Japanese speech contest by Shiga foreigners

On Feb. 25, 2007, a Japanese speech contest for foreigners in Shiga was held at the Viva City Hall in Minami-Hikone. Thirteeen non-Japanese from eight countries gave 6-min. speeches in Japanese to a full-house audience. One of the contestants was Jamie Thompson who is an ALT on the JET Program in Konan, Shiga. She happens to be one of the singers who sang my English version of Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song). The title of her speech was “Biwako Shuko no Uta no Boken” 琵琶湖周航の歌の冒険 which can be translated as “Biwako Shuko no Uta Adventures.” She started

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Yokozuna Musashimaru adorns Hikone nursery school

Former Yokozuna Musashimaru from Hawaii donated one of his giant Championship portraits to a nursery school in Hikone. The  portrait used to hang in the Kokugikan sumo arena in Ryogoku, Tokyo where all tournament winners receive a giant portrait to hang in the Kokugikan. As new winners have their portraits installed, the oldest ones are removed from the Kokugikan. After receiving enthusiastic letters from the nursery school children (who also do sumo at the school) requesting to have one of his giant portraits, Musashimaru obliged and the portrait was installed and unveiled at Lumbini Nursery School (彦根市河原1の「るんびにー保育園」) on Dec. 1,

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Hikone Castle at 2007 Sapporo Snow Festival

Looks like Hikone Castle will be one of the major snow sculptures at next year’s Sapporo Snow Festival in Feb. It will be the 400th anniversary of the castle, and Hikone is holding various events next year. I’m sure they are extremely happy that the castle will be built at the snow festival. It’s very good PR. I’ve been to the snow festival once, and I have to call it one of Japan’s Top Five Festivals. It’s truly awesome. And also very international with many groups from overseas carving smaller snow sculptures. The only problem is that it is impossible

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About Hikone

After Otsu, Hikone is Shiga’s second most famous city. Hikone Castle is one of only four castle towers (tenshukaku) in Japan which are National Treasures (others are Himeji, Matsumoto, and Inuyama). (Nijo Castle is also a National Treasure, but it has no castle tower, only the palace building which is magnificent.) Next to Hikone Castle is Genkyu-en Garden. It’s a small garden, but nice enough to visit. In 1980, there was a popular mini TV series called “Shogun” which aired in the US. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Shimada Yoko, and Mifune Toshiro. It was a great series based on the

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