Sunday, May 25, 2008

English Language Christian Worship Services in Odawara

by John Martin

Especially since the Odawara Christian Center (where we worked
several years ago) has pretty well closed down activities for
foreigners living in the area, my wife and I wanted to let folks know
we're still in the area and hope to be for a long time!

We've been asked by some friends if we'd start some periodic English-
language Christian worship for people here who would like that. So,
we're planning to get together for some fun and informal Christian
worship in English on the first Saturday of June, June 7th. We plan
to start at 6:00pm.

We anticipate a mixed group of friends coming, including Japanese and
foreign friends living in the area. People who come need not
be "Christians," but would need to be respectful of the people coming
and what's going on (and not be proslytizing for any kind of network
marketing scheme or "new" religion or cult group, etc.). Please.

Our time together that evening will mostly be in English, of course,
and we may celebrate the Lord's Supper (Communion) together, as well
as sing some songs, pray together, have a short Bible message or
study time, and just hang out some, getting to know each other better.

We've also been having some gatherings that folks here, foreigners
and Japanese, would be welcome to come join, if they'd be interested
(with the same stipulations above).

For example, last night we had a Christian Japanese friend who's
helping in Cambodia visiting. About 15 folks came to eat together and
hear about her work especially with some of the very poor children in
Cambodia. (I'll work to post information about things like that in
the future.)

We now live in Ninomiya, just a short bus ride away from Ninomiya
station. Folks should write me at this address, with a bit of an
introduction of themselves, and we can give directions.

John Martin


Odawara Laughter Club

Hello Everyone,

We would like to let you know of a kind of club which is spreading
like wildfire throughout the world and has now arrived in Odawara!

LAUGHTER CLUB (Laughter Yoga)

We all know that laughter makes us feel good. Laughter Yoga combines
laughter exercises and yoga breathing to give you the health benefits
of hearty laughter. It's fun and easy.
After just one laughter yoga session you can experience the benefits
and feel the difference: blood and all major organs are fully
oxygenated, leaving us bursting with energy. High endorphin levels
put us in a great mood and reduce pain. Stress levels reduce by 75%.

Come laugh, make friends, and feel great!

Dates: Saturday, May 24th; Saturday, June 7; Sunday, June 29;
Saturday, July 5; Sunday, July 20; Saturday, August 9; Sunday, August 17

May 24th Guest Teacher: Mary Tadokoro

- Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher with Dr. Kataria's School of
Laughter Yoga - Co-founder, Tokyo Laughter Club,
Japan's first laughter club

Time: 2:00-3:30

What to bring: You don't even need a sense of humor, but please
bring some drinking water. You can also bring a snack or something
to share after the session if you like. (Please bring a bath towel
or yoga mat on 6/29, 7/20, and 8/17; on the other days, we will meet
in the tatami room.)

Place: Odawara-Shi Shougai Gakushuu Senta- "Keyaki" (formerly
Odawara Chuo Kominkan). Shiyakusho Mae bus stop.

Access: 15 minute walk from Odawara station's WEST exit, or bus from
EAST exit. Take any bus from Platform 2. Get off at Shiyakusho Mae
(the big white building). The Keyaki Senta- is just behind the
Shiyakusho (City Hall), about a 3 minute walk from the bus stop. The
bus leaves Odawara Station at 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, 1:45. It takes about
10 minutes and costs 160 yen. (There are also less frequent buses
from the west exit.)

Fee: Free (Donations welcome.)

Language: Japanese and English

Reservations: Please email us your name, phone number, and the
number of people wanting reservations. Please also let us know if
you'll be bringing children.

Susie & Linda,

For more information, please visit:

Japan site (bilingual):

International site:

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

100 Remarkable Waters List

Pictured: Saijoji Temple in Minami Ashigara Shi

Yamakita and Minami Ashigara share the honors in
the 100 Remarkable Waters List for Japan.

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Minami Ashigara Info

Students studying English in Minami Ashigara Shi

by TH

City Area: 7,693ha
1. Residential land: 517ha (7%) 2. Agricultural land: 827ha (11%)
3. Forest land: 5,270ha (68%) 4. Other land: 1,079ha (14%)

2. Climate
1. Average Temperature: 16.2 degree C 2. Highest Temperature: 36.2 degree C
3. Lowest Temperature: -3.1 degree C 4. Annual Rainfall: 1509.5 mm

3. Population: 43,702 (April 1, 1995)
1. Male: 21,886 2. Female: 21,816 3. Population Density: 568/square km

4. Other Statistics
1. Tourists: 1,530,905 (1994) 2. Hospitals: 2 3. Schools: Elementary/6, Junior High/4, Senior High/1 4. Sister City: Tilburg, Netherland

Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd:
World #2 photographic film manufacturer has the largest color film/paper production plants here in Minami-ashigara, where around 4000 people are working. Dominating!

Daiyuzan Saijo-ji Temple (Doryoson):
Founded in 1394, this temple is the third highest in status in the Buddhist Soto Sect (Zen temple), outranked only by Eihei-ji in Fukui and Soji-ji in Tsurumi.

Mt. Kintoki-yama
Elevation1213m、the highest peak in the Hakone mountain range.
It is said the home-ground of "Kintaro" boy. With various seasonal scenes, hikers like to visit there. At the top, the famous "Kintoki-musume" will welcome you and serve you Japanese tea.

Small but the biggest in the town. Clean and clear water. "Ayu (sweetfish)" is river-fish native to Japan, which only live in clean water like Kari-river.
People love eating "Ayu" as a Japanese traditional delicacy. "Ayu" fishing season opens on June 1, every year.

Daiyuzan Line.
Only one line in the town. Single-tracked. It connects between Odawara, which is the biggest city in the area, and the city center called "Daiyuzan". The distance in between is only 10 km and 21 mimutes ride. The train runs every 12 minutes. No accidents and no competition whatsoever.

"Sunset Waterfall".
One story is that it is named so because the Sun goes down from the center of the fall on January 15th, every year. The 23-meter-high, 5-meter-wide waterfall on the Uchi River on the upper reaches of the Sakawa River (which goes to the Pacific Ocean) is said to have been the place where the legendary Kintaro took his first bath as a new-born baby. The falls and surroundings are beautiful with the fresh green leaves of early summer and the crimson foliage in late autumn. In summertime, the camp-ground is open and the area is enjoyed by people playing along the river.

Along the bank of Horagawa river are Cherry Blossoms.

It is a REAL tourist town, quite friendly, and many of my friends go there for hiking in summer and autumn. Very quiet off-season, and as you guessed not many clubs and bars. Go to Odawara for that. Good intro to the older Japan, that many folks search for.

Originally posted at the Forum


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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Kanagawa Governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa on Foreigners

Governor Matsuzawa`s spoke out concerning his feelings
about foreigners and crime in Kanagawa. You can read more


Apparel and Accessories at National Geographic