Approaching the Year’s End, Soba Production Peaks

Approaching the Year’s End, Soba Production Peaks

Fukui’s Noodle Manufacturers, Soba as Year-End Gifts and for New Year’s Eve

Closing into the end of the year, noodle manufacturers within Fukui Prefecture are approaching their peak production season for soba (buckwheat) noodles.

Nichifuku Seimen (“日福製麺”, located in Fukui City, Terute, 1-Chome) has been operating from 7:00 a.m., day after day. Using soba flour produced in Ono, freshly kneaded dough are rolled down to a 1.5 millimetre thickness, before being cut into equal lengths. The employees then skillfully package the noodles for distribution.

Using a significant amount of water, along with using udon flour, the soba noodles are described to have a “smooth and satisfying sensation as it travels through your mouth.” From the last part of November, soba noodle production speeds up, in anticipation of the year-end gift season. The crucial period for production concerning its use for New Year’s Even will be from the 27th. In other words, as New Year’s Eve gets closer, production will also get busier.

Company president Tatsuya Iwasaki (age 43) explains, “When the noodles become moist, after being boiled for a long time in plenty of hot water, the smooth texture will really stand out. The noodles are perfect for making Oroshi Soba!”

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/991814

Sauce Katsu Food Stand at the University of Tokyo Campus Festival

Sauce Katsu Food Stand at the University of Tokyo Campus Festival

“HOYATTE Fukui”, a Food Stand at the Kobama Festival

“HOYATTE Fukui” is a group created by University of Tokyo students who originated from Fukui Prefecture. The group had set up a food stand featuring Sauce Katsu for the Kobama Festival, a campus festival at the University of Tokyo. As well as promoting the famous products of Fukui, the students were ailing to promote tourism within Fukui Prefecture.

To operate freely in a collaborative structure, in efforts to invigorate Fukui’s image, “HOYATTE Fukui” formed as an external university group in 2017. In addition to hosting a food stand at the University of Tokyo’s spring in autumn campus festivals, the group. Works to promote the charm of Fukui Prefecture using various social networking sites, including Twitter and Instagram.

The Kobama Festival was held for three days, during November 22 to 24. Preparation and operation of the food stand began with University of Tokyo students, and grew to about 30 members, to include students from Chuo University and Keio University. The students, supplied with cutlets and sauce by vendors from within Fukui Prefecture, were able to provide freshly fried food. The students introduced and promoted Fukui’s “B-grade gourmet” (affordable and casual cruising, as opposed to fine dining) expressing to customers, “Next time, definitely please try eating it in Fukui!”

Tsukasa Yamamoto, a group member who is also a first-year University of Tokyo student, expressed his thoughts, “If through these events, we can get people to associate Sauce Katsu with Fukui, we would feel really happy! We hope that, every if just a little, we can crease a good impression of Fukui within other people, and perhaps that impression can carry them into Fukui.”

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/986694

Insufficient Garbage Separation, Resulting in a Round of Smokes and Fires

Insufficient Garbage Separation, Resulting in a Round of Smokes and Fires

Lithium-Ion Battery: Hazardous Waste

At the plastic waste treatment facility in the Nanetsu Garbage Collection Association (南越清掃組合), located within Fukui Prefecture’s Echizen City, there have been repeated instances of smoke and fire, as a result of not properly sorting and disposing of lithium-ion batteries, often used in smartphones and other electronics. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming commonly used in more devices such as electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarette”), and wireless internet devices. With a number of close class occurring in November, the Nanetsu Garbage Collection Association strongly pleaded, “Please dispose of hazardous waste properly.”

In a summary by the association, there have been 8 cases since August of last year, where a collection of plastic waste caused fumes. On November 18th, in the same facility concerning a plastic waste compressor, burning garbage was seen on the conveyor belt; among the fire-devastated area, a deformed lithium-ion battery was found. Other past incidents can be traced back to cell phone batteries and e-cigarettes.

Under strong impact or pressure, a lithium-ion battery becomes deformed and can cause a fire due to the potential heat and energy it holds. According to the association, lithium-ion batteries would get caught within the plastic separation machine, become deformed, and have a high risk of resulting in a fire. By the end of last year, eight fire and smoke detectors were installed, as well as additional fire sprinklers.

“We put as much effort as we an in preventing fires in its early stages, but incidences can sometimes be unavoidable,” says an executive, pleading for everyone to be thorough in separating waste.

According to the Japan Containers and Packaging Recycling Association, across the nation’s recycling centres in the current year (up to November 7th), there have been 202 cases of smoke and fire related incidents. Among the 202 cases, 97 were likely caused by lithium-ion batteries. With the increased use of electronic products, such as e-cigarettes and smartphones, the number of incidents continue to increase.

The association pleaded, “Lithium-ion batteries are used in products such as e-cigarettes and various wireless devices. In the case where it is difficult to extract the battery, please dispose of the whole product as hazardous waste, even if the body is made of plastic.”

When purchasing replacements for small electronic products, powered by lithium-ion batteries, at the places such as large electronic stores and other retailers, they can also taking the old products for collection and recycling. According to the incorporated Japan Portable Rechargeable Battery Recycling Center’s homepage, within the Nanetsu Garbage Collection Association’s jurisdiction (which includes Echizen City, Minami-echizen Town, and Ikeda Town), there are 23 shops accepting small electronics for recycling within Echizen City, and 2 shops within Minami-echizen Town.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/986499

The Case of Middle and Older Aged Hikikomori Among Us

The Case of Middle and Older Aged Hikikomori Among Us

The “Anti-Poverty Campaign” Presents Speech in Fukui

On November 30th, the “Anti-Poverty Campaign 2019” (backed by the Fukui Shimbun Company) was held at the Fukui Prefectural Education Center, located in Fukui City. In a keynote speech titled, “Middle and Older Aged Hikikomori” by Mr. Tomohiko Masuda, a clinical psychologist and sub-representitive of the Self-actualization Counselling Society, he pleaded, “This is something that can happen to anyone. We wish for the government to be more concerned about this, understand the issue as something closer than we may think, and work towards a solution.”

An executive committee of about 120 people was established, consisting of members from the Fukui Bar Association, the Fukui Judicial Clerk Association, and labour organizations within the prefecture.

Within Japan, the number of middle and older aged (40 to 64 years old) hikikomori is at approximately 610,000, and among the younger age bracket (15 to 39 years old) is estimated at roughly 540,000 people, explained Mr. Masuda. For those within the middle and older aged group, the reasons for the affliction varies among societal factors including employment, and circumstantial factors such as caring for a parent.

“It is not an issue that can be solved through a discourse about self-responsibility,” stressed Mr. Masuda.

Also, excluding family, displayed on an index concerning societal relationships, Japan placed the lowest among developed countries, pointing out that “Japanese people are the loneliest citizens in the world.” In addition, there is a strong correlation between loneliness and being a hikikomori, and statistical data has shown that roughly 40% of solitary deaths involve men and women within the age range of 20 to 60 ears old.

“We wish for everyone to understand that hikikomori is an issue that involves loneliness and death,” pleaded Mr. Masuda.

Last year in the United Kingdom, as a countermeasure, a proposal for a “Minister of Loneliness” cabinet position, and regional administrative support systems for hikikomori were put forward. The strengthening of the social safety net was highlighted.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/984121

Fukui’s Winter: Smooth Mizu-Yokan

Fukui’s Winter: Smooth Mizu-Yokan

An Elegant Sweetness, Confectioners Begin Production

Mizu-Yokan Burger”: mizu-yokan, topped with whipped cream, between a toasted bun.

Characterized by its smooth texture and elegant sweetness, “mizu-yokan” is the seasonal flavour of winter. Confectionery stores within Fukui Prefecture have begun production, filling the workshops with a sweet aroma.

“Egawa”, which was founded 82 years ago (located in Fukui City, Terute, 3-Chome), began production in November. In a large pot, agar (a vegetable gelatin) is dissolved, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and adzuki beans are added, and boiled into a syrup. It is then transferred into a tub, where the solution is constantly stirred, while electric fans cool the mixture down to 45°C. From a special machine, the mixture is poured into containers, where it further cools and solidifies into its completed form.

Shigetaka Egawa (aged 52), the Egawa company president, expresses his thoughts, “Continuing from previous generations, we also intend to adapt to the future generations. We also wish for those outside the prefecture to experience this flavour!”

Production will continue until the end of March, with peak production happening during the year’s end, where more than ten thousand boxes will be made in one day.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/984039