Monthly Archives: August 2009

Typhoon 11 is making it rain

Rain and some wind.  That’s Typhoon number 11 here.  Well, I guess it’s worse in Chiba prefecture.  In Kamakura, it’s not bad, since I’m near the edge of the storm area.  Just some moderately heavy rain and some wind.  I even made another video for this typhoon.  You can watch it here:


Filed under Kamakura, Kanagawa, Weather

Change! And typhoon.

The Change thing is a reference to Obama, but the Japanese government just had an election today.  It looks like the Democratic Party of Japan has won and the Liberal Democratic Party is out.  The LDP had been in power for pretty much most of the last 50 years.  They are a conservative party (not liberal, as it says in the name).  The winners, the DPJ, is a left of centre party, which is truly liberal.  It’ll be interesting to see if they can stimulate Japan’s economy.

As for the typhoon comment, strong tropical storm number 11 (Krovanh) is coming this way, and should hit the Kanto area in the late morning.  The last one turned away from Japan, but this one is coming at a different angle.  We’ll see how it goes.  And no, it’s not a typhoon, not that strong.

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Filed under Daily Life, Weather

Japan vs Canada: Having a cold

I was just thinking about how there have been a lot of people catching a cold lately in Japan.  I had one last month.  It was a pretty mild and short cold, thankfully.  Now, there are a couple of big differences between Japan and Canada concerning colds.

1.  Japanese people will wear facemasks when they have a cold.  The masks are also worn during hay fever season, too.  But with Japan being so densely populated in the cities, and many people taking the train and interacting with others, wearing a facemask is very polite and courteous.  This never happens in Canada.  If someone was wearing a facemask in Canada, they either have a very dangerous disease (Tuberculosis, for example) or they’re a bank robber.  People will be very cautious if they see a facemask.

2.  Whenever I’ve had a cold in Japan, people tell me to get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and…..go to the hospital (or clinic).  In Canada, if you went to the hospital because of a cold, they’d tell you to go home and stop wasting their time.  Actually, doctors can’t do anything for someone who has a cold other than tell them what they already know, get sleep, drink water and take some medicine which is easily found in a pharmacy.  I’ve never been to a doctor about a cold in Japan, and I don’t plan on starting.  I’ll take my medicine, which is what the doctor would tell me to do.  I guess it’s my experience of the Canadian medical system that tells me that seeing a doctor about a cold is useless.

Japan is a very health-conscious country, but I don’t think it’s doctor visits that make Japan number 1 in life expectancy.  It’s the food and the daily walking everyone does.  Elderly people keep walking and eating healthy food.  In Canada, elderly people tend to sit and watch TV all day and eat the same food they used to eat when they were young.  Canada’s cold winter doesn’t help, either.  People just don’t go out to exercise in winter.  In Japan, where I live, it’s actually a great temperature to go hiking in the middle of winter.

I think the biggest difference between Japan and Canada in terms of health care is people’s attitude.  Though during the recent swine flu scare, which I think is more media scaremongering than an actual threat, the Japanese response has been as expected, mostly.  I was surprised when they were telling people with flu symptoms to just stay home, as the swine flu is quite mild, and there’s no need to infect all the elderly patients at the hospital.

I have a couple students who are doctors.  I wonder what they think.  Actually, for all my students, what do you think about what I said?


Filed under Daily Life

Sugita Matsuri, the singers

The performances continued until just a few minutes ago. The last set was a singer who sang some traditional and enka music (the first picture) and a string quartet called Tamagawa Quartet (the second picture). The Quartet sang a bit, as well, but they did a lot of comedy.

As today’s events are over, the train station is quite busy.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Isogo-ku, Kanagawa, Yokohama

Sugita Matsuri music

A high school band just played music. Coming up later are gospel singers, anothe brass band, a traditional Japanese music singer and a string quartet. Here’s a picture of the band.


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Filed under Festivals & Events, Isogo-ku, Kanagawa, Yokohama

Sugita Matsuri

This weekend is the Sugita Matsuri (杉田まつり), or Sugita Festival. It’s happening all weekend, and most events are in the building I work in. There have already been taiko drums and Hawaiian dancing, but there will also be bands playing music. I’ll be teaching much of today, though. Here are some pictures.

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Isogo-ku, Kanagawa, Yokohama