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Season's Greetings to All 2010/12/21 01:08
December 23 (national holiday)
Emperor's Birthday (tenno no tanjobi):
The birthday of the current emperor is always a national holiday. If the emperor changes, the national holiday changes to the birthday date of the new emperor.
December 24-25
Christmas is not a national holiday, but it is celebrated by an increasing number of Japanese. More information is available on the Christmas page.
December 31
New Year's Eve (omisoka):
December 31 is not a national holiday. More information is available on the New Year page.
January 1 (national holiday)
New Year (shogatsu):
This is the most important holiday in Japan. While only January 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3. More information is available on the New Year page.
Second Monday of January (national holiday)
Coming of Age (seijin no hi):
The coming of age of 20 year old men and women is celebrated on this national holiday. More information is available on the Coming of Age page.
February 3
Beginning of spring (setsubun):
Setsubun is not a national holiday, but celebrated at shrines and temples nationwide. More information is available on the Setsubun page.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Merry Christmas 2010/12/23 11:42
To all of my good friends at the forum, I would like to take this oppertunity to wish you the best of the joyous holiday season.
May the good Lord keep you safe and afford you the simple pleasures of this wonderful time..
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Konnchiwa 2010/12/26 17:16
Hi, all

Please enjoy;



Best wishes for a happy new year.

by Kaoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Genki desu 2010/12/28 05:25
Kaoru, Thank you for the YouTube video links. I enjoyed them, as well as several others. How is the weather in Yokohama? Washington State is rainy, and snow might fall in the next couple of days. East Coast of the U.S. is experiencing a severe snow storm and wind. Some of our Japan Forum friends might be without electricity or maybe cannot leave their home. I pray for safety and warmth for them.
by Lori (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/12/28 07:29
I think I will move to Kyoto...thank you for the videos.
Yes we had a blizzard, and Lori, thank you for your prayers. We are safe and warm..er..well.. we are safe..For Christmas we went to Stockbridge Mass, a quaint New England town, and returned on Christmas day, only to breakdown on the interstate [actually at a chinese restaurant] and was towed the last 60 miles. Egg roll in a tow truck...Merry Christmas..I am reminded that I like new things..at least we were not stuck at some airport.
What did others here do ? Did anyone have a "normal" Christmas ?
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Hope everyone.... 2010/12/28 08:22
had a great Xmas. The weather here in Vegas is mid-fifties. No complaints with that.
by Joe G. (guest) rate this post as useful

Weather report from NYC 2010/12/29 03:07
We were to spend Christmas weekend at our cousins' in Watchung, NJ. We all had a good time.

But on Sunday morning, with a major storm on the way, we decided to head back home to NY early. We started our trip just as the snow was starting and en-route saw the most number of spin-outs, smashed up multi-vehicle accidents, and out of control cars and vans I've ever seen. Luckily we got home to NYC in one piece - we have been happily home-bound ever since.

Our city got between 20 and 30 inches of snow, depending on where you lived, which is highly unusual here. The snow in the busier sections of Manhattan has to be not only plowed into large piles, but put into trucks and dumped into the Hudson and East Rivers - a lengthy expensive process. Snow removal costs the city over $1 million an inch. Buses and trains are now running at greatly reduced numbers and our three airports are finally open to limited traffic - there are still people sitting around the airports, waiting for flights. Many can not get to work. Hundreds of tow trucks and snow removal vehicles are in use, but many of the small secondary streets are unplowed. There is also a call for blood donors since the supply is dwindling. Ambulances have gotten stuck in the snow and one broken down subway train got stuck for 6 hours with no heat before it was finally towed to a station.

This is definitely a catastrophe, though I have not heard of any deaths or major accidents here, or power outages in spite of high winds that gusted up to 55 mph in some sections.

Hope you all are well and that you had a terrific Christmas.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Happy new year 2010/12/31 10:10
To all of my good friends..I would like to extend to all of you a very Happy New Year, lets hope that the new year is better than the last.
This year our police department has quietly urged everyone to refrain on the fully-autos and please stick to the semis..sounds reasonable. we'll see..were going to be out of town anyway..my love to you-all.
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Happy New Year and more news 2011/1/1 12:34
Our son and his fiancee and her parents were with us for a week over Christmas. This was our first meeting of the bride's mom and dad. Nuptuals are set for June 25, 2011.

My cooking skills were on display as I made filet/lobster tail, pasta, salmon with asparagus, rice in the rice maker, etc. Everything worked.

We attended candle light service on Christmas Eve at the Camdenton United Methodist Church, which, supprisingly, included Communion.

The fiancee parents are Catholic and they enjoyed the service,

We walked Ha Ha Tonka State Park on a fairly chilly day. I was surprised there were so many walkers out. We had a little sun in the PM.

The in laws were gone when Missouri was hit by tornados this morning, a rare event in December. Fort Leonard Wood, about 25 miles from here, was hard hit. Nearby Rolla, MO., was also damaged and fatalities were reported.
Storms came over our house at about 3 AM on the 31st but were not strong enough to do damage except for a lighning strike on a house nearby.

I wish all of the visitors to this page a very good New Year and offer a prayer that our country will remain safe and our soldiers and Marines be brought home soon.
by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

Happy New Year to all!! 2011/1/3 10:35
Eric said it well and I echo his sentiments - and we're glad nothing was damaged on your property. And good luck to your son.

Also, may all the serious job-seekers find work, and may our country continue to prosper as it has in the past, and may our government and leaders make wise decisions that are best for all of us, and may our country be more unified and strong.

By the way, has anyone ever seen the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC? My husband and I were able to go to a live show on Dec 22 at the 92nd Street Y here in NYC where the show was taped for three evenings. We had never gone to a TV taping before, although I used to live near several TV headquarters in Manhattan. Interesting experience. Note: every word is on teleprompters, and almost nothing is spontaneous, except the statements by guests, and responses thereto - we're not TV watchers as a rule, but this was an interesting experience.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Question about the cliffs 2011/1/23 18:20
When I lived in Area 2 at 8 & 9 years of age, I remember the many caves along the cliffs. I had always longed to explore a cave or two, but at such a young age, I did not have the means or knowledge to do so. I remember seeing a tall ladder that was propped up along the cliff and directly under a cave. However, the ladder was not long enough to reach it. Were these caves build during WWII or possibly burial caves? I cannot find any information on the web. I'm 40 years old now, and the question STILL bothers me to this very day. Any suggestions or answers would be helpful. My family were one of the last to move out of Area 2. It was one of the best times of my life as a child, growing up in the area. Climbing the chalk-faced walls to hike thru the bamboo was often a favorite. I remember a large tree that stood in the middle of the bamboo forest which had a thick rope tied to a branch to swing on. Along the brick wall of Area 1 (facing the ocean direction) still had sand along it. I remember my Dad pointing it out and explaining how the ocean once lapped up to the housing area and there once was a beautiful beach... and how industry boomed and land began to stretch out into the ocean. At that age, I recall feeling confused to how a beach once existed and now it's all land. I just could not comprehend it.
I'd love to visit Japan to see how the area turned out after the take over. I'd like to walk along the cliff walls, if even possible. Just to reminisce.
by Linduh (guest) rate this post as useful

Beach 2011/1/23 21:05
Hi, Linduh

Caves were near the "Makado beach". Yes, it built by Japanese military during WWII. Makado is a Japanese name. I forgot an English name of the beach. These pictures are Honmoku of 1950s. The picture of the beach of your memories will be able to seen. My dad worked the Yamate police station in Kominato. My family lived in Honmoku, Negishi for several years. Please enjoy!

by Kaoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Welcome Lindah 2011/1/23 23:51
Hey Lindah !

I remember the caves both in Area 2 and outside the fence where we lived in the 1950s. I'm surprised to hear there were any caves left after 1960. I played with my Japanese playmates in those caves in the mid-late 1950s as a pre-teen.

I recall a much younger American kid somehow got hurt in one of the caves in Area 2 and the authorities conducted a cement filling campaign to close up the caves they knew about. How Area 2 was built without a cave survey by the Army is a puzzle to me.

Japan was still a very poor society with large areas still unrebuilt in the 1950s. Not very far from our comfortable western style house was a large cave where a Japanese family lived. The cave entry was enclosed in plywood with a single door and a tin chimney.

There were caves elsewhere, some small and wet and some engineered as very large manufacturing centers in the closing year of the war. Our maid, Masako, said she had worked in one of them as a young conscript.

The beach you mentioned was one of my favorite haunts. Traveling through Sankaien and then down a sandstone cliff would bring me to this beach where an old Japanese man rented fishing boats for 100 yen per hour (less than a dime at that time.) The small to medium sized crabs that moved back and forth with the tide were easy prey. The Japanese kids were doing the same and we shared our feast over a scrap wood fire.

As you mentioned, a massive landfilling effort filled in this bay, which is now the home to an oil refinery and auto manufacturing, among other industries.

A contributor to this board who recently retired from the Washington Post wrote about this period some years ago. Kunio Francis Tanabe was a senior editor at the paper and I think you might find his retrospective on his hometown still floating around on the web.

by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

"Beach Area" 2011/1/24 01:35
I remember the beach area, yet in 1969 it seemed that the transformation was well underway. I used to hike from Sankien Gardens to the water but there was not much there and the swimming didn't look that appealing. It seemed to me that it might be a perfect spot for a beach recretional area and a place where Japanese could go to cool off on a hot summers day. Industry had other ideas. I could use a hot summers day right now. New Hampshire is pretty chilly.
Welcome Lindah..I figure you were there about 1979ish?..And Thanks again Kaoru for the photos..what was that castle thing ?
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Negishi racetrack? 2011/1/24 06:10
Hey, Peter-san

Nice to hear again. The explanation of the picture is written, "The U.S. military facilities in 1947 Yokohama". The style is a little different though it is racetrack of Negishi. I don't know... Anyone know this picture?
by Kaoru (guest) rate this post as useful

"Castle Photo" 2011/1/24 13:47
Hi Kaoru-san
Is the Castle part of the racetrack? Look to the right of the photo and in the back there is some object..I do not know what that is..do you ? anyone ?
Hope you are well Tonight here it is Zero degrees F very cold. We hope for spring soon..
Todays Haiku :
Sleeping under the snow
the squirrel opens one eye..
not yet..
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Kaoru-san's pictures 2011/1/24 17:12
Kaoru-san - thank you for posting the pictures. Some of the pictures look familiar. Aren't there several of the Foreigner's Cemetary, with the view of the waterfront in back? Also, the street in front of it, and some houses in the Bluff Yamate area. Unfortunately that's the only area I remember well.

Cold also here in NYC and in the entire northeast - 0 degrees with 30 mile per hour winds tonight, and probably more snow tomorrow. Not as bad as in NH where Peter is, but really uncomfortable all the same.

Hope everyone is well.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Marauding monkey! 2011/1/25 00:19
Japan's 'convict' monkey stages daring cage break
1 hr 28 mins ago

TOKYO – A marauding monkey that terrorized resort towns in central Japan last year by biting nearly 120 people has escaped captivity.

Officials in Mishima City said the monkey slipped out of the government-run nature park it had been kept at since its capture last October when a keeper was cleaning its cage.

The city published an emergency notice urging residents to lock their doors, though no new attacks have been reported.

The fugitive monkey, known as "Lucky," is a type of macaque that is one of the most common wild mammals in Japan. They are considered a nuisance in rural areas, where they damage crops and steal food.

Lucky has proved a tough catch in the past, avoiding citywide monkey hunts during its previous two month biting spree.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Steffi's story 2011/1/29 02:23
Honmokujin here (Kunio Francis Tanabe, really, retired from The Washington Post four years ago). Just read some earlier contributions to this website after Eric got in touch with me recently.
Eric, another coincidence: Mr. Yajima was my tennis instructor while I was at St. Joseph's. He was a great athlete but I did not know his background as a German soldier on the eastern front.
Steffi: You must know Ike Shapiro, my sempai at St. Joseph's. He was in Karuizawa during the war, later became a successful lawyer in NYCity, worked for Isamu Noguchi, the sculptor (who also attended St. Joseph's. He is a buddy of another Karuizawa resident, Beato Sirota, daughter of the famous musician. Tom Haar, his father was a famous photographer, also lived in Karuizawa. And you were probably on the same ship that left Trieste --the photographer Helmut Newton. I reviewed his autobiography. More later.
by honmokujin rate this post as useful

More Mysteries of Honmoku 2011/1/29 04:55
The Honmoku house we lived in from 1943 to 1960 was located in front of the beach. It was purchased from a French family who had to move inland because the military authorities considered them a security threat. In fact, all non-Japanese families with houses on the beach were considered security threats because they could see the ships going in and out of the harbor. Three families with connections to St. Joseph College, the school I attended, lived a couple of blocks from my house in front of the sea wall. They were the Komors, the Shapiros and the Franks. Barbara Frank attended St.Maur's. Her father was imprisoned toward the end of the war and was killed by the kempeitai, the military police in Yokohama. There are still a lot of stories to be discovered about what happened to some of the non-Japanese families. What is still a mystery is this: How much influence did the spy hunter and Nazi official, Josef Meisinger, have on the Japanese secret police? Meisinger, also known as the "Butcher of Warsaw" arrived in Japan soon after the Russian spy Richard Sorge was exposed. But, it seems, he targeted German Jews living in Japan. Soon after August, 1945, American soldiers found Meisinger near Hakone. He was arrested and eventually sent to Poland where he was executed as a war criminal. (I read the file on him at the National Archives in Maryland and found out that it contained very little about his influence on the Kempeitai. {In the book, "The Fugu Plan," the author said Meisinger planned to round up the Jews in Shanghai, put them on a boat and then sink it; but I have not seen any concrete evidence to verify that story.) Barbara Frank's grandfather was a famous professor at a Japanese college in Yamanashi Prefecture. His devoted students put up a statue in his honor and wrote a book honoring him. One student found out about what happened to one of his sons, Barbara's father. He doggedly pursued the matter and even got in touch with former Kempeitai leaders and persuaded them to go to Barbara's father's grave in Karuizawa to apologize for their wartime deeds. That was written up in the Japanese newspapers.
By the way, Eric, I, too explored the tunnels below Hasseiden, the Temple of the Eight Saints. The years before the bulldozing of Tokyo Bay were incredibly memorable -- full of places to explore (including the tiny used-books & comics store in front of the tram station).
by honmokujin rate this post as useful

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