Kotodai Park in Sendai City

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In April I went to Sendai City.  I walked to a park there. This is along the way.

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The park is called Kotodai Park and it’s about a fifteen minute walk from the station.   A lovely park.

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Also a designated refugee area…….so I was happy to be aware of that!

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Hello, Mr. Sumo Wrestler!

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Trees in bloom…..springtime is wonderful.

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An interesting statue.

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The other side of the statue.

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I probably should not have taken this photo….but I saw this sleeping homeless man, and snapped the picture.  However, it is not representative of Sendai City, because this is the only homeless man I saw my entire day there.  The only single one.   I will say that I do like this photo–the juxtaposition of the homeless man and the blossoms.

“The Happy Day” (Book Twenty of the Babu Babu Baby Book Battle)

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This book is a classic book that is originally in English.  In English, it is called “The Happy Day.”  In Japanese, the title is “Hana o Kun Kun.”

As those of us who speak Japanese know, hana has two meanings:  “Flower” and “Nose.”  So which is it?

I asked my authority on the matter (my husband) and he said it was “Nose.”  NOT flower!  I wasn’t sure how he could be so sure, and for a moment I began to doubt that he even knew Japanese and perhaps my skill has surpassed his.  Maybe it is “flower.”  Who knows.

“Kun Kun” means “Sniff.”

So “The Nose Go Sniff Sniff.”  (If you can believe my husband.)

Or “The Flower Sniff Sniff.”  (If you believe me.)

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What a sweet book.

All the animals are sleeping.  They awake!  They follow their noses (sniff sniff) to a FLOWER.

That’s right, hubby, a FLOWER.

Believe me now?

Hana o Kun Kun can be found here.

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Happy Children’s Day!

Atsugiri Jason

 

We’re on our way to the horse racing track!  The one and only Atsugiri Jason has a free show!  My son thinks Atsugiri Jason is so funny.  Let’s go watch!

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It was a drizzly gray day.  We first went to the station to take the bus.  My husband had said that there is a free shuttle bus to the horse racing track, but we couldn’t find it.  I think it runs very sporadically.

The first three kanji in the green sign say:

keiba jyo   (Horse Racing Track)

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On our way!

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Yep, it’s a drizzly day.

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The horse racing track!  It costs 100 yen (about a dollar) for an adult to enter.  My son is a junior high student, so he is free.

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There’s Atsugiri Jason in the middle on the bottom.  He has become famous in Japan recently for his comedy routine, which he conducts in Japanese.  Interestingly, I don’t think his hair is quite that blond in real life.  It looks sort of radioactive in that photo, but in real life it is a slightly brownish blonde, like most adult blond men.

He’s known for shouting in English:  “WHY, JAPANESE PEOPLE, WHY?” and then expounding in fluent Japanese on some silly thing Japanese people do.

His show at the track was about different kanji characters and how silly they are.  WHY, JAPANESE PEOPLE, WHY do you combine the words parent 親  and cut 切 to produce the word for “kind” 親切  Is it kind when parents cut you?  NO!

That sort of thing.  The kids in the audience thought it was hilarious.  The adults were like me.  What?  He gets paid money for this?

I did feel that it was way, way, way too short.  Only about fifteen minutes long.  I realize it was free, however, we had to get there by stinky bus on a gray drizzly day, then we waited in our seats for an hour.  Not really worth it.  Longer, Jason.   Longer.


By the way, when I first came to Japan in the nineties, I thought:  “I feel sorry for people named Jason.”  The reason was that the students at my school associated the name Jason 100% with slasher movies.  (Halloween?  Friday the Thirteenth?  One of them has a Jason.)   But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.  Japanese people will now associate the name “Jason” with a very blonde comedian from America.

 

Watch the following youtube video for a taste of Atsugiri Jason.  It’s subtitled in English by some very kind person.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (Book Nineteen of the Babu Babu Baby Book Battle)

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Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.~~attributed to Mark Twain

So I propose changing the title of this book to “The Damn Hungry Caterpillar.”  That’s much more catchy, doncha think.

Anyhoo….the Japanese version is called “Harapeko Aomushi”

Harapeko is kind of a slang way to say “hungry.”

It’s not a word you use in a polite situation.  It’s the kind of word your four year old yells at you.

The book also used “Peko Peko.”  Another slangy way to say “hungry.”

Mama!!!!!! PEKO PEKO! is what your toddler might scream.

Moving on to the word “Caterpillar.”  It’s “Aomushi” in Japanese.  Literally:  Blue Bug.  Yep.  Even though it’s green.

Japanese does this a lot.  It’s not a green apple.  It’s a blue apple.  It’s not a green light.  It’s a blue light.  Yep.  No kidding.

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Japanase people love Eric Carle.  He’s as big here as he is in the United States.  Not all beloved western writers and illustrators are beloved here in Japan.  For example, Dr. Seuss never caught on. (His books exist, but I don’t think he is well known at all, and definitely not beloved.)

But Eric Carle is a big thing in Japan.  He even teamed up with a Japanese writer to create a special book half in English and half in Japanese.  It’s called “Where are you going?  To see my friend.”

The Harapeko Aomushi can be found here.

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An actual sighting of the very hungry caterpillar. Our roving reporter asked him “What will you eat next?” and he replied, “No comment,”

 

 

 

Still thinking of the people in Kyushu

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I know it is still tough for them down there.

This link gives good info about “shindo” (the measurement in Japan for seismic intensity level.)  I was mistaken in a previous post when I said that “shindo” and magnitude are the same.  They are not.  I asked my husband and he said magnitude is how much energy is released, and shindo is how much shaking there is.  So the magnitude (energy released) might be a high number, but if you live far from the epicenter, the shindo in your area will be a low number.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Meteorological_Agency_seismic_intensity_scale

Please read the link if you live in Japan.  It’s informative.

“The Three Bill Goats Gruff” (Book Eighteen in the Babu Babu Baby Book Battle)

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Today’s book is a famous western book by Marcia Brown called “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”  That bottom book is the English version–it just happens to also have the Japanese title on it.

Its Japanese title is “Sanbiki no Yagi no Gara Gara Don.”

You are probably wondering how they translated “Gruff.”  They don’t.  They just made up their own snazzy title.  The Japanese title is literally “Three Goats Gara Gara Don.”  Gara Gara Don, I think, is a traipsing sound, I guess.

San=three

Yagi=goat

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If you’re curious how they translate “troll”……

They don’t use the Japanese word “oni.”  No, it is the same as English.  “Tororu” トロル (troll)

And of course, because I know that without a doubt this word “toruru” will appear on my JLPT N2 test this summer, I looked it up in the dictionary. 😉  It wasn’t there. Trolley bus was there, but not troll.   Hmmmm…..I am starting to think its not a real Japanese word.

Or maybe it’s a chocolate?  No, wait, that’s Tirolle.

Or maybe it’s a cough drop?  No, wait, that’s Troche.

Or maybe it’s a toilet?  No, wait, that’s Toire.

I think my husband is right.  I am spending a little too much time on these picture books……….

Rusk

Do you know what “Rusk” is?  When I first came to Japan, my husband gave me some. He said, “Rusk.  You know, rusk.  It’s famous.”  I had never heard of it before, and never particularly seen anything like it (at least in the Japanese form.)

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These are two different “Rusk”  On the left, leftover bits of pastry from the cream puff shop.  Super yum!

On the right, some Yamagata rusk.

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Here is some Hokkaido rusk.  Rusk doesn’t have to be as fancy as this, though.  There is cheap rusk and expensive rusk in Japan.

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This is the Hokkaido rusk.  Basically it’s dried flavored bread.  Usually it’s sweet, but not always.  I think in America “biscotte” are similar to rusk, though not exactly.  And garlic chips are rusk, too.

This link gives an explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusk

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