Shinichi Kudo, from Japan….. is the featured student for this issue of the English_For_You Web Magazine! Shinichi is an engineer who has over 30 years of experience building everything from micro-houses to man-made islands! Nevertheless, he has not only found time to maintain and improve his English but he is also a “Tea Master” which is a highly coveted title and position in Japan! Discover more about Shinichi by taking a look at the very interesting topics he has chosen to write about and share with us! Happy reading! Enjoy! : ) English_For_You!
“Cha-no-yu – The Way of Tea”
(Japanese Tea Ceremony)
I have been learning and practicing the Japanese tea ceremony called “Cha-no-yu” for over ten years. If you learn and practice “Chan-no-yu” once, you will desire to know more about it. Once you learn more about the Way of Tea, “Cha-no-yu”, you will find that it is more interesting, profound, and complex than you expected. While you are learning about “Cha-no-yu” you will be able to enjoy a special powdered tea called “Matcha” in addition to delicious Japanese sweets made especially for tea ceremonies called wagashi, pretty flowers, beautiful tea bowls, and Japanese calligraphy.
Calligraphy by Musō Soseki (1275 – 1351, Japanese zen master, poet, and calligrapher. The characters “別無工夫” (“no spiritual meaning”) are written in a flowing, connected soshō style.
Furthermore, at a special formal tea gathering a full course Japanese meal is served which lasts for about 4 hours. In a formal tea gathering, we drink “Sake” (Japanese rice wine) during the meal. After a full course Japanese meal the first of two sweets called the “main sweet” (wagashi) will be offered. The guests leave the room and the calligraphy in the tea room is changed to flowers. When they come back they are offered “Thick tea” served alone without anything else. Thick tea is a high density “Matcha” tea and it contains a lot of caffeine. This is the reason why people need to eat some food before drinking “Thick tea.” The second sweet is served with “Thin tea” which is a lighter version of “Match tea”. After drinking “Thin tea” the formal tea gathering is considered to be over. Guests show their appreciation by thanking the host before leaving.
A host prepares many things from flowers to sweets before serving a cup of Thick tea. Guests come specifically to a tea gathering to enjoy Thick tea. Thick tea is served with only one tea bowl for all the guests (usually 5 guests) . Guests share and pass around one bowl of Thick tea. The act of sharing one bowl has a particular meaning. Even a tycoon has to leave his sword outside a tea room in order to fit inside a tea room due to the small size of the entrance way. Therefore a tycoon or rich man becomes equal to others when he is inside a tea room and has to share thick tea with others.
If you start to like Japanese tea ceremonies, you will feel like learning more and more about Japanese culture.. In the end you will fall in completely in love with the world of “Cha-no-yu” — the Japanese Tea Ceremony!
Utensils used during a Japanese Tea Ceremony
Please click and watch the very interesting video here below to see “Cha-no-yu” (Japanese Tea Ceremony) performed step by step! Remember…..just relax and enjoy! 🙂
Japanese Tea Ceremony — “The silence of tea ceremony relaxes your mind. 日本の素晴らしい文化、茶の湯( Tea Ceremony )。作法や道具も大切だけれど、それらに囚われず、ただ一服の茶を、静かに美味しく頂いてもらう、そんな茶の道を歩きたい。。wong wing tsanさんのピアノと共に。
The Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway Project (Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line)
I have worked on civil engineering projects for over 27 years. However, the largest project I have ever taken part in is The Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway project aka Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line which is a bridge–tunnel combination across Tokyo Bay in Japan. This highway connects both sides of the Tokyo Bay with a 4.4 km bridge and 9.6 km tunnel and is the fourth-longest underwater tunnel in the world. We started this project in 1966 and finished in 1997. So from start to finish it took 31 years to complete and cost 11.2 billion USD.
I worked specifically on the project to build the Kawasaki Man-Made Island. This man-made island was constructed as the base site for four tunnel projects. The procedure for the construction of this project was particularly complicated. First, we set up steel decks in the middle of Tokyo Bay. Then we land-filled the doughnut shaped temporal island with soil made from cement mixed with sand. The diameter is 100 m and the width is 12.6 m. The soil was supported by steel walls on both the inside and the outside of the temporal island. After that we constructed a concrete wall (3 m thickness) at the center of the doughnut island. The end of the concrete wall reaches a depth of 100 m below the sea surface and the diameter of the wall is also 100 meters.
We excavated inside of this wall to a depth of 70 m below sea level. The sea depth is 30 m thus we dug 40 m below the seabed. This was very deep and the excavation area was anomalously large, so we were not completely fearless when we saw the bottom of the excavation area! Just think — in the middle of the Tokyo Bay we went down to a depth of 70 m — which is the size of a baseball field!
Immediately after this excavation a lot of fresh water blew out from the bottom of this area. The amount of leaking water was 3t/minute (500 litter/second). It took us three months to stop this water from continuing to leak!
In the picture above you can see the huge tunnel boring machines that commenced boring from the bottom to construct the Trans-Tokyo Highway.
After the completion of the tunnel, we started the upper structural works. The Kawasaki Man-Made Island functions as a ventilation shaft for the highway and is now commonly known as “Kaze no To” — The Tower of Winds. Here below are some pictures of what the Kawasaki Man-Made Island (Kaze no To) “Tower of Wind” looks like today!
GOOD HEALTHY JAPANESE FOOD
Sashimi which is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of very fresh raw seafood, sliced into thin pieces and served with only a dipping sauce is one of the healthiest foods in Japan.
Fish have less calories than most meats. “Toro”= Fatty Tuna (Photo below) is very delicious but it has some fat.
Fatty tuna Sashimi
What is considered to be the best and most healthy food in Japan? It is called “Natto” which is made from soy beans. Natto prevents brain infarction and helps blood to flow smoothly. It contains “Bacillus subtilis var” which acts like a medicine. But Natto which is made using a special process that transforms soy beans into sticky fermented soy beans has a strong smell which makes it difficult for foreigners to appreciate unless they can become used to the taste and smell.
“Natto” soybeans before fermentation.
“Natto” on rice
So if you do not like “Natto” there is another healthy Japanese food that I can recommend. It is called “Yuba” and it is made from soya bean milk. Yuba is actually the thin membrane that is formed on hot milk. However, Yuba is not made from cow milk but from soy bean milk and contains a lot of calcium.
Photos of fresh “Yuba” being prepared
Yuba, like tofu, is mostly flavorless but can be seasoned with sauces made from other foods.
You can taste many kinds of “yubas” at a Yuba restaurant and in some other Japanese restaurants. Here below are some photos with some delicious Japanese dishes made with Yuba.
I cannot prepare any of these wonderful dishes but I love to put “Yuba” in Tomato soup. Yuba is one of my favorite foods!
COME VISIT JAPAN
What words come to mind when you are asked about Japan?
If you have an only one day for sightseeing in Japan I recommend you ride the “Hato Bus” if you are in the Tokyo area.
There are a lot of tours, so you can choose the best one for you. Tokyo is quite a big city, so I find that it is sometimes hard to go by subway and find the place I am looking for. Therefore, if I do not prepare by Internet first, I will waste time trying to find the way. So especially for tourists taking a bus tour is the easiest and quickest way to go sightseeing in Tokyo. If you choose a “Geisya Tour” you can enjoy a traditional Japanese dance performed by lovely and talented Geisyas and taste good Japanese food.
If you have two days you may select a nice Japanese Inn located in a “Onsen”(Japanese for “hot spring”) area and sleep on Tatami mats with a “Futon”( without a bed). At the Onsen Inn you can fill your stomach with delicious Japanese food and spend time relaxing in a big hot springs bath. At the end of the day you will certainly fall fast asleep! “Oyasuminasai”! (Goodnight!)
A lovely picture of a beautiful Japanese hot spring or “onsen“.
MANGAS (COMIC BOOKS)
In Japanese “manga” means non-animated comics (as in comic books) and they are very popular with young people both in Japan and around the world. Consequently, some Japanese mangas have become world-famous! In fact, I have the same name (Shinichi Kudo) as the hero in a popular Japanese comic book that is famous all around the world. It is called “Shinichi Kudo” in Japan but it is known as “ Detective Conan” outside of Japan.
You are probably thinking —-who is Shinichi Kudo? Well, here is a short answer — with a little help from the Shinichi Kudo Wiki! <<Shinichi Kudo (工藤 新一 Kudō Shin’ichi) is the high school detective protagonist of the manga and anime “Detective Conan”. While on a date with his childhood friend and romantic interest Ran Mouri, Shinichi encounters two men from a secret criminal organization who force feed him a strange poison that causes his body to shrink back to first grade age. Shinichi takes up the alias Conan Edogawa and plans to use his immense skill as a detective to make Ran’s bumbling private detective father famous in hopes that he will find a case involving the secret organization so he can expose its crimes and acquire an antidote that will turn him back into a teenager.>>
By the way, in the English “Detective Conan” version — the leading character’s name is “Jimmy Kudo” in the “Case Closed” manga series. The name “Shinichi” has been translated in English as “Jimmy”. But actually it is “ Shinichi Kudo” in the “Detective Conan” manga which is my name….Shinichi Kudo!
By the way, if you would like to know the complete story and understand more about this manga series please read the following very interesting article “How to Appreciate Detective Conan” .
You can also watch the animated versions of “Shinichi Kudo” mangas called “anime”. Here is a link to various Shinichi Kudo anime.
Now, this series has become so popular that there are also full version Shinichi Kudo movies with English subtitles!
I hope you enjoy reading and watching the “Shinichi Kudo — “Detective Conan” series!
Shinichi Kudo / Detective Conan — “One truth prevails!”