• Daily Life - Unknown Nichigo

    Wings of Desire

    At Mrs. Kangaeroo’s whim, we headed off to the nearby U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base to “enjoy” its Friendship Festival where it opens its gates to the general public and gives them a glimpse of what goes on behind its barbed wire. The huge crowds reminded me of how much so many Japanese adore the United States. It was my first visit to the Friendship Festival almost 30 years and things have changed significantly. We needed to line up for more than an hour in a queue more than a kilometer long to get in, then spent another hour…

  • Unknown Nichigo

    Zenshoen, A Story Of Cruel Tragedy

    All sorts of memories flooded back to me during a brief ride through Tama Zenshoen, a gorgeous park in outer western Tokyo, but also home to a tragic and cruel past for Japan’s Hansen’s disease patients. Zenshoen is a leprosarium and for most of its history, the 115-year-old facility was shut off from the rest of the world and its inhabitants quarantined inside, sterilized and forbidden from associating with the outside world, largely based on 1951 testimony to the Diet by Kensuke Mitsuda, a staunch segregationist but also unfortunately Japan’s foremost expert on leprosy at the time. This continued for…

  • Unknown Nichigo

    Own Your Own Japanese Castle for $100,000

    Aussies can buy an (almost) authentic Japanese castle for only about $100,000, it has been revealed recently on social media. Century21 Japan is selling the 6-story castle (with a restaurant on the second floor) in Akabira, Hokkaido, at a price unimaginable to potential home buyers Down Under. Of course, at that price, there’s bound to be a few catches, but perhaps not as many as some may think, especially considering it comes with a huge garden (over 5,000 m2), a working elevator, restaurant, more than 40 parking spaces and connection to sewage and water mains. Located in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost…

  • Unknown Nichigo

    Bonzer Bonsai!

    Given that this site started with the intent of spreading information about Japan and Australia and matters related to these countries, including languages, and then how much focus I have placed on gardening over the past couple of years, it’s surprising that I haven’t had much to say about bonsai. Or bonzer, for that matter. Bonsai is, of course, the Japanese art of miniature tree growing in trays: the literal meaning of the word bon (tray) sai (gro/cultivate). And, despite having written a Strine Dictionary, or list of Australian English terms, one of its notable absentees is the word bonzer,…

  • Unknown Nichigo

    Went Viral! (And Didn’t Have a Bloody Clue!)

    It’s pretty clear my career is finished so one of my current greatest worries is how I am going to repay the mortgage on Kangaeroo Corner and, being grossly over-educated and severely lacking talent, becoming a YouTuber making viral videos has popped up in my mind as a way. Given that I am paying serious thought to the above idea, it’s pretty clear I have no sense of reality. So, it didn’t really come as a surprise to learn that I posted a video that went viral and I had no idea about it’s popularity until yesterday….10 1/2 years after…

  • Strine Songs - Unknown Nichigo

    Waltzing Matildas In The Land Of The Rising Sun

    Waltzing Matilda is probably Australia’s most famous song and it’s certainly a tune that remains powerfully iconic of Down Under, but has not had the impact in Japan of other Aussie tunes, like say, Click Go the Shears. That’s not to say that Matilda hasn’t made it’s mark. However, like many things Japan, it’s legacy lies not quite in the way you’d expect. My understanding is that Waltzing Matilda is probably best known in Japan for being the jingle used to open Japanese language shortwave radio broadcasts on Radio Australia, which ended in 1990, so there’s a fair chance that…

  • Strine Songs - Unknown Nichigo

    Sheer Nonsense? No, Shear Delight!

    Australia hasn’t really had much of an impact on Japanese culture over the years, but there is one case that inspires sheer delight….or perhaps that should be “shear?” For Japanese of a certain age, 調子をそろえて、クリック、クリック、クリック (Choshi wo soroete kurikku, kurikku, kurikku, is a highly familiar song picked up in an early season of Minna no Uta, a radio and TV program broadcast by NHK since 1961 to introduce new tunes to the Japanese public. The song is known in English as Click Go the Shears and Peggy Hayama, who sang the Japanese version of the song with lyrics written by…

  • Strine - Strine Scribes - Unknown Nichigo

    Goodbye Possums…

    Barry Humphries, the creator of characters such as Dame Edna Everage – the Moonee Ponds housewife famous for her flamboyance and shouted greeting of “Hello Possums” – Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone, and himself an entertainer and icon of Straya in many parts of the world, has passed away. Humphries died aged 89 on Saturday following complications from a recent hip surgery. Personally, I wasn’t a great fan of the Moonee Ponds housewife — Dame Edna Average is my name for her — but she had her moments and was a wonderful example of Humphries’ acerbic, anti-Establishment wit that…

  • Strine Scribes - Strine Songs - Unknown Nichigo

    Sending a Message

    Alright, I hadn’t known this before, but when I arrived in Japan in the mid-1980s, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I stayed in Bunkyo-ku, not far from Gokokuji Temple. Unbeknown to me at the time, and not until today, in fact, right around the same time, Australia’s biggest band, and then one of the hottest acts globally, INXS, had also filmed the music video for their hit, I Send a Message, at the same temple. I’d come to Japan with few expectations, but among the images I had were those from a couple of INXS videos from around the time. I…

  • Strine Sports - Unknown Nichigo

    Up There, Kazari!

    Australian Sports Day was a fantastic event held at Komazawa Olympic Park yesterday, and I got to go and enjoy some of the proceedings that were a decorative display, (or should I say kazari?), of some of Down Under’s favorite pastimes. The day itself was a ripper, starting with explanations, demonstrations and games of cricket, moving on to games of footy and then ending with a netball exhibition, with sales of Aussie foods, wear and fare such as meat pies and banana bread and cuppas from Club Australia‘s Tad Watanabe and the Australia Cafe van. Needing to deal with duties…