Matsubara Knives and Sickles are a common household item for many Omura and Nagasaki Citizens. Their sharpness and durability is also a common fact! However, Matsubara Gama history is far from common. Matsubara forging methods have been passed down by the Taira Clan for about 800 years. It is the oldest industry in this area. In their 500 year history, they have evolved to meet the needs of our ever changing world from making Samurai weapons to farming equipment to everyday kitchen knives. My favorite fact about their knives is that all are hand-made meaning no two blades are alike! Amazing.
Like Matsubara knives, I want Omura to be equally sharp. I want to see our shopping areas lined with unique stylish shops. I want Omura to be progressive in not only academic education, but also multicultural and artistic development. And I want Omura to be cutting edge in technology and travel. Our Omura is already a wonderful place, but we must work together as a community to adapt to the current times in order to bring this city to full potential! I want Omura to be a city like no other!
Voting is under way for the best “yuru-chara” in Japan, on the website of the ”Yuru-chara Grand Prix 2013”. “Yuru-chara” are cartoon mascots that work hard across Japan to represent their home town, region or prefecture. (^^)/
15 yuru-chara from Nagasaki Prefecture are in the running this year, and among those battling for the prize are Ganba-kun and Ranba-chan, the mascots of the Nagasaki Ganbaranba National Sports Festival & National Sports Festival for People with Disabilities, which will be held in 2014.
（Left: Ranba-chan; Right: Ganba-kun）
Their motif is the mandarin duck, the official bird of Nagasaki Prefecture ☆
When you put their names together, you get the word “ganbaranba”, which is the Nagasaki dialect equivalent of “ganbarou”, meaning roughly “go for it!” or “let’s do our best”♪
Ganba-kun and Ranba-chan are traveling all over the place, throwing themselves into their promotional work.
What’s more, an official shop has been set up to deal in Ganba-kun and Ranba-chan goods! It’s called “Ganbaranba Station”.
You can find it on the 4th floor of Amu Plaza, right next door to Nagasaki JR station.
I already knew about the themed polo-shirts and pin badges, but… wow! The range of goods is quite astounding!
There are lots of surprising things on sale. The full line-up consists of more than 70 items ♪
Ganba-kun’s face pops up everywhere! ヾ(=^▽^=)ノ
Kintarou Ame is a kind of cylindrical candy made so that the same image appears wherever it is sliced. Now there is a Ganba-kun and Ranba-chan version!
Handmade candy: ￥400
Ganba-kun necktie: ￥1000
The organizers have thought of everything, even preparing understated designs which require a second look before you notice “… oh! It’s Ganba-kun!”♪
There are all kinds of shirts, from kidswear to nice soft-feeling t-shirts to long-sleeved shirts, and more.
This kids t-shirt (especially the print on the back) really caught my eye. I wonder if I can squeeze into the 150 size (*^m^*)
It’s… a… tight… fit…
There are even handwritten comments posted by the staff next to the products. Almost without thinking, I found myself wanting to buy them!
（The comment in the photo reads: “Students, adults, everyone!! Use this cute clear-file to organize your papers, and you’re sure to get noticed”）
The most popular of all the multitude of items in the store is this:
The pin badge (￥210).
There are 47 different designs, showing Ganba-kun doing the various sports in the competition.
There is a huge variety, from Ganba-kun sailing a yacht, to Ganba-kun riding a horse.
This is my favourite ♪
It’s “triathlon Ganba-kun”!
The three Ganba-kuns look like a set of triplets! It’s pretty rare, so I bought it (^w^)
Only at Ganbaranba Station can you see so many Ganba-kun and Ranba-chan goods on display in one place!
Next time you pass through Nagasaki Station, make sure to drop by the Ganbaranba Station.
Address: 4th Floor, Amu Plaza Nagasaki, JR Nagasaki Station Building, 1-1 Onoue-machi, Nagasaki City
Opening hours: 10:00～21:00
Note: This article has been translated from Japanese. The puns in this article are based on the fact that in Japanese, the sound that cats make is described as “nyaa” or “nyao” (equivalent to “meow” or “miaow” in English).
The word ‘neko’ means ‘cat’.
You may have encountered the well-known ice-cream sold at tourist spots in Nagasaki, ‘chirin-chirin ice’…
…but have you ever seen a ‘nyarin-nyarin’ ice?! (=^･･^=)
Among the various Chinese sweets available in Nagasaki, the twisted ‘yori-yori’ is famous for its hardness.
But what about the ‘nyari-nyari’?! (=^･･^=)
Nagasaki’s famous products have taken on a feline air!
With their lighthearted illustrations, and playful naming sense, you cannot help but let out a chuckle when you see these “Nyagasaki Neko” products ☆
The product range is receiving quite a lot of attention…
The hand-towels (called ‘tenugui’ in Japanese), decorated with drawings of cats representing Nagasaki’s famous products, food and festivals, first went on sale in June of last year, and were very popular from the outset.
We spoke to ‘Design Supermarket’ the Nagasaki company responsible for the planning and design of the tenugui ♪
“It all started because we realized that there were no ‘funny’ items among the souvenirs available in Nagasaki. Then, we started thinking about the large numbers of cats living in Nagasaki, and how cats really suit this town, and wondering whether we couldn’t use cats to make an amusing souvenir that everyone would love. And so the ‘Nyagasaki Neko’ was born!”
Nyagasaki Neko folding fans
Each illustration is interesting!
The designs are hand-drawn.
The tenugui was chosen to be the first Nyagasaki Neko product because Nagasaki is one of the largest markets for these towels in the whole country.
This is said to be because during the major Autumn festival, ‘Nagasaki Kunchi’, each neighborhood that is performing in the festival produces tenugui, which the performers tie around their heads or throw to spectators as lucky charms.
The team were keen to produce this Nagasaki item here in Nagasaki, and so Mitsuse Shoten, a local company which boasts a history of over 100 years, was brought on board to handle production.
A Nagasaki Kunchi version, to match the Kunchi tenugui traditionally produced by this company.
One of the dances featured at Kunchi this year, the “spouting whale”, or ‘Kujira no Shiofuki’ performed by the Yorozuya-machi neighborhood, becomes ‘Kujinya no Shiofuki’ o(〃＾▽＾〃)o
Here is a tenugui for the Nagasaki Lantern Festival
I really like the chic coloring and the playful drawings of the cats. My bag showing the funny twisted ‘nyari-nyari’ cats has become by favorite accessory! (*^m^*)
A unique design developed from the simple thought of “why don’t we meowify well-loved Nagasaki items?”
Tenugui are great, but responding to requests for a smaller size that would fit into a pocket, the company created a new ‘Nyagasaki’ product line: the gauze handkerchief.
There are even sweets! They are called “Cat’s Fluffballs”.
NB. Soft toy is not for sale
Inside the box are snowball cookies made with almond, which originally arrived in Japan via Dejima.
More and more people are getting hooked on the cute drawings and the playful cat-language versions of well-known names.
I often show my own Nyagasaki Neko tenugui to people and almost all of them want one so much that they go and buy their own. ♪
The Nyagasaki Neko product series is only available for purchase within Nagasaki Prefecture.
The items are on sale at Glover Garden, Dejima, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Nagasaki Subtropical Botanic Garden, in the Dragon Deli on the 1st floor of Amu Plaza (Nagasaki Station), and at Nagasaki Airport.
These light-hearted souvenirs will capture your heart ^^
I’m looking forward to new products appearing soon! Meaow!
★ for information on new products, check the Nyagasaki Neko Facebook page ☆
As mentioned in Yamaguchi-san`s last post, we at the Nagazasshi have issued our March/April issue.
Please check it out here: http://issuu.com/nagazasshi/docs/nagazasshi4.5
This spring issue features an article on the history of Christianity in Nagasaki, a recent discovery in Matsuura, and the origins of Golden Week. We also have our usual kanji and review articles. Be sure to take a look!