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Today's Contents:

1. The first bits: Fire Festival, Ski-ing, Travel destinations, "Penis Festival", OCJS Passwords, Origami and free Japanese Classes
2. Course information
3. Student Interview: Jacques Trudeau
4. Japan Guide: Matsumoto Castle
6. About The Yamasa Institute for Japanese Studies
7. Subscription Information


1. The first bits.

Jon and Shihkuei are currently on holiday. Jon is apparently riding elephants in Thailand and Shihkuei is in Kaoshiung for Chinese New Year. As usual Declan is sitting in front of his computer, trying to do 3 jobs instead of 2, which is why this newsletter is slightly late. In fact if yamasa.org allowed Declan to write the word "piss", he might point out that this is precisely what is being taken at the moment by his sun loving colleagues. Why? Because to sum up the week - its cold. As in COLD. By Okazaki standards anyway. Some of the ponds are freezing over. So if you are on your way to Okazaki pack some warm clothing. If you are already here, lets think about going skiing or snowboarding.

(a) Things to do:

Until February 16th - Museum exhibition: Okazaki Mindscape Museum of Arts is currently displaying over 50 works of art on loan from National Museums based in Tokyo, Nara and Kyoto. These works of art focus on landscapes and include paintings, dyed textiles and other artifacts. The exhibition runs until February 16th and is open everyday from 10:00am - 6:00pm (closed on Mondays). For more information call the museum on (0564) 28-5000.

February 7th - From 3pm in Aoi Hall, the Cross Culture Circle (ICCC) volunteers group will hold a Shiori Ningyou class in Aoi Hall at Yamasa. Anyone interested in transforming a piece of paper into a paper doll please contact 0564-21-6180 or 090-9906-4396 (email clara116@sun-inet.co.jp)

February 8th - Takisanji and the Fire Festival. This festival - Oni Matsuri - is held every February on the Saturday closest to the New Year in the old Lunar Calendar. Part of the festival involves blessings for 42, 25, and 12 year old males - of which about 3 males are selected as representatives for participation in a ceremony held in the main hall - built in the Kamakura Period in the year 1222. (More about this)

February 9th - Day trip to Kyoto, Visiting Sanjusangendo, Ginkaku-ji, Path of Philosophy, Nanzen-ji, Heian Jingu (More about this)

February 10th (and March 8th) - Skiing/Snowboarding at Heavens Sonohara. Full day of skiing at higher altitude/better snow conditions than Ciao and most of the Gifu ski areas. Should be able to ski for about 8-9 hours. Includes 2 hour ski or snow board lessons if you are a beginner. (More about this)

February 21-23 is a two night/three day trip to the resort of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture. This mountain village has fantastic powder snow conditions and Happo One (the largest and longest established field in the region) hosted the Nordic Combined, Ski Jump, Alpine (downhill) and Cross-Country skiing events during the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Apart from night skiing on Friday night, we get two full days of skiing. On Friday night we stay in a lodge only 100 meters from the nearest gelande - you'll be skiing or snowboarding about 20 minutes after you finish breakfast. After we finish skiing at Tsugaike Kohgen Saturday evening, we relocate to an onsen hotel at the base camp of Happo One (complete with an outdoor onsen with mountain views), which is where the liveliest nightlife (there are 100 hotels and many bars) is located. On Sunday morning we wake up to Happo One and the huge ski jumps. (More about this)

March 1st - International Bowling Tournament: Okazaki International Association has organized an international bowling tournament to take place on Saturday March 1st from 10:00am - 12:00am at Okazaki Grand Bowl. They anticipate that there will be around 50 people participating, most of whom will be Japanese, so it will be a good opportunity to meet people, and practice not only your Japanese language skills, but also your bowling skills as well! It costs 1,000 Yen to take part and you can call the OIA office on (0564) 23-6644 to register - applications close on February 13th.

March 1st-2nd is an overnight ski trip, substantially cheaper than the Hakuba valley resorts, but with similar snow conditions. By early March Spring is starting to arrive, meaning that at lower altitudes (Ciao, Dynaland etc) the snow conditions are starting to deteriorate rapidly as the thaw sets in. For this reason we are heading to Norikura Onsen, because it is one of the highest altitude resorts (the base camp is 1550 meters/5080 feet above sea level) and will have good snow conditions. Please note that at this time of the season powder snow can't be guaranteed, though excellent groomed snow can. Accommodation is a lodge next to the field. Should get 7 hours of skiing Saturday, 8 hours on Sunday.(More about this)

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 the small Ciao Ontake Snow Resort would be for you. From just 7,000 Yen you can get return travel from Nagoya station to the resort in Gifu Prefecture and a one day lift pass (ski hire and clothing is extra). 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.

March 15th Known amongst many uncouth gaijin as the "Penis Festival", the annual Hounen Matsuri will be taking place at Tagata Jinja

Free Japanese Classes! Okazaki International Association holds free Japanese lessons taught by volunteers to non-Japanese living in Okazaki. Every Saturday from 2:30pm to 4:30pm at Tatsumigaoka-kaikan (3rd Floor), a 10 minute walk from Higashi Okazaki Station to Higashi Myodaiji cho. And also every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thursday and Sunday of the month in Aoi Hall at Yamasa from 10:00am - 12:00am. Call 0564-45-5778 for more details, or email yoshiaki_yamamoto@hotmail.com

(b) Coming up:

The new homepage is about to be launched (apologies for the broken links you may be finding occasionally). Gisele Hirata is nearly ready to launch the Portuguese version, which will be up by the time the next newsletter goes out. The remainder of the Online Center files will also be uploaded, including Chinese, Czech, Spanish, German and Portuguese this month as well.

If you are coming to Okazaki during the next few months, please visit the housing availability site, which has just been upgraded.

(c) The Online Center:

The Online Center for Japanese Studies is up and running and can be accesssed at http://www.yamasa.org/ocjs/. Passwords can now be obtained through the secure server. A big thank you to everyone who assisted, for full information on updates to the Online Center please click here.

(d) Other bits:

  • Job opening at Aichi Steel Corporation: Aichi Steel Corporation in Tokai-shi, Aichi-ken is currently looking for new staff to assist with the overseas sales and business development of the products in their Electro-Magnetic Division. They are particularly looking for someone with Japanese speaking and writing ability (intermediate or advanced is preferred, although they are flexible) and native-level English and/or Chinese is required. Applicants with a university degree in any discipline are welcome, and knowledge of magnetic engineering, electrical engineering, business or marketing is advantageous. The company is interested in meeting students who would be available to begin full-time work anytime between now and next summer, and who intend to stay in Japan for at least 2 to 3 years. If you would like more information about the job please contact Jennifer Hill, Electro-Magnetics Division, Aichi Steel Corporation, at j-hill@he.aichi-steel.co.jp or telephone 052-603-9859.

    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

    Accommodation is available in nearly all areas except for Residence L until March. 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 received the full tuition fees for your chosen course.

    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 Yukiko Iijima (Housing Officer): 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 have now closed for the April 2003 student visa, and the next start date is October 2003, which we are now accepting application for. Please note that we will take into account a number of factors when considering a student visa application including age, academic background, nationality and so on - automatic acceptance of a student visa application is not guaranteed. If you need more information about 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 2003 start please contact Admissions for more information.

    Short-term courses:

    Spring Break: For the first time we are offering a Spring Break tour program, destinations include Okutono Jinya, Toyota Kaikan, Toyota Motor Factory tour, Asuke, Sekigahara, Uji, Byoudoin, Ujigami-Jinja, Manpukuji, Kyoto, Yasaka-Jinja, Gion, Pontocho, Saihoji/Kokedera, Daitokuji, Sanjusangendo, Ishiyama-dera, Ueno Castle, Ninja Yashiki, Gozaisho-dake, Yunoyama Onsen, Nagano, Zenkouji, Jigokudani, Yudanaka Snow Monkeys, WWII Tunnels, Matsumoto Castle, Sakai Collection Ukiyoe Museum, Hakuba Happo One, Tsugaike Kohgen and more. (More about this)

    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 start dates have space from February 20th but accommodation is becoming limited. Contact Admissions as soon as possible for information.

    Acceleration Format 1 and AIJP are both full until April. Places are becoming limited for both these program from April. Return to top of page


    3. Student Interview: Jacques Trudeau (SILAC / Semi-Private)

    Jacques Trudeau
    Jacques Trudeau

    Jacques, from Canada, is studying the semi-private lessons in Aoi Hall. He is studying with Jessica (who I interviewed in the last newsletter). We went to Osaka together last week and became good friends. And before he knew it, he found himself in the newsletter too....

    Huang: Hello, Jacques, Would you like to briefly introduce yourself to us?
    Jacques: I have three children, two boys and one girl. I stay in Montreal and my mother tongue is French although I can also speak fluently in English, Italian and German.

    H: Were you working before coming here?
    J: Yes, I had worked in the Kodak Company, then six yearsfteaching experience in McGill University, and now I work as a marketing consultant.
    H: And why are you learning Japanese?
    J: Basically, I like the.....................

    Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/student_int_40.html

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    4. Japan Guide: Matsumoto Castle

    Located deep in the alps and looking absolutely spectacular in the winter months, this historic castle is an original construction, and one of the castles in Japan to be listed as national treasures - the others being Himeji, Inuyama, Hikone and Nijo.

    Formerly called Fukashi Castle, it was a branch castle of the Ogasawara family during the period of the warring states. At the time there was already a marketplace on the east side of the secondary citadel, but the area to the west consisted entirely of swampland. Full scale construction of the structure we can now see began in the 1580's, only Inuyama Castle is older. The Ishikawa family became the daimyo of the area serving Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and it was the Ishikawa's who promoted and carried out the development of the castle town. The main donjon that dominates the castle was constructed between 1593 and 1594 by Lord Yasunaga, the second daimyo provided by the Ishikawa family.

    Although today it is public parkland, in the late 16th century and for most of the history of the castle, it was surrounded by a triple moat and strong ramparts. The inner citadel and the secondary citadels served as retrenchments, while the tertiary citadel formed an outer fortification. All told, the castle covered an area of 390,000 square meters (39 hectares/96 acres). Within the retrenchment were the facilities for the fiefdom and its daimyo, including the donjon, main residence of the daimyo and numerous storehouses for munitions, valuables and records. In the less secure outer fortifications were the homes of elite samurai - those who formed.........

    Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/nagano/matsumotojou.html

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    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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    Hattori Foundation (est.1919) - The Yamasa Institute
    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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