The Origins of Uzbekistan-Maizuru Relations ウズベキスタン・舞鶴市の関係をたどる

Hello, everyone!
My name is Arthur and I have been working as the CIR in Maizuru City Office since 2017. Today, I would like to introduce to you a bit about myself, and the history of the relationship between Maizuru City and Uzbekistan.


Here I am wearing a yukata to a welcome event for cruise ship passengers visiting Maizuru

I was born and raised in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Since I was a child, I heard stories about the Japanese people who contributed to the infrastructure of Uzbekistan. You’re probably wondering how Maizuru, a city in Japan, can be related to Uzbekistan, a country in Central Asia. To be honest, even I did not find out about it until just recently! To understand the story, let’s go back to the years following World War 2.


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Greetings from the CIR in Maizuru – 舞鶴市国際交流員の挨拶

July might be the month of farewell for a lot of us, but here is a new CIR introduction!
Meet Sun Yanan, the CIR in Maizuru. She arrived in April and will be staying one year. Go read her self introduction here:



New CIR in Maizuru – 舞鶴市の新しい国際交流員の挨拶

We are happy to welcome the new CIR in Maizuru, Zou Yue, and we hope that her work and life in Maizuru will be full of new discoveries and wonderful experiences!

Yue self intro (14)


You can read her self introduction on the following page.

海・空・ひろがる舞鶴 ~「海の京都」で暮らした1年~ Through the sea and sky, the charms of Maizuru ~My year living on Kyoto’s seaside

Sai aisatsu平成26年度舞鶴市国際交流員・崔銘哲より
From Cui Mingzhe, CIR for Maizuru (2014)

One year might feel like a short moment in a lifetime but for me, this one year spent in Maizuru was very intense and felt like fireworks, whose colors are now deeply entrenched in the sea of my memories.

与保呂小学校「インターナショナル与保呂フェスティバル」 Yohoro International Festival at Yohoro Elementary School

舞鶴市民綱引き大会に参加したナホトカ少年団 Students from Nakhodka participating in a citizen’s tug of war

Maizuru is an international city with its inhabitants very keen to engage in international exchange. Maizuru’s sister cities are Nakhodka in Russia, Dalian in China and Portsmouth in England. Only Dalian city sends a coordinator for international relations like myself, but various other international exchange programs exist with the other sister cities, such as exchange between wrestling associations from Nakhodka and young students here in Maizuru, or students interested in learning English experiencing home stays in Portsmouth for example. Lessons with international exchange as the theme are often held in elementary schools and junior and high schools are well, inviting a foreign teacher to talk about their culture and their native country’s history.

ポーツマス訪問団と舞鶴市長 Delegation from Portsmouth with Maizuru mayor

Delegation from Portsmouth with Maizuru mayor



与保呂小学校「インターナショナル与保呂フェスティバル」 Yohoro International Festival at Yohoro Elementary School

Yohoro International Festival at Yohoro Elementary School

As you know, Maizuru is surrounded by the sea. 15 cruise boats visited Maizuru in 2014. It was a heartwarming sight to see Maizuru citizens do their best to talk in foreign languages with visitors from various parts of the world. Many boats are scheduled to visit in 2015 as well so please come if you can.

The beaches in Maizuru are also very pretty. When the blistering heat of summer comes, I think many people in Kyoto city long to spend some time in the sea. I hope you can come enjoy our pretty beaches and get soothed by the sound of the waves.

Maizuru is a perfect city to live in, with a pretty sky, pure air and delicious sea food. Walk along the streets, find a fancy shop to enter, enjoy a deep roasted coffee while listening to jazz music, look onto the never-ending sea and sky, and you forget where you are, living in the moment for a while.

In 2015 the new Jukan Expressway will be completed so Maizuru will be closer for people living in Kyoto city. Maizuru, as part of Kyoto’s coastline, still has a wealth of hidden potential so please support it!

I will be going back to China with a heart full of wonderful memories. I hope my fellow CIRs in Kyoto Prefecture will keep doing their best too!

クルーズ客船のお客さんたちと市民ガイド Local guides with cruise boat passengers

Local guides with cruise boat passengers





All the best for you! これからも頑張ってね、崔さん!

All the best for you!

海フェスタ~京都から広がる舞鶴の心~ Umi Festa – Maizuru’s spirit spreads from Kyoto

Sai article umi festa_img_0 Sai article umi festa_img_1舞鶴市国際交流員の崔です! Cui, the CIR from Maizuru here!


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開会式の様子 Opening ceremony

I already knew of Maizuru as a port town, but thanks to the “Umi Festa” festival held here, the gate to the seaside of Kyoto, I was finally able to connect both the historical and coastal aspects of the Prefecture.
Umi Festa is held every year in one of the main ports of Japan for 2 weeks around the period of “Umi no Hi” (Sea Day, a national holiday in Japan). It aims at remembering the purpose of that day, which is to feel grateful for the sea and pray for the prosperity of the island country that is Japan. During this period, many events related to the sea are organized.
With more than a hundred thousand people participating, it’s one of the biggest events in Japan and was held from July 19th to August 3rd in Maizuru this year.
I participated in the Umi Festa on both a work and private level, creating many wonderful summer memories.

船の博覧会 ー Boat Exhibition

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海面清掃兼油回収船 「Dr .海洋」 “Dr. Sea” a boat cleaning the sea


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浴衣姿で花束を Giving flower bouquets in yukata



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「海王丸」の寄港 Kaiomaru enters the port



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深海調査船「かいれい」 “Kairei” the deep sea research ship

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「海王丸」の歓迎式典 Welcoming ceremony of “Kaiomaru”

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勇壮なセイルドリル Sail practice

One of the main attractions of Umi Festa is the impressive number of ships entering the port and the events held there. I was able to discover many boats I didn’t know about and their particularities. It really felt like a boat exhibition.
As part of the welcome ceremony for the deep sea research ship “Kairei” I had the chance to wear yukata for the first time in my life and give a flower bouquet to the ship’s captain.
“Kairei” researches earthquakes and ocean trenches and owns the research device “Kaikou”, able to go up to 10,000m underwater in places such as the Mariana trench.
I was really glad to meet the staff of this boat with such advanced technology and which challenges itself into unknown territories.
I also welcomed the “Kaiomaru”, a practice sailboat nicknamed “the Lady of the Sea”. 115 young interns around 20 years old learn the difficult techniques needed to manoeuvre a sailboat, and learn how to live together as a group as well.
The main attraction with this boat was probably the live practice of deploying the sail. Many people came to see this and I was very excited too. The interns, using the skills acquired during their training, quickly climbed the 55m mast and swiftly deployed the sail. Watching this beautiful white sail across the blue sky, I was really impressed by their skills.
“Kaiomaru” was also welcomed by around 150 kindergarten kids at the port. They were holding thank you signs, and screamed “come back” and “take care” loudly when the ship left. With such an experience, I’m sure the kids’ dreams about ships must have been strengthened.

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「海王丸」の見送り1 Sending off “Kaiomaru”

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「海王丸」の見送り2 Sending off “Kaiomaru”

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「海王丸」の見送り3 Sending off “Kaiomaru”

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ダイヤモンドプリンセス号 Diamond Princess


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ダイヤモンドプリセス号の特別 ショー Special show from the Diamond Princess

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京都舞鶴港西港での花火 Fireworks in the western part of Maizuru port

Big foreign cruise ships often come to Maizuru Port but during the Umi Festa, we welcomed the Diamond Princess, which can host up to 2670 persons and was the biggest cruise ship to ever enter Maizuru Port. It felt as if a luxury hotel had just appeared. From its entering at 6am on July 21st to its departure at 8pm, many lively events were organized in the surrounding area.
Special shows that can usually only be seen on board were staged on the pier, and passengers and local inhabitants were able to meet each other.
I acted as a guide for passengers and introduced them to my beloved Maizuru. As I’ve never been on a cruise ship, I was able to hear a lot of different stories and meet people from various backgrounds and cultures.
You could also get on a special shuttle boat to admire the Diamond Princess from the sea. Fireworks were displayed before the boat left, the first ones in 50 years in western Maizuru. Seeing the beautiful lights of that luxurious hotel on the sea and the bright lights of the fireworks in the night sky, I caught myself thinking “it’s the best day of the year!”

ふ頭の盛り上がり - Ambience on the pier


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「海王丸」のライトアップ Light up of "Kaiomaru"

「海王丸」のライトアップ Light up of “Kaiomaru”



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Special events were organized every day during the Umi Festa in the western part of the port, and it felt like a completely different world than usual.
Being an adept of music, I went to a jazz concert organized in the evening.
I discovered the romantic side of Maizuru as the stars lit the night sky and the “Kaiomaru” was being lit up. After being romantic though, you are usually hungry right? A special street of B gourmet stalls was set up, with delicious local delicacies from Wakasa, Obama and Tango but also famous food on the national level. Not only could you sample food from every area in Japan but you could also enjoy many events while eating. Being a lover of both good food and music, it was like paradise for me! My ears, eyes and mouth were all delighted!

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B級グルメの会場 Gourmet area

町の盛り上がり - Excitement in town

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民踊を楽しんでいる Enjoying traditionnal dance



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民踊ながし前の皆さん With the musicians

Traditional festivals were also held as part of Umi Festa. The “Chatta Festival” is usually held in Maizuru during this period. During this festival, special events are held in both parts of Maizuru (the western part which developed as a port town and the eastern part which developed recently). This year, I was able not only to see the festival but also participate in a popular dance called “Minyo-nagashi”, held in the shopping arcade of western Maizuru. I wore the same yukata as other people in the city hall and danced the “chatta dance” with them. I meet other groups of people from organizations and groups I usually work with, and we compared our moves. Many people came to support us and we received water, tea and even sake from the shop owners.

Sai article umi festa_img_23As part of the festival, there is also a Mikoshi (portable float) competition. Every group had put a lot of thought into the design of their float and I was very impressed. As a closing ceremony, 5,000 fireworks were launched in eastern Maizuru and around 40,000 visitors came.


Sai article umi festa_img_22After the fireworks, I went to see the “Smile Illumination” in the Maizuru Red Brick Park. With the sea as the theme, a projection mapping was projected on to the red brick buildings. Everybody was really impressed by the work, and as awe spread through the crowd, I felt like standing at the meeting point of two cultures: the modern one with imaging and projection, and the traditional one with everybody in the crowd wearing traditional yukatas.

終わりに - Conclusion





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プロジェクトションマッピグ Projection mapping

Through the Umi Festa, I was able to feel the link between people and the sea. Whether a small fishing village in the past or a big port like now, people living next to the sea receive many blessings. From everyday food to economic expansion of the area, the presents from the sea are many, teaching many things to people and giving them dreams and hope for the future. However, I felt that we should not only ask from the sea but also learn how to live with it and give back, treating it gently just as it does to us.

Kyoto is not only a historical capital of a thousand years, but also has a strong link to the sea. Thanks to the Umi Festa, local inhabitants and people from many other areas could meet. Among those, many children and young people were able to learn, feel and experience many things about the sea. For me, Umi Festa was an opportunity to rediscover the importance of the sea in the shaping of traditional culture, and create new bonds with people. I also got something precious: the will to give back and improve my hometown.

Maizuru’s hot summer is now over. But as my stay here gets longer, I grow more and more familiar with Maizuru. I want to let as many people around the world as possible know about it, and be one of those who help make it a thriving area.
Umi Festa may be over but please come to Maizuru!

New CIR in Maizuru – 舞鶴市の新しい国際交流員

We are happy to welcome the new CIR of Maizuru to this blog and Kyoto Prefecture!
You can read more about her and her love for Maizuru here:


舞鶴市の国際交流員、崔銘哲(さい・めいてつ) Cui Mingzhe, CIR in Maizuru

Cui Mingzhe, CIR in Maizuru