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July 31, 2002

Urashima Taro

Spending two days without connecting to the Net makes me feel like becoming an Urashima Taro. Enjoy!

July 30, 2002


I've come back from a short driving trip to Sapporo. Now I'm too tired to post an entry today. Hm? Oh yeah, this IS an entry. Hahaha. Too bad I just lost my daily posting streak that had been kept going this month. Things on this blog are getting back to normal from tomorrow. Thanks for coming!

July 27, 2002

Violet's Diary 2

Seems like Violet has made a good debut. Thanks for all the warm messages to her. Your comments gave her a lot of encouragement. What I find great about the student is her positive attitude to learning English. "Passivity" is a keyword that well describes Japanese students in general. Among those students, she is without doubt a standout. Also, her English ability is far better than mine in 9th grade. She's got tremendous potential. (Hey, Violet, I MEAN it. I'm not KIDding you. OK?)

OK, here we go. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask her. She'll be happy to respond.

Friday, July 19

Mr.Hatano gave me a good chance.
He's going to publish my diary in his blog.
I was surprised ,
because my English is nothing out of the ordinary.
I thought my English isn't so good , and I've thought.
I'm an examinee,write this diary is hard.
However,I really like English!!
I'm keeping write this diary.
Someday,I read over again this diary.
Will I giggle or get shame?
I can't expect.
Then,Mr.Hatano become grand father?
I can't expect,too.
Please become long-lived man,Mr.Hatano.
Some day,chat away with me in English.

Saturday, July 20

I wanted to watch my diary on Mr.Hatano's blog.
However,my computer was strange.
I couldn't watch it.
I used my mobile phone.
Now,I want to teach every one.
I'm a typical Japanese girl !!
Mr.Hatano wrote,she is not a typical one.
It is wrong.I'm very normal.
But,my face isn't normal as a Japanese.
My friend thought
"She is an American. I must speak to her in English."
when we met for the first time.
Ha!It goes without saying that my parents are Japanese!

July 26, 2002


Hey, look at the calendar on the left sidebar. I've been posting every day so far this month! Aha, now I know it's the use of putting a calendar here for me. Although I've been blogging on a one-post-a-day basis, each with a short piece of writing, it's a kind of achievement, eh? As Kurt said in his comment, it may be that the cold weather has made me active one way or another in writing every day. Hmm...but yet, I'd rather be in a huge sauna than in a huge freezer. I could be active there and blog on the crazy heat and humidity -- Nanchatte (Just kidding).

By the way, in the same comment, Kurt wrote about "xml feed." What is it? To my shame, I don't know anything about XML things. If my "adding a link to my XML feed" helps you to catch up my posting (I don't know how it works), I'll be glad to try. I'd appreciate it if you, anyone, could tell me what it is and what I should do.

On another note, michelle wrote about a display and scroll bug caused by IE 6. I'd been wondering about this bug. That is, when I visit a blog site, sometimes the text of the page is cut off at the bottom and I can't scroll it down. I left it unsolved as one of those things. Her entry cleared the mist away. "Hit F11 twice, quickly."

July 25, 2002

Pretty Cold

It's been a cold summer around here so far, with the temperature less than 20 C (68 F). I feel like turning on the heater in the morning, which I've actually done a couple of times, and turning on the air conditioner in the evening with energetic students around in the small classroom, which I've actually done a couple of times as well. How can I keep in good shape under such conditions? Hey, Summer! What the hell are you thinking about? Behave yourself! Summer should be summer. Give me ORDINARY HOT SUMMER! Oops, I'm hot under the collar.

I experienced this kind of summer back in my junior year at university. I went camping on the beach with my friends. Yeah, we knew that the weather had been weird. But, you know, it was summer. And we were young. Who could stop us from going? Sure enough, we had a supreme time. No sunshine. Extremely low temperature. Nobody would venture into the water. That summer was merciless.

I only hope August is another month.

July 24, 2002

O, La Ra La

For those who are interested in the Japanese language or Engrish, this blog entry by Frank Boosman must be highly suggestive. He introduces an article that can explain how difficult it is for Japanese speakers to distinguish the sounds "ra" and "la". It says the first language we learn warps everything we hear later. Now you can understand it takes a lot of courage for a Japanese guy to say "I love you" at all -- at the risk of sounding like "I rub you." In the same way, Japanese speakers don't understand why "karaoke" can be "carry-okie", or "Honda" "Hahnda". When hearing foreign words, we tend to put the sounds into our familiar ones. Getting over the established phonemes of our first language is a tough job.

If you happen to find interesting English mistakes that are made not only by Japanese but by native speakers as well, please let me know. I feel like collecting and studying them.

July 23, 2002

The Fly

When you notice someone's fly is open, what will you do? That's somewhat a delicate matter. If he was an unpleasant guy, I'd be happy to leave him alone. If not, I would try to say in a quiet voice ... Wait, how should I say it in Japanese? The Japanese language is rich in roundabout expressions. OK, what about this case? One I can think of is "shakai no mado (a window to society)." This, however, is quite an old-fashioned wording. Ha! I'm ashamed to use this. Then what else? Mmm, no, I can't come up with any witty phrases. (Do I have to be witty anyway?) Well, I'd say like "Um, you know, that part is open."

If you are a man, I suppose you have an experience or two or three or hundreds. I mean, accidentally leaving your fly open and noticed by someone else nearby. I have done it once. Yes, once. Only once, I want to believe. And that was, of all things, in front of the students at a 9th grade class! I went into the classroom, getting to my desk, standing by it, and said "Hello!" as usual. Then, a boy student said, "Sensei (teacher), that is open!", pointing to my, ahem, opening. The rest is history -- No, no! It's history.

July 22, 2002

World Maps

Japan is in the "Far East." I wondered about this when I was in junior high school. Why "far"? From where? Who decided that Japan was in the "east" of the world? What in the world is "Near" East anyway? Why do people say that the US is among the "Western" countries? -- Japan was always placed in the center of the world maps I saw. Being an innocent country boy, I simply believed world maps all over the world were made that way. And on those maps, the US was to the east of Japan. (In fact, you have to go "east" to get there.) So it came as a kind of shock wave for me to know the fact in a later year that Japanese world maps place Japan at the center simply because this is Japan!

Recently, I found in an English exercise book for high school seniors that the first maps of the world were drawn by "people around the Mediterranean Sea." Aha.... I can't recall if I learned this in high school. Probably I did, yeah.

July 21, 2002

Time Difference

Yeah, I can see the future, mate. It's 11:30 p.m. around Chicago, Saturday night, eh? OK, I'll tell what it'll be like around my town at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. It's cloudy, a little cool for this time of year. No, rather cold! Come on, I feel like putting on a sweater! Is it really summer?!

Time difference is interesting. I find in the morning that someone posted a comment on my blog at 4:00 a.m. and I wonder, "Hey, is he an early bird or a night owl?" Fact is, it was in the middle of the day on his part. Japan is 15 hours ahead of Chicago. When it's noon here, it's 9 p.m. in Chicago, 7 p.m. in Los Angeles, 10 p.m. in Toronto, and 3 a.m. in the UK. Oh, summer time? Then plus one hour. There is no daylight saving time in Japan.

I'm more of a morning person. I usually write in my blog before noon. The early blogger catches ...what? Given the time zone Japan is in, I may be a blogger that posts the day's entry earlier than anyone else.

July 20, 2002

Violet's Diary

There is a student called Violet in my school. An excellent student in 9th grade, she is very eager to learn English. Last week, asked what to do to be one of the best students (or possibly the very best student) that I've ever taught, I advised her to keep an English diary. (It's kind of funny, because, as I wrote here before, I'm bad at keeping a diary myself, you know.) Sure, she did just as she was told to do and showed her seven-day fruition to me yesterday. Great kid. I admired her motivation and promised her to place a given day's entry of hers on my blog once a week -- without any correction. This will continue as long as she keeps it (or I keep this blog). I'm looking forward to seeing how she will improve her writing skills from now on. And hopefully for you visitors, this will be an opportunity to get to know a bit of what Japanese teen-agers are like, if not she is a typical one.

So, this is what she wrote on July 12 -- as it is. No corrections made.

Friday, July 12

Today,Mr.Hatano said, "Write diary in English ,Violet." to me.
So I'm writing this diary now.
First,I'm going to write how I've spent today.

I got up about seven.I didn't sleep enough.
I revolted my parents,especially mother.
But there was no reason.

I went to school.
There,we have six classes today.
Science,social study,Japanese,math,Domestic science and home room.

First class was science.
We learned how to make a child(animal).

Second class was domestic science.
We are going to cook lunch next domestic science.

Third,math.It made me sleepy.

Fourth,Japanese.We learned about "Kei-go".
I'm very good at "Kei-go".It is the Japanese culture.

Fifth,social study.
I'm very bad at social study.In fact,I've got 79points on exam.
But I study hard social study.
Why I can't get good score on social study exam!
Please tell me about that someone!

Sixth,home room.
We wrote about ourselves.
Of course,I wrote about English.I like English the best!
Will I be an English native speaker someday?
I want to be an English native speaker!
But,I was born in Japan.I've already born in Japan.

After school,I went to my club to make an artistic thing.
(I'm in the art club.I'm a captain.)

I came back home around six.
I had already got E-mail from my "Sempai".
He became a high school student this year.
I can't meet him.
So I sometimes go to the station to meet him.
I don't take my mobile phone to school.
If I get an E-mail,I can't read it soon.

I've got a headache since a little ago.
I may go now.See you again!!!

July 19, 2002


I let the students play card games once in a while; after periodic exams at school for junior-high schoolers, and at the end of each month for grade schoolers. They particularly like to play UNO. In terms of English learning, by playing UNO, they will be familiar with the words "reverse," "draw,""skip," and "wild." Only four words, but hopefully they would be their working vocabulary with a bit of good memories.

I have played the game only a few times myself. Oh yeah, so here goes --

A simple question:

When you have one card left, you have to say UNO. OK, I know that. Then what do you say when you throw down your last card?

July 18, 2002


"I like dog." It's quite possible that a Japanese speaker of English says so. It's not that he likes to eat dog, but that he likes dogs, er, probably. It's one of the typical mistakes that Japanese are prone to make. Why? Because, basically, Japanese nouns have no plural form.

Well, change the object. Hon is a Japanese counterpart of book. Hon is always hon. I mean, in Japanese it goes like, "I have a hon," "I have two hon," "I have a lot of hon." Honto? (Really? -- this is called oyaji gyagu, or a middle-aged man's boring pun, here. Got it?) Yeah, honto. So, you can even say, "I bought hon yesterday," without indicating whether that means a book or books. Usually, it doesn't cause inconvenience in communicating with each other. Context speaks. But if someone asks me to translate it into English, without any context, I can't.

Now the interesting thing is that the Japanese language has a great variety of expressions of counting things, and they are strict. A book is issatsu. A dog is ippiki. A pen ippon. A boy hitori. A car ichidai. A piece of paper ichimai.... This would trouble foreign learners of Japanese greatly.

July 17, 2002

Feedback, please.

A simple question:

If a non-native English speaker says to you,

"I like dog."

how do you feel? Frankly, how does it sound to you? Any answer is welcome. :)

July 16, 2002


I'm not sure how many words are in my English vocabulary. I've been in touch with English for a long time and so I think I've encountered a great number of English words up to now. My main source of vocabulary building has been through reading. Maybe, only a fraction of them are in my working vocabulary. The English language has a huge, enormous, vast, abundant, ever-increasing number of words. I hear English has the largest vocabulary of all the languages on this planet.

Interestingly enough, of all the English words I have learned by now, there are several ones that I can vividly recall when and how they got into my vocabulary.

At the first English lesson in seventh grade, I learned "sheep" and "peach." Good boy. Also in seventh grade, a classmate told me proudly that he knew a word "have." I thought he was a genius. In eighth grade, I learned the word "explanation" from the Carpenters' Top of the World. But I didn't get what "top of the world" meant. And in ninth grade, I learned "either" and "neither" during class. The English teacher pronounced those words over and over again with a "perfect Japanese accent." That haunted me for a while, lingering in my ears. A horror story, kind of. Well, next one is not a word, but I learned the meaning of "Let it be" in senior high school. I had heard it many times before, but it had always sounded like "Rally Pee" to me. Really. And while studying for entrance exams, I learned "remain" through a vocabulary exercise book. I don't know why only this word has remained in my memory.

I don't remember now how the English classes at school were really going, yet those words live in my memory with a bit of vivid scenes. Yes, my English learning in a long and winding tunnel did start with them.

July 15, 2002

Blog Description

It makes me amused to think what the heck my blog is. It's neither a weblog in a strict sense nor a diary. Actually, I'm not good at keeping a diary. I've tried to keep one a couple of times before, but have never kept them going. This blog may have no categories, but anyway I like it, at least for now. I write whatever comes to my mind, regardless of subjects. This could be placed in the broadest definition of a "blog."

As you may have noticed, the description of my blog that is shown above goes, "This and that about my English classes in Japan." This is the one I made hastily when I started blogging via Blogger, thinking that I could rewrite it some time soon. The description is now off the point considering what I've actually been writing about. I've kept it untouched, though, simply because I haven't thought of a nifty one. I'm no good at naming things or copywriting. Can you think of one? I bet anything would be better than mine. If you do, in return, I'll...er, well, think about a cool Japanese name for you. Huh? Nobody would want such a name? Ha-ha-ha!

July 14, 2002

Typhoon No.6

It's a sunny Sunday. The temperature is 24 C (75.2 F) and a pleasant cool breeze is blowing -- This is the weather that is quite Hokkaido-like in the beginning of summer. It's nice to have an idle weekend without planning anything every now and then.

Do you ever feel general climate patterns have been a little strange recently? Seems like they are, at least here in Japan. Typhoon No.6 made landfall a few days ago. Unlike American hurricanes, Japanese typhoons are not named but numbered. It's kind of scary to imagine Typhoon Hanako going on the rampage, making her way violently through the Japanese archipelago, or Typhoon Pikachu .... Anyway, the No.6 did a great damage, claiming several lives. It's not usual for typhoons to hit Japan in July; it's been five years since the last July one. And usually, typhoons, which come from the south and move to the north, gradually weaken on the way and change into extra-tropical cyclone before reaching Hokkaido. But this one was different. It kept its savagery and landed in the eastern area of Hokkaido, for the first time in July in 28 years. It went down soon after hitting and didn't come to my town. Phew.

Meanwhile, the weather forecast says another destructive typhoon is on its way to Japan. Aargh!

July 13, 2002


It's Saturday, so it's time for Saturday Scruples:

1. A disgruntled worker is brandishing an automatic weapon. You're near a door. If you try to warn others you may not escape. Do you save yourself?

It depends. It depends on the actual situation. That's all I can say.

2. You're buying a house from a sweet old lady. Her price is well below market value. Do you tell her?

Yes, especially when the seller is a sweet old lady. I want to know how she set the price.

3. Your five-year-old is angry and kicks you in the shins. Do you administer a sound spanking?

It depends on the reason why she/he got angry. But I will not overlook her/him doing such a thing to me or anyone.

July 12, 2002

Call Me A Rocker!

It's rock 'n' roll, baby! Bcj. sent me an interesting link of another piece of Engrish. Thanks, bcj!

I don't understand why generally shy-of-speaking-English-in-private Japanese can be so bald, ahem, bold enough to show off their Engrish when it comes to naming commercial goods, public facilities, etc. Nor do I understand why they won't take a little time off to make sure, by consulting dictionaries or native speakers, whether their English is correct or not before making it "public." It could be one of the Seven Wonders of Japan. What do you think? It's learry a mystely.

Incidentally, the correspondent who wrote the article is a Japanese. Uh-huh.

July 11, 2002


Oh, once again, not again. Does this page look right on your browser? Not like this? I know IE 6 behaves badly and there's something wrong with my CSS coding too. I don't mean to make you scroll down a great deal to read my entries every time. So if my page looks this weird, please let me know. Thanks, Jennifer.

By the way, this is my 100th post here. Thank you all for stopping by this page. Hope you'll keep coming back. :)

July 10, 2002

Typhoon, who?

Kurt has posted an interesting entry on typhoons. (I wonder why he's so desperate to find a Japanese guy who loves the rain, going so far as to saying this is his "seemingly unreachable goal in life" and seeing himself as a "tenkeiteki gaijin" (typical foreigner) in this case. Oh, that conceivably means most Americans LOVE the rain, eh?)

I used to think that the word "typhoon" came from Japanese. We have kanji characters meaning typhoon and its pronunciation is something like "Thai-who", which sounds similar to typhoon. As Kurt points out, if a word comes from a foreign language other than Chinese, we usually write it in katakana, a syllabary used mainly for representing foreign words. Then the Japanese Thai-who is from Chinese? I searched the Net and found there is no distinct answer for this. Who in the world is Thai-who? One potent theory puts it that Thai-who comes from English typhoon, applied the pronunciation into kanji. Wow. And another one is, as you can see, from Chinese. What makes the matter more confusing, some sources say that the Chinese version of typhoon may come from another language, such as Greek or Arabic. Hey, it's similar to the etymology of typhoon!

OK, the answer remains to be a mystery. Anyway, English has typhoon, and Japanese has Thai-who. No problem....

July 9, 2002

Banana II

After the all-you-can-possibly-eat feast, poor bananas lost their prestigious status that had been granted by little Kiyo and, alas, became ones he hated to eat. It was not until he turned 13 that he got over his banana phobia. But still they were not his favorites. And time passed ....

Don't feel let down, dear bananas! Your status has been resumed recently.

I don't hate to eat bananas now. Matter of fact, they are indispensable for my source of nutrition. Um, overstatement, a little.

On weekdays, I have supper late. Classes start at around 4 p.m., and end at around 9:30. Supper is after that. Usually I have no appetite during work hours, but sometimes feel hungry or fatigued at the later classes. On such occasions, bananas are very convenient for quick nourishment. Bananas are my eternal heroes! Um, overstatement, a little.

July 8, 2002


Gee, I didn't forget to use the spellchecker on my last entry. The result was just as you can imagine....

Well, the seventh graders seem to have got over the Banana Syndrome and can pronounce "Canada" well now. BaNAna, CAnada, baNAna...Oh, my students won't believe this, but when I was a little kid, bananas were a precious fruit. I would jump for joy when I could eat one, and one of my dreams in those days was to eat as many bananas as possible. And oh, the day did come when I was in second or third grade. I came home from school and found bunches of bananas on a table. I don't remember why they were there, but anyway I and my brother enjoyed them to our stomachs' content. Actually, I no longer liked to eat bananas after that.

That reminds me. When I was in bed with a cold, my mother would often serve me canned peaches. Japanese folks about my age may agree.

July 7, 2002

Speling (with one l)

Good news for bad spellers?! Freespeling.com (with one l) "promotes the World Vote to stimulate a consensus for simpler, easier spelings which will become a new set of Standard Spelings for the future." O, year?

According to this site, only 17% of native English speakers can spell the following six words correctly:
Height, necessary, accommodation, seperate, sincerely, business

Have you noticed that one of them is spelled wrong? Yeah? In those words, I should say "necessary" is my arch-rival.

I was amused to read these words:

"Four" "forty" ? ridiculous. Who can justify it to a child?

Aha, indeed I sometimes have trouble explaining to my students why they shouldn't write like "Wenzday, Febuary nineth." Among the typical misspellings my students often make are: tha (the), ar (are), meny (many), tenis (tennis), frend (friend), boll (ball), hav (have), whoes (whose), dose (does), it's (its), your (you're), house (horse)... . I too made a mistake in class the other day writing "excercise". Come on, why not "c"! My dear students are keen on finding my misspellings.

Before starting this blog, I used to think I was a fairly good speller. Yes, I say "before". Now, I'm using IeSpell, a spell checker that Jennifer (Jen) recommended (spelled right?) in one of her entries, and that tatroyer also mentioned in his blog recently. (Oh, I haven't upgraded it yet!) Trouble is, I often forget to use it! So it scares me to think that one day I'll write "Conglaturations!"

While I think Freespeling.com's attempt is interesting, I at the same time feel the "flavo(u)r" of traditional English spellings is also facsinating, oh, fascinating, especially after seeing the substitutes listed on the website. I'd rather write "you" than "u".

Are you a good speller?

-- via 100SHIKI (Japanese)

July 6, 2002


Saturday Scruples:

1. Your six-year-old son likes to play with Barbie? dolls. Do you discourage him?

No, probably. I'd care about how he plays with them, though. I'll provide him with as many chances as possible to experience something new and interesting. And still he sticks to Barbies, then it's OK. Well, when I was a kid, I liked dolls. Oh, I'd like to see if he will show interest in a "Gumby" doll. (Actually I didn't have that one, but I'd have wanted it.)

2. When you make a big sale, your boss surprises you with a warm, lingering hug. Do you tell your boss you're not comfortable with this?

Haha, it depends. I don't think a boss hugging you on such occasions is a usual scene in Japan, though. If the boss were a woman, it could be OK with me. (Oh, but it depends..er, you know...) If a man, ...hmmm it could also be OK unless he would try to kiss me.

3. You invent a new kitchen aid. You can make four times more if you manufacture it in Asia where workers are paid a survival wage. Do you?

Where in Asia anyway? OK, it depends. As long as I can keep secure manufacturing here, I won't think about other options.

July 5, 2002

Names II

It seems that more parents in Japan today don't care about traditional naming practices when they name their newborn babies. Among my students these days , I can find a number of ingenious names that couldn't be seen in the past. Also, adopting original use of kanji seems to be a recent trend. That's kind of fun, but when accepting enrollment on the phone, I'm often puzzled over what kanji the parents at the other end are referring to. It's good, at least for my kanji practice.

Speaking of naming practices, I remember a case that triggered a nationwide controversy over it about eight years ago. The story began when a couple tried to name their baby boy "Akuma", which roughly means "Devil". The City Hall refused to accept the notice and the couple filed an appeal to the Court. But in the end, the parents withdrew their appeal and changed the baby's name.

What if the name had been granted?
"Hey, that's Akuma!" ...Hmmmmmm

July 4, 2002


I'm sometimes curious about personal names on the Web.

How did the name "Kiyo" sound to you when you first saw it? On the Net, knowing whether you are a man or a woman is not necessarily a big deal. But I think it interesting that personal names more often than not imply males or females. My given name is Kiyoharu. If you were Japanese, you would know for sure it's a male name. But as for "Kiyo", it's subtle. As a real name, it's almost certainly a famale one, although it could sound old-fashioned now. As a nickname or a handle, it can go either way. Sounds a little feminine, maybe. When giving someone a nickname, we often take the first two syllables from their name. Thus, I'm called "Kiyo" by some of my friends and relatives. I ask people from other countries to call me Kiyo because it's easier to say and I feel comfortable with it.

I'm not particularly familiar with English names, but I know Darren is a male name. Incidentally, in one of the textbooks I use in class, a boy named Darren appears, and he kindly helps Linda to write invitations. Nice guy, Darren. And in the same way, I don't think Kurt and Greg are women. Neither do I imagine Jennifer and Jennifer wear stubble. Michelle is also a wonderful name. What makes me wonder is a man named "Michelle Miyazawa" appearing on Japanese TV as a football commentator. I think it's his real name. Oh, and Hiyoko is a lovely handle, isn't it? Meanwhile, I feel tatroyer sounds like a male name for no particular reason. Not that I see his face on his site. And I guess bcj. is an acronym. I understand it's a fairly common practice to address friends in the US. Right? Hey, I'm KH!


July 3, 2002

Weather Talk

While reading English writing, one which confuses me is measurement. Taking the systems of measuring temperature for example, there are two ways: Celsius and Fahrenheit. In Japan we use the Celsius scale, while the Fahrenheit one is most commonly used in the US. So, as I'm not accustomed to the Fahrenheit scale, I can't get the "feel" of its digits at sight. The conversion formula is: C = (5/9)*(F-32) ...Uh-huh. Well, if you happen to know some nice freeware programs or websites for measurement conversions, please drop me a line.

Now, speaking of snow (haha!), we have a lot of snow here in Hokkaido in winter. I used to like the snow when I was a kid. Skiing, snowballing, sledding, making snowmen ...and joyful memories of white Christmas! There is always something exciting about the snow. But now, when it begins to snow, the first thing that comes to my mind is, "Boy, I have to shovel the snow away around my house tomorrow." And one typical greeting with my neighbors in midwinter is "No more snow, eh?" Sounds sad? Um, I don't hate the snow, really...snow in general...basically.

July 2, 2002

Lovely Summer

It's July! Summer! Yay!

I like summer best of all the seasons. Why? Because it isn't, um, cold. A woeful reason? Yeah, it amazes even me. I hate cold weather. It's kind of funny, considering that I was born and brought up in the coldest part of Japan -- Hokkaido! I think I inherit this nature from my grandfather. He was from Gifu prefecture, a central region in Japan. He used to be very sensitive to the cold, and would often have the "heater" on even in midsummer! It's, in itself, an amazing tale, yeah? And interestingly enough, my wife hates hot weather, though she's from Nagoya, a city also in the central part of Japan!

July 1, 2002

After the Festival

The month-long festival is now over. Could be really blue Monday for the Japanese and Koreans today.

Some foreign media reported it's rather funny that Japanese people cheered for other countries so enthusiastically. I say it's nothing strange, because, for average Japanese, this World Cup was a gigantic "festival". For some football fans, it was a great opportunity to take a closer look at the world-famous star players. For some temporary football fans, it was a sweet opportunity to chase after idle, oops, I mean, idol players. We fully enjoyed the festival. No team to hate.

The popularity of football in this country wasn't, or hasn't been, mature enough to get nationwide attention. Still a long way from being a national sport. In fact, Japan had never won a game in the World Cup before. As far as football is concerned, no national pride was at stake. No big deal.

But, to our surprise, the Japanese team did far better than we had expected. This achievement has given us hope. Things around football in Japan could change for the better from now on. I'm looking forward to the World Cup 2006 in Germany. And also to seeing Kahn the greatest goalkeeper again! Oh, and the Netherlands!

By the way, if the World Cup is to be held at this time of year, Japan would be one of the worst places in the world -- a rainy season called tsuyu with high humidity. But Hokkaido, where I live, is the only region in Japan that is free from tsuyu and nasty humidity -- probably a perfect place. ;)