Santana Gakuen (サンタナ学園) in Aisho is a school catering to Brazilian children. However, due to the children’s parents losing their factory jobs in Shiga due to the recession, the kids could no longer afford the tuition. The school’s enrollment of over 100 shrank to 67 by last autumn, and 40 of them were unable to pay the tuition. The school could no longer pay the Japanese teacher and so the school was closed in early 2009.
Coming to the rescue was Okuda Yuko (奥田祐子), an English teacher who met the school principal (Tanaka Kenko 中田ケンコ校長) and offered to teach Japanese to the kids as a volunteer. So the school reopened on June 11, 2009 after a six-month closure.
Ms. Okuda currently teaches at the school two or three times a week, mainly to kids in grades 1 to 4, much to the relief of the school’s principal. The children are eager to learn Japanese.
Okuda-san is also involved in the establishment of Aisho’s international association (愛荘国際交流協会設立準備会) to be formed later this year. (She’s the coordinator.) She hopes to expand Aisho’s international programs to include art, flower arranging, and cooking.
I wish her and her associates the best for the school and international association.
Aloha from Hawaii!!! From Hiko-nyan.
Hiko-nyan looks great wearing a lei!! I asked a friend in Honolulu to take pictures of Hiko-nyan in the Pan-Pacific Festival parade held on June 7, 2009 along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki. It was Hiko-nyan’s first overseas trip. I’m elated to see Hiko-nyan from my second hometown in Japan visiting my first hometown of Hawaii. Wish I was there in person. Thanks to my friend Randall Imada for taking these photos.
More photos of the parade are here:
ひこにゃんが僕の故郷であるハワイにも登場したことはとても嬉しいかったけど、写真をよく見ると、どこも「Shiga」とか「Hikone」が表示していないの。ただの「Hikonyan–Ii Naosuke-Gateway to the Future」しか載っていない。それは意味が不明。最低、FROM HIKONE, SHIGA, JAPANとか書けばいいな。せっかく皆が見るので。市の職員がPRの感覚が鈍い。
Hiko-nyan (file photo)
Hikone’s official mascot Hiko-nyan will be off to Honolulu, Hawaii this weekend during June 5-7, 2009 to appear in the 30th Pan-Pacific Festival (also called “Matsuri in Hawaii”). This festival celebrates and promotes relations between Hawaii and mainly Japan. Numerous events are held during the weekend with hula dancing, arts and crafts fair, stage performances, concerts, parties, and the grand Pan-Pacific Parade on June 7, 2009 from 5 pm to 7 pm along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.
Hiko-nyan will appear in the Pan-Pacific Parade on June 7. It will be his first overseas trip, and a great opportunity to promote Shiga in Hawaii.
If you’re in Hawaii and can see the parade, please take pictures of Hiko-nyan send it to me.
More info and a map of the parade route at the official Web site:
A highly unusual auction occurred last month when Enman-in temple (圓満院) in Otsu went on the auction block held by the Otsu District Court. It went to the highest bidder for 1.07 billion yen on May 26, 2009. The winning bidder is a religious group in Koka, Shiga. The name of the group was not revealed. (I hope it’s not some weird cult.)
What makes this highly unusual is that the temple includes a Japanese garden and Shinden hall designated as Important Cultural Properties. The temple was established in the 12th century. The Shinden hall was moved from the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1647.
The temple has had major financial problems with its cemetery business. The temple did go to the auction block twice before, but the winning bidder failed to come up with the money both times. Let’s see if this time the sale will go through. I’d like to know who bid. The only religious group I know in Koka who could afford it would be the one operating Miho Museum. Well, it certainly gives us an idea of how much an Important Cultural Property is worth. I wonder how much it would be if it were a National Treasure.
Well, if or when this temple is open to the public, I will visit it and upload photos here.
Japan Times article here:
From June 2 to late Oct. 2009, Nagahama will host about 7,500 fifth graders from 147 elementary schools in Shiga for rowing lessons as part of the Lake Biwa hands-on experience program (体験学習). This is the first time rowing has been added to the program.
They are using a 5-meter boat seating 8 people to row off the shore of Nagahama. On June 2, the first day, 160 students from four schools rowed while trying to coordinate their rowing timing.
I think they should also start singing Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) either during or after the rowing.
The news about Shiga which I present here are gleaned from various Japanese sources. When I’m in Shiga, I always try to watch NHK TV news at 6:10 pm on weekdays which is when the local station in Otsu broadcasts Shiga news. I also check for Shiga news online issued by major newspapers like Asahi Shimbun, Kyoto Shimbun, and Chunichi Shimbun. (I’m bilingual enough to read a Japanese newspaper.)
I wish I could add the link to the original Japanese news article for my news entries, but those links usually disappear after a month or so. (In the case of NHK, it disappears the next day.)
Here are a few links to Shiga news online in Japanese:
NHK TV Shiga
(The news changes daily.)
Asahi Shimbun Shiga news
Chunichi Shimbun Shiga news