JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Last additions - Obama 小浜市
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Statue of Sugita Genpaku as a child, in front of the public hospital. 杉田 玄白Jan 21, 2009
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Minamigawa RiverJan 21, 2009
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Inside Obama City Hall.Jan 21, 2009
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Statue outside Obama City Hall.Jan 21, 2009
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Statue of Sugita Genpaku, a Dutch studies scholar who studied medicine. He was from Obama. 杉田 玄白Jan 21, 2009
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Pure and clean water wellJan 21, 2009
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Saba Kaido Museum displays accounting books for selling saba mackerel fish.Jan 21, 2009
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Starting point of the Saba Kaido road. 鯖街道Jan 21, 2009
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Statue of Lord Sakai Tadakatsu outside Obama City Hall. Tadakatsu also served as Tairo, of Chief Minister in the Tokugawa government during 1638 to 1656.Jan 21, 2009
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Saba Kaido Museum. You can see what the mackerel merchants wore when traveling.Jan 21, 2009
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Inside the Saba Kaido Museum.Jan 21, 2009
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Izumi-cho shopping arcade was also the starting point of the Saba Kaido road to Kyoto. During the Edo Period, this road was used by saba (mackerel fish) merchants traveling to sell their fish. The road was actually a network of roads. Jan 21, 2009
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Obama City HallJan 21, 2009
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Inside Izumi-cho shopping arcade where they sell mostly seafood.Jan 21, 2009
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Entrance to Izumi-cho shopping arcade.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Jan 21, 2009
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Izumi-cho also has a small museum for the Saba Kaido seen on the right.Jan 21, 2009
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Lookout deck in Obama Park.Jan 21, 2009
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View from Obama Park.Jan 21, 2009
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Lookout deck in Obama Park. This was where the Chimuras were abducted by North Korea in 1978. Obama was one of the main places North Korean agents used to enter Japan.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Obama coastJan 21, 2009
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Obama waterfrontJan 21, 2009
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Road leading to the hilltop Obama Park where the youth hostel used to be.Jan 21, 2009
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Wing TerraceJan 21, 2009
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Obama beach, fit for swimming in summer.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama coastJan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Mermaid Terrace.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama beachJan 21, 2009
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Along the Obama waterfront is this Mermaid Terrace.Jan 21, 2009
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Mermaid TerraceJan 21, 2009
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Saba-zushi or rice topped with mackerel, a local specialty in Obama, Fukui.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Sushi restaurant in Wakasa Fisherman's Wharf. Buy sushi and eat it there with free miso soup and tea.Jan 21, 2009
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Boat cruise to Sotomo Rocks on the nearby coast.Jan 21, 2009
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Near the water is Wakasa Fisherman's Wharf, housing restaurants, souvenir shops, and a tour boat ticket office.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Private homes are built right up to the castle wall.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Layout of the original Obama Castle sandwiched between two rivers.Jan 21, 2009
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The castle grounds now has Obama Jinja Shrine, a Shinto shrine.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle's foundation for a turret.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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On top of castle wall.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle wallJan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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The castle suffers from unsightly parking lots and private homes encroaching on its historic remains. Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle stone foundation for the main castle tower. Lord Sakai Tadakatsu built the main castle tower in 1636. 小浜城跡Jan 21, 2009
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Whoever owned the castle land apparently sold off some house lots.Jan 21, 2009
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View from Obama Castle stone foundation for the main castle tower.Jan 21, 2009
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On top of Obama Castle stone foundation for the main castle tower.Jan 21, 2009
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Main drag (Ote-dori) from Obama Station. 大手通りJan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle stone foundation for the main castle tower. After the Kyogoku Clan moved to Izumo (Shimane Pref.), Sakai Tadakatsu took up residence in 1634 and his clan lived in the castle until the Meiji Restoration.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle stone foundation for the main castle tower. No structure remain. No moats remain either, except for the two rivers which served as a natural moat.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama Castle remains. Only the stone foundation and a few stone walls remain. Obama Castle was built by Kyogoku Takatsugu in 1601 after he was awarded the Wakasa domain for his service during the Battle of Sekigahara.Jan 21, 2009
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JR Obama Station and taxis.Jan 21, 2009
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Mermaid on mailboxJan 21, 2009
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JR Obama StationJan 21, 2009
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Right near the exit of Obama Station is the tourist information office where you can obtain maps, pamphlets, and ask questions.Jan 21, 2009
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Main drag (Hamakaze-dori) from Obama StationJan 21, 2009
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JR Obama StationJan 21, 2009
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Sign urging the construction of a train line to Obama via Shiga Prefecture.Jan 21, 2009
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Train schedule for Obama Station. Very few train runs, about once an hour or less.Jan 21, 2009
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JR Obama Station entranceJan 21, 2009
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JR Obama Station exitJan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Welcome to ObamaJan 21, 2009
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JR Obama Station platformJan 21, 2009
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To Obama via JR Obama Line (Tsuruga Station).Jan 21, 2009
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JR Obama LineJan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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The back of their T-shirt reads "I love Obama -- Obama Girls."Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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It must have been cold for these dancers dressed for a tropical setting. The temperature was slightly above freezing.Jan 21, 2009
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Other people who rang the bell included members of the Obama Girls who were to perform later.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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After the bell ringing, a large local choir sang Beethoven, including three professional soloists who sang for free.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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Look at this, hula dancing in a Japanese Buddhist temple in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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The temple priest prays after ringing the bell.Jan 21, 2009
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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.)Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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They sang "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.Jan 21, 2009
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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).Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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).Jan 21, 2009
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Also see my video at YouTube. おばま ガールズJan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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!"Jan 21, 2009
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Dried bread in cans.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama soba noodles, 500 yen per bag.Jan 21, 2009
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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Jan 21, 2009
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Obama chopsticks. These were the more expensive ones costing around 1900 yen.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama sakeJan 21, 2009
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Obama rolled maki-sushi on sale.Jan 21, 2009
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Path to Hagaji temple's main Hondo hall.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama goods included sake rice wine.Jan 21, 2009
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Hagaji's temple bell.Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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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).Jan 21, 2009
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Near the Hondo hall were tents selling Obama food and merchandise. The sign celebrates the birth of US President Obama.Jan 21, 2009
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Manju at the kiosk at Obama Station.Jan 21, 2009
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Laquered chopsticks with the "I love Obama" logo.Jan 21, 2009
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Hagaji temple is one of Obama's major temples with Important Cultural Properties including an 11-face Kannon statue.Jan 21, 2009
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Laquered chopsticks with the "I love Obama" logo. Laquerware is one of Obama's local specialties.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama book in Japanese. His election victory speech in Japanese.Jan 21, 2009
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Obama senbei crackersJan 21, 2009
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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Jan 21, 2009
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More Obama manjuJan 21, 2009
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Application form to join the Obama Informal Booster Association (Obama wo Katte ni Oen Suru Kai). オバマを勝手に応援する会Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" headbands for 600 yen.Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" manju bean cakes, but only the back of his head is imprinted on the manju.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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Some presidential campaign memorabilia in a store corner.Jan 21, 2009
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The Wakasa-ya shop displays snapshots of past activities of the Obama booster association.Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" T-shirts for 2500 yen.Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" T-shirts and banners. The banner is only 1200 yen (excluding the pole).Jan 21, 2009
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A bust of Barack Obama outside the Wakasa-ya souvenir shop in Obama, Fukui.Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" sticker on store window. This logo is Jan 21, 2009
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Jan 21, 2009
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Wakasa-ya souvenir shopJan 21, 2009
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Wakasa-ya souvenir shop on Hamakaze-dori. 若狭屋 はまかぜ通りJan 21, 2009
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Some shops along Hamakaze-dori shopping arcade have these congratulatory notices for President Barack Obama.Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" bannerJan 21, 2009
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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. Jan 21, 2009
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Obama StationJan 21, 2009
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Obama StationJan 21, 2009
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"I love Obama" banners decorate the main drags in central Obama. Jan 21, 2009
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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.Jan 21, 2009
 
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