Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Karuizawa Junior High School Culture Exchange

IAK members are invited to Karuizawa Junior High School where 3rd year students wish to study about international exchange and co-habitation with foreigners for multi-cultural experience.

The third year students of the school study ecological preservation, volunteer activity, the Red Cross and donation culture, traditional culture and international exchange, by inviting local people who can stimulate the students in these study fields.

IAK members will participate with the international exchange study group of 12 students.

Date and time: from 8:15AM to 12:00PM on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015, 
Venue: Karuizawa Junior High School
Planned activities:
  • Introduction of IAK
  • Introduction of daily basic words of the native countries of the participating members, such as words of greetings, counting numbers or names of things
  • Introduction of the different cultures, such as food, clothing or religion
  • Workshop on how to collaborate with the foreigners to make this town better to live together
IAK members, Japanese and foreigners, who are interested in this cooperative activity, please contact (email: mktakaishi@nifty.com) by 2nd October.

Thanks for your cooperation, in advance.
IAK Vice Chairman

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn 2015 Newsletter

1.Are Foreign Visitors Satisfied with Karuizawa?
An interim report of our joint research project with Matsumoto University
As reported in the last IAK Newsletter, we have started to research whether foreign visitors to Karuizawa are satisfied with the tourism infrastructure and services and what improvements are needed. Prof. Masuyama, a fellow IAK member, along with her Matsumoto University students, will make recommendations to the town authority and the Tourism Office based on the research. Through their investigation and excursion around the town in last April, June and August, we hope to discover the charms of Karuizawa and areas that need improvement on behalf of foreigners on extended visits.
★Survey on Foreign Visitors Satisfaction in Karuizawa
IAK, together with Matsumoto University and Karuizawa Tourism Office, will conduct a survey of foreign visitors who stay here more than a night regarding their purpose of visit, length of stay, and satisfaction rate of the services (currency exchange or access to information, etc). The survey will be conducted this October in order to clarify short and long term improvement projects the town can move forward on. 
★Editing Guidebook for Foreign Tourists   
Meanwhile, we are also planning to edit a guidebook that addresses the needs of foreign visitors by March 2016. It will reintroduce charms of Karuizawa and a few relaxing paths to be enjoyed on foot or by bicycles, and hopefully encourage all visitors to stay here longer. The guidebook will also be available on our website.
★Members’ Contribution
IAK members are encouraged to direct specific improvement recommendations, such as dangerous roads for cycling, signs and guides needing to be corrected along with photos to Mr. Takaishi at mktakaishi@nifty.com

2. Report of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2015
On May 31 Sunday afternoon the 2015 AGM was held at Karuizawa Chuo-kominkan with 50 participants and 61 proxies with the following agenda:
1) Report of Revenue/Expenditure 2014 (unit: Yen)
Revenue                                                612,800
(Membership dues, donation and admission fee of events)
Expenditure                                             504,596     
(Events, Newsletters and administrative costs )   
Balance                                                 108,204
Surplus brought from 2013                                260,881
Total 2014 (carried over to 2015)                           369,085   

2) Forecast of Revenue/Expenditure 2015
Revenue                                                 570,000
(Membership dues, donation and admission fee of events)
Expenditure                                             737,000
(Events, Newsletters, office rent and administrative costs)
Balance                                                - 167,000
Surplus brought from 2014                                369,085
Total 2015 (to be carried over to 2016)                    -  202,085
The forecast includes the joint survey with Matsumoto Univ. for current tourism in Karuizawa and start-up of new IAK office in April. Visit the new office to have a look !

3) Revision of Annual Dues
                                     New rate            Current rate
Individual membership               2,000 yen             1,000 yen
Family membership                      2,500 yen                 1,500 yen
Corpotate/Group membership            10,000 yen               10,000 yen
Support(Donation) membership           2,000 yen/unit          1,000 yen/unit (Individual)
                                                           10,000 yen /unit (Corporate)
New rates will be effective from April 2016.
Current rates shall have been fixed since May 2012 when IAK established.

3. Launching of Karuizawa Town Committee for G8 Ministers Conference 2016
G8 Ministers of Transportation will assemble in Karuizawa on September 24 (Sat) and 25 (Sun) in 2016. Ministry of Land and Transportation will be in charge of hosting the Conference and attendees, supported by Nagano Prefecture Office and Karuizawa Town. For that purpose Town Office launched in July 2015 the Karuizawa Town Committee to work out necessary arrangements in coordination with Prefecture Government and IAK became a member of the Committee. For the first time, G8 Transportation Ministers will get together in Frankfurt Germany as a part of G8 Conference, in September, 2015.
The 2nd one will be here in Karuizawa. The G8 leaders conference next year in Japan will be in Toba, Mie Pref. in May, 2016.

7. IAK office open for member’s use
  • A meeting less than 10 attendees    free of charge
  • A meeting 50-60 attendees   charge of use
  • The above are accommodated with airconditioners and hot water boilers, available 9am to 5pm on weekdays/weekend/holidays unless occupied. Contact IAK Secretariat (See below) for reservation.

8 .Opening Member’s Corner of exchanging information on Newsletter
Among 200 IAK members, not all attend a weekly or annual event to know and talk each other.  Newsletter will start the column of member’s corner from the next issue where any member shows his/her self-introduction, hobby, invitation to their event, advertisement of own business etc. Send your message to IAK secretariat (See below) in the following manner:
  • A Newsletter will be issued three times a year and the next one to be around February 2016.
  • Any message from an individual, a family or a corporate/group, is welcome.
  • A short message, in case of Japanese less than 100 letters, is acceptable.

Unless the content of message is appropriate from IAK activities viewpoint may be turned down for printing.

9. Inquiry to International Association of Karuizawa (IAK)

 (Membership Application)
IAK welcomes anyone who is interested in the activities described below.
  1. Support of international residents and visitors
  2. Promotion of friendship among native and foreign residents
  3. Advice of improvement of city environment from international standard

Membership Annual fee
  1. Individual                    1,000 yen
  2. Family                          1,500 yen
  3. Group/Corporate        10,000 yen
  4. Support (Donation)      1,000 yen per unit  Individual/10,000 yen per unit  Corporate

Send an application mail to the above e-mail address by filling in the name, age, nationality, membership, communication means (e-mail address, tel and postal address)
and simultaneously transmit annual due to the following bank account :
  • Yucho Bank (Japan Post Bank)
  • Karuizawa Kokusai Koryu-kyokai (IAK)
  • Account Number 00590-2-108934

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Invitation to "Russia Day" hosted by IAK

Tatiana-san, a Russian member of IAK, will introduce Russians' life, culture etc, followed by tea party with cakes and snacks from Russia.

  • Time & Date: 1:30-4:00PM Sunday, October 4, 2015 
  • Venue: Karuizawa Chuo-kominkan 1st Floor Lecture Room 
  • Admission fee: 500yen (Ages under 12 free) 

 Come and join with your friends!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spring 2015 Newsletter

What Do The International Tourists Need for Their Stay in Karuizawa?
From 20150411 IAK Matsumoto Tourism Mtg
On September 2014, Karuizawa 72 Golf (East course) hosted The World Amateur Golf Tournament for a 2 week period. The team of a total of 1,000 players and delegates from 70 countries- North and South America, Europe, Russia, Middle East, Asia and Oceania- participated the tournament. IAK took part in this event by setting up an “information desk” in the Prince Hotel lobby area giving out tourist information of Karuizawa and other areas. IAK encountered the following problems in guiding them to the destinations.

1. The information currently available for tourists (pamphlets etc.) only introduces each tourist spots and does not provide information of how to access to each place (by bus or on foot). Each spot does not relate to others thus it is difficult for tourists to travel from one spot to another.

2. It is difficult to identify your location on a map because there are no signs in the intersection and on the street corners (Japanese or English).

3. The bus stops in Karuizawa Station North and South Exit have no destination signs written in foreign languages.

4. No information available concerning the location of currency exchange (banks etc.), credit cards acceptable shops and restaurants.
1-4 above is a barrier for foreign tourists and gives an impression that Karuizawa is a difficult place to go around.

5. Either due to lack of the information of Karuizawa or lack of things that would interest foreign tourists, the inquiries about Karuizawa were limited to Shiraito Falls, Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary (Picchio), and supermarkets. The majority of the inquiries from the team were related to Snow Monkey (Shiga Kogen), Zenkoji Temple, Matsumoto Castle, Tokyo and Kyoto.
We IAK are determined to check the problems from international viewpoints and make proposal of debottlenecking the barriers and renovating the road conditions in town in the following steps:

1. Recognize the value of Karuizawa and start a joint work with Matsumoto University Department of Tourist and Hospitality Management, Professor Masuyama (an IAK member) to make proposals.

2. Prior to the work, we will consider the points listed below:

1) Maintain the quietness of a holiday resort area, coziness of residents.
2) Make Karuizawa a place where you can walk around in a refreshing, relaxing atmosphere tempting you to have a long stay
3) Improvements on barrier-free environment for foreigners (which is also useful for Japanese tourists).
4) An increase of free Wi-Fi areas for easy access to tourist information.
We consider you do have some opinions. We welcome many comments and participants from both members and non-members.

IAK opens New Office

On April 1 IAK opened its office by relocationg its function from Chairman’ residence in the past three years. New office is located on the 2nd floor of Karuizawa Kanko-Shinko Center (Tourism Promotion Center) on KaruizAwa’s main street from Shinkansen Station to Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza. This building is renovated, on 20-year lease to Town Office from NTT, to provide incoming tourists with travel information. The office space is 18 square meters at monthly rent of \ 12,000 including utilities costs, furniture and Wi-Fi facilities.  Karuizawa Tourist association also relocated to open the office on the 1st floor with reception counter for tourists.

Town Office aims at making The Center as bridgehead of internationalization of Karuizawa and IAK will have more opportunities to work with neighbor tenants in the Building. Other tenants will be National Trust of Karuizawa and R.C.C. of Convention Bureau. There are a spacious meeting room which can be dividable into two separate rooms, next to IAK office. The only disadvantage of the building does not accommodate enough space for car-park. Visitors are requested to use near-by car-park facilities.

IAK does not have a plan to hire any employee due to financial reason, but will keep the office by volunteer members as necessary. For time being Chairman’s house will work to support communication among members.

Report of Winter Events

Christmas/Bonen-kai Party
From 20141213 IAK Bounenkai
The party was held at Sala Karuizawa Hotel on December 14, 2014 to have 90 guests who enjoyed members’ performances over cocktails and meals.  In addition to familiar players and dancers on stage, new programs were introduced by Spanish Flamenco dance with music and popular rock music band.  Attendees were impressed by their skillful performances. We wish a magic show could be more fun to the party.

Karuizawa International Curling Matches 2014

The Karuizawa International Curling Championship, accredited by the World Curling Tour (“WCT”) was held from December 18-21, with the participation of total 11 women’s teams and 15 men’s teams.  IAK actively played the interpretation role among the TV crew, newspaper reporters, and the Karuizawa Curling Committee members, starting with the press conference with the TV ASAHI, ABN Nagano Asahi Broadcasting Network, and Shinano-Mainichi Newspaper Company. Among the above participating teams, Canada’s women’s team was the World Champion and the undefeated Gold-medal Winner of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, while Canada’s men’s team was proud of their 4th ranking in the World Championship.  Among the visiting teams, Korea outnumbered others with 7 teams, while from Japan, 14 teams participated, including the LS Kitami lead by Ms. Motohashi and Chubu Electric Power Company lead by Ms. Fujisawa.  At the press conference, the Russia’s women’s team attracted almost all the camera crews, and they were surrounded by them for quite some time.  No wonder, all of their team members were professional models as well.  They brought with them an exclusive interpreter of their own.

Potluck Party
From 20150214 IAK Potluck
Town office hosted the 3rd Pot-luck Party at Chuo-kominkan on February 14, 2015 and more than 200 attendees participated in it. As before IAK cooperated with Town to dispatch 9 teams of foreign resident chefs to cook their home country dishes for 50 persons and serve them at the party.  ISAK, an IAK member made presentation of activities at their booth.

List of IAK regular events

Speakeasy Tue(1st) 19:00-21:00 Wellies or Hoshinoko
*Please confirm the place for Hotel Wellies or Pension Hoshinoko on IAK Homepage or Facebook.
Tue(2nd)    " Natural Cafeina
Tue(3rd)     " Mototeca Coffee
Tue(4th)     " Café & Zakka Kurumi
*No special topics in English & Japanese.
Avg. 20-30 participants in Summer and 10 in Winter.
Daytime Chat Salon Thu(2nd & 4th) 13:30-15:30 Central Public House
;*Chat about a topics fixed by participants. (Chuou Komin-kan)
Avg.5-8 participants.
Japanese Class Every Wed.  10:00-12:00 Central Public House
:*Beginners to mid-level about grammar, (Chuou Komin-kan)
  Daily conversation and Japanese culture.
Avg.10-18 participants.
Badminton Every Wed.  18:00-20:00 Kazakoshi Multi-purpose Gymnasium
*Beginners to advanced with ¥300 per person including admission fee for Kazakoshi.
(no charge for school kids.) Need clean indoor gym shoes for the sports surface.
Avg.10-15 participants.
Aikido Every Sun.  17:30-18:30 Kazakoshi Gym Sub Arena.
Every Thu.   09:00-10:00
*All levels with ¥500 per person. Need comfortable clothing without zips or buttons.
Avg.2-4 participants.
Curling About Aug.(Athletic Association Cup) Karuizawa Ice Park(Kazakoshi)
About Dec.(Town Mayer's Cup.) Karuizawa Ice Park(Kazakoshi)
Practice:Irregular(Sunday 19:00-20:00) Karuizawa Ice Park(Kazakoshi)
*All levels.  ¥100 for rental shoes.  Fee for the competitions are split by participants.
Avg.4-5 participants.

Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2015

Members with their family are cordially invited to AGM in the following manner:
1. Time and date: 13:30-16:00  May 31 (Sat) ,2015
2. Venue: Lecture room 1st floor, Karuizawa Chuo-kominkan
3. Agenda
1) 2014 Activities Report/ 2015 Activities Plan
2) 2014 Revenue/Expenditure Report/ 2015 R/E Forecast
3) Revision of Annual Membership Fee
4) Any Other Matters
4. Tea Party

After the consecutive holidays in May, IAK Secretariat will send a mail to all members to confirm if they will attend or not. If not, return their proxy of any resolution made in agenda to the Secretariat accordingly.

IAK Members’ Write-up

International Cooperation of Ostomy Patients
by Takaishi Michiaki

Ostomy surgery is medical operation to build an opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes for patients who suffer rectal cancer or bladder cancer, etc. Those people are called “Ostomates” in the world. I myself have had my bladder been taken out because of cancer 21 years ago and I live always with a urine bag put on my abdominal wall. The incidence rate of Ostomates is nearly 0.15% in the industrialized countries and there are about 200,000 Ostomates in Japan.

In many countries, Ostomates form organizations for mutual support and social movement. Japan Ostomy Association (JOA) was founded in 1969 and I am now serving as the president. National associations organize international body and JOA is a member of the Asian and South Pacific Ostomy Association (ASPOA), which forms the International Ostomy Association (IOA) with those of Europe and American Continents.

Ostomy bags to collect body waste are indispensable for Ostomates life, but it is only 30 years since quality bags became available in Japan. In less developed nations, such bags are not produced and imported bags are too expensive to afford. Medical and nursing are also less developed, so many Ostomates in those countries are in miserable situation.

Then, associations in the western countries conduct projects to donate ostomy bags to those people in needs. JOA has been sending ostomy appliances to Mongolian and Vietnamese associations since 10 years ago. I have visited those countries often to make research and push the governments to take action to provide local Ostomates with financial support.

International cooperation of the disabled and by the disabled plays important role for the self-reliance and development of social welfare for those people. Organizations of the disabled have participated to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai last March and proposed provisions of disaster prevention of the disabled, who are tend to suffer from disaster more than ordinary people.

I wished to present this note to make IAK members know that this kind of international cooperation are working.

Request for payment of annual membership fee 2015

IAK requests members to pay their annual membership fee by the following categories:

Individual Member                 ¥1,000
Family                              ¥1,500
Corporate/Group                    ¥10,000
Donation(Corporate)                 ¥10,000 minimum
Donation(Individual)                ¥ 1,000 minimum
Donation member has no voting right at AGM.

IAK Bank Account: Yucho Bank  Karuizawa Kokusai-Koryu Kyokai
                  a/c number 00590-2-108934