Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




First penguin


Random thoughts

I recently heard the word ”First penguin” in a NHK morning drama series.
It means a penguin which first jumps into the sea out of a flock of penguins.
In the sea, there might be some killer whales or sea lions.
Even so, to catch fish, one must jump into the sea first to make sure of the safety.


Finally, a courageous penguin jumps into the sea.
And if the penguin rises on the sea surface,
other penguins will jump into the sea all together.
If it doesn’t rise or rise covered with blood,
other penguins will just go somewhere different.
I wonder how the first penguin feels when it jumps into the sea.
I mean, it might get eaten up right away.
So it is moving to think about the first penguin…


By the way, this word became to refer to people who start something first
despite risks or hardships in a field or an organization. (H.S)

Spring / The Season Of Farewell And Encounter


Random thoughts

Charlotte who participated in several GEN's videos.

She moved out of the city.


It was sad for us to say goodbye but it was definitely grateful to meet her,

get to know her and work together.

Dec.24th,2015. GEN Video

Jan.10th,2016. GEN Video

Dec.15th,2015. staff blog

Dec.10th,2015. staff blog

*For more blogs and videos to see, please visit our website, GEN Japan


Spring is the season of farewell and encounter in Japan.


In Japan, there are graduation ceremonies in March.

It is time to say goodbye.


And in April, there are entrance ceremonies.

So it is time to say hello.


Even though there is a full of hope for the future in spring,

spring in Japan leaves people with bittersweet memories.

It is time for us to feel gratitude for the memories which were given to us

and let them go.

Let them go to receive new ones.


We must have a little strength to move forward.


Ending something is a beginning of something new.


In the next chapter of our lives, there are smiles, laughter, joys, new friends and things

we have not seen yet.


Let's see what's coming next!



A bicycle which turns into a wheelchair


Random thoughts

The music live and movie event were held at Bhutan Museum. As I was wondering why a red bicycle was setting in the room, a person who invented this bicycle showed us how to use it. He is Mr. Nagayama from Nagoya.


First, set the shape of the frame of the bicycle into U-shaped.


Second, take out a small foldable chair from a bag, open it and put it on the bicycle. Finally, a bicycle turns into a wheelchair.


Even a woman can push the wheelchair easily and it can go over step height easily by stepping on the pedal which is attached to the back part of the wheelchair. Moreover, when the backrest is pushed back, it becomes a stretcher.


According to Mr. Nagayama, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, only the vehicle that people were able to use was bicycles so he invented this wheelchair. He introduced me several points of this wheelchair which were helpful at that time: carrying a person who couldn’t ride bicycles to wherever they wanted to go and carrying a heavy bottle of water from a water distribution point. This wheelchair definitely has high mobility and it must be very useful.


Japanese Vending Machines


Random thoughts

In Japanese rest stops on highways, there are many different kinds of vending machines.


The most common vending machines sell hot or cold beverages.

My favorite ones are the coffee machines which make a hot cup of coffee in less than 30seconds!


There are more than 5,600,000 vending machines across Japan.

Most commonly, they sell drinks such as water, soda, juice, tea and coffee.


There are also machines that sell alcohol beverages, milk, apples, bananas, snow cones, uncooked rice, baked rice balls, bread, natto (fermented beans), spaghetti, ramen, noodles, eggs, fish bait, broth, hanko stamps, textbooks, cars, beetles, umbrellas, lucky charms, flowers, and everything else in between.


The latest one is a touch screen vending machine.

Here is a video which shows Japanese vending machines, "WAO✦RYU!TV ONLYinJAPAN #44"

If you see a vending machine, make sure you stop and see what's for sale.

You might be surprised!



Valentine's Day in Japan


Random thoughts

On February 14th, in western cultures, men give gifts to their love ones.

It is different in Japan. Women give chocolates to their love ones.

The chocolates for one’s true love (one’s boyfriend / husband / crush) are called “Honmei Choco”.

And there are “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate) and “Tomo-choco” (friendship chocolate).



On March 14th, “White day”, ones who received chocolates, they give return gifts such as marshmallow and or anything nice.


Do you know how these “Valentine Chocolate” and “White day” started in Japan?

Why do we give each other chocolates?

There are several theories. I’d like to introduce one of them.

February 12th, 1936,

an advertisement of Morozoff Ltd. in Kobe City, Japan said that “Give chocolates on February 14th” in the English-language newspapers which used to be published in Tokyo.

This is the beginning of giving each other chocolates in Japan.


In 1992, because of the advertisement of Morozoff Ltd, a love of statue was given to Kobe City by Terni in Italy.


In 1958, at Isetan Department Main Store in Shinjuku in Japan, “Mary Chocolate” had the first valentine’s sale in Japanese shopping malls.

However, they could not sell much, they sold only 5 bars of 30 yen chocolates and 5 pieces of 4 yen cards.


In 1960, Morinaga & Co., Ltd. in Japan promoted the sales of chocolates through advertisement and media.


In 1965, Isetan department store had a valentine's fair.


In 1968, Sony Plaza had a valentine fair. In 60s, the chocolates were not given as the main gifts, they were still something extra to give.


In 1970, among elementary, junior high and high school girls, giving chocolate to boys became common.


In 1977, a Japanese confectioner in Fukuoka Prefecture, Ishimuramanseido Co.,Ltd started the “Marshmallow Day” to promote marshmallows as return gifts for the valentine's gifts.


In 1979, other confectioners started calling it “White Day” and it started to become common in Japan.

This is the history of Valentine's Day in Japan.

It is always nice to give and or receive gifts.


Did you give anything to someone special on Valentine's Day?