Koshigaya, located some 30 kilometers from downtown Tokyo, and Campbelltown, which is situated about 50 kilometers from Sydney’s central business district, were almost made for each other, even if only serving as satellite cities for their respective countries’ largest cities.
Koshigaya and Campbelltown are sister cities and it’s hard to see a better example of the custom than the relationship between the Japanese bed town and its Aussie sibling. Koshigaya is also home to a picturesque corner of Australia, complete with wallabies, emus and some lovely wild birds, including rainbow lorikeets, superb parrots, Major Mitchell’s cockatoos, tawny frogmouths and kookaburras. The Campbelltown Forest of Wild Birds in Koshigaya could arguably be one of the Kanto Plains areas best-kept secrets.
Though only a small-scale park, the attraction is overall an excellent one as it gives a reasonably close view of some delightfully colorful (mostly) Australian birds in a fairly authentic aviary, the largest of its type in Japan.
Surrounding the aviary are plenty of gum trees, adding to the Down Under-flavor of the Saitama Prefecture city.
Koshigaya and Saitama became sister cities in 1984, one of the earliest formal relationships between local governments in Australia and Japan. The Campbelltown Forest of Wild Birds opened in 1995 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the sister-city relationship.
Campbelltown reciprocates with its Koshigaya Park, containing Japanese gardens.
Details of the Campbelltown Forest of Wild Birds in Koshigaya are as follows: Campbelltown Forest of Wild Birds(Japanese link)
272-1 Daikichi, Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, 343-0008 Open: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays, new year season holidays Entrance fees: Adults 100 yen, children (primary and middle-school students) 30 yen Related information on Koshigaya-Campbelltown ties Campbelltown-Koshigaya Sister Cities Association Campbelltown City Council page on sister city relations Campbelltown-Koshigaya Sister Cities Association student delegates arrive to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their relationship Campbelltown-Koshigaya friendship is 30 years young
Shinzo Abe addresseｄ the Australian Parliament at Parliament House, Canberra, on July 8, 2014. He was the first Japanese prime minister to address both house of parliament. He gave a joint news conference with Australian Prime MInister Tony Abbott following the address.
Colorful Japanese entertainer Kyary Pyamu Pyamu will play one show in Australia later this month as part of her Nanda Collection World Tour 2014.
Demand to see the performer probably best known for her flamboyant 2011 viral video “Pon Pon Pon” has been enormous and her only Australian show on March 23 was shifted from Sydney’s Metro Theater to the considerably larger UNSW Roundhouse.
The often infantile 21-year-old whose full stage name is Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (her real name is Kiriko Takemura) is currently among the best-selling contemporary performers and is easily Japan’s best-known singer among 20-somethings outside of her homeland.
Although Kyary Pyamu Pyamu has a reputation outside of Japan as being something of a non-conformist, most of her innovation comes from a marketing team playing on the image she cultivates cleverly. Nonetheless, there’ll be no shortage of color or noise at her show. Kyary Pyamu Pyamu’s Nanda Collection World Tour 2014 comprises shows in 15 cities in 10 countries over a five-month span from February to June this year.
Pon Pon Pon
Tickets for Kyary Pyamu Pyamu’s sole Australian show are available through Ticketek
A scene from “Kaura no Hancho Kaigi” with Japanese POWs wearing the crimson uniforms they wore at the Cowra Prison Camp.
Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra) superbly dramatizes events surrounding a definitive incident in Australia-Japan relations.
The play being performed by the Rinkogun theater group daily until March 24 (with two shows on March 19 and 21) centers on the Cowra Breakout, an attempted escape by about 550 Japanese prisoners of war being held in an Australian POW camp in August 1944.
Interwoven with the action surrounding the decision to rebel and attempt to escape or die trying by a group of men whose own homeland had effectively killed them by bureaucracy and cultural manipulation is a tale of a group of women making a film about the incident, but also containing a sub-plot of documenting the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Overall, the result is a must-see for anyone with an interest in Australia-Japan relations, though it may not be exclusively pleasing and could raise discomforting issues that can sometimes be shoved under the carpet, prime of which is the fact that Australia and Japan were once at war and bitter, racially opposed enemies: a matter not commonly known in Japan. The play is also an unabashedly left-wing account of events, but this is also Kaura no Hancho Kaigi’s greatest strength as it humanizes the characters, notably the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers whose wartime culture depended on their dehumanization.
Playwright Yoji Sakate‘s script admirably addresses many serious issues, but perhaps too many, and sacrifices clarity at times in an apparent effort to ensure all sides have their views presented, but this foible is only a minor one.
Made for a Japanese audience, Kaura no Hancho Kaigi is essentially a Japanese-language play, but has large swathes of English (sometimes for mysterious reasons), much of which is delivered with deplorable Australian accents by American actors John Oglevee and Benjamin Beadsley, who redeemed themselves by breaking the fourth wall to apologize for their Strine deficiency.)
Nontheless, the somewhat surreal play had a bit of everything from action, humor, tragedy and drama, and is certainly worth seeing.
カウラの班長会議Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra) All seats reserved (prices range from 1,500 to 4,000 yen)
Showing until Sunday, March 24 at Shomokitazawa Za Suzunari
For inquiries or ticket sales, contact Rinkogun
(All inquiries should be made by a Japanese speaker)