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COVID-19 Information

Nagano Prefecture alert level map, from the official Nagano COVID-19 Information Twitter account, January 16. Iida City, Matsumoto City, Komoro City, Saku City, Karuizawa and Miyota have risen to Level 5. The Saku, Ueda, Suwa, Nanshin, Matsumoto, and Northern Alps areas have risen to Level 4, with the rest of the prefecture at 3.

The Nagano Prefecture alert levels are: Level 5 – Special Warning II (purple), Level 4 – Special Warning (red), Level 3 – Warning (orange), Level 2 – Alert (yellow), and Level 1 – Advisory (white).

Nagano Prefecture’s COVID-19 portal has updated with new prefectural priorities for the period of January 8-February 7. Response is focused on the following five areas:

  1. Halting the spread of the third wave of COVID-19
  2. Following Nagano Prefecture’s New Lifestyle Guidelines
  3. Preparing medical and screening systems to trace infection and receive patients
  4. Measuring and supporting financial recovery within the prefecture
  5. Combating harassment and bias against those who contract or are tested for COVID-19

Post-New Year holidays updates:

  • January 18: Iida City has risen to Level 5, to last until January 31 (announcement).
    • Businesses serving alcohol are subject to reduced hours or closures.
    • In addition to weighing closure of prefectural facilities, municipal Iida City facilities may be subject to closures depending on how the situation develops.
  • January 14: Nagano Prefecture has declared a State of Medical Emergency, to last until February 3 (announcement).
    • Residents are encouraged to reduce social contact, avoid travel to areas with high rates of infection, and refrain from spending long periods eating and drinking in large groups. Older adults and those with underlying conditions are encouraged to avoid nonessential outings.
    • Businesses are asked to avoid hosting large events and consider the necessity of hosting events on all scales. In addition, businesses are asked to avoid active recruitment of visitors from areas with higher rates of infection.
    • The declaration outlines prefectural goals including bolstering the number of hospital beds available for treating COVID-19 patients, allocating additional non-hospital quarantine locations for patients with light or no symptoms, and preparing local medical systems to be able to smoothly distribute vaccines.
    • The prefecture aims to reduce all alert levels to Level 3 or lower and below 25 percent occupation of available hospital beds for COVID-19.
  • January 14: The Nanshin area has risen to Level 4 (announcement).
  • January 11: Saku City, Karuizawa and Miyota, within the Saku area, have risen to Level 5 (announcement). Requests to residents and details are identical to those issued for Matsumoto City, below.
  • January 8: Matsumoto City in the Matsumoto area has risen to Level 5, to last until January 21 (announcement).
    • As of January 7, more than 80 percent of available hospital beds for COVID-19 treatment in the in the Matsumoto area had been filled, with eight patients sent to hospitals outside of the region (details).
    • In addition to weighing closure of prefectural facilities, municipal Matsumoto City facilities may be subject to closures depending on how the situation develops.
    • Those at high-risk of contracting serious symptoms are asked to refrain from unnecessary outings.
    • Businesses are encouraged to offer work-from-home options where possible.
    • Residents are asked to consider the necessity of any large events, and avoid eating in large groups for long periods.
    • Senior living centers are a priority for increased testing.
    • No hour-reductions or closures for private businesses are yet outlined.
  • January 7: Komoro City in the Saku area has risen to Level 5, to last until January 21 (announcement).
    • As of January 5, more than 60 percent of available hospital beds for COVID-19 treatment in the Saku area had been filled, with seven patients sent to hospitals outside of the region (details).
    • Businesses serving alcohol in the area have been asked to reduce hours or close depending on their ability to meet social distancing guidelines, and will receive financial support.
    • Those at high-risk for contracting serious symptoms are asked to refrain from unnecessary outings.
  • January 5: The Matsumoto area has risen to Level 4 (announcement).
  • January 3: The Saku area has risen to Level 4 (announcement).
  • In addition to an increase in cases, the Saku and Matsumoto areas have both seen a high number of cases with untraceable routes of infection. Those living in the areas are encouraged to be especially cautious during this period.

In addition, Nagano asks the following of its residents throughout the prefecture:

  • Follow Nagano Prefecture’s New Lifestyle Guidelines
    • Avoid high-risk behaviors (talking while eating with others, etc.)
    • Follow preventative measures in place at businesses
  • Maintain sufficient caution if traveling to areas with high rates of infection
  • If you are concerned about a fever or other possible symptoms, contact your designated health center (See Consultations below)
  • Follow precautions at work
    • Beware of letting your guard down on breaks or when leaving your usual workstation
    • Observe Nagano’s COVID-19 workplace guidelines (regular ventilation, decreased numbers of in-office staff, etc.)
Prefectural case numbers by health center as of January 17.

Total confirmed cases in Nagano Prefecture: 1,989
Discharged patients: 1,502
Active cases: 479

Inpatients (by health center): Hokushin (10), Iida (32), Ina (21), Kiso (0), Matsumoto (141), Omachi (23), Nagano (5), Nagano City (35), Saku (104), Suwa (30), Ueda (58)

  • View the most recent case information here (JP).
  • View all Nagano Prefecture case information here or here (official, JP) and here (unofficial, EN).

Hi all,

As most of you already know, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Nagano Prefecture on February 25, 2020. While the Prefectural Government has been updating its homepage with various resources regarding the novel coronavirus, most of the information is in Japanese, so we have summarized it here, and provided links to other resources as well.

Latest entry and re-entry updates (updated January 14):

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated their entry restrictions and procedures, reflecting a moratorium on most new entries from all countries through the end of January. Please read this page (EN), if you absolutely must travel outside of Japan for details about the conditions for re-entry for current residents. Please note that the current link on that page for the quarantine pledge document is outdated—the new January 14 version, required of all returning residents, rather than only those returning from the UK or South Africa, can be found here (EN) or here (JP).

Re-entry in all cases requires a negative PCR test result from within 72 hours of departure, as well as documentation of quarantine plans for 14 days (via the pledge document available through the links above). If you do not have a negative test result, you will be moved to an approved quarantine facility upon landing (JP, EN). Failure to comply with quarantine rules may result in revocation of visa, so please make sure you and your contracting organization have made plans prior to your departure.

As of January 14, the “business track” plan allowing exemptions from testing and quarantine requirements for returnees from 11 countries has also been suspended (JP).

For additional details about requirements for re-entering Japan as of restriction updates, please see this page on the Immigration Services Agency of Japan site (EN and JP). If you are a current JET considering international travel, we highly encourage you to contact your Block Leader or the PAs in advance.

The Prefectural Government has also officially requested all residents to refrain from non-essential international and domestic travel in addition to refraining from gathering in large groups or those from outside your home. Please see the above section for details.

Topics covered:
(Click the links below to jump to a section)

1. Prevention
 ・Social Distancing and Masks
2. Misinformation and Disinformation
 ・Stigma/Discrimination
3. Consultations
4. Quarantine/Self-isolation Guidelines
5. Resources and Support
6. FAQ and Further Reading

We will continue to update this page as new information is released.

– The PA Team

Last updated on January 18, 2021

Continue reading “COVID-19 Information”

Short-Term ALT Position Opening in the Iida Area

A. Position Details:

  1. Job Type: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
  2. Available Number of Positions: One
  3. Workplace: Nanshin area (Iida)
    • Base school: A prefectural senior high school in the Iida area
    • Regular visit school: Prefectural senior high schools in the area
    • Irregular visit school: Prefectural special needs schools in the area
    • Note: Base school: 3-4 days a week; Regular visit school:1-2 day(s) a week; Irregular visit school: A few times a month.
  4. Period of Contract: The duration of the appointment shall be from April 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021.
    ※ This round of recruitment is for short-term employment as a substitute ALT until the end of the predecessor’s term.
    ※ Another round of recruitment for this position will open in May for this position, for appointment lasting from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022. It will be necessary for the substitute ALT to resubmit application documents to be to work in this position after July 31, 2021.
  5. Work Terms and Conditions:
    • Remuneration: 280,000 yen/month (3,360,000 yen/year)
    • Compensation for income tax and inhabitants’ tax is not paid.
    • Commuting expenses are provided.
    • Housing allowance is not provided.
    • Working Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
    • Break Time: 12:15 p.m. to 1: 00 p.m. *Subject to change according to the schools’ daily schedule
    • Holidays: Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, New Year’s holidays
    • Insurance provided: Health insurance, employee’s pension insurance, employment insurance, workers’ accident compensation insurance.
    • As for other work terms and conditions, the Terms and Conditions for JET Prefectural ALTs shall be applied. However, the JET Programme Accident Insurance will not be available.

B. Eligibility

Continue reading “Short-Term ALT Position Opening in the Iida Area”

Christmas Countdown! In Review (International Christmas Carols 2020)

— A POST ON BEHALF OF THE NAGANO CIRS —

Two weeks prior to December 25, the Nagano CIRs began posting Christmas traditions submitted by Nagano JETs and other foreign residents to the Nagano CIR Instagram, showing off global holiday celebrations.

To wrap up our new online holiday project, we uploaded a multilingual caroling video on Christmas Eve. This event took the place of our usual International Christmas Carols event.

Continue reading “Christmas Countdown! In Review (International Christmas Carols 2020)”

A NagaYes Review: Holidays in Hokushin

Twas the night before the 20th of December, when all through the prefecture, JETs and friends alike joined together under cozy kotatsu and blankets to celebrate the holiday season together!

Our thumbnails were stacked in the Google Meet with care, as we all hoped that our WiFi would keep our video connection there.

I will end the rhyming here, before the fact that I will never win the Nobel Prize for Poet Laureate becomes all too clear.

After several people joined the call, many of the participants dressed in festive sweaters or full-on Santa garb, Annie and Lexi started the first activity of the event: an Ornament Fashion Show!

We wanted each participant to harness their creative spirit, and use it to craft some imaginative holiday decorations they could make to brighten up their home.

We gave everyone 30 minutes to find any materials they could that were lying around their living space, then to use them to craft a unique holiday ornament. We really wanted to bring the holiday spirit into this activity, so we asked that each contestant present their ornaments along with a compelling story—how does this ornament encompass the spirit of the holidays? What does it mean to you? Does it have a tragic backstory?, etc.

It was too difficult to choose a single winner out of the several gorgeous designs that everyone constructed, so we decided upon 3 winners who excelled in different categories:

Ian Sacks and his Festive Godzilla, complete with omiyage from his former town

Continue reading “A NagaYes Review: Holidays in Hokushin”

HokaHoka Hokushin West: A Guide to a Cozy and Safe Winter

Winter is Coming and the North (of Nagano) remembers that there are many things to pass the snowy days in comfort!

Before we share some tips to help your winter be as hokahoka (cozy and warm) as possible, we want to highlight a few recommendations on how to stay healthy and happy this season.

検温のイラスト(女性)
COVID Tip: Check your temperature every morning

At this point, we’ve all been practicing preventative measures against COVID-19 for what feels like a decade. As we face a third wave and stricter restrictions, some of us may be feeling discouraged. 

However, this is the time to be most vigilant about our physical and mental health to ensure that we have a safe and enjoyable winter. We here in Hokushin West want to share some resources and pieces of advice as we head into the snowy season.

Continue reading “HokaHoka Hokushin West: A Guide to a Cozy and Safe Winter”

Holidays in Hokushin: Hokushin West NagaYes

Happy Holidays, Naganites!

Come spend a cozy evening in Hokushin West (virtually) and enjoy creative activities and heartwarming holiday goodness with your friends from all over the prefecture.

What: Hokushin West NagaYes

When: Saturday December 19, 2020

6:00~8:00 PM

Where: Online (Google Hangouts)

Facebook Event Page: https://fb.me/e/1TRSbZ4M1

Holiday Ornament Fashion Show

Use whatever you can find around your house, design a fabulous ornament, and “make it work!”
Continue reading “Holidays in Hokushin: Hokushin West NagaYes”

FALL-ing In Love With Nanshin

It’s that time of the year again. Sweater weather is back! The temperature has started to drop, you are brushing off the dust from your kotatsu, and the leaves are finally changing to the burnt orange colors that we all love. We love a good fall season and all the activities that follow. But fall hits a little bit different this year. As the leaves begin to change, we have to change along with them. Summer was an unusual season and left many of us starved for some human interaction as well as the time we used to get out and enjoy all the good things during that time of year.  While this fall is definitely different from previous years, there are still many fun and enjoyable fall activities that you can do while social distancing and following other safety measures.

Here are some fun ways to spend some socially distanced time with your friends this fall!

  • Apple Picking!

Arakuma approved! Head outside and enjoy the cool weather to pick some sweet Nagano apples! This is the time of year for the yummy fruit. There are many orchards around the prefecture to choose from. Pick all the apples that your heart desires and whatever you need for those apple recipes on your mind. This is also a great chance to be out and social with your friends while maintaining social distance with one another. Keep in mind that you may have to make reservations before your visit depending on the orchard. Located in Nanshin, Matsukawa Town is a fantastic place with a plethora of apple orchards to choose from. One place to check out is Apple Forest (りんごの森). The website is in Japanese, but easy to navigate along with prices.

Continue reading “FALL-ing In Love With Nanshin”

Join us! Nagano Christmas Countdown 2020

In the past, Nagano CIRs have organized an International Christmas Carol event each year in front of Nagano Station, inviting ALTs from across the prefecture to carol in multiple languages and host activities for children in a day of seasonal cultural exchange. (See last year’s caroling event here!)

This year, COVID-19 has left us unable to host the caroling event in person. However, we are still hosting a winter holiday-themed cultural event, and you are invited to join! Share your stories about winter-holiday traditions in your home countries or families, and warm up your singing voices to take part in a multilingual Christmas carol “relay” video!

Continue reading “Join us! Nagano Christmas Countdown 2020”

A NagaYes Review: The Premium Nanshin Halloween Feeling

On the evening of Saturday, October 24th, some interesting characters gathered over Zoom in order to compete in a Nanshin-themed picture quiz extravaganza. Mario (Ian Sacks), a Canadian university student (Vikki Nguyen), a T-Rex (Jack Holland), Route 1 from Pokémon (Sarah Allweiss-Rosenbaum), Prismatic Jesus/Ancient eGirl (Shaun Adams), Lord Dinosaur (Zach Nicholson), and Giyuu (Paul Chavez) joined the hosts Shinobu (Jasmine Lucero) and Rui (Sharon Cook) for a night of fun.

After some quick self-introductions with explanations of their costumes, contestants were told the theme for their next costumes—their favourite TV show character. That’s right, they were going to be tasked with creating yet another costume using only whatever they could find in their homes. This was to come later, though, as they first had to compete in finding differences in various pictures of places and people in Nanshin Block. Some differences were easy to find while others were downright impossible. Contestants buzzed in using their chosen buzzwords and earned points based on the difficulty of the difference they found. During this time, everyone got a good look at each others’ foreheads as they leaned in to search the pictures shared on their screens.

Continue reading “A NagaYes Review: The Premium Nanshin Halloween Feeling”

A Tale of Two Sakus

Did you know? One of the cities in Nagano shares a special bond with one of the cities in Estonia. What city is that, you may ask? Why it’s Saku-shi, Nagano, which shares that special bond with Saku, Estonia. Both entered an agreement of friendship in 2007 but have maintained warm relations since long before then, with many people visiting between both Sakus. Here are few facts that both beloved cities share!

Continue reading “A Tale of Two Sakus”

[Closed]Now Accepting Applicants! The Prefectural Board of Education is Seeking ALTs!

  1. Job Type: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
  2. Number of Positions Available: To be determined
  3. Workplace:
    • Base school: A Prefectural Senior High School in Hokushin or Toshin area
    • Regular visit school(s): Prefectural Senior High schools in the neighboring area
    • Irregular visit school(s): Prefectural special needs schools in the neighboring area
    • Note: Base school: 3-4 days a week; Regular visit school: 1-2 day(s) a week; Irregular visit school: A few times a month.
  4. Period of Contract:
    The duration of the appointment shall be from the end of November 2020 to March 31, 2021.

    ※ The Nagano Prefectural BoE will employ and place new Direct-Hire ALTs until new JET ALTs can be assigned. We will notify new DH ALTs one month before the JET ALTs contract are to start.

    ※ This round of recruitment is for short-term employment as a temporary ALT for new JET ALTs who cannot enter Japan due to entry restrictions.
  5. Work Terms and Conditions:
    Remuneration: 280,000 yen/month (3,360,000 yen/year)
    As for other work terms and conditions, the Terms and Conditions for JET Prefectural ALTs shall be applied with some exceptions.
    Exceptions:
    1. Compensation for income tax and inhabitants’ tax is not paid.
    2. Housing allowance is not provided.
    3. JET Programme Accident Insurance will not be available.
Continue reading “[Closed]Now Accepting Applicants! The Prefectural Board of Education is Seeking ALTs!”