Opening Fukui’s First Esports School

Opening Fukui’s First Esports School

ESPO LAB, Instruction From Pro Gamers

From February 1st, an Esports school “ESPO LAB FUKUI” (located in Fukui Prefecture, Fukui City, Takayanagi 2-Chome) will open for business, with aims to find talented gamers and operate as a training centre. In addition to having 12 high-end PCs available for use at an hourly rate, training curriculums instructed by specialized Esports pro gamers will also be offered, to nurture the skills of other pro gamers. The Esports school will be the first of its kind within the prefecture.

With an emphasis on strong focus and quick reflexes, Esports is treated like any other legitimate sport in many countries across the globe. In addition to being an official event during the 2022 Asian games, an Esports championship pitting Japan’s prefectures against each other was held as a cultural program during last autumn’s National Sports Festival of Japan in Ibaraki; the event gathered much attention.

A construction company and the parent company of ESPO LAB, Chikara Gumi (located in Fukui City, Takayanagi 2-Chome; company president, Riki Maeda), has its focus on how Esports can improve communication skills through online connections. The company decided to open the Esports school with the concept of nurturing people’s talents as essential in invigorating the local area, as well as luring in more events into Fukui in the future, including Esports competitions.

ESPO LAB is located on the 7th floor of RAINBOW BUILDING (レインボービル), and will have the latest high-end gaming PCs to connect globally. The company has also hired three pro gamers to work as instructors; other pro gamers will also be available as instructors through online connections.

“It would be great if we can find talented people in Fukui to join our pro Esports team,” said ESPO LAB instructor and Fukui Esports Union Vice President, Takahiro Nosho; he also used to be part of the pro Esports team “HANAGUMI”.

“There are cases where children lacking in communication skills are able to develop and converse with other through online gaming. We hope to offer such a place where children can flourish,” explained company president Maeda.

Courses will be held between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on holidays. Instruction fees has not yet been determined. PCs will also be available for use at an hourly rate; the rates are planned to be ¥400/hour on weekdays, and ¥500/hour on weekends and holidays.

Business hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to midnight (on opening day, hours will end between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.). It will be closed on Mondays.

Inquiries to ESPO LAB can be made by phone: 0776 (97) 6901.

“Esports” is an abbreviation of “electronic sports”. Competing through PC, console, and mobile games, it has been recognized as an official sport by many. The soccer game “Pro Evolution Soccer” and the fighting game “Street Fighter” are popular in Japan. In Europe, America, China, and South Korea, competitions involving large sums of prize money are held, and many spectators watch the matches on large monitors while listening to live commentators.


Doraemon, Big Adventure in Katsuyama During the Cretaceous Period

Doraemon, Big Adventure in Katsuyama During the Cretaceous Period

The Prefectural Dinosaur Museum as Supervising Director, a Book to Fully Enjoy Doraemon’s New Film

Doraemon and friends, on a big adventure in Katsuyama, one hundred and twenty million years in the past!

On January 22nd, an educational mook was released for sale by Shogakukan, for those wanting to fully enjoy the upcoming film, “Doraemon: Nobita’s New Dinosaur”, which will show in theatres nationwide from March 6th. In cooperation with the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, located in Katsuyama City, to be part of editorial supervision, an educational manga was compiled where Nobita and other regular characters find various fossils, including that of a Fukuititan, transforming into a herd of dinosaurs during ancient-period Katsuyama, and leading to chaos.

The project began development from fall of 2019, and marks the museum’s fourth collaboration with Doraemon. The prefectural governor of Fukui, Tatsuji Sugimoto, made the announcement during a scheduled press conference on January 22nd.

The B5 size mook is 102 pages. It features a rampaging dinosaur from the film, in a high-quality illustration. Based on the latest research, many topics including the dinosaurs’ ecology and extinction are explained in an easy-to-understand format.

The included education manga is 26 pages long, and follows a story where Doraemon and Nobita visit an excavation site in Katsuyama City’s Kitadani-cho, in an effort to find treasure. The museum’s chief research officer, Masateru Shibata (aged 44), makes an appearance in the manga as himself; he talks about the fossil cleaning operation done in the museum, and the difficulties involved in excavation.

Using a secret gadget to travel to the Cretaceous Period, Doraemon and his friends cross paths with the Fukuiraptor and Fukuisaurus, turning into an amusing adventure story.

The mook is currently on sale in bookstores across the country for ¥800 (tax excluded).


Giant Eyeglasses Over 5 Metres Wide, Installed at Sabae’s Doors

Giant Eyeglasses Over 5 Metres Wide, Installed at Sabae’s Doors

A Promotional Signboard for the City of Glasses, Sabae City

As part of the City Promotion program for Fukui Prefecture’s Sabae City, the main north and south city entrance signboards were redesigned. In an eye-catching design, shaped as a large pair of glasses spanning over five metres wide, the signboard boldly announces, “Sabae: the City of Glasses” (“めがねのまちさばえ”).

Both installed in 1987, on the south side of Minami Koen Baseball Field in Arisada-cho 1-Chome, and at the three-forked road in Toba 3-Chrome, this is the second instance the signboards have been redesigned. At 5.2 metres wide and 9.5 metres tall, the project had cost four million yen.

Adopting the city’s official logo (“めがねのまちさばえ”) for its new design, although simple, has impact.


Junior High School Students Filled with Excitement, Great Success in Contacting the ISS

Junior High School Students Filled with Excitement, Great Success in Contacting the ISS

Conversations Using an Amateur Radio and English

Contact with outer space: a great success!

On January 22nd, fifteen students from Morita Junior High School (located in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture) used an amateur radio (also known as a “ham radio”), to communicate with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS), approximately 400 kilometres away from earth. Using English to converse with the astronauts, all the students felt closer to the cosmos.

From 2000, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) formed the international education program, ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station); this is the second time an institution within Fukui Prefecture took part in the program.

With approximately fifty people, including other students, parents, and guardians, watching in anticipation, at around five o’clock in the afternoon, contact was initiated. Masamori Sasaki (aged 44), who made the arrangements for participation into the ARISS program, adjusted the radio frequency, repeating the call sign “NA1SS”; upon calling out the third time, among the radio noise came a response, “Hello!”

Cheers engulfed the room.

During the 10 minutes of correspondence, the fifteen students took turns with the microphone, asking questions to Italian astronaut, Luca Parmitano.

“What is the first thing you want to do when you come back to earth?” asked a 14-year-old female student.

“I think I want to call my family, and take a shower,” replied the astronaut.

Questions were asked one after another including, “What is your favourite space food?” and “What does the Earth look like from space?”

“I was filled with excitement! I want to make my dreams come true,” said a 15-year-old student looking to engage int he field of space development in the future.


Enthusiastically Evaluating Chocolates for Valentine’s Day

Enthusiastically Evaluating Chocolates for Valentine’s Day

Competition Between Shops Picking Up Steam, Chocolates Lined Up Appealing to Women’s Hearts

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, business competition among shopping centres within Fukui Prefecture is picking up steam. With many kinds of chocolates for everyone, including for those looking to treat themselves, or to exchange as gifts between friends, the sales sections are specially organized with the various flavours and appearances in mind, lining up the gorgeous products to best appeal to the women’s hearts.

MAIMON, a Fukui City gift shop within the PARIO CITY shopping centre, has a special sales corner with around 300 different products; included among the lineup are chocolates with flavours meant to evoke images from a long-running TV series, featuring main characters Akechi Mitsuhide and Oda Nobunaga. One product, from a famous hotel in Tokyo, features a fruity and sour flavour, with its appearance having vivid colours. There are also products aimed towards adults, having a more subtle sweetness.

The sales peak for Valentine’s Day is during the three days prior.

On January 21st, children and their parents were carefully evaluating the sweets together.

“I want to give my husband a higher quality chocolate than what I normally buy, as a way to express my thanks for our daily life,” said a 45-year-old woman.

“I want to make sweets and give it to my friends,” said the 18-year-old daughter with a smile.