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On June 12th – June 14th, 2016, a delegation of 11 people representing the State of Oregon’s government and economic spheres visited Toyama Prefecture to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister-state relationship. The delegation was led by Chris Harder, the director of Business Oregon, and also included Oregon Metro Council President Tom Hughes, as well as representatives from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Portland General Electric, the City of Beaverton Economic Development Division, and South Coast Development Council, Inc. The delegation’s visit included regional tours and meetings, with one of the highlights being a Sunday visit of Toyama’s famous Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, where deep fields of snow remain well into summer.

On Monday, June 13th, the delegation had a full day of meetings with Toyama businesses and government officials. In the morning, I accompanied the delegation on the way to business meetings, along with Ms. Sanno from the Toyama Prefecture International Affairs Division. The first item on the agenda was to visit Hokusei Products, a Takaoka City based company which deals in aluminum and other metals, and produces pharmaceutical packages and lifestyle products. Delegation members listened intently to a presentation on the company’s latest activities, the most exciting of which include the IMG_0377recent founding of Hokusei North America, which has been partnering with Business Oregon and the State of Oregon Japan Representative Office as they work to promote Oregon products in Japan and Toyama’s local products in Oregon and across the US. President & CEO Shotaro Tomita and Hokusei staff members gave an informative and well-prepared presentation in English, and also showed their local pride by playing a video promoting the city of Takaoka.

 
From Hokusei, the delegation went to Nousaku to check out their famous tin products and tour the workshop. While inspecting the facilities, delegation members were able to see how craftsmen and women work meticulously to create Nousaku’s fine caste metal wares. The back room, with its thousands of unique molds was a sight to be seen, and almost everyone left with something to take home from the showroom. The delegation also had a chance to meet with Mr. Nousaku himself, and hear a bit about how the company has innovated on traditional metal casting techniques to create modern, artful wind chimes and uniquely artistic baskets that have made it to markets in New York and Paris.

After a delicious lunch of Toyama Bay Sushi, the delegation visited Toyama City Hall, and then came to the Prefectural Office in order to make a courtesy call to Vice-Governor Satoshi Terabayashi. During the meeting, the vice-governor welcomed the delegation, and expressed his excitement that Toyama Prefecture and the State of Oregon had reached an important milestone of 25 years of friendship.

Later that evening, a reception was held in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Toyama-Oregon friendship. The delegation joined local representatives of Toyama’s business sector, along with Toyama government officials and JET Program assistant language teachers working in local schools who hail from Oregon for delicious food and good conversation. Toyama’s Public Enterprise Administrator, Mr. Hidetoshi Sunuma began the evening by speaking about his recent trip to Oregon this past April. There was also an address by Mr. Hisayashi Ono, president of the prefectural assembly, who mentioned Toyama’s recent role in hosting the G7 Environmental Ministers’ Meeting, and called for IMG_2699further partnership between Toyama and Oregon share as leaders in environmentally-conscious policy. Afterwards, Chris Harder introduced the Oregon delegation, and Metro
Council President Tom Hughes gave a toast. It was a lovely evening, which included delicious local food and sake, as well as lively discussion and a performance of a traditional performance, the Owara Kaze-no-Bon folk dance.

After a full day and a lovely evening that brought Toyama and Oregon even closer, the delegation went back to Tokyo the next morning on the new Hokuriku Shinkansen to continue their activities. As was mentioned during the celebration, Toyama-Oregon relations have seen 25 years of fruitful exchange; we here in Toyama are looking forward to 25 years more!

 

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オレゴン訪問団の来県

2016年6月12日から14日にかけて、富山県とオレゴン州の友好提携25周年を祝うため、オレゴン州の経済界の方や政府関係者などを含む、11名の訪問団が富山県を訪れました。団長のオレゴン州政府経済開発局長クリス・ハーダー氏のほか、メトロ審議会代表のトム・ヒューズ、オレゴン州農務局、ポートランド電力、ビーバートン市、サウスコースト・デベロップメント・カウンシルなどの代表が来県しました。いまだ雪が残る立山黒部アルペンルートをはじめとする観光地や会議、レセプションなど、充実した訪問になりました。

6月13日(月)は、県内企業視察や県政府への表敬訪問など、多くの行事が盛り込まれていました。県国際課の参納さんと私が訪問団に同行し、高岡市にあるアルミ製品・各種パッケージ・デザイン製品を扱うホクセイプロダクツ株式会社を訪問しました。訪問団は、Hokusei North Americaがオレゴン州政府駐日代表部と協力し、オレゴン州の商品を日本に輸入することや、富山の工芸品などをオレゴン州と米国でマーケット開拓を行う取り組みなど、ホクセイのアメリカでのビジネス展開についての発表を興味深く聞き入りました。代表取締役の冨田昇太郎氏やスタッフの英語での素晴らしいプレゼンテーションとともに、高岡市のPR動画も流し、地域に対する誇りを伝えました。

次は、錫などの鋳物製品で人気を集めている能作の工場に行きました。施設のツアーでは、働く職人の姿や何千の鋳型が並ぶ倉庫を実際に視察し、確かな腕で作られた能作の繊細な製品がたくさん展示してあるショールームで説明を聞きました。能作代表取締役社長の能作克治氏とも会うことができ、能作の歴史やイノベーション、ビジネス展開について説明を受けました。現在は、伝統的な技術に基づいたモダンな風鈴や曲がる「KAGO」などの商品は、ニューヨークやパリでも人気を集めているそうです。

美味しい富山湾鮨の昼食のあと、富山市役所を訪問し、そして富山県の寺林副知事との表敬訪問がありました。副知事は、訪問団を歓迎するとともに、富山県とオレゴン州の友好提携25周年の重要な節目を迎えられたことについて喜ばしく思い、そして、今後両県州の交流が一層活発になることを期待すると述べました。

その夜、ANAクラウンプラザホテルにて、富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年を祝うため、レセプションが行われました。訪問団のほか、富山県の経済界の代表者や政府関係者、また県内の学校で英語を教える、オレゴン州出身のJETプログラムALTらが参加し、美味しい食べ物と楽しい会話に包まれ、会場は盛り上がりました。富山県の須沼公営企業管理者は歓迎の挨拶で、去る4月のオレゴン州訪問の際のエピソードを話しました。また、県議会の大野議長の挨拶では、5月に富山県で開催されたG7環境大臣会合に触れ、富山県とオレゴン州が環境保全の政策で世界をリードするために、さらに強いパートナシップで結ばれることを願うと述べました。その後、クリス・ハーダー局長が訪問団の皆さんを紹介し、メトロ審議会のトム・ヒューズ代表の乾杯でレセプションが始まりました。富山の料理や地酒が振る舞われ、楽しい歓談とともに、富山の伝統文化である「おわら風の盆」の披露も行われました。

この訪問によって、富山県とオレゴン州の友好関係がさらに緊密なものになりました。そして、翌日の14日朝には、新しく開業した北陸新幹線で訪問団は東京に戻り、ミッションを続けました。これまでも述べてきたように、富山県とオレゴン州はこの25年間、有意義な交流を継続してきましたが、今後の25年がいっそう楽しみになりました!

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This past April 23 – 28, a delegation led by Mr. Hidetoshi Sunuma, Toyama Prefecture Public Enterprise Administrator, visited Oregon to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of sister-state relations. Among the visits made by the delegation were local companies such as Columbia Sportswear, Kokusai Semiconductor Equipment Co., and Ajinomoto Windsor, as well as the Portland Japanese Garden and vineyards at Rex Hill and Domaine Serene. During the delegation’s visit, several exchange projects and ceremonial events were held successfully; here is a brief report on some of the major events during the visit.

Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest
The delegation’s first order business was attending the 20th Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest, held on Sunday, April 24th at the World Trade Center in Portland. The speech contest is a program sponsored by Toyama Prefecture and organized with the cooperation of the Japan-America Society of Oregon. The contest encourages college and university students in their Japanese studies by providing an opportunity for students to hone their language ability and public speaking skills. Representing the Toyama delegation, Public Enterprise Administrator Mr. Sunuma and prefectural assembly member Mr. Seikichi Hienae joined the panel of judges.

IMG_1075Across two different divisions, 16 contestants shared their inspirational and thought inspiring experiences concerning themes of personal challenges, identity, future plans, and more. Toyama delegation members were deeply impressed by the language ability and quality of preparation of each participant. After the judge’s deliberation period, participants were recognized and selected contestants were awarded prizes for their excellent performances. This year’s winners included:

Level 1 (lower division):
1st: Lance Crafton, Willamette University
2nd: Graham Smith, Portland State University
3rd. Kateryne Velazco, Lewis and Clark College

Level 2 (higher division):
1st: Michaela Duffey, Linfield College
2nd: Peilin Linda Miao, University of Oregon
3rd: Alexandra Griffis, University of Oregon

The grand prize winner for this year was Michaela Duffey of Linfield College, who will be receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyama!

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After the winners were announced, a small reception was organized for participants, former participants, JASO members and related parties. In attendance was Consul General Kojiro Uchiyama of the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, who congratulated the participants and praised the Toyama-Oregon relationship for remaining active over 25 years.

25th Anniversary Celebration of Toyama-Oregon Friendship

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On April 26th, an evening reception was held in the Wells Fargo Center in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of friendship between Toyama Prefecture and the State of Oregon. The event brought together former exchange employees, members of local IMG_1276organizations such as JASO and the Shokookai of Portland, and other friends of Toyama. Starting off the evening, an address was given by Consul General Uchiyama, followed by delegation leader Mr. Sunuma. Representing the state of Oregon was Ms. Kristen Leonard, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, who gave a wonderful toast, followed by a Mr. Hienae, who finished the formalities with a kanpai.
Guests enjoyed music played on the koto while sampling the delicious food, a fusion made with ingredients local to Toyama and Oregon. Toyama favorites such as trout sushi, firefly squid and white shrimp were also available, and Toyama’s locally-brewed sake was available alongside Oregon beer and wine.
It was a very pleasant evening with new meetings and reunions of old friends; long-time Toyama supporters brought out photo albums, and old stories were told, and plenty of laughter was shared. At the end of the evening, Toyama delegation members were left impressed by how the sister-state relationship has touched the lives of so many people. It was an honor and a pleasure for our delegation to play a role in continuing this wonderful friendship!

Donations of the “Toyama Manga Collection”

In celebration of the educational exchange occurring between Toyama and Oregon, Toyama Prefecture donated collections of Toyama manga and books to two educational institutions that partnered with Toyama institutions for exchange programs, the International School of Beaverton, and Portland State University. Each collections contains nearly 200 volumes of manga and books whose authors are from Toyama, or are set in Toyama.

On April 26th, the delegation visited Portland State University, where the donation ceremony was held. Dean Cliff Allen and many faculty members and students of the School of Business Administration greeted the delegation warmly, and after introductions, the presentation ceremony of the Toyama Manga Collection was held. Afterwards, delegation leader Mr. Sunuma gave a short presentation on Toyama and overview of the prefecture’s activities to about 30 graduate students in the program. Students were particularly interested in the prefecture’s system of transferring employees between departments, which is somewhat different from the style seen in the US.
IMG_1228After fielding questions and thanking the students for their attention, we walked through the beautiful campus to the library, built around a venerable old tree. We toured the library and saw the stacks where the Toyama Manga Collection would soon be available for students to peruse. The group was very impressed at the comfortable and functional study areas, the library’s excellent resources, and its overall popularity with students.
Exchange between Portland State University and Toyama picked up last year, when a large group of students from Toyama Prefectural University participated in a short-term study abroad program. English is an important communication tool for Toyama students, and what better place to learn than Oregon, Toyama’s sister state? As some of the business administration students of PSU already know, Japanese language ability may prove to be a very valuable skill as well; as such, the delegation hopes to see continued partnership in education moving forward.

The following day, the delegation paid a visit to the International School of Beaverton, for the donation of the Toyama Manga Collection and a look at how Japanese language education forms part of the school’s culture. The International School of Beaverton officially formed a sister-school relationship with Toyama’s Kosugi High School in 2013, and this year short exchange trips have been held for small groups of students from both schools to visit each other.
IMG_1297Upon arriving at the school, the delegation was greeted by Principal O’Neill, and treated to a welcome performance by the school’s chorus. Afterwards, the official presentation of the manga collection was made, and a reception with tasty cookies was held. Many students of Japanese came to speak with our delegation members, who were happy to have the chance to speak to the students directly. As well, since the school has Spanish and Chinese programs, and a student body with many students from diverse backgrounds, the delegation enjoyed meeting many students and hearing about their experiences.
After the reception, the delegation was able to take a tour of the school, and was even allowed to sit in on the first part of Ms. Mikako West’s Japanese class. We were all very impressed by the student’s abilities and positive, relaxed attitudes toward learning. Later on during the tour, we were shown the library, where manga and books from Toyama will soon be color-coded and stacked alongside books in English, Spanish and Chinese. Some of the students were kind enough to explain their research projects to us, and show us what they were working on. As we left the school to continue with the day’s schedule, we felt inspired by the energy of the kids at the International School of Beaverton. Surely, the books donated by Toyama will be put to good use as the students continue their Japanese studies, and their interactions with their sister school here in Toyama.

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富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年訪問団
2016年4月23日―28日、富山県の須沼公営企業管理者を団長とする訪問団がオレゴン州に派遣され、様々な行事で友好提携25周年を祝いました。コロンビア・スポーツウェア本社やKokusai Semiconductor Equipment Co., 味の素ウィンザー社などの企業見学とともに、ポートランド日本庭園やワイナリーのRex HillとDomaine Sereneも視察しました。様々な会議と記念交流プロジェクトが行われた中から、主なイベントをここで報告します。

富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテスト
最初の行事として、訪問団が4月24日、ポートランド世界貿易センターにて行われた第20回の富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテストに参加しました。富山カップは、富山県が主催し、オレゴン日米協会の協力のもとに行うスピーチコンテストで、大学生が日本語学習に励み、言語能力と発表力の向上を図る機会となります。富山県の代表として、須沼管理者と稗苗議員が審査員のパネルに参加しました。

2つのエントリーグループに分かれた16人の参加者が観客の前に立ち、個人的な挑戦やアイデンティティー、将来の夢などの興味深いテーマについて、自分の経験を感情を込めて発表しました。訪問団のメンバーは、参加者の言語能力や良質なスピーチに深く感動しました。審査員の意見をまとめてから、各参加者を表彰、特に優れているスピーチには賞品を与えました。

コンテスト結果IMG_1112
レベル1 (学習歴が短い方)
1位 Lance Crafton, Willamette University
2位Graham Smith, Portland State University
3位Kateryne Velazco, Lewis and Clark College

レベル2 (学習歴が長い方)
1位Michaela Duffey, Linfield College
2位Peilin Linda Miao, University of Oregon
3位Alexandra Griffis, University of Oregon

今回の最優秀賞、そして富山県への研修旅行を勝ち取ったのは、Michaela Duffey (Linfield College)さんでした。おめでとうございます!
優勝者の賞品贈呈式のあと、参加者や前回の優勝者、日米協会を集めたレセプションがありました。在ポートランド領事事務所の内山総領事からご挨拶をいただき、参加者の努力を称賛するとともに、富山県とオレゴン州の25年間の揺るぎない関係も高く評価しました。

富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年記念交流会
4月26日の夜に、ポートランド市のウェルズ・ファーゴ・センターにて、富山県とオレゴン州友好提携25周年を祝うレセプションが開催されました。これまでの両県州に尽力したオレゴン州政府職員や富山県に派遣されていた元州政府職員、現地関係団体等の方々と親睦を図りました。内山総領事と富山県の須沼管理者の挨拶に加え、オレゴン州政府知事室長クリスティン・レオナード氏からも挨拶をいただき、稗苗県議会議員は乾杯の発声をしました。IMG_1274
琴の演奏を聴きながら、富山県とオレゴン州のフュージョン料理を堪能しました。富山県のシロエビやホタルイカ、地酒に加えて、オレゴン州の食材を生かした料理やオレゴン州産のワインやビールも振る舞われました。
会場は思い出話や笑い声であふれ、県州関係の歴史を語る写真アルバムも登場し、新しい出会いと友達の再会の場となりました。両県州の間、多くの方々が関わってきたことは、深く印象に残りました。富山訪問団の一員として、この素晴らしい関係に参加させていただいたことは、光栄に思っています。

とやまManga文庫贈呈式
富山県とオレゴン州の教育分野での更なる交流を図り、富山県と交流を進めている二つの教育機関(ポートランド州立大学、インターナショナル・スクール・オブ・ベーバトン)に「とやまManga文庫」を贈呈することにしました。各文庫は、富山ゆかりの漫画や小説約200冊を含みます。

4月26日に、富山県の訪問団は贈呈式が行われるポートランド州立大学に向かいました。クリフ・アレン大学院プログラム長のほか、国際経営管理学部の先生や院生に温かくお迎えしていただき、贈呈式が行われました。その後、富山県や県庁の活動について、大学院生30名程度に須沼公営企業管理者が講義を行いました。特に、定期的に異動がある日本の公務員制度については、アメリカの公務員制度と異なるため、興味を抱いたようでした。
質疑応答が終わり、キャンパスを歩き、大木の周りに建築された図書館に案内されました。図書館を見学し、とやまManga文庫が保管される本棚のほか、快適な学習スペースや図書館の充実した施設、生徒たちに人気な点が印象的でした。

昨年、富山県立大学の多くの学生がポートランド州立大学の短期留学プログラムに参加しました。富山の学生にとって、英語は大事なコミュニケーションツールで、富山県の姉妹州であるオレゴンは、その能力を磨くための最適な場所ではないかと思います。また、ポートランド州立大学の国際経営管理学部の学生にとっても、日本語能力が貴重なスキルになる可能性は十分あることから、今後とも、教育分野でのパートナーシップをさらに発展していきたいものです。

IMG_1299翌日に、インターナショナル・スクール・オブ・ビーバトン(ISB)にて、とやまManga文庫の贈呈式と学校での日本語教育の様子を見学しました。ISB校は、2013年に富山県の小杉高校と正式に姉妹関係を結び、今年も両学校間の生徒派遣が行われています。

IMG_1309ISBに到着し、ジル・オニール校長に迎えられるとともに、合唱部の生徒からの歓迎パフォーマンスもありました。贈呈式が行われた後、レセプションがあり、日本語を勉強している生徒たちが訪問団に日本語で自己紹介したり、学校のことを話してくれたりしました。学校では、日本語だけではなく、中国語とスペイン語のプログラムもあり、多彩なルーツを持つ生徒たちの思いや経験について聞くことは楽しかったです。
レセプションが終わり、ウェスト先生の日本語クラスを視察しました。先生はテンポよく問題を出し、生徒らは、間違えることを恐れず、積極的に発言、発表をし、和やかで活気ある雰囲気で授業が行われていました。最後に、図書館を視察し、富山の漫画文庫を設置する場所を見ました。英語、中国語、スペイン語の本の横に、多くの新しい富山の漫画が並ぶことは、生徒の日本語能力、そして富山への思いへとつながることを期待しています。

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(日本語版は英語版の下にあります)

Every year, in conjunction with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture sponsors a Japanese language speech contest for college and university students in the state of Oregon. The Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Students who compete will not only improve their Japanese and public speaking abilities, but also stand to win prizes, with the grand-prize winner getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyama Prefecture! The winner will spend a week enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful food of Toyama, as well as meeting locals and taking part in a variety of hands-on experiences. See JASO’s webpage for more details and information about how to register.

In order to give prospective participants an idea of what to expect, I am sharing the experiences of Lauren Inaba, the 2015 winner below. I hope that this serves as an inspiration and reminder; the next winner could be you!

I was able to tour the Nanto area with Lauren and Anya, the Russian winner of the Vladivostok Japanese Speech Contest, during their stay in Toyama this past September. We had a wonderful time visiting Zuisenji Temple, making our own Japanese paper, seeing the historic villages of Gokayama, and making our own toasted rice crackers! I asked Lauren to send me a review of her experience after her trip… Here it is!

How was the speech contest?

I entered the speech contest for the second time after my study abroad. The first time I had competed in the speech contest it was in a different division and it was more about the experience of doing a speech contest. This time I was more interested in hearing everyone else’s speeches. My speech was about one of my own experiences in Japan; I knew I wanted to speak about an experience that made me laugh, and have fun with the speech – I didn’t want to be serious the entire time if I didn’t have to be. I chose to speak about my first time at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, during the beginning of my study abroad. In short, I made a cultural mistake and got scolded by an older Japanese lady, who had mistaken me for a Japanese girl from Japan. It caused me to wonder about how differently the situation might have turned out if she had instead thought of me as a foreigner, and what it would have been like if I were a male.

First impression of Toyama

IMG_8573My first impression was when I saw the Toyama station on my first day. For some reason I had expected a smaller station and figured Toyama would be more country than city. However, what stuck out most in my trip to Toyama were my interactions with everyone and the conversations we had. Sometimes it was about differences between Vladivostok, Toyama, and Oregon, other times it was about topics such as the pros and cons of having the appearance of a foreigner in Japan compared to having the appearance of a Japanese.

I was aware that Japan is full of historic and beautiful places to see, and Toyama is no exception. Tateyama was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was able to compare the giant cedar trees to the giant redwood trees in Oregon. During my visit to Gokayama, I was impressed by the uniqueness of the gassho-style houses, and that it is the only World Heritage site in Japan that is maintaining not only a historically and culturally significant place but a lifestyle – people still live within the houses in the village and have been maintaining them, changing the thatching every twenty years. I became interested in doing things one could only do in Toyama, so I tried the white shrimp, the masuzushi, and even a bit of Toyama sake.

What was the highlight of the trip?

I have a hard time picking one highlight as I felt that there was a highlight from each day of my trip. I did enjoy spending a day with the students just walking around, talking and relaxing at Kansui Park after shopping in Toyama city. I am very glad I chose to do a home-stay during the trip. I had done a home-stay before, but talking until late into the night with my host mother about anything out of the blue and watching the news in the morning with my host father when I woke up too early were priceless moments to me.

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日本語を学んでいる方:チャンス!富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテスト

毎年、オレゴン州の日米協会と協力して、富山県はオレゴン州の大学生のため日本語スピーチコンテストを主催しています。富山県とオレゴン州の姉妹関係5周年の1996年から行われています。大学生にとっては、日本語能力とパブリックスピーキングを磨く機会だけではなく、素敵な賞品も獲得できるチャンスです。優勝者は、すべての経費無料で、一週間富山県の旅を楽しんでいただけます!富山の雄大な自然や美味しい食べ物、フレンドリーな人々、面白い体験が待っているので、ぜひスピーチコンテストに挑戦してみてください!スピーチコンテストの申込み方法などの詳細は、JASOのHPにてご覧ください。

IMG_8574スピーチコンテストがどのようなものか知っていただくため、2015年の優勝者ローレン・イナバさんの経験を皆様に報告します。今年、富山へ来たのはローレンさんでしたが、来年の優勝者はあなたかもしれません!?

私はローレンさんとロシア・ウラジオストク日本語スピーチコンテストの優勝者であるアンナさんとともに一日を過ごしました。富山県の名所瑞泉寺と世界遺産の五箇山合掌造り集落、和紙すき体験とせんべい焼き体験も楽しみました!ローレンさんの旅が終わった後、スピーチコンテストや富山の印象について、聞いてみました。

スピーチコンテストは、いかがでしたか?

留学をする前にも一度参加しましたが、留学を経てレベルの高い部門に再度応募しました。一度目はいい経験として、今回はほかの参加者のスピーチを聞くことにより興味を持ちました。私のスピーチは日本での経験話でしたが、重いテーマではなく、面白いものと決め、スピーチを楽しむことにしました。結果として、北野天満宮へ初めて行ったときの話をしました。要約すると、私は文化的に礼儀正しくないことを思わずやってしまい、日本人のおばさんに叱られたのです。そのおばさんは私が日本人と勘違いしていたようだったが、もし私が外国人だと分かっていたら、もし、私が男の人だったら、叱られなかったのではないかと、考えさせられました。

9.16写真②(j表敬後、北日本新聞社に依頼され提供)富山の初印象

私の初めての印象は富山駅でした。
富山はもっと田舎だと思っていたので、大きく、そして新しい駅に少しびっくりしました。また、富山でもっとも印象深かったのは、出会った人とその人との会話です。富山やオレゴン州、ウラジオストクの違いなど、色々と話し合いました。また、日本で生活すると、日系やアジア系の人は外国人と思われないこともあるようですが、そのメリットとデメリットについても、興味深い話を色々と行いました。

日本では歴史的で自然が豊富なところが多くあることは知っていましたが、富山も負けていません。立山は本当に綺麗で、大きな杉がオレゴン州の大きなレッドウッドを思い出させてくれました。五箇山では、独特な合掌造り集落に感動しました。人がまだこの世界遺産で生活を営み、屋根のかやを新しくする等、その歴史や文化を守り続けているのです。富山でしか味わえないものも食べたいと思い、白エビやますずし、富山の日本酒も堪能しました。


旅のハイライトは?

毎日ハイライトがあったので、一つに選ぶことはできません。富山の高校・大学生との買い物、散策、環水公園で話したことは楽しかったです。ホームステイもとてもよかったです。ホームステイは初めてではなかったのですが、ホストマザーと夜遅くまでお話ししたり、ホストファザーと朝のニュースを見たりするのは、素敵な経験でした。

forest grove

A delegation from Forest Grove, Oregon visited the Toyama Prefectural Office on July 24th

In the end of July, a delegation from the City of Forest Grove, Oregon visited the Town of Nyuzen, Toyama Prefecture, staying with local residents and paying a courtesy call to prefectural government officials during their visit. Forest Grove Mayor Peter Truax headed the delegation which also included City Councilors Richard Kidd and Malynda Wenzl, for a total of 13 distinguished members from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds.

The Sister Cities relationship between Forest Grove and Nyuzen dates back to 1988, with delegations hosted by members of each community almost every year. For several members of the delegation, this was not the first time to visit Nyuzen; several members mentioned that during their repeated visits, real friendship had blossomed over the years. This year’s delegation was in Toyama from July 22nd – 26th, staying with home stay families in Nyuzen, and also touring other areas in Toyama Prefecture, such as the Kurobe Gorge and various locations in the city of Takaoka.

Tim Rippe, Public Safety Advisory Commission Board Member, gave the following comment about his experience with the delegation:

“Our trip to Nyuzen and Toyama, Japan was informative, educational and fun.  I personally enjoyed experiencing the Japanese culture first hand by staying with my host family in Nyuzen.  The area is beautiful with much history and many cultural sites.  Everyone was friendly and helpful.  Someday I would like to return to the area to learn more about public safety issues and also spend more time in Toyama visiting history and art museums.  The trip was a very rewarding experience for me.”

For more information about the Sister City relationship, see Forest Grove’s webpage:

Auction

Experience an authentic fish auction at Shinminato fisherman’s wharf

At the Shinminato fisherman’s wharf in Imizu, the local fisherman’s association holds afternoon auctions at 1 p.m. daily. Toyama is one of only a few locations in Japan where the general public is allowed to observe auctions; the midday auctions at Shinminato are an excellent chance to take advantage of this authentic experience! Morning auctions, which begin at 5:30 a.m., mostly feature fish caught using the fixed-net system, a traditional trademark of Toyama Bay. At afternoon auctions, on the other hand, bidders compete over shrimp, crabs and shellfish brought in by small fishing boats which use dragnets, basket traps and other fishing methods. Visitors can take in the auction from the deck on the 2nd floor, which is reserved exclusively for observers.

crabs and white shrimp

    Red snow crabs at auction                                                                              White shrimp

Look no further for a selection of delicacies unique to Toyama!

After observing the auction, make your way to the Shinminato Kittokito Market, where you can sample the catch of the day at Kitokito-tei. Recognized as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Toyama Bay is well-known for high quality seafood. With fishing grounds located close to shore, the catch always arrives at the peak of freshness, and the faster it gets to your plate, the better it tastes!

Each season brings different Toyama specialties; here you will find some of the symbols of Toyama such as white shrimp, often called “the Jewel of Toyama Bay” and yellowtail, “the King of Toyama Bay”. You can also taste the mysterious bio-luminescent firefly squid, and other delicious treats such as red snow crab. Go for the full experience – see buyers compete at the lively auction, and taste Toyama’s famous seafood for yourself!

seafood sets

Shinminato Kittokito Market                   White shrimp sashimi set                      Imizu seafood set

*Observations are free of charge, but you must make a reservation by calling Shinminato Kittokito Market (assistance in Japanese language only, 0766-84-1233). Check in at the information counter by 12:45. Estimated time for observation is about 30 minutes. Be advised that cancellations may occur on days when fishing is impossible due to weather conditions. There is no observation on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Source article and pictures: Toyama Just Now  

*Consult the following pages for more information:

Midday auctions at Shinminato fishermen’s wharf

Shinminato Kittokito Ichiba (Japanese only)

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View from the Shinkansen platform at Toyama Station

Over two months have passed since the new bullet train line, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, began service in Toyama Prefecture. From Toyama Station, it now takes as little as 2 hours 8 minutes to arrive in Tokyo, and the amount of available seats has increased by almost 3-fold. The increased convenience of travel has been widely hailed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase business and tourism in Toyama, and bring renewed energy to the area.

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The new Shin-Takaoka Station

While long-term effects of the Shinkansen’s arrival remain to be seen, there have certainly been many visible changes to Toyama already: namely, the recently completed new train stations. Both Shin-Takaoka Station and Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station opened on March 14th, the same day that Shinkansen service began. Shin-Takaoka Station is serviced by Hakutaka trains, linking the area to Tokyo in roughly 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours, as well as the Tsurugi shuttle service which runs between Toyama and Kanazawa. A regular ticket between Shin-Takaoka and Tokyo will cost 13,060 yen. The station is located a few miles to the south of the Takaoka Station, and offers convenient access to Aeon Mall, one of the area’s main shopping centers, as well as Takaoka’s National Treasure, Zuiryuji Temple.

Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station features the Hakutaka, with service to and from Tokyo (11,340 yen) in as little as 2 hours 15 minutes. As the name implies, this station is perfect for those interested in bathing in the hot springs at Unazuki Onsen. Both Shin-Takaoka and Kurobe Unazukionsen are spotless, modern stations with gift shops featuring local food products, sake, traditional crafts and more. They have brought a feeling of excitement to their respective regions, with hopes that increased travel to the area will invigorate local business.

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Streetcars depart directly from Toyama Station

Toyama Station continues as a central junction of transportation in the prefecture; local lines are now run by Toyama Ainokaze Railway, with Japan Railways managing the Shinkansen. Kagayaki is the limited express which brings passengers to and from Tokyo in a little over 2 hours (12,730 yen), and the Hakutaka takes a little bit longer but is 500 yen cheaper. Toyama’s new station was also unveiled on March 14th, coinciding with the opening and renewal of several stores. The brand new marketplace Toyamarché and several other restaurants and souvenir shops are located right in the new station building. Another convenient aspect of the new station is that Toyama’s streetcars now pull directly into the station, making for easy transfer. Although the new station is open and operating, construction is not over; the north exit will continue to undergo renovations, eventually connecting streetcars on the north and south sides of the station.

Click here for a fairly comprehensive English language explanation of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. While the regular prices listed for the Hokuriku Shinkansen may seem a bit on the expensive side, it is worth noting that the Japan Rail Pass allows visitors to Japan to use the Shinkansen at no additional cost. With 1, 2 or 3 week passes available, this is by far the cheapest and easiest way for visitors to travel in Japan.

From Thursday, April 23 – Saturday, April 25, the Toyama General Manufacturing Industry Trade Fair 2015 was held in the Toyama Techno Hall, in Toyama City. The trade fair saw the State of Oregon Japan Representative Office participate for the first time, staffing a booth and giving a presentation.

The Toyama trade fair came shortly after Business Oregon held its annual Doing Business in Oregon seminar in Tokyo, in which a group of Oregon delegates traveled to Japan in order to promote the development of Japanese business in Oregon. Riding the momentum from that seminar, representatives from Business Oregon and the State of Oregon Japan Representative Office came to Toyama’s Industry Trade Fare, giving a presentation outlining the benefits of doing business in Oregon. Officials from Toyama Prefecture, including the Director of the International Affairs Division and I were in attendance for the presentation. It was a pleasure to see our friends from Oregon, and I certainly hope that exchange like this continues in the coming years!

The Toyama General Manufacturing Industry Trade Fair 2015 brought together exhibitors from around the world in the field of manufacturing technologies to promote economic exchange while introducing cutting-edge technology to visitors. Participants represented a broad spectrum of industries including machine tools, industrial machines, electronics, information technology, plastic molding, aluminum processing, textiles and pharmaceuticals.