Tuesday, June 27, 2017

English Rakugo recital in Kochi by Kimochi

   Do you know Rakugo? It is a traditional Japanese entertainment. It is a combination of storytelling and seated comedy.Kimochi Honno, an English Rakugo Performer, will have a Rakugo Performance in English in Kochi! Soon, you can fully understand the experience of Rakugo.
 
 
Date:
   Saturday 22nd Jul.2017
Time:
   Open 9:30 Start 10:00 am (~11:30)
Ticket fee:
   ¥2,000
Venue:
   Kochi-shi Obiyamachi 2-2-14 OKAMURA Obiyamachi BLDG. 5F
   ※Upstairs of the Starbucks Coffee
   ※50meters from the Hirome Market
 
   Additionally, we are going to have a lunch session with him at a restaurant after the recital. Why don't you come and meet him? If you come, please let me know in advance. Lunch will cost around 1,000 yen.
   Please call me or send me a short message, how many tickets you need, are you coming to the lunch, in advance to reserve your seats.
   And also keep this leaflet by your camera. Please get in touch with me again if you need to cancel your tickets.
   090-7783-3911 Hashimoto

Friday, June 23, 2017

Shikoku Kochi, Bakumatsu Restoration Exhibition

   March 4, 2017, saw the opening of a grand event involving the whole of Kochi Prefecture; “Shikoku Kochi, Bakumatsu Restoration Exhibition”. Many of you may have seen flags and fliers in various places across the prefecture, but did you know about the restoration exhibition? We really wanted the foreign community to hear about this event as well, so we decided to take it up as our topic for this issue.
 
Q1. What is this event about?
   Going back to the time of the Bakumatsu, the end of Edo Period (the latter half of the 19th century) many of the famous historical figures that emerged and who are still talked about today, came from the Tosa Domain (Kochi Prefecture), including Sakamoto Ryoma, Nakaoka Shintaro and Iwasaki Yataro. The exhibition “Shikoku Kochi, Bakumatsu Restoration Exhibition” helps people learn about Tosa’s wonderful food, nature, climate and culture which are connected to the era that these great figures nurtured.
 
Q2. Where and when is it being held?
   The first installment is from March 4, 2017 to March 31, 2018, and the second is scheduled to be held for a year starting April 1, 2018. There are two main venues; “Kochi Castle Museum of History” and “Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum (at present, with the renewal of the current building and the construction of the new building, the grand opening is scheduled for spring of 2018 in time for the second installment)” and the sub-venue is “Kochi Tabi Hiroba”. Additionally, exhibitions of valuable historical materials are being held in 20 other local venues such as historical and cultural facilities related to the warriors of the Bakumatsu Restoration.
 
   This time the CIRs and KIA staff went and visited “Kochi Castle Museum of History” and the places connected to “Iwasaki Yataro” and “Nakaoka Shintaro” who were alive during the Bakumatsu era.

Kochi Castle Museum of History

You can see a sweeping view of Kochi Castle from the 3rd floor lobby
   This museum opened this March, coinciding with the start of the Shikoku Kochi, Bakumatsu Restoration Exhibition. Surely many people have noticed the uniquely designed building located at the foot of Kochi Castle. There are many set ups that will let children and adults learn about Kochi’s history and culture through the exhibit items! Special exhibit items of the Bakumatsu Restoration Exhibition and planned exhibitions are also on display.

The ambition of Iwasaki Yataro, the unprecedented eccentric of Tosa

   Iwasaki Yataro was born in Aki City, Inokuchi. He was one of the most prominent businessmen of  he end of the Edo Period and built the foundation for the Mitsubishi Group. It is said that in 1854, in order to let Yataro go study in Edo, his parents raised the necessary funds by selling a mountain that had been passed down for generations. It’s a very brave act even in this day and age, and it became clear why Yataro had developed such a bold personality. In 1855, Yataro returned home because his father had unfortunately gotten hurt. When he went to the magistrate’s office to lodge a complaint against the village headman who had injured his father, he drew graffiti on the walls and was thrown into jail. His experience in jail stirred up his rebellious spirit (perhaps he was hot blooded by nature), and he changed course from studying to be a Confucian scholar. This event made him decide to go into business for the Tosa domain and for the country. Additionally, it is said that he met a merchant and was able to learn sales tactics. This is a perfect example of the saying from the classic Chinese text Tao Te Ching, “Disaster is that upon which good fortune depends, and good fortune is that in which disaster lurks.” After this, Yataro enrolled in Yoshida Toyo※’s Shaolin cram school, became friends with Goto Shojiro※, and was mentored by Yoshida Toyo as he began his new life in business.

Nakaoka Shintaro- an ally of Sakamoto Ryoma

   Sakamoto Ryoma※’s ally Nakaoka Shintaro※ was also one of the heroes of the Bakumatsu who drove the era forward. The Nakaoka Shintaro Museum is surrounded by green mountains and is an ideal location for getting a feel for Shintaro’s way of life. Taking a bus along the mountain roads, there is a sense of calmness as if you’ve gone back in time.

Foreigners working hard in Kochi

   Introducing two of the ※trainees working in agriculture from the Northern Philippine Province of  Benguet, with which Kochi Prefecture has a sister city relationship.
Clint
(※ The system of taking on trainees, for which the period of training is a maximum of 3 years, aims to transfer skills, techniques and knowledge to developing countries, and to cooperate with their economic development. As of April 2016, approximately 920 trainees are contributing to industry (agriculture, fishing, industrial production, food manufacture etc.) within the prefecture and learning techniques on a daily basis.)
 
Q:What’s your daily life like?
A:“I work on a farm in Susaki City, cultivating, harvesting and packaging Chinese chives. I live in a dormitory and my friends and I often take it in turns to cook for each other. On my days off the other trainees, farmers and I plan events, such as holding traditional dances.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kochi Performing Arts Festival2017 Artist in Residence2017&Performance - Papermoon Puppet Theatre 'Translucence'(Indonesia)

'Men of The Sea', by Papermoon Puppet Theatre
 
   Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia returns to the Museum of Art, Kochi after the first residency program in 2015. They will create and present a new work incorporating Tosa-original Washi paper in collaboration with Kochi-based local artists. They will entertain you with the hand-made puppets, dance and live music.

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.