This month marks the 50th anniversary of the shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed railway system known as the bullet train, which revolutionised train travel across the world. Coinciding with the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Japan’s first shinkansen left Tokyo for Osaka, gathering speeds of up to 210km per hour on the way, cutting travel time down from nearly seven hours to just four. Connecting many major cities throughout Japan today, shinkansen technology is constantly evolving with speeds now reaching 320km per hour.
Construction of a linear motor railway system utilising superconducting magnetic levitation technology is scheduled to begin this year. The first section connecting a 286km stretch between Tokyo and Nagoya, will be completed by 2027 and will take only 40 minutes to travel. The line will also connect Tokyo to Osaka, across a 438km stretch, taking only 70 minutes. The train will reach a top speed of 505km per hour while levitating 10cm off the ground. Current maglev trains used elsewhere around the world only hover 1cm above the track. Hovering at 10cm means the trains remain safe even in the case of an earthquake occurring while operating at ultra-high speeds.
Photo: Central Japan Railway Company
Despite ever-increasing speeds, shinkansen have an impressive safety record, with over 10 billion passengers and zero fatalities. This exceptional safety performance can be attributed to many factors including the Shinkansen Electric and Track Inspection train (Dr Yellow), centralised control systems, Automatic Train Control (mechanisms to slow trains in emergencies) and an earthquake-triggered braking system. Along with safety, punctuality is a top priority for shinkansen. The average delay per train throughout the year is only 36 seconds. They are also renowned for comfortable and clean interiors, and scenes of hospitality, with station staff speedily cleaning the trains and bowing to arriving and departing passengers. Interestingly, the English announcements on the Tokaido shinkansen are provided by Perth-born Australian singer Donna Burke.
It has been half a century since the first shinkansen journey was made, and today with a range of quick and convenient routes, it provides a great way to explore Japan. Click here for details on Japan Rail passes which offer excellent value for train travel across the country.
Japanese Film Festival
Experience the largest Japanese Film Festival outside of Japan, boasting the latest contemporary titles that attracted 25,000 people nationwide last year. Presented by the Japan Foundation, Sydney, the 18th Japanese Film Festival will showcase a variety of Japanese cinematic delights from October 29 - November 2 at Hoyts Carousel and Hoyts Millenium. With 20 films on offer, from JU-ON – The Beginning of the End to the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, there’s something for everyone! For more information and to buy tickets, visit http://japanesefilmfestival.net/.
The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is aimed at promoting grass-roots international exchange between Japan and other nations. Specifically, the Programme aims to enhance foreign language education in Japan, and to promote international exchange at the local level. It offers university graduates the opportunity to work as Coordinators of International Relations (CIRs) in local government organisations or as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in elementary, junior high and senior high schools. Applications close November 21, 2014. Click here to download an application pack.
Western Australia-Hyogo Banshu Fashion Textile Program Exhibition
The Banshu Fashion Textile Program is an ongoing project established in 2011 as part of the 30th anniversary of the Sister Sate relationship between Western Australia and Hyogo. The program is designed to assist the WA fashion design industry by providing access to Banshu textile industries in Hyogo and is now in its fourth year thanks to wonderful support from Ozawa Textile Co. Ltd, Naigai Orimono Co. Ltd, the Department of State Development WA and the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre. Three emerging young designers will show their collections created in collaboration with Japanese textile companies Ozawa Textile Co. Ltd, and Naigai Orimono Co. Ltd in October, be sure to check them out!
Dates: October 21-31
Location: Enex 100 (entry via Hay Street Mall)
The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase
Luna Palace Cinemas in Leederville, in association with Madman, will be screening The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase - Celebrating the genius of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata from October 30 to November 12. Co-founders of renowned Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyzakai and Isao Takahata are two of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time. As creators of some of the most beloved and award-winning animated features the world has known, their legacy is one of unrivalled imagination and unsurpassed excellence. The Tale of the Studio Ghibli Showcase features not only their 2013 masterpieces in Takahata’s The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya and Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, but also two films they each made 25 years earlier, Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro and Takahata’s Grave Of The Fireflies. Complementing these feature films are two revealing documentaries, The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness and Isao Takahata And The Tale Of His Princess Kaguya, each providing unrivalled access to the inner workings of Studio Ghibli and the painstaking creative process behind the creators’ most recent films. Details and tickets are available here. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for an exciting giveaway coming soon!
Grave of the Fireflies
The Bonsai Society of Western Australia is holding a Bonsai Show on November 15-16 from 10am-5pm at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre. There will be bonsai demonstrations and sales all weekend. For more information, please click here.
PHRASE OF THE MONTH
This month’s phrase, itai doushin is a yojijukugo (four character phrase), which translates as ‘different body, same mind.’ It is used to acknowledge the harmony of two minds, or two people acting in perfect accord.
Listen to Konnichiwa, a Japanese and English radio program on Thursday evenings from 7-8pm on 107.3 FM.
Read the latest issue of niponica, a popular magazine about Japanese culture, niponica No. 12 - Another Side of Japan: Snacks and Sweets.
CULTURAL AND LANGUAGE CLASSES
会WA (kaiWA) is a casual get-together of Japanese and Australians held every second Thursday. Hosted and organised by the JET Programme Alumni Association of WA (JETAA WA), kaiWA is a great chance to practice your Japanese, make Japanese friends and learn more about teaching English in Japan on the JET Programme.
kaiWA is held at 43 Below on the corner of Hay Street and Barrack Street in Perth. It starts at 5:30pm and runs until about 8:30-9pm, so don’t worry if you can’t be there at the starting time.
For more information on the JET Programme Alumni Association of WA, please check their website above and for more information on the JET Programme please check the following site.
Chatterbox is another casual get-together of Australians and Japanese, held on Saturday afternoons at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre from 2-4pm. For more details please call the Centre on 9385 9002 or visit their website.
AJS Tomodachi Lunch
On the first Thursday of every month, the Australia-Japan Society of WA holds a Tomodachi Lunch. The lunch is held at 12:00pm at Jun Restaurant, 568 Hay Street, Perth. See here for more details.
Bonsai Society of WA and Bonsai Workshop Inc.
Meetings of the Bonsai Society of WA are held on the last Monday of each month and include demonstrations, lectures, films, advice and a display of members’ tree. The Bonsai Society also holds regular workshops and other events. For more information please click the above link.
Meetings of the Bonsai Workshop Inc. are held on the last Saturday of each month. Members can bring their trees to work on, receive advice and watch others at work. For more information please click on the above link.
Perth Kimono Club
The Perth Kimono Club aims to bring together people living in or visiting Perth who wish to share the joy and beauty of wearing a Japanese kimono. You may have been wearing kimono all your life or you may have never worn one before, either way you are still welcome to join. Click here to find out more about the club and upcoming events.
Website of the Consulate-General of Japan in Perth
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