I went to Echizen City Summer Festival Fireworks Display for the first time this year!
Like I went to Mikuni Fireworks Festival with a friend of mine from the venue area, I got to go to Echizen City Summer Festival Fireworks Display with friends from Echizen City. They’ve been to the fireworks display almost every year since they were children, so they knew where to go, what to bring and everything in between.


The area we held was in the middle of the street!! On the day of the fireworks display, the streets and roads around the venue are closed every year. The famous loop street called Nishiki Machi overhead crossing near the train station in the middle of Echizen City was closed as well. There was full of people.


In Fukui, there are many spectacular fireworks in Fukui, and Echizen City Summer Festival Fireworks Display is the most popular one.

Stay tuned for the next blog!





Today, I will introduce a small soft-serve ice cream shop in front of Seibu Department Store in Fukui City. Their soft-serve ice creams are made from milk of rare Jersey cattle in Japan, which is from the Lovely Ranch in Katsuyama City.
You can enjoy a nice taste of plain-milk. On the other hand, it has light taste so it is recommended for calorie-conscious women. They also have cream puffs, crapes and drinks.


By the way, if you come to Fukui from other prefectures to visit Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum or Hakusan Heisenji Shrine, “Milk Tea House”, the directly-managed store of the Lovely Ranch, which is in the free parking lot of Katsuyama Castle, is a must-stop. (H.S)


Lovely soft-serve ice cream (mini cup)
Of course, you can choose in a cone.


Their shop plate with a cute cow makes you warm fuzzy feeling.


The appearance of the shop.
Also, vegetables are sold at the side of the shop.



September 11th, 2001 is the day that many will never forget.

It has been 16 years since the worst terrorist attack in American history.


“On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. After learning about the other attacks passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by sir from Washington, D.C.

*Reference from 9/11 MEMORIAL & MUSEUM, FAQ about 9/11


"One World Trade Center" had been built in New York City at the site of the 9/11 attacks where "World Trade Center" used to be. And next to the "One World Trade Center", "National September 11 Memorial Museum" had been built.


I would like to share the video of “Earth Cam”, “Official 9/11 Memorial Museum Tribute in Time=Lapse 2004-2014”.
Everything was destroyed and gone at World Trade Center site on September 11th, 2001. And from the video, you can see how the 10 years of rebuilding and construction of the site had been conducted.

The construction of "National Sptember 11 Memorial Museum" was started in 2004 and it was completed in 2014. The museum has important memories of the people who were killed by the attacks. I’m also sure that it has many thoughts, wishes and feelings from the victims’ families and friends, and everyone who was involved with rescuing the victims and/or reconstructing the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan about what happened that day.



To take a look inside some parts of the museum, I would like to share another video, “Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum – New York, NY” by “ArtAboveReality”.

We have conflicts and crimes all the time in this world.

I think that if we can look at each other’s good parts and make things better for everyone, the world would be a better place.

I strongly wish for world peace.






Last weekend, I went to Jakushu Itteki Bunko, where is in Oi Town, Fukui Prefecture.
Jakushu Itteki Bunko is a facility which the late author Tsutomu Mizukami who was born in the Oi Town, built. His thought on the facility was described in his own words on its brochure.
The following is a part of it.
“I have not graduated from even the village elementary school, because I left for Kyoto when I was ten years old. There was no light in my house, so I couldn’t read books.
Recently the books I possess have been increased, so I decided to build a small library in the village where I was born and open it up to boys who want to read but cannot like the old me. Books should be read by many people. Pick up something out of one of the books and create your life.”


Entering the main building, you can watch an interview video of Mizukami before death.
In the video, Mizukami said, “I was born as the second of five brothers and we were always fighting. When my mother grilled one mackerel, I was given the fish meat but my youngest brother was given only the fishbone, so we got into a fight. Moreover, my mother had not eaten at all. She was just watching the fire grilled the mackerel with an empty stomach.
I was very poor so I feel grateful I have anything now. I appreciate that I can put on my socks. Because I was always barefooted. “


What might his mother was thinking when she grilled the mackerel?
Tsutomu Mizukami had grown seeing the way his mother raised him.
If he hadn’t had the mother and he wasn’t poor, probably Mizukami literature would not have been born.


*Remarks : Jakushu means the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
Itteki means a drop.
Bunko means a library.


The theater gate of Jakushu Itteki Bunko


The entrance


There was a photo of Mizukami at the entrance in the Wheelchair Theater on the premises.


The stage of the Wheelchair Theater and a bamboo forest.
There was another photo which Mizukami sitting on the floor.
I was filled with deep emotions as Mizukami was really sitting there.


When I walked out of the theater, I spotted a tiny autumn scene.


A thatched house in the garden


The modest sized garden to stroll.
It is the garden which has beauty in nature blended in with the surroundings.


In the main building, the special exhibition of a painter, Sunao Watanabe, who was born
in Oi Town too and passed away at the age of 86 years old in this past August, was holding. He drew many book covers and illustrations of the books of Mizukami.
Sunao Watanabe kept painting simply and honestly while charcoal making and deliver mails.
I can imagine that Mizukami and he found some subjects in common and became close immediately.


Also, the Bamboo Doll Hall is a sight to see. The sixty bamboo dolls which play Mizukami literature literally were alive there. They had a strong presence just being decorated, so what will happen if they are moved on stage? I am sure that it will be breathed life into them beyond dolls.


After taking a look-around, I took a quick break at a rest place, Rokkakudo (hexagonal hall). They brought me barley tea. You can order noodles and coffee.


The place where Itteki Buko is located was once the rice fields where Mizukami’s mother had to do heavy labor. And there is the site of his birthplace at a short distance from there, which no buildings remain and there is only bamboo grove. If I visit it again, I would like to go out there. (H.S)



As I introduced in our previous blog about Mikuni Fireworks Festival that a friend of mine from Mikuni area took me to the fireworks festival. We went by a car from Fukui City to Mikuni.


First, we took the quickest and the shortest route that only local people know.

And then, we parked the car at an area where only the local people know and it was very close to the venue.


One of the good points of the Mikuni Fireworks Festival is the location of venue. It is at the beach in a small portal town of Fukui called Mikuni where there are no tall buildings. Therefore, even while we were walking toward the venue (beach side), we got to enjoy watching the fireworks feeling the nice breeze from the ocean.


The road in front of the venue was kept completely free of cars and it was full of people.
There were also some food stands there and many people were lined for those stands.


As soon as we arrived at the venue, we found the best space where we were able to watch the fireworks clearly and comfortably. The fireworks festival was already begun, so we could not go to the beach because there were no spaces for even one person. We watched it from behind the beach. According to the friend of mine from Mikuni area, if anyone want to watch it from the beach, it is the best to be at the beach from the morning and hold the space.



Here's the video I took at Mikuni Fireworks Festival this year. Please enjoy it!


If you have a chance to visit the Mikuni Fireworks Festival, please enjoy it!

Official Website for Mikuni Fireworks:The 37th Mikuni Fireworks

*only available in Japanese





Although it’s September already, I would like to write about local food I had during my Bon holiday in mid-August. I think that many people went out for dinner with the whole family
during the Bon holidays. I also went out for dinner with family in a soba and tempura restaurant near my house. Here are some local food of Fukui they served. (H.S)


“Dengaku of Yoshikawa eggplant”
Originally, Yoshikawa eggplants used to grow in Yoshikawa district, Sabae City.
Yoshikawa eggplants are big and round, which have 1,400 years of history.
According to one estimate, it is thought that they are an origin of Kamo eggplants in Kyoto.


“Deep-fried tofu of Fukui”
It is a regular item in Fukui.
I often have it in the refrigerator too.
In Fukui, “Deep-fried tofu of Takeda” is popular but I still remember the taste
of the deep-fried tofu of a tofu shop where was next door to my house when I was a child.


“Thick new buckwheat noodles made from 100% buckwheat flour with grated radish”
Normally, buckwheat is harvested in autumn, so summer new buckwheat noodles are rare.


“White peach sherbet”
It’s a dessert. Although I don’t think the peach is from Fukui, the topping of
buckwheat berries is like a buckwheat noodles restaurant.



At Sunset Beach, Mikuni, Japan, every August 11th there will be a splendid display of fireworks. I finally went to the Mikuni Fireworks Festival for the first time in approximately 20 years.


The fireworks shot directly off the water were amazing.

As I introduced in our previous blog that approximately 10,000 of water fireworks, 1-shaku-dama (round fireworks with a circumference of about 12-inch/30cm shells) fireworks which create an illumination 12,598-inch / 320 meters in diameter on the ocean, 2-shaku-dama (round fireworks with a circumference of about 24-inchi/60cm shells) fireworks which crate an illumination 17,716-inch / 450meters in diameter on the ocean and several other kinds of fireworks were shot off. For about one hour, the fireworks light up the sky splendidly.


The people watching the fireworks were amazed by such a powerful sound of the fireworks and the various kinds of colorful fireworks.


Since I watched the Mikuni Fireworks display about 20 years ago, I always wanted to go watch it again. Because the train and the road for Mikuni, and the venue gets very crowded, so I never went back there for 20 years.


This year, I was lucky that a friend of mine from Mikuni area took me there and watced the fireworks with me. Of course, the local people know many things that people from outside of the area know and it always makes things a lot more fun and exciting.


Stay tuned for the next blog for Mikuni Fireworks Festival!!


If you have a chance to visit the Mikuni Fireworks Festival, please enjoy it!

Official Website for Mikuni Fireworks:The 37th Mikuni Fireworks

*only available in Japanese





Arthur Binard is an American poet, who was born in Michigan in 1967.
He came to Japan upon graduating university, and started writing poetry and translation.
He received the Chuya Nakahara Prize for his first anthology.
After that, he received many other prizes.
Now he lives in Hiroshima City, appears on TV and radio and energetically gives lectures across Japan.


Actually, his lecture was held in July here in Fukui City too, but I couldn’t go.
My dead friend used to say about him, so I have always wanted to read his books and read his two essays only recently.


He writes that he is often asked “What is your most favorite Japanese words?” and
it is very hard to answer because he has so many. I sometimes see the same question to
foreign people on TV shows. If I am asked “What is your most favorite English words?”,
I cannot answer quickly either because I have so many ones too.


Also, it is interesting that he has gaps between English in Japan and his sense as an American. For example, in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, in Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, they supported Obama and the supporters' logo mark showed “FIGHT OBAMA”.
The term makes sense in Japanese but in English, it has totally the opposite meaning.
Afterwards, someone pointed it out and it changed to I LOVE OBAMA.
Even so, he felt a gap but it matched well with the farce of presidential race.


By the way, the Japanese words that he wants to export to the United States
is “hanafubuki” (blowing snow-like fluttery petals).
In his hometown, Michigan, when petals are are falling, they only compare it to cottons.


I recommend books of Arthur Binard, especially for English learners and translators.
I am sure that you can discover a lot. (H.S)


Here is an article about his lecture in Fukui City in July.
(from Daily Kenmin Fukui on July 4th, 2017)
An acquaintance who listened to his lecture said “It was good one than I expected and
so happy. I was almost crying. I have never met any American like him who tells the truth. ” His topics ranged from the attack on Pearl Harbor to Daigo Fukuryu Maru.



Fukui International Activities Plaza is located near Yokokan Garden,
where is well known as an excellent Japanese garden, is in Fukui City.
It is familiar facility to not only foreign citizens who live in Fukui but also the prefecture’s residents for the purpose of passport application and various events.
By the way, did you know that there is such a big globe directly inside the entrance?


The globe was donated by late Kei Wakaizumi in 1988, a Japanese scholar of international politics who negotiated with the United States for the reversion of Okinawa to Japan as a secret envoy of then prime minister Eisaku Sato.
He donated the globe in the hope of fostering dreams about the world and the earth
among young people. The globe was later named the Mike Mansfield Globe, Mr. Mike Mansfield, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, who visited Wakaizumi and the plaza. (H.S)


The Mike Mansfield Globe


You can spin the globe with the switch.


When you look closer the Japanese archipelago, you could find FUKUI and SABAE.
Although Wakaizumi was born in the present Echizen City, he lived in Sabae City in his later years.


Kei Wakaizumi when he was still alive. (photo kept at NHK)


At last, this year, “Kei Wakaizumi Honoring Assocaiton” was established by volunteers.
NHK Fukui reported on Wakaizumi and the association on June 27th.



In Fukui City, we have a festival for 3 days every year and it’s called “Fukui Phoenix Festival”.  It was held from August 4th to 6th this year. For the opening event, “Fukui Phoenix Festival Fireworks Display” was held at Asuwa River Bank upper Kida Bridge. Many people came to the venue and other areas around it, so everywhere in the center of Fukui City was crowded.

Based on the theme “twinkling”, “sparkling”, “dancing”, “thinking of someone/something”, “dreaming” and “flying” were expressed through the fireworks.


According to Fireworks display 2017, Fukui Phoenix Festival Fireworks Display has been ranked 6th in Fukui’s fireworks popularity.
*only available in Japanese


It is great to see the fireworks closely at the venue. Since this firework display is held in the center of the City, there are many restaurants, buildings and houses where people can enjoy eating and drinking, and seeing the fireworks at the same time.

Please enjoy our video, "The 62nd Fukui Phoenix Fireworks Display on July 31st, 2015"!

If you have a chance to see the Fukui Phoenix Festival Fireworks Display, please enjoy it!



Official Website for Fukui Phoenix Festival Fireworks Display

*only available in Japanese