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Today's Contents:

1. The first bits: Hadaka Matsuri, Ume Blossoms, Discount Rail tickets, Skiing in Hakuba and Gifu Ken, New format Acceleration Program, Online Dictionary
2. Course information.
3. Student Interview: Jiraporn Supachartkaisorn (Thailand)
4. Japan Guide: Horyuji Temple
5. About The Yamasa Institute for Japanese Studies
6. Subscription Information


1. The first bits.

(a) Things to do:

  • Hadaka Matsuri takes place in Inazawa City on Sunday February 24th. The "Naked Festival" is held annually at Konomiya shrine in Inazawa. The festival centers around the shin-otoko, who is shaven from head to toe and confined to the shrine a few days before the festival is scheduled to begin. On the day of the fesitval he is released and runs from one part of the shrine to the other whilst men dressed in loincloths (sarashi) try to touch him for good luck. A bizarre festival, but one that would be worth a look. To get to Konomiya shrine take the Honsen line (Meitetsu) from Nagoya station to Konomiya station, or take the JR Tokaido Honsen to Inazawa. There should be a lot of people going so just follow the crowd. The climax of the festival will be at around 16:00 - 17:30 on the 24th.

  • Ume Blossoms: February is the month for the plum (ume) blossoms which bloom from mid February to late March. In and around Nagoya there are a number of places where you can see these pink or white blossoms - Nagoya Castle, Nagoya City Nogyo Center (take the Tsurumari line to Hirabari station and then a city bus to Araike), and Sori-ike in Chita City (take the Meitetsu Tokoname line to Asakura station and then a local bus to Sori-ike).

  • Okazaki International Association bowling competition: On Saturday February 23rd at Okazaki Grand Bowl from 10:00am will give you a chance to put your ten-pin bowling skills to the test against some of the best (and worst) that Okazaki's International Association has to offer. Although the application deadline was February 6th there may still be places available. The cost is 1,000 Yen and more information and reservations can be made through 0564-23-6644.

  • Ieyasu Parade: If you want to take part in one of the biggest festivals of the year in Okazaki on Sunday April 7th then you'll have to be quick! Up to 19 people can take part in the Okazaki International Association's group. Dress up in traditional samurai costume and take part in a mock battle on the banks of the river Otogawa. There is no charge and all you need to do to sign up is to call the OIA office on 0564-23-6644 or email oia@mte.biglobe.ne.jp. The application deadline is Wednesday February 27th.

  • Cafe Broome party: Another night of heat at Okazaki's premier night spot on Saturday 16th of Friday from 7:00pm to Midnight. For more information call (0564) 28-6777 (in Japanese) or come to the International Office. Broome is located on the second floor of the Shipue Building 1-34 Zaimoku-Cho on the next street along from Cibico department store. Go past Cibico (you will see Tokai bank on the right hand side) and take a left turn at the next intersection, continue about 500 yards and you will see Broome on your right.

    (b) Discount Rail, Universal Studios and Disneyland Tickets:

    Travel in Japan can be expensive, but if you plan your schedule well you can save a fortune with the seishun ju-hachi kippu. This is on sale again from February 20th to March 31st for use between March 1st and April 10th. The ticket costs 11,500 Yen and can be used on all JR lines throughout Japan, over a five day period or for five separate one day trips. The ticket can be purchased from your local JR ticket office.

    JR hasn't stopped with the ju-hachi kippu but is also providing discounts on the entry fee and travel from Nagoya (by Shinkansen!) to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Tokyo Disneyland. The higaeri holiday kippu for USJ is available on weekends and national holidays - the price of the ticket is 12,900 Yen and includes return travel from Nagoya and entrance fee to USJ. The tickets for Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea cost from 24,980 Yen for a one day pass and return travel on either the kodama or hikari shinkansens. It is recommended that reservations are made in advance. The tickets for both these these theme-parks can be purchased from all major travel agencies or at Nagoya station's midori-no-madoguchi.

    (c) Ski-ing:

    The first ski trips of the year to Hakuba were successful (no broken legs or serious injuries!!) and Declan will be taking another party for the final trip of the season on March 15th. A small group will be travelling to the resort of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture and, if they are beginners, will receive ski or snowboard lessons (FREE!) from the renowned downhill expert. For those who don't need lessons you are cordially invited to attempt the Super G course (one ski only, no stocks, helmet optional). Snowboarders are also welcome.

    The cost of the trip is 20,000 Yen and this includes:

  • transport to and from Hakuba from your accommodation,
  • 1 day ski lift pass for Saturday,
  • 2 nights accommodation (Friday and Saturday) just 100 meters from nearest gelande - night skiing possible,
  • breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and dinner on Saturday evening.

    (Doesn't include: Ski equipment hire, meals on Friday evening or lunches or Sunday lift pass).
    The tour will be leaving on March 15th and return on Sunday evening (17th).

    Please come to the International Office in Aoi Hall for more information on ski equipment hire prices and to make reservations/payments. Places are limited for all dates and are allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis, so make sure you book early!

    If you would prefer to take a day-trip to go ski-ing then the special offer that JR (Japan Railways) is running in conjuction with Ciao Ontake Snow Resort would be for you. For just 6,000 Yen you can get return travel from Nagoya station to the resort in Gifu Prefecture and a one day lift pass. You should be able to ski for about 6 or 7 hours. Check out http://www.ciao.co.jp for more information on prices and other deals available. Having been there a few weeks ago, I can recommend this resort as it was easy to get to and efficiently run. Beware, however, if you are an absolute beginner there are no drag lifts for access to the nursery slopes.

    (d) Online Kanji Dictionary now accessible:

    On Thursday 17th of January the programmers in the back office released the test version of Yamasa's OCJS Online Dictionary. This dictionary is published in English, Chinese (Traditional), Spanish, Korean, German and Czech and includes both a word dictionary and a Kanji dictionary in an online database. At the moment the only version you will be able to see is the test version, so the server will be very slow. It will give you a good idea of some of the resources that the OCJS project has been working on over the last 18 months, so if you have the time have a look at:

    http://www.yamasa.org/ocjs/kanjijiten/index.html

    (e) New format Acceleration Program:

    From April 2002 the Acceleration Program will change from the existing format and be split into two new formats:

  • Format 1 will have 28 classes per week, 20 classes of grammar based Japanese lessons concentrating on reading and writing skills, with 4 elective classes targetting weaknesses, and 4 CALL seminar classes concentrating on Kanji recognition and listening skills.

  • Format 2 will have the same of classes per week as Format 1 (28), but there will be 23 classes of grammar based Japanese lessons concentrating on conversation skills and 5 CALL seminar classes concentrating on Kanji recognition and listening skills.

    (f) Radio Show:

    Radio Show

    Joseph Huang and teachers in FM Okazaki studio
    FM Okazaki

    Only just over a month to go before Joseph Huang (AIJP) finishes his time as D.J. on FM Okazaki. If you are currently a student at Yamasa and have a good level of conversational Japanese (around Level 2 of the JLPT) then there may be an opportunity for you to take over from Joseph from April. If you would like to appear on it let the FM Okazaki staff know as soon as possible.

    If you would like to request a song, make a dedication or send Joseph a message to be read out during his show please come to the International Office or fax Joseph directly on 0564 55-8764 (make sure you include his name and your own name on the fax).

    (g) Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) lessons:

    Nowadays most Japanese people use pencils, pens and often computers to write letters and documents. But the art of shodo (calligraphy), where an ink-dipped brush is used to create Chinese kanji and Japanese kana characters, remains a traditional part of Japan's culture. If you would like to learn more about shodo then come to the Student Village every Monday night at 7.00pm - 8.00pm where Kato Erina sensei will be taking a shodo lesson. There is no fee (if you would like to buy a shodo writing set then this can be purchased for 1,500 Yen) and anybody is welcome to join. Please come to the International Office before Thursday if you wish to register to take part.

    (h) Jobs:

    A local company is interested in hiring a Japanese speaking foreigner with marketing experience to work as product manager handling a major project. The product range is from a major european manufacturer. The successful applicant should be degree qualified, fluent in English, have Japanese proficiency of upper intermediate or higher (equivalent of Level 2 minimum) and be committed to work for minimum of 2-3 years. For details contact Admission Coordinator at the International Office.

    Recruitment ongoing for the following positions at Yamasa:

    see http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/careers.html for details and other vacancies, and contact careers@yamasa.org if you are interested in applying. Most are connected with web publishing and translation. Study Japanese for free in exchange for part-time work in the International Office. These are ongoing positions - we need people all year round, so please contact us if you are interested in positions later in the year as well.

    (i) Other bits:

    Admissions Coordinator, International Office
    The Yamasa Institute - Aichi Center for Japanese Studies
    1-2-1 Hanehigashimachi Okazaki
    Aichi Japan 444-0832

    Tel: +81 (0) 564 55 8111
    Fax: +81 (0) 564 55 8174 (admissions)
    Fax: +81 (0) 564 55 8113 (student affairs)
    Email: Admissions
    Email: newsletter@yamasa.org
    URL: http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/
    URL: http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/

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    2. Course Information

    Accommodation

    From January through to March Villa Studio Apartments 3 and 4 are full, Residence U and K are also full until April and Residence L is full until July 2002. There are a limited number of rooms available in the Student Village. Students applying for courses from January through to March and wishing to stay in accommodation which is currently unavailable will be placed on a waiting list. There are usually some last-minute changes, so check with Admissions for information or see the availability file for details. Please note that accommodation is not reserved until we have recieved the tuition fees for your chosen course in full.

    Accommodation in apartments in the annexe of the Rec World Hotel (near Daijuji Temple) will be used whenever Yamasa's accommodation becomes full. The prices for the "1K-Single" and "2K-Shared" room options have been discounted and are now the same price as the Student Village. For more information on the apartments in the Rec World Hotel annexe, please see the following pages:

    http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/hotel.html (for accommodation description)
    http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/tankisei.html (for price list of accommodation)


    Message from Housing Office: Please also note that it is extremely important that you rank your accommodation preferences clearly. Upgrades are possible in the event of cancellations - so if your first preference is a single room in the village, select "Village single" as first choice, "Residence U" as your second choice and so on.


    Long-term Courses:

    Student Visa: Applications for April 2002 and October 2002: Applications for the student visa beginning in April 2002 have now closed. Applications are now being taken for the next student visa start date of October, the application deadline for which is June 20th. If you need more information about these dates, please check the deadlines for the student visa listed in each course in the program catalogue. If you wish to apply for the October 2002 start please complete an application form online (see http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/programs/apply.html for details) or contact Admissions for more information.

    Short-term courses:

    Discovery Tour starting on March 22nd - itinerary at: http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/programs/discovery_20020322.html Contact Admissions for details. There are still a few places available - join a very small private tour: There are still a number of places available - join a very small private tour: Includes Skiing at Shin Hotaka, Mount Fuji, Shiraito-no-taki waterfalls. Takayama Jinya, Sekigahara battlefield, Lake Biwa, Asuke, Hakone, the temples and shirines of Kyoto, Toyota Motor Factory and kaikan, Lake shoujiko, Narusawa Ice Cave and Takayama. There is also a tour of the Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya Towers, and the Asahi Brewery as well as many other locations.

    Other Discovery Tours all have vacancies - contact Admissions for further information. Tour dates for next year are available at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/programs/discovery_dates.html

    All SILAC programs have space but accommodation is very limited. Contact Admissions as soon as possible for information.

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    3. Student Interview: Jiraporn Supachartkaisorn (AIJP)

    Jiraporn Supachartkaisorn
    Jiraporn Supachartkaisorn

    After I taught Jiraporn how to ski at Ontake a few weeks ago she felt obliged to repay the favor by being interviewed for this weeks Newsletter.

    Jon: I'll get straight into it - why are you studying Japanese?
    Jiraporn: My Mum is my motivation, she graduated from Japan and has a lot of Japanese friends. I came here first when I was 8 years old, and many other times after that. I stayed with host families in Osaka and Okayama. I started studying Japanese properly when I was 14 years old in a school in Bangkok.

    Jon: What were you doing before you came to Japan?
    Jir: After I graduated from University I worked for a freight forwarding company as a project co-ordinator for 9 months. Even before I got the job I had decided to come to Japan.

    Jon: Why did you choose Yamasa?
    Jir: You have a great homepage - great marketing strategy! I looked at a school in Hiroshima but they weren't able to provide accommodation and to get your own place is very difficult. After I arrived at Yamasa I found that there were students from all over the place. I actually visited the school in Hiroshima and found that 90% of the students were from one country.

    Jon: How is the course?
    Jir: Muzukashii! I didn't find that........

    Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/student_int_23.html

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    4. Japan Guide: Horyuji Temple

    Continuing our tour of World Heritage Sites in Japan, this week we visit the world's oldest surviving wooden structures and the oldest temple surviving Buddhist temple in Japan. Article by Zara Shulman (SILAC, USA)

    Walking around the historic temple complex of Horyuji, it's worth remembering the fact that Buddhism arrived in Japan only fifty years before the temple was built. The self assured, confident scale of the complex serves as a testament to how readily this imported faith was accepted. The temple was founded by the then regent, Prince Shotoku, in accordance with his father's, Emporor Yomei's, dying wish. Though the complex was destroyed by fire in 670, it was promptly rebuilt, making it the oldest surviving Buddhist temple in Japan.

    The main approach to the temple is from the south along a broad and shady road. On this road, you willl pass the information center, where you can get English language maps and view displays about the temple. At the end of the road is the Nandai (Great South Gate) which marks the outer courtyard, inside of which lies a second walled complex, the Sai-in Garan, or Western Temple. Once inside the....

    Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/nara/horyujiandchoguji.html


    5. ABOUT THE YAMASA INSTITUTE'S AICHI CENTER FOR JAPANESE STUDIES

    The Yamasa Institute is committed to providing high-quality education in the Japanese language. We are a non-profit organization, a part of the Hattori Group. We are accredited by Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education - APJLE, accreditation number B302 - and "the only Institute in the Mikawa region with the appropriate programs, systems, curriculum and facilities required for quality Japanese language education" according to the Ministry of Justice. Further, in recognition of the excellent quality of our programs, we are in the top tier of 'Appropriately Authorized Japanese Language Education Institutes' - in fact, the only school in the Mikawa area with this prestigious recommendation. For full details see the accreditation section on the homepage at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/accreditation.html

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    6. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

    You are being sent this newsletter because at some time you contacted the Yamasa Institute's Aichi Center for Japanese Studies through email, or you contacted an internet-based Japanese language information service which forwarded your email to us. If you do not want to receive further issues of this newsletter, please send a message to unsubscribe@yamasa.org with the word "unsubscribe" in the title. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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    1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, JAPAN 444-0832
    Tel: +81 (0)564 55 8111 Fax: +81 (0)564 55 8113 Email: Inquiries

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