Column no. 60 - 51
You will see columns in the past; what I noticed about/in Thailand, about
differences between Thailand and Japan and so on.
I'm wondering how long I can continue writing a column... :D
no.60 - Bangkok New Airport
| A lot of people already know this but a new international airport is going
to be born in Thailand. Wow, wow. :D (It will be finished in the next year,
It's located about 25 kilometers away from Bangkok to the east and its name is "Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport"(pronounced su-wan-na-poom). A test landing was held a week ago (29th, Sept.) and the prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was on its flight.
It looks awfully wide because it's said that the size of the area is three times larger than Narita Airport in Japan.
By the way, the name, "Suvarnabhumi", seems to have been named by the present king, Rama IX, and it means "Golden Land".
The current international airport "DonMuang" is very convenient to use because it's close to my wife's family house but the new airport is further and I have mixed feelings because of this. :)
(Personally, with the new airport debut, I'm very glad if the time of immigration checks is shorten.)
no.59 - Tobacco is going away ?
| In Thailand, shops has been prohibited to display tobacco except for Duty-free shops in the international airport since yesterday
(24 Sept, 2005). If you did, you would be fined 200,000 Baht. Be careful
(Only you can do is to show a paper saying you sell tobacco in the shop.)
Thailand has been promoting tobacco control, and some of their measures are, prohibition of ads of tobacco or vendor machines, limitation of the place for smoking and (I don't know the result but) trying to control the scenes of smoking on TV or in movies.
According to a report, eighty percent of smokers started smoking under twenty years old and because of this, it seems like the government are eagerly trying to cut back on the number of young smokers. They also started the warning display about smoking to show it can be the cause of lung cancer.
Places for smokers are getting smaller and smaller (for me also). :D
no.58 - Dog
| I have a dog. My wife's family also has a dog in Thailand. Both dogs are named "Lucky" :D
By the way, when you go to Thailand, you must notice that dogs are here and there. When you go to a restaurant, some dogs are walking around in there, when you walk in a city, dogs are also walking, and when you go to a beach, dogs come one by one and gather while you don't notice that especially around sunset when it gets cooler.
In Japan, when you go out with your dog, you have to put a lead on your dog but I don't think I've never seen dogs with a lead on in Thailand.
Anyway, I guess that's because it's very warm in Thailand but more than that, I feel like dogs blend in with the lives of people there.
How about other countries in Asia ? :)
no.57 - Phuket after that
| Eight months has passed since the Tsunami Disaster. Thailand got a huge damage but it looks like it has been already restored.
I've ever been to Phuket once but not yet after the tsunami incident. I hope I have a chance to visit there again in the near future.
(When I went there last time, the bus from our hotel to the airport sped and sped to make the flight schedule. It made it but I never forget how thrilling and scary it was.)
If you are interested in the Tsunami Disaster in Thailand, check the page below:
no.56 - Thai Language Proficiency Exam
| Do you know "Thai Language Proficiency Exam" ?
This story is in Japan but there is a "Association For Thai Language Certification, Japan" and they have proficiency exams of Thai Language twice a year, in spring and in autumn.
From their homepage (only in Japanese), there are 5 grades (The top level is the first grade and the lowest is the 5th) and the test is held in Bangkok in Thailand, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in Japan.
You can check the samples of the exam on the page: 5th grade has Japanese katakana and Roman Alphabets for reading and writing tests of Thai language and has a listening test. 4th grade is the same level as 5th grade but you can only use Thai characters.
The applications have to be sent between October 31 and August 29.
Should I try that ? :D (At first, 5th grade !)
no.55 - Sunflower
| Speaking of summer flowers, some of you maybe imagine morning glories
but I'll visualize the scene of big and conspicuous sunflowers.
In Thailand, they also have sunflowers. It's a very warm country like in summer all year round but it doesn't mean you can see sunflowers throughout the year. They bloom from October to January (it's in winter in Thailand). In Japan, they bloom in summer. It's opposite to each other, right ? (I guess Thailand is too much warm for sunflowers. :D )
The area famous for sunflowers is Lopburi. It's located 150 kilometers to the north from Bangkok and it has vast sunflower field called "Tung Tarntawan". I hope I can visit there someday. It must be wonderful. :)
no.54 - Fireworks and Thai dress
| It's now at midsummer and that means the season in which spectacular fireworks displays filling the sky can
be seen in a lot of places has come in Japan.
However, in Thailand, such fireworks are not so often, only on special days such as a big event like the birthday of the King and not every year. (I don't know these years, though.)
By the way, speaking of fireworks, especially young women wear Yukata, Japanese traditional clothes, a kind of Kimono and go see fireworks with friends. People in Thailand also have their traditional clothes (Thai dress) but looks like they wear it only on special days such as a wedding ceremony. I wonder that's because it's too much warm outside to wear... ?
(I like Thai traditional dresses very much and I bet it's wonderful for them to have more opportunities to wear it. :) )
no.53 - Tom Yam and O-Bento
| Speaking of "Tom Yam", "Tom Yam Kung" will come first.
It's a worldwide famous soup with prawns/shrimps of Thailand.
The soup has lemon grass, bai makrud (leave of Kaffir Lime), Kah (a kind of herb, white and sliced) in, and as you maybe know, they are for seasoning and flavor. I once tried to eat these ingredients but they tasted bitter ! I guess they are not for eating. :D
I was wondering why they were in even though they were not for eating, but come to think of O-Bento, boxed lunch sold in convenient stores in Japan, they are more than that. You know, they have green bamboo leave made of plastic in. Apparently, you can not eat it. In a sense, O-Bento in Japan is great ?!? :D
no.52 - National Anthem
| The National anthem of Thailand, "Phleng Chaat" (Phleng; song, Chaat: country)
In Thailand, you will hear the song at 8 o'clock in the morning and at 6 in the afternoon on the streets, TV or radio every day. When the song starts, stand still until it finishes. It's okay to do the same as people do around you. :)
In Bangkok, I feel like I've not heard the song on the streets (because it's a busy city ?) but in Chiangmai, north of Thailand, when I was in a market in the evening, the song started before I knew and everything stopped around me at the moment. (Until then, people were very active but their motions stopped all at once.) It was a sudden event and I got butterflies in my stomach. :D
no.51 - Birthday
| Talking of birthday, putting aside how old you are, don't you expect a
gift ? :D
In Thailand, people celebrate his/her birthday with friends or colleagues as in Japan, but the difference is, not friends but the person who reaches birthday will buy something to eat such as cookies by him/herself and celebrate birthday sharing it. (Not all people do like this, though.)
By the way, 60th birthday is called "Saeyid" in Thailand and they celebrate it with family and relatives. ("Kanreki" in Japanese, end of the traditional sexagenary cycle).
After this, some celebrate on a ten-year cycle like 70th and 80th birthdays, and some celebrate on a twelve-year cycle such as 72nd and 84th birthdays. Each of the birthdays is also called "Saeyid".