Sunday, December 31, 2006

Good-by 2006, Hello 2007

No matter how regrettable the passing year is, we never be able to go back and restart all over again. So let's just say good-by to the year of 2006 and welcome the coming year.

In 2007 several new things are waiting for me both officially and privately. I'm looking forward to them with a little anxiety and a lot of expectations. Step by step, little by little I want to go forward.

2007 is the year of wild boar in Chinese astrology. I love these new red and white wild boars. They are so cute, aren't they? I wish all of you a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Annual Event

It was a silent night this year, too.
Our daughter couldn't make it because she had a party with her colleagues that night.
When she was a child, hubby was busy in preparing presents as Santa Clause only and specially for her. I don't remember exactly how old she was when she found the reality, but till then she was always so excited about the night when her Santa Clause's visiting her.
"Is Santa Clause coming to me?" she asked many times every year, and I always repeated, "Yes, he surely is as long as you are a good girl and believe in him." She also wanted to see him so eagerly. Her Santa Clause however was wise enough never to show up in front of her. Although we are not Christian, Christmas was used to be one of the happy family events. Well that was a long time ago.

On the morning of the Christmas Eve this year, We wanted to see "Letters from Iwo Jima" directed by Clint Eastwood, now shown at theaters in Japan, but we overslept and missed the first show. Maybe we will see it some time during New Year's holidays.

In the afternoon we went grocery shopping together, cooked together and had dinner together. Recently we have been trying to eat and drink alcohol a bit less (Hubby has lost about 6 Kg so far!) but I think I drank too much that night.

This is the Christmas card hand-made by Glee, one of my good friends in the US. She is a person who really loves nature and the card, I think, nicely showed her personality. I like the card and it reminds me of her wedding ceremony held in the woods. (If you are interested in, please review my posting "Travelog" in August, 2005.)
In this October she gave a birth to a baby boy and the card said that she and her family were enjoying every moment of life.
Time flies!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I finally managed uploading pictures to blogger.
I tried so many times to upload the pictures below only to find none of them on the internet. Therefore I made another blog using google account so that I could use blogger's new function. I uploaded the pictures (soooooo easily), copied their addresses and pasted them to my current (or old?) blog. I should have made my current blogger transferred to a new version instead, but so far they haven't offered me the service yet. Until it becomes available; I hope it will be soon, I follow the above procedure to upload pictures.

Well anyway now I'm satisfied with my last posting and I think I will be able to enjoy Christmas Eve with my husband without worrying about blogger any more. (I hope…)

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Life," the Kanji of the Year

Recently another friend of mine has become "grandma."
Altogether 3 friends now have pretty grandchildren. Me? Not yet. Our daughter is still singing a praises of single freedom now in Japan.
Anyway in the beginning of this month hubby, our daughter and I went to see the newborn baby girl. The baby's peacefully sleeping face and her parents’ joy were worth 12-hour drive to get there and back. Oh, yes! Newborn babies always have such a strong power to make people around them happy.

According to the recent newspaper the kanji (Chinese) character for "inoci" or “life” in English, was selected as “The Kanji of the year.” Annually The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation seeks submissions for “The Kanji of the Year” from the public and majority of the entrants selected “inoch” as a character best representing this year. 
It is still fresh in our minds that Princess Kiko gave a birth to a baby boy in September.
The newborn prince, who is now third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne under the current Imperial Household Law, has set us free from worrying about the succession issue for the time being and also stimulate hesitant young couples to have babies, which surely contributes somewhat to boost the slowing birthrate.

On the contrary the year of 2006 was full of bad news about “life.” Particularly I’m concerned with the news of young people's life and death. Lots of young people killed themselves due to bullying at school. Scarcely a day passed without hearing somebody abandoned his/her precious life. Some were high school students; some were middle high and even elementary school students chose suicide to solve their problems. Some principals also killed themselves taking responsibilities what had happened in their schools.
The increase of serious juvenile crimes is another problem. Many innocent lives were ceased because of them.
The murder case happened in Nara Prefecture was miserable. A high school boy set a fire to his house, causing his mother in law, younger brother and sister’s death. His father is a doctor and strongly wanted his son to be a doctor, too. The son always studied hard to meet his father’s expectation but his pent-up stress finally exploded. The direct cause of the incident was his fear of letting his father notice his bad test results though…
In these days not only adults but young people including infants also have various problems. Bullying at school or at home is one, and studying night and day at cram schools to pass entrance examinations of competitive school is another. Their stresses are piling up. It might be too much to say, but I think it is the matter of life and death for the nation. We have to reconsider education reform and social framework more deeply and wisely for our future generation.

A few days ago the Upper House passed the bill to amend the education law to instill patriotism in schools, which Mr. Abe was very eager about since he started his cabinet. I’m not against amendment of the education law, but I don’t think it is appropriate to teach (or force) patriotism in schools. Such thing is not something to be taught in schools. It should be cultivated in homes. I lived in the States in my early 20s and being treated as a foreigner there, I think I learned something about patriotism very naturally.

For any nation patriotism is essential in some ways. If it is however related with militarism, it has gone too far or in the wrong direction. Since the Upper House passed another bill to turn the Defense Agency into a ministry at the same time, I felt a bit uneasy. I just don’t want our nation to turn into the one described in “The Children’s Story” in order to keep such pure eyes in the above picture in peace.