Ishinomaki- Week 4 (Zak)

I used to take photos and videos of almost anything I came across before. But lately after starting to write this blog, I noticed that I had stopped taking a lot of photos. I guess my mind has shifted towards enjoy the moment, feel the experience kind of mindset. My main and only camera is my Xperia Z3 smartphone, which has entered it’s 4th year of service now. It’s already gotten so old now that the camera stops working sometimes and I would have to restart my phone. Well, at least I still have a camera.

January 9

Sometime ago I crossed by this leaflet of a lecture about inbound tourism that was going to be held today within a distance that I could bike. So this I had to go.

It was being held at the Miyagi and Ishinomaki junction government building. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty gloomy place. But then again I feel that most of government use buildings are pretty gloomy or uninteresting. I’m not criticizing that they should build well designed buildings, but they could at least think of renewing their interior, add some color possibly. In my understanding, the local city halls and government offices are one of the biggest employers in regional areas. So I believe the extra cost and effort of making a better workplace would be beneficial for the region.

The lecture was interesting in the sense that I got a lot of data and insights about the inbound tourism scene in Japan. They gave all of us a copy of the lecturers slides and literally I got my hands on a lot of data: graphs and numbers galore. One of the points that I found interesting was that tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan were the most likely to have come to Japan more than 4 times. And the numbers don’t include business trips. Although the presentation wasn’t really thrilling all the data are going to be useful.

After the lecture I finally made some time to go to the Yahoo Ishinomaki base. It is Yahoo Japan’s branch office in Ishinomaki City, their office is also a co-working space with Wi-fi, so anyone can enter freely and use their space. The place is open anytime an employee is there. It’s a cool and comfortable environment to be, with skateboards, kendama’s and the robot Pepper-kun. But Pepper-kun is sadly shut down at the moment. This place is basically turning into my main base for operations here, plus not a lot of people come and it’s easy to focus on tasks.

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January 10

Today I had an appointment with Peace Boat Center Ishinomaki, thanks to my share-house mate who connected us. I met with the representative of the center and we had a nice discussion about what they do here, what I’m doing here and if there are any opportunities for working together. Currently one of the main projects that they do is called “Ima-koko”: it provides a study program for people to come and live with a local host fisherman for periods of a week up to a month. The project creates an opportunity for the participants to learn more about a fisherman’s life and living together with nature away from the hustle of city life, for the fishermen it provides them with young working power and an opportunity to socialize with various people. I think it’s a very good project, beneficial for both parties, and I hear that many of the participants create a lasting relationship with the fishermen.

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Later on got the opportunity to tag along and check out a house for rent. Located not too far from the main street, but the entrance is sort of hidden that visitors will definitely have a hard time finding it. The building itself was pretty old, however the interior was just renovated in 2017 and was clean with a modern toiled and shower. Considering the size of the house the rent could go for around for 60-70 thousand Yen in Tokyo, here it’s being offered for 40 thousand yen. It’s cheaper, but nonetheless taking into mind convenience, location, security and etc the housing rent here is actually not that cheap in my impression. Do note though that I haven’t looked into it that much.

January 13

A while ago I found this playground/workout space. Best thing about it is that it has a pull-up bar and a nice platform for doing push-ups. So I was able to do a bit of needed exercise there. I don’t know people exercise here but I have heard that there is a gym at the local shopping arcade. I guess you don’t really need a gym for just normal exercising. There’s plenty of space for running and simple exercises. Plus this huge staircase that goes up the mountain and takes your breath away.

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January14

Today was the last day of the Moyoco Anno manga art exhibition at the Ishinomaki Mangattan manga museum. So I had to go and check it out, especially when I had gotten my hands on a free ticket. Moyoco Anno is a manga artist whose works are for and famous among female audience. Personally I didn’t know about her much and have never read any of her manga’s before nor did I know that she was the wife of Hideaki Anno the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

I have never been to a manga-art exhibition before and it was interesting to see an actual hand drawn manga page before its publication. Personally I also liked the style of the art. Her manga’s seemed to be interesting so I might give it a check sometime.

Notice in the above picture there are some white blots here and there. I didn’t know that they used correction pens to fix their drawings.

The Mangattan manga museum itself has a big backstory for its creation. Ishinomori Shotaro, the creator of famous works such as Kamen Rider and Cyborg009, was influential in the creation of Mangattan. To summarize, in 1995 talks were being made by Ishinomori-sensei and the government of Ishinomaki City to create a manga museum to help revitalize the city. Ishinomori-sensei had fond memories with Ishinomaki City, it’s said that he rode his bicycle for 3 hours just to come to Ishinomaki and watch movies at the theatre. But before the realization of the museum Ishinomori-sensei had passed away, however the city of Ishinomaki and its citizens had inherited the project. Finally, with the cooperation and help of many people the Mangattan manga museum opened 2001. You can find more information on their official homepage. http://www.mangattan.jp/manga/en/

After visiting the Moyoco exhibition I got the chance to visit San Juan Bautista museum. It’s a museum about the San Juan Bautista ship and the diplomatic voyage of Hasekura Tsunenaga to Spain. About 400 hundred years ago Date Masamune, daimyo (feudal lord) of Sendai, sent Hasekura Tsunenaga on a diplomatic mission to Spain, with the goal to commence trading with New Spain. In return Date Masamune would allow for the spreading of Christianity within Sendai. However, during that period because the shogunate suppression of Christianity had become stricter the mission was unsuccessful. To check out the whole museum there’s a fee and my goal wasn’t to go inside the museum so I didn’t check out everything.

There were very few people when we were there, so the whole place felt very empty. It’s mainly a tourist spot and it’s currently off season right now so I guess you could say that was to be expected. I did hear though that at night the ship lights up and it becomes a pretty local spot for couples. Around the place where I took the pictures of the ship from there’s an open park with benches.

This is the Dream Bell that makes dreams come true. Found this cool bell in the park, you just can’t resist ringing it. Holding my dreams tight at heart I rung the bell. I didn’t see any instructions nearby so I hope I did it right.