A Busy Summer in Toyama

The original version of this article was written for the Vol.5-No.6 edition (August 2, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The summer continues to be busy! In the first week of July, I volunteered as an “English Support” interpreter at the 2011 JCI (Junior Chamber International) Academy in Toyama. Not only did I have an opportunity for interpretation practice, I had the privilege of meeting interesting people from all over the world. Furthermore, I was able to experience Japanese culture myself in ways I had not before, such as observing the Zen Buddhism practice of “Zazen” and seeing a Noh performance. You can read more about the 2011 JCI Academy in Toyama here.

It is also a hectic season for the foreign community here in Toyama. This is the time of year for most people on the JET Program (which brings me here as well) to begin or end our contracting periods, so it is a time to say “good-bye” to old friends while welcoming new ones. In Toyama, we are changing over for more than 30 JET positions. There are so many welcome events that I can hardly keep track of them all, but I look forward to getting to know all the new faces here!

Finally, summer is truly the season of fun in Japan. Summer festivals featuring spectacular fireworks are held all over the country, and people are encouraged to travel this time of year. There was a large fireworks show last night (August 1st) in Toyama City, but unfortunately, I was unable to go as I was still on the train back from a short vacation (and 15k race) in the neighboring prefecture of Nagano! There is much to explore in this too-often-skipped middle region of Japan.