Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kanji of the Year

In a word, 2004 was expressed as "Disaster."
As the priest of Kiyomizu Temple wrote out the big character, Japan Kanji Aptitude Tesing Foundation announced the Kanji of the Year: "Wazawai," meaning disaster or calamity.
The character was chosen by public votes. For the reasons, many people wrote that they felt god, or nature was infuriated with humans causing man-made disasters, that they felt men were helpless when facing natural disasters.

The Kaji for previous years are:

2003:"Tora" - tiger. Hanshin Tigers became baseball champions after 18 years.
2002:"Kaeru" - return, back. Abductees returned from North Korea.
2001:"Ikusa" - war, fight. 911, war against terror, anthrax
2002:"Kin" - gold, money, 'Kim'. Gold medals in the Sydney Olympics.
The two Kims meet.
1999:"Matsu" - end. End of the century, end of decency.
1998:"Doku" - poison. Curry poisoning in Wakayama, dioxin.
1997:"Taosu" - fall, knock down. Large scale bankruptcies like Yamaichi,
knocked down the rivals to compete in the world cup for the first time.
1996:"Shoku" - food, eat. O-157 food poisoning, mad cow disease.
1995:"Shin" - quake, shake. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake,
Aum sarin gas attack.

Just looking at these words gives you an overview of what happened in the past 10 years.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Month of "Running Teachers"

"It's already December," you'll hear people say with a sigh.
The arrival of this last month of the year always comes with a feeling of resignation. No use starting anything new now - have to hurry and finish off all the tasks before year end. Have to think how you'll do the new year cards.
So 2005 will be the year of the Cock. Technology (like these card-creating softwares) has changed the way we make our new year cards - you can download illustrations from the net, or use family pictures from your digital camera, and print off the cards on your home printer.
The most remarkable progress is the address book function. I can't believe I used to handwrite like forty names and addresses, and also jot down personal comments on the back! If you can get them posted by say, December 29th, it's sure to get delivered on New Year's Day, thanks to our reliable postal system.