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News & Notes

Old steam locomotive chugs through snowy Hokkaido

May 20 (Thu ), 2010

Old steam locomotive chugs through snowy Hokkaido      The annual run of an old steam locomotive started in Hokkaido recently with tourists treated to the sight of the smoke-billowing train whistling its way through a snowy wetland in the northernmost main Japanese island.      Hokkaido Railway Co. operated the locomotive over the weekend between Kushiro and Kawayu-Onsen stations, drawing many train enthusiasts alongside the tracks, and will run it between Kushiro and Shibecha stations from Jan. 30 to March 7 in the Kushiro Wetland.      ''It's very powerful. I still remember I used to get covered with soot when I rode it,'' a 75-year-old local photographer said. -Kyodo

Panel issues report on enhancing 'ryokan' info for foreign tourists

May 20 (Thu ), 2010

Panel issues report on enhancing 'ryokan' info for foreign tourists <!-- start -->        A Japanese governmental panel has compiled a report on ways to make Japanese-style ''ryokan'' inns more convenient and comfortable for foreign tourists by providing various information in foreign languages and employing online images and animation.      The outline of the report, which was presented Friday by the Japan Tourism Agency panel, proposed that commonly used systems for accommodation and other services at Japanese-style inns be introduced to foreigners in easily understandable ways.      For instance, the report says that foreign visitors often face difficulties learning about traditional bathing customs at hot springs and many believe ryokans are expensive because they normally charge for one night stays with two meals.      The panel emphasized the need to distribute information in foreign languages, specifically Chinese and Korean, to boost the number of tourists from East Asia.      ''The demand among foreign tourists is potentially high for use of ryokans as a place to experience forms of Japanese culture,'' the report said. It also urges the government to hire foreign trainees and students living in Japan as interpreters at the inns.      The panel also called for improvements to the system under which accommodation facilities in Japan are registered as ''international hotels'' if they meet certain standards, including being able to provide customer services in English.      Hinting that the system does not sufficiently cater to the needs of foreign tourists, the panel said a review of the standards is necessary. -Kyodo

Summer Deals at Hokkaido Tracks Holidays

May 19 (Wed ), 2010

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Spring Bazaar at HIS

Mar 02 (Tue ), 2010

Spring Bazaar at HIS   Hokkaido International School will be holding its annual Spring Bazaar on April 10th (Sat.), from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  There will be international foods and a flea market, as well as games and entertainment - come out and enjoy the fun!  Vendors can join the flea market to sell clothes, toys, books, handicrafts, etc. A rental/display space (about 1.5 x 2 m, indoors) costs 2,000 yen.   Please email coordinator Kristin Dixit at dixitkristin@hotmail.com to reserve a flea market space - the deadline is April 8th (Thurs.).    Location: Hokkaido International School, Toyohira-ku, Hiragishi 5-jo, 9-chome, 1-55 -- a 6-minute walk from Sumikawa Subway Sta. on Namboku Line. Please use public transport (except for flea market vendors), as parking is extremely limited.  Tel: 011-816-5000

OJ Community Message Board

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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Go for the green!

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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Resort Property in Japan

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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Get your daily supply of OJ!

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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Visit Outdoor Japan on Facebook

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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Check out OJ on Twitter

Feb 22 (Mon ), 2010

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