Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Only in Japan - Poke Out Somebody's Eye With That!

I glance over the Japanese News everyday. Usually there isn't much going on. We don't have stuff like the Martin - Zimmerman trial going on here.

Here is something that I saw in this mornings news that made me go "WTF?"

It seems that a 30-year-old girl fell down in between the opening on the train platform and the train (looks like the Keihin Kyuko going to Isogo - towards Yokohama way from Tokyo. I don't know what station this is). And, in order to get her out, the station workers had to ask for and enlist the help of passengers to push the train far enough away from the platform so that the girl could get out! 

Like I said, "What the....?"

"Heave ho!"

Anyway, this impressed me for two reasons. One; how in the hell does a 30-year-old woman actually fall through the crack between the train and the platform??? Now, I've seen some places where the gap was pretty wide, maybe 7 or 8 inches... But an adult falling through to the ground? I know lots of Japanese girls are really skinny, but that's ridiculous! (I have, in many drunken stupors feared falling through the cracks, though!)

The other thing that impresses me is that, in 30 years in Japan, I have never seen or heard of such a thing. Now, I don't mean that I've never heard, "Don't fall through the cracks!" But that's like something your mom would tell you that never happens (like when you are playing with a stick or a plastic sword) ala; "Be careful with that or you'll poke someone's eye out!"

Uh, no mom. That never happens, OK?

But this girl actually did fall through! And THE KICKER, in this internet and smartphone age, is that people were there to take photos of it and upload them to the Internet immediately.... So now, it's not just hearsay that someone fells through the cracks; there's photographic proof...

Maybe I will be more careful walking on the train platform and maybe I won't be swinging around my umbrella next time like Luke Skywalker... 

Might fall through the cracks,... but not before, of course, poking somebody's eye out!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Too Many People Are Missing Out on Their Own Lives

I just had a mail exchange with a nice young person who was working on a Sunday... When I realized it, I felt sorry for them....(I'm in Japan, my early Monday morning is still Sunday in most of the west...)

This story came to mind: The Paradox of Our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men, and small character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

By Dr. Bob Moorehead

Friday, July 26, 2013

Post-Election Nikkei Drop? Yep. Called it Right Here.

On Sunday, July 21st, in the wee hours of the election day in Japan, before polls opened, I wrote in: My Serious Commentary on Today's Japan Elections (And Some Hot Babes!):

Today there is a big political election going on in Japan (look for the Nikkei 225 to start dropping after today's election is over!) 

Several local stock brokers and the like blasted me about how great "Abenomics" is, etc... They also took umbrage at the utter idea that the Bank of Japan and the Japanese government would collude to manipulate stock prices...

Heavens! The government and the central bank colluding to manipulate the economy? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

I just wonder what comic books these people have been reading these last 25 years? Of course, the government in power wouldn't manipulate the economy for their advantage prior to an election, would they?

That would be unfair!

The results a week after the election? Well, like I said, look for the drop and, here it is: I think a 3.78% drop in a week is a pretty poor performance. Don't believe me. You be the judge....

The fact of the matter is that Abenomics is doing all sorts of cosmetic things to make the economy look better, But the main and goal of creating a trade surplus in order to turbo-charge the real economy is a complete and total disaster.

Exports indeed increased 7.4% in June, unfortunately at the same time, imports jumped 11.8%, and the balance of trade took a 180 degree about-face from surplus in June 2012 to a deficit of ¥180 billion ($1.8 billion). The data doesn't lie:

The chickens are coming home to roost.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Serious Commentary on Today's Japan Elections (And Some Hot Babes!)

"You're talkin' a lot, but you're not sayin' anything... Say something once, why say it again?" - Lyrics from Talking Head's hit song, "Psycho Killer"

Here's my very serious Japan election political analysis report.... This is some serious stuff, so pay attention!

Japan's politicians are the same as any other politician the world over... Perhaps even more so.

They never really say anything. All their speeches and words are merely jingoism and platitudes: they talk a lot but they don't say anything. 

Their political posters are even worse! You know posters that say stuff like what all politicians say, "We can change," "Change we can believe in," or "For a better America," "Hope,"  "Believe!"... And ones Ronald Reagan used are pretty much standard fare the world over: "Make (your countries name here) great again!" 

Well, you get the picture... Lots of words but they say absolutely nothing.... Japan is the same... Only more so...

Today there is a big political election going on in Japan (look for the Nikkei 225 to start dropping after today's election is over!) This side of the powers that be say that we must stay the course and keep with the successful program. That side says that the course we're on is a failure and we can do better....

No one, except a few (who can't win), actually make any concrete statements. 

Today, for you dear reader, and regular dear reader, Axel, I thought I'd make my comments on the election and tell you who I'd vote for.... I mean, if I voted. Which I do not. 

I believe in the saying, "If voting could change anything, it would be illegal."

Anyway, I took a stroll down to the local grocer where there is a billboard full of posters for the poseurs, er, I mean, politicians who are running for office and gunning for your vote. Let's take a gander at the menu, shall we?

The poster billboard for all the folks running in the elections. Only 13 posters out of 19 slots? Hmmm? Perhaps the missing politicians took surveys and realized they didn't have a snowcone's chance in hell of winning in that area and they've given up without a fight... Or perhaps they figure that printing posters with useless platitudes is a waste of money. I vote for that.

This is the current clown ruining the nation. He's been in power for more than six months or so, yet his poster says "Let's take back Japan!" Take it back from whom, I wonder? I hadn't noticed it missing! Did it go somewhere (besides the sh*tcan) since he's been in office? I don't know. Anyway, I'd never vote for this guy.

I've never seen this guy before. His phrase is "To a future you can believe in!" Guffaw! Really? Is that kind of like Buzz Lightyear's, "To infinity and beyond"? Anyway, I'd never vote for this guy as his name is "Roland." What the hell kind of a name is "Roland" for a Japanese guy? What? Maybe he's half-Japanese like me? If so, I'd never vote for him. Can't trust these foreigners, ya know!

This lady says she wants to "Fix up and reform." Nope. Can't vote for her. Anything a politicians says, "Reform" you know that means, "Raise taxes."

Can't vote for this guy. This is the guy who used to be on TV but was dumb enough to start blasting the biggest and most powerful energy company in all of Asia publicly so he lost his job. Sure, it's good to speak your mind, but when you do it, make sure the people working with you don't lose their jobs too... Never heard the saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?" I was wondering what happened to him... Now we know. He can't get a real job so he's now joining forces with the very same people he was fired for criticizing... Well, who said the quote, "Actors and actresses are to be seen and not heard"? His little catch copy is interesting and sounds a bit like Al Gore; "What's inconvenient about telling the truth?" Nope. Can't vote for this guy.

OK. The field is starting to look better now, and I mean that literally. Think about it, would you want to see the old guys on TV or this girl? Her platform is pretty "girlish" as it says, "Let's help mom's" and "Let's protect the future of our children!!" Well, OK. How can you argue with that? One vote.

Wow! Hot chick alert! I think I've seen this lady before somewhere! I have! She used to be a TV Asahi announcer! Her name is Tamayo Marukawa (see her photos here) Woo-Hoo! I'd vote for her in a second! She's hot! Not only that, her poster says, "Proud to work, smiling Japan!" Well, what does that mean? I don't know but she gets at least one vote for being HOT!!!!

Woah! Hold the presses! This chick is Hot! Hot! Hot! She already gets all my votes without even thinking.... (I don't need to think, I've proven all these politicians have nothing to say!) Wow! What a face! And look how she's holding that microphone! Kinda reminds me of something.... What could it be? If girls like her were all running for office, then the Japanese would have a good reason to screw up their L's and R's in the upcoming erection... ELECTION!!!! Sorry about that!

Anyway, besides being the Japanese version of Babe-raham Lincoln, her platform is good too. She says, "Protect Japan" (Hoo hum... Got it, babe. Whatever you say!) Then she says, "No Sales tax increases" (What? Serious? OK, you could look like Imelda Marcos's ugly older sister and I'd still vote for you with that platform!) And she says, "No retirement society" (Wow! I'm in love!).... 

Like the old retired navy guys at the office used to say when they saw a hot babe, "I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers!" I wouldn't kick this girl out of bed for voting communist! So, she'll never win... 

Well, that's it, folks. I think it's pretty simple to see who I'd vote for... But, she'll never win with a common sense platform like that. People don't want to face reality. They'd rather have "Hope" and "Change" over facts. Which means, I probably shall never see her again.... Alas...

And that concludes today's political analysis report.

Mike Rogers signing out 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Move Over McDonald's! Japanese Restaurant Serves Up REAL Fish Burger!

Yeah, you can't make this stuff up. A restaurant in Kyoto serves up a mean (and mean-looking) Ayu (Sweet Fish) burger!

Actually this might surprise westerners, but there are several varieties of fish that can be eaten whole in Japan, and Ayu is one of them. Looks delicious!

Ah! But the details are in the Secret Sauce! Read more:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Have I Been on My Blog?

Axel, a regular reader wrote in and complained to me. He wrote: "Why has this column/blog recently morphed into a self-help book? What happened to astute and witty observations on life in Japan?"

Axel is completely right. (Not so sure about the "... astute and witty observations on life in Japan?" part... But he's right about the rest!)

My excuse: Starting in April, I became the producer, director, engineer, writer, song selector, news person and promoter of a new radio program. I am doing the job of 4 people (at the pay of one). The show is called, "WTF?" ("What the Friday" and it is on 761. InterFM):

I'm not complaining (too much).

The radio station seems not too interested in promoting our show so I have taken that responsibility by myself completely. So now I do the job of 5 people for that show.

The job that takes the most of my time is promotion. The show is an unheard of 5 hours long live show on Fridays. This is a problem for promotion. The reason being is that if you want people to look forward to a show that is only on once a week, you'd better stick in their minds for the other six days a week.

This is the reason I have not found the time to blog too much. Axel, my friend, the self-help posts are recycled old material.

I spend at least at least two to three hours a day, everyday, writing information and interesting things for our "WTF?" Facebook page. This is the way, I think, that people can "stay with us" everyday of the week and I can ready them and get them to remember and look forward to our Friday show.... 

Frankly speaking, it is exhausting. I never consistently spent two hours a day on my blog! Let me tell you that this is hard work! Not only do I have to think up, research and write good content, I must write it in English and Japanese (I speak and write Japanese but am not a native-speaker so I make many mistakes!)

By starting this Facebook promotion, though, I began to get very interested in seeing what kind of posts draw huge numbers of reactions and views and what posts do not. This is incredibly valuable information that cannot be found in books, they can only be found by experience.

I have to say that I've learned a lot in just 10 weeks. I also have to say that blogging and my past experience with SEO work helped me greatly in figuring out the fast track way to do this.

The results? They are awesome! In less than ten weeks, our WTF? Facebook fan page has garnered over 2000 "Likes." (We average well over "15,000 People Reached" daily!) This is incredible when you consider that the station's Facebook page is nearly 4 years old and they have about 9,700 Likes. 

So a show that is on for 5 hours, once a week, garners over 2000 Likes in 10 weeks while a station that is on 24/7 and has a Facebook page for over 4 years "only" has 9,700? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is an awe-inspiring feat. I thank our listeners and fans...

Yet, people need to be motivated to click. I want my WTF? Facebook page to give everyone something to look at and think, "That's interesting" or "That's funny" if even for just one minute a day. It keeps us fresh in the minds of the people. I want us to be what the daily newspaper was for me when I was a kid: I didn't read the newspaper my dad got; I only looked forward to reading the comics everyday - if even for only one minute. It was just one more small thing, if for only one minute, to look forward to everyday!

Everyone needs something to look forward to! 

That's what I want the WTF? FB page to be for you, our fans and everyone else; just one small fun thing to look forward to everyday of the week!

So it's the WTF? Facebook page, my other job at the research company (we just had a shareholders revolt and they fired the CEO!) and my bad habit of drinking too much that just, pardon my French, mind-f*ck me so much that I haven't the time nor energy to get back to serious commentary and blogging.

But I will very soon, Axel. I promise. 

If anyone would like to help me out by "Liking" our WTF? FB page, I'd sure appreciate it. We also, by the way, ran a charity for Children With Incurable Diseases and the FB page was a great help in promotion. Please help us out and "Like" our page! Please!

We ran a promotion to help the "Children With Incurable Diseases" Charity and was rewarded with a huge write up in the Asahi Newspaper earlier this month. The Asahi morning news has over 8 million newspapers delivered everyday... Not bad promotion, I'd say!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One Easy Way to Beating Procrastination! (How to Do Better Work and Beat Deadlines Too!) - And Some Funny Stuff!

Do you find yourself fighting procrastination? I do everyday of my life. But, I can say, that (I think) I have a reputation for being very quick; for always getting good work done well and on time. I see far too many people who procrastinate all the time and become their own worse enemies. Procrastination causes much stress and I think that stress causes poor work quality in some cases and I know for a fact that stress causes poor health (some special people feed off of stress - weirdos!)

My secret to getting things done; preventing procrastination and alleviating stress? Well, it's not much of a secret, but it's more of following some common sense advice my mom gave me long ago whenever there was a huge job ahead of me. She said, "Whenever there is a big job, if you wait until near the deadline and then sit and decide to do it all at once, it is such a giant undertaking and will cause much stress and worry. Start early, and do it a little by little. Doing so will allow you to take your time and you will do better quality work and be on time. You will greatly lower your stress."

My mom told me this because when I was a student in school, I would never do my summer homework. I got terrible grades. Were you that way too? I'd get an assignment to do over the summer holidays. I'd figure at the start of summer, "I have 3 months. No problem!" I'd do nothing. A month later, I'd think, "I still have 2 months summer holiday left. No problem!" More playing.... The nagging worry would begin in the back of my mind. Still, a month later, "I haven't even started on my home work. Oh well, still 1 month. I'll start next week. No problem!"

That "next week" would be ignored. Then it would be, "Uh, oh, two weeks of summer vacation left. I'd better start." But I'd still be having too much fun. Then one week. Then 6 days. Then the worrying at night, before bedtime, would really kick in...

Then 5 days until school starts. Still no work on the homework. Then 4 days. The pressure is on! Then 3 days! STRESS! FREAKING OUT! TERROR! No homework at all... Then, with only 2 days left, I'd open the assignment and see the mass volume of the task...

"Wow! This is a big assignment. Oh, well. There's only two days left before school starts. There's no way to finish this work!" So, I wouldn't even start!... Did I ever mention that I got bad grades in elementary school? I did? Maybe this procrastination could be one of the reasons why? (If the above few paragraphs make you nervous then I know you can relate!)

Even though my mom had always given me the advice, I didn't listen. That is, until many years later when I started my own business. So now that's what I do. I always start early and do a little by little.

A week ago or so, I had a deadline for a 50 some page business document... Worrying about it was stressing me out! But, well before the deadline, I started and worked on it for a few hours a day, everyday instead of waiting until the last day and having to spend all day and night doing it. As a result, I was one day ahead of the scheduled deadline and was complimented on doing quality work. 

The entire point of this? Folks, waiting and doing poor quality work is all a part of procrastination. Procrastination offers you no benefits whatsoever. It causes worry and stress - and that can't be good for your health. I see sick people at work all the time. Guess what? It seems to me that the people who don't procrastinate are happier and healthier.

I believe there is a connection.

So, take my mom's advice whenever there's a deadline: "Start early, and do it a little by little. Doing so will allow you to take your time and you will do better quality work and be on time."

It does greatly lower your stress!

And, on that note, to help you lower your stress on this workday, here's some funny stuff I found on a wonderful website named Rocket News. The post is entitled: “Procrastinate”? “Calm Under Pressure?” Take a Page from the Pros

Time limit, cutoff, due date. AKA “deadline”. Of course the concept applies to any number of jobs. But let it be said that the real experts on the subject are cartoonists / comic book artists.
These professionals truly know the possibilities of pre-deadline behavior. Today, we present to you 99 ways comic book artists find themselves approaching, or avoiding, their day of reckoning. See if you compare…

*You have flashbacks of elementary school and the day before going back to school after summer break. 

*You know for a scientific fact that the true deadline is 11:59 of that date.

*When your editor calls you for a status update, you tell him “80% done”, but you haven’t even picked up your pen yet. But the math works out because you’ll only put in 20% effort.

*You mutter to yourself, “So, the time has come…” and finally pick up your pen.

*You go on Twitter and Facebook seeking reassurance by checking what your fellow artists are doing at the moment.

*You have a few drinks to see if it’ll help. And discover (again) that it doesn’t.
*The thought occurs to you, “That deadline leaves a lot of room for error, doesn’t it?”
*You stop responding to your editor’s calls with any actual numbers, like “I’ll be done with this page in the blink of a jiffy lamb’s tail”.
*You try chanting, “Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate!”. And 3 seconds later you’re playing with your iPhone.
*You decide to pretend it’s all a bad dream.

*You think to yourself,  ”If I were my editor, I wouldn’t hire me.”

*You procrastinate to the end, and you beat yourself up about it.

*You tell yourself to work nonstop and you’ll be able to finish by 5am, but 20 seconds later you’re surfing the net.

*And you repeat it all again for the next issue.
These are just a few of the hilarious comments from these cartoonists geeks... To see more click here.

Have a great day! It's the weekend so you probably can procrastinate a bit, but, on Monday, GET TO WORK! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hit Song, "Fever" by Julie for Free Download - 3 Days Only!

A song that we've been playing heavily on our FM radio show is available for free download for three days only on Soundcloud. Check it out! Great song! Click here:

WTF?のヘビーローテーションの曲のフリーダウンロード!ジューリの曲を無料ダウンロード!!! Wow! Julie's hit song, "Fever" for FREE DOWNLOAD on Soundcloud. Three days ONLY! Get yours NOW!!!!!!! 今日からから3日間で「FEVER」の無料ダウンロードスタート!FEVER for free download for 3 days starting today!
‪#‎fever‬ ‪#‎jforjulie‬

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Three Generations to Greatness

"It's one generation from a pickaxe to a putter. And the next generation from a tuxedo to a tramp." - Will Rogers

A while back, I wrote a blog post about motivating children and that reminded me of what is considered the ways to greatness for classical pianists. It is called, Three Generations to Greatness. It is what the classical music world considers the minimum for a pianist to be in order to become truly great. Basically; it takes three generations of family effort and diligence to create one piano child prodigy. 

I thought that this story might be useful to those of us who sometimes wonder why they are on this earth and what their purpose is.

I say this because, I, too, sometimes wonder what the legacy is that I will leave on this planet after I die. I have begun to have these thoughts because of the recent death of my own father. Of course, I loved my mother and father and miss them so... But what was their legacy?

Take my father for example, his legacy is much different than my mother's because things changed greatly for our family after my mom's death. Our family fell apart. What does that make my dad's legacy?

A former marine. Three sons who do not speak to each other. Some very old photos of his mom and family and a marine dress uniform that he left to me to care for as he said he wasn't sure that my brothers would do so properly.

Is that all? I'm sure that's all. Unfortunately. And, when you stop to think about it, in the overall picture of things, that's just about all for 99.99999999999% of all the world's people.

In 2003, I started writing for blogs. In 2005, I wrote my first and only book. Why did I write these books? Well, I wanted to leave a legacy... Something to be remembered by. I want to write another book soon too. Oh, and I want to do oil painting again...


I look at the old and tattered photos that my father gave me of his dear mother. Is this her legacy?

The other day, I went to meet a friend named Kieruto Duits who runs a business called "Old Photos of Japan." There Kieruto takes old photos of the people and places of old Japan and lovingly immortalizes them for future use. This seems a wonderful way to leave a legacy. Guys like Kieruto, I know, will take care of my old photos of my mother taken before the war. I am going to give mine to him. I am also going to give him some important family photos of Japanese soldiers before WWII.

But I digress...

Most of us haven't an very old photos or we haven't written a book (my book is terrible and a waste!) neither do most of us paint like Picasso or sing like the Beatles nor compose like Mozart....

But! Aha! There is a key there! Mozart! Music!... Maybe our legacy is not in and of ourselves, perhaps our legacy is in our children! The title of this post is "Three Generations to Greatness." It is true. "Three Generations to Greatness" is what is said it takes, in the world of classical music, for a child to become a great pianist.

Let me explain how, what you do today, can lead to greatness someday using the example of "Three Generations to Greatness." First off, more detail as to what exactly is the three generations.

Here's the story: It is said that it requires three generations of effort and parenting to build a piano genius. The typical story goes like this:

Grandfather works hard as a day laborer. He struggles and saves. He builds a good business. He doesn't want his children to struggle and suffer as he did. He wants them to become doctors or lawyers. He wants them to study culture and art. He makes the children take piano lessons. He works hard and sends them to good universities. 

The children never become good pianists. Why? Because, after lessons, when they are home, there is no one to play and practice with. After all, we all know that you become proficient or great when you practice and hone your craft with someone who knows that craft.

Later, the children grow up. They become doctors or lawyers. They want their children to have the same or better. They want their children (the grandchildren) to study culture and art. They make the children take piano lessons. They work hard to send their children to good universities. 

Same as grandfather, right? Wrong. Now, these grandchildren, when they come home from piano practice (once a week for one hour) they have someone who knows how to play and practice. They have someone at home whom they can enjoy the piano with.

If that someone is their mother and she is working at home, then these children have a massive head-start on others who have no one to practice or play with.

This is why, say traditional musicians, such as American country or Jazz musicians, are thought to be so great: They start practicing with grandpa when they were little kids. That's why they are so proficient and such awesome musicians when they are 25-years-old! 

The moral of the story? Even though what you do now may not seem, at first, to be any sort of creation of a legacy, remember that what you teach your children, they will teach theirs. 

Treat your children with respect. Learn what motivates them. Help them flourish and bloom. Create your legacy.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Incense That Kills Mosquitoes Represents Difference in East vs. West Philosophy...

There is a kind of incense that the Japanese (and many Asians) burn that wards off or kills mosquitoes and flies. It's called "Katori Senko" in Japanese. "Senko"means "incense." "Ka" means "mosquito" and "tori" means "to take or kill." Hence the name Katori  Senko, "Incense for killing mosquitoes."

Eastern method of handling mosquitoes: incense

I think that Katori Senko is wonderful. When I first came to Japan, I was so surprised to see such a product for the first time in my life. It was very pleasant smelling (I love the smell of incense) and it really worked! It was so pleasant not to have to spray chemicals on my body and face or spray them around the area where the children were playing.

I remember just hating the idea of things like "Yard Guard" that my father would spray around the yard when we were having a barbeque or the medicinal taste of some spray that my mother would spray on our faces to keep the mosquitoes off. Off course spraying chemicals on your children's bodies or in the area they play in cannot be good for their health!

Western method of handling mosquitoes: chemicals

With Katori Senko, none of that is necessary. Just light a few coils and place them around the area where you plan to be outside and no more mosquitoes!

Katori Senko was first made in 1885 and is made of natural ingredients. It is wonderful and it represents, for me, some of the wonderful things about Japan that I love.

I also think that there is something else; a microcosm of the entire world represented in this small package. It is a mirror of our world and it greatly represents the difference in thinking between western and eastern peoples. Whereas, in the west, if there is a problem with food, health or insects, western philosophy and medicine are quick to react with chemicals; while in the east, a more holistic approach is taken to many of our problems. This is why things like Acupuncture, Tai-chi, and, of course, Katori Senko come from the east.

Of course, I believe that we westerners have much to learn about patience and a more holistic approach to our troubles from our eastern brothers and sisters.

I believe "Katori Senko type of thinking" - eastern philosophy - being more utilized in the west, especially in the United States, could greatly go to help cure many of our ills.

For more go to the company web site:

This is a great way to kill mosquitoes, a "mosquito killing incense" that kills them by blocking their air ducts, or whatever the nasty bugs breathe through. A famous brand since 1890!
As an alternative to the ubiquitous citronella anti-bug candles, these incense-like bug repellent coils (known as katori senko (or mosquito killing incense) will actually kill the annoying bugs by blocking their breathing holes with smoke particles. Has a nice blend of herbs and floral deterrents, including eucalyptus, that give off a pleasant aroma that is mild and non-irritative. This purchase is for a kit that includes 10 incense coils and a coil stand (burning it on a plate away from flammable materials is recommended). A great Japanese item with a cool retro Gold Cock packaging!

You just gotta love the retro packagaing AND the retro English! Very typical and cool 1980's Japan! (Of course, for English, I suppose we could teach these good folks a thing or two!)

I love Katori Senko! Try it! You will too! The smell is summer in Japan!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Google Street Maps View of Japan' s Hashima Island (Battleship Island)

Googls Street Maps has come out with a very nice high-quality video from Japan's famous and now deserted Battleship Island.

About Hashima Island, Wikipedia says:

Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima, is one among 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Nagasaki itself. 

The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island's most notable features are the abandoned and undisturbed concrete apartment buildings and the surrounding sea wall. The island has been administered as part of Nagasaki city since the merger of the former town of Takashima in 2005. It is known for its coal mines and their operation during the industrialization of Japan. Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from undersea mines. They built Japan's first large concrete building, a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers. Concrete was specifically used to protect against typhoon destruction. In 1959, the 6.3-hectare (16-acre) island's population reached its peak of 5,259, with a population density of 835 people per hectare (83,500 people/km2, 216,264 people per square mile) for the whole island, or 1,391 per hectare (139,100 people/km2) for the residential district. As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it is called Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after 35 years of closure.

More on Hashima here: Japan's Ghost Island, Hashima!

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