Japan Supermarket Chains Launch Earthquake Relief Campaigns Japanese supermarket chains Daiei Inc. and Aeon Co. are offering their support to help rebuild areas affected by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake. Daiei launched a "Ganbaro Nippon!" ("Try Hard, Japan!") campaign in April 2011 to assist both disaster areas and people working for reconstruction. Daiei is also conducting a campaign called "Daiei Disaster Relief Week" during the week starting on the 11th of every month. During its campaign, Daiei will donate one percent of sales proceeds from all products (approximately 1,000 items) in its original brand, "Oishiku Tabetai!" (Want to enjoy meal!). On April 16 and 17, the company also held a product fair featuring local specialties gathered from the three Tohoku prefectures that were particularly devastated by the disaster, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, as well as products using raw ingredients from these prefectures. Daiei pledged to donate five percent of the sales proceeds from these fairs to disaster areas and victims. Aeon, meanwhile, held a "Ganbaro Nippon! Happy Yellow Receipt Campaign" from April 8 to 12. In the Happy Yellow Receipt Campaign, Aeon stores issue yellow sales receipts to their customers, who normally can then drop them in any of a number of nearby boxes labeled with the names and activities of different local volunteer groups. During this campaign period, however, only a box for disaster relief was provided. After adding up the total sales value of the receipts in the boxes, Aeon put one percent of that amount toward reconstruction assistance, donating it to the headquarters for disaster countermeasures in damaged prefectures.
Offshore Wind Farm Withstands Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Japan's first full-scale offshore wind power station, "Wind Power Kamisu" in Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture, was struck by a 6-intensity earthquake on the Japanese seismic scale and 5.0-meter tsunami wave during the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, according to the Japan Wind Power Association. Wind Power Iabaraki Ltd., the station operator, was forced to stop generation due to grid connection trouble caused by blackouts throughout the prefecture immediately after the quake. They resumed operation on March 14, however, because no damage was found in the system, and have been supplying electricity to Tokyo Electronic Power Co. ever since. Copyright Wind Power Ibaraki Wind Power Kamisu started full-scale operation in June, 2010, with seven wind turbine units installed 50 meters offshore from Minamihama in Kamisu. The station provides a total output of 14,000 kilowatts (kW) at a generating capacity of 2,000 kW per unit. Each wind turbine stands 60 meters above the sea and is fixed with three 40-meter-long blades. In addition to Wind Power Kamisu, nine onshore wind power stations along the coast of Kamisu facing the Pacific Ocean are operating 26 wind turbines at a combined generating capacity of 39,100 kW. Kamisu City's Policy Planning Division says that most units resumed operation within three days after the disaster because they escaped serious damage, and that those units have been running normally since then.
Japanese Electronics Companies Help out in Tohoku Sharp Corp. and Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co. produced a disaster-relief photovoltaic (PV) system and shipped their first cargo of the products to earthquake and tsunami disaster-stricken areas on March 31, 2011. This product is a stand-alone PV system combining Sharp solar cells with Shin-Kobe storage batteries and an alternating current (AC) power strip. With the electricity generated by the system, the people suffering in the areas can charge their cell phones, watch TV programs, and light up light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. With the cooperation of the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the PV systems are planned to be shipped by air from Komaki Air Base, Aichi Prefecture, to Matsushima Air Base, Miyagi Prefecture, and then by land transportation in Miyagi Prefecture. The plan is for the PV systems to be installed in the following locations: Kesennuma Fresh Produce Mart (Kesennuma City), Bayside Arena (Minami Sanriku Town), Higashi Matsushima City Hall (Higashi Matsushima City), Ishinomaki City Hall and others (Ishinomaki City). The companies intend to consider further support, appropriate to the local situations.
Panasonic Provides Life Innovation Container for Japan Earthquake Victims Panasonic Corporation, a leading Japanese electronics manufacturer, announced on March 29, 2011, that it would donate one unit of its Life Innovation Container for victims of the powerful earthquake that hit the northeastern part of Japan on March 11, 2011. Copyright Panasonic Corporation The Life Innovation Container -- a transportable unit equipped with solar modules, power storage batteries, and a power control unit -- was originally developed to supply electric power to areas with no electricity in Africa and other developing nations. It will be installed to support a local disaster task force at the Bay Side Arena in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, by providing power for communication facilities and equipment in the quake-hit area. Panasonic has already contributed 300 million yen (about U.S.$3,600,000) for disaster relief efforts and donated 10,000 units each of radios and flashlights, 500,000 dry batteries, and 4,000 solar LED lanterns. 'Solar Power Truck' Dispatched to Area Affected by Great East Japan Earthquake (Related JFS article)
Japan Appeals to Chinese Travelers Japan has announced that it will shorten its group visa approval process for Chinese travelers, starting July 1. This is part of an effort to boost tourism into the country after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Together with this new development, Japan has also announced that Chinese tourists will be able to visit Okinawa on multiple-entry visas, effective July 1. Chinese authorities are also doing their part to help Japan. On April 29, China’s National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have lifted their Japan travel alert. According to a report in eTurbo News, CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei stated at the Sino-Japan tourism seminar in Japan in early June that China will implement five specific measures to help prop up Japan’s struggling tourism industry. The measure include restarting group tours to Japan, opening Shanghai-Kagawa charter flights and restarting Shanghai-Ibaraki charter flights, inviting 100 children from Japan’s quake zone to south China’s Hainan Province for a short vacation and welcoming Japanese delegations to promote their tour routes and products. [Source: PATA]
Outdoor Japan TRAVELER - Summer 2011 Issue - Online Now! Check out the new issue of Outdoor Japan TRAVELER! The Summer 2011 issue hits the streets on July 1, but, now, for the first time, readers can enjoy the entire magazine online for FREE! Outdoor Japan TRAVELER Issue 40 - Summer 2011 http://www.outdoorjapan.com/oj40_summer2011
The Shirone Giant Kite Battle A stirring contest of soaring giant kites 2011 Dates & Times: June 2 (Thu.) – 6 (Mon.), 2011 13:00 - 18:00 Location: Nakanokuchigawa Riverbank, Minami-ku, Niigata-shi (Between the Takomibashi and Shironebashi Bridges) Access: From Tokyo: Joetsu Shinkansen Tokyo Stn → Niigata Stn. (1) Take bus from Niigata Stn. (Shirone Line) (60 minutes) Weekdays: Disembark at Gonochou. Sat. & Sun.: Disembark at Shirone Sho Mae or Kensei Byouin Mae (2)) Take bus from Niigata Stn. (Ajikata Line) (60 minutes) and disembark at Shirone Chu. ◎ What exactly is the Shirone Giant Kite Battle? niigataFrom opposing banks of the 80-meter wide Nakanokuchi River, a branch of the mighty Shinano River which runs through the City of Niigata, groups of 30 to 40 kite flyers assemble to fly gargantuan kites of a truly breathtaking scale. Measuring seven meters high, five meters across, and weighing in at over 50kg each, they soar across the river where they get entangled in the strings (actually ropes) of the opposing side, and crash into the water below. What follows is a do-or-die tug-of-war match, with hundreds of men, women and children throwing their backs into the effort to break the rope of the opposing team. Bystanders may be enlisted to join the struggle so be forewarned! The Shirone Giant Kite Battle has been around since the middle of the Edo Period (1603-1868). Held in early summer, this annual tradition has become a symbol of the season in Niigata’s Echigo Plain—weaving its way, across the centuries, indelibly into the fabric of life there. The western side fields seven teams of kite fliers while the eastern side has six. With each team making from fifteen to thirty kites, that makes for a total of 300 spectacular giant kites dancing in the skies. One Shirone Giant Kite also achieved a Guinness world record in March of 1980 when a kite of truly epic size, measuring 14 meters across by 19 meters high, and weighing 357 kilgorams, was flown for 13 minutes 32 seconds at an altitude of 120 meters. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Major Theodor Von Lerch Pennant The man who first introduced skiing to Japan, Major Theodore von Lerch of the Austro Hungarian Empire, observed the Shirone Giant Kite Battle in June 1911. Upon witnessing it, the awestruck Major Von Lerch declared it to be “a contest embodying Japan’s ancient martial spirit, Bushido.” He then bestowed a championship pennant upon the people of Shirone, thereby beginning the champion’s pennant system that is still followed today. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the pennant’s bestowal, the Austrian Ambassador has been invited to attend, and a host of related events have been planned. [Related Events] Restoration of the champion’s pennant, commemorative giant kite display, Welcome Reception for the Ambassador of Austria, commemorative giant kite battle, and the Yosakoi So Odori Dance and Shirone Odako taiko drum performance Shirone Kite Museum The Shirone Kite Museum is the largest kite museum on Earth, boasting rare kites from across Japan and the world. Relive the atmosphere of past kite battles in our 3D theater, build your own kites in our workshop and then test fly them in our custom-built wind tunnel. With a folklore archive available for browsing, the Shirone Kite Museum is a unique facility where you can learn and play. Location: 1770-1 Jogesuwanoki, Minami-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata-ken 950-1214 TEL 025-372-0314 FAX 025-372-0316 Shirone Giant Kite Battle Web sites Niigata City Minami Ward Shirone Giant Kite Battle http://www.city.niigata.jp/info/minami/ootako/index.html (In Japanese) Giant Kites & Fruits in Minami Ward Shirone Tourism Association http://www.shironekankou.jp/event/oodakogassenn.htm (In Japanese) Inquiries Industrial Promotion Division, Minami Ward Office, Niigata City 1235 Shirone, Minami-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata-ken 950-1292 TEL 025-373-1000 FAX 025-371-0200 URL: http://www.city.niigata.jp/info/minami
Fuji Shibazakura (Pink Moss) Festival The Fuji Shibazakura Festival is widely known as a signature event of Mt. Fuji. Shibazakura, literally lawn cherry blossom, is a small plant with pink flowers. Approx. 8 hundred thousand Shibazakura plants fill a 2.4 hectare area in the middle of the wilderness of Mt. Fuji. They have spread out and grown bigger in the last four years, and will be spreading out a brilliant colorful carpet again this year. You can enjoy the forest full of fresh green leaves, blue sky and Mt. Fuji. The contrast of the vivid hues of nature will be a world of color from spring to early summer. 【Date】: April 23 (Sat.) – May 29 (Sun.) 【Place】: Fuji Motosuko Resort 【Inquiries】: Tel: 0555-89-3031 Fax: 0555-89-3034 (Bureau of Fuji Shibazakura Festival) 【URL】: http://www.shibazakura.jp/index.html (Japanese only)
24-hour multi-lingual call center for overseas tourists To provide tourists from Japan and Foreign countries a safe stay in Okinawa. A 24hour multi-lingual call center has been set up for tourists to help ensure safe and convenient travel in Okinawa. Our multi-lingual staff answer questions in four languages. The phone numbers are as follows: 098-916-6180 (English) 098-916-6181 (Chinese) 098-916-6182 (Korean) *9:00-24:00 098-916-6183 (Japanese) Call from overseas: 81-98-916-6180 (English) 81-98-916-6181 (Chinese) 81-98-916-6182 (Korean) *9:00-24:00(JST) 81-98-916-6183 (Japanese) Okinawa2Go! Project http://www.okinawa2go.net/?lang=en