Monday, December 14, 2009

A Truly Interesting Museum, Lake Biwa Museum

There is a museum I strongly recommend you to visit in Shiga Prefecture. I visited there to attend an educational lecture a few weeks ago. I was quite surprised that the galleries of the museum are so sophisticated and very modern. To be honest, this is because it was my first time to visit the museum, even though I have lived in Shiga since I was born there. There are numerous species of creatures from the lake on display.

For one of the activities the museum offers I could have an experience dissecting foreign fish like black basses or bluegills. It was initially too repulsive to anatomize such a slimy and stinky fish, but as soon as I cut the fish’s abdomen to open it, I found the complex viscera and noticed that the heart was still slightly moving. At that time, I could finally understand why the experiment of an anatomy was one course of the educational workshops. I could learn how important life is through the anatomical experiment. It is truly important not only for me but also for anyone to realize the importance of life.

Furthermore, there are more exhibitions shown, such as ancient fossils of extinct creatures, endangered species, and model buildings of old-time living.
Just visit Lake Biwa Museum, and you will understand what I mean.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The 400th anniversary and the 150th anniversary held in Hikone City

Hikone City is one of thriving cities in Shiga and was once the second largest centre of commerce and industry next to Otsu City which is a capital city. There is a castle in Hikone City and it is one of the most famous castles in Japan. The castle was raised by Naomasa Ii, who was one of Ieyasu Tokugawa’s feudal vassals, in 1607. Therefore, it means that the 400th anniversary finished two years ago, but there is an attracting event coming up concerning Hikone Castle. The event is the 150th anniversary of the Amity Commercial Treaty between Japan and the United States. It seems to be irrelevant to Hikone City, but it has something significant to do with Hikone City. This is because that the treaty with the United States was concluded by Naosuke Ii who was a remote descendant of Naomasa Ii. The event is currently open and finishes in March, 2010.
Finally, One thing I have to introduce to you is the memorial character, Hikonyan. This character was originally made to represent the lord of Hikone Castle, Naomasa Ii. It is now one of the most popular characters in Japan. Therefore, it is a suitable souvenir from Hikone City.

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For any questions and further information, please feel free to ask me at any time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall turning the leaves

In recent days an autumn wind has quite blown and we are feeling rather cold in the morning and evening. As you may know, the four seasons are clearly defined in Japan, and now it is the autumn season that we live comfortably. This season is well-known for playing sports, eating, and reading books in Japan. In addition, there is one more thing I would like to mention. That is about the beautiful colored leaves. Shiga is a prefecture surrounded with a large number of mountains, such as Mt. Hiei, Mt. Ibuki, and Mt. Kira. Therefore, there are many places we can see such wonderful colored leaves around Shiga, and thousands of people go there in order to go hiking and viewing them. Here are two places that I recommend:
1. “Hiei-zan-Momiji-Matsuri (Ko-fu-kai)”, which means the festival of maple trees.
There are no less than two thousand maple trees or cherry trees with beautiful colored leaves all along the driveway from Hiei-zan to Okubie.

Date: Oct. 31 (Sat.) - Nov. 23 (Mon.) in 2009
Place: Yokokawa, Enryakuji, Hiei-zan, Moto-machi, Sakamoto, Ohtsu-shi, Shiga
Further information:

2. “Momiji-Matsuri”, which means the festival of maple trees.
Some traditional events will take place in Hiyoshi shrine, where there are around three thousand maple trees.

Date: Nov. 1 (Sun.) – Nov. 30 (Mon.) in 2009
Place: Hiyoshi shrine, 5-1-1, Sakamoto, Ohtsu-shi, Shiga
Further information:

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Song made by 51 middle-aged men for others

While it has been an endless recession in recent years, 51 men working in Shiga voluntarily released a CD in August, cooperating with a local TV station. The men, aged between 30 and 60, who work so hard for their family members, were assembled to make the song for a project by the local TV station.

Koh Nishikawa, who wrote and composed the song, just hopes that the song will cheer up middle-aged men devoting their all time to work in such a depressed economy and they will be motivated by the song even just a little. The lyrics include cheerful messages and his tough experiences. For instance, he has apologized to clients without good reason and has worked overnight almost every day.

Many events where the song is promoted currently have been held these days. One of the participants in an event, who is an office worker, said that he had sat up straight to apologize to clients, so he could feel sympathy with this song.

The CD sells at 1500 yen through the Internet and at any CD shop. For any questions and further information, please feel free to ask me.

Published by the Chunichi Newspaper on 15 October, 2009