Feb 5, 2015

Licca, once called "Japanese Barbie," win the hearts of young and old girls

Hi everyone!

In the U.S. everyone knows Barbie dolls, but it is not necessarily so in Japan. On the contrary, it is hard to find someone who doesn't know Licca-chan dolls here.

When I was little, I really loved Licca-chan, like anyone else. I used to have at least three or four Licca dolls, her boyfriend Wataru, her twin sisters Miki & Maki, and a nice Licca House with a mantlepiece which I had never seen in real life.

Licca-chan is a Barbie-like fashon doll first launched in 1967 by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara, which is now Tomy Company Ltd. They have regularly updated her facial features and hairstyles to meet the changing taste.

The first version sold 1967-1971

2nd version 1972-1981

3rd version  1982-1986
current version since 1987
When Licca-chan doll was first created, her American counterpart Barbie had already been popular around the world but not very successful in the Japanese toy market. Back then Barbie's super-model-like mature body and Caucasian face looked too foreign to Japanese children.

On the other hand, Licca-chan, who has more childlike features, such as an over-sized head, bigger round eyes, shorter arms and legs, became soon popular.

Unlike her approachable looks, however, her background story created by Takara was rather unrealistic.

Licca-chan, whose full name is Licca Kayama, was born to May 3 to a Japanese fashion designer Orie Kayama and a French musician Pierre Miramonde. Ah, France! This profile settings represents how much Japanese people of the day adored France and its cultures.

When I discovered that she was half-French, I thought, "Ah, this explains why she had such an unusual name!" Since Japanese language doesn't have L sound, I always believed Licca was misspelled. I still don't know if Licca is a typical French name, though.

For your information, Licca-chan's "chan" is one of Japanese honorifics that express affection, used  mainly for young girls.

As a girl doll, Licca is always and forever a 11-year old girl attending Shirakaba Elementary school in Tokyo, but Takara has made up her extensive biography.

She grew up happy and healthy. She went to Hearthills University and studied child psychology, but when she spent a summer vacation in France, she was completely inspired by her French diplomat grandfather and decided to become a diplomat. Surprisingly, her dream came true and she was sent to France (again!) as a diplomat at the age of 23.

 When she turned 25, she married to her half-German (or half-French?) and half-Japanese boyfriend Franz, who is also a diplomat, but no one knows what he looks like because he has never been created as a doll.

When she was expecting, even a "pregnant version" was introduced in 2001 and shocked many Licca-chan fans. Licca always had boyfriends and many of us were expecting her to marry one of them. Especially her high school sweetheart Isamu who lives next door was the prime candidate, but she chose this mysterious diplomat Franz as a life partner. How realistic!

Next year, she gave birth to a baby girl, whose name is also Licca.

Licca-chan as a expecting mother
I'm not sure whether Licca is as popular as before with kids today; however, according to a TV news report I saw the other day, the doll has recently got new fans -- grown-up women in their 20s and 30s. 

Last year Licca doll shop exclusively targeting adult customers was opened in Nihombashi area, Tokyo, where not only dolls but a great variety of clothes and accessories are sold. 

If interested, why don't you visit the shop? 

Licca Castle Small Shop
Address: B1 floor, J Square Bldg., 18-10 Koami-cho, Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
tel: (03) 5614-0959
Open noon-8 p.m. daily, closed Mon. 
5 minutes from A5 or A6 exits of Ningyo-cho Station on the subway Asakusa or Hibiya lines; 5 minutes from B6 exit of Mitsukoshimae Station on the Ginza or Hanzomon line. 

Sophisticated interior of Licca Castle Small Shop

Shoes for the dolls in the showcase

Tomy regularly releases limited editions dolls to make collectors keep buying them. I'm not interested in this type of dolls any more, but when I saw these Yokohama Motomahi versions, I was surprised how fashionable recent dolls are. Special versions are much more expensive than regular ones, but it is no surprise that they would attract adults rather than children.    

Licca-chan in Yokohama-born brand cloths

Licca-chan holding a tennis racket

I'll write it in Japanese from here.


一番 (いちばん): best, most
有名な (ゆうめいな): famous
着せ替え人形 (きせかえにんぎょう): fashion dolls
最初(さいしょ)に :at first, initially


当時(とうじ): at that time
人気(にんき): popular
似(に)ている: similar
スタイル抜群(ばつぐん): having a great figure
大人(おとな)っぽい: look mature
受(う)けない: be unpopular
そこで: therefore
体型(たいけい): body shape
顔立ち(かおだち): facial features
和製(わせい): Japan-made


ところで: by the way
名前(なまえ): name
香山(かやま): Kayama, Japanese family name
双子(ふたご): twins
妹(いもうと) younger sister(s)
弟(おとうと): younger brother(s)


歳(さい): ~years old
小学校(しょうがっこう): elementary school
成長(せいちょう): growth


大学(だいがく): university
卒業(そつごう): graduation
なんと: to our surprise
外交官(がいこうかん): a diplomat
赴任(ふにん)になる: be transferred


出会(であ)う: to meet
結婚する: to marry


やがて: in due course
生まれる: be born
名づける: to name


子供(こども): children
20代: in their 20s
30代: in their 30s
女性(じょせい): women

日本橋には大人をターゲットにしたリカちゃんの店もできました。 そこでは人形だけでなく、リカちゃんの洋服、靴などが売られており、連日たくさんの女性がショッピングを楽しんでいます。

日本橋(にほんばし): Nihombashi (name of the area in Tokyo)
店(みせ): shop
洋服(ようふく): clothes
靴(くつ): shoes
連日: every day


興味(きょうみ): interest

Aug 27, 2014

Matsumoto Castle: You 'll never regret going to see it!

Hi everyone!

Last weekend my husband and I went to Matsumoto City by car. The purpose of our visit was, needless to say, the famous Matsuoto castle (松本城、城、pronounced [jo:], means a castle). What else? Well, actually, there are some other minor touristic spots in this city but the castle is the only place worth a long trip.

Believe me, even if there are not many things to see, you'll never regret going there to see the magnificent castle.  

Photographed from the outside of the moat surrounding the castle keep

If you are interested in traditional Japanese architecture, you should never miss Matsumoto Castle, one of the four castles designated as Japan's national treasures, along with Himeji Caslte, Inuyama Caslte and Hikone Castle.

Many other castles were burnt down during World War II or demolished after the feudal system was abolished in 1871. Wooden structures need to be constantly maintained, but most ex-feudal lords who lost their privileges no longer had enough money to keep the gigantic buildings. As a result, many castles, except for the lucky four, deteriorated over time or got heavily damaged due to typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters. In later years they were restored but are too new to be national treasures.

By the way, do you know every Japanese castle has a nickname? Himeji Castle is called the White Heron Castle due to its pure white exterior, and Matsumoto Caslte is the Crow Castle because, as you can see, it is all black outside.

The same keep from a different angle   

Matsumoto Castle was originally constructed in 1504 by the Ogasawara Clan. Its owners had changed many times In 1590 the Ishikawa Clan, the owner of the castle of the time, began the construction of the castle keep, or "tenshu-kaku" (天守閣) in Japanese. It was believed to be completed in 1593 or 1594.

This is the main gate of the castle Taiko-mon (太鼓門), built in 1595. You need to pay the entrance fee of 610 yen for an adult, 300 yen for elementary school and junior high school students (6-15 years old) to enter the castle keep.

When there are too many visitors, entry to the castle is limited and you might have to wait more than one and a half hours. If you plan to stay overnight near the castle, I suggest that you come back next morning when the gate opens at 8:30 a.m.

When you go through the gate, you'll notice the huge rock on your left hand, called Gamba-ishi (玄蕃石), a symbol of the power and authority of the ruler, because it required so many laborers to quarry such a big stone (3.69 meters high and 22.5 tons) from a mountain and carry it to the castle site.

Can you see the small triangular and rectangular shaped holes on the black wood wall? They are for firing guns and bows when attacked by enemies.

After Taiko-mon, you go through another gate called Kuromon (黒門), adorned with the family crest of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), the liege-lord of the Ishikawa Family. It is widely believed that they made Matsumoto Caslte black modeling after Hideyoshi's Osaka Caslte to show their loyalty to him.

When entering the castle, you have to take off your shoes. You are given a plastic bag so that you can put your shoes in it and carry them around. Don't leave your shoes at the entrance!

In the castle, various precious items related to the the castle are displayed such as rifles and armors.

While many castles restored after World War II are constructed of concrete, the Matsumoto Castle is made of woods as you can see.  

The stairs are narrow and steep. Sometimes you have to wait when other people are going up and down the stairs.   

Usually the lords and their families were not living in the keep. They moved in to the castle keep only in wartime. The space where the lords stayed is surrounded by blinds and a little nicer than other areas. 

This is the view from the keep. Isn't it nice? If you like hiking and trekking, there are so many famous mountains and plateaus near Matsumoto City, such as Kamikochi (上高地) highland and Yarigatake (槍ヶ岳)peak.  For more information about mountain activities, visit the site of the National Parks Foundation. Click here (in English). 

Kamikochi highland
(Photo from National Park Foundation)
Matsumoto Castle is located in the center of the city, only 10 minute-walk from Matsumoto Station.

address: 4-1 Marunouchi Matsumoto City
tel.: 0263-32-2902
Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; closed Dec.29-Jan. 3.









Aug 1, 2014

Transvestite culture in Japan

Hi everyone!

The rainy season was over and super humid disgusting summer has come. I really hate Japanese summer which seems getting hotter and hotter every year. Last Saturday on the 26th when  1,889 people were rushed to hospital due to heatstroke and 11 died. Isn't it awful?

Sorry, I didn't mean to complain about the weather. Today's post topic is transvestite culture in Japan. 

What intrigued me was a news report I saw on TV last week. A 27-year-old man got arrested for sneaking into a shop in an attempt to steal money and setting fire before leaving the place. But strangely, the person shown in video breaking in the building was a "girl." Yes, as you guessed, she was a man dressed as a woman. According to the report, he was an employee at a "cross-dressing maid cafe" in Akihabara, the Mecca of otaku.

A cross-dressing maid cafe?! I never knew such a thing even existed. I checked on the internet and found out there are at least several cafes or bars with transvestite waiters in the Tokyo area.

"Male maids" at Newtype, a cross-dressing cafe in Akihabara
where the arrested man might have worked 
Interestingly, those cross-dressers are not necessarily gays. Of course some may be, but many say they just love wearing women's clothes and they are romantically and sexually attracted to women rather than men. Some lady maids even brag that they are popular with women as they understand girls better and have common topics with them. 

That is a big difference from gay bars in Shinjuku 2-chome area, where cross-dressers are either homosexual or at least bisexual with high probability. In Akihabara cross dressing may be a kind of cosplaying, and that's why even young girls and heterosexual couples can casually go to a transvestite cafe.

New Type
Address: 3rd floor of Isamiya Diahachi Bldg., 3-7-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel: (03)5577-5565 
Hours: Tue.-Thu., Sun. & holidays, open 6-11 p.m.; Fri., Sat. & day before national holidays, 6 p.m.-6 a.m.;  

There are books, photo albums and DVDs of men in girl clothes. 

女々男子∞【めめだんしエイト】 (~オールカラーハードカバー写真集~)
Photo album "Meme danshi eight" featuring eight cross-dresers

ゆりだんし (myway mook)
another photo album "Yuri danshi"
ここまで可愛くなれる! 男の娘メイクBOOK (SANWA MOOK)
"Otoko no ko Make Book"
make-up book for crossdresers
Traditionally, Japanese have appreciated androgynous beauty. In Kabuki, a classical dance-drama established in the 17th century, performers are all men. Many kabuki fans often say that male actors can be more womanly than real women because men are always pursuing ideal female beauty. The photo below is of Tamasaburo Bando, a famous female-role actor (onnagata, 女形)and living national treasure. 
Legendary onnagata actor Tamasaburo Bando
Even in strolling troupes that have both male and female performers, good-looking young actors are often expected to play female roles. Believe or not, this lady is also a man, and straight.

Actor Taichi Saotome 

Cross-dressers can find their places to live in the world of TV as well. The most famous transvestite TV personality these days is definitely this big man-lady Matsuko Deluxe, who can be seen anywhere, on TV, in publicity on trains, etc. Everybody loves his (her?) sharp tongue.

From here I'll write in Japanese. 


窃盗(せっとう): theft
目的(もくてき): purpose
忍び込む (しのびこむ): to sneak into
事件(じけん): incident、case


防犯カメラ(ぼうはんー): a security camera
映像 (えいぞう):video picture

女装(じょそう)する: to wear women's clothes
店員(てんいん): an employee of a shop, restaurant, cafe, etc.



必(かなら)ずしも~ではない: not necessarily
異性(いせい): people of the opposite sex


昔(むかし):ancient times
中性的 (ちゅうせいてき): androgynous 
美(び): beauty
もてはやす: to praise
傾向(けいこう): tendency


伝統芸能(でんとうげいのう): traditional performance art
歌舞伎(かぶき): kabuki
演(えん)じる: to play
役(やく): a role


役者(やくしゃ): an actor/actress
大衆演劇(たいしゅうえんげき): popular drama (a genre of Japanese theatrical art)
しばしば: often

Jul 9, 2014

Four Tokyo Vegetarian restaurants recommended by the Japan Vegetarian Society

Hi everyone. How have you been?

I'm not a vegetarian, but some of my foreign friends are vegetarian or are trying to reduce meat and fish intake. They sometimes ask me if I know some good vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo and my answer is always the same: "Sorry, I don't. Japan is not a vegetarian-friendly country."

That's true. I don't know why, but even though Japan is basically a Buddhist country (strict speaking, more than 70 percent of Japanese don't believe in any religion), vegetarianism has never become a big movement.

The other day I checked the website of the Japan Vegetarian Society to see if there are any places vegetarians can in, and I was surprised to find much more vegetarian restaurants than I had expected.

If you can read Japanese, look at the list of  vegetarian restaurants or places serving some vegetarian dishes throughout the nation.  Click here. (All written in Japanese.)

From their list I picked up  several places that even I feel like visiting.

Chaya Mactobiotics

It is more like a cafe rather than a restaurant. Very fashionable, cozy atmosphere. All the dishes they offer contain no meat, no eggs, no dairy products, no refined white sugar and no MSG.


They have three branches in the center of Tokyo.

* in Shinjuku
On the 7th floor of Isetan department store, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; tel. 03-3357-0041 (reservation available only for dinner ) , Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed when the department store is closed.

* in Yurakucho
On the 2nd basement floor of Hibiya Chante, 1-2-2 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; tel. 03-3500-5514 (reservation dinner only) , Open 11a.m.-11 p.m. (Tue.-Sat.), 11-a.m.-10 p.m. (Mon. & Sun.)

* in Shiodome
On the ground floor of Royal Park Hotel the Shiodome, 1-6-3 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel. 03-3573-3616 (reservation dinner only) , open daily, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Loving Hut

Vegan Chinese. No alcohol available. They have Chinese/Eglish speaking staff and also Wi-Fi for international devices (it is important, isn't it?). Be careful of their open hours. Mondays through Fridays, they are open for lunch and tea only.

Dim Sum Set (lunch only), 1,000 yen including Taiwanese tea

On Fridays, they have dinner buffet only, 5:30-9 p.m., 2,000 yen per person; on Saturdays, lunch buffet only, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 1,500 yen per person. 


They are holding a Vegan Dim Sum cooking class as well. The fee is 10,000 yen for one group (max 5 persons) , which means you'd better find friends to go with.  Reservation is required 3 days to 1 week in advance. For details, ask the staff. 

It seems like they sometimes close the restaurant on an irregular basis for various events. Check their bilingual website. Click here.

Address: 2nd fl. of Okada Bldg., 1-54 Kandajimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; tel. 5577-6880

Eat more greens vegetable cafe and bakery

New York style vegan cafe situated in my favorite Azabu-juban area. I have passed in front of this cafe many times but never eaten there. Next time I'll definitely have their vegan pumpkin pie, which looks so yummy. 

イート・モア・グリーンズ - 料理写真:ヴィーガンパンプキンパイ
Vegan pumpkin pie, 730 yen
 I checked all the menu items on the internet ( Click here). They have a wide variety of salads and pastas perfect for lunch, but I find their cakes and donuts more appealing! 

Vegetarian Taco-rice of black rice and black soybean, 1,280 yen
One negative information about this place. I read in a restaurant review that this place does not prohibit smoking and there are a few smokers.  

Address: 2-2-5 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel. 03-3798-3191, open 11a.m.-11 p.m.

Itosho (いと正)

This Michelin's one star restaurant offers traditional Japanese shojin ryori (精進料理) originally developed for Zen Buddhists priests. Located on the calm backstreet of the fashionable Azabu Juban area, and having three private rooms only, Itosho has been secretly loved by politicians and celebrities.

Itosho is not a cheap place but it is worth trying if you can afford. They have only one lunch course consisting of 11 small dishes (6,000 yen), and three dinner courses -- 8,000 yen (11 dishes), 9,000 yen (13 dishes) and 10,000 yen (13 dishes including homemade aperitifs).

The entrance of the restaurant. A little difficult to find. 

vegetable tempura using fresh ingredients from Takayama

This conger eel sushi is actually made of tofu and gobo

Sitting on tatami mats.
Dishes are put on the small table called for a single person.
You can ask for low chairs (not shown in the photo).
Address: 3-4-7 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel. 03-3454-6538. Open 12-3 p.m. for lunch, 5:30-9:30 p.m. for dinner, closed occasionally. Private rooms only. Reservation is necessary. 

Jun 23, 2014

Tomioka Silk Mill will get registered as a world heritage of UNESCO!

Hi everyone!

Good news for us! 富岡製糸場(Tomioka Seishijo) Tomioka Silk Mill factory in Gunma Prefecture will soon become the 18th world heritage of UNESCO in Japan.

Est Cocoon Warehouse ©Tomioka Silk Mill

I have never visited the factory, but almost all the people who have learned Japanese history at school know that the Tomioka Silk Mill played sigificant role in modern industrialization in this country.

The factory was built in 1872 by the Japanese government under the supervision of French silk engineer Paul Brunat. Equipped with silk reeling machine brought from Europe, it enabled mass production of quality raw silk, one of the most important exporting items of the day. 

The silk reeling factory, planned by French ship carpenter Edmond Bastien, is 140 meters long, 12 meters wide and 12 meters high, the biggest of its kind in the world at that time.  


At first they had difficulty hiring female workers because of  a stupid rumor that Western people were sucking the blood of girl workers. They say someone who saw French engineers drinking red wine must have misunderstood and spread this rumor. How strange!

Anyway, about 400 girls, mostly daughters of former samurai families who had lost their privileged social status due to the abolition of class system, were collected from all around the country to work there.

Their working conditions were not bad at all. They worked 8 hours a day, had a day off on Sundays and 10 day-holiday in summer and winter. They were well paid as well. Most skillful workers were paid 25 yen, while the first salary of elementary school teachers and police officers was 8-9 yen.  (1 yen of the day is equivalent to 20,000 yen today.)


Unfortunately the business went into the red only eight years late, and the factory was sold to a private company. 

The silk production continued till 1987, when the factory was finally closed down because of the declining demand for silk and the competition against cheap imports from China.

Today the well-maintained silk mill and its related buildings in the site are the property of Tomioka City.  

Outside of the reeling mill ©Tomioka Silk Mill

Inside of the factory ©Tomioka Silk Mill
I heard Tomioka Silk Mill has been very busy with a lot of tourists since the designation of world heritage was announced. I'll probably wait for a couple of years until this boom calms down, but if you don't mind going to crowded places, why don't you visit there?  For more information, check the factory's official website (in English) .  Click here



富岡製糸場(とみおかせいしじょう)  Tomioka Silk Mill
世界遺産 (せかいいさん)  world heritage
登録する (とうろくする)  to register 


技術 (ぎじゅつ) technique
導入する (どうにゅうする)  to introduce
近代化 (きんだいか) modernization
貢献する (こうけんする) to contribute


工場 (こうじょう) factory
最初 (さいしょ) at first
西洋人 (せいようじん) Western people
生き血 (いきち) blood (of a living person)
吸う (すう) to suck
噂 (うわさ) rumors
苦労する (くろうする) to have difficulty


全国 (ぜんこく) whole country
労働者 (ろうどうしゃ) workers
労働条件 (ろうどうじょうけん) working conditions
意外にも (いがいにも) unexpectedly
最も (もっとも) most
熟練した (じゅくれんした) skillful
職人 (しょくにん) artisans
月給 (げっきゅう) monthly salary


警察官 (けいさつかん) police officer
初任給 (しょにんきゅう) the first salary
給料 (きゅうりょう) wage


残念なことに (ざんねんー) unfortunately
赤字 (あかじ)  deficit
民間 (みんかん) private, nonofficial
閉鎖 (へいさ) close down
操業 (そうぎょう) operation
富岡市 (とみおかし) Tomioka City
管理する (かんりする) to manage

Jun 18, 2014

Useful Japanese expressions 5: Osusume wa nan desuka? (What would you recommend?)


Hi everyone! This is the photo of the Nagasaki Champon that I had when I visited Nagasaki City in Kyushu Island. It is a noodle dish with fried pork, vegetables, seafood, etc., created more than a century ago, inspired by a Chinese dish. You don't have to go all the way to Nagasaki only to eat this regional cuisine, though. At a nationwide chain restaurant Ringerhut they offer tasty Nagasaki Champon for less than 600 yen.  

When you know what you'd like to eat, there'll be no problem. You only have to say,

長崎ちゃんぽんください。 Nagasaki Champon kudasai. (Nagasaki champon,please)

But when you go into a restaurant that you happen to find and you are given a menu written all in Japanese with no photos on it, what should you do?

Today, I'll teach you how to deal with such a situation.

First of all, tell them that you can't read Japanese.

すみません。日本語が読めません。 Sumimasen. Nihongo ga yomemasen.  (Excuse me, I can't read Japanese)  

Sumimasen means "excuse me" or "I'm sorry", or even "thank you" depending on the context.
Nihongo: Japanese
Yomemasen: can not read.

Then ask them their recommendation. That's probably the easiest.

おすすめは何ですか。 Osusume wa nan desuka?  (What would you recommend?)

Osusume means recommendation, and "nan desuka?" is "What is?"

If there are ingredients you cannot eat, say as follows:

豚肉は食べられません。 Butaniku wa taberaremasen. (I cannot eat pork.)  

Butaniku is pork, and taberaremasen is "I cannot eat." You can replace butaniku with other ingredients such as 肉(niku, meat), 魚(sakana, fish) and 卵 (tamago, eggs).

When you don't feel like having what they recommended to you, you can say like this:

他はありますか。 Hoka wa arimasuka? (Do you have any other suggestions?)

"Hoka" means "other things," and "arimasuka?" is "do you have?"


Jun 14, 2014

Fukushima is still alive. See this Youtube video!

Hi everyone! I haven't posted in a while. 

A few weeks ago my Japanese friend now living in France visited me and we had dinner together. It was so much fun and we talked a lot -- what's going on in France, her romance with a Korean boy and Fukushima's current situation.  

She told me how she felt shocked when a French woman angrily said to her, "Tell me what Japanese people think of Fukushima. You know, our life is now facing a great danger due to Fukushima's radiation. They don't feel guilty or sorry for that?" 

I don't know how much Fukushima's tragedy caused by a natural disaster is affecting this woman's daily life, but if someone living in France becomes ill due to the nuclear contamination happening in Japan, we who live in this country should be all dead long time ago.

I'm not saying you don't need to worry at all, as I'm not a specialist on this matter. But I want to say this. Contrary to the popular belief, Fukushima is not a ghost town. While some areas near the nuclear power plant are still restricted to enter, people in other parts of the prefecture are leading normal lives.  

I would like to show you a YouTube video that proves this. Fukushima people of all ages and occupations are dancing to Japanese girl group AKD48's "Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Fortune Cookie in Love)." Since this song was released last year, making a dancing video has been a mini-boom here and this is one of them. Hope you'll watch it and realize Fukushima is still alive despite the devastating earthquake, tsunami and on-going nuclear problem.

If you are interested in the original version by AKB48, watch this. I'm too old to be interested in this type of music, but I find it cute.

And here is the video uploaded by the Sanriku Railway Company (Iwate Prefecture) , commemorating the restart of the service of 36.6 km-long Minami Riasu line in three years after the earthquake. The disaster was so huge that it is taking longer than we expected to recover from the damage, but their lives are getting back to normal little by little. By the way, we should not forget that the restoration of the railway service would have been impossible without the financial support from Kuwait. Thank you Kuwait!



大地震 (だいじしん)  bit earthquake
起きる (おきる)  to occur
津波 (つなみ) tsunami
亡くなる (なくなる)  to die


福島 (ふくしま)  Fukushima
原子力発電所 (げんしりょくはつでんしょ) nuclear power plant
原発 (げんぱつ) = 原子力発電所
立ち入り禁止 (たちいりきんし)  no entry allowed


外国 (がいこく) foreign countries
誰も (だれも) ~ない  no one
住む (すむ)  to live
違う (ちがう) incorrect


区域 (くいき)  area
以外 (いがい) outside of
普通に (ふつうに) normally
生活する (せいかつする) to live
残念 (ざんねん) sorry


証拠 (しょうこ)  proof


去年 (きょねん) last year
曲 (きょく)  song
恋 (こい)  love
流行っている (はやっている) be popular
恐ろしい (おそろしい) scary
場所 (ばしょ) place