In the World Now @en

Coming Back to Nagasaki

26Jan 2012 高 華彬

Gao Huabin (Beijing,China)

Period of stay in Nagasaki: April 2006 – April 2007 (former CIR at Nagasaki Prefecture Convention & Visitors Bureau)



  The last time I was in Nagasaki was five years ago.

  Between April 2006 and April 2007, I worked for one year as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Nagasaki Prefecture Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was the first time I had lived abroad and I was only there for one year, but Nagasaki’s fresh atmosphere, beautiful nature, delicious food and friendly people left a great impression on me. Even after I had returned to China, I often dreamt of Nagasaki– of Glover Garden; of the long slopes; of Sadamasashi singing Gambaramba in the local dialect. I always thought to myself that I must go back someday.

  Then, in late November last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to undergo some training in Japan, and, at long last, was able to visit Nagasaki again. There I spent a very fun and worthwhile two days.


  I arrived on a Sunday, right when there was badminton match for Chinese exchange students going on in the gym of Nagasaki University’s medical department. My friend Li asked me to participate in the match and we managed to win the doubles!

  I recall the days I practiced badminton in this gym five years ago extremely fondly, even now. Cai, who was the head of the Association for Chinese Exchange Students in Nagasaki a long time ago, is no longer in Nagasaki but in Kyoto. However, I met a new Cai from Taiwan who unfortunately beat me in a singles match. It was great to be able to meet up with some old friends. In the same place as five years ago, with the people around me too as youthful and vivacious as back then, I felt like it was only me who got a little older.



  My interest in badminton started here in Nagasaki, and I have nothing but gratitude for Mr. Ushijima of the Chikyuukan and the people at Shiminkaikan, who taught me from scratch. When I left, I made a promise with Li to take him to badminton practice the next time he had a business trip to Beijing.



 Award ceremony at the end of the match. On the right is Lee, who received two awards!




  In the evening, after I’d gone to the Ringer Hut near DejimaWharf with Li and eaten my beloved champon, I strolled around Mori-machi, where I used to live. Cocowalk, a huge shopping centre, now stands where before there was just a huge empty space – I was surprised to see that there’s a ferris wheel on top of the building! I’m often told that China changes quickly, but Japan is changing, too.

  On top of that, before there was only a small port office down at Matsugae wharf, but there’s a beautiful new terminal which has added a lot of charm to the surrounding area. There must be lots of other places that have changed since I was last here, but I didn’t have time to go around everywhere to see.




New shopping facilities near my old area


The port office at Matsugae 5 years ago


                                    The Matsugae wharf terminal now




  The next day, after a training lecture at the prefectural government office, I visited the special “Sun Yat-Sen x Umeya Shoukichi xNagasaki” exhibition at the culture and history museum.

  Last year marked a century since the Xinhai Revolution in China, so there have been a lot of  TV dramas, films and exhibitions recently relating to this, and I was glad to be able to see something related to Sun Yat-Sen in Japan. I think it’s particularly worth seeing because there are so many things assembled together in one space – a statue of three people including Sun Yat-Sen and Umeya Shoukichi donated from China, various valuable items that Japan has preserved, and other artifacts borrowed from China. You should all definitely go and see it.



In front of the statue of Sun and Umeya (on the left is a lovely lady who came with me on training, and on the right is a lovely guide, who explained everything beautifully)



  My time in Nagasaki on this trip has been short, but I’m extremely glad that I could meet so many old and new friends and colleagues, and especially the editor of  Dejima Network. I  look forward to being able to exchange information about Beijing and Nagasaki on the internet from here on.



  See you next time on Dejima Network!




My hometown

28Dec 2011 Aris den Hollander

Aris den Hollander (Zeeland,Netherlands)

Former vice president, Nagasaki University Foreign Students Association

Period of stay inNagasaki: March 2010 until March 2011





  The first time I had a look at the Dejima Network website I was really surprised to see thatNagasakiactually has a sister region relation with theprovinceofZeelandin theNetherlands. I grew up inZeeland, and I think it is interesting this area andNagasakihave quite a lot in common. Maybe this also explains why I have felt very much at home inNagasaki.






  Zeelandis a rural area in the south-western part of theNetherlands. It has a lot of agriculture as well as fishing. Apart from that it is located relatively far away fromAmsterdam, which is more like the centre of theNetherlands. In much the same way,Nagasakiis also quite far away fromTokyo. Both areas are also easy to live in and do not have as much noise as the bigger metropolitan areas.




  One thing that is really different betweenZeelandandNagasakiis thatZeelandhas a strong beach culture. As soon as the temperature starts rising people flock to the beach to have fun and get a tan. AlthoughNagasakihas the bay side park and a beach does exist in Teguma, it seems like people fromNagasakido not really like the beach yet. IfNagasakican learn anything fromZeeland, it would definitely be to try to spend more time on the beach. I really recommend it. 




The 2011 Virginia Earthquake

31Oct 2011 Nicholas Ballen

Nick Ballen (WashingtonDC,USA)

Former CIR, International Affairs Division,NagasakiPrefectural Government (8/09-8/11)




 Hello! I am Nick Ballen fromWashingtonDCinAmerica. I worked as a Coordinator for International Relations, or CIR, at the International Affairs Division of the Nagasaki Prefectural Government for two years until August of this year, after which I returned home to DC. I am currently applying to law school.



 My topic for today is the 2011VirginiaEarthquake. You may have heard about it already, but in August this year there was an earthquake in my hometown and current residence,WashingtonDC. I decided to talk about the quake and its effects because earthquakes are extremely rare in this region. The Virginia Earthquake occurred onAugust 23, 2011at1:51 PMlocal time, with a magnitude of 5.8. The epicenter was inLuisaCounty, 38 miles (61 km) northwest ofRichmond, the capital ofVirginia. The epicenter was 5 miles (8 km) south-southwest of the town ofMineral, the closest town to the epicenter, which was about 50 miles (80 km) fromWashingtonDC. Earthquakes of this intensity are quite rare in this region. In fact, an earthquake of the same magnitude had not occurred east of theRocky Mountainsfor 114 years, since 1897.




Map of the Earthquake issued by the US Geological Survey (



 The Virginia Earthquake was an intraplate earthquake, and therefore differed in a number of ways from the interplate earthquakes that usually occur inJapanor on the west coast of the North American Continent. The rock below the east coast is older than the rock on the west coast, so earthquakes in the east are usually felt over a larger area, even if the strength of the initial quake is relatively weak. In contrast, in a typical west coast earthquake, the power of the quake is concentrated in the epicenter and quake is not felt over such a wide area. The Virginia Earthquake was also a shallow quake, a fact that increased the area over which it was felt. Indeed, the Virginia Earthquake reached as far north as Quebec City, Quebec, as far east as Fredericton, New Brunswick, as far south as Atlanta, Georgia and as far west as Illinois. One may therefore say that this quake was felt over quite a wide area.



 Luckily there were no deaths as a result of the quake, though there were numerous reports of lesser injuries. As there had not been an earthquake in the region for over 100 years, regular disaster preparedness training, the norm inJapan, is not at all common here. In addition, there were many people who had never before experienced an earthquake. As such, in downtown DC and other areas many panicked at first and were quite surprised by the quake. There are also no real anti-earthquake building regulations or other widely-known safety measures in place for earthquakes. So, as a result, a quake whose magnitude would not be the cause of so much alarm in Japan actually engendered a great deal of property damage here on the east coast. For example, there was structural damage to some of the famous monuments in downtownWashington.



Evacuations at the Pentagon (  




 Next I would like to discuss my own experience with the quake. I am very used to earthquakes because I lived inJapan. As such, when the earthquake occurred and ground shook and made the usual rumbling noise, I was really not so surprised. Rather, I thought, “Oh, it’s an earthquake. That’s rare, but I can tell this one isn’t so bad…” I simply did what I had been trained to do in case of a quake. After that, I saw on the news reports of the quake which struck me as a bit sensationalist, and heard from other Americans, whose reactions struck me as over-exaggerated and dramatic. To be honest I thought these reactions were silly and I was somewhat embarrassed by how the people here were responding to the quake. After listening to what my friends and family had to say, however, I rethought my reaction. I realized that, from the perspective of someone who had never experienced an earthquake, this quake must have been quite scary. Further, earthquakes are indeed extremely rare in this region, so it should be no surprise that the media would cover the quake excessively.



 That is all for my report from the ground on the recent Virginia Earthquake. I am looking forward to contributing to this column again! All the best!





Beijing Snacks

11Oct 2011 劉 夢妍

Liu Mengyan (Beijing,China)

Period of stay inNagasaki: April 2010 until March 2011

(former research student at Nagasaki Prefectural University, Siebold Campus)





  My one year inNagasakiwas like a dream. It’s been five months since I returned to bothBeijingand my job, but I miss Nagasaki’s beautiful towns, fresh air and wonderful people more than I can say.


  Nor can I forget Nagasaki’s delicious food, of course. The fresh sashimi, the soft castella, the scalding hot champon… To Nagasaki, which gave me all these amazing delicacies, I want to introduce the traditional foods of my local Beijing. Morever, I want to introduce the foods that only the locals know about or eat, rather than the well-known things such as Peking duck or the shabu shabu-like dishes.


  Now, come and take a gourmet food journey with me.







  Lu Da Gun! My favourite! This sticky food is made with soy bean flour and red bean paste.



  This is Wan Dou Huang, a one-time palace snack made with peas. It’s also good for diets!


  This vegetable-rich dish is Chao Ge Da. But look closely – the small white things are made with flour.





  This is our standard dish, Zha Jiang Mian.



  What do you think? Looking at the pictures only makes you want more, right?


Make sure to come and have fun inBeijing. I’ll be waiting!




Comparing Da Nang’s delicious Banh Mi – I want to eat them all!


Former Overseas Technical Trainee (2010)


Ho Thao Nguyen (Da Nang,Vietnam)



  Long time no see, everyone! It’s somehow already been five months since I leftNagasaki.This is Nguyen, who used to live over there – I wonder if you remember me.I wanted to remember my time in and maintain my connection toNagasakiafter I left, so I’m very happy to be involved on here.


  I returned toDa Nangand was quickly reinstated in the Foreign Service. The weather here inDa Nangis one hot day after another, and I wonder what it’s like inNagasakinow. Speaking of summer, there’s a lot of entertainment here. We are proud of our long, beautiful beaches. I love the sea too, of course! Morning and night there are clusters of bikes, and in the sea there are so many people you can hardly move!Keeping cool in the sea or paragliding here are the best! You can also enjoy fresh seafood dishes from the street vendors along the sea shore. This is the season for you if you like the sea, and it continues on until around September. As for the sea inNagasaki, it reminds me of the time I swam at Ioujima.Nagasaki’s seafood is superb, too!



Da Nang beach


  Now I’d like to introduce the food that’s the pride ofVietnam. This sandwich, consisting of special Vietnamese ingredients inside the French-bread-like Banh Mi, is very popular with tourists, too. Here I’ll introduce various styles of Banh Mi, from the old to the new.



These are the basics of Da Nang!


Grandma Lan’s Sandwiches – Banh Mi Ba Lan


  If you ask the locals ofDa Nangwhere to get a good sandwich, they would probably recommend this famous, long-established shop first. Ham, fishcake, pate, and whole scallions lightly toasted over a charcoal fire to crunchy, crispy perfection mean there are queues here despite the comparatively high prices.






Shop name: Banh Mi Ba Lan

Price: 12,000 Vietnamese Dong (about 50 yen)




The Chicken Banh Mi With No Chicken


“Chicken” Sandwich 


Banh Mi Ga


   This is a “chicken sandwich” with round bread. However, inside is dried pork and shredded unripened papaya in a spicy fish sauce – light and simple! But why is this called a chicken sandwich? Apparently it’s actually because the shape of the bread resembles an egg.



Shop name: Banh Mi Ba Ga

Price: 6000 VND (about 25 yen)






When I want to eat my fill, I would probably go here…


Yakiniku Sandwich


Banh Mi Thit Nuong


   Get caught up in this charcoal-grilled Banh Mi filled with beef marinated in a flavourful sauce. Your stomach will love the fragrant, rich flavour. You might think, “But isn’t grilled meat too heavy?” but the taste of the spicy scallions cut through the richness perfectly. This is a meat sandwich which has evolved from a simple snack to a full-blown meal.
  Shop name: Dong Tien 

Price: 7000 VND (about 26 yen)







In the past this used to be fancy (so it seems)


Modern BaguetteSandwich


 Banh Mi Pate



 This long, thin Banh Mi is 3cm in diameter and 25cm long. Inside it’s filled with pate and fried onions – great for a snack. Apparently it used to be fashionable for girls to bite into this while riding on the back of bikes on dates. 

Shop name: Banh Mi Nhu Y


Price: 5000 VND (about 20 yen)






A mysterious texture – is this jelly? Or a gummi sweet?


Gummi dumpling sandwich


Banh Mi Bot Loc


    There is a strange texture when biting into this, just like a gummi sweet. This is Bot Loc, a sweet dumpling made from tapioca flour and a famous product of neighbouringHue. Together with thinly-sliced Vietnamese ham and a spicy sauce, it’s a somewhat rare taste experience which is gaining a lot of repeaters.  

Shop name: Banh Mi

Price: 7000 VND (about 26 yen)






Did they try to avoid being too ordinary?


The hamburger sandwich


Banhi Mi Hamburger


    The hamburger is becoming famous even in central Vietnam. But since this isVietnam, of course it’s not going to be any old ordinary hamburger. In fact, there’s no hamburger at all in this sandwich! Instead there’s thick-cut Vietnamese ham, delicious in it’s own right. 

Price: 8000 VND (about 32 yen)