August 14th & 15th V-J Day

Today marks the final end of World War 2 as Japan sends a cable to the United States that it surrendered. It was released to the news the next day, August 15th, and the official end came on September 2nd in Tokyo Bay as the surrender papers were signed. As nearly a decade of war, finally came to an end, or sort of anyway, there was the occupation which lasted another 10 years, or more. No matter how you feel about the way the war ended, at least it ended. VJ stands for Victory over Japan.

How to celebrate – Honor those who gave all to end the war. Read about World War 2. Visit Japan.

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April 29th Greenery Day

Today is not really a world wide holiday, but maybe it should be. It has a mixed message since it was created in 1989 to celebrate the birth of Emperor Hirohito in Japan. I am not exactly sure what Hirohito has to do with greenery, guess I need to look that up, but it is a day we can all go out and enjoy mother nature who seems to have a favorite color of green. Now that winter is long behind us (Hopefully) we can actually go out and enjoy the green no mater what country we come from. Nature, after-all, provides more beauty than any other natural thing in life. If this is Hirohito’s birthday celebration then we can celebrate his birthday as well… though with his reign, Japan created some of the ugliest scenes imaginable during World War 2. Hirohito did surround himself with beautiful, lush gardens… perhaps never knowing the ugly world his Generals created in his name.

How to celebrate – Get out into nature. Visit Japan. Help save a rain forest.

December 7th Pearl Harbor Day

Today was a dark day in American history. It marks the day Japan attacked Hawaii, nearly destroying our Pacific fleet. 2,400 servicemen and 68 civilians died today, in 1941. It isn’t the worst tragedy in America’s history but it was one of the most consequential, it started America’s active participation in World War 2.

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Caught totally off guard, 5 of the 8 battleships in the port were sunk, nearly every ship was damaged, the only saving grace was that America’s aircraft carriers were out at sea at the time. The funny thing about it is, the Japanese knew even with the blow to the American fleet, they could not win the war.

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As Admiral Yamamoto said, “We have awoken a sleeping giant”. He was right. American’s built more fleets, more planes and ended not only war in the Pacific but the war in Europe too. It was “… a day that will live in infamy” by those who died… and those who lived.

How to celebrate – Remember Pearl Harbor. Read about the causes of World War 2. Realize no one is innocent in war.

July 17th World Emoji Day

We all use them, some of us more than others, but they are there so… why not? The Emoji. You know, I’m not even sure where the name came from and though it’s probably important, I don’t care either!

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There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Emojis. There are supposed to be Emojis for every human emotion and feeling ever felt! And every day there seems to be another one or two of them, which means our emotions must be growing!

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They were first created in Japan during the 1990’s, mostly for cell phone use. They are based on Harvey Ball’s smiley face created in 1963 and placed on t-shirts. (No, sorry, for those that thought it was Forrest  Gump.) Jeremy Burge invented the Emojipedia in 2013 and World Emoji Day in 2014.

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They have become almost as real as people themselves. (Many are much cuter than we are) If you have ever had a friend that sends you emails or text messages that always include Emojis and then suddenly you get one with out and Emoji you wonder what is wrong.

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There may even become a day when all we use are Emojis for communication. Why use words when you can use pictures!?! After all, isn’t that what cave man did so long ago?

How to celebrate – Use an Emoji. Create your own Emoji. Become cave man (Or is that cave person?).

April 25th National East Meets West Day

There has always been a difference in culture between the East and the West. Look at Japan and Canada, Russia and America, Indian and Mexico. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other or that one is right and one is wrong, it just means… well… there is the east and there is the west!

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If you go far enough east you will eventually end up in the west and vise-versa. There are football games and other sporting events that tries to prove which is better but in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Take a football game many of the players that play for a western team came from the east, and many playing in the east came from the west.

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During World War 2 a big drive was for the Americans to meet up with the Russian to end the war. the Russians were considered the Eastern troops, the Americans the Western. In fact when the two sides decided they could not get along they separated Germany into East Germany and West Germany.

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Even in America the life styles were different. The above photo is of an 1800’s street in Philadelphia. Well established by the mid 1800’s, Philadelphia became a point of culture and refinement. It had been around longer, gone through more was a permanent fixture.

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An old west town of the same era was a little cruder and contained a not so refined culture and citizens. The buildings were smaller and less secure because frankly, the owners didn’t know if they were going to stay there or not. One was not better than the other, they just served different needs and purposes.

How to celebrate – Try and determine where east meets west where you live. If you live in the East take a trip West. If you live in the West take a trip East. (Note what difference you see, and don;t see, on your trip)

April 29th Greenery Day

Greenery Day is based upon Emperor Hirohito birthday, April 29th, although apparently it is most often celebrated on May 4th in Japan. It was established in 1989 after Emperor Showa (The line of Emperors, same guy) died on Jan.7th. So I’m a little confused about his holiday, it came after his death, may or may not be on April 29th his birthday, and he has two names.

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Hirohito was Emperor during World War 2. From what I have read he was basically opposed to the war but as the leader of the Japanese people he was not really able to prevent it. Huh? However they could not end the war without his permission, which he gave after two atomic bombs had been dropped, his navy destroyed and his people suffering beyond belief.

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So why do they celebrate it as Greenery Day? I have absolutely no idea other than beautiful gardens have always been a part of the Japanese culture. They are certainly green and I am sure that while the rest of his country was burning, he had beautiful gardens to walk through.

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Now I am not blaming him for the war, and I am not denying that Japan does have some of the most beautiful gardens anywhere. The two things together are a bit odd though. However I do have to admit I am not all that versed in Hirohito’s life so maybe greenery was a huge part of his life.

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I do know this… if more of the world was green maybe we all would be calmer, gentler people. It’s hard to be violent when surrounded by natures natural beauty.

How to celebrate – Enjoy your own garden, or your neighbors today. (Just don’t get caught tromping through your neighbors garden.) Plant something today. Go for a walk in a forest.

December 7th Pearl Harbor Day

December 7th will forever be remembered for Japan’s undeclared attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Though America knew something was coming they did not know when or where it would start. A delay in typing the declaration of war kept the Japanese officials in America from reaching the state department before the attack was launched. The day after the attack the US declared war on both Japan and Germany.

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The attack came on a Sunday morning, 7:55 when a lone dive bomber hit the ships docked in the harbor. No one was on alert to protect them even though radar had picked up the planes coming in. 360 dive bombers and torpedo planes came after the first strike, crippling or sinking 5 battleships, 3 destroyer and 7 other surface ships while killing 2,400 soldiers and civilians costing the Japanese 30 planes, less than 100 men and 5 mini-subs. 1,200 were left wounded, many never to return to a normal life. Fortunately for the Americans, the fleets 3 carriers were at sea and did not get caught in the harbor.

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Japan had begun colonizing different countries in Asia and as a result, formed an alliance with Germany and when America denied them oil, they struck out ensuring the resources they needed to continue spread their influence over the Far East. The hit on Pearl Harbor was designed to keep the Americans from interfering in Japans plans. They were wrong, and many in Japan knew they would awaken a sleeping giant.

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Over the next 4 years America would bring Japan to it’s knees, eventually ending the war with the Atomic bomb, starting an entirely different kind of war that would last for years to come. Pearl Harbor became a rally call similar to “Remember the Alamo” probably igniting patriotism in the US more than any other action could have done.

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How to celebrate – Remember those who gave their all at Pearl Harbor. Visit one of the memorials to the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Watch one of the many movies made about the attack on Pearl Harbor.