Month: December 2012


New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbor.

New Year’s Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbor.

One of the world’s most renowned New Year’s Eve parties takes place annually in Sydney, Australia’s oldest and largest city.
Just as Japan has a New Year’s Eve tradition of the Red-White Singing Contest, Sydney’s custom to mark the end of one year and herald the start of another involves setting off fireworks with its famous harbor bridge and opera house as a backdrop.
People come from all over the world to celebrate the midsummer fireworks spectacle, with this year’s celebrants including Hollywood superstars Leonardo di Caprio and Jamie Foxx, who plan to welcome the new year in Sydney, then hop onto a private jet and fly to Las Vegas to take advantage of the time difference and be ready to greet the start of 2013 all over again.
About 1 million people are expected to see Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks live, while another estimated 1 billion worldwide will watch the event on television.
Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

Sydney’s fireworks are a comparatively recent event, starting in the 1980s, but with the city’s iconic landmarks only taking center stage in annual events that began only in 1996. Australian superstar singer Kylie Minogue will be a producer of this year’s fireworks display.
Incidentally — and ironically considering the fame of Sydney’s fireworks — Aussies have a complicated relationship with fireworks. Although most Japanese regard fireworks as a symbol of summer and setting them off is a tradition with crackers and the like on sale in stores nationwide, it has been almost impossible since the 1970s for individual Australians to buy fireworks, which are banned for individual use, ostensibly due to the danger of fire in the tinderbox dry heat of the summer Down Under.

Sydney New Year’s Eve Official Site


Australia is, in a way, flavor of the month of sorts in Japan at the moment.

That exalted status is thanks to the humble TimTam.
IMG_6258 今、日本のどこのコンビニーでも売られているし、多くの駅売店でも販売されている。
TimTam biscuits are now sold in just about all of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores and most station kiosks in the capital and surrounding prefectures.
TimTam biscuits were first made in Australia in 1963. They are comprised of two biscuits sandwich cream filling and covered entirely in chocolate. They have become a symbol of Australia.
However, ownership of Arnott’s Biscuits Holdings, the company that produces TimTams, has fallen into the hands of Campbell Soup, an American company.
IMG_6259 これによって同ビスケットが日本を含めて世界中に楽しめるようになった。 
This led to TimTam biscuits being sold throughout the world, incluing to Japan.
However, it also prompted Dick Smith, a nationalist Australian businessman, to come up with Temptin’ biscuits, a fully Australian-owned biscuit that bore an extremely close resemblance to the TimTam and went on sale in 2003.
Arnott’s responded by suing Smith and the two parties came to a settlement that ended their bikkie war.
TimTamFlavors 日本では、このビスケットがキャンベル・ジャパンが販売している。
Campbell Soup Japan sells the biscuits in this country.
 今、日本ではOriginal, Dark Chocolate, Classic Dark, WhiteとChewy Caramel味の上に細長い版Fingersが販売されている。
Currrently, the TimTam flavors on sale in Japan are the Original, Dark Chocolate, Classic Dark, White and Chewy Caramel biscuits, as well as the Fingers snacks.
 しかし、オーストラリアでは上記の味の他にRum Raisin, Chewy Choc Fudge, Mocha Coffee, Chilli Choc Fling, Tia Maria, Double Coat, Creamy Truffle Temptation, Black Forest Fantasy, Hazelnut PralineとLove Potion味で販売されている。
TimTamTiaMariaIn Australia, TimTam biscuits currently or formerly on sale included the above flavors as well as Rum Raisin, Chewy Choc Fudge, Mocha Coffee, Chilli Choc Fling, Tia Maria, Double Coat, Creamy Truffle Temptation, Black Forest Fantasy, Hazelnut Praline and Love Potion,
In addition to these flavors, it’s also possible to buy Cheese TimTam biscuits in Indonesia
Cheese TimTam 日本で販売されているが他が販売されていないTimTamは、ボックス型包装で、ひと箱何個かが入っている商品だ。
Japan’s multi-packet boxes are a TimTam sales form not found in Australia.
The TimTam Slam is a well-known method of consuming the biscuit.
This involves taking a small bite out of the corners at diagonals on a TimTam, dipping the biscuit into a beverage such as coffee or tea, and then sucking the beverage through the holes created in the TimTam, allowing for a taste of the bikkie while consuming the drink.

What’s a bikkie?
Oh, a bikkie is this, too.
Arnott’s Australia
Campbell Japan TimTam Page


Tony Greig

Tony Greig

トニー・グレッグ氏を知っている日本人が恐らく片手で数えるぐらいだろう。が、同氏が多くのオーストラリア人に愛されたと言っても過言ではない。 その理由を説明するのが非常に複雑だ。
You could probably count on a hand the number of Japanese who’ve even heard of Tony Greig, but it’s no exaggeration to say he was widely-endeared in Australia. Explaining why is pretty complicated.

Greig died in a Sydney hospital on Dec. 29 of a heart attack that may have been brought on as a result of undergoing treatment for lung cancer. The apartheid-era South African-born former England captain was a better-than-average cricketer who was among those who brought about a revolution in the game in the 1970s before becoming a TV commentator in Australia and subsequently becoming an Australian citizen.
Greg’s playing days coincided with an Australian glory era. At a time when Australian teams were ripping through their opponents, Greig pluckily stood up to them even as his teammates often collapsed in a heap around him. Greig annoyed the hell out of many Australians, but his persist fight against overwhelming odds also brought him bucketloads of Aussie respect.
Greig could also be hated. In 1976, the white South African (whose veldt-influenced accent remained with him for life) threatened to make the (all African heritage) West Indian team “grovel.” The effects of that statement may be hard to understand for many Japanese, who were affored “honorary white” status under South Africa’s hated apartheid system, which threatened to rip apart the British Commonwealth, which was composed of predominantly non-white nations but also included many countries where racially-based legislation had been the norm, including Australia, South Africa and what was then known as Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe). Even now, 36 years after the event, many still abhor Greig’s remark.

To his credit, Greig could also admit to being wrong. When the West Indies team responded to his statement with anger, he apologized, and when the England team he was leading, the captain got down on his knees and grovelled before his opponents, begging for their forgiveness. He also announced publicly in 1977 that he was suffering from epilepsy, a disease then still carrying considerable social stigma, and helped others cope with the condition throughout the remainder of his life.
Greig became a legendary cricket commentator renowned for many idiosyncracies (especially checking the hardness of the pitch by inserting a key into it), including his somewhat anti-Australian stance, even after he naturalized, and this seemed to become more prominent when the Aussies played either his native South Africa or England, the team he had represented.

Yet, even as he niggled Australia, he came to be widely loved across the land in more than 30 years as a commentator on the country’s only major sport to claim undisputed national dominance.
Greig died age 66. While doubts linger about his character, it’s impossible for Kangaeroo to deny his passing hasn’t caused some shock (probably because it reaffirms Kangaeroo’s own mortality…)
May Tony Grieg rest in peace.


The Sapphires

The Sapphires

Just as Japanese cinema was globally renowned in the 1950s only to subsequently fall into decline, Australian movies lauded across the world in the 1970s and 1980s can now no longer make much of an impact outside of their homeland.

Unlike the domestic Japanese market, however, which is of a scale large enough to support its own industry, the Australian domestic movie business is tiny. This ensures that short of making a hit of the likes of the initial Crocodile Dundee series entries, the Mad Max series or something akin to Happy Feet or Moulin Rouge, a general release Australian movie is almost destined to be more of a charitable enterprise than a business.
This applies even for movies rated highly domestically and overseas.
This year has seen a move that proves to be a case in point.
We’re referring to The Sapphires.

The movie based on a true story about a band referred to as Australia’s version of The Supremes is said to be an Australian-style Dreamgirls and was awarded and highly rated when shown at international festivals such as Cannes and, rare for an Aussie movie these days, even sold overseas.
The movie featured Jessica Mauboy, one of Australia’s best-known indigenous singers, as part of a tremendous cast who worked to tell the fascinating tale of a group of indigenous women plucked from a reserve to form a band that became something of an international sensation at a time when it was still common for them to encounter discrimination in their homeland still deeply influenced by the White Australia Policy, the Stolen Generations and other aspects of its racist past.

But, The Sapphires flopped at the box office internationally, starting with failures in its first overseas markets in France and Britain.
And it’s not even planned for release in Japan.


Children in Yuendumu, NT

Children in Yuendumu, NT

English is now Australia’s most commonly used language, but there are also still dozens of indigenous Australian languages that are native tongues for many people living Down Under.
And many indigenous Australian languages have for tens of thousands of years used sign language as well, the most famous example being that used in the Warlpiri language used in the remote central Australian desert, centering on the community of Yuendumu.
Including the Warlpiri, these sign languages are often the result of taboo practices, where custom forbids certain members of tribes speaking to other members. The sign languages developed as an alternative to verbal communication.
A bilingual English-Warlpiri sign in central Australia.

A bilingual English-Warlpiri sign in central Australia.

Many Warlpiri speakers and other indigenous Australians maintain their traditional lifestyles even today, ensuring these sign languages are retained even as their languages are threatened by the dominance of English.
Warlpiri and other northern Australian indigenous languages have strongly influenced the area’s use of a form of Auslan, the Australian Sign Language that targets the hearing impaired.

Manyu-Wana, a Children’s Program in Warlpiri

Boxing Dayって殴りあうカンガルーと関係ないの?

Boxing-kangaroo ボクシング・デーは12月26日にあり、クリスマスの翌日であり、オーストラリアをはじめ、イギリスも北欧数カ国では祝日となっているが、日本でもアメリカでもほとんど知られていない。
 元々クリスマスの翌日で、教会が貧しい人たちのために寄付を募ったクリスマスプレゼントのボックスを開ける日であったことから”Boxing Day”と呼ばれるそうだ。

Cricket's Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Cricket’s Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.