Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

A Christmas Eve with a Japanese touch by Anne Corinne

As Christmas is coming soon, my relatives and friends based in Europe often ask me if I have any plans for the day, often assuming that nobody celebrates it in Japan. Well, if Christianity is indeed a minority religion here and represents only 1% of the population, many Japanese people actually do celebrate it nowadays by going to Santa Claus parties or by decorating a Christmas tree.

Although Nativity scenes are extremely rare at Japanese homes and the religious aspect is often of secondary importance, many people still go to church every year to listen to beautiful Christmas songs.

After all, the popular saying that “Japanese people are born Shinto, married Christian and buried Buddhist” shows how open-minded Japanese society can be towards different religions.

Unlike countries with a Christian tradition, Christmas Eve is much more important in Japan than Christmas day itself, and there is no national holiday on 25th December.

In Japan, surprisingly, 24th December is rather seen as an evening for two. A bit like Valentine’s Day, Japanese couples would enjoy Christmas Eve with a romantic dinner date in a restaurant and a night walk to see Christmas illuminations. Meanwhile in Western countries, it is so much a big family gathering that traffic congestions and crowded trains are often expected towards this big time of year.

On Christmas day, my French family would give presents to children and have the biggest yearly meal, near a cosy fireplace. It would be served on a beautiful table covered with tablecloths and silverware, and last for several hours. Even the regular local mineral and sparkling waters would be sold in special limited editions with glass bottles signed by famous fashion designers. Our typical menu would be foie gras, raw oysters, turkey, chestnuts, a plate of cheeses and salad, and a glass of champagne. And the long-awaited dessert would be a Yule log cake with a candied cherry on top. To finish, we would have a cup of Christmas tea made with orange peel, and eat some delicious marrons glacés.

Japanese families who want to savour a Christmas meal would rather buy fast-food fried chicken legs. This unexpected tradition is said to have started in the 1970’s, when the expat community regarded the new fried chicken fast-food chains as the only existing substitute for the traditional turkey that is hardly for sale in Japan. It has become so popular nationwide that it is now a “must-eat” on that day (prepare to stand in line for a long time to order your menu).

Japanese Christmas desserts are beautiful cream cakes with lots of big fresh strawberries on top. This combination of white and red colours definitely brings some festive Japanese touch. Although we are both in the northern hemisphere, it is interesting to notice that strawberry is a summer fruit in Europe, whereas it is already ripe in winter in Japan, about 6 months before anyone else.

The land of the rising sun just never ceases to amaze us, and so much the better.

クリスマスがやってくる。ヨーロッパにいる親戚や友達から、よくクリスマスをどうやって過ごすのか聞かれる。日本では誰もクリスマスを祝わないと思いこんでいるからだ。実際、日本ではキリスト教は少数派の宗教で信者は人口の1%しかいない。しかし今日では、多くの日本人が、サンタクロースのパーティに出かけたり、クリスマスツリーを飾ってクリスマスを祝う。

日本の家庭では、キリストの生誕については祝わず、宗教的側面は二の次だが、美しいクリスマス曲を聞きに大勢の人が毎年教会に行く。

結局のところ、「日本人は生まれた時は神道、結婚する時はキリスト教、死ぬ時は仏教。」とよく言われるが、宗教を使いわけるおおらかな日本社会を示す言葉だ。

キリスト教の伝統に習う国とちがい、日本ではクリスマスイブはクリスマス当日よりも重要だ。そして12月25日は祝日ではない。

日本では、12月24日は、恋人ふたりの夜としてとらえられている。どちらかというとバレンタインディに近い。日本人のカップルは、クリスマスイブにレストランでロマンチックなディナーを楽しんだり、クリスマスイルミネーションを見ながら夜の散歩を楽しむ。一方、欧米の国では、1年のこの時期は、家族団らんを楽しむため、交通渋滞が起こったり、電車が混雑する。

クリスマス当日、私母国、フランスの家庭では、子供達にプレゼントを渡し、居心地の良い暖炉の近くで一年でもっとも盛大な食事をする。テーブルクロスで覆い、シルバーウエアが置かれた美しいテーブルで食事は振舞われ、数時間かけて楽しむ。ミネラルウォーターやスパークリングウォーターでさえ、ボトルに有名ファッションデザイナーのサインが刻まれたスペシャルエディションが売られる。典型的なクリスマスメニューは、フォアグラ、生牡蠣、七面鳥、栗、チーズの盛り合わせ、サラダ、シャンパンだ。そしてお待ちかねのデザートは、砂糖漬けのチェリーがのったブッシュ・ド・ノエル(ユールログケーキ)だ。食事を締めくくるのは、オレンジピールを入れたクリスマスティと格別においしいマロングラッッセだ。

クリスマスディナーを楽しもうとする日本の家庭では、ファーストフード店の鶏のももを買う。この意外な慣習は1970代に始まったと言われている。日本に住む外国人が、日本では手に入らなかった七面鳥がの代わりに、ファーストフードのフライドチキンを食べたようだ。日本では今や、クリスマスの日には「定番料理」として人気があり、オーダーするために何時間もかかる長い列ができる。

日本のクリスマスデザートは、大きなイチゴののったすばらしいクリームケーキだ。この白と赤のコンビネーションが際立ったケーキは日本のお祭り気分を盛り上げる。日本と欧米は共に北半球に位置するが、欧米では夏のフルーツであるイチゴが、日本では、6ヶ月も早い冬の時期に熟れたイチゴがお目見えする。

日出づる国はいつも私たちを驚かせてくれる。かえってそれがすごくいい。


Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

BEHIND THE JAPANESE BOW by Alma Reyes

Living in Japan for many years somehow makes you acquire the culture’s unaccountable behavioral customs. This awareness becomes even more striking each time you leave the country and return. Here are a few of them:

“Ki wo tsukau” or showing extreme regard or concern for others is the Japanese manifestation for being discreet, by nature, about avoiding situations that provoke: offending others by language or action; making someone wait; causing someone inconvenience; imposing burden; putting someone at risk; or embarrassing someone (at least publicly). Punctuality, for instance, is a globally known virtue of Japanese. Foreigners think it’s stemmed from Japanese being purely precise in time, when actually, the underlying reason is they don’t want to make someone wait for them, which is regarded as impolite. Many Japanese as well do not customarily “volunteer” staying at relatives’ or friends’ homes when they travel. They would rather bunk in a hotel than impose a burden on others.

Other ways that Japanese practice “ki wo tsukau” may be like choosing a restaurant that the other party prefers (and also selecting an inexpensive meal if being treated); handing an o-kaeshi token or reciprocating by action in return for a present or a favor rendered (such as a job introduction, help with a house move, payment for a meal, and others); and generally downplaying your priorities to adjust to the other party.

Money talk is considered taboo in Japan. You can hardly hear a Japanese ask someone about the amount of salary one is making, let alone ask someone to pay for your train fare or meal. “Going Dutch” is the expected system when eating out. Only would you experience “free” meals when you are in the company of your boss or someone well above your senior. By the same token, borrowing money from someone is more of the exception than the rule (unless it is a person of very close affinity).

The omiyage gift-giving custom (gifts commonly handed out from a trip) can be quite overwhelming. Train stations, airports, souvenir shops, basements of department stores, and shopping arcades flood with presentably packed boxes of sweets, cookies and delicacies representing the region where they come from. It is such a practical marketing tool that many Japanese pick up these omiyage just before boarding the train or plane. Usually one to two boxes would be adequate for one person or a family, and the receiver, likewise, would expect nothing more. The custom is so ingrained in the culture that company workers almost always feel compelled to pick up an omiyage for their co-workers or boss before they return to Japan from a business trip.

On the other hand, Japanese culture is also clouded by a million contradictions. The courteous bow and demure body gestures can quickly be camouflaged by aggressive commuters pushing you inside the train or aside when you descend the staircase or escalator. Touching, not hitting, the person next to you in the train by the umbrella tip, your bag, or just the side of your coat can be addressed with a condescending pout and raised eyebrow, so be careful. The social standards are set so high by moral expectations that deviating from such is literally considered a character misfit, consequently being shoved off from job opportunities, social groups, and even family relations. Social pressure is, indeed, challenging that one has to figure out the least excruciating method to cope against the odds.

Unfinished business

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 17. 2019

Farewell to a Japan Jazz Icon by David Gregory

The messages from all over Japan read aloud during the service helped us realize how widely Koyama-san touched lives and how many like us were feeling something newly missing from our worlds. But, although wonderful and sometimes saddening us, they did not trigger crying. That happened next.

Those first few notes of the "'Round About Midnight" Miles Davis version, the cut Koyama-san always used to open Jazz Tonight, performed by a live piano and trumpet duo up front near the coffin, did it: Instant recognition, recollections, sighs around the room, eyes closed, arms crossed, heads dropped back or down, and tears, at least for me. How many times had we heard, after Miles breathed his somber opening, Koyama-san's low, raspy voice welcoming us into the studio with, "Minna-san, gokigen ikaga desho-ka everybody, how are you feeling?"?and never thought that someday we would hear him ask about us no more?

Koyama-san's widow, whom, like him, had never known me, stood alone at the coffin head and bowed in silence to everyone in turn after they placed flowers around his body as the duo continued with another slow number, the trumpet sounding so strong and crisp and unusual in a memorial service hall. After we placed our flowers, she responded to my hand on her shoulder, a touch just meant to console her, by immediately turning and reaching for me?a total stranger?burying her head in my chest, and breaking down. She needed that hug that everybody sometimes needs. She let go after her respite when she was ready to face the coffin and everyone else again, and returned to her position. Going to Kashiwa in a snowstorm was worth it just for those few moments when I could do something for her.

So our Kashiwa day was both sad and good. But, why did I even want to go a funeral for a man whom I only knew by voice, and who, although linked to jazz, was not even a musician?

Koyama-san and his Jazz Tonight program I listened to since at least the early 2000s. For more than sixteen years, while my life in Japan has been filled with huge uncertainties, he has been here Saturday nights on the radio, reliable, keeping me connected to the world's music and opening my ears to music from Japan I would not know without him. Listening to him always made me feel good, no matter what had happened in my life during the week or what was coming up in the weeks ahead. Koyama-san and Jazz Tonight were my respite. How well can I replace that comfort?

Koyama-san, thank you for helping this foreigner feel good in Japan. Please rest well in jazz heaven.

NHK Radio, thank you for giving Koyama-san a way to connect with us. Please encourage other DJs to continue doing what he did so well.

To Koyama-san's surviving family members: Please care well for yourselves now, and thank you for supporting and sharing Kiyoshi with us.

 

The Smallest Box by David Gregory

She came over to my table and asked if I remembered her.
“That’s my boyfriend over there.”
Their table hugged a pillar blocking the sunny Tokyo Bay view enjoyed by the other customers that afternoon in Chiba’s AquaRink ice skating facility café.
“Maybe we will marry next year.”

On my way out, I stopped to congratulate the potential groom to be. What I later heard happened with Hiromi and Hiroshi that night at another place also close to the bay sounded so too good to be true that I visited that place to confirm it really happened. It did.

Hiroshi had reserved for the course menu that night at OCEAN TABLE, next to Chiba Port, on the second floor, where tables sat by the huge windows facing Chiba Port Tower and Tokyo Bay. No view-blocking pillars there. And they had a wait, even with their reservation, because it was Christmas Eve, which in Japan matters much more than the following day; the Eve is the year’s couples’ night out, and single women without dates that night can feel their whole year was wasted.

Hiroshi had changed into a suit after skating, and had urged Hiromi, against her protests about overdressing, into a plaid one-piece, raising expectations. They had never come to a place this nice, one requiring reservations. Saizeriya was more their speed: fast faux-Italian, cheap, and everywhere.
The unexpected wait made Hiroshi antsy. He relaxed and all was perfect after they were seated.

They talked. They ate the Christmas Dinner courses. They ignored the soft Christmas background music. They admired the gleaming, golden Christmas Tree rising from the first-floor buffet area through the open center space across from their table. They could see outside the sparkling flashes and half the tree in Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination, and beyond, the lights from the ships on and facilities around Tokyo Bay, appearing almost twinkling. Perfect—but not for Hiromi.

She went to the toilet. Still he had not asked. The day was done. The reservation system only allowed them two hours there. They had been together all day. He had remembered her birthday-just by coincidence, also that day-with a necklace at AquaRink. Nice, but was that all? He had pestered her since early December about what Christmas present she wanted until she had finally exploded with, “Nothing! Don’t you know I just want a proposal?!” And had added she wanted it to be a surprise. Here he had the perfect chance, and he was wasting it.

She could try enjoying what was left of the evening. Dessert was next. At least here was better than Saizeriya….She was still stuck when she returned to the table, and had no chance to do or say anything, anyway. It was his toilet turn.

Their desserts came. Hiromi sat and waited and pondered the future. Outside, the tower stood alone against the dark sky and Tokyo Bay’s inky darkness.

Their desserts waited. Maybe his tooth was bothering him again. Maybe he was just tolerating it to make the night go well. Maybe for her. Maybe she should go to check on him. Wait-maybe she just heard his voice across the room.

No, only Santa Claus, posing for photographs with diners at the far table. He then started circling the room, giving a small present from his big sack at each table. She could check after he was done.

Hiroshi still had not returned to his seat when Santa reached their table. He handed Hiromi a big, red stocking, by far the room’s largest gift, accompanied by a squeaky, “Atari! You’re a lucky one!” Yeah. She set it aside and Santa moved on. What was he still doing in the toilet?

Santa finished his round, returned to Hiromi, and pointed at her unopened stocking with squeaky, “Un! Un!” grunts. The other diners had opened their presents. She forced a smile and said she was waiting for her boyfriend to return. “Un! Un!”

When Hiromi still resisted, Santa took the stocking in his white-gloved hands and opened it himself. Out first came a big, pink box, heart shaped. He opened that and pulled out another heart-shaped box, and then, from inside that, another heart-shaped box. Another smaller, heart-shaped box followed. He removed from that an even smaller heart-shaped box, and thrust it to Hiromi with one more squeaky, “Un!”

Still gone. Well, he’d miss it. Hiromi obeyed Santa this time and opened it, the smallest box in the room …and her mind and face went blank.

After that frozen moment passed, Hiromi looked at Santa. The second shock hit, and more followed. Santa Claus had ripped off his gloves, furry hat, sunglasses, and huge, flowing beard. He took the box from her?she was still speechless?dropped onto one knee, held the open box out and up to her in both stretching hands, and said in a voice loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Hiromi-san, boku-to kekkon shite kudasai! Hiromi, please marry me!”

Outside, to anybody looking, Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination still flashed, and the lights on and around Tokyo Bay still appeared almost twinkling. Inside OCEAN TABLE, on the second floor, everything was happening so fast that Hiromi just did not know which was more difficult to believe: Hiroshi and the ring he first tried slipping onto the finger on her right hand, the one he had taken in his before she held out her left hand, or the following PAN! and PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! and PAN! PAN! and PAN! explosions ripping and ribbons shooting around the room as diners at the floor’s other tables popped the party crackers they had found with the notes in their presents from Santa Claus.

Copyright © 2018 David L. Gregory All rights reserved.

 

I Did It! by David Gregory

She had been here before. But, those were tour-guided or hand-held visits. After living most of her life in white-bread suburban USA, driving everywhere, shopping in giant malls and supermarkets, and needing only one currency and one language, my mother ventured out on her own, within and beyond Chiba, during one trip to Japan. From her notes, here are Dorothy's...

ADVENTURES IN JAPAN
Grocery Shopping in Neighborhood―Walk five blocks...buy only one bag...walk five blocks back. Survived it!

Shopping in City Center―Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus fifteen minutes. Arrive at stores. Walk around. Look. Decide: cookies.

Buying: “Ikura desu-ka how much?” Hmm. “Kakimasu kudasai write please.”

Paying options: give large bill, let clerk figure change, or open change purse, let clerk take out correct amount. Decide to just give some cash.

Clerk shakes her head (“NO! MORE!”), then counts out correct amount needed from register and shows me. I mimic her action from my change purse. Smiles! Deep bows with many, “Arigato gozaimasu thank you very much!”-es.
(My error: thought there was decimal point in Yen price....)

Open cookies, expecting pirouettes with chocolate centers. Instead, peanut butter waffle rolls, no chocolate. No wonder, now I see peanut sketch on package. “Shoganai can’t be changed,” I did it to myself. It could have been worse!
~~~
Travelling to Visit Friend’s Family on Other Side of Chiba―Walk ten blocks to train. Purchase ticket. Electronic lady on ticket machine screen says, “Arigato gozaimasu” and bows. Ride train twenty minutes, watching for correct stop, get off, walk seven blocks to house. I did it myself!

Visiting Hisae Overnight―My Japanese study partner in USA returned to Japan, now lives on other side of Tokyo Bay.

Take large purse and large tote bag with jacket, nightie, toothbrush, cosmetics. Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus to train station. Ride train eighty minutes to Yokohama. Find correct exit from station. EASY. Did not even look at note in pocket explaining route and Japanese signs. And, look! Hisae and three-year old Kei are waiting! “Hello!” they say! Many hugs!

I did it!

Then, still more travel: train together fifteen minutes, short taxi uphill to lovely apartment, sunny and bright.

Returning to Chiba, just reverse process. Next time, we can meet at a station halfway in between. I can do it.
I can do it!

Copyright (C) 2015 David Gregory. All rights reserved. Chiba, Japan

Book Review

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11 2018

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014,
291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

Reviewed by Randy Swank

video maker and scriptwriter Rey Ventura won the 2015 National Book Award for his third collection of essays, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami, but for some strange twist of fate you will find very little information on this book. You can’t even buy it on Amazon. This is a shame because Cherry Blossoms... is a beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking book.

These 11 essays, some of them autobiographical, see Ventura travelling back and forth between the Philippines and Japan, his adopted country, often portraying the many ways Filipino lives have been shaped and affected by their rich quasi-neighbor. Like in "A Suitable Donor," where the young men who live in the Manila slum of Banseco tell of how they came to "donate" a kidney or another organ to help a rich person in need − often from Japan.

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami
by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014, 291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

In "Miniskirts and Stilettos" we meet Ginto, a young lady who comes to Japan dreaming of making it big as a singer and entertainer but has to deal instead with a much darker reality; while "Mr. Suzuki Tries Again" and "Into the Snow Country" are tragicomic tales of arranged marriages where the dreams and expectations of bride-starved farmers from Japan's Deep North clash with those of young Filipino women who want to escape their poverty and go into marriage "as a girl goes into a convent." Ventura tells these stories with a great eye for detail and manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest corners, or poetry in the midst of a nuclear disaster.

The book's first essay is called "The Slow Boat to Manila" and indeed, slowness is the first word that comes to mind when considering Ventura's approach to writing. Everything Ventura does is slow. He is no magazine reporter after all, and will spend days or even months getting to know a person he wants to write about. That's the kind of personal commitment and deep connection with his subject that one feels when reading his essays.

 


Tokyo Fab

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

Bungu Joshi Haku

The world of stationary comes to life at this colourful and fantastic exhibition celebrating the creativity and popularity of this eclectic genre. Unlike international images of stationary where we picture plain notebooks, staplers, ring binders and ordinary pencils and pens in pencil cases, Japans stationary experience is all together different. It is in fact, a culture unto its own, a keenly followed and glorified passion for many and, a wonderful expressive outlet. Join the throngs of fans, friends and creators in this beautiful creative energy. The exhibition will be a delight.

Date:12/12 (Thu) - 15 (Sun), 2019 @ Tokyo Ryutsu Center, Exhibition Hall A - D
Closest Sta.: Ryutsu Center Station on Tokyo Monorail

https://bungujoshi.com/

 

Life in Finland

The Life in Finland exhibition illustrates Finland by presenting objects from all decades of the nation’s independence through 50 objects from different time periods of the Republic of Finland that gained independence in 1917. Life in Finland tells about Finland and being Finnish through everyday, innovative, and humorous examples. Which object do you think represents being Finnish? Which objects would you choose to represent your own life or your own culture? All objects have been Made in Finland and Designed in Finland, but most of all, they represent Life in Finland. Their stories address work, the overcoming of obstacles, insight, and joy.

Date: - 1/12 (Sun), 2020 @ Living Design Center OZONE
Closest Sta.: Shinjuku Station south Exit on JR

For more details and concert schedules, please visit

https://www.lifein.fi/


What’s App With You?

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

Plays:

It's a free iPhone app that lets you type in a tiny missive (140 characters or fewer, like old-school Twitter), and then hurl the letters about the place. This isn’t freeform animation – you don’t need to know anything about keyframes and paths. Instead, you select a font, an animation style, a background pattern (which also animates), and an image to sit underneath everything. By default, you get an Instagram-friendly square composition, but a button lets you cycle through a range of alternatives. Quite a few of the animation styles result in questionable legibility. But work with some of the subtler options – and the rather nice backgrounds – and you can end up with a visually arresting video to share online.

Splice:

This app sits in a space between traditional movie-making software and quick-fix video editors. As with products geared towards quickly fashioning something for social networking, Splice is keen to get you started. Select some videos or stills from your iPhone, drag to arrange the thumbnails, select an aspect ratio, and you essentially have an edit. However, the app gives you plenty of options for taking things further. You can add titles, effects, text overlays, and audio. Individual clips can be trimmed, cropped, and have filters added to them. Naturally, in-progress projects are saved so you can return to them later. Throughout, layout and workflow resemble the kind of thing you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ventured into desktop editing – only streamlined for mobile, and without a price-tag attached.

 

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

“Leaf hunting” in Japan: no actual hunting, just admiring by Olivia

Back at home, we used to collect autumn leaves and make medicine or wreaths for home decoration and for fashion. I remember wearing my autumn wreath with pride at a school festival. So, when I heard the word “momijigari”, I thought it would be something similar. But no, people don’t collect red, yellow, and orange leaves in Japan. They usually don’t make autumn leaf wreaths as well. Japanese way of enjoying the autumn leaves is also exciting and fun, but a little tiring because of the crowds.

Momijigari is composed of the words “momiji” (Japanese maple) and “gari” (hunting), actually means "admiring autumn leaves”. There are many famous spots with stunning views, most of them outside of Tokyo. Trees with leaves that change colors in autumn are called deciduous trees, and they lose their leaves in the winter. They include Japanese maple, Japanese beech, and ginkgo or maidenhair tree. The color starts to change when the morning temperature is 6 to 7 degrees Celsius.

I recommend checking the “autumn leaves forecast” online before visiting any of the spots you found on English websites. In Japanese, there are many websites where you can check this kind of information, but for us foreigners, it is important that there is visual aid along with the kanji. So, I use this website https://tenki.jp/lite/kouyou, because each spot has a small Japanese maple sign coloured in green, partly red, red, or black, showing the stages of coloring. This way you will be able to catch the best the place has to offer!

Like cherry-blossom viewing, admiring autumn leaves at first became popular among aristocracy in Heian period. The nobles, inspired by the fall colors, played music and composed poetry, or went to the mountains on excursions. Areas near Nara, and Kyoto were described in numerous poems and paintings. They are still very popular! In the Edo period, the custom finally became available to the common people, and in the Meiji period, the public transportation allowed to travel a long distance to see the most famous autumn foliage places.

We can enjoy the autumn colors from mid-October to mid-December in Japan.

母国では、よく落ち葉を拾って薬を作ったり、リースにして家を飾ったりした。学園祭では秋のリースを手作りして誇らしげに身につけたものだ。だから、「もみじがり」という言葉を知った時、何か同じものを感じた。もちろん、日本では、赤や黄、オレンジ色に紅葉した落ち葉を拾ったりはしない。日本人は落ち葉でリースを作らない。日本人の紅葉の楽しみ方は、すばらしいしわくわくする。しかし人で混み合うのでちょっと疲れる。

もみじがりは、メープルとハンティングの造語だが、紅葉の美しさを楽しむことだ。紅葉狩りの名所はたくさんあるが、東京の郊外が多い。秋により色が変わる葉は落葉樹と呼ばれ、冬になると葉は枯れ落ちてなくなる。もみじやブナ、銀杏、シダがそうだ。朝の気温が摂氏6、7度になると色が変わる。

紅葉狩りの名所を訪れる前に英語サイトの「紅葉見頃予想マップ」を調べておくといい。日本語ではこうした見頃情報が多数あるが、外国人は、漢字の他に絵があるとわかりやすい。私はhttps://tenki.jp/lite/kouyouでチェックしている。緑のもみじが、少し赤、赤、黒と色の移り変わりを教えてくれるので、わかりやすい。

花見同様、平安時代の貴族が紅葉の美しさを愛でたのが始まりだ。紅葉の美しさを貴族は音楽や詩歌で表現したり、山々へと出掛けた。奈良、京都近くの見所は詩歌や絵に描写されている。現代でも人で賑わう!世間一般に広まったのは江戸時代に入ってからで、明治時代には、交通も発達し有名な名所まで足をのばすことができるようになった。

紅葉は10月中旬から12まで見頃だ。


MUSEUM -What's Going on?-

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow


What Is True Affluence, What Is It to Be Human, What Is Life?
What is Artificial Intelligence? The concept of what defines AI has changed over time, but at the core there has always been the idea of building machines which are capable of thinking like humans.
AI technology is a crucial lynchpin of much of the digital transformation taking place today. AI continues to transform the world we live in. How that will balance out is anyone's guess and up for much debate and for many people to contemplate. Human beings have proven uniquely capable of interpreting the world around us and using the information we pick up to effect change, therefore, understanding humans is essential to the design and experience of technology. For decades, major corporations have turned to social scientists for insight into human behavior, culture and history. In result, AI has started to have substantial impact on cultural and creative industries. Every day, humans are building relationships with machines — intelligence that feel almost sentient. The powerful algorithms fueling these devices improve our lives in a thousand different ways, both large and small. Our daily lives are as interwoven with the influence of AI. It is only natural that this newly built but rapidly increasing relationship between human and AI will have a momentous impact on arts.
Through “New Possibilities of Cities;” “Toward Neo-Metabolism Architecture;”

ecoLogicStudio
H.O.R.T.U.S. XL Astaxanthin.g
2019 © NAARO

“Lifestyle and Design Innovations;” “Human Augmentation and Its Ethical Issues;” and “Society and Humans in Transformation”, this exhibition evinces over 100 works. These art pieces will surely inspire us to contemplate cities, environmental issues, human lifestyles and the likely state of human beings as well as human society – all in the imminent future, through cutting-edge scientific and technological developments including AI, biotechnology, robotics, and AR, plus art, design, and architecture influenced by all of these.

Period: November 19th, 2019 - March 29th, 2020
Venue: Mori Art Museum
Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm, - 5:00pm on Tuesdays (except 12/31. 2019 & 2/11, 2020)
*Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Admission: Adults: ¥1,800 / University & High School Student: ¥1,200 / Child (Age 4 up to Junior high school student): ¥600

For more information, please visit

https://www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/future_art/index.html

 

The Window: A Journey of Art and Architecture through Windows

“A Window to the World” - a broader perspective of the world that expands your view, your big picture, your understanding of the world.
Through windows we look at the outside world and let them enlighten your mind. Through windows, the light comes through to brighten your room, your world. Through windows, the breeze comes in and provides fresh air.
The window opening as an architectural element in the paintings of artists serves not only as the background or accent of the composition, but also as a metaphor for hope, change, and a step into the unknown. For some artists, the luminous element became a key point and the person peering into the unknown distance outside the window is their main character. Such a plot contained contradictory symbolism: on one hand, there was a call to break away from the dull everyday life, leave the boundaries of the house, petty bourgeois existence and rush into the distance, and on the other hand — the obvious impossibility to escape from the reality of banal life. In these stories, the main character was often a woman who was a captive of the household and the window was their emancipation. For some artists, windows convey the beauty of "just the way it is" instead of thinking about the symbols and deep meaning of images and for the adepts of the realistic direction, the windows were the authenticity element of the "scene from home life".

Henri Matisse, ‘Waiting’,
1921-22, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

This exhibition, jointly organized with the Window Research Institute that advocates “windowology” — an ideology of “windows representing civilization and culture”, showcases artworks with windows from Henri Matisse’s paintings to the cutting-edge contemporary art as well as non-art topics such as the global history of windows. Everybody has windows of the mind. Let those artworks shine through and breeze through your window to broaden your perspectives.

 

Period: November 1, 2019 - February 2, 2020
Venue: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. - 8:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays
*Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Closed: Mondays (except 1/13, 2020), 12/28, 2019 - 1/1, 2020 & 1/14, 2020
Admission: Adults: ¥1,200 / College & University Students: ¥700

For more information, please visit

https://www.momat.go.jp/english/am/exhibition/windows/


Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD DECEMBER 06. 2019

Be Smart to Use Smart TV

They’re some of the most popular home devices around, but if you have a smart TV , it could be susceptible to hackers. It is easy for hackers to take over your smart TV and ‘silently cyberstalk you. While hackers may not be able to access your locked-down smart TV directly, it’s possible that your TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router. While this is no doubt very concerning, thankfully there are several things you can do to protect your family: Know your smart TV - know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Don’t depend on the default security settings and make sure you know how to turn off the microphones, cameras and collection of personal information if you can. Check for security patches - check the manufacturer's ability to update your device with security patches.

WhatsApp Gold Hoax

It’s been going around since 2016, and now it seems that the WhatsApp Gold hoax is circulating once again. The hoax message mentions a fictional app called ‘WhatsApp Gold’ which does not exist - there is only one version of WhatsApp, and it’s the one you’re already using. The message is made up of two parts, with the first claiming that a video will come out tomorrow called Martinelli, which will hack your phone. Do not open it, it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word. While there doesn’t appear to be any such thing as the ‘Martinelli video’, the second half of the message warns about WhatsApp Gold - which is a true scam. If you receive a message to update the Whatsapp to Whatsapp Gold, do not click !!!!!

 

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