Kanto Week 1

 
 

What are the main cities in Kanto? 
関東の主要都市はどこですか?

Kanto is home to Tokyo, the capital of Japan, and the most populous city. The city itself is divided into 23 wards, which are like cities within a city. Around 50 million people live in the Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the suburbs of Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Many people who live just outside of Tokyo commute into the city for work every day, so the trains are very crowded in the mornings and evenings.

関東は、日本の首都東京があり、最も人口の多い都市です。都心は23の区に分けられていて、都会の中の都会のようです。約5,000万の人々が東京首都圏に住んでいて、これは東京郊外と周辺の県である埼玉、千葉、神奈川を含みます。東京のちょうど外側に住む多くの人たちが毎日都心に通勤するので、電車は朝晩非常に混み合います。

About thirty minutes south of Tokyo is Yokohama, a port city. It’s actually hard to tell where Tokyo ends and Yokohama begins, because the two cities are so big and so close. One of the main attractions in Yokohama is the Chinatown, where you can visit a Chinese temple and buy lots of Chinese products and food. Yokohama is a major cultural center and has lots of art galleries and events.

東京からおよそ30分南には、港町横浜があります。実は、東京がどこまででどこから横浜になるのか見分けるのは難しいです。というのはふたつの都市はとても大きく近接しているからです。横浜の主要な見どころのひとつに中華街があります。そこでは、中国の寺院を訪れたり中国の製品や食材をたくさん購入することができます。横浜は大きな文化的中心地で、多くのアート・ギャラリーがあり、イベントも催されています。

Just south of Yokohama is Kamakura. It’s not such an important city now, but it has a place in Japanese history. Kamakura was the home of the shogunate, and the center of political power from 1185 to 1333. It's a great place to visit if you're interested in the history of Japan. There are a lot of Buddhist temples and historical sites.

横浜のすぐ南は鎌倉です。今はそれほど重要な都市ではありませんが、日本の歴史に登場するところがあります。鎌倉は将軍政治の本拠地で、1185年から1333年に政権の中心でした。もし日本の歴史に興味があれば、訪れるのには最高の場所です。たくさんの寺院と史跡があります。


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Kanto Week 2

 
 

Are there any National Parks in Kanto? 
関東に国立公園はありますか?

Yes, the most famous is probably the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It covers an area of 1,200 square kilometers. The park includes Mt. Fuji, the Fuji Five Lakes region, the Izu peninsula and islands, and Hakone, a hot spring town. It’s not too far from Tokyo, so it’s a popular destination for tourists. In Hakone, you can see geysers and eat black eggs, which are eggs boiled in a hot spring. The sulfur in the hot springs turns the eggs black. It’s said that eating a black egg adds seven years to your life. You can also see the view of Mt Fuji from the banks of Lake Ashinoko. The lake is a crater left behind by a volcano.

はい、最も有名なのはおそらく富士箱根伊豆国立公園です。それは、1,200平方キロメートルの広さに及びます。国立公園には、富士山、富士五湖、伊豆半島、伊豆諸島と温泉町の箱根も含まれます。東京からそれほど遠くないので、観光客に人気の場所です。箱根では、間欠泉を見たり、温泉で茹でた黒たまごが食べられます。温泉成分の硫黄が卵を黒く変色させるのです。黒たまごを食べると、7年の寿命が延びると言われています。芦ノ湖側から富士山も臨めます。湖は火山によって取り残された火山湖です。

Another popular tourist activity is climbing Mt. Fuji in the summer. It’s too cold to climb in winter. Around Mt. Fuji, you can also see the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji and Lake Yamanaka.

もうひとつ、観光客に人気なのが夏に富士登山をすることです。冬に登るのは寒すぎるからです。富士山周辺では、精進湖、河口湖、本栖湖、西湖、山中湖の富士五湖を見ることができます。

The Izu islands are a chain of islands that lie to the south of Tokyo. The largest island is Izu Oshima. Officially, they are part of Tokyo, even though some of the islands are hundreds of kilometers away from the city. The people on the islands live in small fishing towns. Many of the Izu islands are active volcanoes, and sometimes have to be evacuated. At Mikurajima, you can go swimming with wild dolphins.

伊豆諸島は東京の南にある列島です。一番大きな島は大島です。正式には、島々は都市から何百キロメートル離れていても東京に属しています。島民は漁師町に住んでいます。多くの伊豆諸島は活火山なので、避難しなければならない時もあります。三宅島では、野生のイルカと泳ぐことができます。


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Kanto Week 3

 
 









Are there any World Heritage Sites in Kanto? 
関東に国立公園はありますか?

Yes, Mt. Fuji is a World Heritage Site and so are many places around it, such as the Fuji Five Lakes, the Miho Pine Grove and many shrines in the area. The Fuji-san Hongu Sengen Shrine was first built in the reign of Emperor Suinin, more than 2,000 years ago. Many people stop at this shrine to pray before they climb Mt. Fuji. There is also a horseback archery festival in May, and a rice planting festival in July.

はい、富士山は世界遺産なので、周辺にも富士五湖や三保の松原とたくさんの神社があります。富士山本宮浅間大社は、2,000年以上前から垂仁天皇の地として建立されました。多くの人々が、富士登山の前にこの神社に祈願します。5月には、流鏑馬が行われ、7月には田植え祭りもあります。

North of Tokyo is Nikko, a complex of shrines and temples. The shrines in Nikko are heavily decorated and colorful. The first buildings in the area were built by Buddhist monks in the 8th century, but the current temples were mostly constructed in the 17th century. Whenever a building was damaged by fire or earthquake, it was carefully restored to match the original.

東京の北には、たくさんの神社仏閣から成る日光があります。日光の神社は手の込んだ装飾と色彩に彩られています。地域の最古の建造物は8世紀に僧侶たちによって建てられましたが、現在の寺院の大部分は17世紀に建てられたものです。建造物が火災や地震で損傷を受けたらすぐにでも原型に合うよう慎重に修復されていました。

The Ogasawara Islands are considered to be part of Tokyo, but actually they are around 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo. They were nominated as a World Heritage site because of their unique plants and animals. The islands were originally called the Bonin islands, meaning no people. Eventually people from Japan, the United States, and Polynesia all came to live on the island. While the main language is Japanese, some older people speak Bonin English, which is a mixture of American English, Polynesian languages and Japanese.

小笠原諸島は東京都の一部とされていますが、実は東京から約1,000キロメートル南にあります。固有の動植物のため、世界遺産地域として推薦されました。島々は当初「ボニン」と呼ばれ、その意味は「無人」です。やがて日本やアメリカやポリネシアから人々が島に移り住みました。主要な言語が日本語だった頃、アメリカ英語とポリネシア語と日本語の混ざった「小笠原語」を話す年配の人たちもいました。

Another World Heritage Site is the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture. It is the oldest silk factory to use modern machinery. The factory was famous for producing high quality silk to sell overseas.

もうひとつの世界遺産は、群馬県にある富岡製糸場で、近代的な機械を使う最古の絹織物の工場です。海外で売られる品質の高い絹織物を生産することで有名でした。


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Kanto Week 4

 
 










What kinds of food are popular in Kanto?

One famous dining experience in Kanto is the Tsukiji Fish Market, where fishermen bring their fresh fish and sell it to restaurants. There are a lot of sushi restaurants around the market, which sell the freshest sushi in the world. In fact, the type of sushi that is famous all over the word originated in Edo, which is the old name for Tokyo.

Monjayaki is another dish from Tokyo. It’s fried batter with meat and vegetables. It’s similar to okonomiyaki, but monjayaki has more water, so it stays mushy even when cooked. You eat it by scooping it off the grill with a small spatula. There’s a whole street of monjayaki restaurants in Tsukishima.

Tochigi Prefecture, which is north of Tokyo, is famous for its strawberries. If you go there you can buy lots of strawberry flavored sweets. A speciality of Chiba is namerou, which is fish and leeks chopped into tiny pieces and served with rice. The city of Soka in Saitama Prefecture produces senbei, or rice crackers.

While Kansai is famous for beef, pork is more common in Kanto. Kansai people tend to prefer lighter colored and salty flavored miso and soy sauce, while people from Kanto prefer darker colors and stronger flavors. Natto is also much more popular in Kanto than it is in Kansai.


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Kanto Week 5

 
 










What historical events happened in the Kanto region?
Until the end of the Heian Era, the political center of Japan was located in Kansai, so most important events happened around Nara and Kyoto. The first shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo, was based in Kamakura, and the era in which he and his successors ruled is called the Kamakura Era. However, eventually the Kamakura shogunate was defeated by the Ashikaga shogunate, and the capital moved back to Kyoto. This was followed by the Sengoku Era, or “Warring States Era”, when warlords from all over Japan competed for power. Finally, the country was united, and from 1600 to 1868, it was ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate, who lived in Edo Castle. Edo is the old name for Tokyo, so this period is called the Edo Era. It was a long era of peace and stability. Edo Castle is now the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

At the end of the Edo Period, the “Black Ships”, led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yokosuka. He demanded that Japan begin trade with the US. The Japanese people realized that they needed modern technology. The emperor regained power and moved to Tokyo. Under Emperor Meiji, Japan rapidly became a modern country. The Japanese language was standardized, school became compulsory, and people began to wear Western clothing.

In 1923, a huge earthquake hit Tokyo. It caused a lot of fires and killed over 100,000 people. The anniversary of this earthquake, September 1st,  is called “Disaster Prevention Day”.


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