Congratulations to the winner of the 26th annual Toyama Cup!

On Saturday, April 23rd, Toyama Prefecture and the Japan-America Society of Oregon held the 26th annual Toyama Cup. The speech contest was held online for the third year in a row, and Oregon or Southwest Washington-based students from the University of Oregon, Pacific University, Lewis & Clark College, Reed College, and Willamette University participated this year. The speech topics included theater, biculturalism, V-Tubing, the four seasons, and the upper division winner, Ada Martin from Willamette University, spoke on environmentalism and her experience with the recycling culture in Japan. Her interest in wanting to share Japan’s system of trash sorting and recycling to those in foreign countries showed through clearly in her speech, and we hope to welcome her to Toyama soon and share even more about life in Toyama and Japan as a whole. Congratulations to Ada and to all the other participants of the 26th Toyama Cup!

In addition to the competition, Toyama Prefectural JET Programme participants, including two former ALTs from Oregon, introduced their favorite parts of the prefecture, their experience on JET, and how they were able to use their Japanese to secure jobs in Japan. Finally, a networking session between contest participants, JETs, and members of the community from both sides allowed for a discussion on furthering the Toyama-Oregon relationship.

Every year, Toyama Hot News publishes an issue about the winner’s stay in Toyama, and we will do the same this year! For more information about the Toyama Cup, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

The 25th Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

Every year, in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture holds the Toyama Cup, a speech contest for university students studying Japanese in Oregon and SW Washington. The winner of the highest level contest is awarded a week-long visit in Toyama by the prefectural government. This year’s Toyama Cup will once again be held online, which means that subscribers to the Toyama Hot News newsletter can watch the event live and support Toyama-Oregon friendship no matter where they are! Sign up at the following link:

Japan-America Society of Oregon – 日本語スピーチコンテスト「第25回富山カップ」視聴申し込み (wildapricot.org)

Date: April 24 2021 from 4pm to 7pm (Oregon Time)

Location: Online using zoom

Spaces: 15

Every year, Toyama Hot News publishes an issue about the winner’s stay in Toyama, and we will do the same this year! For more information about the Toyama Cup, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

Cosmos Flowers in Tonami

Tonami City is famous for its tulips, but every fall, cosmos flowers brighten the slopes of the Tonami Yume no Taira ski resort. Many families from around the prefecture come see this beautiful spectacle. With over a million flowers and stunning views of the Tateyama Mountain Range and Toyama Bay, the Cosmos Watching event is a must-see every year.

Toyama Hot News Update

Here is a quick update about the Toyama Hot News Blog!

In addition to information about international exchange and relations with Oregon, I will also be posting very short articles about hidden places to see and things to do in Toyama Prefecture! This blog will be updated minimum twice a month. Feel free to leave comments about what you would like to see posted in the future!

 

The winner of the 23rd Toyama Cup visited Toyama!

Every year, in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture holds the Toyama Cup, a speech contest for university students studying Japanese in Oregon and SW Washington. The winner of the highest level contest is awarded a week-long visit in Toyama by the prefectural government.

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Lewis and Clark College’s Ronan Hall won this year’s Toyama Cup and stayed in Toyama Prefecture for a week in early July. She paid a courtesy visit to the Director-General before embarking on a trip that showed her some of the beautiful sites of our prefecture.

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She visited the Kurobe Gorge and Gokayama, but also got to interact with students at Toyama Prefectural University, and even participated in a summer festival in the neighborhood where she was staying with her host family.

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We hope that Ronan’s experience will drive exchange between Toyama and Oregon, and we look forward to welcoming the next speech contest winner!

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For more information, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

The Oregon Booth at the JET World Festival 2019 and the 23rd Toyama Cup

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.5 edition (March 22, 2019) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Oregon Booth at the JET World Festival 2019

Every year, Toyama Prefecture Coordinators for International Relations organize the JET World Festival, a festival focusing on international exchange and multicultural understanding, with the help of Assistant Language Teachers working in the prefecture. For its 24th edition, this year’s festival was held on February 17th at the Toyama International Conference Center.

The festival featured a stage with cultural performances, and international café with tea and snacks, a kids’ corner, a multicultural experience workshop area, and most of all, the international booths, where volunteers introduced the diverse places they are from. This year’s international booths once again featured the Oregon booth, where Corvallis-native and 4th year ALT Anthony proudly showcased his home state to the over 700 visitors. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce Oregon, Toyama Prefecture’s sister state, to residents here.

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The families and students who came to the booth learned about how Toyama and Oregon both have active outdoor scenes and magnificent natural environments, with Anthony introducing many of the beautiful sights through pamphlets, maps, and the “Only Slightly Exaggerated” video from Travel Oregon. He also talked about the thriving craft beer industry in Oregon, and contrasted it with how that industry is growing here in Toyama.

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Anthony is one of the 5 ALTs from Oregon who are currently working in Toyama Prefecture through the JET Programme. Friendly relations with Oregon began in 1991 and since 1997, 42 JET Programme participants from Oregon have worked in schools and government around the prefecture.

Learn more about the Toyama JET World Festival here: https://toyamazing.wordpress.com/

The 23rd Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

Every year, in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture holds the Toyama Cup, a speech contest for university students studying Japanese in Oregon and SW Washington. The winner of the highest level contest is awarded a week-long visit in Toyama by the prefectural government. Every year, Toyama Hot News publishes an issue about the winner’s stay in Toyama, and we will do the same this year! For more information about the Toyama Cup, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

The winner of the 2018 Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest visited Toyama Prefecture!

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.3 edition (October 9, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Toyama Cup is a Japanese speech contest held every year in Portland in cooperation with JASO (the Japan-America Society of Oregon) to recognize the fruits of Oregon students’ Japanese studies. It first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Jack Glenn from Willamette University won the Grand Prize for this year’s 22nd Toyama Cup, held on April 22nd. His prize included a week-long trip to Toyama where he visited the many sites that make our beautiful prefecture famous.

 

Jack’s stay in Toyama lasted from July 22nd to July 29th and he visited the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, as well as the Historic Villages of Gokayama World Heritage Site.

Courtesy Call

On July 23rd, Jack visited the Prefectural Government Office and paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Kurahori, Director-General of the General Policy Bureau. We hope that he will use his experience here in Toyama to become a bridge between Toyama and Oregon, as well as between Japan and the United States. As a symbol of this hope, Director-General Kurahori conferred Jack the title of “Toyama Honorary Friendly Envoy.”

Kurobe Dam

After his stay in Toyama, Jack said that he would never forget the spectacular scenery of the Tateyama mountain range and the Kurobe Dam, and that the Toyama Bay Sushi was the best tasting seafood he had ever had in his life. According to him, Toyama has many experiences that simply cannot be had in Tokyo or Osaka, and since it is packed with all of the things that make Japan great, everyone should visit Toyama at least once in their lifetime.

Gokayama Washi

We hope that Jack’s experience will drive exchange between Toyama and Oregon, and we look forward to welcoming the next speech contest winner!

For more information, please visit http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

Photo Source: Toyama Speech Contest Winners

The 2018 Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.2 edition (June 18, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Toyama Cup is a Japanese speech contest held every year in Portland in cooperation with JASO (the Japan-America Society of Oregon) to recognize the fruits of Oregon students’ Japanese studies. It first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Jack Glenn from Willamette University won the Grand Prize for this year’s 22nd Toyama Cup, held on April 22nd. His prize includes a week-long trip to Toyama where he will visit the many sites that make our beautiful prefecture famous. Jack will be coming in July, and join the many other Grand Prize winners who have made the trip from Oregon to Toyama over the years, continuing to build the bridge of friendship between our two regions. We look for new participants every year so if you happen to know someone who would be interested, encourage them to apply next year! For more information, please visit the JASO website here.

These last few months in Toyama

In October 2017, the state of Oregon held a trade mission to Asia, led by Governor Kate Brown and Alexis Taylor, director of the Department of Agriculture. The trade mission’s objectives were to create and maintain precious relationships across the Pacific Ocean. During this trade mission, a “Friends of Oregon Reception” was held in Tokyo on October 11th. As Oregon’s sister-state for over 25 years, Toyama Prefecture sent Public Enterprise Administrator Hidetoshi Sunuma as well as International Affairs Division section manager Kawamura and myself to greet the Oregon mission.

Photo with the governor

Mr. Sunuma was able to have short discussions with Governor Brown, as well as Chris Harder, the director of Business Oregon, and Amanda Welker, Global Strategies Officer for Business Oregon. The reunion was warm and friendly, reflecting the relationship between the sister states. The reception featured food from Oregon, and all the participants received bottles of wine from a Willamette Valley vineyard.

 

During the reception, Mr. Sunuma had the opportunity to talk about the Toyama Museum of Art and Design that had opened on August 26th, 2017 in Toyama City, overlooking Kansui Park. Affectionately called TAD, the brand new museum features a world-class modern art collection with pieces from Picasso, Miró, and Toulouse-Lautrec,104006_05 as well as design collections, from posters to chairs. TAD is also home to the Onomatopoeia Rooftop, a collection of play equipment for children designed by Taku Satoh, inspired by the sounds used in onomatopoeias. The museum is an architectural marvel, and its wide glass windows give a panoramic view of the breathtaking Tateyama mountain range.

 

TAD’s first opening exhibit was called “LIFE-In search of paradise,” and explored the meaning of life in 8 chapters: Innocence, Love, Daily Life, Emotions & Ideas, Dreams, Death, Primitive, and Nature. This exhibit included powerful works from around the world, and my favorite was March of the Clowns by American artist Albert Bloch.

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The second opening exhibit just came to a close and was called “Art and Design, dialogue with materials.” Focusing on art and design, this exhibit included a piece called COLOR OF TIME by French architect and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux, which became extremely popular on Instagram, with its hallway of colored digits. This event also coincided with the International Hokuriku Kogei (artisan crafts) Summit and showcased some of the works submitted to its Worlds Kogei 100 competition.

 

Kogei, which roughly corresponds to artisan crafts in Japanese, have always been a very important part of the history of Toyama. Takaoka Metalware and Inami Woodcarving are some of the more famous crafts in Toyama Prefecture, but one cannot forget Shogawa Woodturning, Ecchu Washi (traditional Japanese paper), and Takaoka Lacquerware. These time-honored traditional crafts and techniques are still alive and well, and the International Hokuriku Kogei Summit held in Toyama honored that sentiment.

 

On November 30th, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry designated Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hats as a traditional craft. These hats were made in the area centered around Fukuoka, a town in what is now Takaoka City, starting in the 15th century, and were used all over the country by farmers seeking protection from rain and sunlight. Today, 80 people still create these sedge hats but most are in their 70s and 80s, worrying about the lack of apprentices who would be able to continue the tradition.

 

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Kogei and the Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hats still have a future. “This national designation as a traditional craft is not just a decoration,” asserts Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hat Promotion Association Chairman Satoshi Takata. “It means that the country has endorsed this craft as deserving to thrive. I want us to use this opportunity to challenge ourselves to develop new products and find new markets. We will evolve, taking into account the times and the demand, while protecting the good things about traditional techniques.”

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Finally, on a personal note, I was able to meet officials from Oregon for the first time during the trip to Tokyo for the Friends of Oregon Reception. I hope to one day visit the state, and I am looking forward to helping relations between Toyama and Oregon in the future!

 

Source (Reference Articles and Photos): Toyama Just Now (818, 838)

 

 

Oregon Delegation Visit to Toyama

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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!