 17th

Look at the cucumbers and eggplants in the photo below. What do you think they are? We cerebrate Obon (If you want to know the Obon deeper, please go and visit; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival) here in Japan. It is said that our ancestors come back to the earth from the heaven during the Obon time. They are coming back on a horse very fast, and then they are going back to the heaven on a cow very slowly. The cucumber in the photo is a horse, the eggplant is a cow. Hirokofs nephew who is only 8 years old made them at home. He did a good job, eh? I think it is important for parents to teach the old traditions from ancient times. (Risa)

obon

Auguest 16th

Ifm so sorry I have been lazy these dayscActually I canft think of any topic to talk aboutc Today, a big event called [Daimonji-yaki] is held in Kyoto. Do you know what it is? It is one of the iconic festivals of Kyoto. It is the culmination of the Obon festival on August 16th. (Obon is a Japanese Buddist holiday to honor the departed spirits of onefs ancestors). Starting at 8pm, five huge bonfire designs in the shape of Chinese characters are lit on the mountains which surrounded Kyoto city. The most famous and the first to be lit is the character DAI, meaning large, on Daimonji-yama mountain. The other four fires are lit at 10-minute intervals, and by 8:30, all the characters can been seen. The best place to see the festival is from the Nakagyo Ward, in the centre of the city. A lot of people also go to the Kamo River between Sanjo and Imadegawa Streets, for a good view of the initial fires. I guess I see millions of people on my way back home today. (Risa)

August. 13th

How was your weekend? It was burning hot in Kyoto over the weekend, but I think itfs getting cooler in the morning and evening. My workmate, Hiroko went to the fireworks show in Uji city after work on Friday. According to her, there were millions of peoplecbut she enjoyed it very much. Here is the photo to share with you. Have you been to any interesting summer event? (Risa)

fireworks

August. 9th

Itfs been so hot and humid in Kyoto these days. The temperature goes up to 35 degrees during the day every dayc.and it doesnft go down under 25 degrees at night. I usually donft like being in the air-conditioned room, but I canft stand the heat any more. I have had trouble getting to sleepc I heard lots of people were killed by the head in Europe last monthcHave you been enjoying your summer? (Risa)

August 6th

How was your weekend? I had a very relaxed one. I didnft do anything specialcI met a friend for a coffee and went to the yoga studio etc. One of my workmates, Hiroko went to Universal Studio Japan in Osaka with her family on Sunday. Have you ever been there? If you come to Kyoto with little kids, maybe they would love to go there. I guess they get bored if you take them to temples & shrines every dayc.so itfs one option for one day. http://www.usj.co.jp/e_top.html (Risa)

usj

August. 2nd

Have you ever heard of [Okuizome]? Itfs a Japanese tradition handed down from ancient times. When a newborn baby is 110 days old (It is a bit different from area to area though), parents and relatives arrange small meal (fish, soup, boiled vegetables, pickles and rice) and a tiny stone for him/her. Of course, he/she isnft old enough to eat those thingscbut they pretend to feed him/her. The tradition has two meanings; 1. Parents and relatives wish that a baby has sufficient food throughout life 2. Parents and relatives wish that a baby has hard teeth like stone. One of my workmates just had the traditional event for her niece last weekend, and she thought keeping a tradition is very important. Do you have a similar tradition in your country? (Risa)