Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Various sentences at a street corner


Life in Fukui

While walking along the Phoenix street in the center of Fukui City and watching around a little carefully, various sentences at the street corner caught my eyes which I usually miss.


At a little from the main street, there is a sign that explains the ruins of the house of the chief retainer of the Fukui domain, the house of Koma. And the frame is made of Shakudani-ishi stone, which used to be the indigenous products of Fukui.


A sign explaining the origin of the name of the place around here. Here also the house of Koma appeared on it.


What I was most concerned about today was this, on the door of a small Izakaya shop "Haru no omise".


It might mean "It's a day off because we go to a hot spring trip to celebrate graduation of part-time college students", and it made me imagine the good atmosphere of the shop.

Academy Award-winning film “The Shape of Water”



The winners of the 90th Academy Awards were announced last week and
“The Shape of Water” won the Oscar for best picture.
The film is now showing in Fukui as well and I went to see it.


(Photo from Fox Searchlight Pictures official Facebook page)


The film has warmth for vulnerable people who live quietly on the fringe of society.
One day, an amphibian man who had been worshiped as a god in a remote part of the upper Amazon, was carried into the hidden high-security government laboratory where Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works. Elisa got to communicate with the creature and she tries to get him out of the laboratory somehow. Elisa is a mute. Her friends Giles and Zelda who always support Elisa, both have a problem, actually.


The director Guillermo del Toro is well known as a big fan of Japanese cartoons and special effects movies. So I guess that the amphibian man’s body is a little bit like Ultraman. :) The director himself looks like a cute mascot character, and the amphibian man is well-balanced portrayed not too grotesque, kind of cute, not only he has intelligence but also has a living creature’s instinct.


When I saw the scene of wrecking of a new Cadillac, I felt the Mexican director’s criticism toward today’s America. The enemy role is Strickland, who is offensive to women, brutal and makes racist comments. And the scene of counterattack him by sign language is piquant.
The film was set in 1962 but it is like nowadays because of sexual harassment and political situation. I wonder why an amphibian man? As a matter of fact, the director del Toro saw the film “Creature From the Black Lagoon” a long time ago, and he felt sympathy for the creature, so he created this film. That sounds like him.


Even if I wrote that this is “A love story between female human and an amphibian man”, those who have not seen the film may not be able to imagine. But communications are not just limited to between humans. As there are several stories of marriage between a human and a non-human being all over the world, I recall a Japanese folktale “The Greateful Crane” and a legend of dragon god of Yashaga Ike Pond in Fukui. Also, I felt an animistic reverence for nature and non-human creatures. (H.S)



The girl in Bhutan Museum Fukui's poster visited Fukui!! -Visiting NHK in Fukui on January 23rd, 2018-



Ms. Sonam Choki, left photograph is 23 years old, right photograph is 14 years old

In our previous blog, we have introduced that Ms. Sonam Choki who is the image girl of Bhutan Museum Fukui and she appears in its poster came to Fukui from Bhutan. She stayed in Fukui City from January 20th, 2018 for about one month.


She was only 14 years old when the photograph that has been used for Bhutan Museum Fukui poster was taken. She is now 23 years old.


a sidewalk in front of NHK Fukui
a character of NHK Fukui
entrance of NHK Fukui

On January 23rd, 2018, Genji Nosaka, the former president of Bhutan Museum Fukui and Ms. Sonam Choki visited NHK in Fukui (Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Fukui Station). Since there is NHK World broadcasting in Bhutan, she’s seen their TV programs and familiar with NHK.


inside of NHK Fukui's studio
one of NHK Fukui's news programs Saurus 's logo signboard

Mr. Hiroya Okado, the director of Fukui Station showed us around in the studio. We had always watched their news and TV programs as TV viewers but not as broadcasters in the studio. It was interesting for us to experience what is behind the camera and what they do in the studio. According to Mr. Okado, when a program is on the air, there are usually only a few people working in the studio. Other staff check the program, check the sound and so on in a different room.



two broadcasters (a male and a female) are in the poster of NHK Fukui on the outside wall of their building
a broadcaster explains about the TV comapny and its studio

Ms. Erika Morishita, a television broadcaster who has cheerful attitude showed us how the program would be shown on the TV. It seemed very strange to see what we usually see at home in the studio. Ms. Sonam Choki was very interested in the TV camera which she had seen for the first time ever.



a broadcaster enjoys showing Ms. Sonam Choki how everything works in the studio
Ms. Sonam Choki and Mr. Nosaka (the former president of Bhutan Museum Fukui) on a screen in the studio

I’m sure you have seen at least one or two breaking news on TV.
Ms. Morishita showed us how they usually broadcast when a breaking news happen. An example script that she showed us looked as it needs to be read calmly, seriously and clearly.



At this moment, none of us knew that they would had to report many breaking heavy snow news 2 weeks later.



A broadcaster, Erika Morishita, Mr. Nosaka and Ms. Sonam Choki

Mr. Nosaka and Ms. Sonam Choki had such a great experience seeing the studio, and learning about the TV company and their programs.





Enjoy our previous blog!

A Girl from Bhutan -Miraculous Reunion-

The girl in the Bhutan Museum Fukui's poster visited Fukui!! -January 22nd, 2018-


At Bhutan Museum Fukui, you can see many interesting things from Bhutan!

Official Website of Bhutan Museum Fukui

Official Website of NHK World

Collaboration of Lacquer and Ceramics at Fukui Kougeisha Craft Gallery


Arts and crafts

This stunning decorative dish with the scenery of Tojinbo as a motif is a collaborative work of pottery and lacquer art exhibited in "At the time of lacquer tree budding / Lacquer Work Fuji, Echizen Decorative Ware Exhibition".
Fukui's prefectural flower, daffodils are drawn with lacquer on the blue glazed part of the Echizen-yaki earthenware dish.
Although I tend to think that the picture in lacquer is Makie, these daffodils are drawn with Chinkin (sunken gold decoration).
Chinkin is the decoration technique of engraving the surface and filling the engraved lines or points with gold, on the other hand, Makie is the technique of spreading gold or silver powder over lacquered pattern to fix it.


At this exhibition, collaboration with various materials such as lacquer and ceramics, glass, woodwork, Japanese paper etc. is proposed. It is being held in the gallery 'Fukui Kougeisha Craft Gallery' in the center of Fukui city until March 18th.

Fukui’s secret sake of a feudal lord with more than 400 years of history



There is a sake brewery “Aoki Ranjado”, which has run for more than 400 years quietly in Togo District, Fukui City. In fact, they produce medicated liquor “Ranja liquor” adding a dozen crude drugs. It is a secret sake handed down in a feudal lord, Asakura clan and even today, Aoki family continues to produce, from father to only child, by the same method.


Because we visited them to take a video last year, I always have the Ranja liquor ready at home. I have a capful before going to bed, when I felt tired or wanted to get a good sleep. The taste is similar to Kahlua. It’s good with a mellow sweetness. Although it was very cold and snowed heavily this winter, I didn’t catch a cold. Maybe it’s thanks to the Ranja liquor. Come to think of it, Ms. Aoki also said that she had the Ranja liquor like gargle when she had a slight cold and she recovered next morning.


By the way, don’t you think the word “Ranja” is difficult but unforgettable?
As Ms. Aoki told about that in the interview, “Ranja” is a genuine Japanese which is listed in the Kojien dictionary.
*Ranja – The scent of orchid and musk. Good smell. (From the Kojien)


Aoki Ranjado is located in a quiet environment centered nostalgic beautiful irrigation streams near Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins. If you visit Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins, why don’t you drop by? Mr. and Ms. Aoki will welcome you. You can buy their products at Seibu department store in Fukui City as well. (H.S)


Quaint entrance and surround of Aoki Ranjado


Inside. Its wall was hung with pictures of the old method of Ranja liquor


Ranja liquor and approx. quantity at one time


Here is the video when we visited.