Finally! I did this homework, too…
Chrissantosra nominated me for a Versatile Award 6 months ago. I am so sorry to be this late and thank you very much, Chrissantosra!
My job situation got rather tough around the same time, so I was away from blogging for a while. But it’s getting better now. Time to do homework.
Chrissantosra’s blog, From Korea with Love, is one of my favorite blogs. She is from Philippines, married to a Korean and lives in Korea. If you are interested, check it out!
Seven Facts About Myself
I wrote 11 facts about myself in the Liebster Award. Let me think of 7 more.
- I am one of very few Japanese who blog in English. Most Japanese blog in Japanese in the platforms like Ameba, FC2, etc. Why am I blogging in English in WordPress? Good question.
Montage of languages. Prototype header for the language portal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s not easy for me to write in English. I guess I don’t want to be limited to a Japanese-only world. That is so me – I always wanted to be around people from different countries and different culture. English is powerful. It’s a global language. With English, I can be connected to anybody from anywhere on the globe. I wish more Japanese would join WordPress. They are too confined to their small Japanese-only world.
- I have a sister much older than me. She is between a sister and a cousin, i.e. her father and my father were brothers.
Is there a name for somebody like that in English? There is none in Japanese.
Is this unusual and shocking in the society and culture you grew up? It was to my generation, but it was a rather common practice for my parents’ generation. In fact, when my mother’s first husband (my sister’s father) died in WWII in 1945, right before my sister was born, everybody expected one of his brothers would step up and marry my mother to rescue her and her daughter (my sister).
And my father married my mother much later.
Here is the photo of my sister (in her school uniform) holding her baby sister, me, at home in Kumamoto city.
- My sister’s father died in the POW camp in Komusan (고무산: 古茂山), North Korea (北朝鮮).
He was dead on the day my sister was born. So, my sister never met her father in her life. All she’s got are his photo and his hair which was sent back to Japan from Komusan after his death. Who knows if the hair is really her father’s hair.
Someday I hope my sister will be able to go visit Komusan to find her father’s bones. I want to go with her. A group of Japanese who had lost their families in Komusan got to visit there recently (below is a clip of the TV coverage – in Japanese)
I hear a lot of soldiers died in the camps in Komusan from diseases.
I don’t know if my sister will want to do it, though. It may be too painful for her. I hesitate to bring up this topic to her. If we get to go, we should mourn for all the people who died there, Koreans, Chinese, Russians… not only for the Japanese soldiers.
- I seem to have ties with Korea – my older son married a Korean girl last year.
Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love (Photo credit: epSos.de)
결혼 축하 !!
In the early 1980s, I took a Korean language class from curiosity. Some language schools started offering Korean classes in the 1980s as some Japanese wanted to learn Korean before making a trip to Seoul to watch the PalPal Olympics in 1988.
In the 1970s and before, there were virtually no Korean classes, except a very few academic places like the university I went to. We would see posters written in Korean hung on the electric poles here and there in town for the Koreans who lived in Japan, but nobody would pay any attention to them.
It was after I travelled (backpacked) overseas when I was in college that I became interested in what those posters were saying. When I took the Korean class, everybody’s reaction was, “why are you learning such a thing?” – I imagine the opposite was probably the case in Korea – no Koreans would want to learn Japanese. The recent bad history between the two country. But, nowadays, no Japanese will be surprised if you take a Korean class. Time has changed – in a good direction.
When I took the Korean class, I never imagined that one of my sons would marry a Korean 30 years later. For 3 months before my son’s wedding, I hired a Korean teacher and reviewed my Korean – I had forgotten most of what I learned 30 years ago, and it was so hard to relearn it with my old and rusty brain. My teacher translated my speech for the wedding into Korean. I practiced it a lot. I think I did OK on the speech at the reception. The bride’s family and relative looked puzzled at times (my Korean was probably incomprehensible) but I think they appreciated my effort.
- I seem to have some ties with Hawaii, too.
In the early 1900s, my husband’s great grandfather owned a factory in the clothing industry near New York. He was rich. He owned a summer house on the beach in Connecticut, etc. He took his daughter (my husband’s grandma) on a worldwide cruise. I imagine the ship was just like Titanic. Imagine how much money they had to pay for a cruise like that. Oh by the way, very sadly, the wealth was not passed down to my husband. The wealth rapidly disappeared in his grandma’s generation 😦 Not easy to pass down wealth from generation to generation.
Titanic 9326 (Photo credit: ISD 191 Performing Arts Programs)
When their cruise ship stopped at Hawaii, WWI broke out, so the rest of the cruise travel had to be cancelled and they went back home. But my husband’s great grandpa and grandma landed and probably walked around on Hawaii in 1914. This is the beginning of my husband’s family’s ties with Hawaii.
30 years later, the grandson (my husband’s father) volunteered to fight in WWII, as many other American men did, and he was sent to Hawaii for training to be a frogman (combat diver).
The crater of Mt. Haleakara, Maui Island, Hawaii (you can drive all the way up to the top of the mountain ^^)
My husband’s father hiked right here in the crater around 1944-1945. He was lucky that the WWII ended before he would be called for a battle. He probably would have died… frogmen had extremely dangerous duties.
English: Photo of University of Hawaii, Manoa campus from Round Top drive, Honolulu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Then another 30 years or so later, my husband came to the University of Hawaii as an exchange student from the mainland. The exchange program was meant to be just for one year, but he liked Hawaii so muh he never went back to the mainland, and lived in Hawaii for several years.
And now one of my sons lives in Hawaii (*o*)
- My husband’s father was stationed in Kagoshima (鹿児島) after the WWII ended, from 1945 to 1946.
Many American soldiers were assigned to Japan after the war when the U.S. occupied Japan. I am sure my father-in-law never ever imagined when he was in Kagoshima that his son’s future bride would be from Fukuoka (福岡) which is only 300km away from Kagoshima.
English: Sakurajima Kagoshima-ken, Japan. 日本語: 鹿児島県の桜島 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When my father met my husband’s father for the first time, I think my father was quite nervous. Thinking back, he was for a good reason. They had been enemies when there were young only 40 years before. My father once told me that when the war broke out in 1941 (he was a teenager) he was really bummed out. My father did not want a war against the U.S. I am sure many other Japanese did not. But nobody could speak up against the lunatic government.
Location of Kagoshima Tokyo=Metropolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- I took piano lessons (more precisely, my mom forced me to) for 10 years. I became good enough to enter regional competition, but I could not stand the practice (4-6 hours a day). One day I could not stand it any more and I declared to my mom that I quit. I wanted to play sports with my friends. My mom got furious and the night I declared I quit, she did not give me supper. I spent one night without supper (which is no big deal, I guess). I won the battle. She gave me supper every night from the next day.
When I was a child, it seemed every family with a daughter bought a piano and they made the daughter take piano lessons. Since I was a little bit talented, my mom got carried away and it became her dream to make me a concert pianist. Far East Asians (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) love to have their kids take piano/violin lessons. What’s up with that?
I liked playing sports and I liked rock-n-roll and pop music better than classical music – I think that was the big problem (lol).
Nowadays I don’t even want to touch a piano, which must be a reaction to my childhood.
I can swim. I can keep swimming for hundreds of meters (very slowly). But I don’t like being in water. I’d always rather be on the land, being dry. Maybe because my mom never signed me up for swimming lessons when I was little, which was quite normal in Japan in those days. My mom could not swim. Neither could my sister. And nobody thought they should learn how to swim.
Japanese flower arrangement 5 (Photo credit: mharrsch)
I think my mother was under the influence of the British Victorian-era culture. Victorian influence on women in Japan? Yes, my mother grew up in the pre-WWII period and she had this idea instilled in her that ladies should play the piano, have tea, never play sports, never plunge in any swimming pools – those are men’s things. Flower arrangement (ikebana: 生け花) and tea ceremony were good things for ladies to do, too. My sister took flower arrangement lessons, though she never took swimming lessons.
Believe it or not, it was when I was 8 years old that I opened my eyes in the water for the first time in my life! My elementary school did not have a swimming pool yet (Japan was still poor in those days) and the school took us a few times for school-wide swimming lessons to one of the only two public swimming pools the city of Fukuoka had (at that time, Fukuoka had only two public pools for the population of one million). To prepare for the lessons, the teacher gave us homework to practice opening our eyes in the water in the sink in the bathroom at home. I was scared to do death (laugh), but I did my homework with a bowl filled with water in the sink in the bathroom. And I was totally amazed that we humans can open our eyes in water (laugh).
Later, I took more swimming classes and became able to swim, but I never can look forward to going into water. I think you have to learn swimming at your early age to be able to feel completely natural and comfortable in water and to like being in water.
Well, I wrote a lot. Once I start writing, I can’t stop. If you read all of this, thanks a lot for your patience! I think I wrote more than 7 facts about myself. I broke the rule (omg).
I Nominate the Bloggers Below for the Versatile Award:
I will try to nominate a few at a time. Voila.
Vector Charley – He blogs about the magnificent Lake Michigan and the beauitufl Lake Michigan shore area. His travel is local but universal. His blog is also very useful for my other blog on Michigan (^^)
Nanda (何だ？) – He is an international student from Indonesia studying at my alma mater. I am glad he seems to be enjoying his student life there.
Coal Troll’s Blog – He is pro-coal industry. I am not. But I still like his blog and I respect his opinion and courage to speak out. His blog is very funny and full of wisdom. I also like it that he is an older blogger like me (Mr. Charley, too).
I think I will offer a choice of Versatile or Liebster Award to the bloggers I nominated. They may want to choose, you know.
Or can I offer both to the same blogger???
Rules for Versatile Award:
– Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to his/her blog.
– Nominate 15 blogs that you follow regularly or have visited recently (the ones that you like and you think are deserving of the award). You need to inform them that you have nominated them by posting a link to their blog.
– Tell 7 interesting facts about yourself.
If you don’t want to bother, you can just ignore the nomination, though I hope you will accept it.
It took me 6 months, and it will take me more months to finish nominating 15 blogs So please take your time, too (^^)