Japan’s oldest clay figure in Higashi-Omi

Making national news in May 2010 was the discovery of Japan’s oldest clay figure (called “doguu” 土偶) in Higashi-Omi. Slightly larger than a human thumbnail, the tiny clay figure is about 1.3 cm tall and depicts the upper torso of a female. Though the head is missing, the figure shows an ample bust and narrower waist.

The clay sculpture has been dated as from the early Jomon Period, about 13,000 years ago. It was found in the Aidani-kumahara ruins (相谷熊原遺跡) in Higashi-Omi’s Eigenji area near the Echigawa River. They found it in a pillar hole.

The clay figure will be on public display as follows:

Period Place Hours Addresss/Phone Closed
June 9-20 Eigenji Public Library 10:00-18:00 東近江市山上町830-1
Mon., Tue.
June 23-July 4 Notogawa Museum
10:00-18:00 東近江市山路町2225
Mon., Tue., June 25
July 7-16 Azuchi Castle Archaeological Museum
9:00-17:00 近江八幡市安土町下豊浦6678
July 17-Aug. 31 Shiga-ken Maizo Bunkazai Center
9:00-17:00 大津市瀬田南大萱町1732-2
Sept. 3-12 Omi-Shonin Museum
9:30-16:30 東近江市五箇荘竜田町583

Info in Japanese:

Higashi-Omi buses collect used cooking oil

Chokotto bus at Yokaichi Station

Chokotto bus at Yokaichi Station

Those cute little buses you see outside Yokaichi Station and elsewhere in Higashi-Omi, called Chokotto bus, have started collecting used cooking oil from September 1, 2009. Bring an old PET bottle (label detached) of your used cooking oil and give it to the bus driver. In return, you will receive a 100-yen ticket which can be used for your next ride on the bus. One ride costs 200 yen for adults, so it’s a 50% discount.

The collected oil will be converted to biodiesel fuel (called BDF in Japan) which the buses use as fuel. BDF has very clean emissions in its exhaust which may smell like tempura. You can actually breathe in the BDF exhaust from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe without any health risk.

Yokaichi giant kite festival 2008

Video link: http://youtu.be/xeFw0Ld-NaU

On Sun., May 25, I went to see the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival. I got there after 1 pm, just when they were preparing to fly the giant kite.

At about 1:45 pm, they flew the big kite for over 3 min. The longest flight I’ve ever seen. Everyone was happy and relieved. It was a new giant kite, and its maiden flight. But they flew it only once. After that, most people went home.

They also roped off most of the area so we could only see the kite from behind. It’s very difficult now to take good pictures of this kite.

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