Miss a thing

When I went to Canada for the first time, I didn’t know any Japanese there. When I went drinking with my Canadian friends, I always went to a bar. It’s just as usual for me. But typical Japan in Canada usually hang out with Japan, go to fake Japanese restaurants or other Asian restaurants, and never go to a bar. I like to enjoy things of the place, but they are missing something.

Now I live in Japan, and don’t want to miss a thing. I will eventually go back to Canada, and this situation makes me see my home country’s culture in a different way from before. Last weekend I made a day trip in Nishio, Aichi prefecture. Nishio is famous for 抹茶 – matcha, or powdered green tea.

抹茶 - matcha - powdered green tea

They are also proud of Nishio City History Park. There is Nishio Castle in the park. Unlike Inuyama Castle that I visited last month, the castle tower was rebuilt recently. But unlike entertaining Nagoya Castle, its original state is precisely represented.

旧近衛邸庭園と西尾城 - Kyu-Konoe-tei and Nishio Castle

I can tell it’s not “authentic”; on the surface of a thick beam, unlike the one in Inuyama Castle that impressed me, I can recognize evidence of machining. But I still admire people’s efforts to restore our historic heritage. They don’t want to miss something important.

A beam in the rebuilt Nishio Castle

Another remarkable featured in the park is a tea house called 旧近衛邸 – Kyu-Konoe-tei. The building is beautiful, and the garden is very beautiful too. The way of serving tea is very, very different from Western style. Probably Westerners and many other non-Japanese find this pretty uncomfortable. We Japanese (…not all Japanese, though) enjoy this way of having tea, combined with the beautiful view outside. But do not assume this is typical in Japan. This is in fact rare and only recently I came to enjoy having matcha in this way. Now I don’t want to miss something old but new for me.

Serving tea at Kyu-Konoe-tei tea house

It’s not always easy to create something new. It’s not always easy to make a break with tradition. But it’s often so easy to lose traditions. While I live in Japan, I want to experience our traditions as much as I can.


As far as I know, the human is the only creature on the earth that smile. (Some animals often look like thay are smiling but it’s human’s way of interpretation.) On the other hand, the human is the only creature that lies “intentionally”. (Some animals and insects “fake”, but they do it instinctively.) When human’s those unique characteristics are combined, they make fake smile. But unlike artworks or brand goods, you don’t have to be an expert to distinguish between real and fake; natural smile makes you smile, but fake one doesn’t.

Today I had a chance to talk with a nice girl who makes me smile with her smile. I honestly told her that, and she told me that I’m not the first one who told her that. When she worked at a fastfood restaurant, she made her coworkers smile, and they made their customers smile. When her coworker told her that, she was happy. What a nice story! I was happy to hear that. Not many people enjoy working at a fastfood restaurant, right? But it’s not surprising that she liked the job. Honestly, I envied her.

On weekdays when I work, I often forget that I can smile. It sucks.

Now I’m eating and drinking at a Soba place. Some of the workers here (one of them makes cocktail, so probably I can call her bartender thought this is not a bar) make nice smile to make me smile. Now The Beatles “Let it be” is playing. Now, suppose this is a sign, what I should do is to let everything be as it is and smile!? Ha! Autually it’s not bad. Let’s see.

5 years

Friday, March 11th passed as an ordinary weekday, except for one minute of silence at 2:46 pm. This is when the massive earthquake hit Eastern Japan five years ago, which triggered a series of tsunami.

“Disaster strikes when you least expect it” is usually translated to “天災は忘れた頃にやってくる”, but the Japanese version of it literally means “disaster strikes when people lose their memory (of the previous one)“. What it tells you is that you should always prepare for unexpected natural disasters. But for Japanese people today, it also means that we should bear in mind the victims and the sufferers of the disaater. Even today, many sufferers cannot come back to their home because their hometown was completely destroyed by the tsunami and the entire town is being rebuilt. Many others are still forced to evacuate due to the nuclear crisis. Thanks to the mass media, they are still fresh memory for us.

In an old post, I wrote income often hides unwanted reality. It is true especially when the job is very demanding and it makes me forget about everything else. Autually I wrote that post when I saw the city messed by a natural disaster, which evoked the emotion I had after the earthquake and tsunami. Now I have a full-time job. I have income. But I should remember that I had been unemployed until a few months ago, that the current job is only a temporary one, and that I am still a loser.

It’s been five years, but it doesn’t feel like that long. Is it because I’ve been so busy doing somethimg demanding, whether it is a job or job hunting? Anyways, I hope everyone in the disaster area will be happy someday and they can be proud of their hometown, and hope I’ll get a job someday that I can be proud of. We’ll see.


It’s been a little more than two months since I got back to Japan. Though I was not willing to coma back, it’s good to enjoy living in my home country.

Is it weird to talk about New Year’s resolution in March? In some (many?) cases, New Year’s resolution only lasts a month or a few weeks, so it may make more sense to talk about it when a couple of months have passed. One of my resolutions for the “new” year is to visit a historical site once a month. In January, I visited 熱田神宮 (Atsuta shrine) in my “neighbourhood”, and also visited 名古屋城 (Nagoya Castle).

In February, I visited 犬山 (Inuyama). One of the main destinations of this day trip was 犬山城 (Inuyama Castle).

犬山城 - Inuyama Castle

So, I visited two castles in Aichi prefecture in two moths, and there is a big difference between them; the tower of Inuyama Castle is the original one, but the tower of Nagoya Castle was rebuilt about half a century ago. In other words, the former is authentic, and the latter is not. I’m not saying that rebuilding a castle tower is not good. The tower of Nagoya Castle was burnt out in an air raid by U.S. in WWII, and I actually admire their efforts to rebuild a historical treasure. But it’s a little too entertaining. It is equipped with an elevator, and there is a souvenir shop on the top floor, which disappointed me.

On the other hand, I was so impressed by Inuyama Castle. For example, a beam impressed me though it is not a significant feature of the castle. On the surface of the beam, I can see the efforts that people made about 500 years ago; people planed a piece of lumber with hand tools of the time.

犬山城の梁 - a beam of Inuyama Castle

For another example, again, though it is not anything remarkable, I noticed the age of the castle on the floor; it has been polished by people… by the samurai in the past, and today by the tourists.

犬山城の床 - polished floor of Inuyama Castle

When I visit a museum or a historical site, as I wrote in an old post, I always spend a long time… I mean, I “usually” spend a long time. I often visit a historical site with my friends, and when they walk at their pace, they “rush” me as a result… This is why I prefer visiting those places by myself. Anyways. It’s not about watching famous art works. It’s not about taking selfies at a popular site. It’s about feeling people’s life in the past. I feel I am communicating with people in the past through authentic pieces of whatever.

By the way, I wrote I was disappointed by the tower of Nagoya Castle, but it does not mean I don’t like Nagoya Castle. In fact, I enjoyed seeing the stonewalls, for example. They were not burnt out by the air raid; it’s real. It’s not tough to imagine it was hard work, and people did it by hand.

名古屋城の石垣 - stonewall of Nagoya Castle

Anyways, I want to keep my resolution. Of course “sight seeing” cannot be a “resolution”. It’s not only about visiting sites but witnessing the history of my home country. In a way, my resolution for last year still continues; to ignite my intellectual curiosity. I will eventually go back to Canada. While living in Jaapan, I want to take this opportunity to lean more about my home country to be proud of it.