Botamochi

Yesterday I showed a photo of “Ohagi.” I called it “Ohagi” because the sign next to me says that word in Japanese. But really, in autumn, the term for this rice and red bean treat is ohagi, but now in spring, it is called botamochi. Ohagi and botamochi are the same food, but the name depends on whether it is the autumn or spring equinox.

My mother-in-law sent us the botamochi in the photo above. In the below photo, I spooned some out so you can see the white mochi rice under the sweet red beans.

Today is the day of Higan, so no school or work for most people. (It’s a public holiday.)

This morning I stopped by the supermarket and saw a man carrying out two huge bouquets of flowers. I thought, how sweet. He’s giving them to his wife! Then I remembered that it’s higan and he (most likely) is taking them to the cemetary for the deceased of his family.

Ohagi

It is currently the week of the spring equinox. In Japan, many Japanese people go their family’s cemetary during both the spring and autumn equinoctes.* The family cleans the headstone, prays, and offers gifts. A common gift is “Ohagi,” shown in photo.

When I watched the Pixar movie “Coco,” I felt that the traditions shown in the movie are very similar to Japanese traditions. (Going to the cemetary. The dead visiting the earth and partaking in gifts. And so on.) In fact, the movie “Coco” is NOT called “Coco” here in Japan. Its name is “Remember me.” (The title is in English, but it’s written in Japanese katakana script, so it’s pronounced Remembaa Mee.)


*Plural form of equinox. You can remember it like this: Two foctes lock the five boctes, but three octes are inside three of the boctes. And all this happens during the spring and autumn equinoctes. So before you lock your boctes, knock.

 

Friday–Mass Murder and Student Protests (Two Completely Different Things)

Two days ago (Friday, March 15, 2019,) there was a mass murder of Muslim people in Christchurch, New Zealand. I send my love to the Muslim community. It was planned ahead of time by the murderer(s.)

Two days ago (Friday, March 15, 2019,) there were student protests concerning the global climate. It was planned ahead of time by the lovely students who are trying to improve the world, not mess it up and hurt people.

I want to focus on the second event, as this website is about environmental issues. I admire the students very, very much. Their frustration with adults is most definitely understandable. I myself until 2011 (and the meltdowns) didn’t really think all that much about the environment. (No more than everybody else.) I think certain adults are trying to get things done, but many other adults in power are not.

I think one issue is, however, how do we solve the global environmental issues? What are the best actions to take? There are SO MANY OPINIONS on this. It makes me want to throw up my hands in despair. Some people say renewables, some say nuclear. (I don’t think anybody says coal???) And maybe other people say other things, I’m not really sure.  The whole discussion of how to repair the environment is very confusing to me.

Here’s an NPR article about the students protests:

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/16/704050431/photos-youth-climate-change-demonstrations-across-the-world→

quake maps denoting global quakes

This link will give you a map that denotes earthquakes around the world in 2004: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/static/lfs/data/dyfi/pdfs-global/Global2004.pdf (Year of the tsunami that slammed into beaches in the Indian Ocean. This tsunami (or I should say, series of tsunamis on various islands) killed FAR more than the East Japan quake tsuanami. Over 100,000 lives were lost in these Indian Ocean islands. It was absolutely horrific.

This link will give you a map that denotes earthquakes around the world in 2008: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/static/lfs/data/dyfi/pdfs-global/Global2008.pdf This was the year of the devastating Sichuan quake in China.

This link will give you a map that denotes earthquakes around the world in 2011: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/static/lfs/data/dyfi/pdfs-global/Global2011.pdf (Year of the 9.0 East Japan quake.)

This link will give you a map that denotes earthquakes around the world in 2015: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/static/lfs/data/dyfi/pdfs-global/Global2015.pdf (Year of the quake in Nepal.)

These maps take a rather long time to load, so wait patiently. If it is taking absolutely forever, try again.  =O)

Anniversary of 3/11/11 MegaQuake. A newscast of the first news of the quake.

When the quake struck, it was afternoon in Japan, a Friday. I was reading on my sofa, with my TV off. And then after the quake, we lost electricity so I didn’t see the first news reports.

I looked on Youtube today and found one of the news reports that happened to be going on in Japan when quake struck:

The station is SoLIVE24, a weather channel. I’m not sure where he is reporting from? Maybe Tokyo? I’m really not sure.

(Some people may find the video distressing. Nothing violent is shown, but the room does shake violently.)

It’s only in Japanese, but I understand it, so I’ll give the gist of it in English.

It starts with the male broadcaster discussing weather conditions in southern Honshu Island. (Humdrum everyday stuff.)

Then an alarm sounds, alerting people in the news room.

He says, “Report of earthquake.”

(In background, man’s voice: “What is that?”)

The map of Japan is shown and the broadcaster reads off the quake info that they currently have.

He says, “There is a possibility of tsunami! Get away from the beach please.”

“Magnitude increased.”

He repeats twice, “There is a possiblity of a tsunami!”

“Magnitude increased!”

“Our building is shaking violently.” (Although at this point, I can’t see any visible shaking, but he must be feeling it.

“Don’t run out in a panic!” (He says this because it is usually safer to stay indoors during a quake in Japan.)

At this point, I hear the sounds of things shaking and falling in the news room and he reads the numbers of magnitude for areas. I hear shouting in background. He keeps reading the numbers of areas.

“Magnitude increased!”

“We think there is a possibility of tsunami, so get away from the coast!” He repeats this several times.

“BIG TSUNAMI WARNING, I REPEAT!” (He repeats, and then goes on to areas in danger.)

“DANGER OF TSUNAMI AREAS:” (He repeats the areas. Areas all along the coast.)

“I REPEAT, BIG TSUNAMI WARNING! GET AWAY!”

The shaking seems to have settled down in the newsroom because I hear voices in background: “Okay?” meaning “Are you okay/Is it okay?”

“BIG TSUNAMI WARNING! EVACUATE! GET AWAY!”

“GET TO THIRD FLOOR OR HIGHER!”

“IT WAS ANNOUNCED BIG TSUNAMI WARNING!” (Reads areas again.)

Then he lists times that tsunami may hit for each area. (Keep in mind that tsunami is approaching at this point. It hasn’t hit yet. Depending where they are on the coast, people have about an hour to evacuate.)

And then he goes on with variations of this same information.

He reads off about the approaching tsunami…Getting in bits of news from the other man about the tsunami height, place, etc.

Then he gives instructions–Get away from the river. Get to a high place. And so on.

Then at the 21:00 mark, it changes to a female broadcaster, repeating about warnings.

At 23:15, it switches to two male broadcasters who discuss the tsunami further.

I’ll stop there, because it goes on with more of the same for a very long time.


When I watch this, I feel that those people in the newsroom are such heroes. And such sadness for the people in danger at THAT VERY MOMENT.


However, much later (like weeks later,) there was complaints that the broadcasters (ALL the broadcasters across Japan, not this station in particular) used words like “Please” as in “Please get away from the coast,” causing some people to not flee as quickly as they should have. So now the broadcasters don’t use the word: “Please.” Now, if there is a possibility of a tsunami, the broadcaster uses more forceful language.

(Personally, I felt the broadcaster did a great job. You could feel his fear, which I think is a great motivator to take it seriously. He did use the word “please” at first, but he dropped it later, at the point of “BIG TSUNAMI WARNING!”)