Category Archives: Niigata

Nakasato Elementary Exchange (Winter) Part 2

This is the second part of this post.  Checkout the first part too!  Don’t miss the video at the end. Every winter fourteen fifth grade elementary students from Kume Island’s 6 elementary schools travel to Toakamachi.  In the summer, a group of Tokamachi students from 3 elementary schools return to visit Okinawa.  In 2013, I was invited along as one of Kumejima’s representatives (read cameraman).  I live-tweeted the event and you can catch a record of the trip here (I know, strange title but

Nakasato Elementary Exchange (Winter) Part 1

Japan is _____________. Japanese people eat ____________. In Japan, everyone wears ___________. When you hear “Japan” what do you think of?  What images come to your mind?  Before I began studying Japan, I thought of swords, anime, rice and green mountains.  Like many people, I thought of Japan through the stereotypes I picked up from television and books.  Anyone who doesn’t specialize is bound to think of another country by the most easily recognizable differences from their home culture. Yet

2013 Tokamachi Snow Festival

With its tall mountains and island geography, Japan has areas with heavy rain throughout the year and snowfall in the winter.  Over the years, in many areas the snow has been changed from a hardship to benefit.  The first place in Japan to create a snow festival is Tokamachi in Niigata prefecture. Tokamachi (十日町市) City is located in eastern Niigata prefecture.  The names of that area are interesting in that they refer to the days it used to take to travel