28 April, 2011

I Found Tokyo in Paris

Tokyo has a little bit of many other cities from all over the world.

It constantly adopts new culture from other countries, and it is very easy to find food from many other countries.

Chinese restaurants and Italian restaurants are very common, and already a part of the daily life of people in Tokyo.

People no longer think they are "ethnic food" these days.

This feeling is a little bit difficult to explain, but I often sense energy of other cities in the air.

I said "the air," but it is not just the wind you breath. It also has the warmth, humidity, air presser, sound, and smell, etc.

I often feel "Hong Kong air" or "New York City air" in Tokyo. It is made of many things, and it's fun to discover exactly what makes me feel that way. Sometimes the smell coming from the dry cleaners, sometimes the noises of cars on the street.

The photo is "Tokyo air" I found in Paris. A German photographer friend of mine also said this view also reminded him of Tokyo, so I am sure he was also sensing the same air then!

This is one of my favourite photos I took together with his great help. Danke!

Here is his beautiful web site.  Klaus Mellenthin

27 April, 2011

Finding Beauty

A while ago, an American photographer living in Tokyo told me, people in Japan don't stop and take time to appreciate the beauty.

It is very true. Most people in Tokyo are too busy, and they tend to think they need to get out of Tokyo and go some other place to find beauty.

In fact the beauty can be found everywhere. If you have a moment to stop, and look around, you can always find something wonderful where you are.

It is a beautiful season in Japan too. Instead of worrying about the radiation problems and such, I want people to take a moment to find some beauty and enjoy it.

It doesn't cost any money, nor electricity;)

26 April, 2011

Listening to the Nature

If you visit Japan this time of year, you maybe surprised by the number of people in town wearing surgical masks.

They wear those surgical masks to protect themselves from cedar and cypress pollen. 


In the last 25 years or so, more and more people started having allergic reactions to the pollen. 


And they take antihistamine, (it makes you sleepy!) and wear surgical masks, (they are not the sexiest items to wear!). 


As for me, I was perfectly okay with the pollen until 6 or 7 years ago. 


So it took me many weeks to realize the constant sneezing and runny nose was the symptoms of "pollen allergy. 


It is said that the cedar and cypress trees in the forests in Japan have been neglected for too many years. And they are releasing pollen every spring like crazy. 


The reason for having neglected the forests is simple. It was cheaper to import wood from other countries... 


I believe this is an important message from the forests. The nature always send us messages and signs, but not in the human languages. We need to find those messages and signs more carefully and humbly. 


Instead of fighting with the nature, I try to get alone with it. What worked for me was drinking "cedar tree essence."
It tasted like very weak green tea. 


After taking one bottle of the essence, all the unpleasant symptoms magically disappeared. 



21 April, 2011

Helping Japan in Your Own Way

I have been wondering how I can help my country.

Easiest thing I can do is send money, which I did, I am doing, and I will be doing in the future.

But I also wanted to help people outside Japan who are helping Japan.

My friend in Paris, Marie-Christine, told me about something very interesting.

Récits et croquis - Bilingual graphic blog: Flickr: "Flickr is a popular image and video hosting website, and online community created in 2004. The service is widely used by bloggers to host..."


Flickr is a photo sharing website provided by Yahoo!, and I have been a member for about a half year. It is full of wonderful people, both professional and amateur photographers.

There are many groups to support Japan on Flickr, but this auction project looks so wise. I am considering it myself. It may not be much, but it is something I can do.

19 April, 2011

The Famous Bedroom

Hello all my friends. I am still staying in Paris.

Although I am busy every day working for Japan, I had a wonderful Sunday with no work!

A good friend of mine drove me to Versailles. No need to explain, it's a very famous place. It is truly amazing in many ways.

Another friend of mine once told me after visiting Versailles, "now I understand why French Revolution happened."

And I actually felt the same way!

The history was very sad, but I never dislike Marie Antoinette as a person. She must have been lonely coming from Austria when she was very young.

By the way, this famous bedroom doesn't look very comfortable. I wonder if she was able to sleep well on the bed?

18 April, 2011

A Moment of Forever

Generally speaking, most Japanese people think Paris is a very romantic place.

In a way, it is very true. The whole city has something magical to help people fall in love.

Some Japanese TV shows reported that couples in France go to the bridges over La Seine and make a wish by putting a lock on the bridge, and throwing the key into the river.

I think they make a wish so that they can be together forever.

I am not sure if it works, but for me, it is wonderful and beautiful that many lovers actually take a trip to Paris together, and make a wish.

When they are doing it, their love must be 100 percent pure. That is already a great achievement in a romantic relationship!

Couples believe in the ever lasting love. And here is the moment of forever.

Romantic relationships may die, or may not die. Even if they can live together for many years, one of them passes away leaving the other.

That is life. In this physical world, nothing is forever.

However, in reality, the spirits will never die. And their love can be truly ever lasting love.

But when I look at these locks, I just have to pray that these couples eventually find the "ever lasting love" of the spirit. Bless them! 

16 April, 2011

Daylight Saving

Daylight saving is a great idea to save energy.

All you have to do it, turn the clock forward, and start your day 1 hour early.

This is a very little known fact, but Japan did it after the war for 4 years.

It didn't work very nicely in my country.

People thought, since the sun was still up in the sky, they had to work more!!! So, daylight saving
caused working overtime...

If Japan starts daylight saving once again, probably it works a little better.

It's really time for people in Japan to shift their focus from work to their private life.

An editor I have been working with for many years told me, now she can go home early and spend her evening together with her parents. The publisher is telling the editors to go home early.

I know that she used to work until 11 pm or midnight every day...

Economy is of course something very important, and your job and making money are important too.

But if you don't enjoy your life with your loved ones, what is the point?

By the way, although I am staying in Paris at the moment, I am working for Japan, writing articles on my laptop and sending them to Japan.

I am very busy, but I am still enjoying myself a lot! It's wonderful the sun is still up in the sky after 7 pm in Paris!

13 April, 2011

Cherry Blossom Viewing Not Cancelled

My Boyfriend, a French man living in Tokyo, just sent me a beautiful photos of cherry blossoms and people doing "hanami," cherry blossom viewing.

I was so glad that people in Japan did enjoy the
beautiful cherry blossoms, despite the fact some politicians were telling people to cancel "hanami." this year.

The word, "jishuku" is often used in Japan at the moment, it means "voluntary restraint."

Some politicians were telling people to "volunteer not to have fun, because it is improper to do so now."

This must be a misuse of the word. If the politicians believe "voluntary restraint" is needed, they should do it themselves, instead of
asking people to do it.

I am not sure if this is reported outside Japan, but it is more and more obvious to my eyes that people in Japan are loosing trust in the government and the official sources.

As for me, I decided to trust my own gut feelings rather than what other people, including the media, tell us.

I have been working as a writer in Japan for many years, and I know that the news paper and TV stations are telling "what they want people to believe."

Over the past 6 or 7 years, I have been asked to appear on Japanese TV shows many times, and I kept rejecting the offers.  They always expect me to say what they want me to say.

According to some of my close friends in Japan, the information they get from twitter is the best at the moment! 

09 April, 2011

Words From Japanese People

I have noticed that since the earthquake on 11 of March, more people started reading my blog.
(Thank you very much!)

It seems like more and more people would like to know what ordinary Japanese people are thinking, in addition to what the media report.

Here is a great site, a list of blogs in English.

Japan Blog List 

Generally speaking, Japanese people are not good at speaking a foreign language.

And there aren't so many of them who feel like writing their thoughts and delivering their messages to the rest of the world in the English language.

I have advised a lot of Japanese friends that it would be a good idea for them to run an English blog.

Their answer was always the same.

"My English is not good enough. I have to study more English before that"

I know that their English is quite good, if not perfect.

To my blog readers in Japan... my English is far from perfect. But I think running this blog with my imperfect English is so much better than waiting for the day I can write perfect English!

So, I hope all of you excuse me for my poor English;) Have a nice weekend!

08 April, 2011

No Hanami in Tokyo?


Crop!
Originally uploaded by yujiblog "Thank you from Japan"
When Tokyo started saving electricity, I first thought "Tokyo had become dark like Paris at night!"

But now it's actually darker.

During the day, the lights in the trains are off.

Even at night, the trains are so dark that they can't even read newspaper.

Naturally, they don't feel like dining out nor drinking. The whole city of Tokyo is quiet at night.

On an occasion like this, I believe it's perfect to enjoy the beauty of the nature.

Although, the governer of Tokyo is telling people to cancel "Hanami" (cherry blossom viewing) especially at night, people need something to look forward to. People need to enjoy life.

Well, I am going to do Hanami anyway, no matter where in the world! 

07 April, 2011

Nothing Happened Today

I took this photo a while ago in a city called Fukuoka, in the west Japan.

It was soon after the earthquake, so I asked them if something was happening.

The answer was "no, we are just doing a daily training."

So, nothing happened... great.

If you feel your day was not so great because nothing special happened, please remember, it's a wonderful thing that nothing happened and you can end your day without worrying about anything.

06 April, 2011

Happy Moment

I always feel very happy when I see newly married couples. Just watching them on the street makes me feel "it's my lucky day!"

On the other hand, I imagine so many couples had to postpone their weddings in Japan.

But I can't just feel sad about my country. Life just goes on and on. I need to find joy of life, share happy moments with others.

Have a great day, all my friends!

04 April, 2011

Imprudent?

A French friend of mine said,

"Yuji, if it's hard to buy water in Tokyo, maybe you can buy wine instead?"

I just couldn't stop laughing!

But if I said the same thing in Japan now, people may say it's imprudent or improper!

03 April, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

The school year starts in April in Japan. It's the season of cherry blossoms.

As well as it is time for them to start something new, it is also the time to say "good bye" Some people move to a new place, and they start a new life there.

It is almost impossible to explain my feelings in a word or two, but there is a sense of "death" also in these beautiful cherry blossoms.

Some of the famous sights for cherry blossom viewing in and around Tokyo are grave yards.

One of my friend took his life over 10 years ago, leaving a note saying he wanted to end his life under the cherry blossoms.

Every time this season comes, I just have to think of all the dead people who gave me life, and feel the strength to live.

I don't feel sad. I just sense the energy in cherry blossoms to turn old into new. And the death into rebirth.

And they remind me what a magical and fantastic world we live in now.

01 April, 2011

Personal Happiness

This is something not talked about so much...

While Japan grew so rapidly after the war, there was something which was often neglected.

Personal happiness!

So many companies are trying to save energy, and they try to close the offices early.

As a result, the employees can go home early, and have a little more time to spend with their loved ones, or have their own time away from work.

A lot of people in and around Tokyo spend over 1 hour or 2 hours each way on crowded trains. They do it twice a day.

And they often work over time. If they can finish their work at 5 PM, they are very lucky.

Even after they finish the day's work, they still have to have business dinner or drinks together with their co-workers.

Needless to say, they have very little private time to enjoy.

After the earthquake hit Japan, everything is changing. And of course, this is a positive change!

I remember until I was 25 or so, I had a difficult time to accept the idea of "enjoying life."

A lot of Japanese people still somewhat guilty about "enjoying life."

But now, they have realized that they were living for their companies, instead of themselves or for their loved ones.

Me?

I am an independent writer, I don't belong to any company.

What do you think? lol