Recycle Your Used Clothes at Uniqlo

Leaving Japan? Moving to a new city? Just have too many clothes?

Recycle your Uniqlo clothes at Uniqlo! Gently used clothes will be donated to charity; clothes that can no longer be worn will be recycled into fabric.

Clothing must be Uniqlo brand.
Clothing must not be stained or soiled. Wash before donating.
Clothing must be brought to a Uniqlo store; it cannot be posted by mail.

For more information on the process and the initiative, see the English website or the Japanese website.

To find the closest Uniqlo to you, click here. (Japanese only)
(In Ishikawa, there are 2 stores in Kanazawa, one in Nonoichi, one in Komatsu, and one in Nanao.)
Thanks to Dipika for the tip-off!

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. She has 4.5 words for you: free on-site hemming services.

Kutaniyaki Porcelain Festival

Area Leader, Andrew Stewart-Wynne sent out this invitation to all the JETs in Ishikawa! Please contact him if you’d like to join the group he is organizing in Nomi, near his home, on May 3rd (during Golden Week).
An event local to my neck of the woods is approaching and I wanted to extend a warm welcome to anyone who may be interested in visiting it. It is the Kutaniyaki Porcelain Festival running from the 3rd to 5th of May (Yes! Mon – Wed during Golden Week!). This invitation is open to all JETs near and far, but particularly to those in the south bloc (or Nomi/Hakusan/Kaga) because it is in your local! Support local – yay!

Kutani Chawan Matsuri

Bargains! Oooh, the bargains!

A festival which began in the Meiji Period, it is one of the big events in Nomi.  Porcelain and pottery makers gather from afar, and bargains are a plenty for those keen to get their hands on some fine earthenware! There is something available for everyones budget ranging from 100 yen to 1 million yen. A variety of stage events run throughout the day (including my school’s school band performance!) and a variety of food stalls and other tents attract folk from near and far. I realise it is smack bang in the middle of GW, but if you are not travelling the countryside and either are a big porcelain fan or would just like to check it out feel free to join us!
Date : Monday 3rd May
Time : 11:00 ~ until you’ve had enough!
Where to meet: Terai Train Station
Cost : Entry is free! You just need bus/train fare and spending money.
Anyone interested in coming along please contact me Andrew, at stewart underscore wynne at yahoo dot co dot jp,  or if you’d like more info for another day. Below are a few links:
Festival Info (English)
Festival Info (Japanese only)
Festival Info (Japanese only)
Maps/Access (Japanese only)

Bilingual Manga: ダーリンは外国人 in English (My Darling is a Foreigner)

The premiere of the film  My Darling is a Foreigner (『ダーリンは外国人 』 daarin wa gaikokujin)) was last weekend (10-11 April); the film is currently playing at Forus in Kanazawa and other local theaters.


I haven’t seen the film yet, but I absolutely adore the original manga by Oguri Saori (小栗佐多里). I read the first volume in Japanese at Middlebury Summer Japanese School and was instantly hooked. I really wanted to share it with my spouse, who doesn’t speak or read Japanese, but even though Oguri’s American husband Tony Lazlo (the titular “darling”) had translated it into English, the bilingual version had been out of print for years.

Thanks to the popularity of the film, however, the bilingual version is back in print, at least in Japan. The title is ダーリンは外国人 in English. I bought a copy at Beans on the Kenchou Road (Route 60), but it’s also available on, and, I imagine, other large booksellers promoting the film. (Look for it near the My Darling is a Foreigner film/manga displays on the first floor of Beans.)

Lazlo’s translation isn’t always literal, but it does capture the feel of Oguri’s original language. The manga, which also has three additional volumes in Japanese, is episodic, with some episodes dealing with Tony and Saori’s cultural differences, like Saori’s desire to have an American pet name like “honey,” and some dealing with their personalities, like Tony’s passion for language study. (「グラスの心」,or “Heart of Glass” is one of my favorite chapters in the first volume, but no spoilers!)

Whether you’re just starting to learn Japanese, interested in translation theory, or want an enjoyable read in either language, ダーリンは外国人 My Darling is a Foreigner is a great way to practice your Japanese and learn about Japanese culture.

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu, and her darling is also a “foreigner” from the mythical land of Gaikoku.

Kanazawa Forus gets LUSH

by guest writer Emily Hutchinson, ALT, Kanazawa

Let’s face it, living and working abroad can be stressful at times. I think we’ve all had those days where we just want to come home to a warm bath and crash early. It is for this reason that I was so excited to hear that a new LUSH store was opening right here in Kanazawa.

Founded in the U.K., Lush is a company famous for its fresh, handmade, organic bath and body products. They are committed to quality and put a friendly face on their products – literally. If you turn over a bottle or tub of their products, you will see a sticker with a picture of the person who manufactured and the date it was made.

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Lupicia Tea

There is a tea shop called Lupicia that recently opened in the basement of Forus.  It is a great, small shop that specializes in nearly every kind of tea imaginable and offers them up at reasonable prices.  For those of you living in or around Kanazawa, it is definitely worth stopping by, especially since it is conveniently located in Forus.  At the store they have several dozen teas available to see and sniff to help you decide which ones are right for you.  Prices vary from 500yen-3000yen for a 50g tin (10% discount for a bag).  Also, for those of us who can’t regularly make it to Kanazawa, Lupicia has a website where you can view their catalog and print out an order form to have tea delivered.


The Foreign Buyers’ Club

A few weeks ago, I was asked what I liked to eat for breakfast. I replied that I often eat oatmeal and got blank stares from all the Japanese people in the room. Oatmeal, or hot cereal, isn’t popular in Japan, and, in my town, you can only buy “baking oatmeal.” My treasured bag of oatmeal came from the FBC, or the Foreign Buyers’ Club.

Oats from the FBC

Oats from the FBC

The Foreign Buyers’ Club is a dual-part website where you can buy goods from home.

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Notojima Te-Matsuri (Handicraft Fair)

Come check out the handmade-craft fair at Notojima on 17-18 October!

Artists of all media and genres will feature their work at 16 craft booths. Crafts will include pottery, woodwork, glassware, dyed fabrics, illustrations, cloth goods, and leather goods.

There will be twelve food booths and musical performances both days, as well as kayaking on the 17th.

This is a great little festival to attend, especially if you’re looking for some handmade omiyage or gifts for people back home. There was a massage booth (2000 yen for 30 minutes), several amazing woodwork booths, beautiful glassware and pottery, and jewelry made of sea glass from the Sea of Japan. The location is about five minutes from the Notojima Aquarium and ten minutes from the Notojima Glass Museum by car, so why not make a day of it in Notojima?

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and enjoys finding and attending semi-obscure festivals.

Links: Japanese only
Hot Ishikawa

Te-Matsuri Site

Lawn ground of We Land, Notojima
17-18 October 2009 (Sat/Sun)

By car:
Take the Noto Yuuryou. From Uwanadaya IC, take the 46 toward Wakura Onsen. At the 47, cross the Notojima Bridge and make a right turn at the 4th stop light. Turn left at the Noto Aquarium.

From the Noto, you can just follow the signs to Notojima and then toward the We Land Campground. There are plenty of bilingual signs, and I had no problem getting there without a map.You’ll enter the first gate for the Aquarium, but you’ll turn at the We Land sign before you get to there. Free parking.

Also, you can input the address into google maps.

Public Transportation:
Take the JR Nanao Line and get off at Wakura Onsen. Take Notojima local bus. Get off at 能登島臨海公園 (Notojima Rinkai Kouen [Coastal Park]). Walk for 15 min to We Land.
Buses departing from Wakura Onsen:
7:43, 9:38, 10:48, 12:18, 14:28, 16:33, 17:28, 19:19
Takes 30 min.

Kanazawa International Festival

Photo: OsvaldoROVE

Every year Kanazawa puts on a small International Festival downtown.  It’s a fun event with lots of food, shopping, and performances put on by local foreigners!  Last year I stopped by and watched some really nice dance performances.  It’s a great way to see some non-Japanese culture and remind yourself of how awesome your culture can look when viewed from another angle.

If you’ve never been before (and even if you have) you should stop on by!  It’s going on all this weekend (Oct 3rd and 4th) from 10am-4pm both days.

Kutaniyaki Festival (May 3-5)

Like Kutani porcelin but can’t afford to buy it at normal prices?  Head down to Terai for a price-down festival!

May 3rd-5th (3 days)
Location:  Sunroad Terai, YO-47 Terai-machi, Nomi-shi, 923-1121
TEL: 0761-57-3511
Open Hours: 8:30 – 20:30 (until 18:00 on May 5th)
Access: Take the Hokutetsu Bus bound for “Terai
Chosha-mae” from the JR Kanazawa Station and get off at the last stop; Or take the bus from JR Komatsu Station and get off at “Kaijo-mae” Bus Stop.

This Festival is held every year as a memorial to the founders of Kutaniyaki: Kutani Shoza and Dokai Saida. It first started in the Meiji Period where about 70 manufacturers of Kutaniyaki Porcelain joined their shops together for the Festival, and since the beginning of Showa Period, the Festival became more and more famous and popular for having clearance sales and bargains on many Kutaniyaki Porcelains. Nowadays more than 300,000 porcelain and pottery fans will come every year from all over Japan to attend the Festival, and during this time the town will be filled with excitement and  joy. The tents and stalls are all packed with many porcelains and potteries; you can get great deals on any items from ¥100 accessories to ¥1,000,000 huge Japanese pots.

~From (Japanese homepage)

Sometimes you feel like a (health) nut

Too many plates of curry rice and katsu left you feeling a little icky and/or like a deep fried hunk of goo?

*nodding my own head*

Alright, then why not head down to Nonoichi’s one and only Noppokun for a dose of the best tasting health food this side of the Mississippi? Why not indeed.

Noppokun is an organic grocery and fair trade store with a cozy cafe upstairs that serves yummy doses of goodness. After you browse through the real samples of dishes on display, grab one of the small baskets and place the colored balls in front of said samples in your basket. Rice, soup, and dessert are tiny cards (rice comes with free second helpings!). Choose your drink from the menu at the register, hand over your basket, give the nice lady your money, and then have a look around at all the cool fair trade stuff while waiting for your food which will look something like this:

Yummy goodness

Here we have some kind of potato salad, a veggie burger, greens, and the best brown rice ever (really). This is the kind of food that will remind you of what real food tastes like. Slow down and savor it.


To get to Noppokun from Kanazawa, take the 40, 41, or Terai Public Office bus from Kanazawa station. Get off at 野々市中央 (Nonoichishi-chuuou), the stop in front of V10. (Edited to add: V10 is a gym/health club. It’s big and grey.) Turn right on the corner where V10 is and walk down about two blocks where you’ll see a strip of two story shops on the right. Noppokun is about 5 shops down. By car, take the 157 and turn left at the V10 corner. There’s parking available behind Noppokun by the library.

Hours: Cafe: 10:00-19:00; lunch: 11:30-14:30

Closed Mondays.

921-8815 石川県石川郡野々市町本町2-1-24

921-8815 Ishikawa-ken Ishikawa-gun Nonoichi-machi Honmachi 2-1-24