Autumn has officially arrived, and with it, onsen season is fully in swing. Aizu Wakamatsu, the samurai city, is home to the famous onsen district of Higashiyama. However, did you know Aizu Wakamatsu is home to another lovely onsen district, Ashinomaki, located on the city’s southern border?
The seasons have turned from “Seatbelt Buckle on Your Bare Arm” Summer to “Wow, it’s livable and not so bad, isn’t it?” Autumn, and for many of us, that means it’s time to go out for the Autumnal Festivals across the prefecture. And what better what to kick off your festival season than with the Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival, which happens next week!
Need convincing? Well, read on and let’s see if I can!
School is back in session, new FuJETs are getting used to their new homes, and the weather is finally (finally!) starting to cool down. Just when you thought the festival season was over, we now enter autumn and harvest festival seasons! No matter what you’re keen to do, there’s something on every weekend in the Lucky Island!
Name: Hinoemata Kabuki
Date: Saturday, September 1
Area: Minami Aizu
Time: Seating starts at 6pm, performance starts at 7pm
Price: 1,000 for day-trip people; free for those staying in hotels in the town
Address: 〒967-0521 福島県 南会津郡檜枝岐村 字居平
Details: Watch traditional Edo-period Kabuki that has been passed down by Hinoemata villagers for more than 260 years. It is held in an outdoor theater and will only be cancelled due to heavy rain. It is only accessible by car and a bit out of the way, but well worth the journey!
Date: September 8th
Details: From 1pm. Men can join the bouts, women can watch as the men compete in actual sumo bouts in little more than their underwear. A car is needed to access this mountainous spot. If you wish to fight, contact John Loynes asap via the Facebook event page.
A message from our friends over at the ‘This is Fukushima’ calendar project:
We are currently accepting photo submissions for the 2019 edition of the ‘This is Fukushima’ calendar.
Last year, with the generous support of many current and former Fukushima residents we produced 3,000 copies of the 2018 This is Fukushima calendar – our best calendar to date!
They were distributed for free across Japan and several countries internationally. The purpose of the calendar project is to show the world that…
“…Fukushima is more than a news headline or a power plant that shares its name.”
Photos can be submitted to us via Email to:
Additional information about our evaluation and selection process for photos can be found at our website:
All images selected for use in the calendar will be printed with proper photo credit, and additionally we will also send you several of the new calendars after they’re produced.
Photo submissions for the new calendar will be accepted until Wednesday, October 31st 2018. Although that’s a few months away, please don’t wait until the last few days to send in your photos!
We need your photos, because without them there can be no calendar!
So what are you shutter-bugs waiting for? Go out there and get some amazing shots for a good cause!
Help bring the world closer to Aizu on Sunday, September 30th!
Did you know Aizu Wakamatsu has 740 foreign residents from over 40 countries? Come celebrate the diverse cultures of our city’s residents with our international festival, held once every two years, and which attracts over 2,000 visitors.
Learn about the colorful cultures of the world without having to leave the city and make new friends and new experiences.
Every two years, the Aizu Wakamatsu International Association holds an event where you can travel around the entire globe without leaving the Aizu Castle gym! ‘How?’ you may ask. At the Aizu International Festival! Outside of the castle gym, over a dozen international food stands set up. In years past you could eat American-style pulled pork barbecue, Canadian hot dogs, Korean chijimi, Nepali momo and more before even setting foot inside of the castle gym.
Inside the gym, a variety of booths are set up. Some showcase different countries and cultures, others are to help promote and support local charities and some are selling international goods and crafts. During the last international festival just some of the things that you could do included hunting dragons with Saint George at the U.K. booth and trying some infamous Vegemite at the Australia booth.
Besides the standard booths, there is a play area for small children, a face painting corner (come see me there!), and various performaces on stage ranging from karaoke contests, dance groups, traditional instrumental performances, magic shows, and more.
Sound like your cup of tea? The Aizu Wakamatsu International Association is currently recruiting for the festival, which will be held on Sunday, September 30th. They are looking for people interested in running food stalls as well as country booths in the gym.
The country booths are what we FuJETs are best at helping out with! Why not take this opportunity to come and volunteer in the Samurai City of Aizu Wakamatsu and help share your country and culture? You can sign up to lead a table of your own or to help support the leader of another country. Not sure what you can do? Need someone to brainstorm ideas with? Aizu Wakamatsu’s lovely CIR, Tammy (firstname.lastname@example.org), will be able to help answer any questions you may have! (And of course, as a multiple-time veteran of this event, you are always free to message me too!)
This may sound exhausting but I can guarantee that it is fun and a great experience. You’ll get to meet local children, other foreigners from around the globe, and give a little something back to community in the form of your awesome selves. Even if you don’t live in the Aizu area, we’d love for you to come and volunteer. If you need help with transportation, directions, or need help finding a place to crash the night before, again please don’t hesitate to contact any of us Aizu-area folks for help!
So– what are you waiting for? Sign up today using the google form here! After all, sharing and learning about cultures from all over the world is part of why we all came here to the Lucky Island of Fukushima!
Details and General Schedule from Festivals Past (These times are /not/ confirmed for this year but are here to help you get an idea of what volunteering this year will be like based on previous festivals!) Generally, volunteering for the entire day of the festival will be from 8AM~4PM but if you are only able to come for part of the day, we are happy to have you volunteer!
If you are running/helping support a booth at the festival:
- Set up time is available the day before, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, and on the day of the festival, from 8:00am to 10:00am.
If you are volunteering with the festival:
- Festival Set-up: Saturday, September 29th, any time from 2:00pm to 8:00pm. A volunteer meeting will be held at 6:00pm.
- Festival Day: Sunday, September 30th, any time from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
- Tea and a bento will be supplied for volunteers.