On the 11th of March 2011, a huge earthquake attacked the northeast coast of Japan. It was magnitude 8.8, one of the biggest earthquake in the world in the last century. As I reported yesterday, it happened at 14:46, most of the people were at work, some managed to go home on foot and some remained at work. This earthquake is now named Higashi Nihon Daishinsai. (Eastern Japan Big Earthquake)
Japan is a country of earthquake, centuries and centuries people were liveing with it and it is said that there is no other nation which is as prepared as Japanese. Since we are child, we learn and practice how to act when an earthquake ocurrs. I remember at school and at work, once a year we had an emergency evacuation practice. While we were studying or working, suddenly a siren rang then a director's voice told us that it's quaking. We all sit under the desk with a hood for the protection, then evacuated to the open space.
Even that, in front of the natural disaster, we are helpless. This is the aftermath of the day after.
11th of March at 14:46 Japan time, M8.8 scale earthquake attacked Japan's north-east coast. Majority of Tohoku region has been damaged. In Tokyo resistered an intensiry of 5 and all the tubes in Tokyo have been suspended after the earthquake. There are many power stations in the north region in Japan and all have been stopped the generations.
|The numbers are magnitude and the cross mark in the ocean is the hypocentre. This is the northern region in Japan.|
There is limited power source in Japan, no power in Tohoku area (northern region) and Yokosuka area and some places in Tokyo. At this moment, many people are missing in especially in Miyagi area and at least 26 peole died.
On BBC news there is a live news. BBC LIVE NEWS.
There is a risk of Tsunami to other Pacific area including Taiwan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand.
Now according to the latest news from Vienna, all five nuclear plants have been shut down safely and no danger of leaking.
More about 3.11
There are products that boost Konbini stores' sales recently in Japan.
It's “Men's sweets”.
Until a little while ago, sweets were considered for kids and women, and it was a shameful thing that a man has a sweet tooth. Japanese samurai don't like sweets.
But this is changing.
According to a statistics, 70% of sweets buyers are men and most of them buy at Konbini store. The reason behind is simple, men want to buy sweets but still it's a little embarrassing for a man to sit in a pretty cafe and eat a cake surrounded by women or to be seen him choosing some cakes for himself in front of the show case of a patisserie.
This statistics shows the place where people buy sweets. The blue is men and the pink is women. Needless to say, there are more men buyer than women and the most common place for buying sweets is Konbini (the fourth from the top), then supermarkets (the third) and cake shops (the top) come third.
Otoko no Tiramisu Shuu(Man's tiramisu chou á la créme)
Konbini solves all these problems.
Last June “Men's Sweets” series released from one of the Kobini store, FamilyMart in Japan. The targets are sweet tooth men. For not to embarrass them, the packages are simple but at the same time they focus on the ingredients and the texture of the products. Most of the sweets are less sweet than normal products by using for example bitter chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Also the packaging is important. Men's Sweets series has manly, chic based on black simple packaging. FamilyMart is growing its sales especially with chilled sweets such as cream puffs and almond pudding.
Kobini store is the saviour of Japanese sweet tooth men. Some makes a comment “there are many men sweets lover but they are either embarrassed to go to a cake shop or too busy at work going to a shop during the day. So being able to buy good quality sweets at Konbini store is really a good news for sweet lovers”
Otoko no Annin Dofu (Man's almond pudding)
For those who love sweets, there are some clubs such as “Danshi Sweets Club” (Men's Sweets Club) which is founded in one of the Japanese trend magazines called DIME. They talk about new sweets products, new trend in sweets, search for new cake shops or evaluate famous patisseries. They even have forums and puts recipe for Konbini sweets. This is a respectable club for sweet tooth men.
Here is one of their recipe by using a Risou no purin (Ideal Pudding). So easy that anyone can make it!
Ingredients are Risou no purin and a slice of bread.
1. Score the surface of the sliced bread
2. Pour over the pudding
3. Sprinkle some dry fruits and put it in the toaster
4. It's done, so easy
5. Sprinkle some powder sugar to finish up
Japanese food is highly recommended in the Western world because of its healthiness but on the contrary, Japan is now following the Western style nutrition.
Then I wonder what gives Japanese men a craving for sweets. Because of the stress Japanese businessmen have from their workload and the pressure from their wives? Or simply this is a backlash against eating super healthy food?
In any cases, Japanese men are craving for “sweets time”. “Sweet approach” this may be a key for Western girls who want to have Japanese boyfriend.
Recently I've found something I haven't been using for a decade. It's a seal, hanko in Japanese. Instead of signing, Japanese people put the seal on any document. For the different purposes, they normally have various types of selas. For the usual use, only shows their family name but for something more important use, it shows the full name.
There are stil many seal makers (hanko shokunin) running the business all over Japan and they engrave the name by hand on any materials and font you like.
For seals, you can chose from various materials from different types of wood to ivory which can cost 64,900 yen (about $774). You need to buy a stamp pad which always comes in red. I've never seen other colour.
Once you have your seal, get a hanko case like this.
But for the daily use, to put the seal for receiving a parcel, you couldn't be bothered taking the hanko out, stamp is and wipe the ink etc.. Don't worry, there is a mechanical type which the ink is already set in, called shachihata.
I remember this was always at the entrance of the house in the little basket where the keys were, and when the postman came, I'd stamp the hanko to receive a parcel or a letter.
Putting seal correctly is a quite important thing for Japanese people. If you put it on the wrong place or if it's not straight, your clients may not accept the document and can return it to you. Actually there are quite many forums and websites where teach them how to put the hanko perfectly.
This is an basic example.
this is good
this is bad
Recent increase of foreign workers or residents, hanko is available in Katakana.
With this hanko, now you can sign in properly in Japan.
This weekend, millions of Japanese girls are working on really hard. On what? On chocolate!!
The 14th of February is the day which sells chocolate the most in a year in entire Japan.
In Western country, St.Valentine’s Day is the day for couples. Yes, it’s the same in Japan. But only difference is, Japanese girls give chocolate to the boys they like. Well, actually, not only to the boys but also to their bosses and colleagues, because if you are man and you don’t get any chocolate on the St.Valentine’s Day, it can be quite hurtful as a man. Also it’s a shameful thing for Samurai spirits. To avoid the boys to commit Harakiri, Japanese girls prepare two separate boxes.
Here is the trick. The chocolate for the boy she likes or her boyfriend is called “honmei choco”. Honmei means favorit or certain thing whereas the one for the bosses and colleagues is called “giri choco”. Giri means duty or social obligation. Main difference between honmei and giri chocolate is the price.
If you are given something like these,
You are “honmei”. By the way, the chocolete at the bottom cost 3,400yen (about $40).
But if you are given like this,
which costs only 275 yen (about $3), means the girl is just being polite.
Here, these people explain very well about Japanese Valentine’s Day.
According to an economic news, this year’s chocolate sales is growing as the 14th coincide with a weekday. It’s a good day to be a boy or a man. If you are not the most popular guy in Japan, obviousy you have a reason to hate this day. In that case, never mind and just sing along with this song. “Sine! Barentain Dei!” (A-hole, St. Valentine’s Day!)
Apart from this chocolate scandal, there are some sweet things going on, too.
In Kyoto, a taxi company changed its symbol green clover into pink. Also to sweeten up even more, all women driver in the compay will be in full operation.
Many traditional senbei (rice crackers) shops are making heart sheped senbei.
And at last, in the up north, in Aomori prefecture, a special Valentine train named “Nasa Mero Meros” (I’m in love with you in Aomori dialect) is running during the Valentine’s Day period. You can get some photos with your partner in the “love booth”.