If you feel the need to strengthen your financial management savvy, check out StrongNonprofits.org, a new website featuring free tools, how-tos and guides.Developed in partnership between The Wallace Foundation and Fiscal Management Associates, the site contains more than 64 resources for anyone involved in nonprofit financial planning, monitoring, operations or oversight, and particularly nonprofit afterschool program providers. Features range from a nonprofit accounting guide, to an article on sensible growth strategies, to a podcast on how to understand the true costs of programming. The site also offers an array of helpful tools, including the “Go or No Go Decision Tool,” a questionnaire that helps an organization decide whether accepting a contract would help – or hurt – the group’s bottom line.The site includes:• A Five-Step Guide to Budget Development—a presentation that describes a team approach to budgeting essentials such as setting financial goals, forecasting results and monitoring progress.• Budgeting and Financial Planning Tools—Excel-based templates to provide organizations with a framework for building program-based budgets, projecting cash flow, and evaluating revenue scenarios.• Guide to Effective Board Leadership—an easy-to-follow description of how nonprofit boards can do the necessary financial oversight of their organizations.You can find the site here.
The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) has released its annual State of the Sector survey, and it shows nonprofits like yours are struggling with a tough funding environment and increasing need for the services you provide. This is requiring tough choices – and changing the way you do business, according to the survey.Here’s a summary of the report from the NFF. Does it capture your situation? Are you better or worse off than your peers?According to NFF:Nonprofits need new funding sources and models:• 42% of survey respondents report that they do not have the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective in the next 3 years.• 1 in 4 nonprofits has 30 days or less cash-on-hand.• Over the next twelve months, 39% plan to change the main ways they raise and spend money.• 23% will seek funding other than grants or contracts, such as loans or investments.Nonprofits that receive government funding face particular challenges:• Only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement. Partial reimbursements require additional funding to cover the growing gap as nonprofits serve more people.• Government is late to pay: Among those with state or local funding, just over 60% reported overdue government payments; over 50% reported late payments from the federal government.Under these challenging conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:• For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.• This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.• Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.• 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.Nonprofits are changing the way they do business to adapt to the new reality. In the past 12 months:• 49% have added or expanded programs or services; 17 percent reduced or eliminated programs or services.• 39% have collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.• 39% have upgraded technology to improve organizational efficiency.• 36% engaged more closely with their board. For more on the survey and detailed data, go here.
I’m back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference. At one of my sessions, I talked about the importance of taking the vast problems we seek to address and the critical importance of translating them into a scale that is:1.) Relatable2.) Addressable and3) InspiringWhen we fail to do this, we overwhelm people and create the impression their support won’t make a dent in our social problem.Here are examples of making this translation. At the conference, See3, YouTube, NTEN and Cisco announced these videos were among the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards. They take big, faraway issues and make them immediate to the kinds of people who are likely to take action for that cause. They stake a point of view with a clear audience. And they inspire action in a funny way. Enjoy.
Posted on May 14, 2013March 8, 2017By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On May 12th, NPR ran a story, C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women, that explores the extraordinary numbers of Cesarean deliveries occurring in Brazil. The author discusses various factors that might be contributing to the issue: To what extent are women demanding Cesarean births? Are doctors pressuring women to opt for surgery? Are Cesarean births becoming a “status” symbol? The author also examines the role of doulas, or birth coaches–and raises questions about how doulas, fairly uncommon in Brazil, might serve as a critical intervention in supporting women who would like to have a vaginal birth but are feeling pressured into a Cesarean delivery. Excerpt from the piece:There is a debate in Brazil as to why the rate here is so high. Doctors like Sasaoka say it’s due to the demand. But new mother Mariana — who doesn’t want her last name used for fear of offending her doctor — says often women feel bullied into it. She says she wanted to have a vaginal delivery. “My doctor said to me he’d have more control in a C-section than in a natural birth,” she says. He also told her he would also almost certainly have to do an episiotomy — a procedure where the vaginal opening gets cut to allow for delivery. She was terrified. She says her doctor kept telling her that C-sections were better, and that she felt pressure to have one.Read the full story. Listen to the audio version of the story. Learn about the Maternal Health Task Force’s work to better understand the under- and over-use of Cesarean births in low-income countries. Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on December 10, 2014June 12, 2017By: Nevia Pavletic, Implementation Science Intern, TRAction ProjectClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is in commemoration of Human Rights Day and the importance of the last 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which started off with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Disrespect and abuse in maternity care is an institutionalized form of gender violence. In addition, please find a round-up of recent news addressing human rights violations and gender violence at the end of this post.The fact that nearly one in three women globally has experienced intimate partner violence, a form of gender-based violence (GBV), is widely known. But can you easily name a situation where GBV occurs in the healthcare system?GBV is a worldwide problem that occurs in many contexts and in many forms including sexual violence, physical and verbal abuse, and cultural practices that harm women. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign, which launched on November 25th, puts this serious issue under the international spotlight.Current discourses on GBV, though they acknowledge that GBV occurs in many different contexts, rarely address GBV in health care settings. Disrespect and abuse during childbirth not only echoes other forms of GBV, but also contributes to women’s underutilization of skilled delivery services, which can negatively impact women’s health. Promoting respectful and dignified maternal health care is central to upholding human rights and improving the provision of women’s healthcare. Incorporating discussions on respectful maternal care into the global GBV dialogue is necessary for making this important issue a global priority.Around the world, women experience a range of disrespectful and abusive behavior at the hands of the health system: including, physical abuse, disregard for privacy, and unfair requests for payment. Research from TRAction-funded projects on respectful maternal care reveals that this disrespect and abuse—as with other forms of GBV—is an extension of existing structural inequalities. For example, these disrespectful, abusive behaviors are often a byproduct of stressful working conditions, as (often female) healthcare workers are overworked in a health system that is frequently understaffed and strained for resources. The TRAction-funded STAHA project in Tanzania has implemented interventions to help healthcare workers cope with stress, and the Heshima Project in Kenya has adopted a model of disrespect and abuse that takes into account the individual, structural, and policy levels, suggesting that effective interventions to decrease disrespect and abuse must be systemic.Recently, TRAction’s implementing partners at Columbia University published a commentary in Lancet’s Midwifery Series, in which they emphasize that disrespect and abuse does not occur only at the hands of healthcare providers, but also by the health system itself. In other words, the existence of disrespect and abuse is a symptom of a “health system in crisis.” While it is imperative that we consider women’s perspectives and experiences, tackling GBV in all its forms will require us to go beyond individual-level interventions to address the structural contexts and power inequalities that enable GBV and disrespect and abuse during childbirth to occur in the first place.Gender equality is clearly key to international efforts to achieve sustainable development goals and situating respectful maternity care within the broader global dialogue on GBV will help us in these efforts.This post originally appeared on the USAID TRAction Blog.News Round-up for Human Rights DayKenyan women with HIV sue over sterilisationWhy Sterilization Is The Most Popular Form Of Family PlanningIndian sterilisation patient: ‘I was slapped and told to calm down’Indian women die after state-run mass sterilisation campaign goes wrongWoman dies at second India sterilisation campShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Fall is around the corner. Have you considered launching a fall fundraising campaign? Seasonal campaigns are a great way to make up for funding shortfalls, build support, and most important, advance your mission.For many small nonprofits, running an effective seasonal campaign may seem too difficult with limited time and resources. But sometimes, all it takes is the right game plan to get things moving. That plan starts by understanding where your organization is coming from and what your goals are.Grab a piece of paper and answer these seven questions:1.How has your organization’s financial snapshot changed in the last year?2. What unmet financial needs exist within your organization?3. Are there any unmet financial needs for individual programs?4. How will current and future operations be affected by the fall campaign?5. How can the fall campaign advance the mission?6. How will the revenue generated impact current or future capacity objectives?7. What details of your organization’s fiscal status should be shared as part of the fall campaign?Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to start planning. Our free 60-Day Fall Fundraising Plan for Nonprofits is designed to help organizations of all sizes develop and execute a successful campaign. Get your copy now!
When I was a kid, I would start writing my Christmas list in August. I wanted plenty of time to edit and revise the draft until I was sure that Santa would understand exactly what I wanted (and which items took priority). I even remember getting a little stressed one year because school was about to start, but I hadn’t completed my first draft yet.Of course, there’s a world of difference between writing a list for Santa and making a year-end fundraising plan. Still, if you want to have a successful year-end, it’s time to start making your list.Grab a pen and start brainstorming about what you’d like to see in your campaign this year-end. Here are five questions to get your mind in planning mode:What would your ideal results look like, and what are you hoping to accomplish? In addition to an actual dollar amount, think about your campaign goals in broader terms, such as growing your donor base, having enough funds for various initiatives, increasing board involvement, etc.Whom are you trying to target, and what do you most want them to do for you organization? Long before your first appeal is sent, consider your audience and what sort of message would inspire them to support your organization.Do you have funds available to create the kind of campaign you have in mind? If not, how might you be able to close the gap? Think of board members, gift-in-kind donations, corporate sponsors, etc.How broad will the reach of this campaign be? Consider campaign duration, communication channels, social media, and whether this is be a one-time appeal, or something that requires follow-up.Who is available to lead and coordinate the campaign from start to finish? In addition to a leader, you’ll need someone to help with strategy, as well as someone to assist with communications. If you don’t have a large staff, think about which areas you might be able to fill with volunteers.Once you’re thinking about these things in a general way, it’s time to start nailing down specifics. There’s a lot that goes into a successful year-end, and even veteran fundraisers can feel overwhelmed if there’s not a clear action plan to govern the process.
Based in New Orleans, Via Link provides information, referrals, training, and crisis intervention to individuals, organizations, and communities so they can help themselves and others. LaVondra Dobbs, joined the organization five years ago as Programs and Services Director, and within a year, was offered the CEO position after the former CEO retired. She leads a team of 20 full-time employees, 35 part-time staff, and five volunteers to provide people with help finding available resources such as housing, food, mental health services, health care, and suicide prevention across southeast Louisiana.211Via Link’s flagship program, 211, is a free, 24-hour hotline that was designated by the FCC in 2001 as the Health and Human Services Hotline. Via Link staff researches, compiles, and updates a directory of free, public resources serving 10 parishes, or counties, in New Orleans, and works with the other 211s operating across the state. The hotline provides health and human services ranging from the location of the nearest food bank or food pantry to shelter locations, help with rent or utility bills, and respite from taking care of an elderly parent or child with disability.The Early YearsVia Link started in 1928 when a group of volunteers banded together to provide a directory of available resources for people in need. For almost 50 years, Via Link existed as a group of volunteers compiling and distributing resource directories for the greater New Orleans area, until officially becoming a 501(c)(3) in 1972.In addition to 211, Via Link provides crisis work, including managing the Louisiana branch of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). With a network of 160 agencies, the calls first go to New York before being routed to the agency closest to the caller’s area code. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) oversees the Lifeline and designates $7-$12 million a year to the national program. However, the stipend for centers like Via Link is only $1,500 a year. To pay for that one phone line, Dobbs raises approximately $400,000 a year. As a result, Via Link can field an average of 1,300 calls a month from Louisiana residents in need of crisis or suicide prevention assistance.Four years ago, Dobbs noticed that teens weren’t calling the Lifeline, so she raised independent funds to launch their Crisis Teen Textline. Prior to launching the Textline, everything was done by phone, but Via Link only received 54 calls to the Lifeline from youth age 13-22; an age group prone to suicide attempts. Since launching the Textline they have had about 62,000 conversations with youth.“My grandfather completed suicide when I was about 12 years old and that’s always weighed heavily on my mind. I don’t have the clinical degree, but I can use my business sense to make the resources available for those who are trained to do this work. I love the diversity of individuals and organizations that I work with. It takes a certain amount of creativity to sustain and be profitable in this environment. I really enjoy that challenge.”Diversifying FundingWhen Dobbs came on as CEO, Via Link was on the brink of closing after years of being solely grant supported. With degrees in economics and business administration, she knew things had to change.“If we were going to sustain the organization, I had to diversify our income. One of the first things I did was develop the Crisis Teen Textline, followed by an online chat option. We had been doing everything by phone and not taking advantage of new technology. I used the little bit of reserve dollars I had to build our capacity, and then found other streams of income. It was a delicate balance.”Much of those other streams of income came through crisis work with the Health and Human Services agencies around Louisiana. Under Dobbs’ leadership, Via Link is now cashflow positive and no longer dependent on any one funder. Today, Via Link is predominantly supported by HHS contracts, along with a few grants and state funding for the Lifeline.“Being able to visualize that goal and make it a reality was a great feeling. CEOs truly must understand their funding sources. The relationships with those funders and developing other funding streams is crucial. There have been people in foundations who have made my goals possible because they introduced me to other people and got me in doors I knew I needed to get through.”Collaboration and RelationshipsSince becoming a Network for Good customer, Dobbs has dedicated her time and energy to board development and fundraising. In this past year, she’s seen an increase in regular donations. When the only other crisis center in Louisiana hit financial trouble, Dobbs worked with them on how to close their operation and shift the contract to Via Link to sustain the services for the community.When it comes to fundraising, Dobbs is a big proponent of networking with other agencies and combining resources to offer something to the community. In 2018, she teamed up with Family Service to pitch an idea at the Greater New Orleans Foundation “Pitch-It Competition” and was able to leverage their second-place win into funding for their idea for the next three years.“You cannot be in your own little silo. You’ve got to get out and expand.”Women in Philanthropy is an ongoing blog series in celebration of Women’s History Month, featuring some of the incredible women Network for Good has the pleasure to work with.Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
There isn’t a nonprofit board that doesn’t shy away from fundraising. Some board members are nervous about making an ask, while some simply disappear when you need them most. But you can turn them around and increase your board’s comfort level with fundraising.3 Reasons Why Boards Hate FundraisingThey think that soliciting gifts is the only way to participate in fundraising.While some board members may enjoy being solicitors and asking potential and current donors to invest in your work, there are those who need other ways to help you fundraise. From ambassadors who cultivate relationships to connectors who bring prospective donors to you, all board members have a role to play in fundraising. And don’t forget about stewardship. Board thank you calls to donors have an incredible impact on retention rates.They don’t know how to talk about your organization and why it deserves donor support.Board members may have the inside scoop on a nonprofit, but that doesn’t mean they’re good at making the case for support. Make sure new board members receive a good orientation when they commit to your board. Have an annual all-board review of your organization’s history, programs, and needs to regularly update members about your latest successes, challenges, and opportunities.They fear rejection.We all do. At first, many fundraisers feel that asking for a donation is “begging,” and board members are no exception. Work with your board members to share their passion for your mission when they talk with donors and prospects. They’ve made their own personal financial commitment for a reason. That passion will be inspiring. The more times a board member hears that magic “yes,” the more comfortable they’ll become.3 Easy Steps to Turn Board Members into FundraisersBuild time into every board meeting for members to write thank you notes and call donors to thank them for their gift. The more your board members talk to donors, the more they’ll want to do it. Before you know it, they’ll be comfortable making the ask.Create standard talking points and an “elevator pitch” so everyone is literally speaking from the same script. This will give your board members a strong foundation for when they talk about your organization. As their comfort level grows, they can add their own reasons for giving.Coach board members on the fundraising cycle and what they can do to ensure a potential donor says yes. Cultivation is key.Engage and activate your board members to become successful advocates, donors, stewards, and ambassadors for your organization. Download How to Engage and Activate Your Nonprofit Board and turn your board into better fundraisers today!Make fundraising easy as 1-2-3 with a system that does it all!Click here to try our nonprofit fundraising software for free.Click here to set up a live demonstration of our all-in-one donor management system. Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
Posted on May 23, 2016July 11, 2017By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)In honor of International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, May 23, we’ve compiled resources related to obstetric fistula, a serious and tragic health condition that impacts the lives of women and families around the world. While the global prevalence rate is not known, estimates suggest that obstetric fistula affects around 2 million women primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The devastating effects of fistula include incontinence of urine and/or feces, often accompanied by depression, social isolation, and poverty.Fortunately, the condition is usually treatable and preventable. The maternal health community can support this year’s theme of ending fistula within a generation by promoting universal access to high quality emergency obstetric care, treatment, and social support. Photo: “Africa Partnerships Hamlin Fistula 12” © 2009 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0Share this: Obstetric Fistula ResourcesDouble Burden of Tragedy: Stillbirth and Obstetric FistulaThis commentary, following The Lancet Stillbirth Series in 2011, draws attention to the highly prevalent link between obstetric fistula and stillbirth. According to the meta-analysis of obstetric fistula studies published between 1990 and 2015, 90% of pregnancies in which the women develops obstetric fistula result in stillbirth.Good Practices on Ending Obstetric FistulaPublished in 2014, this UNFPA resource shares implementation strategies, progress, and lessons learned from program components and Campaign to End Fistula partner activities. Good Practices describes both challenges and innovations in addressing obstetric fistula.Maternal Health Thematic Fund 2014 ReportThis report examines the impact of UNFPA in ending fistula through the Campaign to End Fistula, one of the main projects of the Maternal Health Thematic Fund. Launched in 2008, the Maternal Health Thematic Fund manages programs in midwifery and emergency obstetric and newborn care that work to prevent and treat fistula. The 2014 report also identifies challenges in fistula prevention.New Research to Shorten Recovery Time For Fistula RepairThis MHTF blog post summarizes findings from Fistula Care Plus Project’s large multi-center randomized controlled trial published in the Lancet, which demonstrated that short duration catheterization is safe and effective following simple fistula repair surgery.Psychological Symptoms and Social Functioning Following Repair of Obstetric Fistula in a Low-Income SettingThis exploratory study identifies changes in psychological symptoms following fistula repair surgery, discharge, and reintegration home among women in rural Tanzania. The authors note the importance of equipping women with coping strategies should they experience residual fistula symptoms.Restoring Hope and Dignity: New Developments and Best Practices in Addressing Maternal MorbiditiesSupported by the MHTF, this Wilson Center event featured a panel presentation of the newest data and best practices from those who work most closely with maternal morbidities like obstetric fistula and pelvic organ prolapse. The speakers discussed root causes of maternal morbidities as well as new approaches and barriers to addressing the global burden of obstetric fistula.Selected Organizations Working to End FistulaCampaign to End FistulaFistula Care Plus Project at EngenderHealthFistula FoundationOperation FistulaDo you have any other resources on obstetric fistula that you’d like to recommend? If so, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!Join the conversation on ending obstetric fistula within a generation using #FistulaDay. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on September 28, 2017October 6, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A core component of high quality health care is ensuring that services are people-centered—that providers incorporate the “preferences and aspirations of individual service users and the culture of their community.” The World Health Organization’s “Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities” released in 2016 recommend that practitioners participate in regular in-service trainings to improve their interpersonal communication, counseling skills and cultural competence to encourage the provision of respectful maternity care. Organizations such as the Joint Commission, the National Institutes of Health, the International Confederation of Midwives and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics have also emphasized the importance of cultivating cultural competence in health care and offered practical guidance.How have program implementers, clinicians and researchers approached the issue of providing culturally-appropriate maternity care, and what challenges have they encountered?A recent paper in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth aimed to answer these questions. This paper was a secondary analysis of a previous systematic review that the authors published in 2014 as part of the MHTF-PLOS Collection, “Integrating Health Care to Meet the Needs of the Mother-Infant Pair.” The authors reviewed 15 studies to examine how interventions to provide culturally-appropriate maternal health services—specifically related to patients’ ethnicity, language and religion—affected utilization of skilled antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care.Ten of the 15 studies found that the intervention had positive effects on skilled maternity care utilization, especially antenatal care attendance.Keys to successThe following four themes illustrate barriers and facilitators to ensuring that women receive culturally-appropriate maternity care:AccessResearchers noted that financial and geographic barriers often inhibit women of certain cultural groups from seeking maternal health services, even if those services are culturally-appropriate. In some settings, gender-based restrictions on travel, low levels of education or literacy, limited knowledge of health services and a lack of social support or child care were also barriers to access. Facility-based interventions cannot be effective if the target population cannot access services.Community participationCreating mutual respect through coordination and communication among health workers and communities was essential for the success of interventions. Some program implementers highlighted the importance of establishing community ownership over interventions. Community-based participatory research is a promising approach that involves communities in program design from the beginning.Person-centered carePoor interactions between patients and providers was a common issue, with many women reporting caretakers’ unfriendliness, discrimination and negative attitudes. These experiences of disrespect and abuse decreased women’s self-worth and caused feelings of anxiety and shame. The most common strategy to combat these issues was employing staff with similar cultural or linguistic backgrounds to those of the women seeking care.Continuum of careSeveral interventions focused on a specific aspect of maternity care such as antenatal visits, but addressing issues of cultural appropriateness across the entire continuum of care was an important success factor. Collaboration among different care providers was essential to ensuring culturally-appropriate services to women at every encounter with health workers during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.The stakes are highRespectful maternity care is a human right, and failing to guarantee culturally-appropriate care has serious implications. For example, women who do not receive respectful and culturally sensitive care at a health facility are less likely to seek facility-based maternity care in the future, which can have long-term consequences for both mother and baby.It is important to note that the 15 studies included in this review were conducted in Australia, Peru, the United States and the United Kingdom. Given how critical local contexts are in evaluating interventions to provide culturally-appropriate care, further research in other regions is needed to ensure that no woman is left behind.—Read the full, open access paper, “Interventions to provide culturally-appropriate maternity care services: Factors affecting implementation.”Learn more about respectful maternity care.Check out related posts from the MHTF blog:Respecting Choice in Childbirth: Preferred Delivery Positions Among Ethnic Minorities in VietnamIntegrating Culture Into Maternity Care Programs: A Systematic Mapping of InterventionsShare this:
One of Tokyo’s new popular sightseeing spots is Tokyo Skytree. This tower is 634m (roughly 2080ft) tall, making it the world’s tallest radio tower.The closest station to Tokyo Skytree is Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Skytree line. You can also get off at Oshiage Station, also on the Tobu Skytree line via the Keisei Kyuko. Out of these trains, we’ll explain the fun of riding Keisei Kyuko’s ‘singing train’.A Singing Train?When it comes to the Keisei Kyuko, there are a number of specifications for these trains. Starting with the red trains in the 1000 series of the Keisei Kyuko, the noise that comes out of the motor or inverter device inside of the trains can be heard as if they were musical scales. These trains are loved by railway fans. Let’s not waste any time and try to get to listen to that noise.*The audio will start around the 6 second mark.Were you able to hear the ‘do re mi fa sol la si do’ sound as if the train were singing? Imitating this sound, railway fans have given this train such names as the ‘singing train’. The famous Japanese band ‘Quruli’ used this sound as the motif for their song ‘red train’.These singing trains run from Oshiage-Aoto on the Keisei Oshiage line, and from Aoto-Takasago on the Keisei main line. However, the number of these trains that are currently operating is limited, so you’ll be very lucky to come across one.Tokyo Skytree is Directly Linked to Oshiage StationWhen riding the singing train to Oshiage Station, you’ll be able to get off right in front of Tokyo Skytree. The train station is directly linked to the tower itself, so you can get to Tokyo Skytree without having to get wet when it rains. Even when viewing this tower from a distance, it looks huge.When looking at this tower directly below and then looking up, there’s no doubt that you’ll be overwhelmed by its height.At the bottom of Tokyo Skytree is ‘Tokyo Solamachi’, a commercial facility. There’s also the Sumida Aquarium, the Konica Minolta Planetarium, and a number of other places where you can have a good time.Photo courtesy of Salon de SweetsIf you get hungry, you can enjoy a wide variety of Japanese, western, and Chinese foods, and even deserts. Pictured above is Salon de Sweets, an all you can eat sweets restaurant that’s rising in popularity. Do check it out.The 4th floor of the east yard is an entire floor full of Japanese souvenir shops. What makes it so popular and convenient is that various Japanese items have gathered together and can all be viewed in one place.The 1st floor of the east yard is the ‘Solamachi shopping arcade’. This is a passageway full of food, miscellaneous items, and cafes. There are a number of imaginative stores here selling miscellaneous items. Drop by some of them and you may make some great discoveries!Among the interesting items we found on the first floor, there were these face packs that transform you into a Japanese character. After taking a bath in the evening, how about trying one of these face masks? You might be so amused that you’ll want to take a photo of yourself.So how about trying to catch the ‘singing train’ and head down to Tokyo Skytree?You May Also LikeWalk Above The Clouds at Tokyo SKYTREE® in Oshiage!Experience the World of Marine Life Hidden Within Tokyo SkytreeInformationTokyo SkytreeAddress: Tokyo, Sumida, Oshiage, 1-1-2Hours: 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. (Last entry is at 9:00 p.m.) *Observatory hoursClosed: Never *Depending on the strength of the wind, there may be a limit to how many people can enter.Credit Cards: AcceptedOther Languages: EnglishMenus/Information in Other Languages: EnglishNearest Station: Tokyo Skytree Station (Tokyo Skytree line), Oshiage station (Tobu Skytree line, Keisei Kyuko)Access: A 2 minute walk from Tokyo Skytree station, Oshiage (Skytree-mae) stationFee: 2,820 yen (Fast Skytree Ticket)Phone Number: 0570-55-0634Official Site: Tokyo Skytree
Japan has a wonderful festival culture, and you can count on festivals being held almost anywhere in the country. About 80,000 shrines are registered, and it is said that large and small combined, approximately 300,000 festivals are held. In this article, we’ll be introducing some of the more unique ones with video.Dontosai FestivalThe “Dontosai” is a traditional event held in shrines around Miyagi prefecture, where New Year’s decorations are burnt and good health throughout the year is prayed for. It is said that the name of the festival comes from people long ago describing the sight of the vigorously burning fire as “dondon”.Osaki Hachimangu of Aoba-ku, Sendai, is a shrine of over 300 years, and its “Matsutaki Matsuri”, one of the largest festivals in Miyagi, attracts about 100,000 visitors every year.The “hadaka mairi” (naked pilgrimage), with people heading to the sacred flame in sarashi and shiro-shozoku, is a sight worth seeing.*New Year’s decorations (shogatsu-kazari) are decorations for the New Year. They are usually decorated before New Year’s Eve.InformationAddress: Miyagi Sendai-shi Aoba-ku Hachiman 4-6-1Dates: January 14Website: Dontosai (Japanese)©TBCAkino Takayama Matsuri (Hachiman Festival)The Takayama Matsuri is a representative festival of Takayama in Gifu prefecture, and is a traditional event held in the spring and fall. The annual Sanno Matsuri festival of Hie Shrine in the spring and the Hachiman Matsuri festival of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine in the fall are collectively called the “Takayama Matsuri”.The Takayama Matsuri is said to have originated from the late 16th century to the 17th century, and is considered one of the “Three Great Beautiful Festivals of Japan”, for its carefully decorated street shops with sculptures, embroidery, and other master craftsmanship by Hida locals. There is also a traditional karakuri (mechanical doll) performance.InformationAddres: Gifu Takayama-shi Sakuramachi 178Dates: Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Monday, October 10, 2016 (October 9, 10 of every year)Website: Takayama Festival©CBCFude MatsuriKumano, Hiroshima is Japan’s leading brush producing region. 80% of the domestic production is made here in Kumano. The Fude Matsuri (Brush Festival) began in 1935, and the 2016 festival will be its 82nd year. It is a popular festival that annually attracts about 50,000 people.The brushes on sale are sold at a discount price of 20-40% off, and many visitors take this chance to purchase some to take home.The makeup brushes are especially popular, and are even used by world-famous makeup artists who work with actresses in Hollywood and famous models.One of the highlights of the festival is the “Taisaku Sekisho” – a calligraphy performance with a brush on a large piece of cloth, 5 meters in length and 6 meters in width. The six students of the Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) Club of Kumano High School in the video wrote various words, such as “What we learned from Shodo is the power to challenge.”InformationAddress: Hiroshima Aki-gun Kumano Nakamizo 5-1-13Dates: Spring Equinox Day (September 22)Website: Fude Matsuri©RCCThe Festival to Welcome the Gods at Izumo TaishaIzumo Taisha is a shrine in Shimane always bustling with visitors, known for the god of marriage. The tenth month of the old Japanese calendar is called “Kannazuki” (the month with no gods) throughout Japan, but as the gods all gather from around Japan in the Izumo region, here the same month is called “Kamiarizuki” (the month where gods are present). On the tenth day of the tenth month of the old Japanese calendar, the high priest will read norito (religious words addressed to a deity) and welcome the gods from across the sea, namely from Inasanohama beach, the setting of one of Japan’s founding myths.The portable shrine in which the gods dwell temporarily heads to Izumo Taisha along Kamimukae no michi – “the street to welcoming the deity”. After the festival to welcome the deity is held at the Izumo Taisha Kaguraden, the gods from around the world are consulted about marriages and other topics related to human relationships. During this season, the shrine is colored with the green of nature.InformationAddress: Shimane Izumo-shi Taishacho Kizukihigashi 195, Izumo TaishaDates: November 9 night – November 16 (Wednesday) ※Dates for 2016Website: Izumo Taisha Kami Mukae Shinji – Kami Mukae Sai (Japanese)©BSSSaidaiji Eyo FestivalThe Saidaiji Eyo festival is said to have a history of over 500 years. It is held on the third Saturday of February. At around 9 PM, about 9,000 naked men start to gather at Saidaiji Kannon-in, a temple facing the Yoshii River in Higashi-ku, Okayama. After cleansing their bodies at a watering place called the “koritoriba”, they head to the oyuka of the main hall.At 10 PM, the lights of the main hall are turned out, and two ceremonial sticks are thrown from the Gofukumado (window of good fortune) and the men fight to get these ceremonial sticks. The person who gets one of such st is called the “Fuku-otoko” (lucky man) and is said to have good luck during that year.InformationAddress: Okayama Okayama-shi Higashi-ku SaidaijiDates: February 20 *Dates for 2016Website: Saidaiji Eyo (Japanese)©RSKIn ConclusionWhat do you think? Some of these festivals are even little-known to the Japanese people. We recommend you check out and participate in the local festivals of whichever region you’re visiting!
As one of Osaka’s enduring symbols, the Umeda Sky Building continues to be loved by locals and visitors alike, even after more than twenty years.Though the building is located slightly away from the central part of Umeda, many people make a special trek over here just to visit the Floating Garden Observatory (also called the Kuchu-Teien Observatory).Towering a majestic one hundred and seventy-three meters tall, it truly is a sky dome with a 360 degree unobstructed view of the city.Every day it’s visited by out-of-town-visitors, couples, families, and photography buffs, so the atmosphere is always lively and animated.As you leisurely walk around the circular, doughnut-shaped route you can feel the wind directly on your face – this sky walk has an open, spacious kind of feeling. Here you can spend time exactly the way you’d like to, such as taking photos, or talking to the person beside you while gazing out at the sunset or night view.If you have one hour available, you can explore and enjoy this space at your own relaxed pace. It also might be nice to sit for an extended period of time at the bar counter.Personally I would recommend coming here right when the observatory opens at 10:00 am. At this time there are usually few people, so you can have the place to yourself, and enjoy looking around without feeling rushed.Please take a look at the following photos and be sure to check the information section at the end of the article. InformationFloating Garden Observatory (Kuchu-Teien Observatory)Address: Osaka, Kita, Oyodonaka 1-1Hours: 10:00-22:30 (last entry is at 22:00) *hours can change depending on the seasonClosed: Open every day of the yearWi-Fi access: Osaka Free Wi-FiCredit Cards: acceptedOther Languages: Some staff speak EnglishAccess: 9 minutes on foot from JR Osaka Station, Hankyu-Umeda Station, and Umeda Subway Station.Admission: 700 yenPhone: 06-6440-3855Official Homepage: Floating Garden ObservatoryRead About Other Observation Decks In Japan:A Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo TowerWalk Above The Clouds at Tokyo SKYTREE® in Oshiage!Kobe Port Tower – The Red Symbol Of The City Sparkling In The SkyThe Symbol Of Sapporo: Let’s Visit The Sapporo TV Tower!Enjoy A Wonderful Day At Yokohama Landmark Tower!
Photo by えだまめIn 2014, LiSA has been busy with her concerts, performance at national and international events, CD release and so on.And on January 10 and 11, 2015, she is having her concerts in Budokan. It seems we can’t take our eyes off LiSA.This time, we interviewed LiSA about her 7th single “Shirushi”, which will be released on December 10. It is an ending song of “Sword art Online 2” 《Mothers Rosario》.As I can sing naturally at last, I want to send a ballad to my fans Photo by えだまめ━━First of all, tell us about your thoughts on your song and the reasons why you decided to sing a ballad.LiSA：So far, to enforce the idea of “LiSA” as a singer, I have frequently used colours that represent rock and pop such as pink and black so that people would equate LiSA with rock. However, after this year’s Budokan live, I started to think that I have grown to be able to sing very naturally.By going through the Budokan live, I decided to try a ballad this time because I believed that now I can sing a ballad with my original lyrics. I guess my best-known ballad is probably “Ichiban no Takaramono” (My best treasure) from the anime “Angel Beats!”.Those who have listened to my songs since that time have told me that they like my ballads and said that “LiSA is great in ballads!” .━━ You chose to sing ballads this year, not next year?LiSA：Well, after this year’s Budokan live, I feel like I can sing naturally as myself — I feel like I have taken off the armor on my body.Since then, I think I have been able to sing in such a condition. That is why I feel the release of “Shirushi” was in perfect timing. I wanted to bring this song to next year’s Budokan live as well.━━I see. Do you intend to use “Shirushi” to show your growth to fans during this year and next year’s Budokan lives? LiSA：Yes. I could write the lyrics of the song because I have gotten stronger. I wanted to thank “Sword art Online” as well, which I was in charge of 2 years ago for “crossing field”.━━ I think the lyrics of “Shirushi” focuses on the past with words like “Wasurenai” (I don’t forget) or “Miotosanai” (I don’t overlook). Does that mean that you look back on this year’s Budokan live?LiSA：Not just the Budokan live. Last year, before I had a live in Budokan, I visited various places in Japan as a part of my project. I came across unusual places and people for the first time. Some burst into tears and said that “I always gain power from your songs!” while others tried to tell me something. I felt that so many people have embraced my songs and messages.I was able to finish this year’s Budokan live with the help of the people right in front of me. If I look back on my life as a singer, “LiSA” is here now because of the support of fans and the path we have walked together. After all these, as I look back, all the supports of my fans have been my “shirushi” (roadsigns). This is another reason for the name of the song.The Two worlds LiSA connected with her songs Photo by えだまめ━━ Although “Shirushi” is a theme song of “Sword art Online”, it is more of a song full of messages from “LiSA”, rather than about the world view of the anime.LiSA：The song is about both because I read “Sword art Online” and then started to make the song.In the anime’s ending scene, Asuna put on earphones and clicked the play button to listen to “PLAY”. By looking at that scene, I felt that I could send a song to the world of “Sword art Online” as well.I was so touched to see that Asuna remembers her loved ones and cries in response to my song…━━That is a new perspective.LiSA：Right. So in that sense, I was happy to see that I could connect 2D and 3D, my world and their world.At the same time, Asuna, the character inside the anime, listens to my song. I was very moved to see that moment.━━In the 2nd song of the single “Shirushi”, “No More Time Machine” (words by Makoto Furuya), you sing about time machine just as the title says. In the lyrics, you conclude that you don’t need a time machine. As LiSA, what do you think about time machines?LiSA：I think that I don’t need a time machine. I think everyone has a place they belong to. However, if the place is a school, you need to graduate someday.In my case, I have come to Tokyo from Gifu. Each person has his/her own way with life but it is impossible to stick to one way forever.That is why I think we need to cherish our own place and our loved ones at the moment.So I told Mr.Furuya that I want to sing about those things.Then Mr.Furuya the genius wrote exactly what I was thinking. He understands what I need to sing as LiSA so I could rely on him without worry.━━So you could sympathize with the lyrics naturally.LiSA：Yes. LiSA’s theme is “today is also a good day” so I always put importance on “now”. What I’m doing and what to do now, this moment.I guess this attitude would never change.Even if themes change depending on each song, please just think that “okay this girl wants to say ‘today is also a good day’ anyway “.LiSA’s new challenge. “Just to enjoy the melodies!” Photo by えだまめIn 2014, LiSA conducted a world tour by visiting 10 countries, mainly in Asia.It was great fun to see fans in each country. It was also great fun to have meals there.As we can see in her Twitter and blog, she is a glutton.So MATCHA’s editorial department asked her the restaurant she found most impressive in other countries.Country：ThailandRestaurant：TALING PLINGPlace：Inside Paragon’s shopping mallHP：http://talingpling.com/English version：http://www.tripadvisor.jp/ShowUserReviews-g293916-d1128754-r118173137-Taling_Pling-Bangkok.htmlLiSA’s comment：The curry there was so yummy! The image of Thai curry in Japan is the one with coconut milk. However, Thai curry in TALING PLING was completely different.Related Article：Back and Unrivaled! LiSA Interview on the Release of her 3rd Album, “Launcher”Pokémon Galore! Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo Has Come to Ikebukuro!【Akihabara】3 must-go ANIME stores in JapanRepresenting Japan and Akibahara. AKB48!Information【LiSA】Official HP：http://www.lxixsxa.com/Twitter：https://twitter.com/LiSA_OLiVEFacebook：https://www.facebook.com/lxixsxa.jpiTunes：https://itunes.apple.com/jp/artist/lisa/id573943518【LiSA 7th single “Shirushi” Released on December 10, 2014】【First Limited Edition(CD+DVD)】Price:¥1,600(+tax)Product number:svwc70031-70032■Recorded numbers01. ShirushiWords by LiSA, Song by Kayoko, Edited by Shota Horie02. No More Time MachineWords by Makoto Furuya, Song by Kousuke Noma, Edited by Yashikin03. crossing field -English ver.-Words and song by Sho Watanabe, Edited by Toku, Translated by Seiji Motoyama※With “Shirushi” music clip and DVD※16P of booklet【Limited Edition(CD+DVD)】Price:¥1,600(+tax) Product number:svwc70033-70034■Recorded numbers01. ShirushiWords by LiSA, Song by Kayoko, Edited by Shita Horie02. No More Time MachineWords by Makoto Furuya, Song by Kousuke Noma, Edited by Yashikin03. Shirushi -Instrumental-04. No More Time Machine -Instrumental-※With TV anime “Sword art Online 2″ ending movies DVD※With mini poster※with sleeve case【Normal version(CD)】Price:¥1,200(+tax) Product number:svwc70035■Recorded numbers01. ShirushiWords by LiSA, Song by Kayoko, Edited by Shota Horie02. No More Time MachineWords by Makoto Furuya, Song by Kousuke Noma, Edited by Yashikin03. crossing field -English ver.-Words and song by Sho Watanabe, Edited by Toku, Translated by Seiji Motoyama※”First limited edition / normal version” and “limited edition” have different songs.【Live information】Event：COUNTDOWN JAPAN 14/15Date：December 28, 2014 (Sun)Venue：Makuhari MesseHP URL：http://countdownjapan.jp/Event：LiVE is Smile Always～PiNK&BLACK～Date：December 10(Sat) and 11(Sun), 2015Venue：Nihon BudokanHP URL：http://www.lxixsxa.com/live/ Photo by えだまめ━━This time, as a new challenge, you recorded the English version of “crossing field” in the limited edition. What did you feel after the recording of an English song? LiSA：It was very difficult at first. Especially the pronunciation… But I have loved English songs and played English songs in the band I used to belong to. So I didn’t feel that it was a big challenge.However, when it comes to sending this song to fans abroad, I had to be nervous about “pronunciation” and so on.━━How hard was it, compared to the songs in Japanese?LiSA：If “crossing field” is a song I sing for the first time, it must have been even harder. However, I had sung this song in Japanese thousands of times. So I just had to learn the nuances of English.However, the pronunciation was the hardest part. Mr.Motoyama, who translated the lyrics into English, was a strict teacher (laughs).━━I see (laughs). Did you sing differently in English?LiSA：Very. The shape of mouth is different and so is the accent. It was a brand new experience.The lyrics weren’t translated word by word. I focused on the nuances. As I know the nuances of Japanese lyrics, when I sing in Japanese, I tend to put importance on each word. However, when I sing in English, I sing as I go along the melodies.━━At last, after 3 years of work as “LiSA”, how do you want to present yourself from now on?LiSA：This year’s Budokan live has been a turning point for me. By taking off an armor there, I think I can finally create music and perform as a true, natural LiSA.In that sense, the show of “natural LiSA” has just started. What I should do now is to continue developing the world of LiSA. I appreciate your continued support! Photo by えだまめAdditionally…
“I’m about to set off, but I don’t know where the check-in counter is.””I want some Japanese souvenirs. Are there are any good stores?”These are only a few of the problems those who pass through Narita Airport may experience. Now you can rest easy with the help of the informational guide-phones.Connect with a touch of the fingerThe guide-phones are set up next to the information counter inside the airport, and are available for use at any time. They’re also set up in the post-departure inspection area.This is the southern side of the departure lobby in the second terminal.Here’s another at the first terminal, in the arrival lobby’s south wing.At present, they handle Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. However, the Korean language support has only limited staff, and as such may be unavailable depending on the day.It’s easy to use! Just pick up the receiver and select your language of choice. After a moment, a staff member who speaks your language will appear on the screen, and you can converse with them. The new TV-phones are fully interactive, so you can communicate whatever problem you may have. You’ll never get lost in the airport again.If you have any problem at all in the Narita Airport, just head on down to the Information Counter!
If you’re talking about a Japanese alcohol that is famous world-wide, you must be talking about Japanese Sake, the rice based drink. Recently, the unique sweetness and mild flavor of sake has become quite famous, and has been receiving attention from people all over the world.In Ginza, you’ll find a store which teaches all about the greatness of sake. This time we will take you to SAKE HALL HIBIYA BAR, the world’s first store that specializes in sake cocktails.The Sake Cocktail Store Established by 7 Different Sake BreweriesThe truth is, the popularity of Japanese sake in Japan dwindled in the early 2000’s, causing the number of sake producers to fall as well. Amidst these circumstances, the ones who decided to try a new approach to spreading sake culture around the world were those at SAKE HALL HIBIYA BAR.Without compromising the integrity of the sake while still making drinks that are easy to drink for all, they devised the idea to offer sake in the form of cocktails.There are a number of private rooms in the store, each named for a different brewery.Here we have the Tsukasabotan room. Tsukasabotan is a brewery with over 400 years of history in Kochi prefecture. The inside of the room is decorated with pictures of the creator and sake bottles. The room is fit for 6-14 customers.The store gives off a calm, chic atmosphere. There are a number of seats outside the private rooms as well where you can kick back and enjoy your meal.What Do the Cocktails Taste Like?I received permission from the bartender to take photos of the cocktails. I ordered an Oriental Sunrise with sake foam for 745 yen.Using the sake as a base, they add orange juice and raspberry liqueur. Lastly, they add on the sake foam and the Oriental Sunrise is completed. The mixture of red, orange and white makes for a beautiful cocktail.Two Easy to Drink Sake CocktailsOne is the Oriental Sunrise, which we just introduced. At first sip, you’ll be able to experience the wonderful aroma and sweetness of the unique sake.Next is the most standard sake cocktail, the Sakenic, priced at 723 yen.These two different sakes are used to make this cocktail. The Motozake is a sake specially created to be used in cocktails. With its refreshing taste, it is perfect for those who’ve never tried sake before.The Store’s Pride and Joy – ShiokojikojoyakiShiokojikojo is a three item combination dish seasoned with sake kasu (sake lees) priced at 1296 yen. Sake kasu is the sap or juice of the rice that is produced when making sake. If you grill meat marinated in this sake kasu, it becomes quite tender. The three items included in the dish are pork, chicken and squid.The more you bite into this perfectly cooked meat, the more you’ll be able to taste its deliciousness.In the sake kasu, the proteins are broken down, creating amino acids which have the power to bring out the latent deliciousness of the meat. Since it is made by using the same raw materials as the cocktails, their compatibility is exceptional.In ConclusionAt SAKE HALL HIBIYA BAR, where they offer a new way to drink Japanese sake, they are trying to create the chance for people from all over the world to get in touch with the attraction of sake and this new way of enjoying it.At the store, you’ll not only be able to drink these new sake cocktails but also sake from all over Japan. So how about coming to visit this elegant space to enjoy sake, sake cocktails and cuisine made with sake kasu?InformationSAKE HALL HIBIYA BARAddress: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 5-6-12 – Miyuki Building B1Hours: 17:00-23:30Closed: Open year-roundCredit Cards: Available (VISA、MASTER、JCB、AMEX、Diners)Nearest Station: Tokyo Metro’s Ginza StationAccess: 2 minute walk from B3 Exit of Ginza StationPrice Range: 3000-6000 yenPhone: 03-3572-7123Website: SAKE HALL HIBIYA BAR
A Healing Spot in Tokyo that’s Full of Nature – JindaijiJindaiji is a temple established approximately 1300 years ago and located in Chofu city, Tokyo. It is known as a spot for protecting us from evil spirits and matchmaking.On the premises, you can feel the seasonal changes of nature. You can also enjoy shopping and eating outside the temple, so it has become a popular sightseeing spot!Let’s pray first. Start from “sanmon (the entrance)”Take a bus for 25 minutes from Mitaka station, which is famous for the Ghibli Museum, and get off at the “Jindaiji” bus stop. It takes only 2 minutes for you to reach the big “sanmon (the entrance).”After you pass the entrance, you’ll find the main temple. There is a place called “chozuya” where you clean your hands and rinse your mouth. After you ritually cleanse them, proceed to pray.Related Article: After a visit, why don’t you give Japanese fortunetelling, omikuji, a try??Related Article：Drawing Fortune at Shrines in Japan (1/2)Take a stroll with special apps in EnglishThere are a lot of halls. If you want to expel evil spirits (“yakuyoke”), then Gansantaishido is the one you must visit. As for wishing for a long life, go and pray at Enmei Kan’non.You can get a map at the tourist information center near the bus stop!Or you may want to use Jindaiji AR Apps (for iOS) run by Chofu City Folk Museum in order to check out the English map. It’s so convenient in terms of its explanation for famous spots and pictures, as well as audio guides!iOS：Jindaiji AR Apps（English version）Spring-only Highlight – Blooming “Nanja Monja no Ki (snow flowers)”There are many trees in Jindaiji, but those who come from the end of April until the beginning of May can probably observe blooming “Nanja Monja no Ki (snow flower)”.It may sound strange, but its name originally comes from the phrase “What is that? (Are wa Nanda)” said by people who did not know the type of the tree. It’s called snow flowers in English. The blooming white flowers are so beautiful!Take a rest with soba noodle or sweets!We strongly recommend that you walk around the area outside the temple. Jindaiji has been famous for its original soba noodle Jindaiji Soba since the Edo era. There are as many as 20 soba places nearby.You can also get some soba noodles for souvenirs, which last for a relatively long time. Even if you do not know how to eat or cook soba noodles, how about getting Japanese sweets or breads made from soba noodle??Lemonade and Amazake (a sweet drink made from fermented rice) are also good choices to go with a short break. Having them while sitting on a bench among a stream is definitely great!Painted pottery as a souvenir!Amongst a lot of attracting souvenirs here, we especially recommend Musashiya Jindaijigama, where you can paint on pottery! Rakuyaki Course (Quick handy course) requires only 20 minutes to complete! So you can go around the area while you wait for the pottery to be baked. There is an explanation in English, so don’t worry! Moreover, this store sells original pottery representing Junishi (the twelve zodiac signs in Chinese astrology) called Junishi Dorei.Relaxing atmosphere in JindaijiHere you will be relaxed with this abundant beautiful nature, make a wish, and taste delicious food. Please visit while you’re in Tokyo.InformationMusashiya JindaijigamaAddress: 5 Chome-13-6 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu, TokyoHours：9:00–17:00 (opened everyday)Map Languages: EnglishNearest Station: JR Mitaka StationAccess：25 min from JR Mitaka Station by bus towards Jindaiji, 2 minutes walk from Jindaiji Bus StopPrice：Rakuyaki Course (Quick Handy Course) starting at ¥200Phone Number：+81(0)42-483-7441Official Website: Musashiya Jindaijigama (Japanese)JindaijiAddress：5-15-1 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu, TokyoNearest Station: Jindaiji Bus StopAccess：15 min by bus from Keio line Tsutsujigaoka Station or Chofu Station, then 2 minutes walk from Jindaiji Bus Stop/ 30 min by bus from JR Chuo line Mitaka Station or Kichijoji Station, then a 3-min walk from the bus stopTelephone：042-486-5511Official Website: Jindaiji Temple (Japanese)
All the photographs inside the shop were taken by our brave child reporters.We handed them a small camera, waited for 20 minutes, and interviewed the smiling duo afterwards.”It was pretty bright inside, and there were four or five people making sweets,” told the boy with his eyes sparkling. “You can’t touch the sweets. You have to ask the staff,” said his sister.All the customers are children, but with the grown-up staff watching over them, the parents need not to worry. The delicious-looking sweets in the photograph above are yume fukkura, or plum dreams, priced at 160 yen, taxes included.”There’s a sort of a lottery that looks like roulette, with a winning number and a jackpot. Someone drew the winning number and got a sticker!”If the prize for a winning number is a sticker, you might wonder what the prize will be for the jackpot.This sweet is named matteru, literally meaning “I’m waiting” in Japanese. The waiting sweets are also priced reasonably at 160 yen. There also seems to be a capsule machine in the back.The two reporters continue to describe what is happening inside the dream factory. “They sell and also make sweets inside. We were surprised to see pictures on the walls and even anime! It was so fun, we want to come again”, they concluded. Thank you for your hard work!A Place Where the Children’s Communication Abilities GrowIt seems that at Mirai Seisakusho there is a variety of sweets in addition to the ones described here. However, if you want to know about them you must ask your child to explain. The children will try their best to tell, and the parents must listen. It is a great and natural opportunity to deepen the bond between the child and his or her parents.We asked Mr. Koyama, who is a patissier by trade, the reasons for creating this shop. Please take a look at this interview.Adults waiting in the tiny lobby can purchase the aforementioned matteru sweets at a vending machine. The price for three pieces is 500 yen including tax. According to Mr. Koyama, the symbolism behind the name of this sweets is about “a boss waiting for the staff to mature, a master hoping that the disciples become better, and a teacher waiting for the students to realize something important. It is all about those kind of situations, people trying to reach out and understand each other.”While we were doing our job by waiting for the child reporters doing rounds inside the factory, another boy proudly showed us the sticker he won in the lottery.This is the Mirai Seisakusho, seen from the top of the stairs located at the right side of the entrance. It is overflowing with greenery.No matter where they come from, there are no boundaries to children’s curiosity. Children from all over the world should visit Mirai Seisakusho, enjoy themselves and tell it to the parents, with their own words.Recommended Reads:The Mirai Seisakusho – A Children Only Confectionery Store!Enjoying Old Japan In Osaka At GRADO, The Bonsai CafeAkashiyaki: Akashi City’s Famously Fluffy Octopus Treat!Discovering Fossils At The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur MuseumInformationMirai SeisakushoAddress: Hyogo, Sanda, Yurinokidai 5-32-1Hours: 10:00-17:00Closed: Wednesdays* (If a national holiday, the patisserie will be closed on Thursday)Wi-Fi: Not AvailableCredit Cards: Not AcceptedLanguage: -Menus/Pamphlets in Other Languages: -Nearest Stations: Shin-Sanda Station (新三田駅) JR Fukuchiyama LineAccess: From the Shin-Sanda Station, take the route 44 Shinki Bus (神姫バス) and get off at the Yurinokidai Yūbinkyoku-mae (ゆりのき台郵便局前) bus stop.Price Range: From 160 yen and up.Religion: -Telephone: +81-79-564-3192Website: Mirai Seisakusho (Japanese only) Mirai Seisakusho, or the Future Factory, was opened in 2013 and it is located in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture. It is a patisserie where adults have to wait outside, as only children up to 12 years of age are allowed to enter.Read also: An Interview With The World-Renowned Patissier Susumu KoyamaAccess from Osaka CityFrom JR Osaka Station, hop on the Fukuchiyama Line. Enjoy the passing scenery for 45 minutes until you reach JR Shin-Sanda Station.Having arrived at Shin-Sanda Station, look for the bus stop and hop on to the Route 44 Shinki Bus headed for Yurinokidai Kōen-mae from the bus terminal and get off at Yurinokidai Yūbinkyoku-mae.Patissier Es Koyama is located right in front of the bus stop. The founder, Mr. Susumu Koyama, is a world-renowned patissier himself. It is quite literally an amusement park of all things sweets. There are shops that sell freshly baked cakes, chocolate, ice cream and even a Baumkuchen factory, everything located close to each other making it convenient to navigate.Mirai Seisakusho, the “Future Factory”, is also located on the property. Let’s have a look.On to Mirai SeisakushoThere are visitors waiting to get inside even before the place has opened.This small waiting room is the furthest that adults are allowed to enter.Located in the back of the waiting room there is an opening too small for adults, accompanied with a warning.The message is clear: No Adults Allowed. We’re here to write a story but the rule concerns reporters as well. What should we do?We Hired Some Child Reporters!We decided to dispatch two siblings; an eight-year-old boy and his seven-year-old sister. This was their first visit to the factory, adding to the excitement that can be felt in the report.
Travelers Box is situated on the first floor of the central building in Terminal 1. Please look for the C1 Exit facing towards the bus terminal as a guide.3. Take Part in a Limited Time Event! Many of the capsule toys lining the zone are filled with only items associated with Japan. Why not buy cute Japanese souvenirs with the Japanese yen you were unable to use up! However, only 100 yen coins can be used. Please be careful as 50 or ten yen coins cannot be used in these machines. For more details, please read “Basics of Money in Japan: Currency Exchange, Duty-Free, and More!” Travelers Box, installed in July 2016, is also a facility where you can efficiently use the Japanese yen you were unable to spend all of during your trip. Those who participated were presented with a free sticker. Those that performed their ninja arts well were given two stickers. For those who do not have change or 100 yen coins, please use the exchange machines situated nearby. Participants were then able to download the photo they took to their smartphone using the QR code displayed on the screen. Challenge the ninja arts! If you were able to move well, you were also able to make clones of yourself like shown in the photo!! Hello Kitty, Daniel, and the others freely moved around inside a projection of the actual area you were on screen. There was a three-dimensional look to the game which really brought it to life. First, choose the e-money or points you would like to convert your change into. There are twelve types of credits available, including Facebook and Skype. Please be aware that there may be e-money with restricted usage in certain countries. Lastly, just to insert the amount of money you would like to convert into e-money. The gateway to sightseeing in Japan, Narita Airport. It is a fascinating facility not only as a point of access, but also as a place where you can enjoy shopping and food.In this article, we will introduce three popular fun spots and convenient services from among the facilities located inside Narita Airport.1. Turn Your Leftover Change into Japanese Capsule Toys! It was easy to participate. Participants only needed to stand in the designated area and move as directed on screen. The camera would recognize your movements so that you could control the game without touching the screen.By holding your hands out, a language selection screen would appear. The languages supported were Chinese and Japanese. This is the invisibility technique. It seemed like Daniel had no idea where the participant had disappeared off to. Languages supported include Japanese, Chinese, English, and German. This is the JAPANESE CAPSULE TOY GACHA zone that was introduced in July 2016. It is a zone with rows of over 100 capsule toy machines on the basement floor of the Terminal 2 building. The capsule toy zone is located next to the escalator connecting the basement to the first floor, so don’t miss it!2. Change Your Leftover Japanese Yen into E-Money! This was a photo spot recommended for visitors to create memories with when leaving Japan. It was a facility where travelers could experience taking a unique commemorative photo while playing together with Hello Kitty. It had been a special booth set up for a limited time until February 14th, 2017 on the third floor departure lobby of Terminal 2. A large Hello Kitty balloon was the landmark.* A similar booth was situated in the fourth floor south wing departure lobby of Terminal 1 as well. English, Chinese, and Japanese-speaking staff were always available so that participants were reassured even when they didn’t know how to operate the game. Once you insert the required amount of money and turn the lever to the right, a cute figure will come out. Your capsule toy will not come out unless you turn the lever until it stops. The amount required for each machine ranges from 100 – 400 yen. Both paper bills and coins can be inserted into the machine, however, please be aware that one yen and five yen coins are not supported. Additionally, dollar or euro bills can also be used so we recommend this facility to Japanese travelers returning from overseas as well. Next, please input your e-mail address. An e-mail will be sent to the inputted address after you have deposited your money, which will provide a link for you to click to carry out the transfer procedure. Finally, participants could take a commemorative photo. There were three possible background images prepared depending on the results of the participant’s ninja arts. It is also possible to change languages while using the facility. You won’t need to completely redo what you have already inputted, making it very convenient to use. Based on the idea that “Hello Kitty, her younger sister Mimmy, and her boyfriend Daniel are pretending to be ninjas,” participants were entrusted with a mission to protect the golden apple that invokes happiness from Daniel. While this photo event may be over, you can still find Hello Kitty and all her friends at Narita Airport through their official shops, and other amazing events that take place seasonally in Narita Airport.Efficiently Use Your Time Before Your DepartureThe wait time before your departure is the perfect opportunity to create final memories of your trip with shopping, food, and fun. If you will be spending some time in Narita Airport, why not enjoy the unique services and entertainment that can only found here?Sponsored by Sony Corporation / Digital Entertainment / Services