Monday, April 17, 2017

“Let’s get to know Japan!” ~Tosa Knife Crafting and Nankoku City Bus Tour~

   On May 27th, The Nankoku City International Association (NIA) is hosting a hands-on Tosa knife crafting workshop, and a bus tour visiting a horticultural park and Kokubunji temple, which is quite lively in the current pilgrimage season.
   Please apply after checking the itinerary and information below. The deadline for applications is May 15th.
   Additionally, participants are limited to persons of foreign nationality (they will have priority) and NIA members.
 
Event Details

Date:
5/27/2017 (Sat.)
 
Meeting Places and Departure Times:
8:20 at the Nankoku City Office, 8:30 at the Gomen JR station

Ending Location and Time (planned):
14:50 at the Gomen JR station, 15:00 at the Nankoku City Office

Workshop and Tour Locations:
Toyokuni Ltd. in Kameiwa, Nankoku City (knife crafting), Nishijima Horticultural Park, Kokubunji Temple

Participation Fee:
¥4,000 (blade and whetstone included, lunch not included)
 
Lunch:
Nishijima Horticultural Park. You may bring a lunch or buy one at the park.

Insurance:
Accident insurance coverage (date of birth required)
 
Number of Participants:
20

Application & Inquiry:
Ms. Nagano, NIA mumsachi@yahoo.co.jp
080-3162-2310
 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Architecture that co-exists with nature / Architect : Kengo Kuma

   Yusuhara, known as the “Kumo-no-Ue-no-Machi” (lit. “Town above the clouds”), has four buildings designed by world famous architect Kengo Kuma (as of March 2017). The buildings are characteristic in that they are built lavishly with wood from Yusuhara, and they harmonize well with the surrounding nature.

   The reason why Kengo Kuma came to design buildings in Yusuhara lies in Yusuhara-za, the only wooden theater house in Kochi. It is said that he was impressed by the efforts to preserve Yusuhara-za at the time, and he got interested in wooden architecture. He received a request from the town of Yusuhara, and starting with “Kumo-no-Ue-no-Hotel”, he built “Yusuhara Town Hall”, “Machinoeki Yusuhara”, and “Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum”. Also, Yusuhara Town Library and Welfare Facility are in the process of being built now.
 
Kumo-no-Ue-no-Hotel (Location: Tarogawa 3799-3)
   The rounded roof is constructed in the image of an airplane’s wing, and the design uses the concept of fusing together glass, wood, and water. The restaurant interior is made from wood as well, and it creates a comforting atmosphere. There is a Canadian staff member who can handle your requests in English as well as Japanese.
 
 

Makino Museum of Plants & People / Architect: Hiroshi Naito

Under the c-shaped overhang which stretches out gracefully
How Hiroshi Naito came to design the building
   This museum is dedicated to Dr. Tomitaro Makino, the plant scientist from Kochi who is often referred to as the “Father of Japanese Botany”. Located in Godaisan, Kochi City, the museum was built within the Makino Botanical Garden, and it is comprised of a main building and an exhibition hall.

Kochi Station / Architect: Hiroshi Naito

Kochi Station (South exit)
   JR Kochi station looks like an ordinary train station at first glance, but I was surprised to hear that the famous architect Hiroshi Naito designed it. The first thing you see when getting off from the streetcar / tram at Kochi station is the south side of the train station. It is made from v-shaped steel frames. The station is sometimes referred to as “whale dome” because of the way it looks like whale bones.

Kochi Life Q&A : Ohanami

   For Japanese people, Ohanami (lit. flower viewing) is associated with cherry blossoms. Let’s enjoy the Japanese culture of Ohanami this spring!
 
Q: When did the culture of Ohanami start?
A: The origin of Ohanami is said to have started in the Nara period (710-794 A.D.) when the imperial family went to view the plum blossom which had been introduced from China. In the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) cherry blossoms started to become more popular than plum blossoms, and many poems about cherry blossoms remain from this era. It seems that as time passed, this custom spread to the warriors and the common people.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kappa Backpackers

The Yodo-line runs right next to the guesthouse
 
Shimanto River, the last clear stream in Japan, only a minute away!
   About 8 minutes walking distance from Tokawa Station on the Yodo Line, Shimanto-Cho’s first ever guesthouse preopened in July. The property, a former abandoned house which the owner rented out, is currently being renovated with major layout changes and new interior design. It is located next to the Yodo Line railroad, which is only a one minute walk from Shimanto River! Time seems to go by slower in this area, which is surrounded by mountains and the river. This time, a CIR and KIA staff member stayed at the guesthouse and gathered information.
Sprawling mountains are only a short walk
away

Harimayabashi Guesthouse

Uonotana shopping arcade
A historical arcade from the Edo period
 
2 minutes walking from popular tourist destination “Harimayabashi”! A guesthouse in a great location
Socializing area
There were travelers from Indonesia,
Japan, and France when we visited
   Located adjacent to Harimayabashi shopping arcade is Uonotana shopping arcade, where Harimayabashi Guesthouse stands. People from Japan and all around the world have gathered here ever since it opened in August 2015. The building is a renovated kamaboko shop, and has a Japanese modern design which creates a comfortable atmosphere. Meeting fellow lodgers by chance and having a great conversation with them could become a memorable part of your travels.
 
 
 

Katsuo Guesthouse

The exterior resembles the sea

This guesthouse serves as an embassy for Kochi!
The owner, Maki Maeda. Discuss your travel
plans and any other questions with her.
   Maki Maeda is the owner of Katsuo Guesthouse. After working for 9 years in editing for a local information magazine, her dream was to start her own business, and so she refurbished her grandfather’s house, and opened the guesthouse in 2012. Maeda thought up the concept for the design of the whole house, down to the minute detail in each bedroom, bathroom and toilet room. For example, if you look carefully at the interior of the toilet room door which depicts the Shimanto River, you can see “Chinkabashi” (low water crossings with no rails or parapets so they are not washed away by floods) hidden in the design. In fact, people have been inspired to move to the prefecture as a result of staying at this guesthouse, which encapsulates “Kochi”.
Lots of information about Kochi is available
when you arrive at the guesthouse.

Kochi Life Q&A : Tosa Hashiken

Tosa Hashiken National Contest
 
   The Kochi City CIRs and KIA staff participated in the “Tosa Hashiken National Contest” which is held every year on October 1, by the Kochi Sake Brewing Association. As the opening declaration stated, we were able to experience many of Kochi’s good points including “good sake and food” “friendly Kochi people” and “a fun party”. Why don’t you try going next year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Kochi Performing Arts Festival 2016 Sandaime Richard


Written by Hideki Noda

Directed by Ong Keng Sen

Date: 14th(Wed) Dec

Tickets: \2,500 (Student: \1,500)/ Advance Tickets: \2,000 (Student: \1,000) (Tax included)

Venue: Museum Hall
 
More info: http://www.kochi-bunkazaidan.or.jp/~museum/previous/english_page/events/events2016.htm

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Treasure Trove of Ingredients: Kochi’s Food Culture

   Kochi Prefecture is full of nature with mountains, rivers, and the sea. As a result, it is one of the few prefectures blessed with abundant seasonal foods. Utilizing a vast range of high quality ingredients available within the prefecture, Kochi’s unique food culture has been passed down from generation to generation. “Sawachi Ryouri”, where sushi, sashimi and an aray of foods are served together on large plates, has brought life to dinner parties since long before, and is very representative of Tosa local cuisine. The grandeur achieved by maximizing the beauty of fresh ingredients is said to be one of the defining aspects of Tosa cuisine. Also, as eating vegetables has become more popular among Japanese recently, Kochi vegetables are held in high regard outside of the prefecture and are gaining popularity. Even certain celebrity chefs have taken a liking to Kochi produce, featured the ingredients in cookbooks and endorsed them on media platforms. Kochi’s unique food culture is likely to spread and be passed onto future generations.

Purchasing Tosa Food at the Gairo-ichi Market!

Fresh food that you don’t normally see at the supermarket!
   We went to buy food at the “Thursday Market”, which is held every Thursday. It takes place around 270m away from the streetcar/tram stop opposite the Kochi Prefectural Office (Kencho-mae) and consists of about 77 stalls. This market is full of local customers, as opposed to tourists from outside the prefecture, and gives an impression of being deeply rooted in the local community. As well as juicy fruit and vegetables in an array of colors, the market offers a range of seasonal Tosa flavors, including seafood, side dishes such as sushi rolls, and homemade bread and mochi. It’s also fun to ask stall owners for advice about which food to choose! They kindly told us what was in season, and how to use it when cooking.
 
   In addition, the “Sunday Market”, has been representative of the city dweller’s kitchen for over 300 years. It spans approximately 1300m starting from the foot of Kochi Castle, has around 420 stalls, and is bustling with both locals and tourists.

Here, we will show you 4 recipes that feature Kochi’s autumn ingredients, obtained from the street market. We guarantee they all will be good!

Yuzu to Shoga no Kaorizushi (Yuzu Ginger Infused Sushi)
   Kochi prefecture is one of the top yuzu growing regions in Japan. From autumn to winter, fresh aromatic yuzu can be found at the street markets. This dish lets you enjoy sushi rice infused with yuzu and ginger aromas.
 
Ingredients (Serves 4)
   • 2 cups of rice
   • 1/4 piece saba (mackerel)
   • 70g ginger
   • 1/4 of the peel of one yuzu
   • 2 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
   • Myoga and mitsuba for garnish
   • A(20ml rice vinegar, 30ml yuzu juice, 2½tbsp sugar, 2tsp salt)
 
Directions
1. Put washed rice into the rice cooker, add water to the line marked “sushi”, and cook.
2. Cook the saba on a grill, and flake the meat with a pair of chopsticks. Mince the ginger and yuzu peel. (It is better to remove the white part under the yuzu peel.)
3. Mix the ingredients in A. Add A to the cooked rice, and mix well in a cutting motion with a rice scoop. After mixing, add 2 and the sesame, and mix while cooling the rice with a fan. (Mix gently so as not to crush the rice.)
4. Put on a plate, and garnish with the minced myoga and mitsuba colorfully.

※ Advice: Please adjust the amount of yuzu juice to your liking, It is ok to substitute shiso (green perilla) for the yuzu peel.

Kochi Life Q&A : Earthquakes

Q: I felt shaking! How do I stay safe?
A: If you’re at home, keep your head protected by crouching under a sturdy desk. Once the shaking has stopped, after turning off the gas at the mains, turn off the electrical circuit breaker. Check the exits are clear, and cover your head with a hard object when you go outside. Watch out for falling objects or things that could collapse, and make your way to a “hinanjyo” (shelter). Carry a radio so that you can receive updates on the situation. If you’re near the coast, don’t wait for official announcements to be given, but prepare for a tsunami and evacuate to “takadai” (high ground)
immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Invitation to the Shikoku Pilgrimage Experience

   The Junior Chamber International Japan, Shikoku Area Kochi Block Council is planning to hold a mini Shikoku Pilgrimage event. And Nankoku-shi International Association will be supporting it.
 
   If you participate in this pilgrimage event, you will learn a lot about henro, pilgrimage, culture through the members of JC and the English guides.

【Date】
   August 28, 2016 (Sun)

【Time】
   8:00(in front of the Nankoku City Office entrance)~ 17:00
       
【Itinerary】
   5km walking pilgrimage from Dainichiji to Kokubunji
   Dainichiji, Konan City: Worship Etiquette・Temple Explanation・Worship(Offerings)
   Kokubunji, Nankoku City: Worship (Offerings)・Temple Explanation
   Transportation to Chikurinji will be by bus
   Chikurinji, Kochi City: Worship (Offerings)・Temple Explanation・Sutra Transcribing
 
【Fee】
   Free
 
【Accident Insurance】
   Participants are insured against accidents
 
【Lunch】
   The Junior Chamber International will provide tomato curry
 
【Clothing】   
   Clothes and shoes that are comfortable to walk in
 
【Things to Bring】
   Water bottle・change of clothes (if necessary)・towel
 If you suffer from car sickness, please bring motion sickness medication.
 
【Deadline for Entry】
   August 10th.
 
【Inquiries
   Sachi Nagano, Nankoku-shi International Association
   TEL: 080-3162-2310
   Email: mumsachi@yahoo.co.jp