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COVID-19 Information

Image from the Nagano Prefecture website recommends against unnecessary round-trip travel to Aomori, Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa, as well as particular caution regarding travel to the following prefectures and cities: Hokkaido, Miyagi, Fukushima, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Hyogo and Kumamoto.

The Nagano Prefecture Crisis Management Department has lowered the COVID-19 Infection Warning Level for all regions across Nagano Prefecture to Level 1—Practice Usual Precautions. However, residents are still advised to remain vigilant and act in accordance with the prefectural guidelines.

In the event of round-trip travel outside of the prefecture, Nagano Prefecture urges:

  • Obeying the safety measures in place at each business, and avoiding potential cluster locations such as packed restaurants and bars
  • Observing basic precautions (below)
  • Continuing to monitor health upon return
Graphic from the Prefectural Government’s homepage as of October 27. Please see the translation below.

There are currently no active advisories, warnings, or emergency warnings issued for Nagano Prefecture. However, please continue to observe the following basic COVID-19 precautions:

  • Practice the three keys to preventing infection (maintain appropriate distance between yourself and others; wear a mask in crowded areas; wash your hands)
  • Avoid the three “C”s: Closed, confined spaces; crowded spaces; close contact with others
  • Perform daily health self-assessments
    • If you have cold-like symptoms, avoid going out.
    • If you have sustained cold-like symptoms or exhibit severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or fever, please contact your primary doctor or designated health center. (See Consultations below).

Confirmed cases in Nagano Prefecture: 334
Discharged patients: 324

Areas with inpatients (by health center): Nagano City (4), Saku (3), Suwa (2)

  • 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.

Please note that as of March 27, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prefectural Government have officially requested all residents to avoid non-essential international travel. Entry bans and restrictions have also been established. Travel between prefectures is also not advised.

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

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

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

– The PA Team

Last updated on October 27, 2020

Continue reading “COVID-19 Information”

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.

With his quick eyes and quick T-Rex fingers, Jack was able to rack up the points and win with a total of 270 points! Sarah came in second with a total of 235 points. And Shaun scored third place with 215 points. Apologies to Ian’s eyes, which had just been checked at the optometrist that very day. We’re sure the strain they endured from this contest will prompt another visit much sooner than was originally planned.

With the picture quiz finished—which gave contestants plenty of time to think and plan—we moved on to the next contest: the (budget) costume hunt. Everyone was given just over 10 minutes to assemble things from inside their home, create their new costume, and come back to their screens to reveal their genius. Links were shared to get a reference for their characters or others showed pictures on their phones.

  • There was no need to toss a coin to Zack’s interpretation of The Witcher character Geralt of Rivia as he used quite a few 1-yen coins for his shirt. The towel as his white hair was also a nice touch.
  • Ian made great use of Zoom’s digital backgrounds to transform into Clark Kent who was ready to change into Superman at any moment’s notice.
  • Jack incorporated Pokémon into his costume by dressing as a Pikachu dressed as Eevee. But in a shocking twist, it was revealed that he was actually a Mimikyu the entire time! Pokéception, quelle surprise!
  • Paul raided Jasmine’s apartment and managed to come up with a costume of Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarepants. He even read off a quote in Patrick’s voice that was a little too accurate.
  • Sarah opted to instead create a costume for one of her (many) Pokémon plushies, transforming her Chansey into a convincing Maxwell Q Klinger of M*A*S*H.
  • Vikki truly channeled her inner “budget cosplay” and used a plastic book holder as a pauldron, drew a scar on her face with an eyebrow pencil, and taped a paper shield to her back to mimic her favourite Dragon Prince character, General Amaya.
  • And the costume contest winner by vote was Shaun, who used his fake plant from Nitori as background, a permanent marker on his face for wrinkles, Santa’s beard as a wig, and a slipper as a handbag to recreate a portrait of Sofia Petrillo from Golden Girls.

We wanted to extend another big thank you to all of you who came out! We had a lot of fun and really enjoyed your creative costumes. In a way, being forced to have this event online worked out in our favour. NagaYes is meant to be an opportunity to showcase your Block in fun ways. When we have these events in person, we are forced to choose one location in our Block to showcase for the day. In this event, however, we were able the showcase many beautiful areas of Nanshin all at once. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and that others can take inspiration from this for future events as well. Take care, everyone!

Couldn’t make it? Try finding the differences for yourself while enjoying the scenery of Nanshin from your own home (or office desk).

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”

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 “Now Accepting Applicants! The Prefectural Board of Education is Seeking ALTs!”

NagaYes – Quiz! THE Nanshin Feeling: Premium Halloween Special

Join us for a Premium Halloween NagaYes event from the comfort of your own home (over Zoom), free of charge!

Presenting Nanshin’s version of the Japanese quiz show クイズ THE 違和感**. Come dressed in your best (Halloween costume) and compete in teams to discover the differences in pictures of Nanshin’s beautiful places and people. The more difficult the difference, the more points your team will receive! Winners will be mailed a special prize of Nanshin.

Here is an example of a picture from the actual show with 6 differences that must be found.

But wait, there’s more!!! After the quizzing, be prepared to go on a hunt of your home in order to gather materials to create another, even better, Halloween costume! You will have to wait for the day of the event to find out what you will be tasked with creating a costume of. But let it be known: store-bought or previously made cosplays/costumes will not be permitted. Take your inspiration from “Budget Cosplay” for this activity. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your Halloween and social cravings, we will also be playing Jackbox’s “Trivia Murder Party” game if time permits.

Image may contain: 1 person
This is an example of “Budget Cosplay”. You can make a costume out of anything!

Please join the event page here if interested: https://www.facebook.com/events/2710536215852318

((Note: Dress code is a Halloween costume but don’t break the bank or stress over it. We’ll honestly accept anything as a costume.))


**Don’t know the show? Check out an episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YquMlmYDJc8

5 Great Hikes in Hokushin East

It’s finally September, which means it’s time to break out those hiking boots! Whether you’re a beginner hiker or looking for something more advanced, Hokushin East has something for everyone. In this post, Pat and I will be highlighting five great hikes for various skill levels; all the pictures included are from us! Find the one that’s right for you and get out there!

1. Mt. Madarao (斑尾山) ー Easy / day trip / ~4 hrs 30 min round trip

Located on the borders of Shinano and Iiyama, this mountain has many much-loved ski runs and ski lifts on its slopes. Outside of ski season though, you’ll have to rely on your legs to get you to the top. Highlights include spectacular views of Lake Nojiri, a wonderful lunch at the beautiful Nojiriko Terrace, and the possibility of an onsen visit at the Tangram Ski Resort once you’re done! 

Continue reading “5 Great Hikes in Hokushin East”

CIR-PA Farewell (Megan)

Hello everyone!

I am writing this post to let you all know that my time as CIR-PA (a Coordinator for International Relations and Prefectural Advisor) will officially come to a close this Sunday, September 13. It has been a challenging, but rewarding 2 years, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my fellow CIRs, Seokyoung and Li, and my PA partner, Vikki.

Continue reading “CIR-PA Farewell (Megan)”

[Deadline Extended to Oct.20] Japan Census (Oct. 2020)

The 2020 Census is coming soon!

Update: The deadline has been extended to Oct. 20.

The census is the most important statistical survey and is held once every 5 years. Census results are used for measures such as city planning to make life easier for foreign residents. Everyone that has lived or plans to live in Japan for more than 3 months, regardless of nationality, is counted. Everyone that is covered is legally obliged to respond, so please be sure to do so. Your voice matters!

Your responses will only be used to create statistics and will not be used in any way for immigration control, police investigations, or other such purposes.

Continue reading “[Deadline Extended to Oct.20] Japan Census (Oct. 2020)”

[Closed] Nagano Prefectural Board of Education Seeking Applicants for Temporary ALT Positions

The Nagano Prefectural Board of Education is currently seeking experienced Assistant Language (English) Teachers for local high schools.

A. Position Details:

  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, Toshin, or Nanshin 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 October 2020 to an unspecified date.

    ※ 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] Nagano Prefectural Board of Education Seeking Applicants for Temporary ALT Positions”

PoC in Nagano Series: Anna Reyes

My name is Anna and I was born in the Philippines. When I was seven years old, my parents made the choice to move to the United States. After temporarily moving in with my grandparents, my parents finally bought a house in New Jersey, and that was where I spent the majority of my life. Because I had a lot of relatives in the U.S., my mom and dad always spoke Tagalog at home and at family gatherings. As a result, I was able to retain my ability to read, listen, and speak fluently in the language. For the most part, however, I was raised mostly American.

A childhood photo from the U.S.

Growing up in a neighborhood that was predominantly white, I struggled with being different. I remember my earliest school years in the U.S. where my classmates often called out my strange accent and mispronunciation of words. For example, I found out that Britain was pronounced “Bri-ton” not “Bri-tayn” after answering a question out loud in History class. From my accent to the Filipino food I ate, I knew from a young age that I wasn’t considered normal in this new country.

Continue reading “PoC in Nagano Series: Anna Reyes”