2016 Olympics in Fukuoka?!

Posted on January 22, 2006 | evankirby

Fukuoka World Swimming Championships
The locals have been abuzz recently with the news that Fukuoka is aiming to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. (Sapporo is also in the running, but one might politely suggest that the Winter Games are more up their avenue...) Fukuoka's bid is seen as kind of a long shot too, given that the best we've done so far is the 1995 University Games, or maybe the 2001 FINA Swimming World Championships. For those of you who read Japanese, the Mayor's special address on the matter might provide some interesting practice material. Part of the Mayor's plan is to use the newly finished man-made Island City in Hakata Bay for part of the events and housing the participants. However, most likely the bid is just a way to increase Fukuoka's international profile and attract new infrastructure projects to the city. Too cynical, you say? We'll see...

Coming-of-Age Day

Posted on January 08, 2006 | evankirby

Coming of Age Day

Today (the second Monday in January) is “Seijin-no-hi”, when 20-year-olds gather for a special ceremony to celebrate reaching adulthood, and dress in their best furisode (for the girls) or hakama (for the boys, although many men wear suits these days). As you can see from the picture above, modern kimonos have changed a lot. The giant fur collars are an especially modern touch, useful on cold winter days... A lot of women rent kimonos rather than buying them, as the most colorful ones are the most prized, whereas the kimonos that are passed down from generation to generation are usually a lot more subdued. Tonight is a big party night as well, as 20 is also the age to drink legally, so expect to see large crowds of very wasted people in the center of Tenjin tonight...