Protesters at Toyosato Elementary School in 2003.
On Dec. 27, 2007, at the Otsu District Court, a court settlement was reached between a citizen’s group and the town of Toyosato over the preservation of Toyosato Elementary School’s old school building designed by William Vories in 1937 and the funding of the construction of the new school building.
The citizen’s group sought to have former town mayor Ono Wasaburo return the over 1.8 billion yen spent to build the new school building since the money was appropriated without obtaining the approval of the town assembly. Both sides agreed to the court’s proposal that the former mayor express his “reflection” concerning his deeds, and the construction company, which built the new school building, to donate about 20 million yen to the town to help preserve the old school building. The old school is slated to become a cultural facility. This concludes the five-year court battle.
Next to Hikone Prince Hotel is the JAPAN CENTER for MICHIGAN UNIVERSITIES (JCMU). It is a small campus for students from Michigan universities to study in Shiga. It has dormitories, classrooms, and Coco’s family restaurant.
When new students arrive at the center for the spring and fall semesters, they hold a student orientation meeting. In Sept., I was invited to give a slide show talk about Shiga at the orientation meeting for new students. It went well, so I have been invited again to give a slide show talk at the student orientation (for 47 students) on Jan. 8 (Tue.) from 11 am to noon.
I show my pictures of Shiga and explain a little bit about the history, culture, major sights in Shiga, and Biwako Shuko no Uta. I talk in English.
I’m also allowed to invite a few friends to see my slide show talk, so if you want to attend my slide show, send me a message by Jan. 7. It is free. After the slide show, we can have lunch at the restaurant.
Web site: http://www.jcmu.net/
On Dec. 12, 2007, the Echigawa Public Library 愛知川図書館 won the “Library of the Year” Award from among 5,000 libraries in Japan. The date was also the library’s 7th anniversary. The library staff was praised for having field-specific expertise (museum curation, education, etc.) and being active in promoting and vitalizing the town. The library opened on Dec. 12, 2000. It has 165,000 books and lent out over 230,000 books during 2006. For a town of 20,000 people, these are very high figures. Google Map