Former Coordinator for International Relations at Nagasaki Prefectural Government
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2013 to August 2018
Hello from England, everyone! My name’s Will and I was a Coordinator for International Relations for Nagasaki Prefecture! How are you all?
And, those of you who just thought, “Wait, wasn’t Will an American?” are correct! I am American, but I followed my British wife to England after leaving Nagasaki. My life as a foreigner may never end, lol.
I’ve been here for over a month, but my feelings of culture shock still haven’t completely subsided. Like America, England is also part of the English-speaking world, but I find myself surprised by many things here. And to compare England to Japan, I’ve noticed something interesting about how the people around me react when I speak.
In Japan, for example, I can see store clerks get a bit nervous when I enter their shops. I don’t look Japanese whatsoever, so I imagine they worry that I might not speak Japanese.
But, happily, after I converse with them a bit, I can see their relief. I grew to be quite proud of those reactions, lol. But it’s the opposite in England!
I look like any other British person, so when I speak to a clerk with my American accent it jars them! I sometimes feel I owe them an apology, haha! But, to the English, foreign people in their country are not rare, nor do they particularly draw much attention. There are many, many expats in this country.
A diverse crowd outside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The number of expats in England exceeds that of Japan in both number and percentage. Japan is known as a country with a low number of foreigners, and as of December of 2017 there were 2,560,000 of them. That makes up about 2% of the population.
So, if you meet 100 people on a street in Japan, only two of them will likely be non-Japanese.
But what about the UK? It’s time for a pop quiz ^^
Q. Foreign people make up what percent of the population of the United Kingdom?
What do you think? The answer is… C! 14.4%! That translates to 1 out of every 7 you meet on the street being foreign. That’s quite a lot, don’t you think?
Did any of you think that D’s 41.1% was utterly impossible? Well, believe it or not, that’s the percentage of foreigners in the city of London! It’s almost half of the whole city! You can hear so many different languages and accents when walking around London. So cosmopolitan
London also has a few different “Little (fill in the blank)” areas where immigrants have settled together. I recently went to Southall which is known as “Little India”. When I stepped off the train, I found a sign just like this.
“Welcome to Southall” in English and Punjabi
As you can see, the sign has English and one other language printed. I had to look up what that other language was, and it turned out to be Punjabi. Punjabi is mainly spoken in Pakistan and north-west India and has the 12th largest base of native speakers in the world. However, it’s the third most spoken language in the UK after English and Polish!
Since I came to Southall, I just had to try some of the Indian food here, so I visited an Indian restaurant ^^ The inside of the menu was all written in English, but there was only one dish with a name recognizable to me. “Business lunch, please.” I said to the waitress in a shy voice (lol).
The vegetarian business lunch in little India (£ 5.75)
Here’s the business lunch I ordered! This load of spicy goodness was piled high on my metal tray. Even the white food, which looks like it might be creamy and mild was also hot ^^; The heat made me sweat, but it was all so tasty!
I hope to continue to find interesting things about England and write you all again! Take care!
If you’re interested in more of my experiences in England, please check out my blog at:
Trang Tran Thi Thuy
Da Nang City, Vietnam
2017 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technology Trainee
Period of Stay in Nagasaki: August 2017 ～ March 2018
My name is Trang Tran Thi Thuy , a 2017 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technology Trainee.
I spent about six months as a trainee at the Nagasaki Information Business College. Meeting the Vietnamese students studying there and the Vietnamese staff, and working alongside the dedicated teachers was an excellent experience for me. It has been exactly six months since I left Nagasaki. Even after returning to Vietnam, I always recall my life in Nagasaki, the memorable experiences I had and the smiling faces of everyone at the International Affairs Division.
I am from Da Nang city, in the central region of Vietnam. The symbols of Da Nang City are the wondeful bridges that cross the Hàn River, and its beautiful beaches are famous tourist attractions. In addition, Da Nang is actively working to improve the standard of living of its citizens, and is said to be a city worth living in. There are many events held in Da Nang, but for me, the “Da Nang International Fireworks Festival” is an amazing event and my top pick.
This time I will be telling you about the “Da Nang International Fireworks Festival”.
The Night Sky of Da Nang – A Colorful Painting Photographer: Minh Hai
The Da Nang International Fireworks Festival is the largest fireworks festival in Asia. First held in 2008, following the success of the first festival, former Prime Minister Dũng Nguyễn Tấn gave his approval for it to be held annually. However, the festival was biennially from 2013. Despite this, starting in 2017 the festival was once again held annually, and the previously 2-day festival was extended to being held over 2 months. The festival is held over two months from the end of April to the end of June, but fireworks are launched on five days over that period (mostly on Saturdays).
This year, teams from eight countries – America, China (Hong Kong), Italy, France, Portugal, Sweden, Poland, and Vietnam – competed on beauty and technical skill as they produced themed fireworks displays.
Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2018 – Display from the Polish Team Photographer: Dang No
Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2018 – Display from the Italian Team Photographer: Dang No
Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2018 – Display from the Vietnamese Team Photographer: Dang No
Unfortunately I was unable to go this year, but last year I was lucky enough to see the fireworks and it was a great experience. Invited by friends, I was able to sit close to the fireworks and fully enjoy Da Nang’s colorful night sky. Looking up at the sky, the fireworks were right in front of my eyes, adorning Da Nang’s night sky in time with the music. I can’t begin to convey in words how amazing it was. Also, the banks of the Han River were packed with tourists hoping for a glimpse of the fireworks.
I have heard that number of tourists who visit the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival is increasing annually, and that the City of Da Nang is using this fireworks festival as an opportunity to attract visitors. I’m sure that the number of tourists is just going to keep increasing.
So please come to Da Nang City to enjoy this fireworks festival! By the way, the best time of year to visit Da Nang is April and May. I recommend a trip to Da Nang during April or May so that you can enjoy the fireworks festival!
So please come and enjoy Da Nang! Looking forward to seeing you here!
China – Shanghai City
2017 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technology Trainee
Period of Stay in Nagasaki: August 2017 ～ March 2018
My name is Guoyao Cai, and I was a 2017 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technology Trainee from Shanghai City. I lived in Nagasaki from the end of August last year to the beginning of this March. During my stay in Nagasaki I received training at Television Nagasaki (KTN), and I really enjoyed my time spent there. Although it has already been more than 5 months since I returned to Shanghai, and I have now returned to work at my original job, I sometimes recall Nagasaki and it almost feels I was there just yesterday.
When I used to chat with friends in Nagasaki, every time the conversation turned to Shanghai, the first thing my Japanese friends would always say was “Wow! It’s a big city!”. They were also always astonished by Shanghai’s skyscraper-filled skyline. In particular, the Shanghai Tower, newly built in 2014, is particularly stunning. Standing at 632 m tall, it soars up as if to pierce the heavens.
I thought this would be the perfect chance to introduce you all to the changes in the “height” of Shanghai.
With the continual march of time, the days when the “Park Hotel Shanghai” reigned as the “Peak of Shanghai” – in other words, the tallest building in the city – are long past. I thought that charting the development of Shanghai through the heights of its buildings and seeing the changes in its “Peak” would be very interesting, so I chose it as the theme for this essay.
Firstly, I would like to start my description from the oldest recorded tall building in Shanghai.
【977 AD】The Longhua Pagoda – 40.55 m
At the time when this pagoda was built, the height of each pagoda represented the prosperity of each town. The Longhua Pagoda remained as the highest building in Shanghai – in other words, its “peak” – for a considerably long period. The Longhua Pagoda was built in 977 AD, and with a total of 7 stories, its height is 40.55 m. It stood for almost 900 years, without any complaint, as the Peak of Shanghai.
【1860】The Union Building – 45.75 m
“The Peak of Shanghai”, a throne long-monopolized by the Longhua Pagoda, was finally stolen by the Union Building. The Union Building is located in Shanghai’s most famous tourist district, the Bund, and at the time it was a three-story brick building constructed in 1860. It was re-built in 1916, when it took its current form.
【1893】The Custom House – 78.2m
The “record” held by the Union Building was broken after 33 years, and the throne of the “Peak” of Shanghai welcomed a new master.
The Custom House is also located in the Bund, just like the Union Building. Incidentally, from the latter half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, the Bund was also the Shanghai International Settlement (an area where foreigners lived). It is lined with Western-style multi-story buildings built at that time. These buildings were designated as National Significant Cultural Heritage Sites, and convey a sense of the face of old Shanghai today.
This brick building was completed in 1893, and with a Gothic-style clocktower on the upper portion, it is a distinctive building even within the Bund area. It’s maximum overall height is 78.2 m. During the period in which the Customs Building occupied the “Peak” position, two strong contenders for that place appeared. However, the final result was that these challenges ended in failure.
Challenger 1: 【1929】 The Sasoon House (The Peace Hotel) – 77 m.
The Sasoon House is a 10-story building (one section has 13 stories) located in the Bund area, with a maximum overall height of 77 metres. Failing to surpass the Custom House, its challenge ended in failure.
Challenger 2: 【1934】 Broadway Mansions – 77m
The Broadway Mansions are located at 20 Bei Suzhou Road, which is adjacent to the Bund. The name “Broadway Mansions” comes from the fact that it stands at the end of what was formerly Broadway (now Daming Rd). Made up of a main building and annex, Broadway Mansions are located on the north-side of the Garden Bridge, a Shanghai landmark. It’s maximum overall height is 77m, so it too failed to surpass the Custom House.
【1934】The Park Hotel – 83.8 m
In 1934, the “True King” appeared. The Park Hotel was built at the intersection of West Nanjing Road and Huanghe Road. The maximum overall height of this 24-story building is 83.8m. At last, the age of the “squabbling petty feudal lords” was over.
【1955】The Sino-Soviet Friendship Building (Shanghai Exhibition Center) – 110.4 m
The Sino-Soviet Friendship Building was built in 1955 with the co-operation of experts from the Soviet Union, which at the time had friendly relations with China. This classical Russian style building was the “Peak” of Shanghai for a considerably long period of time.
This is something of a digression, but at that time, it is said that there was an unspoken agreement in the Shanghai construction world. The rule was, “The height of all buildings planned for construction should not exceed the height of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Building”.
Incidentally, its height of 110.4m includes the star at the very tip of the tower.
【1972】Shanghai Television Transmission Tower – 205m
Completed in 1972, the Shanghai Television Transmission Tower is 205 m tall, and was completed entirely using manual labor, without using machinery such as cranes.
【1993】The Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower – Maximum Overall Height 468m
A true “giant” finally appeared in 1993, when this 350m high (measured to the very top of the highest circular building) structure was completed. This building is probably the first thing to come to mind for a lot of people when they think about Shanghai. Located on the opposite bank of the western-style buildings in the Bund area that have been previously introduced, the atmosphere of the buildings separated by the river is very different. The maximum overall height is 468 m. She continued to reign from the throne of the “Peak of Shanghai” for 6 years.
【1999】The Jin Mao Tower – 420.5 m
In 1999, the Jin Mao Tower suddenly came onto the scene in the same district as the Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower and stole away her crown, just like that. At 420.5 m tall, the Jin Mao Tower building is presently the third-tallest tower in Shanghai. The “Grand Hyatt Shanghai” is located on its upper floors. It has become a similarly popular observation spot as the previously-mentioned Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower. Incidentally, this building is also well-known because its construction was co-ordinated by the designers who were responsible for the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
【2008】The Shanghai World Financial Center – 492 m
The reign of the Jin Mao Tower was only just 9 years. In 2008, the Shanghai World Financial Center became one of the world’s leading skyscrapers. It’s also known for having been financed by Japan’s Mori Building Company. This building has 101 stories above ground and a maximum overall height of 492 m. It is famous for its unique design that features an empty space in the middle of its upper floors.
In a short period of time after the Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Tower rewrote the record for the “Peak” of Shanghai.
【2014】 Shanghai Tower – 632m
August 3rd, 2014. On this day, the record for the “Peak of Shanghai” was set at “632”. This is the second tallest building in the world, after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
The main structure of Shanghai tower is 580m tall, with a maximum overall height of 632 m. It has 121 floors above ground and 5 below ground. With features like hotels, exhibition spaces, shopping and an observation deck all in a single space, it’s almost like a “vertical city” that stretches upwards. The elevator that ascends from floor B2 to the 118th floor travels at a speed of 18 m/s. It takes just around a minute to reach the 560m high observation deck area on the 118th floor from floor B2. Beautiful views of Shanghai can be enjoyed from the Observation Deck Area.
I think that by looking at the history of the “Peaks” of Shanghai in this way, you can come to understand the development of the city of Shanghai very clearly.
If you come to Shanghai, be sure to enjoy the view from the observation deck of Shanghai’s tallest tower!
Yasunaga Robson Yukio
Maringa City, Parana, Brazil
2017 Nagasaki Overseas Technical trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2017 to March 2018
It’s nice to meet you. My name is Yasunaga Hobson Yukio and I am a fourth-generation Japanese Brazilian.
I came to Nagasaki in 2017 as an Overseas Technical Trainee and lived in Goto from August last year until this March. Aside from receiving training at a company that performs maintenance on wind power generators, I also joined on local events and lived a very fun life in Goto. I’ve been back in Brazil for three months and I look back nostalgically on my island life.
My hometown is Maringa, in the state of Parana in the southern part of Brazil. The weather is quite warm and comfortable. Maringa city is very new, having been built only 70 years ago, and was built carefully according to a city plan. With a group of high-rise buildings but conversely having plenty of green around the city, Maringa is a mix of urban and rural. In this city of 400,000 people, there are about 20,000 people of Japanese descent (nikkei). Home to a relatively high number of nikkei people, this city has deep connections to Japan. When people think about cities in Brazil that have high populations of Japanese descendants, many people think of the state of Sao Paolo, but Parana comes in at second place for the most nikkei people.
In my hometown of Maringa, Japanese culture has an especially strong presence, and I would like to introduce a few places there.
Maringa is the home to the number-one Japanese garden in all of Brazil.
The Maringa Japanese Garden covers an area of 100 square kilometers, making it the largest Japanese garden in Brazil. It was one of the special features of the events surrounding the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of Japanese immigration to Brazil in 2008 and ground was broken on it in 2006. It was opened eight years later in 2014. It features walking paths, ponds with swimming koi, a tea house, as well as a gymnasium, restaurant, and a great hall which are used to spread Japanese culture.
When you come here, it really feels like you’re in Japan. On weekends, this garden is popular with families with children as well as couples on dates ^^
By the way, the Japanese Brazilians of Maringa are doing their utmost to promote Japanese culture to the world. These include the activities of the Maringa Culture and Sports Association. There they have Japanese language instruction, Japanese Taiko, Yosakoi, gate ball, baseball, softball, tennis, and ping pong. Furthermore, they help nikkei people deepen their relationships with each other by holding events such as Japanese festivals, sports days, outdoors school, karaoke contests, Bon-odori, and baseball and ping pong tournaments.
Lastly, this is the Maringa Jodo Buddhist Temple, which is quietly becoming a tourist destination. It was established in 1974 and the main temple building was completed in 1983. The current head priest is a second-generation Japanese Brazilian. Just like in Japan, they ring the bell in the “joya no kane” ceremony every New Year’s Eve. Despite being quite far from Japan, you can experience the atmosphere of a Japanese new year here. This temple also supports the elderly with an on-grounds retirement home for nikkei people without relatives to help take care of them.
We the Japanese descendants in Maringa are doing our best to tell the world about Japanese culture from this city where deep connections with Japan can be felt.
I will also do my best to be a bridge between our two countries!
Thank you for reading all the way to the end! Muito Obrigado!
Tang Fu Rong
Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China
2017 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2017 to March 2018
My name is Tang Fu Rong and I was a Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee in 2017. I’m from Wuhan City, in the Chinese province of Hubei. I lived in Nagasaki for about six months starting in August of 2017. It’s already been two months since I left Nagasaki, but it feels like I was there just yesterday.
“Where are you from?”
While in Nagasaki, I was often asked this question by the people around me. “Wuhan” I would respond and most times would receive a quizzical look. I found this to be a little strange.
China is basically divided up into Southern, Northern, Central, Eastern, and Western parts. Wuhan is the biggest city in the central part. Wuhan has long been famous in China as an industrial city, and so is perhaps less well-known than other tourist cities. Nevertheless, Wuhan is a very attractive city for tourism. I realized this only recently, after having lived here for nearly 10 years and found myself visiting different parts of the city with my kids. I’d like to tell you about Wuhan from a tourism point of view.
Yellow Crane Tower
1. Yellow Crane Tower
First, I’d like to tell you about the symbol of Wuhan: The Yellow Crane Tower. It’s a viewing platform that was built in the year 223 CE by Sun Quan, a person of fame from the Three Kingdoms period. It is now one of the Four Great Towers of China. Inside, guests can see legends, songs, works of calligraphy, and famous pieces of art related to the tower. From the tallest point of the tower, guests can enjoy views of the waves in the Yangtze River and the coastline. When he visited the tower, Chairman Mao Zedong wrote a poem (a kind of verse in Tang period style) about the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge right next to it. Not far away is the Xinhua Revolution Museum which features much about Sun Yat-Sen, who has deep connections to Nagasaki. Other nearby attractions include Hu Bu Hang (户部巷) which is an area bustling with people getting traditional food and B-level gourmet meals, and Hantan River which is even wider than Shanghai’s Huangpu River.
Cherry Blossoms at Wuhan University
2. The Cherry Blossoms at Wuhan University
The cherry blossoms at Wuhan University peak from the middle of March. When it comes to cherry blossoms, I imagine a lot of readers might be less than impressed since they are everywhere in Japan. However, the cherry blossoms here have a special meaning. These trees were given to China from Japan in 1972, when diplomatic relations between the two nations was normalized. Even now, these trees are loved by many people as the symbol of the restoration of our friendship with Japan. Not only is the campus big, but it has many buildings that were constructed in the 1930s. The pairing of these old trees and even older buildings makes it one of the leading cherry blossom viewing spots in China, and is visited by droves of adoring tourists every year. By the way, through the rear gate of Wuhan University you will find the East Lake, which is the most picturesque place in all of Wuhan. The East Lake is the biggest of all the lakes in cities in China.
Musical Performance at the Hubei Provincial Museum
3. Hubei Provincial Museum
Every province in China has its own museum, but Hunan is the birthplace of the state of Chu (770 – 221 BCE), and so at the Hunan Provincial Museum you can learn a lot about ancient periods. You can also enjoy musical performances from professionals wearing traditional clothes and playing bronze instruments from 433 BCE. If you’re a fan of history, please don’t miss this place.
I also recommend The Han Show, a world class show, which is performed in the Chu River and Han Street area which has become famous recently for its shopping. Music, dancing, acrobatics, and the latest CG technology all meld together and are set over moving seats which makes for a show that feels like you’re a part of it.
The Han Show (stage performance)
What do you think? Wuhan is bursting with nature and history. I hope you all take the chance to visit. I’ll be here.