Monday, January 31, 2011

Odawara gets Backpacks from Anonymous Donor

Inspired by Xmas donation, another anonymous donor leaves backpacks for children

ODAWARA, Kanagawa -- Inspired by an anonymous Christmas donation of backpacks to a child welfare office in Gunma, another anonymous donor has left backpacks in front of a welfare office.

On Jan. 5, six boxes containing children's backpacks were found left in front of the entrance to a prefectural government building that houses the child welfare office in Odawara. Attached to one of the boxes was a note reading, "This is a New Year's present -- Naoto Date."

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Girl who slashed classmate had been bullied over father's nationality

Girl who slashed classmate had been bullied over father's nationality

ODAWARA, Kanagawa -- A 12-year-old girl who slashed a classmate, slightly injuring the victim, had been bullied over her father's nationality, local education officials have said.

"Before the class, the girl was subjected to similar bullying, and got into an argument with her victim over seating, which appears to have triggered the incident," an official with the Odawara Municipal Board of Education said. Board officials added that the girl had been bullied by her classmates since October last year.

The first-year student at an Odawara municipal junior high school, slashed a 13-year-old classmate in the music classroom with a knife at around 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 26, shortly before class began, the municipal board of education said. The victim suffered minor injuries to her left middle finger.

Local police have reported the girl who slashed the classmate to a local child guidance center on suspicion of inflicting bodily injury.

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Slashing someone is going too far of course. It is a crime, but prejudice and bullying too is wrong. I hope the school will address this. Children of international marriages shouldn`t
be subjected to this anywhere. Japan needs to work harder at promoting multiculturalism,
as the country is changing whether some of the people like it or not.

Japan is quietly changing and the government can do more - use TV commercials to promote
tolerance, newspaper ads, in speeches, and by government action - new laws.

Japan still, is one of the few countries in the world without a law banning racism.
You can still be legally prevented from entering a business based on your race.


Odawara`s Sunny Winter - 小田原

Odawara`s Sunny Winter - 小田原

"I may not love Japan all the time, and I may not love getting up for work in the morning.
But everyday I get up in the winter, and though it is cold, it is always sunny. It is hard to beat that."

--a non-Japanese Odawara resident

"Really we should be encouraging people to visit Japan in the wintertime, especially the
Kanto area, because it isn`t too cold, and it is sunny almost everyday."

--a Tokyo resident from the USA

I completely agree with the above. I love Vancouver (where I am from) in the spring,
summer and early fall, but Odawara has a fantastic sunny winter that can`t be beat unless
perhaps you live in Hawaii.    Vancouver is a great place and I miss it. But from
November to March it is cold, cloudy and rainy. Sometimes you don`t see the sun for days.

Odawara is bright and sunny everyday. I love it!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Boardgames near Odawara during Golden Week, 2011

JIGG`s 20th Anniversary KevCon 2011 - Goldenweek May 3rd-5th


It is hard to believe that KevCon has been going on for 20 years!

Am I that old?

Celebrate with me in a beautiful part of Japan. Make new friends and play some games. If you come to one game event this year, Don`t miss this!

For those who have come before I welcome you back, and for those who have never been to a KevCon, I invite you to experience a little JIGG tradition.

Cost: No entrance fee! Free always!

Pictured: Alhambra

I encourage game lovers from far and wide to attend. It is worth the trip. We have had
people come from Kyushu and Niigata for KevCon.

Play games in a riverside cottage in Minamiashigara City, Kanagawa.
Get away from the city and enjoy fresh air and views of Mount Fuji. We are located 70 metres from the Kari River.

(See KevCon venue - pictured on the right)

People have come from all over Japan to attend KevCon!

Noon on May 3rd. Finishes the evening of May 5th.


Kevin`s English School (Tsukahara School)
Address: 2659-4 Tsukahara,
Minami Ashigara City, Kanagawa
Email: greatpowers at

*Note to people who have come before, KevCon will not be at my home. It will be at our
Tsukahara School.

What to bring?

Any games you`d like to play plus a sleeping bag.

There is one bed available on a first come first served basis.
Email me if you want the bed. If not bring something to sleep on--sleeping
bag etc. We have a lot of room.

Amenities Nearby:
There is a restaurant next door, several more nearby, and there is a large supermarket across the
street. The train station is just a 3 minute walk away!

How to Get There from Tokyo, Fujisawa, Atsugi, Machida, Yokohama:

From Shinjuku Station catch an Odakyu Line train bound for Odawara.

So take the Odakyu Line to Odawara. Take a Kyuko (express
train) it has red kanji on the side usually next to the door up top.
It takes about 90 minutes. Bring a good book! Be sure that your
train goes to Odawara and not Fujisawa.

Get off at Odawara Station and transfer to the Daiyuzan Line. Get off
at Iiwahara Station, it takes 10 minutes from Odawara. Take the only
exit, cross the train tracks, turn left at the first street, walk straight and you will
see a cottage like white and brown, house that looks like it came out of a cowboy movie.
We have our store Merry Lue on the first floor and our school and apartment on the second floor.
Come up to the 2nd floor. That is where we will play and sleep.

How to Get There from: Shizuoka, Nagoya and other points South:

Take the Tokaido line or the Shinkansen and get off at Odawara. Transfer to
the Daiyuzan line and follow the directions above (for Tokyo).

**The Shinkansen also stops at Odawara. You take a Kodama Super
Express. It takes about 39 minutes from Tokyo. Costs a little over
3,000 Yen one way.

Take a break from the city and see some mountain views and breathe some fresh

Feel free to pass this on to interested people. Games of all kinds
welcome. Bring whatever you would like to play, chances are, others
will want to play it too. Bring a sleeping bag if you`d like. It is a nice area as well.
A great break from wherever you live with a great bunch of people!

I have literally hundreds of games. Most of which I have never played.

Kevin Burns


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Kanagawa`s anti-smoking Law

Kanagawa Prefecture has implemented in April 2010 the nation's first prefecture-wide smoking ban, banning smoking in public facilities, including hospitals, schools and government offices. The ordinance requires large restaurants and hotels to choose whether to become nonsmoking or create separate smoking areas, while mah-jong and pachinko parlors, restaurants with floor space of up to 100 sq. meters and hotels of up to 700 sq. meters are merely required to "make efforts" to prevent passive smoking. Another Kanagawa ordinance last month to ban smoking at swimming beaches expected to be implemented in May 2010.[62] Although still relatively few, there is a growing number of private businesses implementing smoking bans in restaurants, taxis, buildings and bars

From Wikipedia


Odawara Resident Bret Fisk & Another American Launch Archive of US Air Raids on Japan

Editor note:
I hope someone else similarly motivated, might consider doing the same on another topic: Make a well researched bilingual website on: Japan`s history in World War 2.
-a well balanced site that details what happened.

There is a tendancy in Japan to focus on the atomic bombings. While they were important
and terrible incidents, they were not the only incidents to occur during World War 2.

Odawara was the last city in Japan to be bombed by allied aircraft during World War 2,
August 15th, 1945. Unfortunately some employees were killed at the Yuasa
factory, that I used to teach at. I taught there for 8 years and there is a memorial to them there. The factory is now closed. They moved operations to Kansai.

Fisk and Karakas launched this site as they felt some Americans were not aware of what happened during the air raids in Japan. It seems they felt that was glossed over.

I feel if you do not know your own history, you do not know yourself.

2 Americans launch bilingual online archive of U.S. air raids on Japan

The website "Japan Air", a digital archive about the U.S. military's air raids on Japan during the Pacific War.

A bilingual Japanese-English website featuring documents, photographs, and other archives relating to the air raids by U.S. military forces on Japan during World War II was launched in late November.

Called "Japan Air," the website was created by two Americans who felt that too many of their compatriots knew too little about what happened in the Japan air raids. The archive includes subtitled video footage of survivors recounting their experiences, and allows users in Japan to view official U.S. documents.

The founders are Bret Fisk, 37, who moved to Japan nearly two decades ago and runs an English language school out of his home in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, and 39-year-old Cary Karacas, an assistant professor at the City University of New York who specializes in modern Japanese history.

Read their digital archive of air raids on Japan

While doing research for a novel about the Pacific War that he is writing in Japanese, Fisk had come upon heartbreaking testimonies by survivors, including a gruesome account of a father being swallowed in flames as he tried to save his children.

"The only information we have about (the air raids) in the U.S. is from the perspective of the air force," Fisk says. "It's important to understand what the civilians on the ground experienced." Read More

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Atelier Hayakawa

A great place to shop for unique gifts in Odawara.






2F:ATORIE HAYAKAWA 2F [ 陶、ガラス、イラストレーション、テキスタイルなど]

Email: axandcable at

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キアステン ウエストはカナダ 出身、小田原在住のマルチメディア•アーティスト。手元にあるものなら何でも材料に創作活動を繰り広げることから、作品には本人の周囲の様子、現在の環境などが映し出される。
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Apparel and Accessories at National Geographic