Shiga History Jan.-Mar. 2014

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-March 2014 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). 2014/1/1 11:31 Happy New Year 2014! Visited Taga Taisha today. Lot more crowded than before. Sacred dances were nice too. https://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=138 2014/1/4 4:56 During Jan. 1-3, 2014, Taga Taisha saw 490,000 worshippers (5,000 more than last year), Omi Jingu 150,000, and Nagahama Hachimangu 150,000. 2014/1/7 15:33 Hikone’s official mascot, Hiko-nyan, received 12,352 New Year’s postcards from all over Japan

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Movie review: Idai Naru, Shurarabon

Shurarabon-poster

Lake Biwa and Hikone are getting a PR boost from this movie called, Idai Naru, Shurarabon (偉大なる、しゅららぼん The Great Shu Ra Ra Boom) currently playing in theaters. (Movie trailer in English at the bottom of this article.) The movie title is making everyone ask, “What the heck is Shurarabon??” It’s not a normal Japanese word, but knowing that the movie was filmed almost entirely in Shiga Prefecture was enough for me to see the movie (and read the manga) to find out. Overall, I thought the movie was good and worth seeing especially if you know Shiga. The story, casting, special effects,

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Shiga Food and Crafts Fair in Tokyo

Video link: http://youtu.be/aYVMeAMgaW8 My short video of the Omi-ten Shiga Prefecture Food and Crafts Fair (第26回 琵琶湖夢街道大近江展) held at Takashimaya Dept. Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo during Feb. 25-March 3, 2014. On March 2 (Sun.), we checked out some of Shiga’s trademark products including funazushi fermented fish, Omi beef, Biwa pearls, Otsu-e paintings, and the latest book from Sunrise Shuppan. Hiko-nyan also made an appearance on the rooftop stage. We bought quite a bit of food, but found no place to sit and eat inside the dept. store. The food section had a tiny dining area, but it was too crowded. There was the

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Kumamon and Funasshi dethroning Hiko-nyan

The Tokyo Marathon was held on Feb. 23, 2014. Seeing all the zany costumes is such great entertainment. I spotted this one person carrying Hiko-nyan. Judging from this marathon, I’m afraid that Hiko-nyan is being overtaken by Kumamon and Funasshi in national popularity. I saw a lot more runners wearing a Kumamon costume than any other character. Perhaps there were more runners from Kumamoto than Shiga, but besides the marathon, lately I’ve been seeing Kumamon merchandise in many places in the Tokyo area. Meanwhile, I’ve seen zero Hiko-nyan merchandise in Tokyo. Kumamon (くまモン) is an official mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture

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Autumn festivals and foliage November 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Recommended festivals, events, exhibitions, and autumn leaves in Shiga Prefecture in November 2013. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) Compiled by Philbert Ono. Oct. 26 – November 24, 2013 ♦ Kunimasu Trout Special Exhibit, Lake Biwa Museum, Kusatsu, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm A special and rare exhibit (the first in western Japan) of live kunimasu trout (Oncorhynchus kawamurae or black kokanee), previously thought to have gone extinct in the 1940s. Kunimasu was an endemic fish found only in Lake Tazawa in Akita Prefecture, but became extinct (along with most other fish species in the lake) in the 1940s when

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Autumn festivals Oct. 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Oct.-Nov. is another prime time for festivals and events in Japan. Here are some recommended autumn/fall festivals (matsuri) and events in Shiga in October 2013. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) October 1-20, 2013 ♦ Shigaraki Art Festival 2013, Koka, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm Pottery exhibitions (especially tanuki raccoon dog) and noborigama kiln demonstration. Three venues in central Shigaraki, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, and Shigaraki Traditional Craft Center. Held for the second time this year. On Oct. 12-14, the Shigaraki Pottery Festival will also be held mainly at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. The outdoor pottery fair

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Autumn festivals Sept. 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Here are some recommended autumn/fall events and festivals in Shiga in September 2013. September 1-30, 2013 ♦ Genkyuen Garden Insect Chirping Concert, Hikone, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm (enter by 8:30 pm) Genkyuen Garden next to Hikone Castle will be open in the evenings in September. If you miss the cicadas in summer, you can still hear insects chirping in the garden that will be lit up along with Hikone Castle in the background. Matcha tea will be served at cost and free gagaku and koto performances will be held on the weekends. Admission ¥500. Near JR Hikone Station. Google

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Summer 2013 festivals in Shiga Prefecture

Here are some of the many events and festivals in Shiga in summer 2013 (Web sites are in Japanese). If you want to see the fireworks schedule instead, click here. July 5 – Sept. 1, 2013, 9 am-5 pm – Biwako Hakodate-yama Lily Garden, Imazu, Takashima びわこ箱館山ゆり園 Lilies galore high up on Mt. Hakodate with views of Lake Biwa in Imazu, Takashima. From JR Omi-Imazu Station (Kosei Line), take a bus to the Hakodate-yama gondola station (15 min.). In winter, the place is a ski ground. The 1,800 yen fare includes the gondola (round trip) fare and admission to the lily garden.

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