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Kagoshima Newsletter vol. 24

Kagoshima Prefecture Foreign Language Newsletter
"Kagoshima-gov.-news" (30/6/2009 vol. 24)
- Latest happenings in Kagoshima
"Kagoshima Black Cattle Beef" and "Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork" Tasting Event
hosted by the Japanese Ambassador to Singapore
Placement of new Shanghai Marketing Director
Macau University students take part in Japanese language and culture studies at Kapic
Newly established homepage in simplified Chinese aimed at Taiwan and Hong Kong
- Events
"Korea-Japan Sister City Youth Cup Exchange" (Soccer)
Full Moon Eclipse Exclusive Story
- Readers' Letters
"People travel because they are drawn to the charm of other people" - Letter
contributed by Hidemitsu Narasako, Kagoshima Prefecture Tourism Project Manager
- Introduction to Kagoshima
Facts About Kagoshima No. 14 (Education, Science and Culture of Kagoshima 3)
- Kagoshima through the eyes of a foreigner
Yakushima Report from Mr. Daniel Mackey, Canadian Coordinator for International
Relations (Part 2)
Latest happenings in Kagoshima
< "Kagoshima Black Cattle Beef" and "Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork" Tasting Event
hosted by the Japanese Ambassador to Singapore">
If you recall, I believe that we covered the lifting of the export embargo on Kagoshima's
beef and pork (Berkshire) to Singapore in newsletter issue no. 22. To commemorate the
resumption of Japanese beef and pork exports to Singapore, a "Kagoshima Black Cattle
Beef" and "Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork" tasting event was held at the residence of
the Japanese Ambassador to Singapore on July 16 as outlined below.
Kagoshima Prefecture promoted its produce by supplying beef, pork, vegetables, and
fruit as ingredients, along with the despatch of professionals from agricultural groups
and related companies.
1 Outline of Tasting Event
Date July 16 (Thu) 19:00-21:00
Place Japanese Ambassador's Residence (5 Tyersall Road, Singapore)
H.E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development (main guest), CEO ,
former CEO, and deputy CEO of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore,
and many others (65 guests in total).
2 Food supplied by Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Black Cattle Beef (Steak, Tataki)
Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork (simmered, broiled, sliced fillet)
Vegetables/ Fruit (Sweet Potato, Greenhouse Tangerines, Mango, etc)
Shochu (distilled Japanese spirits)
<Placement of new Shanghai Marketing Director>
Mr. Takao Uto assumed his new position as "Shanghai Marketing Director" on July 1,
2009. This role is at the core of Kagoshima Prefecture's efforts towards the development
of the Shanghai Market, which revolves around the gathering of current market information and market development in Shanghai, and the building of a human network made up of  market and distribution professionals.
This year will see the selection of strategically-chosen goods that take advantage of the
human network along with the expansion of trial exports. In addition, we will raise awareness of the marketing director's activities among businesses throughout the prefecture and invite importers from Shanghai to take part in business talks in order to generate greater interest in trade with China among prefectural businesses.
"Shanghai Market Strategy Roadmap" website link:
Shanghai Marketing Director Placement website link:
<Macau University students take part in Japanese language and culture studies at
KAPIC (Kagoshima Asia-Pacific Intercultural Countryside Center) became the venue for a study programme directed at Hong Kong and Macao university students during the summer (June-August) while Korean university students are expected to participate during winter (January-February).
Ten university students from Macau University were the focus of a Japanese language and culture studies programme carried out at Kapic from July 8-17 (10 days), 2009. The goal of this programme is to help deepen understanding of everyday Japanese language and Japanese culture, including that of Kagoshima, through interactive communication for students who are currently studying Japanese abroad.
Programme details
- Homestay (2 days)
- Japanese Cultural Experience (kimono fitting/ Japanese food)
- Exchange (Interactive exchange with Shigakukan University Students)
- Visits - Study tours (Kagoshima City, Kirishima, etc...)
The university students participated enthusiastically in the exchanges all the while
asking many questions about Japan and Kagoshima and also took the chance to
introduce Macao to Japanese. Participating in a cross-cultural communication course at
Shigakukan University gave the Macao students a great opportunity to interact with
their Japanese peers. In addition, a two-day homestay allowed the students to spend
some quality time with local Japanese families. It is hoped that the students from
Macau will convey the many charms of Kagoshima upon returning to their hometown.
<Newly established website in simplified Chinese aimed at Taiwan and Hong Kong>
A new simplified Chinese website "Tourism Kagoshima" has been established to serve
the people of Taiwan and Hong Kong.
There is a wealth of useful information on tourism, gourmet, hot springs, shopping, and
so on. We will update with new information on a regular basis.
In order to help us transmit our up-to-date "Lively Kagoshima" information to Taiwan
and Hong Kong, please let us know if you have any interesting bits of information about
A Korean website will be launched at the end of July, while the simplified Chinese
website will be launched at the end of August.
For our currently established English language website, we ask foreign visitors to our
offices to complete a questionnaire and then we post "Kagoshima through the eyes of a
foreigner" opinion pieces on our website at the following link.
<"Korea-Japan Sister City Youth Cup Exchange" (Soccer)>
The Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation will hold the "Korea-Japan Sister City Youth
Cup Exchange" in five regions of Japan that either have direct flights to Korea or posess
sister city relations with Korean municipalities as part of its "21st Century East Asia
Youth Exchange Project" that aims to strengthen bonds between high school students of
both countries and create a framework for greater cooperation through this soccer-based
event involving high school students of Japan and Korea. This project will help to
further promote youth and sister city exchanges between both countries, and is seen as
a golden opportunity to increase exchanges between Korea and Japan across a wide
range of fields.
Connected to Seoul by direct flight and possessing friendly ties with Korea's
Jeollabuk-do Province, Kagoshima Prefecture will see the Kagoshima Prefecture Soccer
Association play a primary role in the coming event. Participants will be comprised of
12 players from 6 schools in Kagoshima along with 1 group leader and 1 coach, and 13
players from 3 schools in Korea's Jeollabuk-do Province along with 1 group leader and 1
Details of the various exchanges are as follows.
Friendly exchanges through soccer practice matches involving high school level soccer
players and the promotion of cross-cultural understanding through homestays in both
regions will be carried out from July 24 (Fri)- 29 (Wed) and August 3 (Mon)- 6 (Thu)
principally in Jeonju City of Jeollabuk-do Province, Korea and in Kagoshima City.
The two teams will then travel to Tokyo where they will form one team together to play
matches against similar teams from other parts of Japan in a league competition at the
Aminobaitaru Field in Chofu City, Tokyo from August 7 (Fri) to August 10 (Mon).
This kind of exchange should help to deepen mutual understanding between Korea and
Kagoshima and further promote bilateral exchanges.
<Full Moon Eclipse Exclusive Story>
The following is a report from Mr. Teizo Okuda, Deputy Director at the Kagoshima
Prefecture Amami Nature and Culture Center, that covers his experience of the recent
total solar eclipse in Amami Oshima.
The longest total solar eclipse of the century took place on July 22. Incidentally, this was
also the birthday of the renowned Kagoshima-born artist Tanaka Isson. Moreover, this
year marks the 400th year since Amami and Okinawa were split up after being invaded
by the Satsuma domain in 1609. It feels as though the two regions are somehow
connected by fate.
Here at the Kagoshima Prefecture Amami Nature and Culture Center we invited Mr.
Toshihisa Maeda of the Kagoshima Prefectural Museum on October 13 (Mon) of last
year to hold a lecture regarding the mechanism of the total solar eclipse.
There were clear skies and warm weather dipping over 35C on July 18 (Sat) and 19
(Sun). A lively concert that drew in some 4,000 people over two days was held at the
Kagoshima Prefecture Amami Nature and Culture Center on the eve of the eclipse
featuring many young Amami-born artists such as "Hajime Chitose" and "Atari
A "planetarium" was installed inside the "Amami no Sato" building on the same day,
drawing in many school children to see projections of the total solar eclipse and the
Midday Constellation.
On the day of the total solar eclipse the roads were expected to be congested, but there
ended up being so few cars that it was almost anti-climactic and I made it to my
workplace without a hiccup.
The weather forecasted "cloudy followed by rain", but the sky actually cleared up
around 9 am to give us some hope...which was then subsequently dashed as the
weather predictions came true. Solar eclipse glasses were used to observe the eclipse
from beginning to end but the eclipse itself was hidden by clouds throughout and when
finished the sun was just barely visible by the naked eye.
It felt like evening when the eclipse started because it was so dark and there was a
sudden wind blowing, and sparrows were observed flying back to their nest. It was an
interesting experience. I felt some sympathy for those who had come from elsewhere to
observe the eclipse since the weather was overcast throughout. I wonder if I was the
only person who felt burned out at the end of this celestial show.
The next goal for Amami is to become a registered World Natural Heritage Site.
Hopefully, Amami will keep on garnering attention worldwide.
Introduction to Kagoshima
A brief introduction to the geography, culture, history and various industries of
<Facts About Kagoshima No. 14>
(Education, Science and Culture of Kagoshima 3)
(3) Culture
Kagoshima has historically taken advantage of its geographically characteristic position
in southern Japan to carry out a diverse range of exchanges with Asia-Pacific countries.
Presently, there are some 2,500 designated cultural treasures shaped by tradition and
history that can be found throughout Kagoshima Prefecture.
The Kagoshima Prefectural Museum of Culture Reimeikan, Uenohara Jomon No Mori,
and other institutions around the prefecture aim to introduce the traditions and history
of Kagoshima while preserving the cultural treasures that are a product of the latter.
Discoveries made during May of 1997 at the Uenohara Ruins in Kirishima City of
Kagoshima Prefecture included 9,500 year old pit dwellings (first half of early Jomon
Era) and other ruins along with stone cooking relics (stones were collected, burned and
then meat was inserted between them and covered with earth so as to cook through the
residual heat of the stones), and Renketsu Doko (steam cooking facilities consisting of
holes in the ground to hang and steam meat in).
The Uenohara Ruins, known as one of the oldest and largest settlements to be found in
Japan, was designated as a national historical treasure in January of 1999 since the
ruins are valuable aids to learn about the beginning of settlements and villages that
formed from early on in the Jomon Era.
"Uenohara Jomon No Mori" was established in October of 2002 in order to preserve and
utilize the Uenohara Ruins as a historical cultural treasure where people can interact
with and learn about the world of Jomon.
Uenohara Jomon No Mori features a permanent exhibition that introduces important
ruins from around Kagoshima Prefecture and valuable archeological finds from the
Uenohara Ruins. There is also an authentic Jomon living experience in lush natural
surroundings that allows people to make fires, build Jomon tools, and make Jomon food,
among other things.
<Kagoshima through the eyes of a foreigner>
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<Yakushima Report from Mr. Daniel Mackey, Canadian Coordinator for International
Relations (Part 2)>
Wonder, Beauty and Awe - A Yakushima Report (2)
The next morning I headed out in the cold and dark at 4:30 AM with my guide for the
JOMONSUGI Course, without a doubt the most popular local hiking course and one of
the main reasons that so many hikers visit Yakushima. The famous JOMONSUGI
(JOMON Cedar) at the end of this course is said to be anywhere between 2000 to 7200
years old, depending on which story you believe, but it is undoubtedly one of the oldest
and largest of its kind with a height of 25.3 m and a trunk circumference of 16.2 m.
Apparently, it is standard practice to try to arrive at the entrance to hiking trails before
the larger tour groups show up. It took us almost one hour to arrive at the ARAKAWA
entrance to the JOMONSUGI Course from Miyanoura Town. Luckily, my guide had
made preparations for breakfast and lunch with typical Japanese style lunch boxes
(bento) so I didn't have to worry about food. There are a good number of conveniently
located bento stores in Yakushima that cater specifically to those who will be hitting the
trails so opening hours may be from as early as 3 AM in the morning to serve the early
bird hikers. It is also a good idea to bring chocolate or other energy-boosting snack food
just in case, along with a water bottle that can be refilled along the way at the many
spring water sources next to the trail. Due to frequent rainfall, lightweight raingear and
decent hiking shoes are also a must.
One word about guides. Since the Yakushima guide industry became profitable
following the "World Natural Heritage Site" designation, there has been an influx of
people coming from all over Japan to work as guides on Yakushima. Naturally, some of
these so-called guides know very little about the area or do not have proper
qualifications. Due to this situation, a committee setting standards for guides was
created and now requires registration to become an officially recognized "Yakushima
Guide". It would be wise to go with these registered guides if you are inclined to hire a
guide at all.
I was half-expecting some kind of large gate or theme park style entrance to the
JOMONSUGI Course trail but there was in fact almost nothing besides a small toilet
area and unassuming barrier with an opening to mark the entrance to the trail. Toilets
are few and far between on such trails so it is a really good idea to use them when the
opportunity arises.
With my guide in the lead, we began the long hike towards the JOMONSUGI. According
to the words of my guide, approximately 70% of the trail was almost flat and only the
final 30% would present any real challenges. However, as I soon discovered, even the
flat part of the trail can be somewhat tiring because most of it consists of walking
directly on the rail road tracks of a steam locomotive that is used to transport
YAKUSUGI wood cut from old cedar stumps in the forest. The wooden crossties on the
tracks can be quite uneven so I had to keep my eyes on the ground or else I would end
up tripping all over the place. The locomotive itself does not operate during peak
morning hours when hikers are making their way up the trail so it is safe.
Along the path my guide supplied me with occasional bits of information about the flora
and fauna surrounding us, and helped me to understand in general what it was that I
was looking at. I was truly amazed by the beauty of my surroundings, whether it was
the lush mountain-hugging greenery unfolding before my eyes in every direction or the
narrow bridges spanning over striking ravines littered with giant boulders. There were
several points along the way where you could catch a glimpse of Miyanoura-dake peak,
not only the highest peak on Yakushima but also in Kyushu at 1, 935 metres in height,
and other breathtaking scenic vistas.
It was very difficult not to let my gaze get caught up in the splendour of my
surroundings as I hiked over all manner of ground and bridges but I knew that one slip
was all it took to end this trip permanently so I forced myself to pay attention to where I
was walking. This was especially important when crossing bridges without any barriers
on either side or with gaps large enough for a person to fall through and meet a quick
demise on the rocks far below. Deaths on the hiking trails of Yakushima are reported
periodically, so it is very important to be careful and adhere to all safety precautions.
It generally takes an average healthy person between 4 - 5 hours to reach the
JOMONSUGI when starting from the ARAKAWA entrance. In our case, we were able to
make it in 4 hours thanks to the fine weather and to the less than average number of
visitors during the early spring season of March. The JOMONSUGI is really a massive
tree in every sense of the word, dominating the view around it. Unfortunately, due to
the damage done to the surrounding earth and the tree itself by the large throngs of
visitors in times past, the observation deck in front of the tree was made so that visitors
must keep a respectable distance from the tree itself. I was thrilled to be able to see this
tree with my own eyes, although the scenery along the route was in no way less
deserving of awe and respect. After taking pictures in front of the JOMONSUGI, it was
time to head back to the entrance and then straight to the hotel where I would be
staying for a nice long bath to soothe the inevitable pain that my untrained legs would
experience later on.
The play of light and shadow on the trees which was absent in the early morning hours
became much more pronounced around noon on the return hike as the sun made its way
above Miyanoura-dake, giving the familiar scenery a whole new aspect as moss covered
rocks and new vegetation glimmered enchantingly by the side of the path.
That night I stayed at a quaint little seaside hotel situated right next to Anbo Port
where the Toppy boat would take me back to Kagoshima the next day.
On my third and final day in Yakushima, I somehow managed to move about despite my
very stiff legs so that I could visit the YAKUSUGI Museum, Yakushima World Heritage
Conservation Center, and SENPIRO-NO-TAKI falls with the help and good graces once
again of Mr. Shiiba, Director of the Yakushima Tourism Association.
The YAKUSUGI Museum is an excellent place to catch up on the history of the cedar
wood industry in Yakushima through video presentations, murals, and a display of all
the various equipment used to cut down and transport the massive cedar trees along
with a wealth of information on the ancient JOMONSUGI tree. In particular, an
absolutely huge branch that fell off of the latter tree is preserved here to give a sense of
scale to all those unable to make the trek to see the JOMONSUGI themselves.
The staff are very helpful but do not speak foreign languages. However, there are
English language pamphlets on hand.
The Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center is a facility run by the
environment ministry to carry out and disseminate research on Yakushima's nature and
to provide information on World Heritage Sites in general. For those interested in facts
and statistics, this place is also worth a visit and is conveniently located right next to
the YAKUSUGI Museum.
English language pamphlets are available.
The last stop on my trip was the SENPIRO-NO-TAKI falls. Yakushima is blessed with
many impressive waterfalls, and this one was certainly no exception. An observation
point allows you a stunning view of the 60 metre falls and the giant monolith stone that
looms up beside it. This waterfall was chosen as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.
It is only a one minute walk from the parking lot nearby and definitely deserves a visit!
On the way back to Anbo Town, Mr. Shiiba told me that one of the greatest problems
facing Yakushima right now is how best to deal with the excessive amounts of body
waste produced by ever-increasing numbers of hikers and the very limited scope of
facilities designed to deal with it. Among the various initiatives being considered is one
plan to have hikers use a portable toilet and carry their body waste with them when
they return from a hiking course. This concept is still in the initial testing phase, but
seems to be facing a certain amount of resistance from visitors who are not used to the
idea of carrying their own body waste with them.
After witnessing firsthand the unspoiled beauty of Yakushima in all its glory I can
definitely sympathize with such initiatives because there are some things worth making
small sacrifices for, and preserving the delicate ecological balance of Yakushima is one
of them.
It was with some regret that I left Yakushima and made my way back to Kagoshima
City on the final day. But, just as my guide had predicted that once I had a taste of
Yakushima I would surely be back for more, I am already keen to go back and attempt
another hiking course so that I can experience more of Yakushima's jaw-dropping
natural wonder.
I would like to give a special thanks to Mr. Shiiba, Director of the Yakushima Tourism
Association, and everyone else who helped to make my trip possible. Thank you.
Editor's Note (International Affairs Division, Kagoshima Prefecture Tourism Promotion
and International Exchange Bureau)
How was this month's edition of the "Kagoshima-gov.-news" Newsletter?
In order to better connect Kagoshima with readers from around the world, we are
always striving to enrich and expand the contents of the articles and reports in the
Kagoshima Prefecture Foreign Language Newsletter "KAGOSHIMA-gov.-news".
We would greatly appreciate any feedback, comments, or suggestions that you may have
concerning the way that "Kagoshima"-related news is covered abroad.
****Questions and Inquiries****
International Affairs Division
Tourism Promotion and International Exchange Bureau
10-1 Kamoike Shinmachi, Kagoshima City
Kagoshima Prefecture 890-8577, Japan
Tel: +81-99-286-2306
Fax: +81-99-286-5522
E-mail Address:
Kagoshima Prefecture owns the copyright to this report. Any and all unauthorized use
of this report (redistribution, BBS, etc) is strictly prohibited.

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