(Video time: 04:01): Akamatsukaido (Red Pine Street) is Nanae’s central road. Its name honors the majestic Japanese Red Pines that line both sides for several kilometers. The trees were planted for two respective visits from the Emperor Meiji, in 1876 and 1881. Although nonnative to Hokkaido, some 1200 to 1300 trees still stand today. These trees are featured in “This is Nanae!”, a documentary by former CIR, Bobby Kargula.
(04:13) Nanamitsuki: Nana, meaning seven, refers to Nanae. Mitsu refers to the sweet, golden flesh at the center of certain apple varieties, such as the Red Gold.
The drive home from the Yakuba usually takes about two minutes, but this evening was different. At nearly every intersection, Nanae’s rush hour traffic came to a halt as crowds of children in brightly-colored yukata flooded the crosswalks. They rushed to keep time with the changing of the lights, swinging bulky cloth knapsacks and scattering their contents of sweets and little trinkets that clattered like a festive hail on the pavement.
It was a rare spectacle to see Japanese people trying to cheat the flickering crosswalk signs, but I had to pull over into a 7-11 parking lot to learn what could entice them exhibit such outlandish behavior. I got out just as a group of girls emerged from the store peering intently into their bags and nearly tripping over one another to compare their latest payload. They mingled and danced impatiently on the corner until the lights changed, then merged with an oncoming group of mothers and toddlers and raced over to the yakiniku shop across the street. I followed them up to the door, but there was no way to see inside beyond the crowd that had amassed outside, so I waited.
Through the doorway sounds of chanting could be heard, punctuated frequently by the affirming laughter of several deeper, gruff voices inside. Within moments, the children emerged in a rush to meet up with their parents, who had caught up and were waiting just outside. As they moved off and crossed the street again I pushed through the tousled curtains hanging above the doorway and entered the shop. Continue reading “Tanabata Matsuri”
On April 11th, Concord-Carlisle High School’s student newspaper, The Voice, published its first article submitted by a student from Nanae High School. Second-year student (high school junior) Hitomi Shihoya of the Nanae High School English Club wrote about her experience of Japan’s terrible earthquake last month and her reflections on its aftermath.
“I was very surprised because I had never seen such a large-scale earthquake in my whole life,” Shihoya writes. “I came back to everyday life in a few days, but I am very anxious because I don’t know when the next natural disaster will happen. I am also very worried about more aftershocks, and the nuclear radiation in Fukushima.”
Shihoya’s article also expresses personal gratitude toward the US and other foreign nations that contributed to Japan’s relief efforts following the disaster. The complete text of her article can be seen on The Voice‘s website.
This publication marks the launch of what will hopefully become an ongoing exchange between high school students in Concord, Carlisle, and Nanae. The projects’ orchestrators–the CIR and the faculty advisors to The Voice and the English Club–hope eventually to establish a written cross-cultural dialogue between students in both towns on at least a monthly basis.
Concord-Carlisle High School and Nanae High School are officially sister schools. Official visits and home-stays between the schools’ bands and the CCHS Sci-Fi Club have been centerpieces in the rich history of the Concord-Nanae sister city relationship. The Student News Exchange, as the project is tentatively titled, is intended to bring two more student organizations, the English Club and The Voice, more deeply into that framework. Continue reading “The Concord-Nanae Student News Exchange Begins”
NANAE: Today, the Nanae Town Office began accepting financial donations for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. The Office’s Welfare Section received donations from “Rhythm Friend” Sports Club (30,000 Yen), the Town Office’s General Affairs Section (12,081 Yen), and three private donors, for a total of 63,081 Yen on the first morning.*
Until today, residents in Nanae have been donating money through collection boxes at local convenience stores and through local post offices.
“I was able to send money through Nanae’s post office on Monday,” Nanae Town employee Nami Nishizawa said. “As long as you address your envelope to a national organization like the Japanese Red Cross, it should go through okay.”
It is also possible to make donations with credit cards, though cash donations at local shops appear to be a more popular option among Nanae residents.
For those interested in making monetary donations, the Japanese Red Cross is a good bet. All such donations collected at the Nanae Town Office are currently being sent there.
Nanae is also taking part in an all-Hokkaido human relief effort. The prefectural government has just assembled a team of paramedics and firefighters from towns across the island that will travel to various locations on Honshu to help prevent further loss of life. Representing Nanae are two firefighters and an ambulance loaded with supplies. The team departed early this morning.