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JR Obama Line at Tsuruga Station in Fukui Prefecture, the line's terminus. From Tsuruga, it takes 60 to 70 min. to Obama.
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Obama Station
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Obama Station
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"I love Obama" banners decorate the main drags in central Obama.
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"I love Obama" banner
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Some shops along the main drag (Ote-dori and Hamakaze-dori) have these notices in support of Barack Obama, world peace, and cultural exchange.
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Some shops along Hamakaze-dori shopping arcade have these congratulatory notices for President Barack Obama.
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Obama support signs on a hotel entrance in Obama, on Jan. 20, 2009, the Inauguration Day. This is probably the hotel where the Obama booster members would watch the inauguration live on TV at 1 am.
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Obama merchandise and souvenirs, for both Obama and Barack Obama are sold at a few stores in Obama. This store called Wakasa-ya, on Hamakaze-dori, has the largest selection of Obama goods. A short walk from Obama Station.
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Wakasa-ya souvenir shop on Hamakaze-dori. 若狭屋 はまかぜ通り
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Wakasa-ya souvenir shop
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"I love Obama" sticker on store window. This logo is
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A bust of Barack Obama outside the Wakasa-ya souvenir shop in Obama, Fukui. Made by a local plasterer in 2008. Not a very good likeness.
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A bust of Barack Obama outside the Wakasa-ya souvenir shop in Obama, Fukui.
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The Wakasa-ya shop displays snapshots of past activities of the Obama booster association.
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Some presidential campaign memorabilia in a store corner.
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"I love Obama" T-shirts for 2500 yen.
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"I love Obama" T-shirts and banners. The banner is only 1200 yen (excluding the pole).
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"I love Obama" headbands for 600 yen.
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A copy of the letter from presidential candidate Barack Obama to the city of Obama, Fukui Prefecture. Dated Feb. 21, 2008. Click on thumbnail to see full text.
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"I love Obama" manju bean cakes, but only the back of his head is imprinted on the manju.
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More Obama manju
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Obama senbei crackers
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Obama book in Japanese. His election victory speech in Japanese.
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Manju at the kiosk at Obama Station.
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Inside Wakasa-ya shop, there's an application form to join the Obama for Obama Association (Obama wo Katte ni Oen Suru Kai).
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Application form to join the Obama Informal Booster Association (Obama wo Katte ni Oen Suru Kai).
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Laquered chopsticks with the "I love Obama" logo.
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Laquered chopsticks with the "I love Obama" logo. Laquerware is one of Obama's local specialties.
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On Jan. 20, 2009, the US Presidential Inauguration Day for Hawaii-born Barack Obama, the city of Obama in Fukui held a special event at Hagaji temple. 羽賀寺
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Hagaji temple is one of Obama's major temples with Important Cultural Properties including an 11-face Kannon statue.
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Path to Hagaji temple's main Hondo hall.
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Hagaji's temple bell.
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Hagaji temple's Hondo main hall where the 11-face Kannon statue is worshipped. This is the main venue for Obama's Inauguration Day event.
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Near the Hondo hall were tents selling Obama food and merchandise. The sign celebrates the birth of US President Obama.
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Obama goods included sake rice wine.
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Obama sake
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Obama confections such as manju, this time with the face imprinted (instead of the back of the head). Passed out for free.
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Obama burgers were passed out free to the people attending the event. Free soft drinks (hot) also helped in warming my hands.
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Obama rolled maki-sushi on sale.
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Obama soba noodles, 500 yen per bag.
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Dried bread in cans.
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Obama chopsticks. These were the more expensive ones costing around 1900 yen.
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Obama's Inauguration Day event was called "Going Beyond the Seven Seas--Peace Bell Ringing for the World. 七つの海を超えて、世界にとどけ平和の鐘
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The event started at 6:30 pm when it was quite dark (the actual inauguration ceremonies in Washington, DC would start some hours later at around 2 am that night, Japan time).
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The event started with singing by a local group called Anyone Brother's Band. They sang a song called "Obama is Beautiful World!"
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Later, Obama's mascot Nana-chan (a cat with mackerel fish stripes) joined in and they sang the mascot's song.
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Next on the program was a letter to Barack Obama read aloud by the chairman of the Obama for Obama Association. After reading it, he put the letter in an envelope to be mailed to the US President.
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Then a woman from the Obama Girls hula troupe read a message from Obama Mayor Koji Matsuzaki. The mayor, of course, hopes that Barack will visit Obama someday. (Toshio Murakami is no longer mayor.)
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At 7 pm, fireworks were launched near the temple as the signal to start ringing the Hagaji temple bell. About eight temples in Obama (as well as in Nagasaki where there is Obama Onsen spa) started ringing the temple bell at 7 pm for world peace.
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Various people rang it a total of seven times to spread peace over the seven oceans of the world. The temple priest was the first to strike the bell.
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The temple priest prays after ringing the bell.
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Other people who rang the bell included members of the Obama Girls who were to perform later.
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After the bell ringing, a large local choir sang Beethoven, including three professional soloists who sang for free.
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They sang "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
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After the choir, the Obama Girls hula dancers took over the stage and danced two songs. For someone like me from Hawaii, it was trippy to see hula dancing in a Buddhist temple.
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Obama Girls dance the hula. The first number was a Japanese rendition of "Sophisticated Hula" called "Tsuki no Yoru wa" (The Moon at Night).
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Also see my video at YouTube. おばま ガールズ
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The Obama Girls (and Boys) were formed because of Barack being born and mainly raised in Hawaii. The Obama Girls will travel to Hawaii (at their own expense) to perform as well.
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This event drew quite a few press people, and it was reported in most major Japanese newspapers and a few foreign media.
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Look at this, hula dancing in a Japanese Buddhist temple in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan.
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The second number was "Kaimana Hila" sung in Hawaiian. Kaimana Hila means Diamond Head (the famous mountain/crater in Honolulu). It's a standard hula number.
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It must have been cold for these dancers dressed for a tropical setting. The temperature was slightly above freezing.
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The back of their T-shirt reads "I love Obama -- Obama Girls."
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Right after their performance ended at 7:25 pm, I had to leave to catch the last train home. I missed seeing the Obama Boys who also danced. The event ended at 8 pm. Also see my video at YouTube.
 
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