Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Urasa station

This is the east exit of Urasa station. Urasa station is a train station located in Minami Uonuma-shi. It has shinkansen line (Joetsu shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Niigata city). One trip shinkansen trip from Urasa to Tokyo will cost you about 7,500 yen (= USD 70, based on the exchange rate USD 1 = 106 yen). Click here for a complete list of timetable and fare types. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Tokyo by shinkansen.

There is a cheaper alternative to commute to Tokyo from this station (local train or express highway bus).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Statue of Tanaka Kakuei

This bronze statue of Kakuei Tanaka stands in front of East Exit of Urasa station. He was known as "Shadow Shogun". He was a Japanese politician and the 64th and 65th Prime Minister of Japan. He was also the most influential member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party until the mid-1980s, when he fell from power after a long series of scandals.

(source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heart-shaped Flowers

Does anyone know the name of this flower? Let me know, so that I can search from Internet and tell a story about the flower.

You can consider this as a valentine gift for your lover. What a romantic gift! Simple and sweet!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Japanese Elm

Ulmus davidiana var. japonica Rehder, the Japanese Elm, is one of the larger and more graceful Asiatic elms, endemic to much of continental north-east Asia and Japan.

The tree commonly grows to over 30 m tall, with a broad, rounded crown comprising pendent branches, although Augustine Henry described one tree at Iwamigawa, Hokkaido, railway station as being 34 m tall, with an untypically clean stem to a height of approximately 15 m.

(source: Wikipedia)

Friday, September 26, 2008


JUSCO (ジャスコ, Jyasuko?) is the acronym for Japan United Stores Company, a chain of "General Merchandise Stores" (or hypermarket) and the largest of its type in Japan. The various JUSCO companies are subsidiaries of ÆON Co., Ltd..

Visit their website to find out more: http://www.aeonretail.jp/jusco/index.html

Location: JUSCO store in Muikamachi (20 mins drive from Urasa station)

(source: Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Student Dormitories at IUJ

There are three single-student Dormitories and one Married Student Apartments (MSA) in International University of Japan (IUJ). All the dormitory rooms are well-equipped and offer LAN connectivity. Each room is equipped with an attached bathroom with bathtub, beddings, desk, wardrobe, window blind. Some dormitories are equipped with both aircon and heater. The monthly dormitory fee (as of 2008) is ¥32,000 for the single rooms and ¥50,000 for the MSA.

Pictured above is SD2. This will be my home for the next two years. Facilities include student lounge with TV, billiard room, shared kitchen, Japanese public bath, study room and computer room. Japanese public bath is only available in this dormitory. There is no aircon in this dorm room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Koshihikari (コシヒカリ, 越光) is a most popular variety of rice cultivated in Japan.

Koshihikari was first created in 1956, by combining 2 different strains of Nourin No.1 and Nourin No.22 at the Fukui Prefectural Agricultural Research Facility. It has become very popular now in Japan, in part due to its good appearance. It is one of the most highly-grown varieties of rice in the country, and its taste is said to differ per region. Some people think very highly of the Koshihikari harvested in Uonuma area of Niigata Prefecture and so traded at the most expensive price in all of Japan. The character for koshi (越) is used to represent old Koshi Province, which stretched from present-day Fukui to Yamagata. Koshihikari can be translated as "the light of Koshi ".

(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This is the 1oo-yen shop located in Muikamachi (20 mins drive from Urasa). Daisō or The Daisō (ザ・ダイソー, Daisō or The Daisō?) is the largest franchise of 100-yen shops in Japan. Its parent company is Daiso Industry Corp. (株式会社大創産業, kabushika gaisha daisō sangyō?). Daiso has a range of over 90,000 goods, of which over 40 percent are imported goods, many of them from China. Many of these are own-brand goods.

Daiso sets itself apart from other 100 yen shops by choosing not to sell closeout or factory second merchandise. Instead ,they keep prices low by purchasing directly from manufacturers in very high volume, a strategy often compared to Wal-mart.

In 2004, Daiso also started selling items priced at multiples of 100 yen, such as 200, 300, 400 or 500 yen. Examples of such items would be children's clothing or large toys.

Visit Daiso website here: http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/index.html

(source: Wikipedia)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Japanese License Plate

(Please note that, to avoid any claims of invasion of privacy, I have deliberately modified the leading hiragana character the four-digit number. This would represent a forged plate in Japan! )

The illustration shows what a Japanese License plate might look like. The top line contains the name of the issuing office (長岡 Nagaoka, as shown in the above photo) and a vehicle class code. The bottom line contains a hiragana character and a four-digit serial number divided into two groups of two digits separated by a hyphen. Any leading zeros are replaced by centered dots.

A license plate in Japan thus follows this format: KK?*H##-## (e.g., 足立500き21-41), where KK is the name of the issuing office in kanji, H is a hiragana, ? is a 5 for vehicles less than 2000 cc and a 3 for vehicles greater than 2000 cc (other numbers are less common—1 for large trucks, 2 for buses, etc. [1]), * is a number from 0 to 99 (pre-1971 license plates will omit this), and # is a number from 0* to 9 (*leading zeros are replaced by centered dots).

(source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Matsushita Library and Information Center (MLIC)

With extensive database subscriptions, Matsushita Library and Information Center (MLIC) offers free and easy access to thousands of current journals and newspapers, as well as to principal world economic statistics and data.

MLIC also subscribes to leading financial data and market research services, which enable students to access real time information on business and market movements.
Various library services are available online, such include OPAC, book reservations, book purchase requests, and Inter-Library Loan requests.

The library is open from 8:30 to 24:00. There are about 80 study carrels in the library. And many of them are with wireless LAN facilities and network outlets on the study carrels are equipped for the use of personal laptop computers.

This advanced, user-oriented information center is maintained, developed and continually being upgraded by full-time experienced library and computing staff.

(source: IUJ website)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

IUJ Tennis Court

On the right, you can see four tennis courts. Behind the tennis courts lies Mt Hakkai (1,778m), Mt Nakanotake (2,083m), and Mt Komagatake (2,003m).

Location: IUJ Tennis Courts

Friday, September 19, 2008

International University of Japan

The International University of Japan (国際大学, Kokusai Daigaku or IUJ) is a private university located in Minami Uonuma city in Niigata Prefecture, Japan.

IUJ is the first, and one of the few Japanese universities which run their courses entirely in English. It was founded in 1982, primarily with the aim of providing a platform for delegates from all over the world to come together and work towards the betterment of the world. IUJ offers Master's degrees in international development, international peace studies and international relations, as well as MBA programs in business administration and e-business. IUJ is fully approved and accredited by the Ministry of Education, Japan.

The IUJ campus has an extremely diverse student body, with students from all over the world. In the 2007/2008 Academic year there were students from 47 different countries. The diversity can be illustrated by the fact that IUJ holds the Guinness World Record for the most nationalities in a Sauna (50). IUJ provides a balanced education through the discovery of Japanese and other world cultures. There are many chances to improve skills in communication, leadership, spirit for volunteering, judgment and decision-making in internationally diversified groups. To celebrate its international characteristics, IUJ hosts an international night called "Open Day" during the Fall term and an "ASEAN Night" during the spring term, during which students from the various countries showcase their respective cultures and cuisine to the local community.

IUJ is located near ski resorts in Niigata prefecture. Its location far from major cities such as Tokyo has affected its pursuit of academic excellence in the business field.

Location: IUJ Main Entrance Gate

(source: Wikipedia)