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Tokushima LED Art Festival 2010

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Saturday, April 17 to Sunday, April 25

Welcome to Tokushima’s first ever LED Art Festival, an art exhibition held on the banks of the Shinmachi River and throughout the streets of Tokushima to celebrate one of Tokushima’s finest industrial resources.

Spread across 27 different locations, this large-scale exhibition features a huge body of work from professional artists as well as university students, representatives of the Nichia Corporation and more. Held with the aim of stretching LED-based artwork to its limits, each work offers its own unique style, combining light, shape and sound to make a mesmerising display. A truly must-see event.

The "Luminous Band Camp" by the Shinmachi Bridge

Being spread over so many locations, it might seem difficult to see all of them in one go. But this is not necessarily the case. For example, the Hyotan Jima River Boat Cruise is offering a special night-time course from 18:00-21:00 every day of the event. The cruise costs 100 yen for insurance, and lasts approximately 10 minutes, taking those on board to see the more spectacular displays on offer. Bicycle rental is also available for free from the Awa Odori Dance Hall during the hours of 9:30-21:00 upon presentation of an LED Art Festival coupon. Coupons are available on page 16 of the event’s program, available online for free, here.

The coupons can also be used to receive discounts at nearby tourist facilities:

Awa Odori Dance Hall
Daytime sessions of Awa Odori are discounted by 100 yen for adults and senior high school students, and 50 yen for junior high school students and below. Night-time performances are discounted by 140 yen for adults and senior high school students, and 70 yen for junior high school students and below.

Bizan Ropeway
Ropeway tickets are discounted by 200 yen for a round trip for adults and senior and junior high school students, and 100 yen for elementary school students and below.

Tokushima City Castle Museum
Entry is discounted by 60 yen for adults, 40 yen for senior high school students and university students, and is free for junior high school students and below.

Tokushima Zoo
Entry is discounted by 100 yen for adults and senior high school students, and is free for junior high school students and below.

An array of Valentine's Day presents displayed as LED Art.

Stamp Rally
A stamp rally is being held for the duration of the event. Here’s how to participate:

  1. Collect the stamps from all exhibition sites and mark them on the first page of the program.
  2. Take your completed sheet to the information desk on the Shinmachi Boardwalk.
  3. Show the staff and vote for your favourite exhibition.
  4. Receive a raffle ticket for LED-related goods.

The raffle will be held on Saturday, April 25 at the Tokushima Children’s Traffic Park in Tokushima City, between 18:00 and 19:00. Prizes include a set of LED candles, LED world clocks, desk clocks, tag lights and more, and the raffle will be accompanied by a variety of other events such as a mini concert, LED workshops and more.

For detailed information on individual exhibitions and events, please refer to the LED Art Festival Homepage or post a comment here!

Bizan Ropeway Discounts

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Good news for fans of Mt. Bizan or those looking for a cheap way to climb the mountain with family and friends. The Bizan ropeway is offering discounted tickets at 500 yen for adults for a round trip. In other words, a full 50% off the normal price!

But how?

This deal is for customers of Sogo, Amico, and the Tokyu Inn. If you make a purchase at either Amico or Sogo, or stay at the Tokyu Inn, take your receipt to the information counter on 1F for Amico, 2F for Sogo, or the front desk of the Tokyu Inn and you can get your ticket there.

That’s all there is to it, so happy shopping, and happy climbing!

Restaurant Reviews in Japan

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Feeling hungry? Looking for a good place to eat but not sure where to go? If so, then look no further than Wan Wan, a new website for restaurant reviews and your best friend for finding that someplace special.

Wan Wan has reviews for restaurants not only in Tokushima, but also in Ehime and Kyoto. Each review is accompanied by a literal swathe of photos and you can search for reviews based on your budget, the type of cuisine, and much more.

Not only that, but you can even add reviews of your own.

Check it out.

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.

Japanese Lessons @ TOPIA 2010

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The first semester of Japanese classes for 2010 will start at TOPIA this April. Students are welcome to register at any time from now until the end of the semester. Check the chart below for more details on specific classes.

Time: All classes are held from 10:30am to 12:00pm on their scheduled day of the week.

Where: The meeting rooms at TOPIA, on the sixth floor of the Clement Plaza, JR Tokushima Station.

Cost: There is a  materials fee of 1,500 yen for a semester of 20 classes. If there are only 10 or less classes in the semester then the cost is only 750 yen. However, all classes require the Minna no Nihongo  textbooks (2,500 yen), available for purchase at TOPIA at any time.

Tuesday – Elementary 3
Ms. Tamura
We will study reasoning, causative, passive voice, and honorific expressions.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 38.

Wednesday – General Group Lesson
A salon-style workshop where students can study freely according to their current level, needs or requirement.
Please buy Minna no Nihongo if you wish to use it.

Thursday – Elementary 1
Ms. Yamada
We will study various verb forms, and sentence patterns using those forms.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 14

Friday – Elementary 2
Ms. Aoki
We will study various verb forms, and expand our range of expression.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 26.

Saturday – Beginner
Ms. Motoki
We will take the first steps towards learning basic expressions, and study hiragana and katakana too. Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 1.

Saturday – General Group Lesson
A salon-style workshop where students can study freely according to their current level, needs or requirement.
Please buy Minna no Nihongo if you wish to use it.

Sunday – Elementary 2
JTM
We will study various verb forms, and expand our range of expression.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 26

Sunday – Beginner – Elementary 3 (Elementary 2 excluded)
Group Study
A class for those who are only able to participate on weekends. Chapters will be split into four groups according to level.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 1-25, and “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 36-50.

Also, a free Japanese class is held every Wednesday by Ms. Murasawa to teach basic vocabulary and kana in preparation for the elementary classes. You can turn up anytime without enrolling in the class.

Tokushima AJET Musical – The Lion King

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This year, the crew of Tokushima AJET tackle the famous Disney story The Lion King in this, their 16th annual English musical. Last weekend saw the opening shows at Ishii and Hiwasa held to great success and record audiences, and another three shows are planned over the coming weekends. Don’t miss this local rendition of the classic tale!

March 13 (Sat.)
Kitajima Sousei Hall
13:30-15:45

March 14 (Sun.)
Tokushima Prefectural General Education Centre
13:00-15:15

March 20 (Sat.)
Wakimachi Odeon-za
18:00-20:15

If you want to find out more about the musical, call TOPIA at 088-656-3303 and ask for Mario.

Christmas Illuminations

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The Christmas illuminations display at Kenchopia in front of the Tokushima Prefectural Government Office.

With Christmas only four days away, it’s time to bring in the annual Christmas illuminations displays. And Tokushima has no lack of these, so let’s take a look at a few of the more popular destinations in town.

Ikeda Fuyu no Obuje
The illuminations in Ikeda, Miyoshi City can be found near the JR Awa Ikeda Station and nearby parks. A few other buildings in town are also lit up during the end of year season, so if you have a car or other way of getting around town then it makes for a nice trip.

When: Now until Sunday, January 10, 2010, from 17:00-22:00.
Cost: Free!

Kenchopia
The yacht harbour in front of the Prefectural Government Office is one of Tokushima’s classic Christmas lights displays. Organised by the Tokushima Yacht club, the boats along the Shinmachi River area west of Kachidoki Bridge are decorated with an array of lights that make for a beautiful display on the water. The area is perfect for an evening walk or a date, but you might want to pick your moment as the wind can be a little strong near the water.

When: Now until Friday, December 25, from 17:00-23:00.
Cost: Free!

A heart-shaped display by the waterside at Kenchopia.

Anan LEDs
In a word, the display at Ushiki Joushi Park each year in Anan City is blinding. The hill here is literally covered in blue LEDs (including the stairs used to climb to its peak!) and it is a fascinating sight to behold.

Also keep an eye out for the Kirakira Dome, whose name was decided upon this very day! Literally translated as Sparkle Dome in English, this dome is made of over 38,000 LEDs and is programmed to display a variety of patterns to music.

In addition to the lights display, there will be a variety of events held from Wednesday, December 23 to Friday, December 25. On Wednesday, December 23 there will be a concert from 18:00-22:00 as well as other events, and on Thursday, December 24 there will be a Christmas Bridal Fashion Show from 19:00 and 20:00. Come have a look!

Where: Ushiki Joushi Park, Anan City
Cost: Free!

Astutamu Land Christmas Lights and Concert
This Wednesday, December 23, Asutamu Land in Itano is going to be the host for a Christmas Concert arranged by FM Tokushima. Featuring artists Kai Natsu, SHAKE and sasanqua, it is the perfect event for couples or even those looking for something special. The concert will be followed by fireworks, and there will be a large-scale illuminations display throughout the park.

When: Wednesday, December 23, from 17:30
Cost: Free!!!

Bunri University
While lesser known, the lights display at Bunri University in Tokushima City is simply stunning. Entire rows of trees are covered with blue LEDs that give the area an ethereal glow. Definitely worth a look!

When: Now until Friday, December 25, from 17:00-23:00.
Cost: Free!

Got any hidden spots for illuminations in the prefecture? Any power-surging houses in your street? Post them here!