Life in Seika, Japan

Howdy there! My name is Kai and I am the Coordinator for International Relations in Seika Town, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Hopefully by reading this blog you all will get a good picture of what life is like in Seika town, and all the great things that happen down here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

せいか祭り2007  The 2007 Seika Festival


This year my coworker Chris and I spent the day of the Seika Festival helping out at the Seika Global Network booth. It was fun because we got to interact with the kids and give out balloons. In December, four members of the Seika Global Network and Chris are going to be taking a trip to Seika’s sister city of Norman, Oklahoma, so at the festival we asked the kids of Seika to write short messages which would be presented to the people of Norman.

そして、去年雨のせいで中止になったパレードが今年予定どおりに行いました。僕らもせいかグローバルネットのパレード団体と一緒に参加しました。ショッキングピンクの布に飾られたり、多彩な風船を運んだり、Bee Geesの”Dancing Queen”という曲が流れながら行進しました。その姿はちょっと恥かしかったが、皆さんのあたたかい挨拶のおかげで、結局面白かったです。

Last year due to the rain the parade was unfortunately canceled, but this year it was carried out on schedule. So we were able to join in the Seika Global Network’s parade troupe this year. It was a little embarrassing to be draped in flowing robes of shocking pink, carrying colorful balloons while they blared the Bee Gees “Dancing Queen” out of a loud speaker, but thanks to the warm greetings of all the people watching it turned out to be an interesting experience.


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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

夢のように  A Dream Come True


Many Japanese and American boys dream of being baseball players when they grow up. I had the same dream when I was younger, but I quit playing when I was in middle school. I played little league baseball in America, but since then I haven’t really played at all. This year I joined an informal baseball team with some of my friends. Usually we play about one or two games a month on the weekends. I am not very good, but for me it is just fun to be out there playing.


Once a year my team rents out the Kyocera Dome, a professional baseball stadium in Osaka, to play a game. This year at the end of November I played there for the first time. To be able to play in a professional baseball stadium for two hours was like my childhood dream had come true. When I first walked onto the field I felt a chill down my spine. Also, in the game I was playing first base so when I stood out there I realized, “Wow, this is the same place where the Hanshin Tigers’ first baseman Andy Sheets stands!”* Then, I was able to get a nice clean hit into center field during the game and then steal second base so I was happy. I am not that good at baseball and by now I am too old to break into professional baseball anyways, so my dream of being a professional baseball player is far gone. But for two hours I was able to pretend like I was a pro baseball player and get a taste for what my dream would have been like. It felt good.

*Andy Sheets is an American who plays firstbase for the local favorite professional baseball team the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers play some of their home games at the Osaka Dome when their primary stadium (Koshien) is being used for the National High School Baseball Championships in the summer.

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サンクスギヴィングデー Thanksgiving Day


As I am living in Japan this year I was sad that I wasn’t able to spend Thanksgiving Day with my whole family. But luckily I was able to eat a wonderful Thanksgiving Day dinner in Tokyo while I was there for a work trip.

東京都にある米軍隊に限定されるThe New Sanno Hotelでは大きなサンクスギヴィングデー・バイキングがあります。このホテルはとても大きくて、きれいですが、非常に珍しいところです。米軍隊か米軍隊の家族じゃなかったら、そこに泊まることが禁止されています。バイキングでも米軍隊か米軍隊の家族と一緒に行かないなら入られません。アメリカ人の僕でも普通に入られませんよ。

In Tokyo there is a hotel called The New Sanno which is specifically reserved for American military and their families which holds a huge Thanksgiving Day buffet every year. The hotel is big and luxurious, but it is such an oddity in Japan. If you are not a US military service member or a card carrying family member of one you are not allowed to stay in the hotel. Even as an American I cannot go into the hotel by myself. For the buffet dinner you must be invited and accompanied by a US military service member or a card carrying family member of one.


So you are probably wondering how was the food right? It was truly the best! It’s an American military hotel so the food is really traditional. What’s more they had just about anything you could have wished for. I ate so much and was so full but I still thought, “I want to eat more, I still haven’t tried everything.” It was a shame that I couldn’t spend Thanksgiving Day with the whole family, but I was plenty happy to be able to eat real American food.

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