Imabari City International
Exchange Association




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彼らの今後の活躍を祈って、So long, but not good-bye!







Ohanami and Friends
I think April is the best month to travel in Japan. It's not too cold, not too hot and this is the cherry blossoms season! I really like Sakura and I love Ohanami even more because you can drink alcohol with friends during afternoon time. If you don't like alcohol, this is also a good occasion to do BBQ and picnics.


Two weeks ago, I've been to Hiroshima to meet my Canadian friend Minh. His mother is Vietnamese and he speaks 4 languages. This is pretty amazing. His mom came with him to Japan. From Hiroshima, we took the tramway and we bought a « 1 day pass ticket with ferry » because we also wanted to go to Miyajima. Before boarding the ferry, we met my Japanese friend Mari and her mother. They were waiting for us because we made a mistake. We thought it takes 15 minutes by tramway to get there but it was 50 minutes so we came late.

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We didn't see many tourists, probably because it was the middle of the week. Miyajima seems to be a quiet and very calm place. We took a long walk and the view was superb. Along the way, there were many sakura trees. After that, we visited a small temple on the hill. I took many pictures of mini buddha and raccoon statues and of course deers. A baby deer were following me and he tried to eat my camera. We were lucky because during the visit, the tide was low so we were able to touch the famous orange gate. When you are getting close, you realize how big it is. It's HUGE! Maybe it's tall like a 5 floors building.

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Two days later, I visited Arashiyama in Kyoto with Minh and his mother. I saw many interesting things. If you climb the hill, you can go to an area with Japanese monkeys. You have to be careful because the monkeys can roam freely. You should not touch the monkeys and you should not show them food because they can attack you. The baby monkeys are so cute when they play together. Later that day, we also passed through the bamboo forest. In my touristic guidebook, they recommend you to try the rickshaw, but we prefered to walk. Also, we were three persons, so all of us cannot climb in at the same time. We also saw many temples and a world heritage zen garden. The season is perfect with all the blooming sakura. I wish I could freeze the time and live during this moment forever.

Fundraising event in Imabari

Because of the recent events in Japan, everybody is worried about the situation. But Japan is not walking alone, the International communities are organizing many fundraising events to collect money and send it to Japan Red Cross. In Montreal, my friends organized a “bake for sale” day. Many people cooked a lot of food and they were selling it. They were able to collect over 14 thousands dollars in 2 weekends. The Taiko group in Montreal “Arashi Daiko” will make a concert next week. The group is made up of Japaneses, Japanese-Canadians and Canadians and they are around 20 members. Every year, they participate at “O-hanami picnic”, “Longueuil’s drum festival” and “Matsuri Japon".

Recently, I personally went to 2 different events in Imabari. The first one consisted of street performers. 3 guys were playing with fire. 1 guy was holding a long stick and both tips were in fire and 2 other guys were manipulating 2 special instruments in fire and they were making circle in the air. It was night so the result was spectacular. The next participants were break dancing. I forgot the name of the group because it was very long like “Super extra duper rolling dancer” or something like that. We also watched a magician show and we listened a rap singer.


by Nicolas

I love Oshogatsu!

When I was dreaming about living in Japan, I never imagined that will be in Imabari. What I wanted to do the most was to live in a small town where I can learn and practice Japanese and to make some friends. I arrived before the New Year festivities. My friend from Imabari who study in Montreal helped me and I was able to stay with her family during almost one week. Their house was bigger than I expected and very authentic. I ate very delicious meals every day. In Canada, when children are 18 years old, married or not, they have to leave the parent’s house. This family still lives with their daughter and this is something I miss because I am not living in the same town than my family in Canada. Also, I feel like this family respected me and accepted me like I am.

First thing I ate when I arrived in Imabari was Nabeyaki Udon. Food seems very important in Japanese culture. So, the same day when all the family was reunited, we went to Izakaya. We tried many plates to see what I was able to eat. They were surprised by the fact I liked almost everything. These kinds of restaurants are very rare in Canada. Usually, you order one plate and this is a huge portion. But In Japan, quality is more important than quantity and you share also this food with everybody. Another thing Japanese people share is bath time. Even if winter is very cold where I came from, we take rarely a bath. We prefer shower because it’s faster.

Before the New Year, we ate soba noodles. They said this is good for my lifespan. We also watched the famous TV show where 2 teams tried their best to win. Enka songs are very interesting, isn’t it! Too bad, the red team didn’t win. After that, we went at the temple on top of a hill. Usually, for Christians, we go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, December 25th. But here, they ring a bell 108 times and pray at the temple. I received a lucky charm and I really hope that will bring me luck for the rest of my trip in Japan.

For 3 days, we ate osechi. Did I say food is important in Japanese culture? This is marvelous. I loved everything even if I don’t know exactly what I ate. I heard some people here don’t like natto or osechi? Does it mean I am more Japanese than those persons? I don’t think so. I guess I just enjoy eating food too much. By the way, I have important message to people who has a wife or a mother who cooks for the family. You should thank her for all the effort. It must be difficult to cook every day and doing all the other tasks. What I prefer the most since I am in Japan is having a discussion with friends around a good meal and to relax.

Next time I will write about firewalking at Senyuji temple and more about the difference between Canada and Japan.

À bientôt
Nicolas Marion