Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo is currently holding the Dai-Omiten (大近江展) food and craft fair featuring stuff from Shiga Prefecture. In one corner, this Sagicho Festival float decoration is on display. The festival has 13 floats and each one has an elaborate decoration with the year’s Oriental zodiac sign. What’s incredible is that the decorations are made of edible things. For example, the dragon’s teeth are cashew nuts. The Sagicho festival is held in mid-March (17th and 18th this year) in Omi-Hachiman, Shiga. The food fair is on the 8th floor, from 10 am to 8 pm (until 6 pm on March 1), until March 1. http://www.biwako-visitors.jp/pdf/oumiten.pdf
For the first time, I have created and published a 2010 calendar for Shiga Prefecture in English. The calendar features my photos of Shiga, showing its beautiful seasons, traditional festivals, architecture, Lake Biwa, and a few “fun” things. Each monthly photo has an English caption, and both Japanese and American holidays are included.
You can see a preview of the calendar’s 12 months above. Click on the right arrow button. To see a larger view, click on the Full Screen Mode button. (Then you can read the captions too.) The last page is displayed as black, but it’s actually white. The calendar size is 8.5 inches x 11 inches when closed. When open and hung on the wall, the calendar is 17 in. high and 11 in. wide.
The calendar is available for sale online at lulu.com based in the U.S. Just click on the Buy Now button (and get your credit card ready). The price is $15.22 plus shipping. Shipping within the U.S. will cost only a few dollars via ordinary mail. If you’re in Japan, the postage will cost $10.48 for one copy only. If you order five or more copies at one time, the calendar cost and shipping cost will get much cheaper. ($38.92 to ship 10 copies, for example.) It takes about 3 weeks for your order to arrive in Japan via ordinary mail. Express mail and trackable shipping options are also available, but expensive. You can also order from Japan and have the calendar shipped to an address in the U.S. or other countries which may be cheaper. It is cheapest to ship within the U.S. Makes a great gift.
Below is a list of photos in the calendar. I tried to include as many cities and towns as possible, but it was impossible to include all 26 municipalities of Shiga in a 12-month calendar. I plan to publish a Shiga calendar every year from now on, so those missing cities/towns will be included in the 2011 calendar and later.
Cover: Shigaraki-ware tanuki (raccoon dog)
Jan.: Nagisa Park rape blossoms, Moriyama
Feb.: Hokoen Park plum blossoms and Nagahama Castle, Nagahama
Mar.: Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession, Koka
Apr.: Hikone Castle cherry blossoms
May: Niu Chawan Matsuri, Yogo
June: Taga Taisha rice planting festival, Taga
July: Omi-Maiko beach, Otsu
Aug.: Imazu Regatta, Takashima
Sep.: Azuchi Castle replica (Nobunaga no Yakata museum), Azuchi
Oct.: Ibukiyama Taiko Drum Dance, Maibara
Nov.: Kongorinji temple, Aisho
Dec.: Mascot characters (Dotaku-kun, Tabimaru, Hiko-nyan)
The calendars are also selling for 2,000 yen at the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan museum (Phone: 0740-22-2108) in Imazu, Takashima. For those who cannot order in English, they can call this museum and order in Japanese.
The Sports Recreation event will be held in Shiga during Oct. 18-21, 2008. On the first day Oct. 18 at Kibogaoka Park in Yasu, there will be some entertainment on a side stage called スポレク「夢」ステージ near the Nishi-guchi west gate during 9:30 am to 11:15 am.
During this entertainment time, we will appear and sing “Lake Biwa Rowing Song“(Biwako Shuko no Uta in English) on this outdoor Yume stage at around 10:20 am. Jamie and Megan Thompson will sing the song. If you have time, please come down to see us.
On the same day, the Spo-rec opening ceremony will start on the center stage at 12:30 pm. From JR Yasu Station, there will be free shuttle buses going to the park every 10-15 min. Note that if the weather is bad, the show will be canceled. Light rain will be no problem though.