About IbarakiCIRs

We are an American, an Australian, a Frenchman, and a German, living in Ibaraki, Japan, and working for the Ibaraki Prefectural Government. We handle translation/interpreting, cultural presentations, and coordinating between Japan and the international community. We hope this blog will make living in Ibaraki easier, more comfortable, and more exciting for everyone and give those outside of Ibaraki a glimpse of the fun that is waiting for you here!

Kisenosato Receives Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award

Newly-appointed yokozuna Kisenosato visited the Ibaraki Prefectural Government office on February 9th, where he was commended with an Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award presented by Governor Hashimoto.

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The Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award is bestowed upon inspiring individuals who have raised the profile of Ibaraki Prefecture through notable achievements in areas such as academia, sports, and the arts, and who are widely loved and respected. As the first Japanese-born yokozuna in 19 years, and the first Ibaraki-born yokozuna in 81 years, Kisenosato certainly fits the bill. The 30-year-old wrestler from Ushiku was promoted from ōzeki to the yokozuna, the highest sumo rank, on January 25th, 2017. He is now one of four active yokozuna – the other three wrestlers, Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu, are from Mongolia.

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Many locals attended the ceremony, congratulating Kisenosato and wishing him luck in future tournaments.

16th Annual I Love Ibaraki Fureai Festival

When: 10am – 4:30pm, April 8th 2017
Where: The Former Prefectural Office Building (Sannomaru Chousha) (1-5-48 Sannomaru, Mito)
Access: 15 minutes’ walk from Mito Station
Website

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The I Love Ibaraki Fureai Festival is a chance for Ibarakians to celebrate local food and culture under the cherry blossoms that bloom around the old castle moat in Sannomaru. The festival will include stalls selling local specialties from around Ibaraki, a bazaar, stage performances, a walking tour around Sannomaru, a stamp rally, and the chance to decorate an old bus with graffiti!

Stage Events

10:00 Blue Beginners (Mito Technical High School Jazz Band)
12:00 Blue Hawks (Oarai High School Marching Band)
13:00 Sannomaru Elementary School Brass Band

44th Annual Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival

When: February 25th – March 20th, 2017
Where: Tsukuba and the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest    

Video of 2013 Festival

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Tsukuba’s plum tree forest sits at around 250m above sea level, and from among the trees you can gaze out upon Tsukuba City, and even spot Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Sky Tree in the distance. The Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival is unique in offering the chance to enjoy such a splendid view while walking amongst the red, pink, and white blossoms.

On weekends and public holidays you can revel in the beauty of the plum blossoms while keeping toasty sitting by an open hearth from 10am to 3pm at the Plum Forest Plum Viewing Square (umebayashi kanbai hiroba). Other activities held every day during the festival include a treasure hunt for a golden toad around Mt. Tsukuba and workshops for making pens from plum tree branches (100 yen to participate) and toasted sandwiches (400 yen to participate) at Forest Adventure Tsukuba.

Access: 40 minutes via the Mt. Tsukuba Shuttle Bus from Tsukuba Center Mt. Tsukuba Shuttle Bus Stop (next to bus stop no.1) outside the A3 and A4 TX Tsukuba Station exits (bus schedule). Get off at Tsukuba-san Jinja Iriguchi (筑波山神社入り口)

Limited Time Plum-themed Dishes

Throughout the festival, stores around Tsukuba will sell a variety of plum-themed dishes for you to try. Get in quick, as some places only offer a limited number of the dish per day!

Meals

Kandaya (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 722)
Tsukuba Akane Chicken and Plum Mayonnaise Rice Bowl (1000 yen)

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Ishihama (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 721)
Plum Rice and Kenchin Soup (root vegetable soup) (850 yen)

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Murasaki (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 753)
Plum Tororo (shaved yam) Soba/Udon (980 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Drive In (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 1233-8)
Plum Udon/Soba (780 yen)

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Hitachino (Tsukuba-shi Usui 2103-5 Kazekaeshi Ridge)
Marinated Hitachi-wagyu Beef on Rice (with plum stock) (2160 yen)

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Tsutsujigaoka Rest House (Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station)
Natto & Pork Cutlet Meal (1050 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Keisei Hotel (Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station)
Fragrant Plum Shokado Bento (2160 yen)
An extravagant bento box including stewed yellowtail with radish, bamboo, and plum-shaped carrot, Tsukuba Biton pork-wrapped asparagus with plum sauce, fried and battered anglerfish with plum, bamboo kamameshi (rice cooked with other ingredients in a pot) and local strawberries from the Yasato area.

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Tsukuzen (Tsukuba-shi Numata 1441-1)
Plum Gozen (1620 yen)
A plum-filled meal including plum inari sushi made from rice from Yumeda Farm located at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba, plum konnyaku, pickled plum tempura, side dishes made from local vegetables, and Hitachi Aki Soba.

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Oshokujidokoro Aoki (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 829-1)
Plum and Perilla Sushi with Wild Vegetable Soba (1500 yen)

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Tsukuba Ham (Tsukuba-shi Hiratsuka 383)
Pork Roast Steak and Plum Beurre Composé (2484 yen)

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Chicken Paitan Ramen Obiya (Tsukuba-shi Kaname 137-3)
Spicy Red Yuzu and Shaved Plum Ramen (850 yen)

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Sweets

Kamiya Seika (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Plum Yōkan (100 yen)

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Daiichiya (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Plum Yōkan with a Stewed Plum (450 yen)

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Sugimotoya (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Mt. Tsukuba-yaki Pastry with Plum-flavoured Filling (200 yen)

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Tsukuba Yakon (Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest Rest Area and Mt. Tsukuba Omotenashi Kan)
Plum Chiffon Cake made with rice flour (190 yen)

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Ishihama (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 721)
Plum Anmitsu (650 yen)

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Tsukuba Ham Shizen Aji Kōbō (Tsukuba-shi Hiratsuka 383)
Plum Tart Set (702 yen)

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Cable Car Miyawaki Store (Next to Mt. Tsukuba Shrine)/Tsutsujigaoka Rest House (at the ropeway station)
Red Plum Soft Serve Ice Cream (320 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Drive In (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 1233-8)
Plum Soft Serve Ice Cream (350 yen)

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121st Annual Mito Plum Festival

When: February 18th – March 31st
Where: Kairakuen and the Kodokan, Mito

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Access via Public Transport
Kairakuen: Take a bus heading to Kairakuen from Bus Stop 4 or 6 on the north side of Mito Station (see map here http://www.koen.pref.ibaraki.jp/foreign_language/en/access_info/index.html)
Kodokan: 8 minutes’ walk north of Mito Station (see map here: http://www.koen.pref.ibaraki.jp/park/kodokan06.html)

Admission
Kairakuen: Free
Kobuntei: Adults 200 yen, junior high school and younger 100 yen
Kodokan: Adults 200 yen, junior high school and younger 100 yen, over 70 free

Opening Hours
Kairakuen: 6am – 7pm (7am to 6pm until February 19th)
Kobuntei: 9am – 5pm (9am – 4:30pm until February 19th)
Kodokan: 9am – 5pm (9am – 4:30pm until February 19th)

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The Plum Blossoms of Kairakuen

There are approximately 100 varieties of plum tree growing in Kairakuen, and they all bloom at different times. Early blooming varieties (hayazaki) begin around mid-January to mid-February, mid-season blooming varieties (nakazaki) around early February to mid-March, and late blooming varieties (osozaki) around early March to early April. These times can vary every year though, depending on the climate.

Of the 3000 plum trees in Kairakuen, only around half of them can be said to be of a particular variety (the other half being mixes of a number of varieties resulting in an unnamed variety). The most common among those with clear names is the Shirakaga variety, of which there are nearly 450 trees. The next most common is the Tōjibai, with 150 trees, followed by Yaekankō, with 130 trees.

Although the trees bloom roughly as described above, they are greatly affected by weather and precipitation, so it is not an exact timeline. This is why you should visit Kairakuen several times to stroll around the park and appreciate the many forms of the plum blossoms.

Early Blooming Varieties (Mid-January to Mid-February)

The Yaekankō, Shironaniwa, Yaetōji, and Rekkōbai varieties are representative of the early blooming plum tree varieties, and can be found scattered around Kairakuen. In particular, the Yaekankō in the East-West Plum Forest near the East Gate and the Shironaniwa by the Onari Gate are well known and among the first to bloom. Searching for the few flowers that have blossomed among the majority that are still in their bud forms is one of the most enjoyable things to do during the early blooming season.

Mid-season Blooming Varieties (Late February to Mid-March)

The single-petaled Tsukikage with its distinct silhouette and the soft and fluffy Tora-no-o are exemplary of the mid-season blooming varieties. They can be found scattered around the park in the Western Plum Forest and other locations, and are known for their fragrance and colour. It is when the mid-season varieties are in bloom that you can fully feel the coming of spring and enjoy the grand sight of many plum trees in full bloom.

Late Blooming Varieties (Early March to Early April)

The Shirakaga, Kasugano, and Kōnanshomu varieties are representative of late blooming plum trees. In particular Shirakaga trees can be seen all around the park. They bloom slowly and decorate the end of the plum blossom season. The end of the season is when you should savour the last of the blossoms before they are gone.

Precautions against the Spread of Avian Influenza (from the Mito Municipal Government website)

In December 2016, a case of avian influenza was discovered in a wild bird at Lake Senba, which is located beside Kairakuen. As a result, precautions are being taken at Lake Senba to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

People who do not have any particular contact with birds in their everyday lives are not thought to be at risk of contracting the virus, so there is no need to worry excessively. Please remain calm and take action based on information from official sources. We ask for your cooperation in the following:

1. There is a possibly of the virus spreading via bird droppings becoming stuck to people’s shoes, so if you step on bird droppings around Lake Senba please use the calcium hydroxide that has been provided on the jogging course to disinfect your shoes. You can do so simply by stepping into the box.

Caution:

  • Calcium hydroxide is a powerful alkaline, so please avoid direct contact with your skin
  • People with multiple chemical sensitivity should take special care
  • If the calcium hydroxide gets on your skin, wash the affected area thoroughly
  • If it gets in your eye, wash it out with clean water and consult a doctor immediately
  • If ingested, wash your mouth out and consult a doctor immediately

2. Take the following actions to prevent the spread of avian influenza:

  • Keep away from the birds
  • Do not feed the birds
  • If you find a dead bird, contact the Parks and Green Space Division (公園緑地課) immediately
  • Take care not to step in bird droppings
  • Do not ride your bike in the park
  • Do not fish or play around bodies of water

Inquiries (Japanese only)
Parks and Green Space Division, Mito Municipal Government (029-224-1111)
Mito Parks Association (029-244-2895)

Events

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Major Events

4th Annual National Umeshu Festival in Mito

When: March 3rd – 5th, 10am – 4pm (until 3pm on March 5th)
Where: Tokiwa Shrine Grounds

At the National Umeshu Festival you will have the opportunity to sample and compare umeshu from Hokkaido all the way down to Okinawa. You can also enjoy the coupling of umeshu with a variety of dishes and umeshu cocktails.

Night Plum Festival

When:
Kodokan – March 4th, 6 – 9pm
Kairakuen – March 11, 6 – 9pm

The Night Plum Festival will feature candle displays, showing off the beauty of the plum trees in a different light. The festival finale will feature Mito fireworks.

Event Schedule

Presenting of Plum Festival Opening Memorial Gifts
When: February 18h, 9am onwards
Where: Kairakuen East Gate

Mito-chan Birthday Party
When: February 18th – 19st, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Taisei Girls’ High School)
When: February 25th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Sekishū-ryu Style)
When: February 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Taya Staff Technique Demonstration
When: February 26th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Mito Hina-nagashi (Hitachi Washi Doll Association)
When: February 26th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

Kids’ Hina-matsuri
When: February 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Tokiwa University High School)
When: March 4th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Martial Arts Demonstration (Mito Tobukan/ Hōzōin-ryū)
When: March 4th, 10 – 12:00pm
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Goken Kōbai Hina-nagashi (Five Town Community)
When: March 4th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

Biwa Performance
When: March 4th, 1 – 1:30pm
Where: Kodokan Seicho

70th Annual Photography Session and Photo Contest
When: March 5th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Plum Forest, Miharashi Hiroba, and other locations

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Enshū-ryu Style)
When: March 5th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Plum Viewing Kimono Day
When: 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Sword and Poetry Dancing (Ibaraki Ginei Kenshibu Federation)
When: March 11th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: Kodokan Taishijō

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Edosenke)
When: March 12th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairaikuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Sakuranomaki High School)
When: March 18th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Kodokan Open Lecture
When: March 18th, 1:30 – 3pm (Mito Shigaku Kensankai Yoshida Juku)
Where: Kodokan Seicho

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Urasenke)
When: March 19th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

71st Annual Plum Viewing Haiku Contest (Hitachino)
When: March 19th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Ibaraki Prefectural Youth Hall

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Suijo High School)
When: March 25th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Omotesenke)
When: March 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Plum Viewing Entertainment Festival
When: March 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Higashiyama Kaii Toshodaiji Temple Mieido Wall Painting Exhibition

When: 9:30am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm) February 11th – April 2nd, 2017
Where: The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki (666-1 Higashikubo, Senbacho, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture 310-0851)
Access: 20 minutes’ walk from Mito Station, or 5 minutes by bus (take any bus from bus stop no.8 headed for Haraizawa (払沢) or Hongo (本郷) and get off at Bunka Center Iriguchi (文化センター入口). It is 5 minutes’ walk from there)

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Toshidaiji Temple Mieido Wall Painting  ‘Tosei’ (section) 1975 Property of Toshodaiji Temple

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a full view display of the wall paintings from the Mieido in Toshodaiji temple, which are usually not on display to the public.

Higashiyama Kaii (1908 – 1999) is one of Japan’s most celebrated artists from the postwar period. He is known for the deep spirituality found in his clear-cut artwork and for the rich expression in his landscapes.

The 68 panel wall paintings of Toshodaiji Temple took the artist 10 years to complete. In order to honour Jianzhen, the founder of the temple who overcame great difficulty to reach Japan from China, Higashiyama travelled around both China and Japan, sketching and planning the paintings. The first section of paintings was dedicated in 1975 and depicts the rich natural environment of Japan, while the second section, dedicated in 1980, depicts Jianzhen’s homeland China.

Sketches, drafts, and experimental works by Higashiyama will also be on display.

 

Ibaraki Contents Collection 2

When: January 13 (1 – 6pm), January 14 (10am – 5:30pm) 2017
Where: Tsukuba Innovation Plaza (1-10-1 Azuma, Tsukuba)
Admission: Free
Access: 5 minutes’ walk from TX Tsukuba Station
Website

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Ibaraki’s local content creators will show off their work at the second Ibaraki Contents Collection, to be held at the Tsukuba Innovation Plaza in January.

The first Ibaraki Contents Collection was held on March 6, 2016 in Akihabara. The event exhibited the work of individuals and groups working in Ibaraki’s content industry, including comic artists, illustrators, animators, game creators, and more. Among the exhibitors were young creators based at the Ibaraki Creators’ House (ICH), a project managed by the Tsukuba Incubation Laboratory.

The program includes booths introducing creators and their work, a Virtual Reality booth where you can test out VR technology, and a screening area showing creators’ works, including Ibaraki Short Film Award winning films.

Booths

Imada Tama

Website

A manga artist who debuted in 2010 with Pachinko Fever (Issuisha). They have since published several works including Pachipro7 (Tatsumi Shuppan), Pachinko Dairensho (Nippon Bungeisha), and Nekodamashii, and Nekopuni (Mediax). In November 2015, their work Kazoku ga Inakunatta Hi was published as a book.

Categories: Manga

Otasaku

Website

Otasaku has managed the original character store ‘Otasaku Shop’ in Tsukuba since 2006. She produces cheerful and lighthearted merchandise and clothing using Otasaku characters, who are based on cats. They currently have a gallery and a limited time only store at Tsukuba Creo Square, and have announced a cat and astronaut collaboration series. Their products are selling well at Tsukuba Space Center.

Categories: Character, Merchandise

Suda Shugo

Website

A freelance web designer and photographer based in Hitachi. His life theme is ‘I am content’.

Categories: Photography

Seiji Tazawa

Website

A resident of Hitachinaka, Ibaraki. Using his experience as an electrician, he makes illustrations using Microsoft Excel with the aim of increasing safety awareness. On the recommendation of his grandchild he made LINE stamps, and his unique worldview became a topic of discussion in the net. At 73 he is still proactively creating and sharing his work.

Categories: Manga, Illustration, Animation, Character, LINE stamp, Picture book

Denshi Jision

Website

A white-clad ‘scientific’ entertainment group/band active in Tsukuba Science City. As the members are scientists, their unique electronic music influenced by modern culture features Tsukuba and scientific vocabulary. They performed at the 2016 Matsuri Tsukuba.

Categories: Science, Band

Next Edge Technology

Website

A Tsukuba-based company that has been introducing cutting edge software from around the world to Japan and promoting Japanese software abroad. They have been in business for 12 years. They are currently promoting their own touchless interface software aeroTAP, which allows users to control their computer without touching it.

Categories: Software

4th Cluster

Website

A group of students from Tsukuba University who got together with the common goal of making games. Their work includes the PC mystery visual novel game series ‘Campus Notes’, which is set at Tsukuba University. They will be offering trials of their new smart phone RPG ‘StarMined’.

Categories: Game, App, Character

Penton Kikaku Shitsu

Website

The owner of this toy design enterprise started it as a post retirement project, making use of their experience as a toy maker. Their interest in carpentry lead them to start making wooden toys using a 3D CAD and CNC tool. They won the Hyogo Governor’s Award at the 2014 Hyogo Prefectural Tanba Nenrin no Sato Woodwork Exhibition in 2014.

Categories: 3D CAD, Toys

Matsuri Hero Project

Website

The Matsuri Hero Project began as Tsukuba Hatsu! Matsuri Hero Soran Dragon in 2010. They have held hero shows and traditional Japanese performing arts shows all around the country and even overseas. They offer a range of action entertainment, including 3D collaboration shows and education packages.

Categories: Character, Video, CG Performance

Takuhiko Yokoyama

Website

Began working as an illustrator in April 2013. Has worked on individual and collaboration projects including ‘Kinder Book 3 2014 April Volume’, ‘Mushikui Note’ (Kanzen) ‘Fukashigi Plants Zukan’ (Seibundo Shinkosha), and ‘Watashi no Hatake no Chiisa na Sekai’ (Express Media Publishing).

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Yotagarasu

Website

A literary circle consisting of Tsukuba University students and alumni.
Noriko Senju: Involved in a variety of writing projects such as publishing stories online and in pamphlets and writing game scenarios and popular fiction
Yowa Shido: Writes novels and game scenarios. Was a short-listed candidate for the 21st Dengeki Awards Comic Writing category.
Kugai Iori: Writes novels, comics, and game scenarios. Author of Kakuheki no Make Doll (Ponican Books)
Yoneura Yuu: The youngest member, representing the next generation!

Categories: Novel, Literature

Rokujoma Genso Kukan

Website

A first year Master’s student at Tsukuba University. Their hit table top roleplaying game ‘Haguruma no To no Skynauts’ sold out at 200 books in 80 minutes at Summer Comiket, and has since sold 3300 copies at various events.

Categories Game, App, TRPG Rule Book

Panel Exhibition

ICH Manga-ka Group

Website

A combined exhibition Ibaraki manga artists, including Aoyama Takanori from the manga production unit RusuKey, known for their manga B, Kino Hinata, who penned the Manga Junior Meisaku work Night on the Galactic Railroad, based on the famous novel by Miyazawa Kenji, and Yokoi Sanpo, who adapts games into comic form for magazines including Famitsu DS+Wii, Terebi Game Magazine, and Pikopuri.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Ibaraki Design Center

Website

An organization formed by the Ibaraki Prefectural Government to promote and support design work. In addition to providing consultation services and support for small and medium sized designers in Ibaraki, they also run Ibaraki Design Selection, with the aim of selecting and commending excellent designs in order to improve Ibaraki’s image and assist in the development of the local design industry.

Categories: Design

Ushioda

Website

If children taste the true flavour of a carrot, they will no longer dislike carrots. This is the passion that led Ushioda to grow carrots and develop Ninjin Monogatari Marugoto 100% Carrot Juice. Local singer-songwriter nanan recently produced a theme song for the product.

Categories: Music, Video

Kasama Senior High School Media Program

Website

Kasama Senior High School Media Program was founded in 2013, and is the only technical education program in Ibaraki for video media studies. The program strives to foster the ability to relay things through the creation of video works and nurture creators who will inherit Ibaraki’s future.

Categories: Animation, Video, Photography

Kakkoi Rikei Yogo de Motemakuru!

A collaboration between Noriko Senju (author) of Yotagarasu and Natsumi Furuyama (illustrator). The story was inspired by the question of whether cool sounding science terminology could work in romantic situations.

Categories: Illustration, Book

Kawaguchi Ikkaku

Website

Currently studying in a PhD program for engineering and a Master’s program for design at Tsukuba University. They develop devices to support children’s education and communication. Awarded Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellowship for Young Scientists (DC) and recipient of the Gugen 2014 Good Idea award. Selected for the 2015 MIC Innovation Program

Categories: Toy

Geek House Tsukuba

Website

A Geek House is a share house comprising mostly of tenants who are NEETs or engineers. Geek House Tsukuba is working on an apiary.

Categories: Lake Kasumigaura Channel Catfish, Apiculture

Goodwork Coffee Matsushiro

Website

Goodwork Coffee Matsushiro is a coworking café for workers that recently opened in Matsushiro, Tsukuba. Good for meetings, desk work, and a quick break, it provides people a space where they can drink delicious coffee and work without worrying about the time.

Saito Hajime Time Travel Virtual Reality

Have you ever thought that it would be fun to fly around to different places around the world, or travel to different time periods? Using mapmaking experience, Saito Hajime is attempting to reconstruct the world of the past.

Categories: 3D Content

Sarasa Sakurai

Website

Sakurai began working as an illustrator in 2014 after graduating from a commercial high school in Ibaraki. They have worked on official collaborations with piapro, had their work selected for use in karaoke videos for Hatsune Miku songs, provided illustrations for a Lolita clothing store, handled individual requests for self-published comics, and more.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Etsuro Takihara

Website

Photographer based in Chikusei. Member of the Photographic Society of Japan. His main subject is Mt. Tsukuba. His photos have been featured in a number of high-profile exhibitions.

Categories: Photographer

Tsukugaku+

Website

A team of current students and alumni from Tsukuba Graduate University engaged in illustration and game production. They mainly focus on PC games.

Categories: Character

Tsukuba Business College School of Visual Design

Website

The School of Visual Design offers three courses: Graphic Design, Comics, and Design. They also do consultations for design production. They collaborate on comics and illustrations with publishing companies in the Tokyo area and have been published in commercial magazines. They also assist in commercial education through design for senior high schools.

Categories: Manga, Illustration, Video, Graphic Design

Dekosuke

Website

Comic artist and illustrator with an interest in drawing children and mecha such as planes and robots.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Techline

Website

This company is engaged in the provision of services and development of apps for stores using SoftBank Robotics’ product Pepper.

Categories: Game, App

Studio Nibun no Ichi

Website

A group consisting of a CG creator, graphic designer, and system engineer/ integrator. They are involved in a variety of production projects including videos, games, merchandise, apps, and illustrations in the pursuit of the concept of multi-use, which is one of the advantages of 3DCG.

Categories: Game, App, Video, Graphic Design

Harukaze Mika

Website

A manga artist from Tsukuba who attended Azuma Kindergarten, Elementary, and Junior High School and Takezono High School. She graduated from the Department of Law at Chiba University then honed her design skills in the Planning and Design Section of Kinmei Graphic Art. She currently resides in Tsukuba, working as a freelance manga artist and illustrator.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Natsumi Furuyama

Website

A freelance illustrator specialising in illustration and character design active in Tokyo and Tsukuba since 2013. She recently illustrated the medical textbook Kanja to Kazoku ni Todoku Kanwa Care.

Categories: Illustration, Design

Magical Rod

Website

A Hitachiota-based game developer, active since 2011. The members all have experience working as creators for gaming companies. Surrounded by Hitachiota’s beautiful natural environment they mainly produce games with animal motifs.

Categories: Game, App

Rista-Design

Website

A graphic design company. They design brand logos, posters, pamphlets, websites, stickers, and more. They commenced the sale of a 3D projection experience kit for smart phones from April 2016. They also won the poster design contest for the G7 Science & Technology Ministers’ Meeting in Tsukuba, Ibaraki.

Categories: Poster, Merchandise

Ibaraki Prefectural Ryugasaki 2nd High School Commerce Department

Website

The commerce department started a project called ‘The commerce department began to use NetCommons’ as a part of the 100 year anniversary celebrations for Ryugasaki 2nd High School. The project includes activities such as the creation of groupware by students in the commerce department, a parent and child programming class using Viscuit, and the development of smartphone apps using Monaca.

Categories: Game, App

Yuta Kawasaki

Website

Yuta Kawasaki has directed and produced a number of film projects, including music videos for a variety of bands such as local Ibaraki band Marquee Beach Club.

Categories: Video, Music

Studio Puyukai

Website

An animation studio based in Tsukuba. They have worked on a variety of projects, notably Agukaru, the short film ‘Mobile Suit Gakuen G-Reko Koshien’ included on the Blu-ray for Gundam G no Reconguista, and the short film ‘Pure Pure Purea desu’ available on the official Overlord anime website.

Categories: Animation

Takashi Fukui

Website

A freelance videographer engaged in direction, filming, and editing. He is currently working on a personal project that he describes as his life’s work.

Categories: Video

Winter Illuminations in Ibaraki 2016 – 2017

Daigo

Daigo Light

When: November 3 – January 29, sunset – 8pm*
Where: Fukuroda Falls
Cost: Adults 300 yen, Children 150 yen
Website

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*Illuminations will be on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays only. Between December 23rd and January 9th the falls will be illuminated every night. On New Year’s Eve, the illuminations will continue until 2am.

Kuji River Illumination

When: December 1 – January 15, sunset – 10pm
Where: Along the banks of the Kuji River in Daigo

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Hitachi

Hitachi Starlight Illumination

When: November 19 – December 25, 5 – 10pm (5 – 8pm on December 25)
Where: Hitachi Civic Center Shin Toshi Square, Hitachi Station area
Website

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Takahagi

Hikari no Pagent in Takahagi

When: December 3 – January 6, sunset – 11pm
Where: JR Joban Line Takahagi Station Rotary Niji no Hiroba

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Hitachinaka

Christmas Illumination

When/Where:
Sawa Station: December 1 – January 9, 4:30pm – midnight
Nakaminato Station: December 2 – January 9 4:30pm – 11pm
Katsuta Station: December 5 – January 9 4:30pm – 1am

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Tokai

Tokai “make a wish” Illumination

When: December 3 – February 18, 5pm – midnight
Where: In front of the escalators outside the West Exit of Tokai Station
Website

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Mito

Ibaraki Kenmin Bunka Centre 50th Anniversary Illuminations

When: November 13 – December 25, 5 – 10pm
Where: Ibaraki Kenmin Bunka Centre (697 Higashikubo, Senba-cho, Mito)
Website

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Art Tower Mito Light Up Project

When: October 29 onwards, 5-10pm (no illuminations on Mondays unless Monday is a public holiday. Illuminations every day over the new year’s period)
Where: Mito Art Tower (1-6-8 Goken-cho, Mito)
Website

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Tsuchiura

Hikari ga Tsukuru Art Suigo Sakura Illumination

When: November 19 – February 19, 5 – 9pm
Where: In front of the windmill in Kasumigaura Comprehensive Park, Tsuchiura (1051 Oiwata, Tsuchiura)
Website

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24th Annual Tsuchiura Winter Festival

When: November 29th – January 9th, 5 – 11pm
Where: Tsuchiura Station East and West Exit, where the old waterfall used to be at Tsuchiura Mall

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Tsukuba

Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway Night Walk Stardust Cruising

When: September 17th – February 26th*, 5 – 9pm (every 20 minutes)
Where: Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway, Tsukuba
Cost: 1000 yen per person, free for children elementary school aged and younger
Website

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*Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, and December 23 – 30th only. Not operating in poor weather, on December 31 – January 2, or February 4-5

Tsukuba Expo Center Christmas Illumination

When: November 26 – December 25, 4 – 10pm
Where: Tsukuba Expo Center 2-9 Azuma, Tsukuba)
Website

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Tsukuba Hikari no Mori

When: November 26 – January 9, 4:30pm – midnight
Where: TX Tsukuba Station Pedestrian Deck Area
Website

Ishioka

Flower Park Winter Illumination

When: December 1 – 30, January 1 – 31, 5 – 9pm
Where: Ibaraki Flower Park (200 Shimoaoyagi, Ishioka)
Website

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Chikusei

Hoshi no Fantasy in Shimodate

When: December 10 – January 31
Where: JR Shimodate Station area

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Bando

Bando Illumination Fantasy

When: November 23 – January 28, 5 – 9:30pm
Where: Iwai Shopping District, Bando Kanko Koryu Center, Sashima Shopping District

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Ami

Ami Premium Outlet Mall Winter Illumination

When: November 3 – February 15, sunset – 9pm
Where: Ami Premium Outlet Mall
Website

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Ushiku

Brilliantville Ushiku

When: December 3 – February 19th, 5pm – 1am
Where: JR Ushiku Station West and East Exits
Website

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Moriya

Moriya Christmas Fantasy

When: November 23rd – December 24th, 5 – 10pm
Where: Moriya Station West Exit Square
Website

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Ryugasaki

Ryugasaki Illumination Dream Tree

When: November 3rd – February 28th, 5pm – 1am
Where: JR Sanuki Station East and West Exit, Ryugasaki Station

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Kashima

Kashima Hikari no Art Gallery 2016

When: December 2 – January 9
Where: Kashima Jingu Station Area
Website

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