Year End Party

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

I just had the first year-end party of this year. It may sound too early to be having one in November but from now on it will get more difficult for many people to fix get-together dates.

All of the people at the party were much younger than me but they all seemed down to earth.The youngest person must be this beautiful Canadian lady. Ooops! I made a mistake. The youngest person was the 2-year-old cute girl.

We all had good time and enjoyed Philippine dishes. We’ll go on a Sake brewery tour next January. I suppose that’s going to be our New Year’s Party.

The Zen master’s Temple

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

I visited Ryutakuji temple ( in Mishima, Shizuoka prefecture ) This temple is famous for its collection of Hakuin’s work. Every year on 23rd of November, his work is open to the public. Taking photos of the work is prohibited so I took photos of the beautiful garden.

Now here’s some trivia for you.

Why is the work open to the public on 23rd of November ?

(A) The day was Hakuin’s birthday.

(B) Every year the day is sunny.

(C) Autumn leaves are beautiful around the date.

(D) The day falls on Japanese Thanksgiving Day.

You’ll see the answer in the next blog. For those who got the correct answer, I wish I could aend a gift !


Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

My sons are crazy about Shogi. Whenever they have time they play it.

Shogi  originated in India just like chess. One particular feature of Shogi is that a player can use captured pieces again. Also there are no drawn games. The game doesn’t end until one player declares “MAKEMASHITA(I lost.)”  Let me name good points about playing Shogi.

1. Anyone can play it anytime, anywhere. All they need is a board and pieces.

2. It doesn’t cost any money.

3. They learn to be patient and to be a good loser.

4. They can get a wide range of friends. For example my sons know many senior citizens. They teach them a lot about life. So they have good knowledge of what retired lives are. Sometimes I’m amazed.


Friday, November 21st, 2008

This is a foot bath cafe in Ohara ( Kyoto).

People walk a lot as they do the sights. Here they can take off their shoes and socks then soak their feet in a nice warm bath while having some tea, coffee or something else to drink. All of them look so happy.

I have heard many Westerners feel a little puzzled or upset when told to take off their shoes. So I often ask them why. Their answers are always interesting. One was worried his socks might have a hole in them or his feet might be dirty. Another said that not wearing shoes is just like wearing pajamas in public !

What do you think ?


Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Subashiri, the eastern side of Mt.Fuji has many kinds of trees, flowers and mushrooms. Autumn is the season of mushrooms and some huts serve many kinds of mushroom dishes. You may find some mushrooms in the forest nearby. But it’s very difficult to tell edible ones from poisonous ones. These two kinds often look alike. It’s as if one of them tries to copy another. Why do they look alike ?  People might pick both of them or either of them without knowing about edible or not. Non-edible ones have a chance to extend their territory by being picked up eventually even after being thrown away. I can’t buy this theory 100%, since I haven’t asked poisonous mushrooms about the matter yet. However I believe in their power to survive.

Mt. Houei

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008


Looking at Mt.Fuji from Fuji or Fujinomiya City, you can see a bulge on the right side of the Mountain.

That is Mt. Houei which erupted 301 years ago. This is a photo of its craters. It has three craters.

If you go down south, you can walk into a natural forest. The forest smells very very good and as I was walking I felt as if my body and mind were purified.I heard phytoncide cause that. Phytoncide is a substance that plants give off to drive insects away. Some people don’t like this smell. Are they more like insects ?