Annual Summer Events Revived

On May 17, the Matsuyama Central Shopping District Association announced that it decided to hold the summer night market on Saturdays called doyō-yoichi, four times this year from July 2 to 23. Due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, it has not been held over the past two years. Before COVID, Saturday night markets were held seven times each year from June to August. They expect 30,000 to 40,000 people per day. As infection control measures, nine guidelines have been set, such as encouraging cashless payment as much as possible. On May 18, the Matsuyama Port Festival Promotion Association decided to hold the 70th Mitsuhama Fireworks Festival on August 6. It will also be the first time in three years. The venue will be limited to only paid reserved seats so that the audience will not be crowded, although in the past there was a space where people could enter for free. About 7000 chairs will be placed at intervals, and details, such as admission price, will be posted on their website at a later date. To commemorate the 70th anniversary, they plan to set off 12,000 fireworks, an increase of 2000.

For further information: http://www.mitsuhama.net/hanabi   (May 18, 20, Ehime Shimbun)

eSports Spreading among Senior Citizens

“eSports” are sports where people compete using their computer game skills. Although there is a strong image of being competitions for the young generation, there is an initiative to promote them to the elderly in Ehime. It is expected to be effective in living a fulfilling life and preventing dementia. In late April, 10 members of the City Silver Human Resources Center tried the competitive game called “Grand Sumo Tournament” at the Matsuyama Community Center. It is part of the Silver eSports Tournament held all over Japan by a company “SENKEN”, based in Tokyo, which develops and sells game apps. Participants had smartphones and hit the buttons repeatedly to slap the opponent’s face, or move their character with cross buttons. They looked serious during a bout, but once the winner was decided, both competitors smiled. The company explains that people can play regardless of generation or physical condition while interacting with friends and family. Ehime prefecture is promoting eSports towards the National Health and Welfare Festival, which will be held in the prefecture in 2023.The prefecture plans to give lectures at welfare facilities for the elderly and hold tournaments in 2022.   (May 14, Ehime Shimbun)

Crowdfunding for Shipping Cost

The Matsuyama-based International Mine Clearance and Community Development Supporters, a landmine removing NPO in Cambodia, is now using crowdfunding for the shipping costs of ambulances, fire engines, and tractors, five in total, donated by enterprises in Ehime prefecture. The IMCCD found that they could hardly afford the shipping cost for these vehicles and decided to use a crowdfunding. The crowdfunding will be open up to June 23, and the goal is to raise five million yen. Mr. Ryoji Takayama, a representative of IMCCD, said that support for the local people to live with the hope of a safe land after the landmines are removed would be appreciated.

For more information: https://readyfor.jp/projects/IMCCD-tractor2022  (May 14, Asahi Shimbun Digital)

Vaccination Voucher for Booster Shot

The City of Matsuyama announced that a vaccination voucher will be sent to all those who had the 1st COVID booster more than five months ago. However, at this time, only those at high risk of developing serious illness, such as the elderly and people with an underlying medical condition can get the 2nd booster and they must apply to get it. The voucher will start being sent out at the beginning of June. It is not clear when or if the 2nd booster will be available to all who got the 1st one.    (May 13, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Belgian Ambassador to Japan Visits Ehime

The ambassador of the embassy of Belgium in Japan, Roxane de Bilderling, visited the Ehime Prefectural Office on May 9 and held talks with Tokihiro Nakamura, the governor of Ehime Prefecture. The governor called for further exchanges through cycling activities. The ambassador came to Ehime to visit local facilities and companies that are connected to Belgium. At the prefectural office, she introduced Belgium as a cycling nation and said they would be happy if they could deepen the culture of cycling tourism with Ehime, and offered to act as an intermediary between the prefecture and her country’s cycling-related organizations for cooperation. Nakamura said that the mirror in Bansuiso in Matsuyama was made in Belgium, and referred to the Godiva chocolate store, which originated in Belgium, in the Mitsukoshi department store. In discussing the relationship between Ehime and Belgium, he said that he sincerely hopes that our relationship can be strengthened. and mentioned the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido international cycling tournament scheduled for October.     (May 9, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Edible Insect Vending Machine Appears in Matsuyama

A vending machine selling edible insects has been installed on Route 11 in Kosaka, Matsuyama City by Sanpuku, best known as a real estate company, but also operates other businesses including vending machines. The company said: “This is the first edible insect vending machine in Shikoku and has been attracting attention on social media, with sales higher than expected.” The vending machine has a big sign saying “昆虫食” (edible insects) causing passersby to stop. Transparent jars in the vending machine arouse curiosity, even though only a silver bag can be seen in the jars. Nine types of insects such as crickets, mole crickets, diving beetles, and silk moth pupae are available. One jar sells for 1,000 yen. Sanpuku installed the edible insect vending machine in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The company purchases the products from Maru Foods, an edible insect manufacturing and sales company. According to Sanpuku, edible insects can be bred with less feed and cost than for cattle and pigs. Furthermore, they contain a high amount of protein. Therefore, people are paying attention to edible insects as a solution to future food shortages. The company says sales through reusing their old vending machines are eco-friendly and low cost. They also want to promote edible insects as a future food product. The machine is installed in the parking lot of the company’s fitness club, P-SPO24, to encourage visitors to have some protein after exercising.

(May7, Ehime Shimbun Online)