Ishikawa in the News: Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014

In case you missed it, Hokuriku was named as one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions for 2014!

Image by Agustin Rafael C Reyes / Flickr / Getty Images. Via Lonely Planet.

Image by Agustin Rafael C Reyes / Flickr / Getty Images. Via Lonely Planet.

Hokuriku, on Honshū’s west coast, bordered by the Sea of Japan and the magnificent Japan Alps, is saturated with culture, history and striking natural beauty. The city of Kanazawa is king, but is often overlooked by time-poor visitors who favour the more accessible sights to the east. That’s all about to change. In March 2015, the first of the long-anticipated Hokuriku shinkansen (bullet trains) will roll into town, slashing travel times from Tokyo and giving visitor numbers a meteoric boost. Kanazawa is second only to Kyoto for its population of authentic working geisha. Photogenic districts radiate from the site of the former Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s finest gardens. Rent a car and explore the dramatic scenery of the Noto Peninsula, or dissolve yourself in the sumptuous waters and incomparable ryokan of the Kaga Onsen area.

Read more: Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 – top 10 regions

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Sending Nengajō Overseas

If you’re planning to send winter holiday greetings this year, how about sending your friends and family back home a nengajō, a Japanese new year’s card? Nengajō can be purchased anywhere from conbini to department stores, and you can even make your own. If you are planning to send them via international airmail, the Japan Post has some guidelines to ensure that your greetings get to their destination in a timely manner.

The carbon-offset nengajô from Japan Post.

Read on for detailed instructions on writing and addressing the perfect nengajō.

Vote for Ishikawa’s Mascots in the Yuru Character Grand Prix 2011

Thanks to Super Awesome Happy Fun Time with Sean and Alice for the tip-off!

Japan is famous for its cute mascots, which represent everything from blood banks to local attractions. The NTT Town Page (タウンページ協賛) is currently running a contest in which you can vote for your favorite town mascot in the Yuru Character Grand Prix 2011.

Wakatama-kun from the Yuru Character Grand Prix 2011 website.

Ishikawa has six entries:

Kappuchi from Komatsu (Entry #41)

Mon-chan from Monzen (Entry #45)

Wakutama-kun from Wakura Onsen (Entry #66)

Basshon, representing Noto Heirloom Vegetables (Entry #132)

Konmaru-kun from Nanao (Entry #156)

Nyantarou from Kahoku (Entry #250)

Voting is available until 26 November. If you click the big orange button on your preferred mascot’s page, it will open your email client and make that mascot’s number the subject line. Or, email with the number of your favorite mascot as the subject line (e.g. 66). You can vote once a day.

Leah Zoller is a former CIR (2009-11) and now works for The Art of Japan: Kanazawa/Discover Kanazawa. She voted for Wakutama-kun.

Resource: Gourmet Ishikawa

The Ishikawa Prefecture Tourism League seems to be increasing its efforts to court foreign tourists via the creation of  multilingual tourism websites:  Hot-Ishikawa started producing an English-language quarterly tourism e-newsletter (see prior link), through which I found Gourmet Ishikawa, a new multilingual resource for dining in Ishikawa. The site may be viewed in Japanese, English, Korean, or Chinese (traditional or simplified) and has great information on not just restaurants but also Japanese dining etiquette and Ishikawan food culture.

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JET Discontinues JET Calendar, JET Diary

From the June 2011 CLAIR newsletter:

The JET Programme announces the cancellation of the 2012-2013 JET Calendar and JET Diary. We would like to thank current and past participants for the many photos submitted throughout the years. (link)

I’m quite sad to see that both of these items have been cut. My JET planner has saved me on the Tokyo subway more than once, and the crucial information it contained, which included medical terminology, road signs, food labels, and laundry tag information, all within a compact, easy-to-use format, will be sorely missed.

Leah Zoller is a second-year CIR in Anamizu and is the outgoing editor of this blog.

Japan Post Suspends Airmail to Canada Due to Strike

From the Japan Post English site:

Suspension of Acceptance of International Postal Items to Canada

June 16, 2011

Japan Post Service is temporarily suspending acceptance of international postal items to Canada due to a postal strike. This suspension is effective from the date in the table below.
Destination: Canada
Starting date of suspension: June 17, 2011

For postal items already accepted and on the way to Canada, Japan Post Service will return them to the sender. The postage will be refunded to the sender, if desired.

Thank you for your understanding.


Zero Focus (『ゼロの焦点』): Intrigue, Murder, and Mystery in 1950s Ishikawa

Nothing says summer to me like a good mystery or horror film, and what better to kick off summer than one set in Ishikawa?

From the official Toho website.

Zero Focus, or 『ゼロの焦点』, is based on Matsumoto Seichô’s novel of the same name. Directed by Inudô Isshin, the 2009 film is a remake of the 1961 version. In the film, newlywed Uhara Teiko’s husband, a native of Ishikawa, travels to Kanazawa on a business trip and never returns. Teiko then travels to Ishikawa and finds herself caught up in a web of political intrigue.

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Art Round-Up

Ishikawa has some fantastic art exhibitions ending local: local artists at the Ishikawa Nanao Museum, Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the Shiinoki Cultural Complex, and Ch’ing Dynasty glass at the Notojima Glass Art Museum. Catch these three exhibitions before they end on June 26!

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