2017年のキーワード

今年も恒例の「キーワード」のまとめの時期がやってきました。

2001年のキーワード:都内一人暮らし職場異動ソアラ
2002年のキーワード:アメリカ
2003年のキーワード:飛行機ミュージカル
2004年のキーワード:ブログアジア(シンガポール・香港)GSM携帯電話
2005年のキーワード:ダーツGSM/WCDMA携帯電話香港再訪
2006年のキーワード:米国株ミューチャルファンド
2007年のキーワード:クルマの買い替えハワイ旅行
2008年のキーワード:イギリス深川
2009年のキーワード:職場異動MacBook Pro青春18きっぷ
2010年のキーワード:台湾・シンガポール・マレーシアiPhoneクレジットカード
2011年のキーワード:クルマイギリス文化中国
2012年のキーワード:王子麻雀CAFacebook
2013年のキーワード:アーユルヴェーダ韓国高校の同窓生高城剛
2014年のキーワード:イギリスAndroid
2015年のキーワード:アメリカ(メイン州)エストニア、職場異動
2016年のキーワード:国内移動地図作りジープ
でした。

そして今年のキーワードは

近江友里恵NHK帯状疱疹英語の試験

にしたいと思います。

近江友里恵さんは、この前のエントリにも書いたとおり、今年はこの人に始まりこの人に終わったといっても過言ではないほどで、年始のブラタモリを見て知って以来、ずっと近江さんのファンになってしまいました。毎朝ニュースを見て、名古屋の講演会にも行き、そして質疑のパートでじかにお話もできました。

近江アナウンサーつながりで、NHKのこともより深く知ることができました。これまでいわゆる“女子アナ”の類にはほとんど興味はなく、ましてやNHKのアナウンサーなど、知っててもせいぜい有働由美子さんや桑子真帆さん程度で、あとはほとんど知らなかったんですが、近江アナウンサーのほかにも和久田麻由子アナウンサーや中村慶子アナウンサー、小郷知子アナウンサー、田中泉アナウンサー、寺門亜衣子アナウンサーや鈴木奈穂子アナウンサー、橋本奈穂子アナウンサー、保里小百合アナウンサー、林田理沙アナウンサー、赤木野々花アナウンサーなど、いろんなアナウンサーがいて、ニュース番組でニュースを読んだり、番組の司会をしたり、ナレーションをしたりなどいろんなことをしていることを知りました。男性アナウンサーも、トップクラスの“たけたん”こと武田真一アナウンサーをはじめ、“眉”こと高瀬耕造アナウンサー、“麿”こと登坂淳一アナウンサー、そのほか阿部渉アナウンサー、 望月啓太アナウンサー、井上裕貴アナウンサー、野村正育アナウンサーなどが番組に出ていることを知りました。またNHKのアナウンサーは、入局後まず地方局に送られて修行を積み、そこからその地方の拠点局へ異動したのち優秀な人が東京の放送局にやってくるというシステムになっていること、またアナウンサー職のほかにも記者、ディレクター、放送技術などの職種があり、入局時に希望や配属などで決まること、記者やディレクター志望でもアナウンサー職で採用されたり、その逆があったりすること、などなどのNHKの営みについても触れることができました。

今年の夏は帯状疱疹に悩まされました。帯状疱疹という言葉はよく耳にするし、周りでかかったことのある人の話は聞くんですが、いざ自分がなってみるとこんなに辛いものとは思いませんでした。私の場合は右の顔から耳にかけて発疹ができたんですが、みるみるうちにグロメンと化してしまい、ふためとみられないほど醜く変形してしまいました。治療開始が早かったのでグロメンは一週間もすれば元に戻ってきましたが、そのあと顔の右半分の耐え難い痛みが何ヶ月も続きました。痛いところは冷やしてはだめで、暖めなければならないんですが、なにせ真夏のときのこと、カイロも温かい缶コーヒーも売っていなかったので、暖めるものを探すのに苦労しました。

英語の試験は、英語そのものの試験(TOEIC)と、英語で受ける試験(CCNA Collaboration)と両方受けました。今年はCCNAのほうは落ちちゃいましたが、TOEICのほうは目標の点をクリアしたのでまあよしとしましょう。来年はIELTSあたり受けてみたいものです。

来年も前途多難ですが、また新しい出会いに期待したいものです。それでは良いお年を。

The words of the year 2017

The last day of each year is a good chance to look back on what happened in the year. Each time I wrap up what I did experience for the first time and what impressed me most in the year, I sum them up as a few keywords, and then I post some “words of the year” in this blog.

The words of the year 2001 were getting a flat within the Tokyo metropolitan areaa position change at the office, and Soarer. The word of the year 2002 was America. The words of the year 2003 were the airplane and the musical. The words of the year 2004 were the blogAsian countries (Singapore and Hong Kong), and the GSM mobile phone. The words of the year 2005 were dartsthe GSM and WCDMA mobile phone, and visiting Hong Kong again. The words of the year 2006 were the US stock and the mutual fund. The words of the year 2007 were changing my car and visiting Hawaii. The words of the year 2008 were England and Fukagawa. The words of the year 2009 were office position changeMacBook Pro and JR Seishun 18 Ticket. The words of the year 2010 were Taiwan, Singapore and MalaysiaiPhone and the credit card. The words of the year 2011 were the carthe British culture and China. The words of the year 2012 were Ojithe mahjongthe flight attendant and Facebook. The words of the year 2013 were AyurvedaKoreahigh school alumni and Tsuyoshi Takashiro. The words of the year 2014 were England and Android. The words of the year 2015 were Maine, United States; Estonia and transfer of workplace. The words of the year 2016 were traveling to places in Japanmapping and Jeep.

Considering what I saw this year, I have decided that the words of the year 2017 are: Yurie Omi, NHK, shingles, and English exams.

Yurie Omi is, as I wrote in this entry, an NHK broadcaster, and an idol of me. For me, this year began with her and ended with her. I got to know her for the first time on New Year’s Buratamori, I watched the TV shows where she appeared, I went to Nagoya to see her presentation, and there I talked to her face-to-face.

At the same time, I got to know a wide variety of broadcasters of NHK. I didn’t know NHK broadcasters’ names so far, since I wasn’t interested at all in anything about so-called joshi-ana, or female announcers. All I knew among NHK announcers were Yumiko Udo and Maho Kuwako. This year I got to know Mayuko Wakuda, Keiko Nakamura, Tomoko Kogo, Izumi Tanaka, Aiko Terakado, Naoko Suzuki, Naoko Hashimoto, Sayuri Hori, Risa Hayashida, Nonoka Akaki and more, who hosted or made narrations in various types of NHK programs, from news shows to variety ones. I got to know male broadcasters as well, from a top-notch player like Shin’ichi Taketa to Kozo Takase, Jun’ichi Tosaka, Keita Mochizuki, Yuki Inoue and Masaiku Nomura. I got to know NHK’s human resource development system where rookies start their careers at one of NHK’s local broadcasting stations spreading nationwide and return to the Broadcasting Center in Tokyo after several years’ experiences. Plus, I got to know that, besides broadcasters, NHK has various kinds of options for employees such as correspondents, directors, broadcasting technicians, and more. One of the positions is assigned to the employees upon recruitment, and even if they wish to be a broadcaster when they are hired, they may be appointed as a director, and vice versa.

The third keyword is based on the fact that I was suffered from shingles this summer. I knew some of my friends and acquaintances suffered from shingles, but before I was really suffered from it I didn’t think it would be such a painful disease. Rashes appeared from the right side of my face to the top of my right ear, and my face quickly turned into a grotesque look. Early cure contributed to the distorted face returning to normal in a week or two, but an unbearable pain on the right side of my face followed and lasted for months. The hardest thing was that, though doctor said that I should warm up the suffered part, not cool down, no stores were selling warm canned coffee, warm pads or anything that could warm something up since it was mid-summer.

The last, this year I took English exams, both exams of English itself like TOEIC, and exams written in English such as CCNA Collaboration. This time I failed CCNA Collaboration, but in TOEIC I marked more than my target score. I want to take IELTS or something like that next year.

Probably the next year will be harder, but I’m looking forward to the forthcoming serendipities. Have a happy New Year!

笑福亭里光師匠のこと

落語家の笑福亭里光師匠は中学時代の同級生です。同じクラスのときはけっこう仲良くしていて、同じ部活に入って、同じ日にその部活を一緒に辞めに行った間柄でした。中学時代から落語をやるのが趣味で、学校のイベントなどで高座を設けてもらって一席やったりすることがあって、それがただの趣味の域を超えてけっこう上手かったんですね。

高校以後は別々の進路に進んで、それ以来ほとんど会うこともなかったわけですが、2012年のある日、旅行先のホテルのTVでなんとなく「笑点」を見ていると、たまたま真打披露口上をやってたんです。そのときふと彼のことを思い出し、

(――そういえば落語が趣味やったあいつ、今頃どうしてんのかな。まだ落語続けてんのかな…。ひょっとしたらある日突然こういう場にひょこっと出てきたりして)

とか考えていると、なんと

その日の披露口上の席に彼が出てきたんです!

腰抜かしました。

そのあとネットでいろいろ調べてみたところ、1998年に笑福亭鶴光一門に入門。上方落語ではあるものの、おもに東京を基点に活動する噺家さんで、2002年7月に二ツ目に昇進、そして2012年5月に真打に昇進とのこと。中学時代からあだ名は「師匠」といわれてましたが、真打に上がることで名実ともに「師匠」になったわけです。

ツイッターのアカウントを持っていたようなのでダイレクトメッセージを送ってみたところ、向こうも私のことを覚えていてくれたみたいで、すぐ返信をくれ、それから再び交流がはじまりました。しばらくして、一緒に飲みにいくことになり、25年以上ぶりに会った彼は、中学時代とほとんど変わってなかったです。

それ以来、里光師匠の落語会があるとちょくちょく顔を出したり、二人で飲みに行ったりするようになりました。落語のことはあんまりよくわからないので彼の技倆がどんなものか評価のしようがないのですが、まあそんなことを気にせず近況報告しあえる関係というのがいいもんです。実は昨日の晩も一緒に飲みに行ってました。ちょっと飲みすぎて二日酔いきついですが…。

「同窓会に出ると、周りの同期が一流企業や保険会社で年収1000万やら1500万もらう中で、生活していくのがやっとの自分が情けなくなる」とこぼしていた里光師匠でしたが、自分の好きなことで、自分の力で一本立ちすることのほうがよっぽど素晴らしいと思います。売れれば「有名人」ですしね。有名人と友達になっておけば、それをきっかけにセレブの世界をのぞけたり、いろんな人とつながれたり、もしかしたら人生が変わるようなことがあるかもしれないので、こういうつながりはぜひ大事にしておきたいと思っています。

Shofukutei Riko

Shofukutei Riko (笑福亭里光) is a professional rakugo artist who speaks Kansai-dialect rakugo stories. Rakugo is, as written in Wikipedia, a form of Japanese verbal entertainment where the lone storyteller sits on stage and depicts a long and complicated comical (or sometimes sentimental) story using only a paper fan and a small cloth as props.

He was one of my classmates when we were junior high school students. Besides, he was one of my best friends. In junior high I talked him a lot, played with him a lot, belonged the same club as he did, and resigned from the club together with him on the same day. He sometimes played rakugo on stage in school events. His performance was rising above the level of amateur, so he was called shisho, a title which is used to a professional rakugo storytellers.

After we graduated from junior high, we went to different high school. We didn’t see each other for ages.

One day in 2012 I was staying in a hotel room watching an entertainment program on TV, where several rakugo artists who had just promoted to the shin’uchi rank were on stage and they were giving speeches in turn to show their thankful feelings for the promotion. The program reminded me of the wanted-to-be-a-rakugo-storyteller classmate. I wondered if he still kept up his hobby. Watching TV, I thought he might appear on such an entertainment program someday. To my surprise, he really did it in the very program that day.

According to the information online, after graduating from university he became one of the disciples of Shofukutei Tsuruko (笑福亭鶴光), one of well-known rakugo artists, to start his rakugo career in 1998. He promoted to the futatsume rank in July 2002 and became a shin’uchi in May 2012.

I tried to contact to him. Since he had a Twitter account, I sent a direct message to him. He replied to me soon. We talked a bit on Twitter for a while. Several months later we met face-to-face for the first time in more than 25 years. He had not changed at all since we saw in the junior high.

Now I sometimes go to his stage to listen to his story, and see him offstage. Last night I saw him in Shinjuku and went for a drink with him at an izakaya in the westgate area of Shinjuku. He was fine. We talked a lot. I drank too much and I have hangover this morning, though.

I think that being friends with public figures might help me have a chance to see the celebrity world, and maybe it would even change my life.

アメリカの席次

米国における席次(order of precedence)は以下のとおりです。

  1. 大統領(President of the United States)
  2. 副大統領(Vice President of the United States)
  3. 主催地の知事(Governor)
  4. 連邦議会下院議長(Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives)
  5. 連邦最高裁判所長官(Chief Justice of the United States)
  6. 前・元大統領またはその未亡人(任期の早い順)
  7. 前・元副大統領またはその未亡人(任期の早い順)
  8. 米国大使(Ambassadors from the United States)
  9. 国務長官(Secretary of State)
  10. 駐米大使(Ambassadors to the United States)
  11. 連邦最高裁判所判事(Associate Justices of the Supreme Court)(任命順)
  12. 前・元連邦最高裁判所長官(任命順)
  13. 前・元連邦最高裁判所判事(任命順)

Continue reading “アメリカの席次”

イギリスの席次

イングランド・ウェールズにおける席次(precedence)表は以下のとおりです。

  1. 女王(The Queen)
  2. エディンバラ公(The Duke of Edinburgh)
  3. プリンス・オブ・ウェールズ(The Prince of Wales)
  4. 君主の次男以下の息子
  5. 君主の孫(親の年齢の順)
  6. 君主の従兄弟(親の年齢の順)
  7. カンタベリー大司教(Archbishop of Canterbury)
  8. 大法官(Lord High Chancellor)
  9. ヨーク大司教(Archbishop of York)
  10. 首相(The Prime Minister)
  11. 大蔵卿(Lord High Treasurer)(いれば)
  12. 枢密院議長(Lord President of the Council)
  13. 下院議長(Speaker of the House of Commons)
  14. 貴族院議長(Lord Speaker)
  15. 最高裁判所長官(President of the Supreme Court)
  16. 主席裁判官(Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales)
  17. 王璽尚書(Lord Privy Seal)
  18. 大使(Ambassador)および高等弁務官(High Commissioner)
  19. 式部長官(Lord Great Chamberlain)
  20. 大司馬(Lord High Constable)(いれば)

Continue reading “イギリスの席次”

Going driverless

I used to watch Knight Rider on TV when I was a junior high school student. Knight Rider is an American TV series where a hero, Michael Knight, together with a talking self-driven car, KITT, beats the evil and sometimes has romantic experiences with a heroine of each episode. I thought that such a car was just a pipe dream at that time, but the dream will probably come true in a decade or two.

The development of autonomous cars, or driverless cars, is widespread. Google started testing of the developing autonomous cars on public roads as Nevada state law allowed to do it and issued license plates to them in 2011. Following Google, Audi obtained the road testing license as well from the state government of Nevada in 2013. In the same year, the United Kingdom also permitted road testing of automated cars. In China, Baidu is also planning the similar testing.

Automated driving is categorized into five levels. Level 1 (hands on) means that driver and system shares control over the vehicle, such as adaptive cruise control where the driver controls steering and the system controls speed, and parking assistance where steering is automated and speed is manual. Level 2 means hands off, where the system takes full control of the vehicle, including accelerating, braking and steering, but driver must still keep an eye on the vehicle’s movement in case of unprecedented failures. At level 3 (eyes off), driver can text or watch a movie while the system is driving. At level 4 (mind off), driver may go to sleep or leave the driver’s seat while driving. In a level 5 (steering wheel optional) autonomous car, no human interaction is required for driving.

Some car manufacturers are releasing level 2 or 3 cars to the market. Tesla Motors, one of the leading car manufacturers, released level 2 cars with Tesla Autopilot capability in 2015. Those cars can act automatically on limited-access highways, requiring the full attention of the driver. Mercedes will add automated driving features such as an active brake assist, a steering pilot, a parking pilot, a cross-traffic assist system and braking assist on production cars by 2017. No car manufacturers today succeed in making level 4 or 5 cars.

There are some hurdles to achieve the development of level 4 or higher. Possible software bugs may lead to sudden malfunction and put driver and passengers at risk of a traffic accident. Crackers may hack the system and do some destructive actions. Laws and regulations should be properly arranged by politicians knowing well about autonomous driving system to cope with possible problems it may cause.

In spite of these hurdles, the progress is ongoing step by step. The development of artificial intelligence, or AI, also helps the automated driving system evolve. AI is being wiser and wiser over time. AI being installed in the system will dramatically quicken their pace of evolution. I think some car manufacturers will achieve the development of level 4 cars or higher in a few years. We know the rapid growth of the internet and smartphones. We know that the world was changed to what nobody had even imagined 15 years before. That will be true to automated cars.

In the world where cars are fully automated, traditional cars will be removed from the roads, because such cars that cannot follow the new order of the traffic will be nothing but obstructions. Driving such cars manually will be totally banned. Driving (or letting car drive) will be just a means of moving, not fun.

What should such people who love maneuvers of a traditional, manual-driven car do? Such cars will be parked at dedicated paddocks to play them within a restricted area such as circuits or off-road trails, just as today’s motorsport drivers do. Driving a car will be just one of hobbies like hiking, hunting, yacht sailing, golfing or fishing. The day when you can handle your car anywhere by yourself will be over.

Autonomous cars will change the world a great deal. You will think the change might be strange or uncomfortable, but you will have to adapt to it, since nobody haven’t stopped any changes of the times ever before.