めんそーれー!Mensōrē! Welcome!

(This page is maintained by Urasoe City's Coordinator for International Relations)

Welcome to the Urasoe English News & Events Page. The goal of this page is to provide up-to-date information in English for foreign residents of Urasoe regarding city announcements and local events. If you have relevant information you would like to share with the Urasoe community, please contact us at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

▼   The Latest Urasoe News   ▼
Out for the Holidays
posted November 18th, 2015

Howdy folks!

I am the new Urasoe City CIR, Jeremy Eckstein. I am from Philadelphia in the United States and I arrived here in Okinawa this August!

I wanted to introduce myself briefly and let everyone know that I will be updating this site, much like Mariko did before me, with events, severe weather warnings, interesting stuff about Urasoe and more!

For any questions, please refer to the contact info posted on this page!

Jeremy Eckstein
Urasoe CIR

Out for the Holidays
posted December 18th, 2014

Hi everyone,

It's already the middle of December and there are only a few weeks left in 2014. I'd like to think of 2014 as a successful year for me. I hope you all had an exciting and fruitful year!

With the winter holidays coming up, I will be going back to Indiana to spend time with family again. I am going to be out of the office from Monday, December 22nd through Friday, January 9th. I'll be back at work on Tuesday, January 13th (as Monday the 12th is a National Holiday).

Urasoe City Hall will be closed from Monday, December 29th through Sunday, January 4th for winter break. If you need any paperwork processed, please come in before we close for the year.

If you'll be in the area for the end of the year, please check out the Christmas lights in the Kyozuka neighborhood of Urasoe! Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone. See you again in 2015!


Mariko Cook
Urasoe CIR

JICA Festival 2014
posted October 23rd, 2014

Hi everyone,

Every November, the JICA Okinawa International Center hosts their annual "JICA Festival" for two full days. There will be free concerts, performances, an all-you-can-eat lunch featuring food from all over the world, and plenty of time to interact with JICA program participants. Please stop by to see what JICA has to offer!

Dates: November 8 (Saturday) and 9 (Sunday)
Location: JICA OIC (1143-1 Maeda, Urasoe City, Okinawa)
Cost of entry: FREE

※ Parking at JICA will be limited. There will be shuttle buses going to/from the San-A Kyozuka City Shopping Center and the Urasoe Culture Park. Please refer to the map below (additional parking lots are labeled "P").

Hope to see you there! Please email me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com or contact JICA directly at 098-876-6000 if you have any questions.

- Urasoe CIR

Out of the Office
posted September 10th, 2014

Hi folks,

Sorry for the two month hiatus! I guess I got carried away with all my other projects that I've been forgetting to update this site.

I wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be out of the office from September 13th through the 23rd. If you need any assistance with anything, please send me an email or stop by city hall by this Friday, the 12th. I will resume work on Wednesday, September 24th. I hope this doesn't cause any problems!

Thanks for understanding.

- Urasoe CIR

Tedako Festival 2014
posted July 11th, 2014

Hi everyone,

It's that time of year again:

It's going to take place next weekend, so try not to miss it! There will be a carnival, Dragon Boat races, sumo wrestling, Eisa dancing, and of course fireworks! Here are the festival's details:

Dates: July 19 (Saturday) and July 20 (Sunday)
Time: 9AM~9PM
Location: Urasoe Athletic Park

Please refer to this poster for further details.

Enjoy the festival, guys!

Special Re-entry for Foreign Residents of Japan
posted July 3rd, 2014

Hi everyone,

Rainy Season is history and it's officially summer in Okinawa. I can't believe how hot it already is though, goodness. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids in this weather!

As of July 1st, the Immigration Bureau of Japan has made a few changes to the re-entry and departure cards given at airports/on airplanes. Please refer to this site for more details.

CIR Out of the Office
posted May 23rd, 2014

Hi folks,

I will be out of the office from Thursday, May 29th until Thursday, June 5th. I will also be in and out of the office between the 26th and 28th with school visits.

If you need anything, please contact me before coming to city hall so I can confirm whether I'll be there or not. Email me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com or give me a call at 098-876-1234 (ext. 2612).

I apologize in advance if this causes any problems!

Multilingual Call Center in Okinawa
posted May 8th, 2014

Hello everyone,

With Golden Week now over, the summer holidays are around the corner! Some of you might be considering traveling around the island and perhaps you want more information on where to go to. The Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB for short) has a Multilingual Call Center you can contact for any tourism-related information and interpreting services you might need while traveling.

The Multilingual Call Center has a domestic number, an international number as well as a Skype account that you can contact.

For English-speakers, the numbers are as follows:
Domestic: 0570-077201 (098-851-7286)
International/Roaming: 81-98-851-7286
Skype: call-center-en01 AND call-center-en02

The Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau also provides tourism information in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Russian, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai.

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Brazilian Consulate to come to Okinawa
posted April 10th, 2014

To any Brazilians in the area!

The Consulate General of Brazil in Nagoya (在名古屋ブラジル総領事館)will temporarily open its services to any Brazilians living in Okinawa this weekend. Details below:

When: April 12 (Saturday) - 9AM to 1PM
          April 13 (Sunday) - 9AM to 11PM
Where: Minami Sekiyu Inc.
            858 Aza-Onaha, Nishibaru Town
            (TEL: 098-882-9255)
What they can help with:
            Passport applications, printing forms of identification, paperwork for military/elections, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates applications, etc.

For further details on application processes, please refer to the consulate's website at http://nagoia.itamaraty.gov.br/pt-br/ or contact them via the following:

Consulate General of Brazil in Nagoya
TEL: 052-222-1077
FAX: 052-222-1079
Email: cg.nagoia@itamaraty.gov.br

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

I wish this were an April Fool's joke...
posted April 1st, 2014

Hey folks,

It's April 1st, meaning it's officially the new fiscal year and new academic year in Japan. Want to know something else that has changed?

The sales tax.

That's right, as of today, it has increased from 5% to 8%. Everything at the ¥100 store? It's all going to be ¥108 now. Here is a list of items that will be affected by the tax increase:
  • General goods and merchandise
  • Food services (restaurants, etc.)
  • Parking space rental
  • Office rental
  • Travel expenses (in Japan)
  • Lodging expenses (in Japan)
  • Travel allowance (as provided by employer)
  • Electric charges
  • Gas charges
  • Water charges
  • Phone charges
  • Bank transfer fees

Tax-exempt items are:

  • Life-insurance premiums
  • Postage stamps
    • the price of stamps will be going up in April 2014
    • stamps themselves are tax-exempt, but the delivery charge is taxable.
  • Revenue stamps
    • the stamps used when paying for visa handling fees, etc.
  • Gift cards, prepaid cards
    • when the recipient of the card buys something, consumption tax will be charged on that item
  • Credit fees
  • Residential-use rentals, like apartments, etc
    • some of my friends have seen their apartment rental prices rise, but this is not a directly because of the consumption tax increase.
  • Schooling fees/class fees
  • Textbooks
  • Midwivery services
  • Housing loan

Untaxed items are:

  • General salary/wages, bonuses
  • Social insurance premiums (health insurance, pension, etc.)
  • Donations
  • General memberships
  • Fines

I got all the above information from this blog. Please refer to it and the National Tax Agency Consumption Guide for further information.

So for those of you who might have been unaware of this national change, it's not a joke, unfortunately. :( Just a heads up!

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

The first ever "Global Culture Festival" is this weekend!
posted February 18th, 2014

Hello everyone,

It's been over a year and a half since moving to Urasoe, and although it's long overdue, I have finally organized my first event! The International Relations section (where I am placed) will be hosting the "Global Culture Festival" this Saturday!

Global Culture Festival
Who: For anyone and everyone of all ages!
When: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Where: Urasoe Central Community Center, 3F Auditorium (located next to city hall)

The goal of this event is to teach our citizens that there are billions of people in the world who hail from English-speaking countries, and that every one of those countries has its own distinct culture. In this event, ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers of the JET Programme) placed in Okinawa will contribute their time to interact with the Japanese community by giving them an introduction of their native country's cultures and practices, etc. By having our citizens interact with ALTs through the grass-roots level, this could be a chance to deepen their interest and understanding of internationalization.

Teachers from the US, UK, Canada, Jamaica, Singapore and New Zealand will be there to introduce their countries to the community! There will be presentations, games, dances and even tea time. If you have the time, PLEASE come check it out!

PS: The event is FREE!

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Urasoe City BOE Hiring Assistant English Teachers
posted January 9th, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone!

I had an amazing time with family and friends back home in the US, but it's great to be back in warm Okinawa. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays as well.

As of this week, Urasoe City's Board of Education is accepting AET (Assistant English Teacher) applications for the upcoming school year. Here is the Japanese page including all of the information, but within it there are English guidelines and an English application. Please click here for the English guidelines and here for the application form. To anyone who plans on applying, good luck!

The application period is from January 6th (Monday) ~ January 17th (Friday), 2014.

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

A Quick Update!
posted December 18th, 2013

Hi Folks,

Winter is right around the corner and so are the holidays! With it being close to Christmas, many parks and resorts around the island have begun putting up Christmas lights (illumination).

Urasoe's own Kyozuka Neighborhood Council has decorated their street with lights, which you can check out here. Not only that, but Urasoe City Hall is now displaying its own array of lights along the banyan tree in front of the building! The office closes at 5:15 but it might be worth it to come see the beautiful tree after dark, too.

In other news, I'm going home to the US for the holidays this year! I'll be out of the office beginning December 20th (Friday) until January 6th (Monday). If it's something urgent, please come in today or tomorrow, as that's all the remaining time I have in the office this year. I will check my email occasionally as well. Sorry in advance if this causes any inconvenience!

If you have any questions, please send me an email at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

CIR Out of the Office
posted November 12th, 2013

Hi everyone,

November is finally here and I'll be in Chiba for a conference all next week! I will not be in the office from November 18th through the 22nd. Therefore, if anyone needs assistance with anything, please contact me or come into the office by this Friday (the 15th). If it can wait til the week of November 25th, that works as well.

If you have any questions, please send me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Tropical Storm Fitow to make landfall this weekend
posted October 3rd, 2013

Hello Urashinchus,

You might have already heard about the storm, but Fitow (it's still a tropical storm but will be a typhoon by the time it hits Okinawa) is expected to make landfall in a few days.

As of right now, Fitow is supposed to affect us heavily on Saturday. Make sure you stock up on food, water, candles and/or batteries - just in case! It doesn't look like it'll be a strong storm, but it's never safe to underestimate a typhoon's wind-power.

Please check out this radar for more details. Stay dry, and stay safe! Hope nobody had anything TOO special planned for the weekend.

If you have any questions, please send me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Change in Schedule: September Friendship Seminar
posted August 20th, 2013

Hey everyone. There's been a small change in schedule for the upcoming JICA Friendship Seminar - Vietnam Edition.

Original date: Friday, September 20
New date: Friday, September 27

The time and location is the same as before!
JICA Okinawa International Center
Nirai Hall, 3rd Floor

The Friendship Seminars are a great opportunity for you to interact with JICA program participants from other countries, as well as learn more about different cultures and traditions. The cost is FREE so there really isn't a reason any of you SHOULDN'T go. ;)

If you have any questions, please send me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

The 36th Tedako Festival
posted July 4th, 2013

It's that time of year again: Tedako Festival time! Also known as Tedako Matsuri (てだこ祭り), this festival is held in Urasoe every summer, typically at the end of July. Here's a link for the nitty gritty details.

July 26 (Fri) - Eve of the Festival, at Yafuso Odori
July 27 (Sat) - Drum Carnival, fireworks, etc. at the Urasoe Athletic park
July 28 (Sun) - Dance performances, Dragon Boat Race, futsal competition and fireworks, etc. at the Makiminato Fishing Port

Unfortunately, I'll be in Tokyo for a business trip that weekend and will not be able to make it. I hope you can all stop by and see what Urasoe has to offer, though!

If you have any questions, please send me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

It's Officially Rainy Season
posted May 17, 2013

As of earlier this week, Okinawa has entered that one time of year we all seem to dread: Rainy Season. If you've been tuning into the local news or have overheard conversations about "梅雨入り" (tsuyuiri), that's what they're referring to. It started later than usual this year, but let's all cross our fingers and hope that it ends early!

During this time of year, mold is a huge concern among households. Be sure to place desiccants throughout your home (particularly in your closets), refrigerate anything that might spoil easily and just use common sense! Desiccants are sold at 100 yen stores, normally in packs of two or three - they're very affordable. Rainy season can last anywhere from a month to six weeks, so be prepared for the ongoing precipitation. It can get depressing with the constant wetness and gloominess, but stay positive - once it's all over, Okinawa's beautiful summer shall arrive. That's one of the only things keeping me going right now.

Alright urashīnchūs, if you have any questions, please send me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com. See you around!

The Urasoe City Mayoral Election Results Are In...
posted February 13, 2013

Up until last week, was anyone wondering what exactly was going on with the large speakerphones on cars? Why were there multiple people waving out of them? Some of you may have even received complimentary tissues or a couple fliers while walking around the city. All of this led up to the Mayoral Election. The Mayoral Election took place on Sunday, February 10th. There were three candidates, one of whom was Mitsuo Gima.

The candidate with the most votes was Tetsuji Matsumoto, widely known for his youthfulness among his opponents (he's only 45 years old!). Matsumoto assumed office on Tuesday, February 12th as the 13th Mayor of Urasoe City.

Welcome to Urasoe, Matsumoto-shicho!

If you have any questions, shoot me a message at urasoe.ir@gmail.com. See you around!

What's New in 2013
posted January 9th, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone had an awesome time off from work, school, and anything else. Did anyone venture out into the heartland of Japan, or even elsewhere in Asia? Did you come up with any off-the-wall resolutions for the new year? I'd be more than happy to chat with you; just come up to the 4th floor and give me a shout.

On another note!

As the 2012-2013 school year is coming to an end, a new school year approaches. Urasoe is now looking to hire new AETs throughout the public schools. Please click here if you're interested! No worries - it includes instructions and an application in English.

The application deadline is January 18th (Friday), so please keep that in mind (as it is...next week)! Good luck to the applicants.

Email me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com if you need anything else. またね!

Happy Holidays to You All!
posted December 21st, 2012

Wow, 2012 is coming to an end and the New Year is right around the corner. It's ridiculous how fast time flies now that I'm getting older...yikes. I decided to pop in to let everyone know that I hope your holidays treat you well! Whether you're staying in Okinawa, traveling, or going back home to visit family, I'm positive you'll have a wonderful time. Please stay safe, though!

On another note, I'll be out of the office from Tuesday, December 25th (as Monday, December 24th is a Public Holiday) until Thursday, January 3rd. If something urgent comes up, please call (098) 876-1234 and there will be people to assist you.

Once again, Happy Holidays! See you all in 2013!

My Sincerest Apologies
posted November 26, 2012

It's been over two months since my last post, and for that, I am truly sorry. I've been in and out of the office a lot with work trips, time off, and various other activities.

Please don't hesitate to contact me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com if you need anything. I'll try to respond as soon as possible.

New CIR Homepage!
posted September 19, 2012

I have decided to make a brand-new web page for the CIR section. Check it out if you have the time! Arigatou!

Again, if you have any questions or concerns, let me know:

Typhoon Sanba is Coming!
posted September 14th, 2012

Hi, everyone! This is my first post on the Urasoe FLASH site, though I've been working since the beginning of August. Better late than never, right?

Most of you probably know by now, but ANOTHER extremely strong typhoon is headed directly toward the main island of Okinawa. Please make sure you do not have any loose articles left outside of your home, as they can transform into dangerous flying objects during the typhoon! Also, it would be safe to buy bottled water, flashlights, batteries, candles and non-perishable foods. You never know when a power outage might occur.

For further information on Typhoon Sanba, check out the radar:

Stay safe, everyone!

If you have any questions, let me know at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

Goodbye Okinawa!
posted August 1st, 2012

Wow, has it been 2 years already? Time certainly does fly when you're having fun, but now it is time for me to leave Okinawa and go back to the U.S. Thank you to everyone who has made my time here an amazing experience!

Although my time as the Urasoe City CIR is up, please welcome Mariko Cook, the new CIR from Indiana in the U.S.! Feel free to come and say hi to her on the 4th floor of city hall, but if you don't have time to come all the way here, then just send her an e-mail at the usual address: urasoe.ir@gmail.com

Goodbye everyone! Mata uichē sabira!

Tedako Festival is This Weekend!
posted July 19th, 2012

Sorry about the late notice, but in case you haven't seen the banners put up all around town, Tedako Festival is taking place this weekend!

July 20th (Friday) is the Zen'yasai, the Night-Before Festival, which takes place on Yafuso Street (click here for a map). July 21st (Saturday) and 22nd (Sunday) will take place at Urasoe Athletic Park (click here for a map). There will be Eisa drum performances, lots of Japanese festival food for sale, and fireworks in the evening.

Huge crowds of thousands of people are expected to attend, so it is best to walk to the sites if at all possible, since parking will be extremely scarce.

If you have any questions, let me know at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

The New System for Foreign Resident Registration is Here!
posted July 17th, 2012

As of this month, the old system of Alien Registration is officially obsolete and has been replaced by the Resident Card system.

If you are unfamiliar with the new system, the Urasoe City Homepage has been updated to reflect the changes. Feel free to check it out here:


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, let me know at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

Typhoon Headed for Okinawa
posted June 18th, 2012

In case you haven't heard yet, Typhoon Guchol is headed straight for Okinawa at this time, and it is expected to hit at some point this afternoon and increase in intensity until tomorrow morning. Waves of up to 60 feet have been reported, so stay as far away from the coast as possible during this time.

As of right now there are no plans to close city hall or shut down the buses, but I will update if such information is made available. Feel free to track the typhoon yourself on the Typhoon Tracker link to the left.

Otherwise, if you have any questions or concerns, let me know at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

System for Alien Registration Changing
posted May 10th, 2012

For those of you who haven't heard yet, the old system of alien registration in Japan is changing. Alien Registration Cards will no longer be issued, and instead foreign residents will be listed on local residents records.

Here is a helpful PDF explaining some of the changes:

Urasoe City Hall will be sending out information to those who are affected by these changes within the month. If you feel these changes will be affecting you and you have not received anything in the mail by June, please feel free to let me know.

As always, if you have any other comments, questions or concerns, ask me anything at urasoe.ir@gmail.com

Japanese Class and Karate Presentation
posted February 17th, 2012

The Urasoe International Relations Association (UIRA) would like to let everyone know that they will be holding a traditional Okinawan karate demonstration after Japanese class this Monday, February 20th.

Here is a message from them:

Dear sir or madam,
We would like to inform you about the Japanese class on February 20th. After class, we will be having a traditional Okinawan karate demonstration.

It should be a fun learning experience!
Japanese class: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Karate Demonstration: 8:00pm - 8:30pm
Yuki Tsuruoka

If you are interested in attending, either let the UIRA know or let me know as soon as you can!

The CIR Will Be Out of the Building
posted November 14th, 2011

Just to let anyone with any burning questions or issues know, I will be out of the office at city hall starting this Friday (Nov. 18th) up until Friday, December 2nd. Just like last year at this time, I will be traveling to Tokyo to meet up with all of the other hundreds of CIR's all over Japan for a several day long conference so we can power each other up by swapping knowledge.

While I cannot guarantee that I will be able to respond to any inquiries while I am away, feel free to e-mail me anytime before then and we can work something out!

Urashinchu Kangeikai Otsukaresama Desu!
posted October 17th, 2011

A huge thanks to everyone who participated in, helped out, or was in any way connected to the very successful Urashinchu Welcome Party last weekend. The dozens and dozens of Urashinchu from all over the world enjoyed their time in their or their ancestors' home of Urasoe.

We hope to see you all again in another five years!

Uchinanchu Festival and Urashinchu Festival News
posted August 9th, 2011

The 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival is right around the corner (October 12th-16th), and to help celebrate all the Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart who will be coming from all over the world, we will be holding our own Urashinchu Festival here in Urasoe during that time as well.

If you are planning on attending the Uchinanchu Festival in Naha, and you or one of your relatives either past or present called Urasoe their home, then you should join us for the Urashinchu Festival too!

For details about what will be going on when and where, check out the official Urashinchu Festival homepage. The official application forms are uploaded there as well, so be sure to fill them out and send them in if you plan on attending.

If you have any questions about the Urashinchu Festival, feel free to send a message to any of the contact numbers on the official site, or contact me directly.

34th Annual Tedako Festival This Weekend!
posted July 21st, 2011

It's finally here! This year's Tedako Festival is taking place this weekend, July 23rd (starting at 6:30pm) and 24th (starting at 5:00pm) at Urasoe Athletic Park. Come on down and see the performances by singers, dancers, drummers, and more, and most importantly see and taste all that the vendors have to offer!

If you can't make it during the weekend, or if you just can't get enough Okinawan festival goodness, then join us on the Zen'yasai, the Night-Before Festival, tomorrow Friday the 22nd on Yafuso Odori Street (starting at 6:30pm).

As always, if you have any questions about the Tedako Festival or anything else, feel free to contact me!

Interpreters Needed!
posted June 1st, 2011

Volunteer Japanese-English interpreters are needed for an Eisa class! JICA interns are practicing their Eisa for the upcoming Urasoe Tedako Festival on July 24th, and the UIRA needs volunteer Japanese-English interpreters to help them out.

So if you can speak Japanese 8and English!) fairly well and are interested, come hang out, have fun, and make good use of your awesome language skills!

JICA Okinawa Center (gymnasium)
June 23rd, 28th, 30th &
July 5th, 7th, 12th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 23rd

Every Tues, Thurs 7:00pm-9:00pm &
July 23rd (Sat) 10:00am-12:00pm

If you're interested let me or the UIRA know!

Tsunami Evacuation Information
posted April 7th, 2011

In light of the recent north-eastern japan earthquake and tsunami, the Urasoe City Hall Emergency Management Office has recently released a PDF of reminders of what to do if a tsunami were to hit Urasoe.

I have translated the PDF, and I recommend taking just a few minutes to read over it and re-familiarize yourself with nearby tsunami shelters and evacuation areas.

English Version
Japanese Version

North-East Japan Disaster Area
posted March 14th, 2011

As you are almost certainly aware of at this time, the north-east part of mainland Japan has been undergoing a series of disasters related to the earthquake that struck off the eastern coast of Japan last Friday. Thousands of casualties and far more injured are reported.

While we are safe in Okinawa, if you are interested in following the news or helping out by donating to the victims, I recommend going to the Google Crisis Response homepage.

If you want any other information concerning the disaster or anything else, feel free to contact me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Tsunami Warning for Okinawa
posted March 11th, 2011

There has been a tsunami warning issued for mainland Okinawa, following an intense earthquake off of mainland Japan coast. 1m (3ft) high waves are expected around 5:40pm today. Please do not go near the ocean if at all possible.

There should be no cause for concern, but if you want information feel free to contact me at urasoe.ir@gmail.com.

Looking for Help for English School Easter Event
posted February 24th, 2011

The local Okinawan YAMAHA English school is currently looking for six native English speakers to help out at the 2010 YAMAHA English School Easter Event. Anyone who likes playing with children and enjoys international exchange is welcome to apply! There are no age restrictions on applicants.

The information for the event is as follows:

Where: Tedako Hall in Urasoe
When: Monday, March 21st, 2011 (national holiday)
Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm

The schedule consists of a review and rehearsal in the morning, the  program with pre-elementary school kids (ages 4-6, about 60 kids), break time, and then the program with the elementary school kids (ages 6-8, about 60 kids). Each native English speaker will be assigned to a group of about 8-10 kids. The programs consist of games, reading stories, asking questions about Easter, etc.

Lunch is provided and ¥5,000 gratitude money given to the volunteers to cover gas or any other travel expenses.

If you are interested in joining, either e-mail me, or directly contact Tomoko Yagi, a representative for the organization, either by e-mail or by phone at 090-7587-1923.

Weekend Emergency Training
posted January 24th, 2011

This Sunday, January 30th starting at approximately 2:00pm, Urasoe will be carrying out the 2010 Urasoe Comprehensive Emergency Training Program along the eastern coast. Emergency sirens and alarms will go off, and helicopters and ambulances will be audible, but they are only for the purposes of the training program. There are no real emergencies planned for the day.

Announcements will be made before and during the training session as well. If you're in the area and are interesting in what's going on, feel free to drop by and take a look too. Being familiar with safety operations is the best way to attain peace of mind and be able to respond to an emergency.

Tedako Walk 2011
posted January 21st, 2011

For those of you who haven't heard yet, the 10th annual Tedako Walk will be taking place the weekend of February 5th and 6th. There are a bunch of great walking courses to choose from on both days, ranging from short 5km family walks to all day long 40km ones. All of the routes start and end at Urasoe Municipal Gym in Urasoe Athletic Park (click for map).

If you're interested in joining, click here for routes, entry fees, information on how to sign up and more!

Great Foreigner Help in Okinawa
posted December 22nd, 2010

I don't know how many of you have already heard about this, but as part of the campaign that the Okinawa prefectural government has had going on since October to give away free iPhones to tourists, they have also been running a free tourist information call center. Of course the center is not just limited to tourists, and if you ever find yourself lost, in need of a translation or some other help, you can call them anytime anywhere in Okinawa! All for free!

The number is: 098-916-6180

However, the coolest feature is that if you are calling them on an iPhone, you can do FaceTime with the call center instead. This means that you can see the person on the other end and they can see you. It's like carrying a free personal interpreter around with you wherever you go! You do need WiFi to connect to FaceTime.

The FaceTime number is: 080-432-5691

For more information you can check out their website. Don't worry about the broken English there. From my experience calling them, and even having a cafe owner call them so the interpreter could take our order, their English is fantastic. So the next time you're at a loss for words, give them a call!

New Stuff!
posted December 6th, 2010

I'm not sure how many people who keep up with this blog also read the monthly Urasoe Koho magazine, but I think now is as good a time as ever to remind everyone of its existence!

The Koho is a thin, colorful magazine that should be delivered to your residence around the beginning of each month, as long as you are a registered resident of Urasoe. Don't confuse it with junk mail though; it's filled with great stuff! It usually looks something like this:

Almost all of the content is in Japanese, but if you see something you're interested in and can't figure it out, feel free to send me an e-mail about it, call (098) 876-1234 (ext.2612), or just walk right on up to the 4th floor of city hall. Plus there's the section toward the back where I write an article in English and Japanese each month, which can be as much a combination of nostalgia and Japanese study tool as you would like!

The latest articles are updated on the main English page, and you can also always read the other articles the previous Urasoe CIRs and myself have written at anytime there too. They make for good reads if you have some spare time. If you would like to see something specific written about, feel free to let me know!

The CIR is Back!
posted November 22nd, 2010

The Urasoe City CIR is back in City Hall. Thank you all for your patience while I was away training to serve you all better!

Unfortunately I acquired no new super powers while gone, but as always I am on the 4th floor of city hall, anxiously awaiting for you to come up or to just ask for some help understanding or being understood by another department. If you need anything, feel free to send an e-mail, call (098) 876-1234 (ext.2612), or just walk right in!

No CIR Next Week
posted November 12th, 2010

This is just an announcement to let everyone know that I will not be in the office all of next week (Nov. 15th to Nov. 19th), as I will be away in Tokyo for midterm CIR training. I'm not exactly sure what sort of training it will end up being, but I'm sure it will only help me help you all better in the future. Whether or not I come back able to fly and use x-ray vision will depend on the presenters I suppose!

If you were planning on requiring assistance in English at city hall next week, I apologize for the inconvenience. If you just come the week after (Nov. 22nd or later), I will be happy to help! Maybe even with x-ray vision!

Shuffling Around City Hall
posted November 2nd, 2010

As some of you may have found out the hard way by now, a lot of offices and departments have moved their locations inside of city hall recently. Here is an updated list of where everything moved to now, so you don't have to go on a treasure hunt every time you go to city hall!

9th floor
(North) Observation deck,
(South) Auditorium

8th floor
(North) Dept. of Culture, Dept. of Gen. Affairs, Dept. of Finance, Head of General Affairs Office
(South) Dept. of Educational Affairs, Dept. of Education, Superintendent's Office

7th floor
(North) Dept. of Physical Education, Dept. of (Edu.) General Affairs, Dept. of Elderly Care, Education Dept. Head's Office, Head of Education's Office,
(South) Dept. of Personnel, Administrative Reform Promotion Office, Dept. of the Advancement of Lifelong Learning, Bureau of Tedako Citizen's University

6th floor
(North) "Chura Machi" Promotion Dept., City Planning Dept., City Construction Dept. Head's Office
(South) Dept. of Roads, Dept. of Building Sites, Dept. of Rezoning, City Construction Dept. Counsellor's Office

5th floor
(North) Dept. of Contract Investigation, Dept. of Architecture
(South) Dept. of Sewers, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Environmental Protection, Dept. of Citizens' Well-Being, Citizens' Dept. Head's Office

4th floor
(North) Dept. of Planning, Office of Usage of Vacant Land, Dept. of International Relations, Dept. of Western Coast Development, Western Coast Development Dept. Head's Office, Planning Dept. Head's Office
(South) Dept. of Secretary, Mayor's Office, Vice Mayor's Office, Discussion Room

3rd floor
(North) Dept. of Welfare, Bureau of the Committee of Inspection, Local Information Center, Welfare Dept. Head's Office
(South) Office of Disaster Control, Dept. of Protection, Dept. of Information Policy

2nd floor
(North) Dept. of Children and Family Affairs, Office of Counseling for Children and Family, Office of Counseling for Women
(South) Dept. of Taxes, Dept. of Citizens' Taxes, Dept. of Property Taxes

1st floor

(North) Dept. of Local Support, Dept. of Nursing Care Insurance, Dept. of National Insurance, Health Dept. Head's Office, Map, Banks, Dept. of Accounting, Office of the Accounting Manager, Employment Counseling Office (Hello Work), Medical Information Center
(South) Dept. of Citizens, Dept. of National Insurance, Citizens' Counseling Office


(North) Defense Room, Shop, Book Depository, Machine Room, Electric Room
(South) Printing Office, Operator's Office, Bureau of Public Welfare Work, Janitorial Room, Union Office, Central Surveillance Office, Exercise Room, Treasurer's Office, Nurse's Office

(Translated from the Urasoe City Homepage)

Disaster Map and Information PDF Translation
posted September 17th, 2010

I posted the information put up on the Urasoe homepage about emergency shelters last month, but I've only just got around to translating the Japanese PDF that contains a map of disaster shelters, and steps you can take to protect yourself from earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. Exciting and informative!

Disaster Map PDF
Page 1 - The Map
Page 2 - Earthquake Information
Page 3 - Tsunami/Flood Information

There were a few things that were impossible to translate due to graphical limitations, but everything that you need to know is there. As usual just drop me an e-mail if you have any questions!

South American SUDAKA a Delicious Success
posted September 10th, 2010

Last Wednesday's South American dinner at the SUDAKA restaurant in Naha's Sakae-machi marketplace with the visiting interns from South America was quite the treat. You can see the interns above (left to right: Karin and Natalia), and I'm there in the back in the blue shirt looking dazed.

It was a feast including enpanadas (meat and vegetables with sauce wrapped in bread), purple rice, sausage and vegetable stir-fry, salted beef, and corn soup (all of which I forgot the names of). It was great to be able to enjoy some good food with interesting people, all of whom were lots of fun to talk to.

So don't be shy! If you're ever interested in joining international events or whatnot, go ahead! If you have any questions, e-mail me beforehand, because chances are I'll be there anyway!

(Taken from the UIRA blog) - more pictures available here!

Garbage Procedures During Typhoons
posted September 3rd, 2010

The Urasoe City Homepage would like everyone to know the correct steps to take in disposing their garbage during inclement weather:

1) If the buses are not running starting at 8:00am, then the garbage will not be collected on that day.

2) If the buses are running again by 3:00pm, then the garbage will start being collected at the time the buses start running.

3) If the buses stop running after the garbage has already started to be collected, then garbage will stop being collected when the buses stop running.

4) If your garbage is not collected, then please put it out again during the next time it would be picked up.

(Translated from the Urasoe City Homepage)

Oldest Non-Living Man Not Found in Urasoe
posted September 3rd, 2010

In case you haven't heard, recently there has been an uproar over the cases of thousands of 100+ year olds who were reported as living for years, sometimes decades, so that their families could receive their pension benefits, when in reality they had actually died long ago.

The whereabouts of 8108 centenarians in Okinawa are unknown, and while Miyako Island holds the record for most missing in a single town/city at 1509 people, it should be noted that our very own Urasoe holds the record for the oldest missing person at 176 years old! That would pin him as being born in 1834, a time which, according to my research, they did not even have the internet!

Let's just hope that when he is found, if he's no longer with us, his cause of death wasn't an excessive amount of birthday candles that he couldn't blow out!

(Taken from Okinawa Times online)

Typhoon Warning
posted August 31st, 2010

Today city hall, buses, the monorail and almost everything else will be closing after 10:00am due to the incoming typhoon. For constant updates on the typhoon, watch NHK (channel 2) or follow the Typhoon Tracker link on the left sidebar.

Though there shouldn't be anything to worry about, it's best to stay inside during a typhoon, since it can suddenly change in intensity. If you have any typhoon related questions, feel free to contact me!

Urasoe Emergency Shelter Information
posted August 26th, 2010

Yesterday the Urasoe city homepage posted information on all of the local disaster shelters. If you've ever thought about where you would need to go if a tsunami were to decide to drop in, then I'd recommend giving it a look!

防災マップ (Japanese)
Emergency Shelter Information (English translation)

Watch Out for Heatstroke!
posted August 25th, 2010

Today the Urasoe city homepage reminds us all to be careful of heatstroke during this oppressively hot and humid summer:

"The days just keep getting hotter, and reports of heatstroke within Okinawa continue, and there have even been cases of death by heatstroke in other prefectures. According to prefectural data, most cases of heatstroke occur during strenuous work outside of the house. Men in their 20s-50s who spend a significant amount of the day outside for work or exercise, and the elderly are particularly at risk.

However it is possible to suffer from heatstroke inside the house as well, if the temperature and humidity reach high enough levels inside. Be sure to take daily preventative measures such as including plenty of water and salt in your diet, and not spending extended periods of time outdoors under the blazing sun." (source)

The article is supplemented with several resources, all in Japanese. If you would like to know more about them, contact me!

- Preventing Against Heatstroke, Emergency Measures (front)
- Preventing Against Heatstroke, Emergency Measures (back)
- Okinawa Heatstroke News Report (June-Sept)
- Okinawa Dept. of Health and Welfare, Health Promotion Division "2010 Reports on the State of Heatstrokes in Okinawa"

Recycling Law Changes!
posted August 16th, 2010

There were some recycling law changes announced today on the Urasoe City Homepage (Japanese). I figured it would be good for everyone to know in case you plan on throwing out any of those expensive LCD or plasma TVs you just bought!

Recycling Law Changes in Disposal of Certain Home Appliances
(English translation)

Hello Urasoe!
posted August 16th, 2010

Nice to meet you everyone! My name is Scott Wilson and I will be replacing Patrick as the new Urasoe City Hall CIR. I know those are some big shoes to fill, but I will do my best to be as helpful as I can to the citizens of Urasoe, natives and foreigners alike.

To that end I'm in the process of updating this English news blog to be as useful as possible to the English speaking population of Urasoe. I apologize for any layout mishaps that you may notice in the next few days, but I promise it will all come together in the end.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the News FLASH blog or Urasoe in general, feel free to send me an e-mail at urasoe.ir@gmail.com and I will do my best to respond. I've only been here for a week or so, so maybe you can teach me some things about the local area too!

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!
Can't wait to hear from you!

Bye Bye Okinawa
posted July 21st, 2010

Wow, have two years gone by already? In a whirl of smoke and mirrors, I will be finishing my term as Urasoe's CIR next week. This site will remain inactive for a few weeks while the new Urasoe CIR, Mr. Scott Wilson from Boston, settles into his new job. Thanks everyone for your support, and I wish you health and happiness on Okinawa (or wherever life might lead you)!

- Patrick Robison

The Truth About Cats & Dogs
posted April 19th, 2010

Click here to read a few pet-related announcements from the Environmental Conservation Section.

AH1N1 Vaccination Subsidy Continues
posted April 19th, 2010

The AH1N1 vaccination subsidy which was offered last fiscal year has been carried over into the new fiscal year, so if you haven't been vaccinated yet or already paid for a vaccination yourself, it is still possible to have the vaccination covered. If you plan to get a vaccination this year, take the subsidy certificate (josei shōmei-sho 助成証明書) you received in the mail from Urasoe City with you to the doctor's office.  If you already paid for a vaccination yourself and would like to be reimbursed, please inquire at the Health Promotion Section of Urasoe City Hall (kenkō suishin-ka 健康推進課):

098-876-1234, extension 3661 (Japanese)

Please note that this subsidy is limited to low-income households which are receiving financial assistance from Urasoe City.

Documents Necessary for Reimbursement:

1. Subsidy Certificate (jyosei shōmei-sho 助成証明書)
2. Vaccination receipt from your doctor (ryōshūsho 領収書)
3. Bank book or other bank document which shows your name,   
    account number, and bank branch/number
4. Personal seal (inkan)

Dog Registration & Rabies Vaccinations
posted April 7th, 2010

You may have received a pink sheet in the mail within the last few days detailing the registration/rabies vaccination process in Urasoe.  One-time pet registration as well as yearly rabies vaccinations are mandatory for all dogs living in Urasoe (note that this law does not apply to house cats).  The combined cost for these two services is ¥6000.  A mobile registration/vaccination team will be offering these services at local community centers in Urasoe during the months of April & May.  If you are unable to read Japanese but would like to know when the registration/vaccination team will be passing by your neighborhood community center, please give us a call at 876-1234 (extension 2612).

Tsunami and You
posted March 10th, 2010

As a result of the recent string of earthquakes which have been happening around the world, several tsunami warnings have been issued on Okinawa over the last month.  It might be a good time to review
this information about the dangers of tidal waves.

... Links to Old Posts ...

Medical Expense Allowance for Infants and Young Children: Changes to Application Process
Liability Insurance For Your Automobile
Monthly Flea Market
AH1N1 Vaccine Subsidy
Tedako Hall Events, December 2009-February 2010
Urasoe AET Job Description and Contract Details
Tedako Walk 2010
New Year 2010 City Office/Public Facilities Holiday Schedule
Spay and Neuter for a Better Future
Tedako Hall Events September-October 2009
Updating Child Support Allowance Information
Water and Your Summer

Are You Feeling Natsu Bate?
Silkworm Cultivation & Silk Making in Urasoe
Life Cycles Education Class
Motorcycle Traffic Violations
2009 Tedako Festival Program
Goat, It's What's for Dinner
Habu Info for Summer
More Habu Info from the Urasoe City Guide
Additions to Recyclable Household Appliances
Special Child-Rearing Allowance for 2009 Fiscal Year
Okinawa Medical Information for Foreigners
Neighborhood Associations in Urasoe
Supplementary Income Payment

Kariyushi Wear
▼ Upcoming Events and Holidays ▼
(Scroll down or click on any of the events in the calendar for more information)

UIRA Newsletter: Winter 2014 Edition - Now Available
posted December 18th, 2014
The newest UIRA (Urasoe International Relations Association) newsletter is out! Stay updated on new language classes and events for the upcoming months.

Please contact the UIRA Staff if you have any inquiries.

Please click here to view the newsletter.

In person
Go to the Urasoe International Relations Association office
By telephone
Call (098) 879-3010
By e-mail
New UIRA Newsletter Out! Winter 2013 Edition
posted December 18th, 2013
The latest UIRA (Urasoe International Relations Association) newsletter is out, and you know what that means: time for more updates on fun classes and courses you can take!

If any of you are interested in attending any of the salons or languages courses, etc., get in touch with the UIRA using one of these methods:

In person
Go to the Urasoe International Relations Association office
By telephone
Call (098) 879-3010
By e-mail
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