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"B-1 Grand Prix" national food contest takes place in Koriyama

19 October 2014

The ninth “B-1 Grand Prix” national food contest designed to encourage regional development by promoting popular local dishes was held in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 18 and 19 in a show of support for Fukushima’s efforts for recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. It was the first time for the event to take place in the prefecture.
Taking part were 59 groups from 31 prefectures, including one from Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, boasting pan-fried thick noodles seasoned with Worcester sauce. Under rules of the event, this year’s contest was to have been held in Namie, but it was impossible due to its location close to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, prompting Koriyama to host the competition.
According to contest organizers, some 453,000 people turned out for the two-day event. Winning the top prize was a group from Towada, Aomori Prefecture, which came up with a grilled dish featuring flanks of beef with onions seasoned in a spicy sweet soy sauce. Towada is scheduled to host the 10th B-1 Grand Prix next year.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

16 October 2014

No. of women visiting parents' homes for childbirth rising in Fukushima Pref.

The trend of expectant mothers returning to their
parents' homes for childbirth appears to be taking
root again in Fukushima Prefecture. The number of such
women, which decreased after the 2011 nuclear
accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima
Daiichi plant, has shown an uptrend of late.
According to the Fukushima Association of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1,050 pregnant
women visited their parents' homes to give birth in
fiscal 2013 that ended last March, reaching the 1,000
mark for the first time in three years. The
association believes that behind the trend lies
progress in cleanup work, which has led expectant
mothers to be less concerned about radioactive
contamination in their hometowns. It expects the
number to continue increasing in the years ahead.
The association has been counting the number of
expectant mothers visiting parental homes for
childbirth by contacting 15 out of 41 medical
institutions in the prefecture since fiscal 2008. The
number reached a peak of 1,184 in fiscal 2010 but
almost halved to 567 in the following year after the
nuclear disaster of March 2011. It showed a rise of
250 to 817 in fiscal 2012 before recovering to the
1,000 range in fiscal 2013.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

13 October 2014

Japanese moms from Fukushima, U.S. croon at choral festival

A choral festival was held in Fukushima city on Oct. 12, featuring a joint performance by Japanese mothers from Fukushima Prefecture and the United States. The 50th prefectural "Mothers' Chorus Festival," staged at the Fukushima City Music Hall, was organized by the Fukushima Mothers' Chorus Association (FMCA) and other parties. The participants included members of the New York City-based mixed choir "Japan Choral Harmony" dubbed "TOMO" (Friends).
The event was joined by some 730 people from 33 organizations in the prefecture as well as members of the U.S. group. Last year, TOMO performed together with FMCA members in a chorus festival at Carnegie Hall in New York. The FMCA group was dispatched by Fukushima-Minpo Co., the publisher of the namesake daily, as a "special reconstruction ambassador" intended to publicize Fukushima's efforts for rebirth from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. TOMO was invited to the Fukushima event at the suggestion of TOMO's music director Masaki Shirota in return for the FMCA participation in the New York recital.
At a closing ceremony for the Fukushima festival, all participants belted out "Niji" (Rainbow), a tune composed in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the FMCA's establishment.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

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