2020.11.23[Mon] 09:00

Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健) , Housing(住宅)

【Labor Thanksgiving Day】

Well, we've only got about a month or so left til the end of this year.  And today is the last of the national holidays in the year. Today, November 23rd is Labor Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that was created in 1948 to commemorate labor and production and give one another thanks.

Today is also the Niiname-sai or Harvest Festival whose roots stem from when newly harvested rice was offered up to the deities of Japan to say thank you for the year's harvest and to pray for a good harvest the next year. So today, November 23rd, you should give thanks for the food that is on your table every day and all of us should show appreciation to each other for all the hard work we do day in and day out. If you think of it, Labor Thanksgiving Day is a really nice holiday, isn't it! I've got to say thank you to all the teachers I worked with when I first came here. I started off at an English conversation school and then started working in junior high schools around Fukuoka. The teachers there work so hard, every day with the students and I don't think they get enough appreciation at all! Make sure you say thank you to your teacher or to your child's teacher. I'm sure it'll brighten up their day to have their work appreciated.

Take time to appreciate yourself and those immediately around you, as well though. I guess some people might stay at home and relax, or maybe a trip to the onsen to soak the weariness away? Perhaps mom and dad might get a little thank you present from the kids. How do you think you might spend today?


【World Aids Day December 1st】

December 1st  is World Aids Day.  This day was established by the World Health Organization in 1988 with the purpose of preventing the spread of AIDS as well as eliminating the prejudice and discrimination faced by those living with and affected by the disease. Every year around the 1st of December, around the world, various events and activities, to deepen awareness and understanding of AIDS, take place.

At the health and welfare centers of each ward, HIV screening is offered. This screening is free of charge and anonymous. Early detection of HIV infection and proper treatment and management can delay the onset of AIDS. So, if you think you may be at risk, get checked as soon as possible. Screening is only on certain days so make sure you check which days before you go.

And, I don't know if you know this but the red ribbon is a symbol that shows awareness and solidarity with those affected by AIDS. The red ribbon announces to others that you have no prejudice against people affected by AIDS and gives that message that we will not discriminate against those living with AIDS. So for World AIDS Day, let's all take the time to learn the correct information about AIDS and how to prevent it.


【Beware of Fires】

As we move from autumn to winter, the air is very dry and fires happen a lot more often.  In Fukuoka City alone, last year there were 307 fire incidents. The main causes of these fires were cigarettes, gas canister stoves, and kerosene heaters. Some incidents involved drying laundry or curtains brushing against the heaters and catching fire. Others involved blankets and futons being too close to the heaters and catching fire while people were sleeping! It shouldn't have to be said, but putting anything that could burn easily should not be next to a heater. It's dangerous!

Also, make sure that you remember to switch these things off.

Gas canister fires are a big one to really be careful about as well. As it gets colder, more people pull out their gas canister stoves to make hot pots and stews. If you are using one, make sure you aren't far away from it while it is on.

I mentioned cigarettes being the cause of some of these fires. So make sure that you never fall asleep while smoking, don't collect a bunch of cigarette butts together and make sure you fully put our your cigarette when you are done with it.

Make sure that the fire alarms and fire extinguishers in your home are up to date, this is something you should do regularly. With that and being careful about how you use fire in your life, we can all work to prevent fires on a daily basis.

2020.11.16[Mon] 09:00

Events & Entertainment(イベント・娯楽)

【”Shichi-go-san” Seven-Five-Three】

Yesterday, November 15th was Shichi-go-san or the Seven-Five-Three event. Have you heard of this? It's a traditional event that everyone born in Japan will experience. It's an event that celebrates children as they grow, at the ages of seven, five and three.

Wearing bright clothes, families take the children to shrines to visit their local deities and thank the deities for the successful growth of their children for that year and to pray for future happiness and longevity.

Nowadays, girls visit the shrine twice, once at three and once at seven, and boys visit once when they are five. However, depending on the area, some children may go the year before they turn 7, 5 or 3. Most visits are usually made sometime from the beginning to the middle of November, but often centered around November 15th. If you have visited a temple or shrine recently, you may have seen children all dressed up in beautiful kimonos. Although the time for it is nearly over, if you do happen to see a family celebrating the event in the next few days, give them a bright smile and a shout of Omedetou, or Congratulations!

I can't say we have anything like this in the US where I'm from, although a 6th birthday seems to be a big thing for some. I guess it's kind of the time when a child transitions from being a toddler to the next stage and is usually when kids are starting primary school. I had a pretty big birthday for my 6th, actually my birthday is in November and we had loads of my school friends over to celebrate with me. If I'm honest though, I don't remember much, it turns out I had the flu that day and ended up leaving my own party early!


【The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize】

Asia is home to a diversity of ethnic groups, languages, and cultures, which coexist with each other and depend on each other.  The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize was established in 1990 to  honor the eminent achievements of individuals, group or organizations who create as well as preserve the many distinct and diverse cultures in the Asian region and convey these cultures to the world.

Unfortunately, this year's event was cancelled due to Covid-19, but a special website has been made looking back over the 30 year history of the Fukuoka Prize. Messages from previous award winners as well as videos of past events will be presented. The site will also introduce award winning speeches, performances of traditional Asian musical instruments and Butoh and exchanges between award winners and students. Just search for Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize and enjoy the wonderful memories and images that can only be seen on this special website.


【30th anniversary celebration of the Fukuoka City Museum】

Another 30th anniversary celebration is happening this year as well. And that is the 30th anniversary of the Fukuoka City Museum. To celebrate, the museum is holding a 30th anniversary exhibition called “Treasures of Fukuoka” at which you'll see selected national treasures and important cultural properties from the museum's own collection. Of these, two very special swords are some of the artifacts you won't want to miss. These national treasure swords, “Heshikiri Hasebe” and “Nikko-Ichimonji”, are being displayed at the same time for this exhibition, typically they are displayed separately, and you'll also see the armor with them. In addition, traditional crafts such as Hakata Dolls, paintings and old photographs related to the history of Hakata festivals and other important arts and crafts, like the cultural property designated lantern craft will also displayed. Admission is 700 yen but Jr. High School students and younger are free.

This Autumn, head to the Fukuoka City Museum to search for some of those Treasures of Fukuoka! You can also check some of the museum's displays while at home too. On the Fukuoka City Museum homepage, 7 of their well-known properties have been rendered into 3D for anyone to see. Top to bottom, left to right, you can zoom in and have a look at every little detail. At home and at the museum, there's lots to see and enjoy.

2020.11.09[Mon] 09:00

Events & Entertainment(イベント・娯楽)


Today, I want to introduce to you “Nijyuu Shisekki, the 24 seasonal divisions of the year based on the old, traditional calendar that was used in Japan. Of them, one is called Ritto, which means the start of winter. Every year, this day falls on the 7th or 8th of November and this  year it was on Saturday, the 7th of this month. As the chilly north winds start blowing in, it definitely starts to get colder, and we can think of it as a sign that winter is coming.

This is also the season in which homes might use fire, and so many temples and shrines hold “Chinkasai” or “Fire-extinguishing festivals”. In Fukuoka City, in the Nishi ward at Atago Shrine, the god there is a well-known fire-extinguishing and fire prevention deity and a Fire-extinguishing festival was held there on the 1st of November. Did you know about it? If you went, you would have seen a traditional Shinto ritual to help prevent fires in Fukuoka.

Of course, be careful of fires at home. Although we may not use an open hearth to warm our homes anymore, it's still important to be careful when using gas and older electric heaters. Speaking of heaters, make sure you are ready for winter when it comes! Whether that means dusting off the old heater, getting the kotatsu out or sealing gaps in the windows to keep the wind from getting in, make sure you do it before winter gets here! My dad always put up plastic sheeting over the windows in his bedroom when winter came. He made special frames to fit in the window space and used a thick, clear vinyl. It was pretty amazing how much warmer the room was than without them! I might try it on my bedroom windows this year.


【Japanese Gardens and Autumn Colors】

Before it gets too cold though, you might want to see some of the beautiful Japanese gardens that are in Fukuoka City. There are actually quite a few around town including Yusentei Koen, Shoufuen, Rakusuien and of course the Ohori Koen Japanese Garden. They're all pretty easy to get to, so when you have a chance, definitely check at least one of them out!

In these Japanese gardens, you can enjoy the beauty of the four seasons in a decided space. For just a small fee, you can also enjoy a bit of matcha while relaxing and admiring the view of the garden. This season is highly recommended as well, because the leaves will begin their transformation to the bright red, orange and yellow colors of fall. In Fukuoka City, there are some other popular Autumn color spots that you  may  or may not know about. Around the Fukuoka City Museum, Aburayama's Citizen's Forest, Momiji Hachimangu Shrine as well as a number of other places, you'll be able to see wonderful Autumn foliage from November to December. Of course, as you enjoy the splendor of Autumn in Fukuoka City, don't forget to take measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


Go to Eat Campaign】

 Recently, it seems there are more opportunities to go out and eat. Maybe it's part of that Autumn Appetite idea that I mentioned a few weeks back. Whatever you do, when you're out and about, make sure you take measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while enjoying your time out. When you go out to eat, the Infection Prevention Declaration Sticker may be a handy guide for choosing a restaurant. This Infection Prevention Declaration Sticker is a sticker which shows which stores and facilities have implemented measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This may come especially in handy with the launch of the Go To Eat campaign last month. If you are planning on taking advantage of the campaign for your meals out, just look up Go To Eat Campaign on the internet to get information on how the campaign works and which restaurants are participating.

2020.11.02[Mon] 09:00

Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健)


Well, Halloween has well and truly established itself in Japan, hasn't it! Although we're now already into November, Halloween was just a couple of days ago,  on October 31st. And it was a Saturday to boot! What did you get up to? Did you happen to catch one of the many Halloween themed events that take place toward the end of October? Over these last few years, it seems that in Fukuoka, and a lot of other places, there seem to be a lot of pretty well established events that take place every year to really get people in the Halloween spirit.

In Japan, Halloween has the feeling of a festival where loads of people enjoy getting dressed up as their favorite characters but did you know that Halloween comes  from a Christian holiday called All Hallow's Day on November 1st. There's actually a Celtic Festival that precedes the Christian holiday, so if you're interested in the the history, do a quick internet search! Anyway, the day before the 1st of November is All Hallow's Eve and if you say it enough times, it does sound like Halloween, which is where it's said the name came from.

Usually I get dressed up for Halloween and head out into town. In past years, I've been Captain Hook, Sadako from The Ring, a Venetian Carnivale type person, a Gypsy,a witch, a crazy scientist...the list goes on. This year, I also enjoyed myself, but didn't put quite as much effort into my costume, I just wanted to have a well deserved beer...I had a full day of work and was pretty scary to look at after! Haha....

>> 続きを読む

2020.10.26[Mon] 09:00


2020.10.19[Mon] 09:00

Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Children & Childcare(子ども・子育て)

【Changing Out The Wardrobe & Drying Out The Bugs!】

So, with cooler weather coming, we've go to think about pulling out all of those winter clothes that have been in storage all this time. In Japan, this is called “koromogae” which I'd guess I'd call “changing out the wardrobe”.  And as Japan is a pretty humid country, there's a kind of technique or folk's wisdom that has been passed on through the years called “mushiboshi”, which will help you take care of your clothes. Have you ever heard of this “mushiboshi” or have any idea of what this means?

Well, if you don't, the English means “drying insects” , which might give you a hint. Basically, in order to protect your clothes from being nibbled on by clothes moths larvae, you should hang your clothes out in the fresh air for a nice drying. Choose a day when the weather is good and the air is dry. Not only will this help prevent bugs, but it will also remove moisture and prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Not only should you do this in October and November, this is when the summer insects tend to remain, but you should also think about doing this in July and August after the rainy season as well as in January and February when the air is dry. Three times a year is ideal for mushiboshi! I actually do a lot of this as a matter of course, I think I picked up the habit from some older students that I used to teach. I usually change out my clothes closer to November, as well as put away the summer blankets to pull out the winter blankets and kotatsu cover. I find that hanging everything out before storage does work and helps keep my clothes and blankets in pretty good condition, free of little wormy holes! I definitely recommend an Autumn airing and drying when you have time!


【Information from Fukuoka City】

Free Early Childhood Education & Childcare

Important information from Fukuoka City for those of you who have young children in your home. Did you know that fees for kindergarten, nursery school or other certified childcare centers, for children from the ages of three to five, have been free since October 2019?

However, you do still have to pay for things like transportation, school lunch and school events. Depending on the kindergarten or nursery school, use of the facilities may not be completely free.

If there is anything you don't understand about this, please consult with your local ward office. At the ward office, you can receive phone assistance in 18 different languages. This phone number is 092-753-6113. Again, for assistance in 18 different languages, the phone number is 092-753-6113. After connecting to an interpretation center, you'll be connected to the ward office. Just tell them which ward you live in and what you need help with.


Smoking Manners

Do you know the rules to smoking in public?

While you're walking or on a bicycle, you shouldn't be smoking. In Fukuoka City, especially where there are a lot of people in Tenjin, Daimyo and around Hakata Station, smoking while on the paths is actually prohibited. And actually, it's dangerous if you are walking and smoking where there are a lot of people.

Why is this? Well, if you bump into someone you could burn their skin or their clothes. And there are a lot of people who are bothered by the smell of tobacco smoke. Not to mention, those cigarette butts that just get tossed to the pavement can cause fires! Make sure you throw out your garbage where it is supposed to be thrown out.  And if you do smoke while out and about, get yourself a little portable ashtray to carry around with you and be sure to smoke in designated smoking areas. By following the rules and minding your manners, everyone around can feel comfortable and safe. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

2020.10.12[Mon] 09:00

Events & Entertainment(イベント・娯楽)

【Autumn Appetite】

Alrighty, well, we're already well into October, the rice harvest is done, autumn veggies are just about at their peak and it's time to tuck into all of those hearty, hot dishes that are perfect for the season.Autumn is such a delicious season in Japan. Not only are different grains, rice and sweet potatoesabundant this season, but you've also got so many other seasonal ingredients like pears, grapes and chestnuts to enjoy. It's truly a fruitful season in Japan and is, no doubt, a pleasure for those who live here and also one reason why Japan feels its four seasons are so clear.

Did you know that in Japan, when people think of Autumn, they also think of the expression “Shoku yoku no aki”? It translates as “Autumn appetite” but we'd probably say Fall is the best season for eating or Autumn is the season for hearty appetites, in English. But why would we be hungrier in the Autumn anyway?Some say it's because the appetite we lost due to the heat in the summer has come back in addition to there being a ton of delicious season ingredients out there for us to enjoy. However, it seems there might be a bit of science behind this as well, as our basal metabolism, or the amount of energy we need keep our bodies functioning at rest, increases.

Whatever it is, I know that I've definitely got an appetite this season! Some of the main vegetables in autumn in Japan are potatoes, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, burdock root and sweet potatoes. Those ingredients sound perfect for making some delicious hot dishes! I'd probably make a nice stew with most of them with a sweet potato bake for dessert. What recipes do you have for this season?

>> 続きを読む

2020.10.05[Mon] 09:00

Other Topics(その他)

【The Harvest Moon】

So, how's your morning going so far? I have to say that with the cooler temperatures rolling in, the mornings and evenings have been very pleasant! Refreshing to say the least! And with Autumn and these temperatures come what we call the harvest moon in English. In Japanese, it's Chuushuu no meigetsu. This year, the harvest moon was on Thursday, October 1st. Did any of you manage to see it?

The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese calendar and is called Juugoya. Since long ago, Japanese have had a custom of viewing this moon which is said to be the most beautiful moon of the year.  This moon viewing custom is called Otsukimi and it's a kind of tradition to enjoy the view of the autumn full moon once the weather has begun to become cooler.  

During this time, dumplings and pampas grass is used to decorate and people give thanks as well as wish for a good harvest. And because the viewing is traditionally on that 15th evening, when you do Otuskimi, you're supposed to have 15 dumplings ready to go, stacked up in a pyramid shape. The pampas grass looks like rice and so, is used as part of the decorations.

Did you also know that in Japan, when people look at the moon, in it's shadows they see the shape of a rabbit pounding rice cakes on the moon? There's a fairytale about this moon rabbit, look it up if you have the chance.  In the US, we often say we can see 'the Man in the Moon'. Man in the Moon's' face. The Seas of Serenity and Rain are his eyes; the Sea of Clouds forms his mouth; and the Seas of Islands and Vapors make up his nose. What do you see when you look at the full moon?


【Information from Fukuoka City】

How to Answer the Census

This year, in Japan, a census is being taken.

The census is done once every 5 years and takes a look at  the living conditions of all people and households living in Japan, once every five years, including those of foreign residents.

The survey will ask for things like your date of birth, job, place of work or school and type of residence. In total, there are 16 parts to answer.  From September 14th, census takers have distributed census forms to every household.

If you visit the census website, you will find information, in 27 different languages, on how to fill out the form.  You can answer everything easily and conveniently from your smart phone or computer so please use the internet to fill in your census. If you use the internet, please use the Log-in ID and access key, written on the documents you received in your postbox, to log in.

Online census responses are available in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Portuguese and Spanish 24 hours a day. If you have any difficulties answering via the internet, please fill in the paper version of the census document and send it by post. Responses need to be received by the 7th of October.


Let's use the COCOA Contact and Tracing App!

Japan has released a Covid-19 contact and tracing app called COCOA.

If you are within 1 meter of someone who has contracted the virus, for over 15 minutes, you can receive a notification of this on this free app..

People who receive notifications from this app can receive a free PCR screening, if they decide to get checked anytime between the day of contact to within two weeks after.

The more people who download and register the app, the better we can prevent the spread of Covid-19. So, to protect yourself and those you love, download this app today!

2020.09.28[Mon] 09:00


【Today's Guest】



2020.09.21[Mon] 09:00

Japanese(日本語) , Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Events & Entertainment(イベント・娯楽)

【Respect for the Aged Day】

Today's first topic is about Keiro no Hi or in English, Respect for the Aged Day. It falls on the 3rd Monday of September, and this year that happens to be today, Monday the 21st. On this day, we celebrate the longevity and wisdom of and give respect to the elders in our society. Usually, people go out for a meal with their grandparents or even take a trip somewhere but due to Covid-19 this year, I guess quite a few people might be doing online get-togethers with their families.  And although the dates are different, depending on where one is, it seems that all around the world, like in China, Korea, the US and other places, people have days on which they pay their respect to the elderly and honor and celebrate their lives as well as wish for their continuing good health. Unfortunately, all of my grandparents have passed away, but I often write letters to my grandfather's older sister who is a very sprightly 99 years old. Her 100th birthday is next year and hopefully I'll have a chance to make a visit to the US to celebrate with her and the family. Until then I'll have to keep writing though, sharing my life in Fukuoka with her, through pictures and words. She doesn't have internet or a computer or anything like that so it's the only way really!! It's nice writing letters though, and if she's anything like me, getting mail that isn't a bill is always a thrill. If you're thinking of a little something to do for someone around you perhaps a handwritten letter?


【Important information from Fukuoka City】

Bicycle Insurance

Now, I have some important information from Fukuoka City about bicycle insurance. Beginning the 1st of October, anyone who rides a bicycle will be required to have bicycle insurance according to a change in the law.

Whether you're commuting to work or to school, only going for a bit of shopping,  have a company that has employees on bicycles to get to jobs or are a company that rents bicycles, anyone and everyone that rides a bicycle must have insurance.

If you have a child that rides a bicycle, then a parent or guardian needs to sign up for insurance for them.

Why is this all necessary? Well, if you have an accident while on a bicycle, you may have to pay quite a lot of money to the injured party. However, if you are enrolled in an insurance policy, if that accident does happen while you are riding a bicycle and you injure another person, the costs for hospitalization and other costs will be covered. 

So, if you ride a bicycle, make sure you get insurance so that you are covered if you ever do have an accident! Of course you want to avoid that so, make sure you also follow the traffic rules!

You can check the Fukuoka Prefecture website for some information, there are links to some insurance companies, but it is all in Japanese so get someone to help you if necessary. I'll post some of the links on the blog, if I can.







You can find these and more on the Fukuoka Prefecture page (Japanese only):



The Fukuoka Knowledge Test

How much do you know about Fukuoka? Do you know the difference between Fukuoka and Hakata? Or what 'Bari Kata' is?  If you do, good job you are well on your way to perhaps passing the Fukuoka Knowledge Test. What's that you say? Well, it's a kind of exam that Fukuoka City has set up to help widen and deepen your knowledge pathways of Fukuoka.  And, if you pass the Fukuoka Knowledge Test, you can get discount tickets to sightseeing attracts,  the history and art museums here as well as receiving a special gift. 

If you are interested in the Fukuoka Knowledge Test, then just take a look at its homepage. There is information on the exam as well as games to help you brush up on your knowledge of the history and culture of Fukuoka. There are also short films that will introduce you to the charms of Fukuoka. It's a fun way to learn a little more about Fukuoka.

There's still a lot to discover, even for the longtimers here. So check out that homepage and start your Fukuoka journey. The site address is fukuokakentei.com. Again, that is fukuokakentei.com.

Oh, by the way, if you didn't know the answers to one of the questions earlier, Bari Kata refers to the doneness of the noodles in ramen. “Yawa, kata, bari kata, hari gane “ are just some ways to  say how done you want your noodles when you order a bowl of ramen. Bari Kata is a bit harder than normal, kind  of al dente. Did you know that?


  • Colleen
  • Colleen
  • 誕生日:11月11日
    出身地:USA Detroit, MI
    特技:I can plan a party at anytime!
    好きな音楽:Almost everything, depends on my mood.