February 27, 2009

A National Infection...?

By the end of the year, the number of people wearing a mask gets increase so much, and it ends in the end of spring. If you go outside, you'll see a lot of people on the train or passing streets with a white mask. Maybe it looks so weird for you, and you might think that a big infection is spreading. Actually, my friend from another country asked me why a lot of people were wearing a mask so much. It can be classified into two main reasons.

Firstly, during winter, it's because of the flu. It's so dry in winter, so flu becomes popular. People don't want to catch it, so we try to avoid it by wearing a mask.

The second reason is pollinosis. It is said almost 40% of Japanese population is allergic to Japanese cedar's pollen. The condition of the patients depends on the person, but it cause sneezing, nose running, and itching eyes. The pollinosis is characteristic in Japan, because we have a lot of Japanese cedar trees in the main island, and it's unique in the world. Why do we have the tree this much is, after the Second World War, government recommended planting Japanese cedars to the places trees were cut off during the war. Because the tree grows up straightly, and it's easy to process. So a lot of cedar forests were made in the era. But after a while, a lot of cheap woods from abroad came to Japan, and the cedars prise went down. The owners of the cedar forests couldn't make money with them anymore and stopped taking care of the forests. Therefore the neglected forests' pollen spreads trough Japan by the wind and cause pollinosis patients. We even have some pollen forecast on TV in this season. It might be so funny when you see such a thing, but pollinosis is that serious thing for us.

Anyway, in the winter, you should care because you might get flu from someone. But in this time flu is almost over. Maybe you won't bet allergic to Japanese cedar if you grew up in other countries, so you don't have to be scared of people that are hanging around with a mask.

February 23, 2009

Wandering at Night

Walking around at night is something fresh. The view changes into another face; the quiet street, dark forests..even the park you know well looks something mysterious and makes you feel like a stranger. I like a silent park at night. It feels strange if I sit on a bench and listen carefully. The wind blowing, leaves rustling, humans living noises from somewhere...while sitting there, I notice that temperature is cold with the air touching my cheeks. It feels like my sensitivities are sharpened.

I've heard that the 80% of information from outside comes from eyes. It means, we get most of the information through looking at something. And I also heard if we lose something of our sense organs, other ones get more sensitive. Maybe that's why. The weak light showing me the things in the park with deep shadows doesn't give me information enough. So I'm like a blind and my other antennas pay attention to get as much information as they can. I like the small tense atmosphere like this. It doesn't feel like the atmosphere that I feel at work, or when I'm doing something. It is something special for me.

Anyway, I like walking around at night. And I like staying somewhere during the stroll. Sitting somewhere, listening carefully to small noises that I don't pay attention normally, looking at mysterious light and shadow...It makes me feel special sometimes and helps me to cheer up myself.

February 21, 2009

A Small Happiness

I want to live a life that I can feel a small happiness in the future; for example, I don't need to go movie once in a week, but want a big TV (It doesn't have to be too big), get some rental videos sometimes and watch them with my friends or who I like. Sometimes want to buy small yummy sweets and eat them with tea or coffee. I think my life will get a little bit happier if I can make good tea and coffee at home. I think food is important. If I can eat good and healthy foods a lot, my life will be much better. It doesn't mean I'm not eating good food now, but I want to eat some impressing food sometimes. Going eat outside is good too since I can taste something that I can't eat at home.

I want to go shopping sometimes. Want to see clothes, accessories etc. I don't care about other people's eyes. I don't choose clothes to be popular by guys; fashion is my self satisfaction, so I just wanna wear what I like.

I want to go somewhere sometimes. It doesn't have to be a big trip (of course I'm so happy if I can travel a lot). Going to some small mountains, rivers, and lakes is good enough. Feeling nature, smelling natural air feels good.

In total, maybe I just want some good spice and a few good companions in my life. At the same time, I don't wanna be a person that can't be impressed by every little thing. Hopefully, I can be happy with small things and spend time without getting too stressed and unhealthy life. I don't wish to be young like now permanently, but want to be pretty as my age. Not just outside but inside too. If I can always feel a small happiness, maybe that will be the ideal future that I picture now.

February 15, 2009

St. Valentine's Day

Since the end of January, a lot of department stores start setting a temporary counter of Valentine's days chocolate, and try to call customers. On those days, people buy chocolates that they usually don't buy, like very expensive yummy foreign chocolates, so all stores are get heated to sell unique products.

Japanese Valentine's day is kind a unique thing compared to other countries one. Firstly, only girls give their boyfriend chocolates. It is very vary rare that guys give their girlfriends something, and I haven't heard of it yet about people around me. So, the customers coming to those counters are mostly girls. Some people even buy a lot of chocolates as a trial, and eat by themselves and consider which to buy for their boyfriends. So, this season is kind a very hot term to the department stores and girls.

Other than giving chocolates to boyfriends, we give some simple (and cheap, lol) chocolates to guys who are around us either. It is like saying thank you to people who are taking care of us in daily life. But there are some sly girls that give chocolates because of the expectation of something expensive giving back on White day; it is on March 14 and guys give girls some sweets back as gratitude. And another case girls buying expensive chocolates is "as a present for herself". Since we are living tough days, sometimes we want to give ourselves a little bit expensive sweets as a present, and we can work hard from tomorrow again. Chocolates for Valentine's day are a good thing for it since a lot of yummy chocolates we can't get normally are available :)

February 11, 2009

Print Club

I've heard that Japanese print club is a very unique thing and they don't have such a thing in other countries. Maybe there are some in foreign countries too, but maybe that's from Japan. In most amusement arcades, we have some print club machines in there, and a lot of young people (especially, high school students) are having fun. Well, let me tell you about the print club. Maybe you don't know about it if you haven't been in Japan.

Firstly, it is like a box that you can take ID photos by yourself. The inside of the machine is much wider than the ID photo machines, so a few or some people can be in there. (Normally, you don't use it alone). So, you get inside with friends, throw coins, and start making photo seals. It has a lot of lights inside, and they make you look pretty in the photos. With a touch panel, you can choose the brightness and atmosphere(sharp or soft) of the photos, and backgrounds. After choosing all, try to take interesting photos! Sometimes, there are some print club machines that have some tools like steps or a bar to help you taking unique shots with them.

After taking snapshots, you can decorate them as you like. There is a painting area on the out side of the machine, and you can decorate it with a lot of tools on the touch panels with a special pen. There is some time limit to decorate, but with a lot of machines, you can use it as long as you can if there are no people next to you.

Finally, when the decoration is finished, you can choose how many seals do you want. You can get only one seat. So if you choose a small number, the photos are printed widely on the seat, and on the other hand, if you choose a big number, you will get a lot of small photos on the seal seat. There are some kind of machines that you can get your print club photos to your cellphone with infrared communication too. Anyway, maybe the letters are not enough to let you know what print club is. You should try once when you come to Japan!