Shinkansen Day! (Oh, and White Day I guess)

Well, it’s nearly that time. Two days to go! I mean we’ve been waiting for so long and finally, finally it’s here. No, I’m actually not talking about the Shinkansen, although obviously I’m PSYCHED (how could I not be, with the countdown boards and the complementary ice cream cakes at lunch and announcements and so much okay seriously guys calm down.) It’s White Day! What’s that, you say? You know all about it already? Well, I didn’t when I first came to Japan, so today I’m doing a holiday intro because it’s still really interesting. I`m sure you`ve heard of Valentine`s Day, regardless of how you may feel about it, and maybe you`re savvy enough about Japan to have heard of White Day as well. If you`re a first year like me, however, you may not of have come across White Day before, nor the customs surrounding it, so here’s the low down. Continue reading


Uchinada World Kite Festival May 3-4

Courtesy of Drachenman

Finally, an excuse to bring your flip-flops out of hiding! If you’re sticking around Ishikawa this Golden Week come on out to Uchinada Beach, just 15 minutes from KZ station, on May 3rd and 4th (Thursday and Friday) for this exciting daytime event.

The Uchinada World Kite Festival is in it’s 23rd year (last year was cancelled due to tsunami concerns), and it is the first event to re-open the Uchinada Beach area after winter – lots of fun, food, and sun to be had! If you’ve not been to this festival yet, I recommend it. The kites themselves are enormous! They seem more the size of a hot-air balloon than a kite and the people that fly them come from all over the world. The stunt kite competition is also very impressive, with teams of up to eight pilots flying their kites within inches of each other and performing all manner of figures and formations in the air while somehow narrowly averting disaster.

There will be cheap Japanese kites for sale, festival attendees are encouraged to try their hand at flying their own tako!

Read on for schedule and transportation info:

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IFIE Mini International Movie Festival

IFIE is having its first ‘mini international movie festival’ on 2nd & 3rd of July. Here are the details:

What: Bollywood (India) Movie “Monsoon Wedding” & Korean Movie “King & the Clown” (王の男)

When: Monsoon Wedding on 2nd July 13:00 – 16:00  /  King & the Clown on 3rd July 13:00 – 16:00

Where: Rifare, 4th Floor (Room ABC)

How much: FREE!

What else: Enjoy some Indian & Korean snacks after the movies.

You need to make a separate reservation for each day.  For more info email: joho AT ifie DOT or DOT jp, or click to see the flyer here: IFIE Mini Film Fest

See you movie buffs on 2nd/3rd!!

Noto Abare Matsuri 暴れ祭り (Fire and Violence Festival)

Yes, yes, yes, summer festival season is here! This guest post was written last year by Ginny Middleton, a second-year ALT working in the Noto. This festival is one of Noto’s most famous, so if you aren’t taking the July 2011 JLPT (or even if you are), plan to attend!

Noto Abare Matsuri 暴れ祭り(Fire and Violence Festival)

Arguably the best festival in the Noto, Abare Matsuri (the Fire and Violence Festival) will take place from 9 am on the first Friday and Saturday in July every year (1st and 2nd July 2011  same weekend as the JLPT)although most of the best parts are after dark. The festival is held in the rural town of Ushitsu 宇出津 in the northern Noto peninsula and has been running for 350 years!
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International Exchange Party at IFIE

This information comes to us from Ishikawa CIR Rohan:

Kanazawa IFIE International Salaon

Hello everyone,

IFIE is organizing its first International Exchange Party ‘Salon de Talk’ of 2011 on 1st of July. This time we’ve decided to make it a 2-in-1 affair. You’re welcome to wear a traditional ethnic costume…I’ll probably try and look Indian…for a change!

Please see the attached poster for details. Let me know if you’re interested in participating (rohanranade AT ifie DOT or DOT jp)…but please HURRY, since there only 30 slots available for foreigners.

Have a great week!

Ishikawa Art Journal: Call for Submissions!

This guest post is from Creighton Hofeditz, ALT:

Hi everyone,

Over my two years in Ishikawa, I have continually been impressed at the secret reserves of creativity and artistry present in the JET and larger expat community.  Whether from a professional or an amateur background, the level of art I’ve seen from different sources is pretty astounding, and it’s been cool to see the degree to which that artistry has reflected the experience of living in Japan.

Inspired by the tsunami fundraising ideas of a couple other people in the local and national community, I would like to announce that I’m opening submissions for an Ishikawa Art Journal (working title).  The idea is to produce a collection of poems, drawings, essays, paintings, photos, fiction, and whatever else you can come up with that best represents your reaction to and relationship with Japan.  It can be about the Tohoku disaster, but it doesn’t have to be.  The collection will then be put up for sale to ourselves and to any interested friends and family at a reasonable price but one that allows us to donate all proceeds to the relief efforts.

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Daishoji Hanami, April 9-10

Hard to imagine amidst all that is going on right now, but hanami season is just around the corner.  Here is some info about a cherry blossom festival near Kaga provided by our pink PA, Anna:

Daishoji Hanami

Daishoji Hanami Matsuri

Daishoji Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in Kaga on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April. As well as relaxing under some beautiful cherry blossoms, this small-town celebration offers portable shrine processions, Lion’s Head dances, boat trips down Daishoji river and all the usual festival stalls and food.

All activities are within walking distance of Daishoji station (approx. 1 hour from Kanazawa station, Y820). From the station walk straight down to the main road, turn left at Lawson’s and follow the 305 until you arrive at the river.

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Kanazawa Walking Tour Needs Volunteers


An organization of tour guides in Kanazawa is looking for 4 English-speaking foreigners to be guinea pigs/test participants for a walking tour of Kanazawa. They want to practice and also to see if their tour is interesting or not to foreigners. Participants will be compensated for their time with a bento lunch box and 3,000 yen.

When:  Sunday, March 20th, 8:45 to 17:00.
Starting point:  Tsuzuri-mon Gate of Kanazawa Station (East Exit [東口]). Please meet here at 8:35 a.m.
Ending point:  Shiinoki Cultural Complex (石川県政記念しいのき迎賓館), the building across from Kanazawa City Hall.

8:45-9:00 – Explanation
9:00-12:00 – Trial Tour 1
12:00-13:00 – lunch break at Kanazawa Castle Park
13:00-16:00 – Trial Tour 2
16:00-16:15 – Break
16:15-16:45 – Review at Shiinoki Cultural Complex

If you are interested, please contact Ms. Miwa SUNAYAMA   (Sunayama-san)  at IFIE (Rifare) at 076-262-5932  or at kikaku2[AT]ifie[DOT]or[DOT]jp.