Archive for 'Sendai, Tokyo and Japanese culture' Category
JR Hokakido and East Japan launched the Hokkaido Shinkansen(/Hokkaido Bullet Trains) services on this Mar.26. And with this, Alll the four main lands of Japan are now directly connected by the Bullet Train services. (http://hokkaido-shinkansen.com/)(http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html)
The bullet train services between Tokyo and Shin-aomori(/new Aomorri, in Aomori prefecture in Tohoku region in the mainland) launced in 2010, and now the new services between Shin-aomori and Shin-hakodatehokuto started, which finally connected the mainland and Hokkaido island. With this completeion, Tokyo to Shin-hakodatehokuto takes now 4 hours and 2 minutes at fastest (used to take about 5 hours and 30 minutes), and Shin-aomori to Shin-hakodatehokuto one hour and one minute at fastest(used to take about one hour and 50 minutes) . 10 round travels are provided between Tokyo and Shin-hakodatehokuto and one round travel between Sendai and Shin-hakodatehokuto by “Hayabusa”( a nickname of a type of the new trains) a day and one round travel between Morioka and Shin-hakodatehokuto, and one round travel between Shin-aomori and Shin-hakodatehokuto by “Hayate” a day as well.
Lots of events related to Hina-matsui (Girls’ Day’s festivals) were held nationwide in Japan on the March 3rd, the Girls’ Day. One of the popular events was the “Hyakudan Hina-matsuri”(/ hina doll decoration event on one hundred stairs ) at Meguro-gajoen in Tokyo (Jan.22-Mar.6).(http://www.megurogajoen.co.jp/event/hinamaturi/)
This year, for the first time traditional Hinadolls from three prefectures in Tohoku region, namely,Iwate,Miyagi,and Fukushima were decorated and exhibited.
Tokyo Marathon 2016 was held on Feb.28th. (http://www.marathon.tokyo/en/) This time the marathon was the tenth and more than 36,000 people joined the big event. The start point of the square in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Office Buildings in Shinjuku, Tokyo was covered with the runners and specutators.
And the forerunner event “Tokyo Marathon Frienship Run 2016” was also held on Feb.27th. (http://www.marathon.tokyo/news-media/news/news_000056.html)
In the Friendship Run, 919 foreign runners and 530 Japanese runners joined. The public speeches at the opening ceremony were made in both Japanese and English and the international friendship atmosphere was around. In addition, three other forerunner events of press conferences of Men’s elite Athletes, Women’s elite Athletes, and Wheelchair Athletes were held on the same day of 27th.
A Japanese artist’s paper cutout works’ exhibition is currently being held at a gallery in Shanghai China Nov.25- Dec.6th. The host is Shu Kubo, a well-known paper-cutting artist.(http://www.shu-kubo.com/) He was a cultural coordinater of Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2009.
The event has been facilitated by the Japan Culture Communication Center of Shanghai University of Science and Technology. And the Japanese consul-general in Shanghai and other influential people in China and Japan were invited to the opening ceremony of the event. 72 paper-cutting works are exhibited at the event, which depict Japanese scenery, landscapes, parts of culture and so forth to represent and convey images, atmosphere,and concepts of Japan to enhance and expand understanding those attractions to Chinese people. Actually, the art of paper-cutting was first introduced to Japan from China about 1,200 years ago and developed in a unique way in Japan since then. So, this art is expected to work as a “bridge” to bind the two nations together, strengthening goodwill and rapport there. Kubo says, the power of this art will work for those purposes so well.
The 44th Tokyo Motor Show was held Oct,29-Nov.8 at Tokyo Bigsight.( http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/)
A lot of new type cars were shown and attracted visitors.
Hiyoridai Big Bridge was finally completed 49 years after the lauch of its project on this Oct.17th.
The bridge is 290m long and connects Yashirominami and Hiyoridai in Tashiro-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi pref. for the traffic convenineces to the area of Yagiyama Dobutsu Koen station (Yagiyama Zoo station) . The city mayor Okuyama says, “The bridge finished upon the grand opening of the Tozai Line, and we expect people to use the service for long from now on.”. Some citizens passed the bridge in the opening ceremoy and took a walk there.
JR Hokkaido and JR East Japan jointly announced on Sep. 16 that they were going to launch the remarkable new services of the Hokkaido Shinkansen (The Bullet Train services in Hokkaido ) on March 26th 2016.
The hisotorically new services of the Hokkaido Shinkansen will provide totaly 13 round-trips of “Hayabusa”and “Hayate” cars between Tokyo and Shin-hakodatehokuto (about 146km) on a daily basis. 10 out of them will be for the full distance and one for Sendai station-Shin-hakodatehokuto station, one for Morioka station- Shin-hakodatehokuto, and one for Shin-aomori station- Shin-hakodatehokuto station. The “E5 series” of JR East and the “H5 series” of JR Hokkaido will be used as the cars of the new lines. The will include economy classes , Green Cars’ and the Grand-Place seats.
The officilal emblems of the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2020 were released by The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and paralympic Games at a special huge eventatteded by many people and athletic celebrities held at the front square of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building in Tokyo on Jul 24, which was just the date to five years for start of the Tokyo olympic Games 2020.
The emblems were chosen out of 104 candidates in the design contest for this purpose. The Olympics’ emblem uses “T” form as its basic design, which symbolizes “Tokyo”, “Team”, and “Tomorrow”,while the Paralympics’ is based on a degin of “E” form,which symbolizes “Equal”. The embles will be used for related events, memorial goods, sign borads,and so forth from now on for the upcoming world biggest events in five years.
A temporary character goods store, or a “chara-pop store” of “Blood Blockade battlefront”(/血界戦線, Kekkai Sensen), a popular manga and anime work will open Jun.16-Jul.31st on the B1 floor in “Tokyo Eki Ichibangai(Tokyo Station First Street)” , the biggest station basement shopping arcade zone of Tokyo.(http://kekkaisensen.com/)
This manga and anime work is a fantasy about an imaginary world where the human world and and a fantasy world exist together and describing stories of a secret order. To the work, such a chara-pop store is the first one and is going to sell relating goods to the work. The store will prepare wagons at selling stages and also provide special lottery services whose special goods are available only there.
“The Sendai Committee UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction” was held Mar.14-18 in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Pref. ,which is one of the major damaged areas of the Great east Japan earthquake on 3.11 2011. (http://www.bosai-sendai.jp/en/)
The conference resolved a new policy of “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” to strengthen international cooperation systems. The first (in Yokoham in 1994) and the second conference(in Kobe in 2005) were also held in Japan, which may imply that Japan is a significant “key contry” when it comes to considering disaster-prevention policies in a huge scope of international visions. Sendai is not only the capital of Miyagi but also the economic center of Tohoku region (Aomori, Akita,Iwate,Yamagata,Fukushima,and Miyagi) and one of the three major Tohoku festivals “Tanabata festival”(/Star festival) in held on July 7th every year which is quite popular. At the 3.11 tragedy, Sendai was damaged especially its airport was, but now has miraculously recovered. At the conference the spirit and concept of “Omotenashi in Tohoku” (the warm Japanese style hospitality in the northeast region ) was referred to as well.
The 56 Japan Record Awards Grand Prix “R.Y.U.S.E.I” of J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE(the third genereation)
The 56th Japan Record Awards ceremony was held today Dec.30th in Tokyo.(http://www.tbs.co.jp/recordaward/) “R.Y.U.S.E.I.” of JSoul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (/sandaime, the third generation) received the Grand prix. (http://www.jsoulb.jp/)
○The Best Rookie Singer Award/ Mariya Nishiuchi, ○The Best Singer Award/ EXILE ATSUSHI, ○The Special Singer Music Award/ Hiroshi Itsuki, ○The Special Film Theme Music Award/ “Anna and The Snow Queen”, ○The Special Award/ “Youkai Watch”, ○The Best Album Award/ “TRAD” of Mariya Takeuchi, and some other wards ere given to excellent singers, composers, lyricists, and other music artists.
Tokyo Station, which is one of the symbols of Tokyo and Japanese modernization, in Chiyoda-ward Tokyo near the Imperial Palace, celebrated its centennial anniversary on this Dec.20th. (http://www.tokyostationcity.com/100years/)
At 9:40am on the 20th, JR East (Japan Railroads East) started sell the 100th anniversary Suica, the IC passes but suspended the event due to the too many people people rushing there.
However, two days later, JR east annnounced to sell them again so that everyone that wanted the passe can purchase it. After the completion of the renewal construction of its building, that station has became even more popular and accepts huge number of visitors including tourists.
Inui-dori(/Inui Avenue) in the Imperial Palace was opened to public and accepted casual visitors Dec.3-7 in celebration of the 80th birthday of the current Emperor. (http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html) (http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/event/inui.html)
Inui-dori is an about 650-meter-long avenue between the Inui gate on the side of Kitanomaru Park and the office building of the Imperal Household Agency, lined by 59 Japanese maples and trident maples. The above 5 days were thought to be the best time to enjoy viewing the autumnal foliages there. Actually, 54,000 people visited there on only the first day, which led to the earlier opening time of 9:30(originally planned to open at 10:00). And 349,500 people visited and enjoyed strolling and floliage- viewing there on the five days in total.
Washi, the traditional Japanese paper officially registered as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cutural property
Washi, the traditional Japanese paper, and its crafting techniques were officially registered as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cutural Property at its committee meeting in Paris France on Nov.27th. As I wrote those were recommended last month here, they have been formally designated this time.
An artisan of washi, Mr. Nobushige Akiyama held special demonstrations of washi-making in Italy as a part of cross-cultural activities on Nov.29th. Italy has a long history of making artisan-based paper as well. This time’s designation is expected to hugely expand general recognition and interest of washi and paper culture in the international community.
Two huge international travel marts were held at Tokyo Bigsight in Tokyo. One was “Visit Japan Travel Mart 2014″(Sep.24-26)(http://www.vjtm.jp/) and the other was “JATA Toursim EXPO Japan2014″(Sep.25-28)(http://t-expo.jp/en/index.html).
More than 310 foriegn buyers and about 390 Japanese sellers joined VJTM2014 and had passionate exchanges of information and ideas and hosted busines seccions. Buyers from Asian countries were especially a lot and about the half of the Japanese sellers were municipalities or relating associations of such local governments.
On the other hand, a lot of domestic and foreign sellers and buysers joined JATA Tourism EXPO Japan 2014. Such participants were embassies, tourism bureaus, travel agents, food companies, municipalities, railroads, airlines, hotels. universities, guide associations and so forth. The main targets were end users of travel services and a lot of lay Japanese people visited there and the total number was 157,589. Upon the opening of the event, an ward ceremony of good services and efforts of related promotions was hosted and the Best Tourism Award was given to The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Embassy awards were for Thailand and Mexico, the best transporatation award was for Japan Railways East, the domestic inbound award was for the tourism department of Tokyo Metropolis, the publicity award was for a TV show of CXTV, and the chairperson special award was for Okinawa Convention Bureau. (http://t-expo.jp/en/program/cms.html) I personally visited the two big events and collected a lot of interesting information and exchanged ideas with the participants, some of whom were my friends or those I sometimes work with. I enjoyed the delicious food provided by tourism- related restaurants and local specialities and impressed by the greatly enthusiastic atmosphere of energies of the expos as well.