Hokkaido Releases Instructional Manga, About Recent Missiles.

Aomori’s neighboring prefecture Hokkaido has released a four page Manga entitledミサイルが飛んできたときには (When a Missile Flew) by Manabu Yamamoto, instructing citizens on what to do incase of another Missile launch from North Korea. Click Here to read more in an article from Japan times.

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The full four-page Manga is available on the Hokkaido Government website, which can be found Here.

Rice Paddy Art in Inakadate, Aomori, Japan

Did you know growing rice could be a form of fine art!?

In Inakadate Village, in Aomori prefecture you can visit enormous images constructed from different kinds of  rice. The images reference Japanese culture by evoking mythologies and sometimes even popular culture!

Visit the link below for more information on the imagery, how they are constructed, and tourism information.

Rice Paddy Art Info.tanbo art

There are new Rice Paddy images every year, so include these magnificent creations in your future Aomori travel plans.

Vending Machines in Japan, Art and Innovation

The culture surrounding vending machines is very different between Japan and America. Check out the JapanTimes article linked below to learn about how one Japanese photographer, Eiji Ohashi, explores the relationship the people of Japan have with vending machines.

In Japanese vending machine is 自動販売機 (Jidohanbaiki) but is often shortened in conversation to 自販機 (Jihanki)

Follow this link to read the article!

For an in depth understanding of Japan’s vending machines and their history watch the following short documentary from NHK world’s series Begin Japanology. Did you know that you can get hot drinks and even fresh, hot food from a Vending Machine?

Gonohe International Music Festival

If you will be in the Gonohe area, or are planning to make a trip to Aomori this coming Fall, you may want to think about planning your trip around the one-of-a-kind event known as: The Gonohe International Music Festival!

Beginning in 2013, the Gonohe International Music Festival is a free event that takes place annually at Kowataritai Park in the town of Gonohe, which is located within the Aomori prefecture. Started by Dave Herlich and Michael Warren two friends who were English teachers in the town of Gonohe for several years – as a means of intercultural outreach and community, the Gonohe Music Festival has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of musicians, cultural performances, and seasonal/specialty foods from around the world as well as Japan/Aomori. While the festival features many cultural aspects unique to the Aomori prefecture, the Gonohe Music Festival also includes musical acts from a variety of foreign cultures and countries – such as a West African Drum Line (2013), a Reggae group (2015), and Beatles covers (2016) – while additionally showcasing Japanese indie, rock, jazz, fusion, and traditional music groups/bands.

The Fifth annual Gonohe International Music Festival will be held Sunday, October 8th of this year (2017) and is an all day affair – running from Sunrise to Sunset. While the music lineup has not yet been released, looking at the lists from previous years, it is safe to say that 2017 is sure to be a blast!  

All images property of http://www.gonohemusicfestival.com/

To hear samples of the music played at the 2013 Gonohe International Music Festival, click on the link here: https://gonohemusicfest.bandcamp.com/  

A commentary by the founders of the Gonohe International Music Festival on the back story, goals, and future of the festival is available for listening here: http://www.pechakucha.org/presentations/harmony-in-aomori-the-gonohe-music-festival/play  
For more information and to keep up to date on the 2017 line-up, please visit the festival’s main page at: http://www.gonohemusicfestival.com/2017

Bath-Tsugaru Student Exchange is in Need of Host Families!

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Do you live in the Bath/Brunswick area? Are you interested in hosting a Japanese student this summer? Well, you’re in luck! The Bath-Tsugaru Student Exchange is in need of host families for Japanese students who will be visiting this coming August!

General Hosting Requirements Include:
  • Complete a host application (document attached)
  • Agree to a background check
  • Attend an orientation session for hosting students on Thurs., July 13th from 6:30-8pm at the Highland Green Community Center, Topsham
  • Provide private sleeping quarters with a bed
  • Weekend host activities (take your guest to Freeport, Portland, Boothbay, boating, canoeing, etc.) & all meals on weekends
  • Provide breakfast and dinner most weekdays
  • Provided transportation to/from the greater Bath area during the week
  • Attend welcome and farewell parties
  • Contribute to omiyage (gift-giving)

Please send us a message through our Contact page OR contact the Bath-Tsugaru Student Exchange directly here!

Cape Elizabeth Middle School’s Festival of Curiosity

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Friends of Aomori had an absolute blast last week at Cape Elizabeth Middle School’s Festival of Curiosity!
FOA held a workshop educating students on the art of printmaking, talked a bit about the influence of Japanese woodblock printmaking on the art form, and posed the question: “How does sharing global art affect our local communities?”
Of course, we also talked to some of them about the unique Sister State relationship between Aomori and Maine that we foster. It was a busy day, but the kids were a great crowd!