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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Boom! Hanabi Season Is Upon Us!

Summer in Japan just wouldn`t be complete without hanabi-taikai (firework shows)!

I recently got hold of this year`s lineup of events, so here you go! 🙂

The Hokkoku Hanabi 2012:

  • 20/7: Suzu-shi, Iida Port, 8pm start
  • 22/7: Nanao-shi, Fuchuu Town pier, 8:30pm start
  • 22/7: Anamizu Town, Anamizu Harbour, 9:30pm start
  • 26/7: Komatsu City, around the cemetary, 8:10pm start
  • 28/7: Kanazawa City, Saigawa River, 7:45pm start
  • 28/7: Uchinada Town, Community Ground area, 9pm start
  • 29/7: Shika Town, Michi-no-Eki Korogaki-no-sato shika area, 8:40pm
  • 4/8: Kawakita Town, Tedorigawa dry riverbed, 8:10pm start
  • 12/8: Hakusan City, Deaimachi, 8:30pm start
  • 14/8: Nanao City, Sazaanami Town Fishing Harbour, 8:30pm start
  • 21/8: Kaga City, Katayamazu Onsen Shibayamagata Lake, 9pm start
  • 28/8: Kaga City, Iburibashi, 9pm start
  • 8/9: Kaga City, Daishouji, Kaga Taiikukan area, 9pm start
  • 16/9: Kanazawa City, Ougidai, 8:30pm start

Enjoy! 😀

Hokuriku the happiest region in Japan, study finds

The three Hokuriku prefectures took the top three spots in a study by Hosei University in Tokyo trying to pinpoint the happiest prefectures.

Fukui came in first place followed by Toyama and Ishikawa coming in second and third respectively. The study used 40 socioeconomic indicators such as crime rate and welfare services to determine a numerical “happiness scale” which was measured in all the prefectures. One of the things that propelled Fukui to the top spot was its low crime and accident rate as well as an excellent preschool system.

So what’s the unhappiest prefecture in Japan? Osaka! The study cited Osaka’s high crime rate as a main reason it ranked so low on the list. So what do you think Ishikawa dwellers? Are we living in one of the happiest places in Japan?

Read the article (Japanese only)

Master Cooking in Japan with The Ishikawa JET Kitchen

NOTE: As of October 2013, the Ishikawa JET Kitchen Cookbook is temporarily unavailable.  Sorry for the inconvenience!


Are all the new foods you’re finding at the supermarket a bit overwhelming? Have you been wracking your brain trying to convert your favorite chocolate chip recipe to your metric measuring cups? Are you sick of not knowing which flour you need for what kind of cooking?

Cooking in Japan can be a challenge, but now it just got a little bit easier with The Ishikawa JET Kitchen, an interactive digital cookbook from Ishikawa AJET. This cookbook is the brainchild of former Anamizu CIR Leah Zoller. With the help of a dedicated group of recipe contributors and testers, the penultimate cookbook that every JET should own. Whether you’re new to cooking, or a culinary whiz you will benefit from the wide range of traditional Japanese and homegrown recipes from Ishikawa JETs around the world.

Recipes for people with dietary restrictions have been tagged for easy searching – so whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, or keep gluten-free you can find what recipe will work for you in no time.

For only ¥1000 you can get over your fear of the supermarket and use your kitchen like a pro. All proceeds from The Ishikawa JET Kitchen will go to Second Harvest charity. If you like the cookbook, make sure to tell your friends, family and coworkers!

To get the Cookbook, please transfer your payment of ¥1000 to the Ishikawa AJET account:
Bank name 北國銀行(ほっこくぎんこう)
Branch name 宇野気支店(うのけしてん)
Acct number 381962
Acct name エージェットイシカワシブ
Please send an email with the subject line “Cookbook Payment” to ishikawaajet[at] with your name as it appears on your bank book. We’ll email your copy of the cookbook once payment is confirmed.

Please not that a direct “buy now” option is no longer available.

Last Day For Analog Broadcast In Japan

Well, July 31, 2011 has finally arrived. The scrolling text at the bottom of my analog TV will disappear and tomorrow, if you haven’t made the switch to digital, you will be TV-less. So here’s some tips for those JETs (like me) who waited until the last minute to make the change.

Talk to your Contracting Organization before buying a new TV.
Before you junk your analog TV, you need to talk to your CO as they may be the one who actually owns your TV. If your CO does own your TV, you can’t throw it away without their permission. If your TV is in fact owned by your school or board of education, they may be obligated to buy you a new one, or a digital tuner so you can watch your current TV. If they promise to buy you a new one, keep politely reminding them of that fact until they do.

My TV is owned by my CO, but they won’t buy me a new one.

It doesn’t surprise me that in a time of economic stress in Japan, some COs will simply say “I’m sorry, but we can’t buy you a new TV right now.” It sucks, but it can’t be helped. If that’s the case, you can either purchase your own tuner or buy a new digital TV. However, you cannot throw away or sell a TV that is owned by your board of education, without permission. If you have to purchase a new TV, return your old TV to your contracting organization and have them dispose of it, or get the OK from your supervisor (in writing so you have proof) to throw it away.

My TV isn’t owned by my Contracting Organization.

Fantastic! Do whatever you want. I hear Second Street has great deals on TVs and Yamada Denki has some digital tuners available.

Where can I buy a digital tuner?

Any major electronics store will sell digital tuners. They cost about ¥10,000.

Where can I throw away my old TV?

As TVs are electronics, you can’t just put them out in the trash when you feel like, you’ll have to wait for a certain day for them to be collected and, depending on your town, will have to pay for it to be picked up. If you’re unsure, ask your supervisor or a neighbor for help figuring out your area’s next electronics pick-up day.

Free garbage collections (無料回収, muryou kaishuu) are also fairly common. If you see a vacant lot with the 無料回収 sign, you can throw your TV away there at no charge. If you have one near you, don’t wait to throw your TV away because they only stay at certain areas for a short amount of time. These garbage collections also collect other hard-to-throw-away items including other electronics, large furniture and tires. If your predecessor left you a lot of garbage, these collections are the cheapest way to get rid of everything.

Melanie is a 3rd-year ALT who is still waiting for that new TV her BOE promised her 2 months ago.

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.

How to Donate Goods in Ishikawa

Many thanks to our crack team of JETs who have been working tirelessly to get this information out: Julia Caffrey, ALT; Sophie Bocklandt, CIR; Megan Lam, AJET Charity Rep & ALT; and Bill Smith, PA. 誠にありがとうございます!

Below is a list of locations accepting donations of goods; includes restrictions and maps.
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National AJET: How to Help

Reposted from the National AJET Site:

AJET Relief and Donations
AJET would like to announce that we will be collecting money to specifically address JET needs in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. We also encourage donations to relief efforts directed at the community at large (JEN:; Peace Winds Japan:; or Good Neigbours:, however the AJET Relief Fund will provide donations directly to JETs in affected areas, with advice from Prefectural Advisors in prefectures such as Akita, Chiba, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Iwate and Miyagi to ensure that this money is used in the most efficient way possible.

As the relief effort is still in its early stages, the needs of affected JETs have not yet been fully assessed. National AJET expects to address some of these needs as they arise; shelter, food and water will be top priorities. The AJET Relief fund will also be used to help JETs rebuild their lives after the immediate danger has passed. For updates or questions about the distribution of AJET Relief funds, make sure to e-mail

To donate to the AJET Relief Fund:
Visit your local bank to make a bank transfer (furikomi).
Bank: Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行)
Account: 1933601
Account name: “AJET Relief.” (AJETリリーフ)

(If you have never made a furikomi transfer before, please see more complete instructions at the end).

Presently, the AJET Relief Fund is only accepting monetary donations. Information on volunteering during your spring break, as well as organisations to contact, will be announced shortly.

AJET would like to encourage JETs in affected areas to consult the Couch Surfing website for their accommodation needs at present. If no suitable accommodation is available, please contact your National AJET Representative.

Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Akita: (Claire Gittens)

Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Niigata: (Brianna Harris)

Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Nagano: (Denise Schlickbernd)

Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Shizuoka: (Erica Nakanishi-Stanis)

Detailed furikomi instructions:
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