August 31, 2008

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

We visited "The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum" in Osaka the other day. Mr. Ando, who was the founder of Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd., was a great manager, and an inventor of the instant noodles(Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodle) that are loved all over the world. I think that the instant noodle is one of the best inventions in the 20th century.

The instant noodles that are currently in the market were exhibited in the museum. There was also a workshop where participants could experience the cooking of Chicken Ramen.

We tried to "My Cup Noodle Factory". You can obtain only one original ramen in the world there. First of all, you freely design the cup, then choose your favorites from four kinds of soups and a lot of ingredients. We adults really enjoyed it and had a great time, to say nothing of our daughter.

Mr. Ando left the following words during his life.
"It is never too late to do anything in life."
"Create change instead of adapting to the changing times."
"Do not try to sell instant noodles. Sell food culture."
"Organizations don't get the work done; people do,"

And the last one,
"Human beings are noodle beings."
Those words are not armchair theories, but words of the person who made the instant noodle known to the world by the constant endeavor. I felt that there are a lot of things that we learn from his way of life.

Special thanks to Henry.

Japanese Style Store - 1st

August 23, 2008

Thinking about Kyoto

I went to Kyoto International Manga Museum with my family in the Bon holiday period. The museum is located between Nijo castle and Kyoto-gosho. The building used to be an elementary school. But now, it has become a place where Japanese culture, Manga comics, and various cartoons from around the world are on display. I enjoyed reading "Astro boy" written in English on the lawn of a garden that was the schoolyard before, and I felt some nostalgia for it.

Next, we headed to Toei Movie Land (Kyoto Uzumasa Eigamura) on foot and by train. It is a movie theme park and there are studio sets of the Edo period films. We enjoyed various attractions and took pictures with samurai and ninja.

Kyoto is certainly a wonderful city with a lot of landmarks and excellent examples of traditional culture, but I think that Kyoto is a place to visit rather than to live, because I occasionally experience some inconveniences in Kyoto. The roads beside the main streets are very narrow . There aren't many stores with parking lots. The network of streets sections off the city as neatly as the grid on a go board, but it is inconvenient to move diagonally. The main method of transportation in Kyoto is by bus, but the busses are often delayed and the routes are complex.

I think Kyoto might be a town of LOHAS, so maybe it is an attractive town for people who like such life. Actually, there are a lot of foreign people who like the atmosphere of Kyoto and settle down there too. However it would be difficult for me to give up the convenient life style I have at present.

Henry, thank you for your help.

Japanese Style Store - 1st

April 5, 2008

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto

Cherry blossom viewing
(The cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan, and many people enjoy eating and drinking around the cherry trees when they are in full blossom.)

These are pictures about the scenery of cherry blossoms in the temple in Kyoto.

Most Japanese really like enjoying seeing cherry blossom. When cherry blossoms begin to bloom, people get more and more excited. They expand the seat around the cherry trees, and get into swing with their friends and colleagues as it enjoying themselves over sake and dishes.
As the best time to go see the cherry blossoms is about two weeks, people pray in the meantime that the flower doesn't fall due to rain.

In April, there are a lot of entrance and initiation ceremonies, and they make people have a presentiment of a new coming at the season.

Japanese Style Store - 1st

Posted by Picasa

February 2, 2008

Our trip to Guam 2008


Our family visited Guam from Jan. 23 to 27th. The travel from cold Japan to hot Guam, it was very hard for us.
The purpose of the travel was sightseeing, and especially, shopping of my wife. My role was to carry their luggage and to take a lot of photos and videos.

I had looked forward to the conversation in English with a local person before I went to Guam.
I started speaking in English to them, "Excuse me, sir?"
But they answered in Japanese fluently, "Nihongo de OK desu!"

The town in Guam was full of Japanese beyond the reach of my imagination. Conversations with clerks, signboards in the downtown area, menus of restaurant, sightseeing maps, etc.

After all, I had relied on Japanese and easy English while traveling. I regret a little that I should have made the effort to speak in English more positively.

I stuck to correct English too much. Of course, I think that I should do so in the place of the business. But, in usual conversations, I felt that a little broken English might be friendlier, and be the expression that understands easily for the other party.

People in Guam were very kind and friendly. For curiosity or their business, they tried to understand Japan positively. There were a lot of things that I had to learn from them.

We would like to express our gratitude to all people whom we met in this travel.

We hope that we will visit Guam again, thank you Guam! We left the paradise on earth.

When we returned home to Japan, about 500 E-mail and a pile of work were waiting for me.

Japanese Style Store - 1st

Posted by Picasa

January 15, 2008

Bitter memories at Coming-of-Age Day

When I turned the TV on getting up yesterday morning, I saw the news of a coming-of-age ceremony. Women dressed in beautiful kimono were reflected in the TV.

I recalled bitter memories of a coming-of-age ceremony.

When I was a college student, I was elected a representative of the citizens in my city. My role was to present new adults the bouquet in the ceremony.
In those days, I belonged to the volunteer group of the city, and was often participating in various events that the city office sponsored. Therefore, I thought the choice as a representative of the citizens, and I was proud of that.

That day of ceremony, the city hall was filled to capacity. I dressed up and waited to be called by the chairperson back in the stage.

After a while, the chairperson said, "Ladies and gentlemen. Now, I introduce the person who represents the citizens. Mr. …"

The chairperson called a different name from my name. I noticed that he made a mistake in the pronunciation of my name, both my first and last name. I was already a complete another person.

Because there was no other way, I went out to the stage, and presented the bouquet to new adult's woman.

It often makes a mistake in my name because it is unusual. But, why did not he confirm my name beforehand though he was a professional chairperson? And, the coming-of-age ceremony became a bitter memory for me.

Japanese Style Store - 1st