Nagahama Sengoku Taiga Furusato-haku Expo

Riding on the coattails of last year’s NHK Taiga Drama Go and the Azai Sisters, the city of Nagahama is following up on their successful Go and Azai Sisters Expo by holding another feudal history expo this year called Nagahama Sengoku Taiga Furusato-haku (長浜・戦国大河ふるさと博) from March 24 to Dec. 2, 2012. It can be translated as Nagahama Warring States Hometown Expo. I’m told that as of this writing, they have no plans to provide any foreign language information for this expo (none for last year’s expo either). So I’ll voluntarily provide essential information in English. (My Go and Azai Sisters post (and Go Expo

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Lake Biwa article in Daily Yomiuri

A short article about Lake Biwa titled, Japan’s blue pearl / Views of Lake Biwa is in today’s The Daily Yomiuri English newspaper (Jan. 15, 2012 issue). It was written by Christal Whelan in her monthly column called KANSAI CULTURESCAPES. She is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D) living in Kyoto. She writes mainly about Biwa pearls which are ironically obscure now, but quite famous outside Shiga among pearl fans. During New Year’s, I met with Christal when she visited Nagahama and Chikubushima for the first time. She visited Shiga a few times to research this article and has seen many more places (such as Harie in Takashima)

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Go and Azai sisters merchandise sale

The year-long NHK Taiga Drama “Go” broadcast in 2011 ended along with the Go and Azai Sisters Expo (江・浅井三姉妹博覧会) held in Nagahama until Dec. 4, 2011. When such an event ends, the value of and demand for related merchandise plummets. So I see that Heiwado in front of Nagahama Station has a corner selling Go and Azai sisters merchandise at a 50 percent discount. Yep, half price for Go, Chacha, and Hatsu dolls, note pads, pens, hand towels, mugs, key chains, stickers, etc., etc. It’s a bargain, so if you’re a fan, good deals are to be had.

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Shiga History 2011

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2011. Compiled by Philbert Ono. Jan. 9, 2011: The first episode of NHK TV’s year-long Taiga Drama called Go–Himetachi no Sengoku (Go–Noble Ladies of Feudal Japan) is broadcast. The weekly series centers on the three Azai sisters born in Odani in Nagahama. Jan. 9, 2011: Newly-promoted sumo wrestler Nionoumi (鳰の湖) from Otsu makes his Juryo debut at the Hatsu Basho. His ring name (shikona) means Lake of the Grebe (“Nio” means grebe), in reference to Shiga’s official bird and Lake Biwa. Jan. 15, 2011: In concert with NHK TV’s year-long Taiga Drama

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New Year’s worshippers in Shiga

The Shiga Prefectural Police Department has estimated that 1.31 million people will pray at shrines and temples in Shiga during the first three days of 2012. This is more than New Year’s in 2011. Going to pray at a shrine or temple during New Year’s is called hatsumode (初詣). Shiga’s most popular shrines during New Year’s and the estimated number of worshippers during the first three days of the 2012 have been announced as follows: 1. Taga Taisha Shrine (多賀大社) in Taga, next to Hikone, 470,000 worshippers 2. Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine (長浜八幡宮) in Nagahama, 150,000 worshippers 3. Omi Jingu Shrine (近江神宮)

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Odani Castle tour

As you may know, the Go and Azai Sisters Expo is in full swing in Nagahama. Their visitor count has exceeded expectations, thanks to the popularity of the current NHK Taiga Drama, Go–Himetachi no Sengoku. If you like the TV series or like Japanese castles, be sure to take advantage of the guided tours of Odani Castle being offered during the expo period until Dec. 4, 2011. The easiest way to get to Odani Castle (if you don’t have a car) is to buy a 1,000 ticket for the expo and shuttle bus at Nagahama Station on the west side. For

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2011 FISA World Rowing Tour in Lake Biwa, Japan

Video link: http://youtu.be/Fo4fc8AufeY During June 4-12, 2011, about 40 rowers from Europe, Australia, and the US visited Shiga Prefecture to row completely around Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake. It is unusual to have so many Western visitors coming to Shiga, so we gave them a warm welcome, especially after the radiation scare in faraway Fukushima. Note that Shiga has had absolutely no increase in radiation levels after the Fukushima nuclear plant accident. Unfortunately, about 20 people got spooked by the radiation and canceled their trip to Japan. To take the place of these people, the Seta Rowing Club in Otsu (host

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Shiga’s nuclear backyard

Fukushima’s nuclear power plant crisis has rattled the nerves of Shiga’s residents and local governments. We are beginning to realize how vulnerable Japan’s nuclear power plants are, how vulnerable nearby residents are, how power companies have deceived the public about nuclear plant safety, how inept they are in emergencies, and how the government nuclear watchdog and power companies have ignored safety warnings and advice from nuclear and earthquake experts for years. Sadly, the Fukushima accident could have been largely or completely prevented. Shiga Prefecture is next to Fukui Prefecture in the north, where a string of eleven nuclear power plants

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