Shiga LakeStars players’ blogs

The Shiga LakeStars’ four American players have been writing a blog in English. It’s nice to see that they are enjoying their stay in Shiga and doing some local sightseeing. Bobby Nash and Brayden Billbe recently visited the Ninja house in Koka. This first season is ending soon, so go and see them play when you can. The roster of players for next season will likely change, so see the current team if you can. Hope Bobby stays in Shiga. Ryan Rouke’s blog: http://lakesplayer.shiga-saku.net/c10820.html Ray Schafer: http://lakesplayer.shiga-saku.net/c10299.html Bobby Nash http://lakesplayer.shiga-saku.net/c10301.html Brayden Billbe http://lakesplayer.shiga-saku.net/c10346.html Official Web site: http://www.lakestars.net/ Like or share this:

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Koka article in Japan Times

The March 8, 2009 edition of The Japan Times had a travel article about the city of Koka. It featured Shigaraki, Miho Museum, and ninja. Unfortunately, it did not mention the shukuba towns of Tsuchiyama and Minakuchi. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fv20090308a1.html But I’m happy to see another Shiga-related article in the JT in less than a month since the last one about Azuchi: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fv20090215a1.html Shiga is slowly getting more media attention. Like or share this:

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Shiga History 2008

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2008. Compiled by Philbert Ono. Feb. 23, 2008: A 50-km section between Kameyama (Mie Pref.) and Otsu (Kusatsu Tanakami Interchange 草津田上インターチェンジ) of the New Meishin Expressway 新名神高速道路 opens to traffic. A ceremony was held at the Koka-Tsuchiyama Interchange with the Governors of Shiga and Mie in attendance. Passing though Koka and Otsu, the new expressway is expected to lessen traffic on the old Meishin Expressway between Nagoya and Kobe, shorten the driving time to the Kansai area, and bring more visitors to Koka. March 15, 2008: Nishi-Otsu Station (西大津駅) on the Kosei

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Koka Ninja House (Yashiki)

I finally visited the Koka Ninja House 甲賀流忍術屋敷 in Koka. I highly recommend taking your foreign friends here. Most foreigners are very interested in ninja. The Koga (Koka) ninja and Iga ninja are the two most famous ninja, but most foreigners do not know that Koga is in Shiga. We have to tell them it’s in Shiga. The Koka Ninja House is unique because it is still in its original location. Other ninja houses in Japan (like in Iga-Ueno) were moved to the present location. Unfortunately, there’s no bus stop near the Ninja House. You have to go by car

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Koka’s English Web site

Koka finally has an English Web site: http://www.city.koka.shiga.jp/english/index.html It’s not bad. However, one common error is “Koka City.” It should just be “Koka.” If you say “Koka City,” it means “City” is part of the city’s name. The city’s name is “Koka,” not “Koka City” (=甲賀シティ市). For example, in the US, we have “Kansas City” and “New York City.” In both cases, “City” is part of the city’s name. In Japan, we don’t have any city names where “City” is part of the name. We can say “city of Koka.” And for Japanese cities whose name is the same as

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Emperor and Empress visit Shiga

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Shiga Prefecture for the first time in 13 years during Nov. 10-13, 2007. The main reason was to attend the 27th Zenkoku Yutaka na Umizukuri Taikai (National Convention to Make Bountiful Oceans 第27回全国豊かな海づくり大会) held in Otsu. On the first day, they visited a nursing home called Care Town Karasaki in Otsu. Some 20 patients there sang Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) for the Imperial couple and the Emperor demanded an encore for them to sing it again. It is Shiga’s most famous song. On the second day the 11th, they attended the formal

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Met with Koka International Society

Today I went to Koka and participated in the Koka International Society’s (KIS) Kokusai Koryu Salon gathering 甲賀市国際交流協 国際交流サロン. It was a special occasion because nine people from Koka’s sister cities in Michigan came. It was a chance for them to meet and talk with local Japanese folks. They arrived in Shiga on July 26 and really enjoyed their stay, especially since they stayed with host families in Koka. I also gave all the Michigan visitors a free copy of my Lake Biwa Rowing Song CD and introduced the song in English. It was my first time to give the

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Tsuchiyama, Koka and Shinagawa, Tokyo

Last weekend, I went to visit Shinagawa-juku 品川宿 in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo for the first time. Shinagawa was the first post town 宿場 on the Tokaido Road. Shinagawa-juku is near Shinagawa Station. In Shiga, there are many shukuba-machi like Kusatsu , Minakuchi , and Samegai because we have the Nakasendo and Tokaido passing through. I’ve visited most of them and most of them have some shukuba-like traditional buildings such as the impressive Honjin guesthouse in Kusatsu. So when I visited Shinagawa-juku, I was disappointed to see that there was nothing traditional. Everything was very modern and it looks like any ordinary street in Japan. But the people in Shinagawa-juku

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