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.
Hiroko Celina Tsutsumi
Capao Bonito, Sau Paulo, Brazil
2016 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee
Hello everyone! Long time no see!
My name is Hiroko Celina Tsutsumi and I was a Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee in 2016. It feels like we’ve just stepped into 2018 but it’s actually already March! Time goes by so quickly!
Being on the other side of the earth, it’s summer here and we’re experiencing a long string of hot days. Unlike Japan, our summer break happens from December until the end of January, so I’ve been going to the beach with my family a lot lately. I even recently went to a resort called Maragogi and you can see a picture of the sea there below. Isn’t it pretty? ^^
This is a bit late but I want to tell you about the Anniversary Ceremony of the 55th Nagasaki Kenjinkai of Brazil. I attended this celebration on November 12th last year which featured an anniversary ceremony, a peace Bon-odori, and other celebratory attractions.
It began with a greeting from Mr. Hiroshi Kawazoe, President of the Nagasaki Kenjinkai of Brazil. We also received a video message from Governor Houdou Nakamura of Nagasaki Prefecture, and a recording of the peace proclamation by Mayor Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki City.
Politicians from Sao Paulo as well as other important people were invited. Even the Japanese Consul General from the Sao Paulo Consulate of Japan, Mr. Yasushi Noguchi, was in attendance.
The ceremony was begun in the morning, and for lunch we all had some delicious bentos. From the afternoon we enjoyed the Peace Bon dance and many other fun attractions. The Bon dance wooden stage (yagura) was set up, and the dragon from the Nagasaki Kunchi Dragon Dance was on display and attracted the attention of many fans.
The program included activities like picture story shows (kamishibai), exercise (taiso), games, sara-odori, and yosakoi, among other dances that the people of Nagasaki would be familiar with. But the most popular attraction was, without a doubt, the Dragon Dance! The entire event swelled with excitement when it was finally time. All the performers practiced very hard in preparation and enjoyed a gigantic round of applause from an appreciative crowd when they finished ^^
In Brazil, the popularity of the Bon dance is not limited to Japanese people and their relatives. This year I dressed up in a yukata and joined in ^^ There were many Bon dance first timers in our group, but Brazilians are positive people who love to dance, so people got used to it very quickly and everyone had a great time. People of all ages joined in and it made for a great atmosphere ^^
The theme of this year’s ceremony was “peace,” and so there were posters, DVDs, paper story shows, books, and magazines that have to do with peace and the tragedy of war all on display. We, the members of a kenjinkai of a prefecture that has been attacked with an atomic bomb, want as many people as possible to remember the history of Nagasaki and live in peace.
Thanks to all the work of the Kenjinkai, the ladies section, and the youth section, this year’s celebration is truly one to remember. I will continue to do my best for Nagasaki, and the Nagasaki Kenjinkai of Brazil.
Also, this year marks the 110th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil, so there will also be a ceremony for that. I’ll write a report on that too, so get excited!
Obrigada! ^^ (Thank you!)
Han Jin (韓 進)
Seoul, South Korea
Lived in Nagasaki from September 2011 to April 2017
Hello! My name is Han Jin and I lived in Nagasaki for seven years.
I graduated from the Nagasaki Wesleyan University in Isahaya city and afterward worked in a ryokan in Unzen and at the Shimabara Peninsula Tourism Association. Since the time I was a student I have been connected to the Dejima Network and created content on the prefecture’s tourism resources as a special correspondent.
I want to keep writing and posting about things in Nagasaki but since I’ve gotten back to Korea it’s quite difficult to get fresh information about what’s going on over there.
So instead, as someone who is connected to the tourism industry, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about some of my favorite tourism spots and foods from my home country. Of course, what I tell you all here will be subjective, so some Korea connoisseurs may disagree with my favorites (lol).
First, since I’m living in Seoul, I’ll tell you a bit about some of the nearby tourist destinations.
I enjoy trekking and it has become immensely popular in Korea over the past few years. Lots of new trekking courses have popped up as tourism resources. There are two famous courses in Seoul. One is the Hanyang (漢陽) Castle Patrol Route and the other is the Seoul Trail (Seoul Dullegil).
Hanyang Castle Patrol Route
The Hanyang Castle Patrol Route course circles the capital of the Joseon Dynasty: Hanyang (present-day Seoul). The course connects Seoul’s four large gates: Dondaemun (East), Seodaemun (West), Namdaemun (South), and Bukdaemun (North). It also ties in four smaller gates as well as other tourism spots and the center of the city to the mountain.
Through walking this course, I learned about the meaning of the gates and the history of the area, which I never had much interest in before, despite living here. It’s also a very gentle course with signs and maps, so even first-timers can enjoy it safely. The entire course is 20 km in length, but is easily divided into 6 different routes so you can adjust the length according to your ability.
Here’s the homepage:
I recommend the Naksan (駱山) portion because you can see both the shape of old Seoul as well as the liveliness of the present-day city. That particular course is also rather short, so it’s probably perfect for ladies.
Next, I’ll tell you about the Seoul Trail, which was created after Olle on Jeju Island became famous. It may be easier than mountain climbing, but not by much. This course made of eight parts is 157km long in total. Each individual course is quite long, so I recommend breaking them down further and walking a course over a few sessions, rather than doing it all at once. This course makes one big lap around the city of Seoul and is full of natural beauty that can be felt in any season of the year. I recommend the course around the Goguryeo Castle that takes you through Korean graveyards. I also recommend the Yongmasan (龍馬山) course and the Achasan (峨嵯山) course which have a great view of the eastern part of Seoul.
The Seoul Trail Homepage:
I’ll leave my destination recommendations at that and move on to some culinary ones.
Let’s start with alcohol.
Just like Japan, Korean culture also embraces alcohol.
Also, just like in Japan, you can buy alcohol at supermarkets and convenience stores. The legal drinking age is 19. Beer, soju (shochu), and makgeolli are widely popular and quite cheap to buy.
The kinds of alcohol you find in Korea will be quite similar to those in Japan. The most popular alcohols in Japan are beer and Japanese sake, but the most popular ones in Korea are soju, beer, and makgeolli. Korean soju is different from the shochu of Japan. Korean soju is diluted with water down to about 18% alcohol and contains sweeteners so I think it’s quite easy to drink. Unfortunately, because it’s so easy to drink it’s also quite easy to get hangovers from. We do have soju made in the more traditional way, like it’s done in Japan, but it’s on the expensive side and therefore not at popular.
One of the characteristics of Korean beer is that it’s lighter than Japanese beer and lacks a strong flavor, which makes it perfect for Korea’s spicy cuisine.
Also, it’s very common to mix beer with soju. This would be unimaginable with relatively high-priced Japanese alcohols, but with Korea’s cheap booze this has become part of our drinking culture. I’ve drank these alcohol “bomb” drinks many times before and blacked out more times than I care to count (lol).
There’s been a recent surge in popularity among imported beers. They’re quite inexpensive. You can get a four-pack of 500mL cans for around 1,000 yen. You can also find Japanese beers like Asahi, Kirin, Suntory, and Yebisu in Korea. Japanese beers have a robust flavor and are quite popular since during sales you can buy them for cheaper than you can get them in Japan.
However, imported beers are still quite expensive in pubs so not many people go for them there.
Look at all this imported beer in the supermarket!
Lastly, let me tell you about Korea’s own liquor: makgeolli. I’m a big fan of makgeolli so I taste-tested a few different kinds. Here are my findings ^^
Makgeolli is a liquor made in the same fashion as Japanese sake, and it is comparable to Japanese “doburoku” in that it’s white and cloudy. This alcohol is said to have been drunk since the Goryeo Period (918 – 1392 CE). The word “makgeolli” is a compound of the word “mak” meaning “roughly, vaguely, or adequately”, and the word “geolli” which means “strain or filter”, thus becoming something like “roughly filtered alcohol”. Alcohol distilleries in Korea are fewer than in Japan, but recently makgeolli distilleries seem to be popping up all over. These distilleries make distinct kinds of makgeolli according to where they’re located.
The most popular makgeolli brands in Japan are Pocheon (抱川) and Idong (二東), but please allow me to introduce to you four brands of makgeolli you’re likely to come across in Seoul.
The brands in the photo on top from left to right are: Seoul Jangsu Makgeolli, Jipyeong Makgeolli from Yangpyeong in Gyeonggi-do, Neurinmaeul Makgeolli from Pocheon also in Gyeonggi-do. The one in the bottom picture is Yennal Makgeolli from Kooksoondang. (I like these four^^)
From the left: Seoul Jangsu Makgeolli, Jipyeong Makgeolli, and Neurinmaeul Makgeolli
Seoul Jangsu Makgeolli is conveniently priced and can be bought just about anywhere in Seoul. It’s a little acidic compared to the others.
Here’s their homepage:
Most makgeolli needs to be shaken up a bit to spread out the particles that settle at the bottom of the bottle. However, Seoul Makgeolli is lighter than others and doesn’t need to be stirred. Give it a try! (Please make sure to stir your other makgeollis before drinking though!)
Seoul Makgeolli is made by an association of seven distilleries called the Seoul Takju Manufacturers Association. The seven distilleries have made their recipe uniform, but I have heard that the original recipe from Dobong (道峰) was especially delicious. (That distillery used the delicious spring water from the feet of the Bukhansan (北漢山) and Dobonsan (道峰山) mountains located in the North of Seoul.)
Jipyeong Makgeolli is made in a small distillery in Gyeonggi-do, and is known for its refreshing taste. (According to my friends, it has a minty taste.)
The Jipyeong Distillery was established in 1925 and the building itself has been designated as a Cultural Heritage Site of Korea’s Modernization. The design on the bottle includes that building. They produce a rice makgeolli and two kinds of wheat flour makgeolli.
Wheat flour makgeolli is hard to find in most stores. It’s heavy with a characteristic thickness.
Homepage: http://www.jpjujo.com/ (Korean only)
Next, let’s talk about the expensive but recently popular Neurinmaeul (which means “slow village”) Makgeolli from the Bae Sangmyeon alcohol dealer. It’s made by the company of the second son of the late Bae Sangmyeon, who created the Kooksoondang company which is a powerhouse in the alcohol business. This makgeolli is said to have shifted the paradigm of makgeolli with its deep flavor. It has an attractive label and is very popular with younger crowds. It is made without sweeteners, and therefore it has a short shelf-life and is expensive, but the deep flavor will leave an impression on anyone who drinks it. The depth and fruitiness of the flavor is what sets Neurinmaeul apart.
The last makgeolli we’ll look at will be Yennal Makgeolli from Kooksoondang (The company of the first son of Bae Sangmyeong). This one is also made in the traditional way of not adding any sweeteners. Since it’s made in with an old-fashioned method, it contains wheat flour and has a deep flavor. Since makgeolli is a fermented product, you can enjoy sweet and acidic flavors at the same time. I am of the opinion that Geumjeong-sanseong Makgeolli (金井山城) from Busan has the strongest flavor of all makgeollis, but this one comes close to besting it. Makgeolli connoisseurs should definitely try these old makgeollis.
Although the same in name, makgeolli varies widely. So, on your next trip to Korea please try a bunch and find your favorite ^^
Next, I’d like to tell you about a Korean food that is also part of Nagasaki’s culture: champon.
“Wait, what? They got champon in Korea too?” is what I imagine several of you are thinking right now. Surprisingly enough, champon is quite commonplace in Korea and enjoyed by the masses. You can find it in just about any Chinese restaurant, recently champon-only specialty restaurants have opened up, and you can even find it in “instant-noodle” form. My hometown of Incheon (仁川) has a famous Chinatown and, of course, its champon is well known.
Korean instant champon
Korean-style champon you can eat in a Chinese restaurant in Korea.
The difference between Nagasaki champon and Korean champon is that ours is very spicy and the soup is red. Four or five years ago, a spicy instant champon with white soup called “Nagasaki Champon” became popular. Even though there are restaurants where the champon is called “Nagasaki Champon”, there is no place in korea that serves actual, authentic Nagasaki Champon. But, the word and culture of champon have reached Korea.
I hope there’s an opportunity in the future to tell Korean people that in the birthplace of champon, Nagasaki, there are different popular kinds of champon in places like Nagasaki city, and places with fishing industries like Obama and Hirado.
I heard a rumor that in the beginning of 2018, Obama champon will come to Korea and rent space in a store to do PR. I always hope that these sorts of events will get Korean folks to visit Nagasaki.
Now that I’m back in Korea, I miss Nagasaki. I spent nearly a third of my life there. I know that many people in Nagasaki consider Korea to be “close, but far”, but I hope that for you it feels more on the close-side. And please come for a visit! I’ll be here waiting for you.
Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung
Da Nang City, Vietnam
2016 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2016 to March 2017
Do you remember me? I trained for six months at the Nagasaki International Association as part of the 2016 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee Program. My name is Nhung.
I’m from Da Nang, which is on the coast in the middle of Vietnam. Da Nang has come to be known as one of Vietnam’s most popular cities for tourism and is capturing the hearts of people from all over the world, not least of which are Japanese people. Magazines, websites, news organizations, mass media, and the Dejima Network have all covered Da Nang in the past, and if you check out those resources you’ll be able to get the gist of Da Nang pretty quickly, I think.
Da Nang City (C)
That’s why I want to take this opportunity to write about Da Nang in a bit more depth than what you can find in the places above. I’ll tell you all about the character and charms of Da Nang and I bet you’ll be surprised by the similarities it holds with Nagasaki!
A view of Da Nang City (C)
“City of the Ocean”
Da Nang, a city blessed by surrounding nature, is widely known as an “City of the Ocean”. The beaches here will take your breath away. Public awareness of the beaches exploded overnight when it was recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as “One of the most charming beaches in the world.”
The ocean surrounding the Goto Islands in Nagasaki is beautiful, but the ocean around Da Nang is the prettiest!
A beach in Da Nang (C)
Making the most of this beautiful scenery, investors from all over the world, including Japan, have worked with Da Nang City and now resorts, hotels, and more have been popping up one after another in this area. Guests of these venues get to enjoy these superb views of the beaches.
Fresh fish city (Photograph: winhuynh)
You would be shocked by the number of fresh fish shops and restaurants around the beach areas. At many of these establishments guests can enjoy fish, shrimp, and shellfish caught fresh and cooked with the owners own preferred flavors. Come and enjoy some delicious bounty of the sea at unbelievably reasonable prices. It’s because of this that Da Nang is often referred to as “fresh fish city”. Nagasaki also has a name for itself for the fresh seafood.
Fresh seafood (C)
Cooked ray, a very popular item (Photograph: Nhungella)
Oysters with onion (Photograph: Nhungella)
Another thing that Da Nang has come to be known for is the bridges over the Han River. There are now six in place. The bridges names are Quay, Song Han, Thuan Phuoc, Nguyen Van Troi, Dragon, and Tran Thi Ly. Not only are these bridges important for people’s everyday lives, but they are also symbols of Da Nang’s history and are important tourist locations. They have won awards related to their construction.
For example, the Quay Bridge is the only bridge in Vietnam that can turn at a 90 degree angle, and is recognized as the symbol of the city, and is also used in its logo.
The Quay Bridge (C)
The Dragon Bridge has been called the most beautiful long iron bridge in the world. On the weekends, this bridge shoots out fire and sprays water in a unique display. No other place in the world will you find a bridge like this. It has won a number of international construction contests and has come to be the leading tourist attraction in the city.
Megami Bridge over the Nagasaki Bay is also quite beautiful when lit up at night ^^
The Dragon Bridge blowing fire! (Photograph: Nhungella)
Da Nang also has many more unique buildings. For example, there is the Ba Na Hills theme park that looks like a medieval French town. There is also the statue of a carp climbing a waterfall where the head is a dragon’s but the body is that of a carp. There’s the Wharf of Love, which is popular with couples. Of course, I must include the Dragon Bridge as well. Da Nang has also been called “the city of new buildings.”
Ba Na Hills (C)
In addition to construction projects, the city government has also been putting effort into implementing amusement space, events, cultural tours, and boat rides for night views for residents as well as tourists. Among those events is the Vietnam-Japan Cultural Exchange Festival which is held at the end of July every year. Representatives from Nagasaki, as well as many other areas of Japan along with Japanese companies join the festival every year to deepen the friendly relationship between our two countries.
The 3rd Da Nang City Vietnam-Japan Cultural Festival, 2016 (C)
Behind all the developments in the economy and tourism of Da Nang are a few things. There are five “NO” principles: no poor households, no quitting school in elementary or junior-high school, no begging, no drug addicts, no murder. There are three things that everyone should have: a home, a job, and a civilized lifestyle. They are also implementing these four things relating to safety: social safety, motoring safety, food hygiene safety, and law and order. For these reasons, Da Nang has been called the best city in Vietnam to live. Not only the residents, but the foreign visitors too, are able to enjoy an environment of public safety to take advantage of the abundant nature and the local gourmet selections.
A night view of Da Nang (C)
Da Nang is not only a tourist city, but is also working to establish international exchange. The city is actively pursuing friendship and cooperation with cities in Japan such as Yokohama City in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kawasaki City, Mitsuke City in Niigata Prefecture, Kushiro City in Hokkaido, and Nagasaki Prefecture.
The People’s Committee Chair of Da Nang City meeting with a visiting group from Nagasaki Prefecture (C)
Da Nang City is the perfect place to find pleasure for all five senses and leave feeling refreshed. Please come and visit sometime! I’ll be here.