Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Wine event held in front of Fukui Station

A season for wine is here in Japan. The other day, the annual wine event was held in a roofed space "Happy Terrace", right in front of Fukui Station.


At the event, they offered the 150 kinds wine selected from around the world from 200 yen for a glass. Food booths were set up by several popular restaurants and various shops in Fukui, so the visitors could enjoy good foods, breads and desserts as well. And, staff sold wine in a wagon from table to table, which was good service for visitors who don't want to stand up often to get wine at the booth. (H.S)


The "Happy Terrace" is an all-weather space, which is a good place for such an event.


There also was a champagne corner.


I saw the Slovenian wine for the first time.


The food booth of an old restaurant "Grill Fukui"


There were a lot of foods that go well with wine and I couldn't easily choose what to eat.


Assorted hors d'oeuvre


Special advance tickets were sold at Liqueur World Hana and Yasubun.

Tsutomu Mizukami Exhibition "What it is to live", which commemorated the 100th anniversary of his birth


I went to the Tsutomu Mizukami Exhibition, which is now being held in Fukui Prefectural Library. Tsutomu Mizukami is a Fukui-born novelist. (1919-2004)


There was a big panel of Mizukami's photo that shows him standing in a coat in the snow. He looked more stylish than ordinary actors. His books were displayed all over on a wall, which was overwhelming. Each book cover was tasteful. Among them, I was particularly impressed with one of "Gobancho Yugiriro", which is the title was lettered big in pale red on a white background simply.


Also, his handwritten manuscripts were exhibited. His handwriting looked soft and tender, which showed Mizukami's gentle personality. There were many red-pencil parts, of course, and I found how hard it was to finish final manuscripts.


I was touched by one sentence from an essay by him: "Looking back my childhood, I think of my poor parents who didn't talk any lessons. But now I realize that they left many better words than any other books to me."


The exhibition is admission-free, includes a precious film and sound of lectures, so you can see a compilation of Mizukami's work. It was a meaningful space and I wanted to stay there a whole day. (H.S)

Japanese New Year's Market in Katsuyama City

poster of Japanese New Year's Market in Katsuyama City

"Toshino-ichi", the Katsuyama New Year's market has been held annually for 300 years in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture. It will be held on January 27th this year. Woodworks and many other local products can be seen at the event, and some of them are purchasable. Many visitors enjoy it every year.


making buckwheat noodles

There are things and events that we can't usually see or experience such as the auction for local handmade products, the master in the village making things, making buckwheat noodles experience, buying handmade lucky charms and local foods, playing the Japanese lottery called "Garapon", etc. While enjoying these things, there are also many food stands that sell Japanese festive foods. My favorite ones are baby castella mini cakes and Takoyaki (ball-shaped version of crepes).


This is a video of the auction at the town market that was taken in 2016. A lucky charm that is well worth 10,000yen was put up for sale at the auction. As the price went up, visitors started raising their hands for their desired prices.



Other products were put up as well and the auction was becoming exciting and fun more and more.



NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photo exhibition -The Truth of Earth-

I saw the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photo exhibition -The Truth of Earth- held at Fukui City Museum.



"National Geographic" is known for documentary photography and wildlife photography. Mitsuaki Iwago was the only Japanese whose photographs were used on the cover twice.


Mitsuaki Iwago and the two "National Geographic" magazines with his photographs on the cover.(From the official website of National Geographic Japan)


The photograph of lions of the flyer above was also taken by Iwago. The photo titled "Battle between life and death", which captures a male lion challenged another male one in the group to a fight. After the intense fighting, the challenger's head was crunched down. The shooting was done under imminently dangerous situation in which Iwago himself might have gotten attacked by the lions.


You can watch the videos for photography and interviews with the photographers for several works among many other photographs. Paul Nicklen's photograph of a leopard seal underwater was very especially impressive. It seemed that the leopard seal had been mistaken him for its company which was not good at hunting and it carried him a penguin that it hunted again and again. Nicklen said "Probably the leopard seal thought of me as a starving company. I am completely happy that I had such experience as a photographer."


Of course, I was overwhelmed with photographs that were taken for photographers' lives. However, I also was deeply touched by wildlife photography. I feel that I was once again reminded that the earth is not only for the human beings. (H.S)

Special exhibition "Turmoil at the end of Edo Period, and Fukui" at Fukui Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

I saw the special exhibition at Fukui Prefectural Museum of Cultural History the other day.



This exhibition includes two valuable items which are shown for the first time. One is an original letter of Ryoma Sakamoto with written seal mark. And another is a kimono with family crest of Sanai Hashimoto.


The Ryoma's letter informed Ujihisa Murata, a retainer of Fukui Domain, that Ryoma would go to Kanto area with retainers of Satsuma Domain. The Ryoma's original letter with written seal mark is the only one in the nation, which is very precious.


On the other hand, the kimono of Sanai Hashimoto, whose mother Umeo had kept it as Sanai's belonging. The outer material is black silk and the lining is indigo-dyed.
The indigo looks bright even now, and I felt like I witnessed Sanai was really young.
*Sanai was executed at the age of 25.


In addition, a hanging scroll of "Keihatsuroku", which Sanai had written himself (from the Museum of Imperial Collections) was displayed. His handwriting was well-organized
and I could tell that he was so smart.


Other than these, the letters and historical materials of Shungaku Matsudaira, Kimimasa Yuri, Shonan Yokoi, Ryoma Sakamoto and Takamori Saigo were displayed, which were worth seeing. (H.S)