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Today's Contents:

1. Toh Sensei, Summer in Sapporo, Mt. Fuji Tour Change, Villa 5, Housing Shortage, Weekend Trips
2. Course and accommodation information: Summer 2007 Applications, Discovery Tours
3. Things Japanese: Chikuwa
4. Staff Interview: Junya Hiroe (Program Coordinator, AIJP)
5. Japan Guide: Okishima (Shiga), Furano (Hokkaido)
6. About The Yamasa Institute


A hearty shinnen akemashite omedetougozaimasu! to all of you. Yes I know its already March. The long winter is over already, flowers are starting to blossom, silly videos are appearing, and student visa results announced. But first...

(1) The first bits:

(a) RIP Toh Bansho: First up is some bad news. On Thursday January 18th, our kouchousensei and head administrator Toh Bansho passed away after a long battle with cancer. Though much of his work was of more of a managerial nature, many Yamasa students will remember him as the man standing outside of the Yamasa II building every morning greeting each student with a genki "ohayo gozaimasu!" A talented, thoughtful and resourceful man, Toh-sensei joined us in 1993 when the entire school was on the 3rd floor of the Yamasa II building. He is deeply missed. A permanent memorial is planned.

(b) RIP Marnie Bradbury: Some more bad news. In early February, we were saddened to hear that Marnie Bradbury had been killed in a traffic accident. Marnie studied in SILAC in 2001 and then in the AIJP, before working for several years in Aichi, while continuing to attend Yamasa taking private lessons. It is a tragic loss. Marnie was a friendly, outgoing and intelligent young woman with a great future, and our thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.

(c) Traffic safety: As mentioned in the previous edition of the newsletter, Okazaki City has the highest number of fatal automobile accidents in Japan. Apart from Marnie, there were several accidents last year and with the new road through the campus now ready to be opened we ask again that all students be extremely careful.

(d) Okazaki Summer Programs: Due to the on-going juggle between accommodation, classroom, and teaching capacity limitations, we have already closed the applications for several courses, in order to keep our enrolment of fulltime students to within the 240-260 student range. The courses affected are:
SILAC & Acceleration Format 2 - all dates closed until July 5th
AIJP & Acceleration Format 1 - all closed until October 3rd. Japan Discovery and private classes are currently unaffected.

(e) Sapporo Summer Program: Applications for the summer programs at the Hokkaido Center in Sapporo City are continuing, though some options will be closing soon due to the high number of applicants. Quick note with regards to Arrival registrations - for those who plan only to study in Sapporo, or to start in Sapporo before transfering to Okazaki, please note that you should arrive at Shin Chitose airport in Sapporo on either July 22nd (Sunday) or July 23rd (Monday), as on these two days there are four free airport pickups daily with direct transfer to your accomodation. Airport pickup is not available on other days, unfortunately. Once you have decided on your arrival time, please register your arrival details no later than June 25th.

(f) Mt. Fuji Tour Dates Changed: For logistics reasons (the need to provide airport pickup services in Sapporo), the dates of Yamasa's summer tour and climb of Mt. Fuji have been postponed one week, with the event being moved from July 21st/22nd to the weekend of July 28th/29th. If you were hoping to climb Mount Fuji before heading to Sapporo unfortunately this is no longer possible due to this necessary schedule change. Students who will be studying in Okazaki during this time can still sign up for this trip as soon as it becomes available in our online reservation system.

Villa 5 Construction
Villa 5 Construction
(g) Villa 5 Construction: Yamasa's newest student housing is nearing completion, and in the construction photogallery you can see the internal layout taking shape. There are 2 buildings, each of 2 storeys, one containing containing 6 "1K Apartments" and the other 2 slightly larger apartments. The rent structure will be broadly similar to Residence Hane. As part of our strategy to building a more enviromentally friendly Yamasa, the new buildings contain a number of improvements to reduce energy consumption, and for comfort the apartments have a number of features that incorporate extensive feedback from students into the design. Full details, photos and video will be online by the end of March.

(h) Off campus housing: Even after Villa 5 is opened, we will still have a shortage of student housing. A number of additional apartments, mostly 3DK style, but also a 4LDK terrace house have been inspected by the Housing Office and will be leased in March. Photos, video and maps will be uploaded this month. Although Yamasa will have to pay for 4 months of shikikin and reikin, as well as pay for the furnishings, the apartments will be provided to students at the same price as with our own student accommodation. All are within bicycle/walking distance of the campus, so there is still no need to budget for train or bus fares.

(i) April 2007 Student Visas: The results of the April student visa applications were received on Wednesday February 28th. All applicants have been contacted. If you haven't received the email, please check your filters, and contact admissions@yamasa.org

(j) October 2007 Student Visas: The application period for October 2007 Student Visas is now open, with the application deadline in May. As language quotas remain tight, especially for native speakers of Mandarin or English, and accommodation remains scarce, early applications are strongly advised. Please note that a student visa is only required if you want to study for 6 months or more. If you plan to enroll for 3 months or less there are many choices including AIJP, AJSP, Acceleration, Japan Discovery and SILAC.

Snowboarding in Furano
Snowboarding in Furano, Hokkaido
(k) Tour Schedule: It has been a long (but warmish) winter of skiing and snowboarding, with our final ski trip for the season just completed with a visit to Tsugaike in Hakuba, and updates are being made to the Hokkaido Snowboard & Skiing guide to include the Rusutsu and Kiroro resorts. Snow depth was excellent at Niseko United, and in particular in Furano ski resort, but a little bit patchy on some the lower altitude resorts in Gifu and Nagano. Time to reluctantly put away the snow gear, no heliskiing this spring. There is only one tour remaining this quarter, an overnight visit to Kyoto on the weekend of March 10th/11th, visiting Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizudera and the Jishu Shrine, Kinkaku-ji and Ryoanji, Yasaka Jinja and the Gion district, Nijo Castle and Nijo Jinya, amongst other sites in the former capital.

The tour schedule for April through to September will be available from March 16th, and all reservations can be made online. You do not need to already be in Okazaki City to apply. If you haven't received your Student ID number yet, you can apply by using your passport number. If you don't know your accommodation allocation yet (or won't require accommodation) just select "Off-Campus". We can change your details after you arrive. Non-students can participate in any of the tours if a guest of a currently enrolled student.

(l) Random Photos: In the first newsletter published last year (Issue #104), we introduced a new subsection called "random photos". These are basically unusual snapshots of student life, or of various places in Japan. These are mostly photographed by students with digital cameras, but in this edition we figured that we'd use some of the photos being taken using keitai (cellphones/mobile phones) instead, especially since many phones in Japan now have excellent cameras. If you have a photo you'd like to contribute, please contact us.

Snow monkey   Tokyo scenes   Matsumoto Castle   Otaru Canal
Freestyling
onsen monkey style
 
The neon of Kabuki-cho,
in Shinjuku, Tokyo
 
Ice Festival at
Matsumoto Castle
 
Illuminations in
Otaru Canal
Mitsubishi Zero   Tokyo scenes   Christmas as usual   Amanohashidate, Kyoto
Mitsubishi Zero
Yasukuni shrine
 
Rock garden of
Ryoanji in Kyoto
 
Discovery tour
drinks in Shinjuku
 
Sanyo Corporation's
"Solar Ark" project

(m) Other bits:

The Editor
Yamasa News
The Yamasa Institute - Aichi Center for Japanese Studies
1-2-1 Hanehigashimachi Okazaki
Aichi Japan 444-0832

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(2) Course Information

Accommodation

If you are coming to Okazaki City during the next few months, please visit the housing availability file (Opens new window).

Message from Rie Kawakita (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:

Applications for April Student Visa intake: Admissions for long term visas for October 2007 are now open. Early application is advised due to the selection process and the limited number of visas we are allocated by the Immigration Bureau for October. To download application forms click here.

Short-term courses:

SILAC programs are closed until July 5th. Due to high occupancy rates accommodation is very limited and early application is advised. Contact Admissions as soon as possible for information.

Discovery Tour starting on April 20th 2007 - itinerary at: http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/programs/discovery_20070420.html. Please contact Admissions for details. There are still a number of places available - join a very small private tour including Okutono Jinya, Takisanji, Toyota Motor, Mount Horai, a rare senmaida, Kyoto and Nara including, Kofukuji, Nara Park & Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, the Isuien Garden & the Neiraku Museum 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

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3. THINGS JAPANESE: "Chikuwa" - A Series of Tubes

You've just come to Japan, and you're hungry. Your Japanese knowledge may begin with "konichiwa" and end in "Toyota", so it's not like you can just walk into the local restaurant and choose something from the illegibly handwritten menu. Thankfully, there's a convenience store nearby where you can get food without having to utter a single word. And on top of that, they actually have food you recognize, like sandwiches and french fries.

And then, next to that egg sandwich on the shelf, you notice something. Is it a vegetable? It's a sort of white, hollow tube, maybe 2 or 3 centimers in diameter and 15 centimeters long, and there are little graphics of bamboo shoots on the shrinkwrap package. They eat bamboo here, right?

Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/things_japanese_44.html

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STAFF INTERVIEW: Junya Hiroe - Program Coordinator, AIJP

Junya Hiroe
Junya Hiroe
The following was translated from the Japanese original.
Interview by Sugita-sensei from the OCJS and Shin-san from the International Office.

Sugita: Today we're interviewing the AIJP Program Coordinator, Junya Hiroe sensei.
Hiroe: Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Su: Well, first of all Hiroe-sensei, where do you currently live?
H: I live in Okazaki.
Su: And where were you born?
H: I was born in Osaka, where I lived for 10 years. After I graduated from elementary school, I went to Kobe, and I lived there until I graduated from university. After that I went to work in Shizuoka, and then I came to Okazaki.
Su: So Osaka-ben is your native dialect then, right?
H: Right, Kansai-ben.
Su: But you don't seem to use it much. We never hear you speaking it...
H: No, no, I never use it in class of course but in the office I use it often, actually. The intonation is different, and recently what people say to me is, for example, there's the word "naosu" (repair), and normally you would use "modosu" (return), as in "please return this book to its original location," but in Kansai-ben we would use "naosu," like "please repair this book." When I say that to other teachers....

Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/staff_int_35.html

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5. Japan Guide: Okishima (Shiga) & Furano (Hokkaido)

Okishima Island:

With its relative isolation as a fishing community in the middle of Lake Biwa, Okishima is a unique place in Japan, the only inhabited island in the country inside a lake. Its history goes back to at least the middle of the 12th century when seven surviving soldiers of a defeated army reportedly made the island their home. From these seven did many of the island's sub 500 residents descend from, many of them still sharing the same surname of these soldiers.

Administered by the town of Omi Hachiman two kilometers away on the eastern lakeshore, the island has no tourist attractions but has nonetheless gained attention for its slow-paced, healthy and basic lifestyle. One in every three residents is 65 or older but only four elderly people are bedridden. The 1.5 square kilometer island, shaped like a lying Buddha, has a few paved roads although there are no motor vehicles....

Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/shiga/okishima.html

Furano:

Skiing in Furano, Hokkaido
Skiing in Furano
Together with the Niseko ski area southwest of Sapporo City, the village of Furano offers some of the best powder skiing in Hokkaido and Japan. Furano is situated in beautiful Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest park in Hokkaido. A winter sports paradise, the only areas near Tokyo, Nagoya that can even come close to the quality of Furano's powder would be parts of Nagano Prefecture such as Shiga Kogen or some parts of the Hakuba valley such as Tsugaike or Happo One - and none of these can compete with Furano's 950 meter vertical drop (3120 feet). The drop is one of the main reasons why Furano frequently holds World Cup races, with the men's downhill events spectacular.

The powder is excellent - light and dry, drier than Niseko United, and 8 meters of snow depth is as good as it gets in Japan. The season is long (from November 20th to "Golden Week" in May), but the powder is best enjoyed before mid-March. Apart from great snow and terrain, Furano is one of Japan's largest and most famous ski areas, but it is rarely overcrowded due to its location, 2.5 hours by express train from Sapporo City.....

Continued at http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/hokkaido/furano_snow.html

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6. ABOUT THE YAMASA INSTITUTE

The Yamasa Institute is compromised of three teaching centers:

  • the ACJS Japanese Language School in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture,
  • the HCJS Japanese Language School in Sapporo in Hokkaido and the
  • the OCJS, an online Japanese teaching center providing affordable Japanese education worldwide.

    The 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

    C O M M U N I T Y    M E M B E R S
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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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