Posts Tagged Japanese

Cherry blossom viewing? There’s an app for that! Check out the “hanami” app for iPhone & Android

People in Japan love cherry blossom, especially standing or sitting under it and getting drunk just enjoying its intoxicating sight and perfume, which activity is called “hanami” 花見 (literally “flower-watching”).

Cherry blossom is rather later this year than usual. Must be global warming. Wait. Maybe global cooling? No, that idea was dumped in the ’70s. Climate change. That’s it. Must be.

Last year, the cherry blossom was in full bloom, or “mankai” 満開 for entrance ceremonies the first week of April.

Sakura - cherry blossom - blooming on a Kansai campus, April 6th, 2011

Sakura - cherry blossom - blooming on a Kansai campus, April 6th, 2011

This year, full-bloom is this week in many parts of Kansai. Last week, Mike Rogers and friends had a hanami-party beside a Tokyo river, proving that you don’t need a whole lot of cherry blossom to have a great party.

But where to go to see the blossom at its best? Dates vary with geography and type of cherry tree.

Here’s the answer:the “hanami” app for iPhone and Android!

the "Hanami" app for iPhone and Android

the "Hanami" app for iPhone and Android


via 無料のiPhone&Androidアプリ「お花見ナビ2012」- お花見特集2012 – Yahoo! JAPAN.

“1,000 + hanami spots in the palm of your hand. See the stage of blooming at a glance.”

(In Japanese only, maybe.)

One of my earliest memories in Japan is visiting a friend in April. Walking around the small town with his wife and his two young daughters, we came to a field with a big old cherry tree in it. We wandered over, sat down, popped the sake bottles, and just enjoyed watching the petals flutter down and the children playing in the warm sunshine. No blue sheets, no karaoke, no drunken shouting. Just the magic of the blossom and the sunlight playing on open hearts.

For some great photos and a little culture, and all in English, please visit

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Fukushima rice tests show no contamination | The Japan Times Online

I wonder what percentage of consumers this will convince? I suspect fewer than a year ago, and fewer than even a couple of months ago.

FUKUSHIMA — No radioactive substances were found in newly harvested rice in Fukushima Prefecture, prefectural officials said Thursday.

Rice growers in the prefecture, which hosts the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and surrounding areas are highly concerned about potential contamination. Rice from this year’s harvest is set to hit the market in the coming months amid heightened public concerns over food safety.

Samples from about 2 kg of brown rice harvested in the town of Aizubange on Monday and Tuesday were taken to a prefectural farming facility in Koriyama on Thursday morning for testing.

The prefectural government allows shipments of brown rice as long as the grain does not exceed 500 becquerels per kg of radioactive cesium.

via Fukushima rice tests show no contamination | The Japan Times Online.

This video was posted below an excerpt from the above article on Newson Japan, but it does not inspire confidence, “Well, nobody’s actually come to actually check this rice field behind me… I have 2 young children so… I hope that everything’s OK…!”

[yframe url=’’]

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自動翻訳?で意味不明 アインシュタイン伝記、回収騒ぎ  :日本経済新聞

This is pretty funny – obviously all these guys went to university, where you quickly learn the shortcuts that avoid having to do any actual work, thanks to technology. Need to translate, say, a book by tomorrow? No problem! Just click the mouse and presto!

The article says that a new book just published, a Japanese translation of Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, and which appeared in 2 volumes June 2011, 5,000 books of each volume, has some translation gaffes – incomprehensible passages – due to machine translation which wasn’t properly checked before printing.


via 自動翻訳?で意味不明 アインシュタイン伝記、回収騒ぎ  :日本経済新聞.

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Why are the Japanese such stoics? 2

This is a follow-up to an earlier social commentary post on the subject of Japanese stoicism in the face of the disaster.

In that post, I wrote that a key to understanding Japanese behaviour is their concern for others: what others think and the effect on others of one’s own personal behaviour.

Because of this set of values, the Japanese consider people who act on their own without consulting others as immature, childish, selfish. On the other hand, Westerners tend to see the Japanese as meek, docile, stupidly obedient to authority.  It is very difficult for Westerners and Japanese to find a middle ground on this subject.

The following opinion written by a Japanese is about those foreigners who fled Japan soon after the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis:

“Japanese people are quite forgiving and many have a “foreigner complex” whereby we don’t expect the foreigners to do simple things like learn the Japanese language. We easily forgive them when they do not understand or fit in so well. It’s even because many Japanese people themselves think that Japan has so many customs and rules that it is difficult for even us to know what to do in many cases. But, in our case, when we don’t know, as japanese it is common sense that we consult each other and, in Japan, team work is what matters. A Japanese person would never flee when others in their family are in danger. Take, for example the Fukushima 50. That the foreigners fled instantly, before any consultations or warnings from the government, show us that they don’t care about the group so they do not intend to be a part of Japanese society…  That’s okay. Hence, all the people I talked to were of the opinion that foreigners are just that; We can’t expect them to be responsible to anyone except themselves. Most of them certainly do not understand what the responsibility to us (Japanese) means

via Marketing Japan.

Mutual understanding is difficult, perhaps an impossible dream. I am reminded of Kipling’s lines:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

(From “The Ballad of East and West”. Kipling spent his early childhood in India before moving to England to complete his schooling, and was intimate with both Indian and British culture.)

Rudyard Kipling, poet, author of "The Ballad of East and West"

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