Thursday, August 25, 2011

Many good memories that will stay forever

Pictured with a SGG volunteer guide
   In August 2011, two young Japanese Americans whose ancestors were from Kochi visited Japan to trace the roots of their family living in USA and experience some cultures of Kochi including Yosakoi dancing and Tosa dialect.

   Here are reports of their impressions they got during their stay in Kochi.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 28th Annual Okawa Village Beef Festival (Shanikusai)

Have you ever wondered what people get up to in the smallest village in Japan? Okawa village has a population of around 400 people, and while it might not be the most bustling of metropolises, there’s at least one day out of the year that makes the long trek up into the deep interior of the Reihoku region worth it.

Mikan-gari (Picking Mandarin Oranges)

   If you ask a local what fruit is Kochi’s best, most will say “mandarin oranges”. You can pick this fruit at Tosa-no-Kochi-no-Kudamonobatake, in Kagami-cho, Konan city.

   This mandarin orange grove is spread over 8 hectares, with straight rows of trees spreading in all directions. It is as if you have been transported to a scene in California.

Ringo-gari (Apple picking)

   There are only a few farmers who grow apples in Kochi. Our climate is a little too warm for apple growing. But in Sakawa Town and Tosa Town, nonetheless, some farmers cultivate apples. Let me introduce to you one farm from each town above that offers you such a service.

Nashi-gari (Pear Picking)

   We can pick nashi pears at the following place:

Tsuchimoto Kanko Kajuen
   This orchard has the following types of pears. Kosui (very sweet and juicy; picking season: mid to late August), Hosui (sweet and slightly tart, picking season: late August to mid September), Shinko (juicy and tart, picking season: early to mid October).
   Apple picking is also available at this orchard.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Travel to Kashiwajima

   Have you ever been to Kashiwajima island? Kashiwajima is in the southwest of Kochi Prefecture. You can see beautiful ocean there. And you can also see many tropical fish even in shallow water below your knees.

   Every summer, I go to Kashiwajima with my family. We enjoy swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear water there. We really love this beach.

Budo-gari (Grape Picking)

   Various kinds of grapes are cultivated in Kochi, including Campbell, Kyoho and Berry A. If you want to pick grapes, then go to either of the following places:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kochi’s Manga Culture

Yusuke Aoyagi, cartoonist
   Kochi has produced many famous manga (comic) writers and is sometimes called the “Manga Kingdom”. No sooner than you set foot in this “Manga Kingdom” than you will come across some sort of manga-related sight. For example, Manga Koshien (Inter High School Manga Championship), the Anpanman Museum, the Koshin Manga Dojo (Kochi Newspaper Co. Manga Gym), Manga Railway, Ryuichi Yokoyama Memorial Manga Museum etc.

Taishōmachi Ichiba

   There is a market called Taishōmachi Ichiba exclusively dealing with fish in Kure, Nakatosa Town, in western Kochi. The market is crowded with seasonal fresh fish that are caught and landed at the Kure fishing port every morning and afternoon throughout the year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Folk Tales of Kochi ① - Demons in Futanajima

   Once upon a time, a group of demons got together on Demon Island in the Setonaikai Inland Sea. Their leader, Captain Red Demon decided to stage a strength contest, where each demon would lift up two massive rocks to see who was the strongest. Each demon failed and gave up, but one blue demon was successful.

Returning Bonito

   From the middle of September to November, the bonito that returns from the north is called "modorigatsuo", returning bonito. There is much more fat on the fish in summer, and it is said it is more delicious than bonito in spring (first bonito).

Otsukimi - Moon Viewing 

   Otsukimi, literally “moon viewing”, has for many centuries been held sometime in the middle of September all over Japan. During the harvest season, the air is clean and you can see beautiful full moons, and so the season is held then.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The 3rd Exhibition of Folk Photographs taken by Toshio Tanabe

Kochi Prefectural Museum of History
   Toshio Tanabe (1921 – 2010) researched villagers in Kochi and captured them on his camera over many years. We have held an exhibition of his photos here in 1999 and 2006. 50,000 of his photographs were donated to the museum and we are currently cataloging them. This exhibition highlights black-and-white photos showing vividly the life of people in Kochi.

Yosakoi Naruko Odori

image picture
   In summer 2010, a film set in Kochi,`Kimi ga odoru, natsu: The summer you are dancing in’ was released.  The story is about a girl struggling with an intractable disease. Her condition was so serious that she might die that summer. She had one thing she had longed to do while she was alive. It was to dance Yosakoi Naruko Odori. The movie was attracted considerable attention because it’s based on a true story.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Employment Advertisement for Foreign Lecturer

Ehime University
   (Ehime-ken) Ehime University in Matsuyama is seeking one contract English instructor for the English Education Center beginning April 2012. Each contract lasts one year and three contract periods may be allowed based on program needs and evaluation of work performance.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kure Hachimangu Shrine Grand Festival

   The Kure Hachimangu Shrine Grand Festival is taking place from the 14th to the 15th of the 8th month in the lunar calendar and is one of the three major festivals of Kochi. The festival has been held since the Period of Warring States in Japan (16th century). The highlight of the festival is a magnificent procession called “Omikoku-san” where local men march through the night towards the shrine while carrying a large, 6-meter-high torch weighing about 1 ton.

Furusato Festival in Gohoku

Beating Japanese-style drums strongly
   Have any of you ever gone to summer festivals held in countryside of Kochi Prefecture?

   The festivals are just as fun as the festivals in Kochi city, but in the summer, it will be more of an unforgettable experience. The event I would like to focus on the most is the ‘’Furusato Festival in Gohoku’’.

Monday, August 1, 2011

International Music & Food Festival

   A Volunteer guide group Kochi SGG Club presents an annual event for foreigners living in Kochi. This year it features Asian food and music from China, Korea and Japan. There will also be a karaoke competition.