Showing posts from January, 2013

Wakayama Castle

I went to Wakayama City on business last Wednesday , and on my way back to my office I visited Wakayama Castle. I enjoyed a quiet walk there because of a weekday, it was a little cloudy though.

Wakayama Castle was built in 1585 and it was a castle belonging to Kisyu-Tokugawa family that was one of the three top Tokugawa-related families from 1619 to 1868. The eighth Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune was from this castle.

The castle was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1958 out of concrete and is open to the public.

In the season of cherry blossoms, the castle surrounded by pink flowers is very beautiful.

Chasing the Flame

The UN assumes the important role of international conflicts and refugee aid, but I didn't know much about UN's activities and efforts. I only know it through TV news or newspapers.

This book is the biography of Sergio Vieira de Mello who was killed at the Canal Hotel Bombing in 2003 while working as the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq. The author is Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Sergio was born in Brazil as a son of Brazilian diplomat in 1948. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris. At that time, he joined the 1968 student riots in Paris. I'm in the same generation (a little bit younger than him). In Japan many students riots broke out through the country just like in Paris as well.

In 1969, he found a job in Geneve as a French editor at offices of UNHCR because of his superiority in language ability. Since then, he worked and was involved with many difficult international conflicts, in Rwanda, Lebanon, Cambodia, Yugosl…

Meg, to Dubai again

My niece, Meg, went to London to study art when she was twenty years old. She had stayed there for more than three years, and graduated from an art college. After that, she worked as a designer in Tokyo. But she had enthusiasm for studying art further in London, so she saved enough money.

She went to London again and got her master's degree at Saint Martins, Univ. the Art London. When my daughter, Yumi, had been living in London to study at SOAS, Yumi was supported with her kindness.

After leaving London, she found her place to work in Dubai, but less than a year later she fell sick. We knew later it was a serious disease.

She returned to Japan last year. Her parents were worried and sought the best medical care for her. She had treatment for completely one year and was able to overcome it with her strong spirit. We, all her relatives, were deeply touched by her efforts.

Today, she returned to Dubai to work again.

We are behind you all the way, Meg!

The Girl in the Picture

This picture of a naked little girl who was running down a road is well-known, and made an impact all over the world during the Vietnam War. This picture taken by Nick Ut won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.

The little girl is Kim Phuc. This book "The Girl in the Picture" is her biography with Vietnamese historical background written by Denise Chong.

Kim Phuc's village was mistakenly burnt by a South Vietnamese air force napalm strike instructed by American military advisers. She suffered serious burns on her back. Nick Ut and Western journalists took her to a hospital in Saigon and her life was barely saved.

After the war, she was used for a propaganda as a symbol against American imperialism. She , however, wanted to be a doctor to save people like her. She also had a faith in Christ secretly.

Prime minister Pham Van Dong loved her like a granddaughter, so she was allowed to go to Havana to study. In 1992, she married a Vietnamese student and went on their honeymoon in M…

Jogging in a cold breeze

I like to go jogging on a weekend, but I couldn't go for a long time because I've been very busy since last October.

During New Year's holidays all factories are closed, so a traffic noise is little and air and water are clear. I went jogging in a pleasant cold breeze of winter this morning. Many people were enjoying walking and jogging along Otsu River near my house.

I went with a camera today and took some pictures of birds and fish. I'm neither a birder nor a photographer.

I was able to enjoy taking some pictures, but I couldn't identify the precise species of those birds.

Happy New Year!

My wife who is a calligrapher wrote this for New Year's Greeing Card. The pronunciation is 'yo shun', the meaning is brilliant spring. She writes these kind of words every New year.

I drew this snake as a symbol for this year's animal of New Year's Greeting Card as well.