2016 Nagasaki Prefecture Coordinator for International Relations
Lived in Nagasaki from April 2016 to April 2017
In the space of time the roadside plane trees have gone from new green leaves to dark fully green leaves, we’ve now entered the second half of 2017. It’s been more than three months since I returned to Shanghai from Nagasaki in April. When I think back on my time in Nagasaki it feels like a dream. A beautiful, short dream.
Anyhow, from June 17th to the 26th, the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival was held. This film festival began in 1993, and it held every August. It doesn’t yet have a very long history, but it is still the biggest film festival in Asia.
And held along with that was the Japan Film Week in Shanghai which garnered the attention of many fans of Japanese movies. Many people in Shanghai look forward to this event since they get to enjoy the newest movies from Japan.
This year marks the 12th Japan Film Week in Shanghai. It is put on by the Shanghai International Film Center with the help of the Japan-China Friendship Film Festival Executive Committee. Since it began, it has been held every year, even in times when political relations between the two countries were stressed. This dedication reminds me of the importance of international exchange.
By the way, that same Japan-China Friendship Film Festival Executive Committee put on a “Chinese Film Week in Nagasaki” in 2014. I think they provided a very fun and valuable experience to the people of Nagasaki with this event. They have quite a connection to Nagasaki
Here’s the article about the event:
Japan Film Week in Shanghai 2017 Opening Ceremony
This year’s Japan Film Week in Shanghai featured eight films. They were Dear Etranger, Hirugao, Battle of Supreme High, Her Love Boils Bathwater, Kanon, Daytime Shooting Star, Death Note: Light up the New World, and Sanada 10 Braves.
Among those featured films, the most well-known is surely “Hirugao” which was originally a TV Drama. The drama debuted in 2014 and made a huge splash. Perhaps this is because infidelity, one of the main themes in the show, is something that all people can relate to regardless of living in the developed or the developing world (lol).
Not only did the stars of the movie, Saito Takumi and Ueto Aya, come to the film festival, but they also went on stage before Hirugao was shown to interact with the audience. I wanted to go and see the movie too, but I couldn’t get tickets :’( The line to get tickets was over 100m long in front of the venue, and the tickets that were supposed to cost 60 yuan (about 1,000 yen) were being sold for 2,000 yuan (about 32,000 yen)…
Nishitani Hiroshi (director or Hirugao), Mishima Yukiko (director of Dear Etranger), and Tanaka Rena (director of Kanon) were also invited to the Opening Ceremony. Tanaka Rena not only gave a greeting but even answered some questions from the audience in Chinese and astonished the audience. I had no idea that she could speak Chinese… Even if someone isn’t as skilled as her, even just a phrase or two in your fan’s native language can bring about a sense of closeness ^^
Tanaka Rena, Saito Takumi, and Ueto Aya and other guests at the Opening Ceremony
In addition to the eight films I listed earlier, “Midnight Diner 2” was also shown. The star of the movie, Kobayashi Kaoru, also came to Shanghai to meet his fans. Just like Hirugao, Midnight Diner was also originally a TV drama that had quite a few fans in China. I am also a fan of this series that makes you feel the emotions of a downtown area and depicts heartwarming scenes of the characters interacting. I also love the opening theme song “Omohide”.
This is a bit of a digression but this year in China and Taiwan the Chinese remake of the Midnight Diner series began running. But no sooner than it started it began to be harshly criticized on the internet with phrases like “the characters, lines, and set are too much like the Japanese version,” “it has no elements of China at all,” and “there’s too much product placement”.
I watched the first episode of the remake, but I felt really uncomfortable when one of the actors produced a brand of cup noodlea that is commonly seen in commercials in China. I hope they never try to remake another popular Japanese drama like this again…
On the bright side of these criticisms, I heard that many people who had never heard of the original show became aware of it from its remake and got to see it on online streaming services.
Japanese movies and dramas will continue to make their way into China, and sooner or later perhaps they’ll cause another uproar similar to the one with Midnight Diner. But, I think that these chances to see everyday life in Japan as well as to see examples of the Japanese way of thinking, are very important to Chinese people who have never been to Japan, and the more we have of them the better.
The harshly criticized Chinese remake of Midnight Diner
And with that I’ll bring this “In the World Now” to a close. I’ll look forward to writing again about China. Take care.
Hiroko Celina Tsutsumi
Capão Bonito, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2016 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2016 to March 2017
Hello everyone! My name is Hiroko Selena Tsutsumi.
After being recommended by the Nagasaki Kenjinkai (association of people from Nagasaki) in Brazil, I recevied the opportunity to come to Nagasaki as an Overseas Technical Trainee from August last year until March this year. It was a wonderful six months that I worked at Kenyusha learning many different things and meeting many different people. I’ve been back in Brazil for nearly three months now. The time goes by so fast!
Have you ever heard of Capão Bonito? It’s my hometown. It’s a small town in the countryside of Sudoeste in the state of Sao Paulo. It’s about 230km away from Sao Paulo city and its main industries are agriculture, stock-farming, lumber production, and granite mining.
Here is Capão Bonito
A farm in Capão Bonito
The granite mined here is called Capão Bonito Granite and it’s exported overseas. It’s often used in construction and it’s a beautiful reddish-brown color!
We don’t have many big buildings way out here, but we are surrounded by a lot of beautiful nature. In Capão Bonito you can find caves, waterfalls, and rivers to enjoy.
At the center of town there is a Catholic church. It’s said that many towns in Brazil were built around churches then expanded outward. Most of the area’s companies, shops, and banks were founded around this church.
A Catholic Church
A couple of our most popular foods are Bolinho de frango and Rojão.
“Bolinho” in Bolinho de frango means “small ball”, and “frango” means “chicken meat”. In this dish, thinly-sliced chicken is rolled into balls with chicken dashi and cornflour, then deep fried.
Rojão is seasoned ground pork rolled around a stick then cooked over coals. It’s seasoned in a different way than is customary in Japan, but I definitely recommend it if you enjoy yakiniku.
Bolinho de frango
Ground pork rolled onto a stick to make a Rojão
There are around 1,500,000 people of Japanese descent living in Brazil which is the most of any country in the world! It’s for that reason that all through Brazil, but especially in Sao Paulo, that there are many activities to promote Japanese culture to hand it down to the next generation. The Capão Bonito Cultural and Physical Education Association began their operations 65 years ago. They do activities like Sumo, Karaoke, Taiko Drumming, Japanese-style Calisthenics, and Japanese Language education, as well as have events for New Years, Performancem Arts Festivals, Sports Days, meetings to show respect for the aged, and the Bon Festival Dance.
The sumo club was established 53 years ago. Every year there are tournaments for Sudoeste, the state of Sao Paulo, All Brazil, All South America, and of course the world! The club now has many members, and not everyone is of Japanese descent.
Sudoeste Sumo team at the Sao Paulo State Tournament
In 2002, Genryu Daiko became the official taiko team of Capão Bonito. At first they could barely hold the instruments correctly, much less give a performance, but they persevered these 15 years. This April they went to Kobe for the 19th Japanese Taiko Junior Contest and came in 5th place! Congratulations to them for their wonderful showing at the contest!
19th Japanese Taiko Junior Contest
（Brazil Taiko Association Facebook Page：https://www.facebook.com/taikobrasil/photos/pcb.1335711386518655/1335709166518877/?type=3&theater）
Many Brazilians are interested in Japanese culture and see it as a model for how to be disciplined, industrious, and sincere. Since childhood I have been directly involved with Japanese society and have learned many things about Japan and Japanese culture. I am very proud of all that I have learned through the events that I take part in every year, the Karaoke Festivals, the Taiko Competitions, and Japanese language education.
I’m going to continue to challenge myself to do many different things and be a bridge between Japan and Brazil! I’ll be sure to report about interesting events the next chance I get!
Shi Yue Qing
2016 Nagasaki Prefecture Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2016 to March 2017
Hello everyone! Long time no see! My name is Shi Yue Qing and I was an Overseas Technical Trainee in Nagasaki during 2016. I really enjoyed my time in Nagasaki
I’ve been home for over three months now. I’m already feeling nostalgic about my time in Nagasaki.
I would like to introduce one of the most famous places in my hometown. It’s come to be called the face of Chongming Island. It’s the Dongping National Forest Park.
First off, Chongming Island is located north of Shanghai, at the mouth of the Yangtze River. It has an area of 1,000 square kilometers. The Dongping National Forest Part is in the center of the northern part of the island, with an area of 3.55 square kilometers, over 90% of which is covered in forest. The park has a national AAAA rating as a tourism destination. This park has so much going on it’s said to have a sea of trees, a world of flowers, and is a bird heaven.
The air is clean and the whole park is overflowing with an atmosphere of tranquility. The park has large fields of flowers and the symbol of the park is its large metasequoia forest. It’s so comfortable here, it’s like time is standing still. You can get away from the noise of everyday life and spend some relaxed time here. This park is truly an oasis for the people of the Shanghai area.
There are lots of facilities to enjoy on a day off like the car camping area, cook-out area, crape myrtle garden, paintball area, rock climbing facilities, and zip lines.
Here are some of the pictures I took at the park during a recent trip with a friend.
First, here’s the cook-out area.
This is how it looks from the outside.
My friend and I barbequed some skewers…
…They came out a little burnt. Well, it’s not like they’ll taste all that different… right? Never mind these pictures (lol).
After that we checked out the park on some bicycles.
We found some deer!
They seemed quite timid. They wouldn’t come near us. I thought to myself that it’s too bad that we can’t interact more with the animals like we can at Nagasaki BioPark.
There’s a plane on display.
It looks a little dilapidated but it’s a real fighter plane.
It feels like there’s a whole mysterious world that unfurls beyond this nameless little road.
A sea of flowers. Here you can see beautiful flowers year-round.
Oh look, there’s Japanese on these signs.
That wasn’t there the last time I was here. This park is really going for it^^
It looks like there’s a performance going on. There are motorcycles zooming around the inside of this cage! Isn’t it incredible? I have never seen this live before.
What a big lake. There are even people out doing activities on it. What a peaceful scene…
Huh? Hey, wait a minute! What’s that? Someone is way up in the air!
I talked to someone who worked there and found out that there was some sort of event going on that day and the person in the air was doing some sort of tightrope performance. A performance, now I see. I was so surprised ^^;
I also saw a windmill and triangular buildings.
Recently in Shanghai the PM 2.5 pollution problem is getting worse. But, there are still places with fresh air to revitalize you. This is a perfect place to release stress from work.
Next time I’ll introduce another spot like the Dongping National Forest Park where you can relax in nature.
Please come to visit Chongming Island!
Huang Ji (黄 吉)
Nagasaki Prefectural Coordinator for International Relations
Lived in Nagasaki from April 2014 to April 2015
Long time no see! My name is Huang Ji and I was a Nagasaki Prefectural Coordinator for International Relations from 2014 to 2015. I’ve been back in Shanghai for two years already. In these two years many things have changed here and I would like to tell you all about one of them.
What do you think it is? ^^
There is a common saying in Shanghai, 一年一変様、三年大変様, which means “if there is a single change in a year’s time, in three years’ time there will be great changes”. This saying was coined in the 1990s as praise for the development of Shanghai that was happening in leaps and bounds. The phrase is still commonly used today.
In the past few years, high-rises are being built one after another and Shanghai is changing at a bewildering pace, but what’s said to be the biggest change is transportation. There are over 3 million personal automobiles clogging the streets with 3.3 million kilometers of subway underneath them. However, the biggest change in the last year has to be the advent of shared bicycles, otherwise known as “rainbow bicycles”. These have swept Shanghai in the blink of an eye.
And why are they called rainbow bicycles? …Well, I’ll explain a bit later ^^
Bicycles in the 1980s (in People’s Square)
An advertisement from a bicycle maker in the 1990s.
Slogan: “Independence begins with a bicycle.”
At that time, bicycles were truly indispensable to the people of Shanghai
Present-day People’s Square and the shared bicycles in front of the subway station.
This bicycle boom began in the first half of last year. Initially there were only two companies that did shared bicycles: mobike (called 摩拝 in Chinese), and OFO, and they didn’t have many bikes available. You could walk hundreds of meters and not be able to find a bike. Then, once the apps for shared bicycle services were developed, it became so much simpler and easier to find a shared bicycle. They’re also extremely cheap to use. A 30 minute use is only .5 yuan (which is about 8 yen). It bears mentioning that it costs 2 yuan to take a bus, and between 3 and 7 yuan to ride the subway, so you can see how comparatively cheap it is.
Let’s take a shared bicycle to do some hanami
Photo by cloris chen
Let’s take a “mobike” to a café!
photo by Huang Ji
Towards the latter half of last year, the expansion of the shared bicycle market really exploded. Multiple bike sharing companies sprung up, including one that works with bikes with small motors attached! Each of these companies have their own distinct color of bicycle, so when all the different companies’ bikes are lined up in one of the shared bike spots they look like a rainbow. That’s why “rainbow bicycle” has become synonymous with “shared bikes”. These rainbows have become a kind of new symbol of Shanghai that can be found in many different places. They are becoming quite popular as photo opportunities for foreign tourists.
Shared bicycles with motors
photo by Huang Ji
As these shared bike services grew, the lives of people living in Shanghai grew ever more convenient. Why did these bikes gain so much popularity? I’ve listed a few reasons below.
Just download the application and you get access to all the bikes in Shanghai that company controls, you can just leave a bike once you’re done with it, and they’re really cheap!
To take mobike and OFO as examples, these two companies control over 100,000 bikes. They make a point of having many bicycles available outside subway stations and now the combination of share bikes and the subway have become the ideal way to get to work in Shanghai.
Because bicycles are powered by humans, this naturally makes them good for the environment as well as the rider’s personal health. They fit with current trends towards caring for the environment.
Young ladies touring the city on OFO bicycles
photo by Huang Ji
On the flip side of making life more convenient for some people, these share bikes to carry with them some problems of their own. The sidewalks of downtown areas are congested with these bikes making it difficult for pedestrians to get through. There are safety concerns about children riding these bikes as well as disputes about which government body is in charge of the huge deposits made by these bicycle sharing companies. The government is working as quickly as it can to establish practices for the management of such funds.
Multicolored share bikes in a bike parking space marked by a white line
photo by Huang Ji
I very recently found two interesting pieces of news on the subject of shared bicycles. The first of which is that Tim Cook of Apple recently visited the offices of OFO. The second is that both mobike and OFO have begun services in America and Singapore. I’m very excited to see how these shared bicycles change the world.
Apple’s Tim Cook visiting OFO
So, what do you think? I think that these bicycles are going to continue to spread through Shanghai and make the city even more colorful ^^
That’s all for this essay. I’ll make sure to write again next time I find something interesting!
Just for everyone’s information, I’ll leave you with some instructions for how to use these bike sharing applications.
1. Download the app.
2. Sign up, pay the 299 yuan deposit (about 4800 yen), and charge your account with money through Alipay or WeChat.
3. Walk to the nearest bicycle on the map inside the application.
4. Scan the QR code on the bicycle with your phone and the lock will automatically be released.
5. Once you reach your destination, put the bike in a bicycle parking spot and set the lock. Your account will be charged immediately after the lock is set.
Mobike and OFO’s apps. Mobike app showing bike locations.
Former Coordinator for International Relations for Nagasaki Prefecture
Was in Nagasaki from April 2015 to April 2016
Dajia hao! Hello everyone!
Long time no see! My name is Guo Li and I was a CIR in Nagasaki Prefecture until this past April. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you all for the lovely year I spent in Nagasaki.
I want to tell you about the thing that surprised me most when I returned to China after my year abroad. That thing is the “Internet Plus” industry, its popularity, and its convenience.
Some of you are probably wondering what exactly Internet Plus is, so allow me to attempt a simple explanation.
It was in 2015 that the State Council of the Chinese government decided to implement the “Internet Plus” plan. This would be a strategy to create a new instrument that would integrate and renew existent industries that are not fully realizing the potential of practical internet application. These would be industries like public service and transportation networks, among others.
Actually, before I came to Japan, Internet Plus was already underway. Just like many young people I was already involved in online shopping as well as online to offline services. But when I returned to China this April I was shocked to realize that Internet Plus had advanced far beyond what I had imagined. It felt like something akin to culture shock because even though I had only been gone a year so many people around me were using all kinds of applications that I had never heard of.
For one, I was very impressed with the convenience of the medical app “Weiyi” recommended by my coworker. It really drove home the spread of the Internet Plus industry to me. Allow me to tell you a little bit about Weiyi.
Here is the homepage of Weiyi for PCs.
Here is the Mobile App for Weiyi.
As you all already know, medical science is quite advanced in Shanghai. It is home to many famous doctors and many of the hospitals that are known across the country are concentrated here. That is why not only people from Shanghai, but also the surrounding areas, flock here to receive treatment. Until recently, in order to be seen at a hospital it was completely normal to have to get up extremely early in the morning to arrive at the hospital only to be made to wait for hours before being seen.
I had one of those experiences, and I’ll never forget it. One winter day, in order to go to be checked at one of these famous hospitals, I woke up at 4:30am to catch the subway and arrive at the hospital by 6:00am. But by the time I arrived (a bit before 6:00am) there was already a line of people in front of the hospital 200 meters long. I was speechless…
So, there I waited in the cold of the morning for two hours until the hospital opened at 8:00am. When the doors open the crown surged in like a flood. Again I was made to wait in a long line of people to register all amid an environment filled with crying children and arguing adults. I was made to wait at every step of my experience that day including waiting to actually be seen by the doctor, after being seen, and before receiving treatment. It was after 7:00pm that I finally made it back to my home, exhausted.
However, since I returned this year I went back to that same hospital but used the Weiyi application. I made an appointment with the hospital through the app, went at the appointed time, breezed through reception, and was seen by a doctor right away. My appointment was for 8:30am but I arrive at 8:25, got everything done, and I was home by noon. I couldn’t believe the huge change that occurred in this system in only a year.
In addition to be able to make appointments, you can also ask questions to a doctor for free. For a charge, you can also receive a private health check. Furthermore, if you aren’t sure what department of the hospital to which you should try to make an appointment, you can input your symptoms and it will direct you to introductions to famous doctors in the appropriate field.
This app is also okay for older people who don’t know how to use apps. This is because everyone that registers with this app can register five more people with them. So that means if one person in a family registers with the app, then five other family members also get access. Elderly people also having access to this app is very important because Chinese society is gradually growing older.
This service fits with the needs of nuclear Chinese families and is also very popular with young people.
The Weiyi function menu.
In China now, Internet Plus apps like Weiyi are growing in number and are reaching all areas of life from basic needs like clothing, food, and shelter all the way to transportation. It feels like the Internet Plus industry is bringing convenience to peoples’ lives and simultaneously changing them.
This was my report on Internet Plus with Weiyi as my example. I’ll be sure to write again with more interesting information from China!