Sapporo Yukimatsuri is a snow festival which is held at Sappro of Hokkaido in Februaly.
Along the big main streets of the city, a lot of huge, beutiful and refined snow scrupture such as Great Buddha, Akasaka-palace and other monuments.
Many tourists visit there. Although Sapporo is so cold in the period, those scruptures attract people and bring warm feeling.
As snow scrupture are so huge, much snow is tranported by the help of people of self defence agency.
As I have lived in Hokkaido, other than Sapporo snow festival, I can recomend other location. Hokkaido is well known to one of the good sightseeing place.
Its feature is very huge and plain similar to European continent, it is so different with the mountenous main island of Japan.
You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding and enjoy many floweres in every seanson.
(A) How many monts does Sapporo have snow ?
(B) It starts to snow from Dec to April therefore it is 5 months.
(A) How many visitors come to the festival ?
(私) Sorry, I don't remember the number. I guess less than 1 milion people visit there as 2 milion people visit the largest festival Nebuta. I need to study and inform later.
(A) How many periods does the festival long ? .
(私) Probably two weeks.
(A) How many days are required to prepare the festival ?
(私) As the huge volume of snow is required, I think two weeks to 1 months are taken.
(A) Who make the snow scrupture ?
(私) Probably surrounded community makes them. For designing, they may call professional desingers. And people of Self Defence agency may make them.
(A) You said you have lived in Hokkaido, have you been to Sapporo snow festival ?
(私) Unfortunately I have never been there.
(A) Other than Sapporo snow festival, is there any other location to go ?
(私) Yes, I recomend to go to Otaru, which is very near to Sapporo and you can enjoy good and fresh fishes such as Sushi and Sashimi.
Youn can enjoy skiing and snow boarding and also you can enjoy hot spring. If you have a time, you should visit to east of Hokkaido such as Akan-ko and Mashu-ko. You can encounter a dynamic nature.
Maneki-neko is a statue of a cat beckoning passers-by. Maneki-neko came from China.
Maneki-neko, a statue of a cat is usually put in front of restaurants or shops.
It invites customers to come to restaurants or shops. It's a charm for business people or owners.
Sometimes, maneki-neko is put on a front desk in an office as a lucky charm.
It is said that maneki-neko is good to invite many customers and people who do business can get a lot of profits.
That's all. If you have any questions or request, please don't hesitate to ask me anything.
（A）You said maneki-neko was from China, right? What origin does it have?
（私）I'm not sure what origin it has. But I guess that Chinese people are good at getting profits, so they made maneki-neko as a symbol or a chirm to make a lot of money.
If I have an opportunity to guide you next time, I will explain it to you by studying more.
（A）Why is maneki-neko a cat? Why aren't any other animals?
（私）I'm not sure. But, I think for example, dogs follow people easily, on the other hand, cats don't follow people easily. Cats have their own will.
To succeed in a business, a strong will is needed, so the Chinese use cats for maneki-neko.
（A）You mean cats are independent?
（私） I think so.
（A）Which is maneki-neko put in fancy restaurants or casual restaurants?
（私）It depends on a restaurant. I think more casual restaurants have maneki-neko. In my experience, I have never seen maneki-neko in western-style restaurants.
Generally, I see maneki-neko in Chinese or Japanese restaurants. I guess some restaurants which got stars by Michelin have maneki-neko.
（A）What percentage of restaurants have maneki-neko?
（私）I think about 50% of restaurants might have maneki-neko.
（A）Maneki-neko brings restaurant owners property?
（私）People believe maneki-neko brings fortune for people who do business and happiness for customers.
（A） Do you have maneki-neko?
（私） I don't have maneki-neko because I am a teacher, but after my retirement, if I have an opportunity to run a shop, I definitely buy maneki-neko.
Lacquer wares are commonly used by Japanese people. Many soup bowles and chop sticks are lacquered in Japan.
I explain especially famouse lacquer ware for Osechi ryouri. Osechi ryouri are special dishes for new year holidays.
A variety of ingredients, such as fishes, black beans, rolled kelp, and vegetables are artfully prepared in a set of layered lacquer boxes.
Osechi ryouri are prepared for three new year days. So, Osechi rouri must be preserved for the three days. Lacquer ware is good for preserve food.
(A) Do you know somewhare famouse place for lacquer ware?
(私) Wajima is a famouse place for lacquer ware.
(A) Whare is Wajima?
(私) Ishikawa prefecture.
(A) You explained about Osechi ryouri. Which ingredient do you like?
(私) I like seafood, especially shrimp and rolled kelp.
(A) When are the three new years holidays? You didn't tell the dates.
(私) January first, second and third. Japanese people usually take holidays in these days.
(A) You talked about Japanese electric appliances. Do you often go to Akihabara?
(私) Actually I don't go to Akihabara so many.
(A) But you live in Tokyo.
(私) There are big electric appliance stores in big stations. So, I don't need to go to Akihabara.
Akihabara is now popular for animation stuffs, for Otaku.
(A) You talked about translator in electric appliances stores. What language is translated?
(私) Chinese is translated many times. Many Chinese people come to Japan these days.
(A) How about other languages?
(私) Ah, English too.
(A) where do you recommend foreign tourists to go in Tokyo?
(私) I recommend to go to Asakusa.
(A) I'd like to go somewhere only local people know. Where do you recommend?
(私) I recommend you Nakano. There are a lot of small shops. Especially, a shopping building named Nakano Broadway is popular for shops for hobbies, not only manga or games. They are interesting for foreign people.
(A) Ok that's all.
(私) Thank you very much.
Shojin Ryouri was originated as meals for Buddhist monks. Because they were prohibited from taking any lives, Shojin Ryouri is vegetarian meals, actually, almost like vegan since any daily products or fish aren't used in those meals.
It sounds rather simple and boring however, Shojin Ryouri is quietly gaining its popularity due to recent “Washoku, The Japanese food” boom and health-conscious mind.
Many variety of seasonal vegetables are turned into beautiful dishes for both your mouth and eyes. They are prepared to pull out the actual flavor of ingredients therefor, only a few seasonings are being used.
Today, many tourists from overseas visit Buddhist temples and sample this healthiest version of Japanese food, share the experience of being a monk just briefly.
(A) O.K., is it expensive to try?
(私) No, I don't think so. After all, it's a food for monks. Not a fancy cuisine.
(A) So how much is it?
(私) I would think somewhere between 1,000yen to 2,000yen.
(A) Have you tried it ?
(私) Well, not at a temple prepared by monks but I participated one time cooking class at a local farmer's market, specializing for this Shojin Ryouri.
(A) Did you like the food?
(私)Actually, I did. First I thought it might be too plain because I like spicy food. But the dishes we cooked were very flavorful and healthy, they introduced me some unique techniques to cut down the preparation time and that was great!!
(A) Oh, nice! Is it easy to make? Do you cook them??
(私) Yes, I happen to like cooking so it's not difficult and I have adapted some dishes from them. The only dish which may take some practice is called “Goma-Tofu”.
Its texture is very soft and smooth just like Tofu, but this Goma-Tofu is made with Sesame seeds, not Soybeans like a real Tofu.
(A) I see. What kind of Japanese food do you recommend if I'm new here?
(私) Well… that is a very difficult question! Because there are so many variety of great Japanese food. Let me see…. If you are not allergic to raw fish, I would recommend you to try Sushi.
I know it sounds rather ordinary, but Sushi is THE Japanese signature dish and here is THE place you should try!
(A) Do you know a good sushi restaurant here?
(私)Do you mean here in Tokyo?
(私)I am sorry, I am from Okinawa, not around here so I don't know the good sushi restaurant nearby. But I am sure I can find one for you with my tablet and let you know.
(A)Is Okinawa good place for sushi?
(私)Well... It's hard to say, compare to my hometown Izu peninsula, it may...
(A)Where is Izu peninsula?
(私)Izu peninsula is located around 100 to 120 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
Do you know Japanese highest mountain Fuji? You can enjoy the view of...
(A) How long does it take to go there?
(私) You mean to Izu peninsula?
(私)I would say about 2 to 3 hours. If you take bullet train it...
(A) Oh, do you have to take a bullet train ?
(私)You can reach there with or without the bullet train.
(A)I see. Is it good place for Sushi?
(私)Yes! But you don't have to travel all the way to find a good sushi place. I am sure there are many in Tokyo. In fact, I would suggest one called "circulating sushi", plates of sushi are set on a conveyor belt and encircling in front of you. So you can actually see them before you eat and avoid surprise.
(A)It sounds like a great idea. And I think that is all.
Kaiseki Ryori is Japanese traditional food, which contains various types of dishes such as Yakimono; grilled food, Nimono; boiled food, Agemono; deep fried food, Otsukuri; sliced raw fish, Suimono; soup and many others. These food are served as one set of dish so you can enjoy all different types of Japanese food at one time. The combination of dishes varies depending on the restaurant you go. Kaiseki Ryori is usually served in expensive restaurants. The price range is 20,000 to 30,000 yen. But
some places, it's even more expensive and some others are even cheaper. It's a great place to enjoy traditional Japanese food so if you have a change, please give it a try.
(A) Do you have any recommendation to enjoy Kaiseki Ryori in Tokyo?
(私) I'm from Okinawa so I don't know any Kaiseki Ryori restaurants in Tokyo.
(A) Could you tell me a good restaurant to enjoy Kaiseki Ryori in Okinawa?
(私) To be honest, I don't know any Kaiseki Ryori restaurants in Okinawa because OKinawa has quite unique food culture so there are not so many traditional Japanese style restaurants.
(A) What is Okinawan food like?
(私) For Okinawan food, we use a lot of pork.
(A) Why is that?
(私) Okinawa used to be an independent country. It lasted for about 400 years from 15 century to 19 century.
During that time, Okinawa people traded with Japan, China and Southeastern counties. All cultures were mixed up and made Okinawa's culture unique. I think pork was from South eastern countries.
(A) Any recommendation for me to try OKinawan food?
(私)How about Okinawa Soba? OKinawa soba is called "Soba" but it doesn't use buckwheat. Instead, we use wheat flour and pork for soup base. It's more like Ramen.
(A) How much is it? Is it expensive?
(私)Not at all, it's about 600 yen. You should try it if you have a chance to go to Okinawa!
(A) How did you come to Tokyo this time?
(私) I took airplane.
(A) Is it good timing to go to Okinawa?
(私) Good question! Nowadays, thanks to LCC, airfare became a lot cheaper than before. I came here only by 6,000 yen for one way. It's good for any season so you should give it a try!
(A) Thank you very much.
(私) Thank you very much. Have a nice day.
Literally, "oo" means big and "oku" means hidden or behind. In the old time, in the castles or houses of feudal lords, men were responsible for governing the state or the areas, and women were taking care of the things inside the castle.
And the "oo-oku" was the place where only femals were working to do these things, for example, preparing food, preparing for the rituals and so on.
There are moves with the motif of "oo-oku", so if you have a chance, I would recommend. You can feel the atmosphere and the old traditions of Japan.
(A) You said only females worked in "oo-oku", but no men could enter the "oo-oku".?
(私)I think no males were allowed to enter the "oo-oku".
(A) You said there is a movie related "oo-oku". Was it only about the working there? Or do they tell about any other things?
(私）Not only about their works but also about love. Actually there are many movies entitled "oo-oku".
(A) Were there any social classes for the servants of oo-oku?
(私)There were ranks of the servants working in "oo-oku". The elite servants were from the noble class and they even made suggestions on how to manage the household of the castle effectively, and they were in charge of managing other servants. But the lower class servants were from rural areas.
(A) What kind of rituals did they have?
(私) It might be better to say rites. There were events related to shogun and also they had events to host the lords from different areas.
(A) Do you think the females in oo-oku were happy in the place where only females were working?
(私) That's a difficult question. When they are small, it might be a good place because it's safe, to prevent them from violence. But from my personal experience, I grew up in the girl's school, and I didn't like it. So I think, when they grew up, they didn't like it. I guess they wanted to see their boyfriends.
Michinoeki is a road station. Like a station of a railway, there are several michinoeki on major roads.
They offer many kinds of local foods such as fresh vegetable, sea food, and flowers and we can buy them in relatively low price.
Chiba and Yamanashi Prefectures have many michinoeki and very popular with tourists who travel by bus tours. There are also michinoeki equipped bathhouses.
(A) What mihcinoeki, do you think is the best?
(私)I'm not sure which is the best but there are many kinds of michinoeki in Chiba and Yamanashi Prefectures and there are several good michinoeki.
(A) Could you recommend a michinoeki in Tokyo?
(私)I am sorry, but I do not know michinoeki in Tokyo. I think the nearest michinoeki from Tokyo is Sagamihara.
(A) Which michinoeki do you recommend?
(私)I cannot remember the name but there is a very good michinoeki in Yamanashi Prefecture where you can buy fresh vegetables, flowers, ham, or other local food.
(A) Do they offer only vegetables? Can we buy some prepared food?
(私)Of course you can. They offer home-made food. And they are mostly very good.
(A) Are the customers foreign travelers or only Japanese?
(私)I have never seen foreigners in michinoeki but I'd like to recommend them.
After World War Ⅱ, Japan has a 6-3-3-4 school system: elementary, junior high and high school, and college or university.
Elementary and junior high school are compulsory, and usually above junior high school, there is an entrance examination.
Though, some famous elementary schools and junior high schools have entrance examinations and small children have to prepare for the examinations.
Most of such cases, parents encourage their children to take examinations and sometimes they force their children to study hard.
(A) How do little children take exams? Are they happy to take exams?
(私)I think most little children aren't happy about that. Because most of the cases, only parents want their children to enter famous schools.
(A) What do you think about exams for little children?
(私)I don't think it's good. I don' t think it's good for parents to choose their children's way and force them to do so. It's important for the children to select their way volantarily.
(A) Do you think such entrance exams gone away?
(私)I don't think so because such private schools are very popular and want many children to choose their school.
(A) What do you think about cram schools in Japan?
(私)Cram schools are very important for some students, and I think it's good if they decided to go by themselves.
I will talk about Ochazuke.
Ochazuke is a bowl of rice with green tea pored over it. Broiled salmon and pickles are usually put on top. A little wasabi-horse raddish may be added.
Aside from Ochazuke, Washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine, was designated as UNESCO world heritage of humanity. And more and more foreign turists are expected to visit Japan.
I would like to welcome them with my full smile and Japanese hospitality, Omotenashi.
(A)You talked about Omotenashi but what exactly does that mean?
(私)For example, even if you lost your purse, possibility of its returning to your place is very high. Because people who picked it up bring it to the nearby Police box. Japan is a very safe country.
(A)What other things can you tell me about Omotenashi?
(私)For example, if you want to know about how to go to some place and ask people, even though they can't speak English, they try to explain it to you, such as writing on a paper.
(A)I will go back to Ochazuke. What kind of tea is used for Ochazuke?
(私)Any kind is okay, except powered green tea. It is especially for tea ceremony.
(A)What kind of tea do you use for ochazuke?
(私)I don't know how to translate it into English but we call it sencha.
(A)When did Japanese start to eat ochazuke?
(私) I'm not sure about it. But I think it was during the Edo period. In the Edo period Japan adopted the isolation policy and there was no influence from overseas.
So many original culture developped during the Edo period.
(B)This is the end of the question.
(私)Thank you for the interview.
I'm going to talk about "Sento".
"Sento" literally means coin putlic bath.
Traditionally, people who have not bath in their house use public bath in the neighborhood.
There were many "Sento" in japanese town, but recently the number is decreasing.
"Sento" is divided into two parts- one is for man, and the other is for woman.
One part has dressing room , one big bath tub, and some somall bath tubs.
Taking bath in big bath tub can relax you very much.
Although the number of "Sento" is decreasing, there are still some "Sento" exists in Japanese downtown.
If you are interested in realxing in "Sento", I can take you one of the "Sento"
(A) Why do you choose "Sento " in the three topics ?
(私)I like traveling and I experienced many Sento's. Also when I was a student, there was no bath in my room, I always used "Sento". I relaxed in the big bath tub very much.
(A) How much is "Sento" ? Is it expensive ?
(私) About four-hundred or five-hundred yen. It is a little expensive.
(A) I think not so expensive. Acutally, I have used many "Sento", and all of them have painting pictures in the wall of bath room. Why is that?
(私)I think the painting on the wall relax people. Without any pictures on the wall, it is not good.
(A) But why all the pictures are Mt. Fuji? I think picutures of all "Sento" are Mt. Fuji.
(私)May be Mt. Fuji is fortune.