Happy New Year! The year 2016 has started! I hope that the year 2016 will be a wonderful year to you all. YGC will also like to turn over a new leaf and to continue with our best this year.
How did you all spend your holiday season? In our first column of 2016, I will introduce the face of the capital area of Japan, located in the north of Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture. We may have an image of Saitama Prefecture being a developed city from outstanding accessibility and the high population. However, in actuality, Saitama Prefecture is blessed with great nature with many mountains in the west, and large farmlands in the north. It can be said that it is the prefecture conglomerate of the city and the countryside, and hence called “The country of Sai.” The kanji “Sai” means to add color, and it represents Saitama Prefecture’s variegated charm and possibility for large growth.
Kawagoe City is located in the west of Saitama City, which prospered during the Edo Period as a castle town, and has an alias of “Ko-Edo.” It has been certified by the nation as a historical city and thus the warehouse style is preserved, attracting many foreign visitors. There are many fascinating things that can be experienced, such as eating a lot of gourmet using Saitama Prefecture’s specialty sweet potato, recalling childhood memories though walking along candy store alleys, and looking around historical buildings. “Toki no kane” is the symbol of Kawagoe that has been telling the time since 400 years ago, four times a day without change.
At a school that offers all-English lessons like schools in America, YGC would like to cast a spotlight on “Johnson Town” in Iruma City. There once used to be a U.S military base in Iruma City, and “Johnson Town” is the area where the military personnel resided. Since the military houses have been left retained, taking a walk in the neighborhood makes you feel as though you are in America! The streets are lined with cafés and variety shops, and the town is definitely becoming a great place to hang out.
The city and countryside, Japan and America; Saitama prefecture offers an experience to enjoy the best of both worlds and we have yet to explore many places of attractions we never knew.