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)

21st Annual Toyama International Charity Show

Every year, our JET neighbors in Toyama put on an International Charity Show to raise money for local and international charities.  The first Charity Show was held in 1990, and 2011 marks its 21st anniversary.  The show is attended by more than 900 people every year and is written, choreographed, and produced entirely by JETs.  Sorry for the short notice, but if you’re free this weekend, you should definitely check it out!

On July 1st & 2nd, the Toyama International Charity Show Committee proudly presents Dance Royale, the 21st annual Charity Show.

A visual and aural treat, Dance Royale is a musical comedy that follows the trials of high school student Rin and her teammates who belong to the school’s Pop Idol Team club. This light-hearted tale of the underdog promises to entertain while reminding us that there is no ‘I’ in team.

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60th Annual Tonami Tulip Fair となみチューリップフェア

Celebrate Tonami City’s 60th anniversary of the sister-city relationship with Lisse, The Netherlands! This year’s tulip fair in the neighboring prefecture of Tonami will feature 1 million tulips in 500 varieties; flower displays incude water displays and Dutch-style displays. There’s a variety of hands-on activities, performances, and events, so head down to Tonami during Golden Week to check it out!

Friday, April 22 – Thursday, 5 May (includes Golden Week holidays)
8:30 – 17:30 (last entry at 17:00)

Website: http://www.tulipfair.or.jp/fair/

Special events:
4/23 (Sat.): Chiba Hana concert (13:00~)
4/26 (Tues): Sawamura Ikki concert (13:00~)
5/2 (Mon): Tulip Concert: with acapella group Q.T. Honey (13:00, 14:30)
5/3 (Tues): Tulip Choral Festival with HoneyGrace (10:00, 13:00)

Advance tickets:
Adults: 900 yen; Children: 200 yen; Senior citizens (65+): 700 yen
Available at Ticket Pia (P-code: 987-073), Circle K, Sunkus, 7-11, Lawson, Poplar, and Family Mart (starting 2/1)

Same-day tickets:
Adults: 1000 yen; Children: 300 yen; Senior citizens (65+): 800 yen (children who are not yet in elementary school are free). Children are free on Children’s Day (5/5)

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Toyama’s Fushiki Kenkayama Matsuri 伏木けんか山祭り

From Takaoka-shi's official website

The Fushiki Hikiyama Matsuri 伏木曳山祭り[Fushiki Float Festival], popularly known as the Fushiki Kenkayama Matsuri 伏木けんか山祭り[Fushiki Fighting Floats Festival] will take place on Saturday, May 15, 2010 in our neighboring prefecture of Toyama. The first festival was held in 1820, and the festival is a designated cultural asset of Takaoka-shi. In the afternoon, 曳山 (hikiyama), or festival floats, are adorned in flowers paraded to the Fushiki Shrine. At night, the flowers are exchanged for lanterns, and the participants crash the floats into each other.

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Tonami Tulip Fair (April 23 – May 6)

Photo: John-Morgan

Revel in flowery goodness!  Run through fields of waving tulips!  Explore our neighboring prefecture, Toyama!  Do it all at the Tonami Tulip Fair, running from April 23rd to May 6th.  Open from 8:30-5:30 everyday.  ¥1000 entrance fee for adults.  

*Note: May 5th (Children’s Day), children can enter the park for FREE.  If you have kids, this may be a good day to go.  However, if you don’t have kids, you can expect the park to be littered with children.  Consider yourself warned!

Call 076-333-7716 for more information.

Get There: From the Kanazawa Train Station, take a local train (JR Hokuriku Line) to the JR Takaoka Station (36 minutes).  Then, at the JR Takaoka Station, switch to the JR Johana Line and take a local train to the JR Tonami Station (20 minutes).  The total trip should take about an hour and cost ¥950 each way.  The festival is a 15 minute walk from the JR Tonami Station.

*Bonus: If you use the train to get to the festival, you can get a ¥100 discount on your entrance ticket to the Tulip Fair.  Just pick up a pink flier with the train schedule on it (one for each person) and show it to the person at the ticket booth at the Tonami Tulip Fair.  Pink fliers are available at the Kanazawa Station and the Tonami Station.

Want to know more about festivals in Toyama?  Check out this awesome English list of yearly events.