TOPICS April 2023

Students’ NGO to Bring Happiness to Mozambique

There is an NGO run by junior high school students in Matsuyama, which was established one year ago when they graduated from elementary school, hoping to become a bridge of friendship between Mozambique and Ehime, Matsuyama.

Aratama Elementary School had exchanged with Mozambique for more than 15 years. As Ehime and Matsuyama became host town for Mozambique at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic, the school supported a Mozambican athlete, Chavela, who finished in 7th place in the men’s long jump visually impaired T13 class.

In September 2021, he visited the city and interacted with the elementary school children. In February 2022 he faced the danger of losing his eyesight due to his eye disease. The children helped collect donations to cover the cost of his surgery and eyeglasses, at the call of a Matsuyama-based NGO, called Ehime Global Network, which had been supporting Mozambique for many years.

Chabela’s surgery was a success in leading to his words, ” I was able to see my parents’ faces for the first time in my life.” This encouraged the children to consult the director of Ehime Global Network on creating their own NGO, thinking “Even children can help people.” They worked out the purpose and rules of a new NGO by themselves.

Their NGO named Bof or “Bridge of Friendship”, consisting of eight students, was certified as a registered NGO by Matsuyama. They sold luncheon mats made from Mozambique’s traditional clothes “kaplana” and wreaths made from sweet potato vines. In February 2023 they introduced their activities to the ambassador to Mozambique when he visited Matsuyama. At the end of the first year of “Bof” activities, they completed the booklets called “Mozambique Notebook” and “Matsuyama/Ehime Notebook”, which convey the history and culture to each other. On February 28 they donated the booklets to their old elementary school.

(March 16, Ehime Shimbun)

Jeju Air plans 5 Roundtrip Flights a Week

Matsuyama Airport announced an increase in frequency of the flights between Matsuyama and Incheon in Seoul which had been cancelled for three years. Although the initial plan was for the same three days — Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday — as before the pandemic, it was decided that Monday and Saturday would be added making five roundtrip flights a week.

According to the Aviation Policy Office of the International Tourism Division in Ehime Prefecture, Jeju Air intended to increase the number of flights depending on the load factor when Governor Nakamura had a meeting with Mr. Kim E-Bae, CEO of Jeju Air in February. Reservations from March 26, when the service resumes, to about the middle of April have shown a favorable response, and it seems it will be stable because of the high demand of mainly Korean tourists.

Schedules for additional flights are:


Inchon/Matsuyama 3:15pm/4:50pm

Matsuyama/Inchon 6:20pm/8:10pm


Inchon/Matsuyama 3:15pm/4:40pm

Matsuyama/Inchon 6:10pm/7:50pm

The Aviation Policy office commented that with the increase in the number of flights that Korean tourists are expected to contribute to quick local economic recovery in the prefecture, and that they would like the people in the prefecture to use it often as the demand for outbound flights is needed to maintain the flight frequency.

On the other hand, China Eastern Airlines decided to cancel the flight to Shanghai until October 28.

(March 10 & 3, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Ozu City Won 1st Place at the GD Awards

Green Destinations (GD) is an internationally certified non-profit organization from the Netherlands. On March 8, in Berlin, Germany, they held the award ceremony for the “Story Award”, which recognizes the world’s sustainable tourist destinations. The award is given in six categories. Ozu City, south-western Ehime, won first place in its “Culture and Tradition Preservation” category for the first time among other Japanese regions.

The city was evaluated for its efforts to revitalize tourism and preserve the townscape. They renovated obsolete private houses in the city into hotels and shops, working with the government and financial institutions. Their project has promoted the system in which the old private houses themselves can generate income for landscape preservation, leading to eliminate vacant houses and improve the city’s recognition. The ceremony was held along with “ITB Berlin 2023”, one of the world’s largest travel and tourism industry exhibitions.

(March 9, Ehime Shimbun)

A booklet for International Disaster Prevention

NPO Sakanoue Language School represented by MS. Marie Yamase published a booklet containing comments from foreigners at the time of a disaster.

Mr. Yamauchi, a chief of editor and 1st grade at the Ehime University High School, says that he would be very happy if the booklet would create an opportunity for the readers to remember that there are various people in terms of nationality, age and etc. when thinking about disaster prevention.

“What’s BOSAI? Let’s BOSAI!” which is an educational program for international disaster prevention and an opportunity for locals and foreigners together to learn what a disaster prevention is, was implemented by this organization in May 2022 in cooperation with Matsuyama city and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. The aim is to find better ways to operate and manage evacuation stations and promote necessary consideration for others.

The booklet reports on the program and consists of five chapters, such as “Eat”, and “Pray”, which were discussed among the participants in the program.

Mr. Yamauchi insisted that the booklet had to be read, since it contains important information related to our lives. His intention was to include many illustrations and photos for easy understanding. It also contains suggestions from foreigners such as important information should be presented in both English and visually in a photo or a picture.

The Sakanoue Language School started new program about international disaster prevention again in February 2023. Ms. Yamase says that they encourage people to understand that there are various people in the world, and each has different strengths and needs regardless of nationality.

For any inquiries;

(March 6, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Tobe Pottery with QR Codes

QR codes printed on the sides or bottoms of Tobe pottery. If you hold your smartphone over the code, you can view the website of the pottery maker. Kyoichi Shudo (46), a senior researcher at the Prefectural Ceramics Technology Center in Tobe who developed the prototype, is committed to “making it a tool to spread the appeal of Tobe pottery throughout the world.”

Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the Tobe-yaki pottery festival for the second year in a row, resulting in a sharp drop in sales. At the time, Shudo was looking for new ways to expand sales channels for pottery, so he started trial production in 2021.

What caught his attention was the potter’s mark on the bottom of the pottery pieces. There are about 100 pottery kiln sites in Tobe. However, if tourists want to buy the pottery they see at restaurants and other places, it is difficult to find the product they are looking for unless they are familiar with the potter’s mark and place of production.

The QR code is created using a printed transfer sheet on a piece when it is fired or by pressing an inked silicone rubber pad onto the unglazed product. One side of the code is 8 to 20 mm, and even codes that are 1 square cm or have a potter’s mark in the center can be read.

(February 22, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Additional information:(currently available in Japanese)

Top Awards for Prefectural Mikan Juice

The award ceremony for the 2022 Ehime Egao Selection Mandarin Orange Juice Contest, which decides the top 100% mandarin orange juice produced in the prefecture, was held on February 25 at Emiful in Masaki. The Gold Award, the highest, went to Tamatsu Mikan Juice (straight juice) from Tamatsu Kankitsu (citrus) Club, Uwajima City, in the satsuma mikan (mandarin) category, and Kiyomi Juice from Kajibo, Yawatahama City, in the mid- and late-ripening mandarin orange category.

The prefecture and others hosted the contest with the aim of adding value and promoting the sales of mandarin orange juice produced in the prefecture. In 2022, the 5th year of the contest, 56 entries from 40 companies in both categories were submitted. Eight entries in each of the two categories were selected by about 500 shoppers for tasting, and then experts judged the flavor and package design. Tamatsu Mikan Juice was selected for its rich sweetness and acidity, and Kiyomi Juice was selected for its balance between sweetness and acidity.

(February 25, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Additional Information:(currently available in Japanese)

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