Category Archives: Uncategorized

今月の文化 2020年 8月 熱中症

I talked about how cool this year’s tsuyu was in June, but the temperature went up after July. It’s been over 35 ℃ almost every day in August. COVID-19 infections increased due to summer vacation, but according to the news, more people have died from heat stroke recently than COVID-19.

I saw a picture of a house where two elderly people died. The house was a small, old, wooden house without an AC unit.

Elderly people in Japan are not really used to using AC. When they were young, they just opened the windows and doors and used only a small fan to release heat from their houses. Before electricity, people used ice boxes to keep food cool.

That lifestyle was doable back then, but now temperatures have become dangerously high and it’s dangerous to keep windows and doors open. I think having an AC unit is necessary to survive in this heat.

Everytime I see on the news that elderly people have died due to lack of AC, I really hope that others can get help from their neighbors and family.

今月の文化 2020年 7月 7月の祝日

I talked about the rainy season last month, but it hasn’t ended yet although it’s the end of July. Some people say that the rainy season might continue until August. It has been raining almost every day, and there was a big flood in the Kyushu area. The weather has been really unpredictable and scary.

Normally, there is only one holiday in July, called Sea Day. But this year, a holiday normally in October, called Sports Day, was moved to July because of the Olympics. Originally, the opening ceremonies were scheduled to be held on July 24th.

However, due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics was postponed to next year. Therefore, the government has discussed moving the holiday again next year.

I am impressed by the Olympics. It has the power to move national holidays around. I hope someday we can enjoy the Olympics without worry again.

今月の文化 2020年 6月 梅雨とマスク

June is the rainy season.
The rainy season is known for its rainy, humid, and hot weather everyday. However, due to recent strange weather patterns, we have been having extreme weather, such as sudden huge rainstorms after a long string of sunny days. It causes flooding.

There was a huge disaster caused by rain in China recently. There was a flood in the Kyushu area as well. Many people evacuated to the same places as usual, but this year they suffered difficulties due to COVID-19. People had to wear masks and keep social distances, so they needed to be cautious even after being evacuated.

Summer will start after the rainy season. People say this summer is going to be hot because of the warm winter last year.

I realized after I lived in the US that Japan lacks trees in the cities. In addition, tree branches are cut short to prevent disasters like floods caused by leaves blocking storm drains. It’s hard to find shade on the sidewalks.
I looked at pictures of Tokyo the other day and saw businessmen wearing masks wiping their sweat in the blazing sun surrounded by only buildings. Global warming will affect us a lot more in the future, so we need to start adding greenery to cities.

今月の文化 2020年 5月 緊急事態宣言

May is already over.

When speaking of May, Golden Week is the first thing that comes to mind. This year, due to a state of emergency having been declared, people were not allowed to travel during Golden Week.

During April, the number of infected patients rose steadily. People were worried that the number of infections would increase even more during the May holidays. Many prefectures made their own state of emergency declarations on top of the central government’s declaration. Each prefecture’s governor asked their residents repeatedly not to go outdoors.

This year’s Golden Week was a five day long holiday, so everyone was worried that lots of people would leave their houses during the break. While some people did go outside during Golden Week, shops and sightseeing locations remained closed, so after all not that many people went out. The end result was very positive.

If the number of infections had gone up during Golden Week, the whole country would have seen an explosive increase in infections. Infected people would have gone sightseeing in other prefectures, carrying the coronavirus with them and spreading it wherever they went.

Staying in place is a very important infection prevention measure. Personally, I don’t need to go out that often, so it wasn’t difficult for me to stay indoors during this period. However, for people who love going out and talking to other people, it was very difficult.

Right now it’s important for everyone to do as many things online as possible, and to discover new ways to enjoy life without going out, isn’t it?

今月の文化 2020年 4月 布マスク

Last month I talked about the inability to buy face masks due to COVID-19. The situation hasn’t changed much regarding disposable face masks. People say you can buy them at drug stores in the mornings, but people line up every morning, so they are always slod out by noon. In Hokkaido, drug stores have stopped selling face masks in the morning for the sake of people those who cannot line up all morning.

Other prefectures have other unique plans. For example, some prefectures distributed “mask tickets” to residents. This “mast ticket” allows residents to buy up to 2 boxes of disposable face masks.

Speaking of face masks, the most famous face masks in Japan right now are the ones which the Japanese government shipped to every household in Japan. They decided to buy a lot of cloth face masks and distribute them to people. A lot of people had negative reactions to this plan. According to people who already received the face masks, the size was too small for adults, so it didn’t cover both their mouth and nose. Also, some are stinky or a bit discolored.

The Prime Minister told us these face masks are washable and reusable, but if you wash them many times, the effectiveness will drop. Also, people have no problem buying cloth face masks. I think it would be nice to buy my preferred face masks bymyself instead of receiving cloth masks at great expensive from the government. I just hope these government face masks won’t become am enormous pile of expensive trash.

今月の文化 2020年 2月 暖冬

Even though it’s February, it feels like it’s already April. When winter is warm like this, it is called “暖冬.”

Comparing recent winters with winters when I was a child, the frequency of 暖冬 has increased. This year’s winter has been especially warm. I heard that some prefectures’ cherry blossoms have bloomed already. Since it didn’t snow this year, transportation was not too bad and my life was easier, but I still missed the snow. The Hokuriku area didn’t get much snow, so some ski slopes couldn’t even open this season. Vegetables also grew irregularly, so farmers and the economy were negatively effected.

When the climate behaves strangely, it can have a strong effect on businesses as well as our daily lives. The important thing for us to do is to be mindful about our environment and think carefully about how our actions affect it.

今月の文化 2019年11月


2019 will end soon! It’s already December. I feel like this year was short. Do you feel like it was fast too? We need to think about what do we need to do before 2020 arrives. We only have one month left.

This month, I had a chance to participate in making senbazuru, so I will talk about senbazuru this month. Sen means a thousand and tsuru (zuru) means crane, so senbaduru means a thousand cranes. We make a thousand crane using origami and tie them up.

People make senbaduru when people close to them get sick and suffer for a long time. The crane is a symbol of long life, so people make cranes in hopes that the person gets better soon and lives for a long time. “A thousand” is a metaphor for “a lot,” so it doesn’t necessarily mean precisely one thousand.

You can find origami for senbazuru at stores like 100 yen shops, so it seems like making senbazuru is still a common custom today.

One important thing to consider is the feelings of the recipients. Many people make senbazuru to send to areas which were damaged in natural disasters. Senbazuru are pretty big things, and they require lots of space to store them. Even throwing them out can cost money. We all have the feeling that we want to do something, or that we want to encourage others, but I think we should stop to think about what kind of support is most needed.

今月の文化 2018年12月


It’s December already. Time flies very quickly after Christmas. How long is your country’s holiday season around the new year? In Japan, it generally starts on December 29th and lasts through January 3rd. So it’s about one week.

There are a lot of things to do before the end of the year in Japan. Oseibo is one of them. Oseibo is the custom of sending gifts to people whom you want to thank. This tradition used to be a work-related event, but nowadays people send oseibo to relatives and close friends too.

The time to send oseibo is between December 13th and 20th. If you are not able to send it within thT time period, it can be troublesome for the receiver because they have to think about a return gift during the busy holiday season. For that reason, it’s common to call the gift onenga instead of oseibo. Onenga means “happy new year.” You can send onenga gifts from the end of the year to the end of Matsunouchi. Matsunouchi is the final day in which your house is decorated with new year decorations (such as kadomatsu). Matsunouchi differs from region to region. In the Kanto area its January 7th. In the Kansai area it’s the 15th.

Common things to give for oseibo are gift sets of preserved ham and sausage, cookies, beer, sake, etc. The common price range is 3,000yen to 5,000yen.