The Awara International Karuta Tournament


The Olympic and Paralympic Memorial Awara International Karuta Tournament was held on June 6th in Awara, Fukui, Japan. It was held without spectators because of the coronavirus, and only seven players who live in Japan came for the event. (A lot of karuta players from around the world were supposed to play.) They were from Pakistan, Sweden, Brazil, and some other countries, and they were all in their teens or 20s. read more

Katsuki Books: A bookstore that represents Fukui

Katsuki Books in Fukui

This is the main branch of Katsuki Books.


The main branch of Katsuki Books, which was located near Fukui Station, went out of business on August 30th, 2020. It had opened in 1959, so it had been doing business for about 60 years.

Katsuki Books is special to people in Fukui because it represents the prefecture. In Chihayafuru, a well-known Japanese manga about competitive karuta, Arata Wataya, who’s the heroine’s friend and is from Fukui, works part time at a bookstore called Katsugi Books in Awara, Fukui. I think the Katsugi Books in Chihayafuru is an homage to Katsuki Books in Fukui. (What is Chihayafuru? and what is karuta?) read more

I took stylish Japanese trams in Fukui.

Japanese trams in Fukui


Fukui Railway connects Fukui with Echizen. The interesting thing about this railway is that it has trams, which run in the center of the city of Fukui.

In Japan, there are trams in about 15 prefectures. Since there aren’t many, you’re lucky if you can see them. They run on railways on the road, so you can see trams and other cars at the same time. The scenery of trams running alongside other cars on the road is elegant and fun. read more

I watched Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests in Fukui Prefecture,Japan.


Theo Jansen is a world-renowned Dutch artist who is often called a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci.

He’s particularly famous for his Strandbeests, walking artworks that combine science and art. Strandbeests means “beach animals” in Dutch. The animals are made of plastic tubes, and they have numerous legs that are powered by air. If you see their interesting ways of moving just once, you’ll never forget the sight.  read more

An exhibition of original illustrations from Chihayafuru was held in Awara.


Chihayafuru is a well-known Japanese manga for young people written and illustrated by Suetsugu Yuki. The story is about Ayase Chihaya, the heroine, and her friends, who bet their youth on competitive karuta. Among her friends, there’s a boy named Wataya Arata who’s very good at competitive karuta. Chihaya calls him the god of karuta. (I wrote about the history of karuta and competitive karuta(I watched the competitive karuta tournament (The 51st National Women’s Competitive Karuta Tournament) in Awara, Fukui prefecture.) in previous posts.) read more

The 51st National Women’s Competitive Karuta Tournament in Awara, Fukui prefecture.


My sleeves are like rocks

far out into the sea.

Even at low tide

they cannot be seen

by anyone,

nor will they ever dry.

(Lady Sanuki)

(Translated by McMillan Peter.)

This poem is one of the poems in the Hyakunin Isshu, and it was composed over 800 years ago by a lady. She compares her sleeves to rocks under the sea. She’s tormented by romantic feelings, and her sleeves are wet with tears. read more

I went to Hello, One Piece Exhibition in Fukui,Japan!


Today I went to Bell, a shopping center in Fukui City, to see an exhibition of One Piece called Hello, One Piece. The exhibition was also held abroad in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and China.

One Piece is a Japanese manga series, and it’s about the adventures of the boy Luffy and his friends in Luffy’s quest to become the next Pirate King. read more

Fukui Cinema: Fukui’s first theater

Fukui Cinema
↑↑ This is Fukui Cinema.

Today I went to Fukui Cinema, a movie theater in Fukui City, Fukui prefecture, Japan. I’d heard that Fukui Cinema was going to close on September 10th, so I went there one last time.

The first Fukui Cinema was a theater built in 1919 as Fukui’s first movie theater. Fukui Cinema has a roughly 100-year history. There are big theaters in shopping malls, and you can watch movies online, so the number of people coming to Fukui Cinema has been decreasing. read more