"The World Is Coming To Yachiyo" is the theme for the upcoming international festival on November 8-9 in Yachiyo, a town just west of Shimotsuma. There will be international food stalls, street performers, a gigantic "nabe" (pot for cooking "nabemono" dishes, something like stew) for 1000 people, musical performances, folk dancing and much more. A number of JET English teachers and students from various countries along with several NGO volunteer groups will have booths selling foods and other items from around the world. Sunday will have the most special events, and will feature the 1000 person "nabe" from 11 am. Seventy JET teachers, JICA participants, foreign students, etc. will be making the international stew, and there will be a variety of national foods as well. From 1 to 3 p.m., a show featuring various native dances with participants wearing their native costumes, as well as a variety of "street performers" doing their thing.
In the information provided, one interesting tidbit is the number of registered foreigners in Yachiyo and the surrounding townships to the west of Tsukuba. While Yachiyo itself has "only" 204 registered "aliens", Yuuki has 1016, Ishige 932, Chiyokawa 145, Shimodate 914, Shimotsuma 1012, Akeno 547 and Mitsukaido 1094. These figures certainly aren't a match for Tsukuba's 5702 and Tsuchiura's 1934, but they are still surprisingly high and show that while the largest concentration of foreigners (at least the legal ones anyway) are in the Tsukuba-Tsuchiura "twin cities", there are a surprisingly high concentration of foreigners in the areas immediately west and north of Tsukuba. In fact, they significantly surpass the figures of the more "developed" areas to the south and east of Tsukuba, with Kukizaki having only 306, Ami 566, Ushiku 695, Ina 185, and Yawara 108. The only exception to the large numbers to the west and north is lowly Niihari, with only 43. Nevertheless, when all added up, the totals for the towns surrounding Tsukuba-Tsuchiura win by a slight margin of 7767 to 7636, and that doesn't include the towns to the north and east of Tsuchiura.
A detailed analysis would be needed to determine the reasons for this trend (something well beyond what I'm able to do at the moment), but presumably this has to do with the relatively large numbers of small manufacturing companies in the area to the north and west of Tsukuba. When the undocumented workers are added to the picture, the relative concentration of foreigners in the region is probably even more dramatic.
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