Due to sickness, both my daughter and I are down with some viruses, I’ll be taking this week off from Exploring Japan. Just not feeling up to all the research I need to do for it. It should be back next week, though!
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In case you’re wondering where Exploring Gifu is, I’m not doing it this week. Don’t worry, it’ll be done this coming weekend. I’m taking an off week.
While this is a weekly series, there are only 47 prefectures. The first week was an introduction to this series, so that would be 4 weeks in which there’s nothing to post. I’d originally decided to do the 4 largest cities in Japan. However, I’ve changed that plan. I’ll be doing Tokyo over 2 weeks (a week for western Tokyo, a week for 23 Wards Tokyo), while the other 3 weeks I’ll treat as off weeks. I’m taking my first off week now.
The reason for this is that over the past week, there’ve been a few obstacles set against me. The record-breaking pollen levels in the Tokyo area have affected me very strongly. On Thursday and Friday, I actually felt quite sick. I’d thought it was the flu, but it was just my allergies. I planned to do the work on Gifu over the weekend, but my daughter was having problems sleeping, as well. She was crying constantly for several nights until finally falling asleep around 2 or 3 am.
To make a long story short, I’ve been exhausted, felt like crap, and had no motivation or time to work on any of my blogs.
After this, I hope to return to normal. I can’t wait for the end of allergy season.
Last year, I completed the Picture of the Week successfully. This year, I’m doing more of a writing series, all about Japan.
Every week, I’ll write a post about a different prefecture in alphabetic order. Following that, I’ll post about the 4 biggest cities, not including Tokyo. Tokyo is kind of a special beast. It’s not really a city, it’s not really a prefecture, it’s a metropolis. It will be covered as a prefecture. That means there will be 51 posts.
But wait, aren’t there 52 weeks? Why, yes there are! This is post number 1 right here. This is the introduction, and I will briefly talk about the prefecture system in Japan, as well as types of cities.
There are 47 prefectures in Japan, 4 of them having special status. The regular prefectures have the suffix “ken (県).” The special prefectures are as follows:
- Metropolis “to (都)” – Tokyo
- Urban prefectures “fu (府)” – Osaka and Kyoto
- Territory “do (道)” – Hokkaido
Tokyo is the really special one. It doesn’t have a city government. In fact, the “city” part is separated into 23 special wards that are officially cities on their own. The Tokyo government governs the entire metropolis, which also includes the cities of western Tokyo.
So, for the first 47 posts, I’ll be discussing each prefecture, including vital statistics, the biggest cities, places I’d like to see, and local food I’d like to try. Here are the prefectures in alphabetic order, the order I’ll be posting:
At the end, I’ll be asking for advice about good places to see, events, and food.
There are 4 kinds of cities in Japan. The first is the regular city with a population of at least 50,000 people. Second is special city, which has at least 200,000 people. Then it’s core city, which has at least 300,000 people and they take control of some prefectural level functions. Finally, we have the designated cities. These have at least 500,000 people, and control many functions normally designated to prefectures. They are also required to be divided into wards “ku (区)” which take over many functions that cities perform.
I will be showing you the 4 largest cities of Japan, not including Tokyo. They are all designated cities. They are:
- Yokohama, Kanagawa
- Osaka, Osaka
- Nagoya, Aichi
- Sapporo, Hokkaido
I will do the same as the prefectures, discuss vital statistics, places I’d like to see, and food I’d like to try. As for Yokohama, I’ve lived in and around this city for nearly 8 years, so I can also talk about places I’d recommend.
So, I hope you enjoy this series. Any questions?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals
It’s been quite a year for me, as well as Japan and its neighbours. There was a flareup between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Shinzo Abe became Prime Minister again, North Korea launched a satellite that went over Japanese airspace, and more. But I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about this blog.
Top 10 Most Popular Posts
In the past year, I saw a similar theme in post popularity as previous years. In fact, my most popular posts are all from before this year. They just keep being popular! Well, here they are:
- September 2010 Aki Basho Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament – This is 2 years old. I guess sumo is still popular!
- Flashback: Shinjuku in May 2005 – Part 2 – Everyone loves Shinjuku skyscrapers!
- Flashback: Shinjuku in May 2005 – Part 1 – And this was part 1.
- A visit to West Edmonton Mall – This wasn’t even Japan. However, it is a popular place.
- May 2010 Natsu Basho Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament – It’s sumo again!
- January 2010 Hatsu Basho Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament – Well, half of the top 6 are about sumo.
- Exploring Japan: Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura – January 25, 2010 – The beach is popular, too.
- Cormorants – Now this just confused me. Why is this one so popular? It’s just pictures of cormorants on a wire.
- Exploring Japan: Honmoku, Yokohama – August 2, 2009 – Honmoku’s a popular place in Yokohama.
- Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival – Just a little something from my own home.
There are some posts that I think that are rather important, though they may not be as popular subjects as above. I’d still like you to read about them.
My daughter has been born! – More important than any blog post on here, in my opinion.
Dangerous driving in Japan – This has been a big concern of mine this year, especially after nearly being hit by a car 4 times due to the driver not paying attention.
2012 Picture of the Week (21/52) – Solar Eclipse – This was just incredible to see.
The tradition of gift money – Is it really a gift?
Bullying in Japan – Very big problem in schools and businesses. Sometimes it can be extreme.
You’re from Canada, so… – Just answering a question I always get.
Sunset at Shonan Beach – Just some incredible colours.
Things I’ve heard often: My child could never do well! – This really irritates me. Support your kids, don’t demean them.
Oshogatsu 1: The local shrine and temple – I don’t want you to just read this post, but also the following 4 posts about the Japanese New Year.
There are so many more things, but these are some of the highlights of my year of blogging.
Here’s to a great 2013!
I just finished day 1 of my 8 day holiday, and I have plenty planned. Due to this weekend’s rain, I won’t be doing much out this weekend, but I will be working on my blogs a lot.
Non-blog plans include going to my in-laws’ house for New Year’s Day, as well as visiting Zeniarai Benten in Kamakura again. Not sure if I’ll take pictures for that, as I did last January.
As for this blog, I have plenty planned! I will be doing a year in review by the end of the year. I’ll also be starting a new series on Japanese prefectures and cities. This is meant to give some basic information, as well as showcase places I want to visit. Also, I’ll continue with photos from the past couple of months, and hopefully go back to photos from 3 years ago. Finally, I plan to back up all my Instagram photos and start posting more of them.
So, here’s to a good new year!