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Random Notes

- “Tweets” is translated as “mumbling” in Japanese. Not sure because of that but I find JP tweets are more introversive. Especially after 22h.

- Or simply because of the users I’m subscribing. That’s quite likely.

- Some are so informative or creative that I want to have it as a book.

- I’m actually still not sure what to tweet.

- Or rather, I’m still not so sure what to do with SNS.

- I opened my twitter account when that huge earthquake hit Japan in 2011. Phone line was dead and mobile email was slow.

- … and we needed to check what’s happening.

- Tweet was so much faster than TV news. And there were so many stories that media couldn’t cover for various reasons.

- Various reasons.

- At that time, SNS proved its true value. Thank you Internet.

- I do believe the power of language. And I believe 140 characters are enough to make difference.

- Or only 3 words could change someone’s life dramatically.

- Proven magic words.

- (But seriously Facebook, do people actually party almost every night??)

- What I’m doing here is just a random mumbling.

- To me, English sounds musical, French sounds sensual, German sounds exact and kinky, Russian sounds nostalgic, Italian makes me hungry.

- (And sometimes it’s really disappointing to know what exactly they’re saying.)

- ("Thought you're talking about pasta sauce!!")

- (Do we sound like a sawing machine?)

We have variety of onomatopoeia. Par example, Toko-Toko, Noko-noko are both sound for footsteps but different situation. 

- Niko-niko is a sound of smile, Pika-Pika is a sound of flashing (heard from that yellow thingy?)

- I want to make a bookshelf with exact the size I want. But the last one I made was broken when I put books on it.

- Great remix of “The Backstroke” (Rei Harakami) 

Back in school days, I loved listening to Rei’s “Red Curb” while watching SETI screen or visualizer.

- And UR with Annabelle the Sheep

- (giggle)

- Okay, time for counting sheep... Sweet dreams :)


haunt me: R is for Rei (and Ray)

Niji-zou by Rei Harakami


I try to think he’s now on a long break.

His album “Red Curb” and “lust” have never been left from my top playlist.


Picnic under the stars

As I mentioned in my last post about “Sora Girl (Space Girl)”, it was so fun to visit space-related facilities in Gunma and to talk to various experts and space enthusiasts. I couldn’t feature everyone’s comments due to limitations of space (of article :), but it was inspiring to know that each of them has their own ideas and way to enjoy night sky…

“Space Souvenir” I got.
Space food (Chocolate cake) and Space Curry that astronauts actually eat.

Gunma-ken is fairly blessed with beautiful night sky all year around, and in winter, it’s tough to spot particular constellation because there’s too many stars. (Not sure why though, it could be climate or just because it’s easy to get away from lightings..) One of the experts from Tokyo told me “people here are not aware of how lucky they are” :) Well… that’s true. For one, I didn’t realize that either until I left Gunma…

When I moved to Tokyo, I was surprised how bright the night is; Colorful neon lights are never turned off, a stream of cars runs without a pause, and shops are open 24h. I was actually very excited to have dark-less night right after I moved in, saying “Yeaaahh, this is so-called urban life!!” (Forgive me I was just 18, though I still say this pretty much every time I go somewhere new.) However after some time, I started to feel uneasy and suffocated in it.

Looking back, probably it was not just about night without starry sky. It was also something to do with homesick or nostalgia, or a sense of failure that every country mouse would feel… all these mixed-up blue. But at that time, I believed the reason was lack of “proper night” and went to local planetarium every week, looking for night sky.
I know it’s an artificial night and space, and it wasn’t even a high-tech facility (meaning, I could see the line of ceiling), but I remember I felt so relieved when it gets dark and stars appeared. 

I got this one too: “Space ruler”!!! :D
The other side shows the distance of the solar system.

“Compare to the vastness of universe, I feel my worries are nothing.”
I heard this comment very often while I was researching this “Sora-Girl” article. They all somewhat blushed and say this comment with a shy smile (like “sorry for giving you a predictable comment...”) but I do too feel that way. :)

When we are busy with everyday life, it’s easy to get lost and consider the society or community we’re currently in as a “whole world”. Say, your “everybody” may mean just “every people in your office” or even, “people you can see from your desk”. But I guess it’s important to switch our viewpoint sometimes. Like Google Earth… (you know, starting from where you are and going up… here’s your city, here’s your country, here’s your planet, and here’s the solar system.. and oh, still going up and still no ending… those super high-angle view.)

Doing this probably won’t make your concerns disappear. But you may be able to find something or hint to solve them by looking at it from different point of view. …You may realize that it was in fact YOU who’s creating the bothersome rules and narrowing your world, for example… (I’m telling it to myself as I write this…)

One day, we’ll have a “Lonely Planet” for Moon :)

I’d like to share a beautiful comment I got from a researcher at the observatory:
 “When you look up at the night sky while feeling the wind, smell and sound of nature, you’ll have the moment to realize that you’re a part of this universe.”

Wherever you are right now, I hope you’ll enjoy the moment like this.  
Let’s take a deep breath underneath the stars tonight… :)


Here’s my favorite. A video of SpaceX launching their rocket. We can watch until the dragon (spacecraft) is in orbit of ISS. It’s amazing to know that it’s possible to have this clear video and moreover, the fact that it took only 10minutes freaks me out…



前回の投稿で「宙ガール」の記事についてご紹介しましたが、県内のいろんな施設や専門家の方、そして天文ファンの方に話を伺うことができて、とても楽しかったです。(毎回そうなんだけどね!) 取材にご協力いただいた皆さま、どうもありがとうございました!



「宇宙ものさしー」(ドラえもん風) 裏は太陽系




毎日のことに追われていると、ついつい自分のいる場所やコミュニティが“世界のすべて”になってしまう感覚になりますが、Google Earthのように、自分のいる地点からどんどん高くあがって、国、地球、太陽系、、まだまだ先にもあるよ!っていう想像をしてみることも、時には大事なんじゃないかなと思います。(と、書きながら自分に言い聞かせる・・・) 




こちらは、YouTubeでライブで見て以来、何度も見まくっているSpace Xのロケット打ち上げの動画。地球から打ち上げて、宇宙ステーション(ISS)の軌道に乗るまでを撮影しています。ずっときれいに撮影できてることにもビックリしましたけど、10分くらいで到着しちゃうところにも驚き!ひゃー!


Star Festival (July 7)

Happy Star Festival (Tanabata)!
May your wishes come true!

Space Girl

For weekly Asahi Gunma published in last week (June 28), I went around Gunma-ken and checked around “Sora Girls” activity.

Weekly Asahi Gunma (June 28)
So happy that this feature made the cover…

“Sora Girl” – literal translation would be “Space Girl”, is a word emerged from last year or so and it signifies “a girl who is interested in stars and space”. (note: “sora” usually means “sky” in Japanese, but here it means “space”) But the definition is quite loose; she doesn’t need to have solid knowledge or proper telescope. If she’s interested in or likes to watch night sky, she’s “Sora Girl” :)

Along with recent years’ astronomical event such as meteor shower or annular solar eclipse, the number of space enthusiasts is increasing in Japan. And, not surprisingly, Sora Girl is increasing as well. (Of course there have been a bunch of female space enthusiast but the word “Sora Girl” made star-watching-activity a trend. You know how it works…)

And, as one of the Sora Girl, I went to see some Sora Girls and their activity, and visited space/stars related facilities in Gunma.

At Takayama village, Gunma-ken
There's “Musical Road” of “When you wish upon a star” on the way to this observatory. 

Doesn’t it look like a space platform? (There are some replicas of ancient monuments in the outside too.) To reach this facility, you have to walk about 10min or so from the parking lot. There’s a picture of Pluto at starting point, and we walk towards Sun. But this is really long walk… especially Pluto to Uranus is so far… (so here you can learn the placement of the solar system by walking.) But worth it. This place got unique atmosphere and world-class technology.

Journey to the Sun…

 Other than this observatory, my article featured followings:

- “Star Club” at Gunma University
It used to be a small club, but now they have 200 registered members and half of them are girls. According to these Sora Girls, watching stars is a "good way to get rid of stress" and they enjoy having “Girl Talk” under the night sky. (I do agree, night sky is perfect backdrop for deep conversation.)

- Mukai Chiaki Children’s Science Museum
Ms Mukai is a Gunma born astronaut, and she’s the very first Japanese woman who went into the space. She’s the real Space Girl.

You can see her autograph on the telescope.
"My workplace is in space"

- Star Watching Event in Gunma
One of the things I discovered through this article research was that Best Night Sky season in Gunma or Kanto area is summer. (I always thought it’s winter.)

And there are some summer events planned to appreciate Gunma’s star-filled night sky from the mountaintop. I heard their “Night Cable Car” makes you feel like you’re travelling into space…

Our little orange pony – Gunma-chan 

- Complete list of Planetarium in Gunma
It’s surprising to know that so many of planetariums are creating their own programs. And addition to these “regular programs” they host special event to leverage their facilities… like “Planetarium for mom-to-be” (they project stars and recite some stories with relaxing aroma) and “Planetarium Concert” (live classical music concert while watching the stars…). Oh… this is so good… (I may try to join this mom-to-be event by sneaking a watermelon under my shirt…)

This article was featuring “Space Girl” but I tried to make it enjoyable for “Space Boy” and even “Space Grandma” in Gunma :) Space is for everyone of course!

Large photo panel of M31 installed in observatory. 
Want this for my wall…

For the northern hemisphere residents, it’s time to check out Milky Way and Great triangle in Summer! If you ever get tired of lights from PC/phone screen, why don’t you look up and find the lights beaming from super far away?

Hope you'll have a great night skywalking!


Do - A donut, a perfect donut

The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”
Oscar Wilde                     

The hole makes the donut. Donut without the hole has different names.

Accept this incompleteness as a complete form.




 「宙ガール」という言葉は、望遠鏡メーカーが作った言葉っていう話もあるんですが、その定義は結構ゆるめ。天文の詳しい知識がなくても、夜空を見るのが好きなら、もうあなたも「宙ガール」。(笑) ここ数年、一般のニュースでも話題になるような大きな天文ショーが多かったため、宙ガールだけでなく、天文ファンそのものが増えているようです。




さて、この宇宙基地にたどり着くためには、駐車場から10分ほどの遊歩道を歩くのですが、普段運動してないと結構ゼーハーものです。天文台の場所を太陽にみたてて、遊歩道の最初に冥王星の絵が貼ってあるのですが、天王星までがすっごい遠い・・・(笑) 太陽系の配置を体感できるしかけになっております。すごく達成感を感じる・・・。(歩くのが困難な方は、入り口で係員を呼ぶと車で迎えに来てくれます。) あと、この天文台に行くまでの道路に、「星に願いを」のメロディーロードもあります。星ずくし。



私は、この天文台の雰囲気もさることながら、「群馬県に天文台がある」ということをすごく気に入っています。だって、ムーミン谷に彗星が迫ったときにも、天文台に知識とアドバイスをもらいに行ってたじゃん。だから、何かあっても天文台が近くにあれば大丈夫な気がするの(笑) 科学的でも何でもない理由ですまん。

 星空といえば、冬の空が一番きれいに見えるというイメージがありますが、実のところ群馬県(というか関東平野)の「ベスト・オブ・夜空」は晴れた夏の空なのだそうです。人工的な灯りから離れ、視界を遮るものがないところで見る満天の星空は、まさに圧巻!だそうです。 群馬県だと、けっこう簡単に人工的な灯りから離れることが可能なので(笑)、どこからでもわりと星はきれいに見えると思うのですが、やはり少し高い場所からみる星空は息をのむような美しさだそうです。


photo by: 谷川岳天神平(enjoy-minakami.jp)






1. 群馬に住んで朝日新聞を購読する(金曜日に発行します)
2. 発行日に県内の販売所、コンビニやスーパーで朝日新聞を買う。(中にはさみ忘れる所もあると聞いたので、ご購入の前には中身を確認してね!)

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