Monday, June 26, 2006

Do You Peel?

When I was in a language school in Canada, students in the afternoon class discussed differences between one’s own country and Canada. In that discussion, a student spoke about “peeling”.

According to the student (I think she was Japanese), most Canadian people eat apples without peeling. This is not limited in apples but also potatoes, peaches, plums, and other stuff.

In fact, my host mother never peels potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and other vegetables. When I saw that my host mother cooked potatoes without peeling and picking germs which contains toxin, I was quite surprised the habit because it is obvious for Japanese those potatoes germs need to be removed when they cook.

In my case, I peel anything which has skin. When I consider about nutrition, I don’t peel some vegetables though. However, I had never eaten peaches skin until I came to Canada.
A teacher who has stayed Japan as an English teacher argued against it. He said Japanese people peel too much. Believe it or not, the reason comes from plenty of agricultural chemicals according to the teacher, and Japanese have to peel vegetables and fruits skin because of it.

Interestingly enough, the teacher even doesn’t peel kiwi. The fact absolutely couldn’t be for Japanese students. He said only fruit he peels is banana, I am not sure wether he eats watermelons or grape fruits skin or not though.

The reason of peeling habits in Japan comes from fastidious character. Moreover, I think skins of vegetables and fruits in Japan are harder and thicker than Canadian ones what I realized when I compared the differences of fruits between in Japan and Canada. Peaches in Japan for instance have down, and it really bother in one’s mouth, the down is few on Canadian peaches meanwhile. Things are the same in apples. It is really hard to eat Japanese apples with its skin.

I don’t know peeling situation in other countries, but I think there is no country like Japan. Peeling seems to be wasteful for some people because skins contain nutrition.

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How about peeling situation in your country? Do you peel?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Angela Aki ~I was Born to be~

I am into Angela Aki’s songs recently. She has great gentle voice and dynamic piano performance which surely fascinate people’s feeling. Her songs permeate through one’s mind naturally.

Her first album “Home” is high in the charts in Japan. This album contains Angela’s various desires which bring her to music since when she decide to be a singer. Although I went to 5 CD stores to buy her CD, they are sold out.

Angela Aki was born in 1977 between Japanese father and Italian American mother. She started playing piano when she was 3 years old, and lived in Tokushima and Okayama prefecture until she graduated from her junior high school. Angela moved to Hawaii when she was 15 years old and graduated university in Washington D.C.

When she was a university student, she went to a live concert of Sarah McLachlan. She was absolutely impressed by Sarah’s music, and she noticed this is what she wants to do. She felt “I was born to sing” at the concert. After that she started to keep singing since she couldn’t forget the impression she felt at Sarah’s concert. She struggled with many things surrounding her. Sometimes she was said “mixed parentage singer won’t be a hit” or “you are too old to debut as a singer”, and she was refused to listen to her demo tapes.

After ten years since Angela’s challenge, she finally produced her original album “Home”. She comments on her blog “It is close to miracle for me my album is sold in stores. I was right to follow my decision.”

In her album, there is my most favorite song, “Kiss Me Good-bye”. This song is used in Final Fantasy xii as its theme song. There are two versions in this song, in Japanese and English. You can listen to her beautiful song from here.

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* You can see her promotion video as well on the above site.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Class Name in Nursery

I started to work in nursery in my hometown from May. A full-time nurse is pregnant and taking maternity leave for 3 month, and I was fortunately chosen as her substitute even though I don’t have a special qualification.

Generally, people who want to be a nurse need to get a nurse qualification in Japan by going to a special school for 2 years or so. Students learn about little kids and go to real nursery a few times to experience real work.

Since the previous nurse’s pregnant was a kind of emergency, principal of the nursery that took care of me when I was a kid asked me to work in her nursery. I work as a part-time worker, but I go to the nursery Monday through Friday.

In the nursery, there are 5 classes which are divided by age. 0-1 year old baby’s class is called “Hiyoko-gumi (chick class)”, 2-3 years old is “Usagi-gumi (rabbit class)”, 4 years old class is “Koala-gumi (koala bears class)”, 5 years old class is “Panda-gumi (panda class)”, and 6 years old class is “Kirin-gumi (giraffe class). These class names are depending on each nursery. Some nurseries give the name of flowers (peach, dandelion, violet and cherry blossom) and others name birds’ name (crane, Canary, Bush warbler and robin).

In my case, my old nursery has flower names. Did your old nursery have different class name?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Song for You

I changed song on my blog today. The title of song is “Midnight City”.

This song was composed by my father. He belongs to a music band “Hotline” and he composed this song for the band. My father imaged the figure of dancing woman in a club at midnight.

I am not sure if this song fits with my blog, but I like this rhythmical song anyway.

If you want to listen more, you can find some songs from this address.

Here is my father’s blog

This is official Hotline homepage.

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*I should have explained about the previous song on my blog. The song, “Grandia” was also composed by my father. (I will attach only his original songs on my blog because I want people all over the world to listen my father’s compositions.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Her Motive –what she thought—

The murder case which Gohken Yoneyama was killed in Fujisato, Akita, has been developing gradually. The murder, Suzuka Hatakeyama who is a neighbor but one of Gohken testify her motive.

The details are like this…

Suzuka was in her house looking at the out of window, and she found Gohken who was coming back from an elementary school. Suzuka called Gohken to come in her house. Since Gohken and Suzuka’s daughter, Ayaka was close friend, Gohken didn’t hesitate to enter Suzuka’s house. Suzuka said “I want you to have Ayaka’s favorite things as Ayaka’s memorial things because you were such a nice friend of her”. She handed Pokemon cards which is very popular among little kids to Gohken. During the conversation with little Gohken, Ayaka thought Gohken is similar to Ayaka, but she thought why Ayaka isn’t here and other kids are fine. Suzuka felt so painful at the moment, and the things happened. Suzuka put on work gloves and hold a string which is used for when women wear kimono (150 cm length and 3 cm width). Gohken looked back at Suzuka but she throttled Gohken’s neck resolutely. Gohken and Suzuka fell down on the floor, and she noticed she had done dreadful thing to Gohken. Suzuka started to be scared, so she rolled Gohken’s body with plastic cloth and left it in the bush near the river.

Suzuka commented like this “I did cruel things to Gohken nevertheless, I know how sad to loose a child. Don’t have a grudge against my family, but me. I want to pray for dead Gohken.”

Day after day, media broadcasts this murder case in Japan. This murder case is like a fiction or even beyond it, and media are jumping at this fiction-like event. TV broadcast Suzuka’s face everyday, and they are trying to find her background and personality just like detectives do.

According to some media, Suzuka divorced with her husband right after Ayaka’s birth, and she started to live with her little daughter. Suzuka changed her job many times in her life and she used to work as a prostitute for a short time according to a magazine. She didn’t take good care of Ayaka. She didn’t feed Ayaka properly and school lunch was only nourished food for Ayaka. Neighbors have watched Suzuka’s strange action many times, for example whenever a man visit Suzuka’s house (man coming to the house is always different), she let Ayaka out of her house and the little girl was alone at outside.

Even though her motive was revealed, there are still some suspects about it. Suzuka testified she didn’t kill Gohken intentionally. However it is unusual that there are work gloves and a string beforehand, and her action when she killed Gohken was so calm as she put shose on Gohken's foot when she carry his body from her house. Moreover, Suzuka’s daughter, Ayaka’s death might be related to Gohken’s case. People doubt Suzuka might have killed her daughter as well.

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I feel devastated whenever I see Suzuka’s face on TV. I have no notion why she did such a cruel thing to a little boy. At the same time, I feel very sorry for Gohken’s bereaved family. They must be shocked at the murder by their close neighbor. Furthermore, even if they want to avoid remembering the Gohken’s death, media or teams of news reporters come to their house and they are forced to see the murder’s face on TV everyday. As a person who lives in the same prefecture, I ashamed of this murder case and either do people in Akita. Image from media is very strong, and stuck image on people’s brain won’t be easily wiped away even if time passed. I think the number of people or sightseers who visit Akita will decrease this year because of the murder case. However, I like my beautiful hometown and I want people all over the world to visit Akita. It will take time to recover from shocking event, but I hope there will be peaceful time again in Fujisato.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Frightening Murder Case in Akita

The murder case happened in Fujisato, Akita beginning of April. 9 year-old girl, Ayaka Hatayama was drowned at the river. Police concluded her death as accident, but her mother doubts the judge because she knows that Ayaka doesn’t like water, and it is unusual that Ayaka approached to river by herself. Ayaka’s mother started to distribute fliers which has Ayaka’s picture on it, and the papers say “tell me whatever you know about my child”.

After 38 days since the accident, 7-year old boy, Gohken Yoneyama was murdered by someone at the same town, Fujisato. He was found at the same river where Ayaka was drowned. According to the result of court-ordered autopsy, Gohken’s neck was wringed by something like rope and he choked to death.

This two children death in the same town within 2 month terrified Japan. The reason is that Ayaka and Gohken had good relationship and they played frequently in a park near their house. Moreover, their house is next of one. They are neighbors but one.

Fujisato is located in north Akita (I live in south Akita), and is very famous for Shirakami mountainous region which is resisted as World Heritage. It is very small, quiet and peaceful town. When these things happened, everyone in Japan was astonished at the countryside murder case, and people started to think that the two children death might be related.

The culprit wasn't found for 18 days. However, the murder was revealed the day before yesterday. That was Ayaka’s mother, Suzuka.

Suzuka admired the fact she left Gohken’s body near river, but she says she didn’t kill him. Police haven’t found Suzuka’s motive yet, and they try to search the relation between Gohken and Ayaka's case.

There is a proverb, “Life is stranger than fiction”. This children death surely stands for the proverb which terrifies people in Japan. This murder case hasn’t finished yet, and I just hope the same things won’t happen in the future.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Making Japanese Rice –Sowing—

After rice seeds has put out, they are sowed on soil. Sowing rice seeds has lots of progress and hard to deal with just like the sprouting work.

Rice farmers use plastic plates, Naebako in Japanese (なえばこ in Hiragana) which has many small holes at the bottom so that water comes out from them, when they sow rice seeds.

Rice sowing is divided into 3 stage of work mainly, and the work makes 3 layers in the Naebako.

First of all, fertilizer is spread thinly on every Naebako using special tool to flatten the surface like a ruler, and then disinfectant liquid which is watered down is spread using watering can.

Secondly, rice seeds are sowed by a machine. This work can be done by hand, but it is hard to sow rice seeds equally by human hands.

Finally, soil with no fertilizer is spread quickly on the seeds, and surface must be flat again. After that, whole Naebako need to be infiltrated disinfectant liquid.

They are brought up in a greenhouse about one month till it grows about fifteen centimeter.

This is all sowing progress. It seems to be simple work, but very tough actually. People who flatten the soil have to bend the waist long time, and Naebako especially, with moisture is so heavy to convey.

In my grandfather’s farm case, there are 240 Naebako, so my family did the above work for 240 times…