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The Nankai Ferry

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For those planning a trip to mainland Japan, the Nankai Ferry connecting Tokushima and Wakayama might not be their first choice of transport. But there are many merits to taking the ferry that warrant it a second look.

Perhaps most importantly, a trip by ferry offers a quick journey of just two hours in either direction, making it faster than both the highway buses and travelling by car. This is especially important during peak hour traffic when congestion in the Kobe and Osaka areas can tend to cause long delays in travel. Not so for the ferry, which bypasses all of this for a smooth trip from A to B no matter the situation on the roads.

Another advantage is that the ferry ports are strategically placed in some of the most well-connected areas of their respective prefectures. The port in Tokushima City is a quick bus ride from Tokushima Station and then to a variety of locations both in and outside the prefecture. Meanwhile, the port  in Wakayama sits right next to a train line that heads directly to Namba in Osaka, and connects to the train to Koya-san for those on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

The Nankai Ferry "Tsurugi" as it passes by Awaji Island.

The ferry also allows for a level of comfort not enjoyed by other methods of transport. Passengers have plenty of space to lie down and take a nap while aboard, or go for a walk around the ship and even get a drink or a bite to eat! Combined with a set of three televisions throughout the deck, the two hours you spend on board will pass by very quickly.

Last but not least, good news for those wanting to drive while they’re abroad. For an additional charge you can take cars, motorbikes and other vehicles on board. Yet another opportunity to take a rest from driving or riding and save up your energy before you hit the other side. But be careful, as you need to make a reservation for vehicles, so call ahead in advance to let them know you’re coming.

Of course, taking the ferry is not without its downsides. Rough weather can sometimes force the boats to remain in port (although the bridges connecting Shikoku to mainland Japan are sometimes closed for the same reasons) and those susceptible to motion sickness can feel a bit queasy when the seas are choppy. But on the whole, the ferry is a very handy method of transport for those heading across the seas to mainland Japan. Next time you’re planning a trip, why not give it a go?

Ferry Times:

Tokushima – Wakayama
3:25 – 5:25
5:55 – 7:50
8:15 – 10:10
11:00 – 13:00
13:30 – 15:40
16:35 – 18:35
19:00 – 21:05
22:00 – 24:00

Wakayama – Tokushima
2:40 – 4:50
5:50 – 7:45
8:30 – 10:30
10:50 – 13:00
13:40 – 15:50
16:30 – 18:30
19:20 – 21:20
21:35 – 23:25

Tickets cost 3,800 yen for a round trip for adults, and 1,900 yen for elementary school children and below. Prices for vehicles differ according to the size of the vehicle, but a concise price list, along with directions on how to get to the ports and other information can all be found on the Nankai Ferry Homepage at the following address: www. nankai-ferry.co.jp.

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Chifure Cosmetics

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Long time, no see, everyone!
It’s Lady Sudachi here.

The weather has gotten progressively colder and winter is now right at our doorsteps.

At this time of year the air can get very cold and dry, and it can be very harsh on women’s skin.

Why not make use of your time in Japan to try some of the local brands.

There are many well-known brands, but this time I’d like to introduce you to a brand called ‘Chifure’.

Chifure is one of the more inexpensive brands of cosmetics on the market right now, but it has a surprisingly high quality behind its low cost.

Chifure products cost around 1,000 yen at their most expensive and you can get many basic types of cosmetics for just 600 yen. They are scent-free and use no artificial coloring, and are known for being gentle to your skin. What’s more, the labels are clearly marked with the date of production and the ingredients so you know exactly what you are using.

Chifure products are also environmentally friendly. Once you buy a certain product, you can use the same bottle it comes in by simply buying refill packs. Refills are even cheaper than the original, bottled products, so you can make a saving here as well.

Chifure is a very easy brand of cosmetics to use and can be helpful for those who aren’t sure which brand to go with or who are looking for something light and easy to carry while on a trip.

In Tokushima, you can buy Chifure products from the seventh floor of the Sogo Department Store in Tokushima City. Most other general drug stores stock their products as well.

Please give it a go!

They even have an English website:

www.chifure.co.jp/en/index.html

Also, a more full description of products is available for those who can read Japanese.

www.chifure.co.jp/brand/chifure/index.html

Examples)

Cleansing Oil 220ml 735 yen (Refills – 630 yen)
Face Wash 150g 420 yen
Skin Lotion (Moist Type) 150ml 578 yen (Refills – 473 yen)
Moisturizer 50g 735 yen (Refills – 630 yen)
Foundation 840 yen (w/case) (Refill – 525 yen), Sponge 168 yen
Lipstick case 105 yen、Lipstick (Refills) 315 yen

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese

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The Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese is having a New Members’ Special Offer!

Join now to be a member from September 2009 to the end of the calendar year 2010 for ¥8000.

You will receive the AFWJ Journal every two months, be eligible to join our members-only e-groups, and have to opportunity to attend annual convention weekends!  Recent events in Shikoku have included “The Tacky Tourist Round-Up” in Matsuyama; A Potluck Lunch and Egg Roll at Kagawa’s Sanuki Mannou Park; cherry blossom viewing at Matsuyama Castle; The Driving and Safety Remedial Course for Foreign Residents; as well as regular coffees and lunches in which we often exchange information, sometimes commiserate, and always laugh.

For more information, go to http://www.afwj.org/ or contact AFWJ’s Shikoku Rep. at afwjshikoku-rep@afwj.org

School Trips Postponed by Swine Flu

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An article about swine flu from the May 11 Tokushima Newspaper:

As the first case of the swine flu was confirmed in Japan, public schools in Tokushima postponed school trips one after the after. “It’s impossible to tell when a domestic outbreak might occur, and we have no choice but to take serious measures to ensure public safety,” said the Governor of Tokushima Prefecture Iizumi Kamon during a meeting on Sunday, May 10.

“While it isn’t good to be overly cautious, it is necessary to wait and see how the situation progresses,” the governor was also quoted as saying in regards to the swine flu being raised to phase six by WHO, a move that signifies it as a pandemic.

On Saturday, May 9 public schools in the prefecture were advised by a letter from the Prefectural Board of Education to postpone plans for school trips. In accordance with this, the next day a total of 52 primary and junior high schools, and ten high schools were reported as choosing to postpone their trips.

The governor also commented on the delay with which people  returning from trips to Mexico, the United States, Canada and elsewhere were reporting flu-like symptoms. “It only takes one infected person to create a potential disaster inside the prefecture. It is important that we have the correct information as soon as possible.”

If you experience flu-like symptoms within 10 days of returning from a trip abroad to a country where infections have been confirmed, please contact the Prefectural Health Promotions Division as soon as possible at 088-621-2228.

For those that require assisstance in communicating in Japanese, the staff at TOPIA can help interpret for you. Please contact the office at 088-656-3320.