Sunday 10 January 2021

FSFA January Bulletin

Frankston Susono Friendship Association

Bulletin No. 23

  January 2021

Dear Members and Friends of FSFA,

Welcome to our old friends and new found friends to the FSFA monthly bulletin. It is a snapshot of our happenings and interesting things about Japan.

Don’t forget you are most welcome to attend our monthly FSFA Executive Committee meetings. They are held at 6.30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month – except January. Location is the Acacia Room in the Frankston Council Offices. Enter off Young Street.  Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, our meetings are being held online for the foreseeable future!


End of Year Celebration with SOFA

On Monday 21st December members of our executive committee joined with the SOFA executive via Zoom to enjoy an end of year celebration. There were a small number of COVID cases in Susono at that time and it was thought that they would be unable to gather in the one location. As it turned out, the SOFA executive members were able to meeting in their offices located in the Ohashi building, with everyone wearing masks! While Victorian restrictions had been eased to the point where we were permitted to gather together, it was ironic that we joined from three separate locations.

There was much discussion about COVID cases, family and friends, and Susono/Frankston news. The screenshot below shows FSFA members in the 3 images on the top row and the SOFA members (using 2 devices) on the bottom row.

COVID Information from Japan

Many of you will be aware that Japan, like many other countries throughout the world, has recently experienced an increase in the spread of the coronavirus. Not surprisingly, the highest numbers have been seen in the heavily populated areas of Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Aichi and Saitama. In recent days Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced a one-month state of emergency for the Tokyo area which includes the Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures – covering around 30% of Japan’s population.

The state of emergency, which will run from Friday 8th January to Sunday 7th February, is somewhat less far reaching than the one observed nationwide in 2020 and focuses mainly on early closures of dining and drinking establishments, the discouragement of unnecessary outings in the evenings and the promotion of remote work.

It is currently undecided when regular tourists will again be able to enter the country, but it is unlikely to happen in considerable numbers before August/September 2021 after the end of the Olympic and Paralympic games. This may have implications for our planned delegation visit in October 2021 and we will continue to closely monitor the situation and stay in touch with the SOFA executive!


Sumo’s January Tournament

The first grand tournament of 2021 is scheduled to begin Sunday despite the announcement of a state of emergency in parts of the greater Tokyo area. The Japan Sumo Association announced last Thursday that all wrestlers and stablemasters will undergo testing for the coronavirus ahead of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. Once again, both top-ranked yokozuna are doubtful starters with Hakuho testing positive for coronavirus and Kakuryu to miss with injury after being warned about his recent string of absences. Kakuryu has recently been granted Japanese citizenship and this may be the catalyst for his official retirement from wrestling and will allow him to stay in sumo as an elder after his retirement.

November tournament champion and highest ranked ozeki Takakeisho is poised for his first shot at yokozuna promotion. The absence of the highest ranked rikishi may clear the way for a consecutive tournament win and thus satisfy the criteria for promotion to sumo’s highest ranking. However, there are many other rikishi capable of winning this tournament – Asanoyama, Shōdai, Mitakeumi or Terunofuji are all former champions capable of lifting the Emperor’s Cup on the final Sunday.

The January tournament commences on Sunday 10th and runs for 15 days until Sunday 24th with LIVE coverage on each of the three Sunday evenings and daily highlights aired on NHK World TV (Foxtel Channel 656).

Woven City, Susono – Article and images sent by Peter Patterson

On January 6, 2020, Toyota revealed plans to build a prototype "city" of the future on a 175-acre site in Susono at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Called the Woven City, it will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Envisioned as a "living laboratory”, the Woven City will serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

"Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city's infrastructure. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology ... in both the virtual and the physical realms ... maximizing its potential," said Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporation.

Toyota will extend an open invitation to collaborate with other commercial and academic partners and invite interested scientists and researchers from around the world to come work on their own projects in this one-of-a-kind, real-world incubator. "We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future, to take advantage of this unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all," said Mr. Toyoda.

For the design of Woven City, Toyota has commissioned Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). His team at BIG have designed many high-profile projects: from 2 World Trade Centre in New York and Lego House in Denmark, to Google's Mountain View and London headquarters.

"A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities. Connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life. With the breadth of technologies and industries that we have been able to access and collaborate with from the Toyota ecosystem of companies, we believe we have a unique opportunity to explore new forms of urbanity with the Woven City that could pave new paths for other cities to explore". Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG.

Design of the City

The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.

The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery, combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics. 

Residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants' health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life, creating an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.

To move residents through the city, only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. In and throughout Woven City, autonomous Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries ,as well as for changeable mobile retail. Both neighbourhood parks and a large central park for recreation, as well as a central plaza for social gatherings, are designed to bring the community together. Toyota believes that encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of this experience.

Toyota plans to populate Woven City with Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. The plan is for 2000 people to start, adding more as the project evolves. The ground breaking for the site is planned for early 2021.

YouTube video link



FSFAves – favourite Japanese recipes

This month’s recipe is again from Tonia’s Japanese Home Style Cooking recipe book:

Yakitori (Skewered, grilled chicken) 

Yakitori is so popular that it is an almost indispensable dish in most Japanese drinking places. It is also often served at parties.

Ingredients (for 4 persons)

300 grams chicken thigh, boned                                         Yakitori sauce:

300 grams chicken wing, boned             4 tablespoons sugar

230 grams chicken liver                             120 mL mirin

2 large spring onions                     120 mL soy sauce

16 small green peppers

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 lemon

Sansho (powdered Japanese pepper)

Shichimi-togarashi (powdered red pepper mix with spices)

Bamboo skewers


Note: Soaking bamboo skewers in salted water before use helps to keep them from burning.

1. Soak liver in plenty of water for 15-30 minutes to remove blood.

2. Cut chicken (thigh and wings) and liver into bite-sized pieces. Mount 4 pieces of each onto bamboo skewers.

3. Cut spring onions into 5 cm pieces and mount onto skewers. Likewise, the green peppers.

4. To make yakitori sauce: Mix sugar, mirin & soy sauce and boil ‘til reduced to ⅔ original amount.

5. Grill skewered meat and vegetable pieces over an open fire (barbecue). Brush meat with yakitori sauce 2-3 times while grilling. For vegetables, brush once before grilling. Grill some of the skewers simply sprinkled with salt – no sauce.

6. Place in a serving dish, garnish with sesame seeds and serve with lemon juice, sansho or shichimi-togarashi and washed down with your favourite beverage!

Japan Cheapo – 

The latest edition of Japan Cheapo features a number of interesting articles including Super Nintendo World Theme Park at Universal Studios, Nikko Area Guide, Cycling the Sunniest Place in Japan, Mie Prefecture Guide, The Beauty of Kii Peninsula and A Guide to Monkeying Around at Takasakiyama Monkey Park. Both Japan Cheapo and Tokyo Cheapo have been recommended in our previous bulletins and can be accessed HERE.


Japanese Themed Resources –


Japanese Teaching Ideas –

The Weebly site offers a wide variety of useful resources including worksheets, PowerPoints, games, arts and crafts, flashcards, lesson plans, songs, videos, useful links and much more! It caters to both primary and secondary levels and can be accessed by clicking HERE. Videos –

Resources from Japan-Guide have been featured in previous FSFA Bulletins but recently I have watched some of their very informative videos on YouTube. ‘How to Use Trains in Japan’, ‘First Time to Japan’ and ‘How to Use the Tokaido Shinkansen’ are a great introduction for novice travellers to Japan and there are many other videos across topics including Travel Reports, Top 5 and Top 10 Around Japan, and How To: Japan. The Japan-Guides videos can be accessed HERE.


Easy Japanese Grammar –

On the Easy Japanese Grammar website, you will find short video tutorials explaining basic and intermediate Japanese Grammar patterns in clear and easy to follow English. You will also find apps to help you learn the key conjugations and transformations, and short self-grading exercises to check your mastery. The Easy Japanese Grammar site can be accessed HERE.


Japanese Onomatopoeia Guide –

A handy guide for reading manga and watching Japanese shows with doki doki (heartbeat), piku (twitch, pricking up the ears) and wan wan (bow wow) popular with Japanophiles. The guide can be accessed HERE.


Upcoming Events



Scheduled Date

FSFA Executive Committee Meetings

Frankston Council Chambers

First Tuesday each month @ 6.30 p.m.

Japanese Garden Working Bee

Japanese Garden Frankston High School

TBA – Mid-March 2021

Australian Fair and Susono City’s 50th Anniversary

Susono, Shizuoka, Japan

Sunday 10th October 2021

Keeping in Contact


Our website and Facebook Page will help you stay connected to what FSFA is up to.



We welcome your thoughts on the bulletin and things we could include, etc. We all share a passion for Japan and its culture and traditions. This is one way we are using to share and spread the love.

Thank You and we look forward to keeping in touch!



Simon Hast

On behalf of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association