It all started in Kobe.

As we all know the Morozoff Ltd is from Kobe so Kobe started Valentine’s Day.  For the doubters I have put an excerpt from Wikipedia.   If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

… Morozoff Ltd. introduced the holiday for the first time in 1936, when it ran an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953, it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed suit thereafter. In 1958, the Isetandepartment store ran a “Valentine sale”. Further campaigns during the 1960s popularized the custom.

The custom that only women give chocolates to men may have originated from the translation error of a chocolate-company executive during the initial campaigns. In particular, office ladies give chocolate to their co-workers. Unlike western countries, gifts such as greeting cards, candies, flowers, or dinner dates are uncommon, and most of the activity about the gifts is about giving the right amount of chocolate to each person. Japanese chocolate companies make half their annual sales during this time of the year.

 

 

TOTD 2018/2/10: Foundation Day

As we all know, February 11th is Foundation Day 建国記念の日. Since it is a Sunday people will be off work on Monday. Let’s all remember Emperor Jimmu on that day.

For those who don’t know

National Foundation Day (建国記念の日 Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) is a national holiday in Japan celebrated annually on February 11, celebrating the foundation of Japan and the accession of its first emperor, Emperor Jimmu at Kashihara gūon 11 February 660 BC.  (From Wikipedia)

 

 


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEN CENTS!

Today is an important day. Did you know that on January 16:

-1958: the U.S. Grasshopper Plague

-2001: Galapagos Islands Ecological Disaster

-2003 Ill-Fated Space Shuttle Columbia

But those disasters pale in comparison to the worst disaster in the history of the world. I speak, of course of:

-January 16, 1932: Under a rock somewhere in Flyover Country: To the unfortunate Cents family, who did nothing to deserve it, was born a son. And they named him Ten. Happy Birthday, Ten Cents, Scourge of Humanity. May you live another hundred years to remind us all how lucky we are that you live on another continent.

 

 

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TOTD 2018/1/5: Favorites Games & Toys from Your Childhood

I was thinking about this topic because my kids were home over Christmas, and even though they are in their mid-20s now, they broke out board games to play on our dining room table, late into the night.  They were none of the games I remember though! They played Settlers of Cataan, Phase 10 and King Domino.  Some that I remember from growing up in the 1960s are:

Fascination Pool – a plastic maze board that looked like a pool table – the picture above. You held it in your hands, released little balls from the center and tried to tip the board to get all the balls one by one into the color-corresponding pockets – but not let them roll into the wrong-color pocket.

King of the Hill – another game with little balls, you spun a spinner to move your marble up the mountain on little paths, but sometimes you’d land on a spot with a hole, and your marble would drop down a chute and come out a lower level.  Whoever got their marble to the top of the hill dropped it into the crown and I think some action happened then, like the crown popped up or something?

Chinese Jump Rope – Do girls still play this?? All it took was a long circular elastic band. Two children stood about 5 feet apart with the band around their ankles and there was a whole set of jumping actions the third child did with the elastic – then if you completed those actions, the children on the end moved the band up to their knees & you performed the same actions, then to their hips and you tried to perform the same actions – quite a feat!

Did you play these?  What were your favorite games and toys from your childhood?

 


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1st Pic of 2018 & Fun Pond Facts!

The Koi aren’t visible now because they hang out five feet down.  Since their metabolism goes with temperature, they are lined up like cord wood  on the bottom.  I reduce the flow in the water recirculation and filtration systems quite a bit, otherwise the waterfall unnecessarily super-cools the water.  The fish still respirate, although slowly, but they don’t eat and shouldn’t even be fed when the water is below about 50F.  It’s about 40 now.  The natural heating from the ground, which remains at about 55, prevents the pond from completely freezing, but it can get down to about 35 during protracted cold spells, especially if it’s also windy.   At 40F, their gut is so sluggish that ingested food decomposes before it’s digested and can make them sick and even kill them.  If the water surface begins to freeze, I place a floating 1,500W heater in the pond to maintain an opening.  The resulting dissolved gasses from their respiration will poison them if it can’t escape into the air.

I have a standby generator wired to indispensable circuits in case we lose power due to an ice storm.  If the pond pumps aren’t running, all the plumbing will freeze and the crying towel will be sopping wet.

All my fishy friends are healthy, the New Year is upon us with positive aspects, the days are getting longer, and camping season approaches.  We are especially jazzed about our upcoming trips to Moab, UT and Yosemite.

First snow of winter 17/18 in our back yard.
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TOTD 2017-12-31: New Year’s Eve Photos

This photo is two different entrances to the same shrine. The sign says “First Visit” in red. To start the New Year off right you visit the shrine and get the gods on your side. People buy amulets.

 

The nest photo I think is self-explanatory. New Year’s Eve is for cleaning.

(The little sign tells every one when to throw away certain things. The top two are every Wednesday for plastics. The next one says second and fourth Thursday for non-burnable trash. The last one is every Tuesday and Friday for burnable trash.)

 

These next photos are taken near the shrine by my house at about 8 PM New Year’s Eve. It is a fair type atmosphere.

Candied apples anyone? Only 300 yen.

Roasted corn for 400 yen.  Golden fried chicken at 300 yen for the Single, 500 yen for the Double, 800 yen for the Mega, and 1000 yen for the Giga. (Send money to my PayPal and I will send back a low-calorie picture.)

 

What do you think?


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New Year’s Customs

The biggest holiday of the year is New Year in Japan. It outranks Christmas by a lot. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning their houses and preparing Osechi. The holiday last from the first of January to the third.

Japanese want to start the New Year right so that means get the house in order. Not a light cleaning for guests but a thorough cleaning. Some people I have heard change their light bulbs at this time of year.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=682235

The traditional New Year’s meal is Osechi. As you can see by the picture it is beautiful. There is a wide variety of dishes and it is served cold.  For the New Year’s meal it is put into trays. Later the trays are stacked on top of one another. The top tray is has a lid. Depending on the size of the families it the number and size of the trays differ.

 

As I wrote it is served cold so the only thing that is hot is tea and Ozoni. What is Ozoni? No, it is not a San Francisco treat. It is a type of soup with lumps of rice in it. The cooked sticky rice is smushed together to make a patty. This patty gets put in the soup. Sometimes it is one lump sometimes it is two lumps. This soup must be eaten carefully because you may choke on it. People have died.

 

 

By yoppy – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2778924
By SjschenOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

My first New Year’s meal was around a kotatsu.  This is a low table with a electric heater in the middle and a blanket (blue in the picture) to keep the heat in. In the old days they used charcoal for the heat. We ate the meal and watched special New Year’s day TV programs. Also we would eat mikan. Mikan are easy to peal oranges.

It used to be that was about all you did on New’s Years day besides visit a shrine. I live near a shrine so I see a lot of people pass my house to go to it every New Year’s. They even close off the street and restrict parking.  Now there are a lot of businesses open during the holidays.

How about you?  What are your New Year’s customs?

 

 

 

 

 


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