Quiz of the month !

by Kazu

I had a time of high quality yesteray with my wife  after redeye work for the people evacuated from their premises hit by landslide.

I was very happy to have culinary  delicacy sourced locally after long soak in hot spring bath surrounded by forest.

The photo above was taken in a certain hotel in Hokkaido. Then I would like to ask the viewers of this blog site where the photo was taken. If anybody could answer to this question, I would send the first person to reply and give me the right answer Japanese sake set contributed by Kobayashi Brewery in Kuriyama that was reported on this blog site many times.

Hint1: It is in Sapporo City.
Hint2: The facility is run by famous Group headquartered in the eastern part of Hokkaido.
Hint3: Lunch & Hotspring Bath is the biggest draw in this facility.

If anybody got the right answer, please do not to hesitate to post comments or send email to
by the end of June,2012.
The answer will be posted on this blog site on July 1,2012.

Please enjoy your stay in Hokkaido enough! 


Migratory Birds in Naie Town, Sorachi

by Kazu
(The photos and articles are provided by the municipality of Naie )
The fertile plain along Ishikari River where Naie Town is located is one of the best places to rest for migratory birds such as wild geese that move between Siberia and the main land of Japan.

 In spring and fall, many migratory birds can be seen every year in this area.

 But this year, the heavy snow  in winter affects those birds and they can not pick up their feed from the mud in the rice field because the fields are still covered with snow even in spring.  It seems that swans, wild geese and other kinds of migratory birds are leaving this area for Siberia even though they have not got enough feed before their departure. 

 When you recognize the note of those migratory birds, you can easily find their flying formation in the sky.

 The birds depart from this area for Siberia after having rest at Chashinai Pond and other pools nearby in Naie Town, Sorachi sub-prefectural area.

Landslide in Yubari City

 by Kazu

I happened in Yubari City.
The heavy snow in winter and  the water flow under the ground caused the landslide in Yubari City. It took away the earth and sand under the railroad. The railroad wll be recovered in a few days and evacuated people will be allowed by the municipality to go back to their home. Japan Railway System in Hokkaido provided the evacuated residents  with free drink and stay in the hotel near Mt.Reisui .
 Old buildings that no one lives in  were swamped by the heavy snow,  earth and sands.   Japan Railway System in Hokkaido is probing and clutching the numbers to settle the problem. Allegedly the citizens in Yubari City will be able to use the train of this line by May 2(Wed.) and before that the evacuated residents in this area will be allowed to go back to their home.


Landslide in Utashinai Later

by Kazu

This is the place where the landslide stopped th waterflow of the river and caused floods in Monju area of Utashinai City on April 24(Tue.) and earth and sand have been taken away with the long-arm back-hoes.
Lefthand side is the crane to set the concrete block at the bank of the river to prevent more landslide go into the river and to stop the waterflow.
This is the back-hoe of normal type.
Compared to the back-hoe of normal type, the bucket of this long-arm back-hoe is much smaller. The size is one forth of normal type because the longer the arm is, the more difficult to operate and keep the balance of the machine. That means it requires hgher degrees of skill to operate the long-arm back-hoe and much more time is necessary to have done the same amount of workload. The operator of this long-arm back-hoe was so tired of the consecutive operation to recover the waterflow and bank protection works around the clock. Another seasoned operator of the back-hoe was throw into this work to accelerate the going of the work.   
After taking off the extra earth and sand, the long-arm back-hoe began to flatten the bank to set the concrete blocks.  At 15:30 of today, evacation of this area was canceled becaude no more landslide will expected in this area and water-supply system had recovered.  
It can be said that the operation of this long-arm back-hoe is a kind of artistic creation to save the people and make the future.  It took my breath away for a while.
 This house is near the area of landslide and a part of the premises were lost this time.
The member of House of Representatives, Mr.Hisashi Inatsu visited the area in the morning today and stood on the cliff the landslide had made on April 24. He listened to the explanation of the officers of Hokkaido Government and recognized the serious situation in this area enough, I think.
After the record heavy snow in Sorachi sub-prefectural area,  landslides began to annoy the residents and the local government staff.  Even in Yubari City that had gone bankruptcy six years ago, the earth under the railroad was swamped with water and taken away.  The fences of the road to protect pedestrians  are suspended in the air even now.  I hope no more floods this year because in 1981 Ishikari River overflowed because of the heavy snowfall in winter and heavy rain is summer. Actually it happened. Please cross the fingers and toes for your safety in Sorachi sub-prefectural area.  


by the Regional Policy Division, local Policy Planning Department, Sorachi sub-prefectural Office of Hokkaido.

 ・April 28(Sat.)-30(Mon.): YUNI Garden opening festival and cherry blossoms festival will be held in YUNI Garden, YUNI Town, Sorachi sub-prefectural area.
   On first come first given basis, 102 visitors will be presented the seeds of flowers.
  Of course, the cherry blosoms and other flowers will be waiting for you!
・April 28(Sat.)-May 27(Sun.) : Bolishoi Circus shows their best performance in Hokkaido Greenland in Iwamizawa City, Sorachi sub-prefectural area.
・April 28(Sat.) : Canadian World Park in Ashibetsu City will open!
・April 30(Fri.) : Coalmine Museum in Yubari City where you can experience the real gallery and shaft of coal mine will open!
・May 3(Thu.)-5(Sat.) : Long holidays event will be held in the Steam Locomotive Park in Mikasa City, Sorachi sub-prefectural area. It is possible to ride the small model of bullet train and
real steam locomotive.
・May 5(Sat.) : Takikawa City presents free flight of gliders to the kidsliving in Hokkaido in the Skypark in Takikawa City.
・May 12(Sat.) and 13(Tue.): Somes Saddle Cup, Endurance Horse Riding Competition in Mt.Kamoi-dake, Utashinai City will be held and the local baggage manufacturing company "ITAGAKI'" will host it.                                                              The riders compete each other their time to conquer the course of 20km, 40km and 60km.
・May 13(Sun.): Cherry Blossoms Festival will be held at Sakurayama(Cherry Mountain) Park in Fukagawa City.
  Please enjoy BBQ of lamb, Jingiskan under the cherry blossoms!
・May 19(Sat.) and 20(Sun.): Cherry Blossoms Festival in Yubari will be held at the Historic Park of Coalmine in Yubari City.
・May 19(Sat.) and 20(Sun.): Spring Festival in Tirol Hotspring Spa will be held at the roadside station of Utashinai Tirol.
   Karaoke competition and local products will attract you!
・May 27(Sun.) 10:00-14:00 : Moss Phlox Festival will be held in the primises of Hokkaido Electronics Company in Naie Town.
   Drumming performance, Brass band play delicious food are the big draw!
・June 5(Tue.)-24(Sun.): Lampshade Festival will be held in Nouson Kankyou Kaizen Centerin Shintotsukawa Town.
・June 9(Sat.)-11(Mon.):Takikawa Shrine Spring Festival will be held and many vendors will be on the Bellroad in front of the railway station in Takikawa City.
・June 16(Sat.) -17(Sun.): Shintotsukawa Pottery Festival will be held with the attendance of many very famouspotters loving in Hokkaido.

Have a great weekend,


Fire Festival and Orchid Festival in Akabira City!

by Kazu

Have you ever heard of Fire Festival of Akabira city in Sorachi sub-prefectural area in Hokkaido?
On the slope of the debris-mountain of coalmine, the letter of
 " 大 " is drawn with fire.
Males wear only red "Fundoshi", Japanese traditional underwear, and carry a sacred portable shrine called "Mikoshi" and entertain the god and pray for fertility of the year.
Lefthandside is the poster for advertisement of the festival.
It describes that " Once you wear a red fundoshi,  you can not stop wearing it. Once you see a red fundoshi, it would be irresistible for you. In Japan, so called "T-back" underwear had been for males ,not for females.     
The festival is held in summer and I will inform you all the date of it on this blog later. 
 Besides, Akabira City hosts another interesting annual festival called "Orchid Festival " in spring.
This year, that was held on April 20(Fri.), 21(Sat.) and 22(Sun.) as I announced before the event.

Righthand side is the orchid that won the first prize of the festival, Golden Ribbon award in 2011.
Lefthand side is the orchid that won the second prize in 2011.
These are the orchids that won the Blue Ribbon award in 2011.

I have not got the result of the competition this year but I think I will be able to  post it soon.

Beautiful flowers catch our heart and ease the pain of our mind. Akabira City is very famous in producing moth orchid and other kinds of orchid.
After the coalmine industry nose-dived in this area, Akabira City and its citizens had been struggling with the economic downturn and hyper-aging population. They have exerted their best effort to revitalize the area .
Baggage manufacturer ACE is in the city and makes elegant and light bags for tourists.
You may have the bag made by ACE in Akabira City.
Other than that, many businesses with state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge took root in Akabira City.   


Approximately 60,000 cubic meter earth and sand !

by Kazu

The landslide had taken away the earth and sand of  totally about 60,000 cubic meters including the roadside of Akabira-Naie line which has been stopped by Hokkaido Prefectural Government.
The white line on the photo is to divide the area for pedestrians and automobiles. 
A part of the roadside fence is suspended in the air. 
More rainfall will expand the area of landslide but it will be overcast on April 25(Wed.) in this area, the Meteorological Agency of Japan forecasted.
 Nobody is living in this house, the municipality of Utashinai confirmed.
In this 3 or 4 days, many parts of Sorachi sub-prefectural area were covered with fog from the ground. It may be moisture evaporated from the ground. Tremendous amount of water is stocked under the ground after the heavy snow in this area.
Please be careful with such sign and steep slopes in Sorachi sub-prefectural area.

I would like to go to bed now! 
by Kazu

I am very sorry for failing to post my articles with the photos some minutes ago.
I was having a nap during posting my article.

Once I post my article and photos on this blog, it seems to be impossible to amend the article in my office because of the gap of the system between that I have and that Googles requires.

These photos are taken by myself at around 13:45 in Utashinai City. 
A part of the mud and soil brought into the river by the landslide are taken away and the riverflow recovered.  
But the mud and soil on the riverbank is still moving.
Even the mayor of this city do not know if the citizens had threw their garbage to this area for years as the valley had been a garbage dam. 
But actually a hectic amount of garbage is in this mud and soil.
The evacuation area may be expanded on April 25(Wed.) or later. Allegedly it will take 5 days to decide whether the people in this area should be evacuated for more days or not.

Please be careful with landslide and the sign of the landslide possibility in this season after the heavy snow we had in the winter.

Have a great holidays!

Landslide and flood in Utashinai City

by Kazu

This backhoe was taking off the waterand mud in the community near the landslide. Some people were watching the water being pumped out from the community in the afternoon of April 24(Tue.), 2012.
 The bridge has been stopped by the Hokkaido  prefectural Government.

The riverbank was swamped by the flood caused by the landslide. And the land of the valley may be sliding little by little so we are not sure when to take off the  evacuation order.
Even after the backhoe took off the mud  and soil in the river, the width of the river was approximately 5m despite the river has been 10 meters in width because of the heavy snowfall in passing winter.  
 These area has been swamped by the water of the river Panke-Utashinai but the pump worked so heard that the water almost .
 If you had the chance to come here, you would be surprized by the explanation depth of the flood . 
This is the pohoto of  the nursery, Yubari City near the river.Ooooooh.


Landslide in Utashinai City

by Kazu

These photos will not on the newspaper tomorrow morning. These were taken in the morning today.
The roadside of Akabira-Naie line administered by Hokkaido Prefectural Government and the around area toppled down in the morning of April 24(Tue.) in Utashinai City that had almost gone bunkrupted 6 years ago. 
Allegedly the area had been an informal  gabage dam where the citizens and their neighbours had thrown in their gabage many years ago. Actually when I walked around the top of the cliff, I felt the touch of plastics and bynyl sheets on the surface. 
These area was hit by heavy snow in passing winter and had not-so-heavy rainfall these days. The land slide occurred after 8:40 in the morning when one of the neighbours walked around this area. After that one of the citizen made a phone call to the police in Utashinai City at 8:58 in the morning and told that the water of the river Panke-utashinai had got muddy and the landslide had stopped the river flow and caused flood around this area. The depth of the canyon the landslide of 100 meters made was 25 meter in depth and 50 meters in width.    
Some houses are around the cliff the landslide made and 197 citizens were evacuated from their house.
Of course the traffic on the road Akabira-Naie line had been stoppedbecause of the fear of more landslide from the upperside. 

 This is the temporary lake made by the land slide.
The water in the lake went across the road and swamped to the other side of the road. A fire engine stood still for a while swamped by the water from the river.
 I hope the firefighters in Utashinai City will be able to use this fireengine again.
But the muffler was completely under the water at the time.
 The apartment buildings run by the city were near the river Pnke-Utashinai.

The firefighters were struggle with the water and flood.
 The flood water was pumped out from the residence area soon.
It is required to cooperate each other among the administrative organization such as municipality, prefectural government and self-defence force in Japan.
 This flood may be a piece of cake in comparison with the huge earthquake and OOTSUNAMI taht had happened in eastern part of Japan on March of 2011 but we have to build up the strong communities and system to protect the citizens from the disasters.
After the backhoes provided by the construction companies in Utashinai City took off the mud in the river that had stopped the river flow, the flood water was pumped out and the water swamped to the town was decreasing. 
Thanks to the good communication among the municipality, Japanese Self-defence Force,  police, firefighters and the Sub-prefectural Office of Hokkaido Government, no casualty in Utashinai City and around the area.
Thanks God !
To be continued.