Australia`s Mike Littlewood in Concert in Odawara

Australia`s Mike Littlewood in Concert in Odawara

If you like Jazz, check the man out!

Spats in Odawara on this Sunday 5th October and Sundays 19th and 26th

Starting 8:00pm, charge Y500

The wonderful Kifumi will be joining me as usual to sing a few songs.

also at

GinNoIsu Cafe in Odawara on Wed 15th September. 12 noon free

At the みずほ銀行小田原 Mizuho Bank in Odawara

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Odawara, Kanagawa

At the

Blackouts

Next blackout for Minamiashigara Shi is on Monday! Hurray!

Plus they have now split the blackout groupings into many groupings. Minamiashigara is now 4D, not group 4,
but 4D. Yamakita and Odawara are also part of 4D.

So the next blackout will be Monday afternoon around 3PM. Exact time should be announced by speaker car or by the
city speaker system that morning or before.

Group 4 Blackouts on Friday

Group 4 Blackouts, Both blackouts cancelled! Hurray!

Daiyuzan Line Schedule

Here is the Daiyuzan Line schedule in Japanese.

Check it out

The Odawara Christian Centre

The Odawara Christian Centre: 0465-34-2438 (English), 34-2796 (Japanese) Tues-Fri. 9AM-5PM). They hold church services in English and Japanese.

They also offer free Japanese classes for foreigners. Community Counseling in English is offered in Yokohama, for inquiries call 03-3968-4084. Free confidential telephone counseling at 03-3968-4099.

Ume Matsuri – Odawara`s Famous Plum Festival

The Odawara Plum Festival: Is held from Feb. 1st-28th. You can see the beautiful plum blossoms at Soga Plum Woods in Odawara. There will be 30,000 plum trees in full bloom!

Take your camera!

The plum woods spread out from the foot of Odawara Castle and it offers a view of Mount Fuji. Soga is also the site of one of the three most famous vendettas in Japan involving the Soga brothers and contains many historic sites.

During the festival, there will be local performing arts demonstrations, including the Odawara chochin (lantern) dance. For those less culturally inclined you can take part in the plum pit spitting contest! Be sure to take some tissue with you!

When you tire of spitting you might enjoy trying some of Odawara’s famous ume-boshi (pickled plum) at the concours. Site: Soga Plum Woods. Access: Shimo-Soga Station (located within the plum woods) on the JR Gotemba Line.

For further details call Odawara-shi Kanko Kyokai 0465-22-5002. I imagine someone will speak English at this number. Note you don’t go to the castle you must start from Shimo-Soga Station.

Where can I get foreign food?

Foreign Food: Tozan in Odawara across from McDonald’s near Odawara Station has some foreign food. As well, you can order foreign food from FBC–The Foreign Buyers Club. Foreign Buyers Club Website and they must be listed in The Townpage as well.

Lusca is the shopping centre inside Odawara Station. The supermarket in the basement sells a lot of foreign food, and Plaza (also in Lusca) has a lot of foreign snacks including chocolate, chips and whatever else you are likely to want to “pig out,” on.

Tengu Natural Foods has a huge selection of organic food, and they also have a website. Most Japanese supermarkets also carry some foreign food. The Fuji Supa across the street from Kevin`s Tsukahara School carries a little foreign food, as does Piago, located near Daiyuzan Station.

Expat Express sells food from home too and you don’t need to buy it in bulk!

Odawara Boasts the Largest Shopping Mall in Kanagawa Prefecture – Robinson`s

The supermarket in Robinson’s Mall has a lot of foreign food. Robinsons and Odawara City Mall, a sister mall right next to it, are both located in Kamonomiya. Best to take a bus from Kamonomiya Station on the Tokaido Line – Or drive if you have a car.

Robinson`s is a great place to shop if you want clothes, food or have children. The best stores and shopping areas in our area are reviewed in The Odawara Bulletin Board.

Living in Odawara & Minami Ashigara

Living in Odawara & Minami Ashigara
Basic Information about Living Here
& A Guide to Local Clubs and Helpful Websites and Phone Numbers

This information is geared towards people already living in this great port city, or planning to come here to live and work.

Just where is Odawara you may be wondering, and where do they get those fantastic umeboshi from? Odawara is a city of 200,000 located near the Izu Penninsula in south-west Kanagawa Prefecture. We are one hour south of Yokohama by regular express train and 80 minutes south of Tokyo via the Odakyu line.

The umeboshi are pickled plums in English, and if you love salty food, you have to try them. There are ;lum trees throughout the area and there is a plum festival celebrating this bounty in February. Odawara is also famous for kamaboko a kind of fish version of spam that many Japanese love.

We have a fantastic castle with a moat, and cherry trees. You really should see it if you come to Japan.. We also boast the largest shopping centre in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Minami Ashigara, borders Odawara and has about 45,000 citizens. All Japanese older than 4 know that Kintaro a famous fairy tale took place here. Minami Ashigara was voted as having the best water in Japan, and that is why Fuji Film chose this small city to make its` film (a water intensive process), and Asahi Beer built its` latest high tech brewery in our city. We are located in a pleasant river valley of rice fields, businesses and fantastic views of Mount Fuji.

Banking: Sagami Tribank is a good, reliable bank if you can find one near you. I have dealt with them for over a decade with no problems. They seem to have avoided many of the pitfalls that put larger banks under. The drawback of the Minami Ashigara branches are that there are virtually no English speaking staff. I have never met any, but there may be some.

Some of my friends have used Citibank. With Citibank all banking can be done by phone in English including exchanging Yen to $ when the $ is low.

Although branches are only in Tokyo and Yokohama, you can open an account by phoning them. You can also get a
credit card throught them.

Otherwise Daichi Kangyo in Odawara is good because they have some English speaking staff and a cash machine. It is located across from the fish market and has a red and white sign. The Bank of Yokohama near Odawara Station seems to be a good bank as well. Take it for what it is worth. I am not an expert on Japanese banking by any means.

Internet: There are internet cafes in Odawara but they come and go, so it is best to check at The Odawara Bulletin Board to see where they currently exist.

We use Yahoo BB and find it gives good internet service.

You can get good service from various webservers in our area. I use So-Net–a Sony company, as it is cheaper than many for basic service. There is virtually no English support though apart from a very limited webpage.

One plus with so-net is you can pay by automatic withdrawl with a credit card. I hate having to go and pay at the bank every month. I have never been overcharged.

Pat-net is good but expensive. They are not as foreigner friendly as So-net. Only one member of the staff seems to understand any English and his English is quite limited. They do not seem interested in getting or keeping the business of the expatriat population of the area. You can do better with So-net or some of the others. So-net seems to have support in English by Email, but one of our teachers had trouble when he tried to get English support over the phone, the woman who called him back only spoke Japanese. OCN comes highly rated but I have never used them. I don’t know if they have support in English.

I don`t recommend OCN based on the fact that so many of my friends have had trouble getting hooked up–software conflicts
and other problems. With so-net my wife was able to get things working by calling their service department and of course
solving the problem while speaking Japanese.


Buying a Computer:

Currently you can buy a very good computer in the Odawara area for around 80,000 Yen. Nojima is a good place to buy a
computer cheaply and there are many Nojima stores in the area. Nojima on route 255 is also good and a great place to take your computer when you have problems. Don`t bother taking an English computer system to Nojima though, they will treat you like you have a disease.

Prices have dropped by about 80 percent from five years ago! I recently picked up an Emachine computer in Akihabara without a monitor for 52,000 Yen! It is the best computer we own and it was a great deal !

Do a search at google for Dell Japan. They sell some great computers.

Japanese Lessons: There are free Japanese lessons offered at the Odawara Christian Centre.

The Odawara International Club offers Japanese lessons as well. Learn Japanese offers free lessons online. You can advertise for a Japanese teacher at The Odawara Bulletin Board .

The Odawara International Lounge

The Odawara International Lounge: 0465-24-7760, 15-19, 1 Chome Sakaecho,Odawara. Sakaecho Parking Lot, third floor. Located next to the Odawara Post Office. It is in the nicest parkade you will ever find, built to look like an old Japanese building.

In this very comfortable lounge, you will find magazines and newspapers in English. Any foreigner can come and use the facilities here for free. The aim of the lounge is to provide useful information to foreign residents and for supporting activities of international volunteer groups and international exchange activities. It really deserves more use and publicity. A nice place to relax.

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