Monday, December 17, 2012

Kitagawa Village Onsen “Yuzu no Yado”

In the outdoor bath you
can see falling stars during
 the night, and in the early
morning you can hear the chirping
of birds and the sounds of deer.
   Kitagawa Village has a population of around 1500 people and is surrounded by the majestic mountains of Shikoku and the serene Nahari River. The onsen can be reached in around 20 minutes from Route 55. The natural springs were discovered 80 years ago, and due to the abundance of sodium and carbon ions in the water, they have come to be called “Fountain of Youth”.
   During yuzu season, you can enjoy the “Yuzu Bath” (the time the Yuzu Bath is open changes depending on each year’s harvest of yuzu, so please confirm its availability ahead of time). The excellent service of the attentive staff adds another layer of appeal to this wonderful onsen.

Ryuga Onsen ~ Where ceramic tanukis greet you ~

The indoor bath
 (you can see little ceramic tanukis outside the window)
   The hot spring inn Ryuga Onsen can be found about one hour from Kochi City center by bus along Route 22, the road that leads to Ryugado Cave. A large ceramic tanuki that stands about five meters tall marks the entrance.

Kumo no Ueno Onsen

You are surrounded by great nature.
   Yusuhara is a small town located near the source of the beautiful Shimanto River and it is surrounded by the Shikoku Karst. “Kumo no Ueno Onsen” with fresh hot spring water stands among magnificent mountains, making you want to stop by when driving through.
   Its spring quality is good for washing off excess sebum and dead skin cells, and creating fresh, smooth skin. That is why it is called “Spring of Beauty” and there is a variety of hot springs to enjoy:

Winter Recipe in Tosa

   Kochi Prefecture is known as a production area of yuzu (a kind of citrus) and has a 40 percent share across the country. Yuzu are grown in mountain areas that have a difference in temperature during day and night, and are said to be good for cold prevention. There are probably many people who take a yuzu bath on a cold day. In addition, it is said that they contain more than three times as much Vitamin C as lemons and an ingredient to make the skin beautiful.

   Here is a simple recipe of yuzu tea below. Please drink yuzu tea and warm up!
Yuzu Tea

   Equal amounts of yuzu (with removal of seeds) and crystal sugar (or caster sugar)
1. Cut off the tip of the yuzu and wash.
2. Cut them in half crosswise and remove seeds.
3. Cut as thinly as possible, including the pith.
4. Put some cut yuzu and crystal sugar (or caster sugar) alternately in a bottle.
5. It will be ready to drink after the crystal sugar melts. Put as much as you like into a cup, pour hot water on it and stir.

Let’s get a Ryoma Passport!

   Do you know about the Ryoma Passport, which gives you special discounts and privileges at almost 360 different places in Kochi Prefecture? The passport started in April 2012 and is valid for two years, with 3 different types: a blue, red, and black passport. There have been over 20,000 blue passports issued already!

Kinkon Tosanikki ⑧

A series of four-panel comics called Kinkon Tosanikki appears in the evening edition of the local Kochi Shimbun newspaper.

At Makino Botanical Garden
Takumi: Whoa~.
(Sign: Sakamoto Ryoma)

Takumi : Those plant humans were so cool.
Grandma: You mean chrysanthemum dolls!

Takumi : I want to be like them…
Grandma: Oi! You’re walking toward the bushes.

Takumi : Look! I’m like them!!
Grandma: A very dull cocklebur human.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The season for Yuzu baths

   Winter is the best season for taking baths. When I come in from the cold outside and climb into a warm bath, I feel especially glad to be in Japan.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Seven Wonders of Election Campaigning in Japan

   Campaigning for the Lower House election has kicked off today. I hear from some foreigners that they’ve found many mysterious things in the election campaigning of this country. Here are seven of them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lucky Bags

   What do you have planned for New Year’s? Eat some osechi ryori—traditional New Year’s dishes—or go to a shrine for hatsumoude—the traditional first visit of the year? How about taking part in the traditional rush for some fukubukuro? What’s fukubukuro you ask?

   They are known as “lucky bags” or “mystery bags” in English, and are bags filled with a certain number of products, sold at a cost much lower than the combined retail prices of the products concealed inside. They can be found at certain department stores, clothing stores, and electronics stores from New Year’s Day onward until they sell out. If you like a bargain, it’s the thing for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Notice: Drill for Emergency Information Transmission

Mobile phones within Kochi Prefecture will ring on December 3rd at around 10:20am!

You will receive a test message with emergency evacuation instructions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Micronesians' View on "Japan": The Case of Palau

   An experienced anthropologist, Shingo Iitaka's main field of research is the island of Palau, one of Japan's former colonies in the South Pacific. Mr. Iitaka visits the island frequently and will share with us his views on how Japan is looked at by Micronesians, taking us on a fascinating journey beyond the horizon of the ocean we in Kochi are so familiar with but know so little about.
   The lecture will be held at 6:30pm - 8pm on November 30 (Fri.), at the Eikokuji campus of the University of Kochi.
** Participation is free. **

Inquries: 088-873-2984
University of Kochi Fac. of Cultural Studies

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A Rokuhara paper-mache snake in Iwate Pref.
   Following the summer special exhibition, about a hundred ‘Mi’: snake (the Oriental animal zodiac sign of next year) toys will be on display from Shigeru Yamasaki’s collection of more than 12,000 local toys.
   On November 23 (holiday/ Fri) we will be inviting the staff of ‘Soryusha’ as instructors, and they will demonstrate how to paint paper-mache snakes. On December 1 (Sat) the museum curator will give a talk in the exhibition room.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Go maple hunting in “Gotogoto Iwa” and “Yamanba Waterfall”

   When Japanese people go to see the autumn leaves and trees, we call it, “maple hunting”. Normally, “hunting”means to chase animals and birds to kill them, and this is the same in Japanese, but according to the dictionary, it also means, “going into nature to look at plants and to enjoy them”. This time, I’d like to introduce a place where you can enjoy hiking and beautifully coloured leaves.


   When we think of the seafood delicacies of Kochi, Katsuo-no-tataki (lightly-roasted bonito) is not the only dish that comes to mind. Mackerel-shaped sushi (Saba-no-sugatazushi) is another Kochi favorite. The sushi is often placed on a sawachi (a large and colorful platter) and is also available as “ekiben” (a boxed meal) at JR Kochi Station. As you can imagine from its name, all the parts of the fish – from the head to the tail – are used.

NIITAKA-nashi (Pear)

   The Japanese nashi (pear) is a completely different shape compared to its Western counterpart. Japanese nashi are round, like apples. Two kinds of nashi cultivated in Kochi and Niigata were cross-bred, producing a new variety. “NIITAKA-nashi” was named in 1926; “NII” comes from Niigata and “TAKA” comes from Kochi. (Ko is also read as Taka.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Useful / Interesting Tosaben ②

postpositional particle. Used at the end of a sentence as an emphatic, often to remind.
Example: dokoni ikiyuuga? kyo wa kekkonkinenbi chiya (Where do you think you are going? It’s our anniversary today!)
soko ni haittara ikan chiya! (I’m telling you, you’re not supposed to go in there!)
Standard Japanese: -teba

Useful / Interesting Tosaben ①

tsumu (te-form: tsunde)
v. to give a person a ride
Example: shinai ni iku nara tsunde ittekureru? (If you’re going into the city could you give me a ride?)
Standard Japanese: noseru
You can use this verb for both things and people.

Tosaben Grammar

   Although people in Kochi usually use Tosaben in casual spoken language, it has its own grammar. Let’s study some points comparing it with standard Japanese.

                               Standard Japanese     Tosaben
Present progressive    ~teiru                      ~yuu
Condition/result         ~teiru                      ~chuu
Negative                    ~nai                         ~n
Reason                       ~kara                       ~ki
Question                    ~no?                         ~ga?
Emphasis                   ~ndesu (~nda)        ~ga

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Kochi Fighting Dogs

The Kochi FD players promise a victory to the children.
The Kochi Fighting Dog’s mascot, “Dockey”.
The strong image of the Tosa fighting dogs
 gives an image of a strong team.
   The Kochi Fighting Dogs (abbreviated as Kochi FD below) was birthed in 2005 as Kochi Prefecture’s team in IBLJ’s (Independent Baseball League of Japan) unified Shikoku Island League. After that, in 2006 IBLJ recruited investors from each prefecture in Shikoku and the present Kochi FD team was formed. The independent league, Shikoku Island League Plus, is a place where players who aim to enter major league and pro league can hone their talents. All the players are chasing their dream of entering into the pro league, and so far Keisuke Yasuda (Softbank Hawks), Katsuya Kakunaka (Chiba Lotte Marines), and Kazuya Iida (Softbank Hawks) have been able to move up to the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball). In the past there were management difficulties that endangered the continuation of the team, but they were able to overcome them and become loved by many fans as Kochi’s representative baseball team.
   This time, we were able to interview the director of the Kochi FD, Shigekazu Takemasa.

Tosa’s Autumn Recipe

   Eggplants harvested in autumn are especially tasty as the Japanese proverb “Aki-nasu wa yome ni kuwasuna (Don’t feed autumn eggplants to your wife)” represents and their production volume in Kochi is ranked number one in Japan.
   Here is a simple recipe with eggplants below. Please enjoy cooking at home.

Tosa Omotenashi Kinnoto

   “Tosa Omotenashi Kinnoto” a.k.a. “Motekin” is a group of six members from Kochi Prefecture who are dressed as famous samurai warriors in the late Edo period. The group was formed in April, 2011 to liven up tourism in Kochi and performs at Kochi Tabi Hiroba located near the south exit of JR Kochi Station.
   The members of “Motekin” are Ryoma Sakamoto, Hanpeita Takechi, Izo Okada, Shintaro Nakaoka, Yataro Iwasaki and the only woman in the group, Kawaraban-ya (news-sheets seller) Ryo. Their original songs and dance performances are partly inspired by Yosakoi and the colors of their costumes are based on specialties of where they were from.

Kinkon Tosanikki ⑦

A series of four-panel comics called Kinkon Tosanikki appears in the evening edition of the local Kochi Shimbun newspaper.

At a restaurant
Grandma: Hmm... Men...

Grandma: Or Double-O-Men.

Grandma: Which is right?
Server: This one.

Grandma: I see, I am a Double-O-Men.
Server: Uhh... it's read "women"
Note: In Japan, W is sometimes used to mean "double."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kinoko Gari (Mushroom Picking)

   Autumn is the season when many mushrooms are harvested in Kochi. Sadly, no farms open their doors for the public to enjoy mushroom picking. On the other hand, it is not recommended that you pick mushrooms unless you have knowledge about them because some of them are poisonous. However, there is one farm-stay where you can harvest mushrooms as part of its hands-on activity program.

Momiji gari (Maple Tree Viewing)

   The season of Autumn colors will come soon. The red color of autumn leaves comes from the pigment anthocyan. As autums progresses, glucose and sucrose levels increase inside the leaves, and under the influence of ultra-violet rays, the leaves turn red. Although my recommended spot is Omogo Ravine & Mt. Ishizuchi, I am limited to telling you about spots within Kochi! With this in mind, I would like to recommend Kuroson Ravine.


   “I rode the train all the way to Aki, but now that I’ve arrived, I can’t get anywhere without a car!”
   “Some friends came from out of town, but since they don’t have bikes, I need to drive them everywhere. What a waste of parking and petrol money!”
   “I want to enjoy Kochi in a more environmentally friendly way…”

Areas where Tosaben and Hataben are spoken

   Tosaben is spoken mainly in Kochi City and Middle and Eastern Kochi. It has remnants of ancient Western Japanese dialects in its sound and vocabulary, and it has been strongly affected by the Kyoto and Osaka style accents and dialects in the Kinki region. On the other hand, it has a lot of distinct expressions.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guitar & Bass guitar Lessons

   The Guitar is both cool in its looks and sounds.You are so cool....!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Music for long autumn nights

   A hint of autumn is in the air. Why don’t you enjoy the beautiful autumn nights and indulge yourself with some nice music?

   I would like to introduce some cafés and bars where you can listen to live music in Kochi.

Essentials for mountain climbing

   In the summer it can be hot and in the winter it can get very cold, so it is best to dress accordingly. Long sleeves and long trousers are essential in and out of season. In summer clothing made from sweat-absorbent, quick-drying material is ideal, in the winter clothes that will help you retain your body heat are essential. In the spring and autumn, you might want to pack a light down jacket as the temperature can change all the time.

Notes on mountain climbing

   In the last few years mountain climbing has really caught on in Japan. Media focus on television and in magazines has made it increasingly popular amongst young people.

   Even if your planned route looks easy, you still need to take great care. Plan ahead and don’t push yourself too far.

   Here are a few basic points to remember when climbing mountains.

Basic manners for mountain hiking

   Here are some basic rules that can help make mountain hiking a more enjoyable activity for everyone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The formation of Shikoku

   Hello. This time I am going to write about how Shikoku was established. Ok, let's start a history class, shall we?

   In the late 7th century, the four prefectures of Shikoku were formed. Before that, powerful families governed each area as Kuninomiyatsuko(*1). For example, in Kochi there were Tosano- kuninomiyatsuko and Hatano-kuninomiyatsuko. After that, in the late 7th century, the four countries of Iyono-Kuni (present-day Ehime prefecture), Sanukino-Kuni (Kagawa pref.), Awano-Kuni (Tokushima pref.) and Tosano-Kuni (Kochi pref.) were established in the Shikoku region under the Ritsuryo-sei(*2) system. Then, in the Edo period there were lots of Han (*3) in Japan, but the number of Han in each Kuni (country) was different. For example in Tosano-Kuni there was only Tosa-Han, but in Sanukino-Kuni there were nine. (By the way, in this period Katsutoyo Yamauchi,who is a kind of cult-figure now, governed Kochi as a Daimyo (*4).)

Tsubo & Massage

   Super HOT summer is still here in Kochi…. Can you survive?

   Inside our body, we have streams of energy that run all over. Our body functions make the energy streams, however, when the functions are disturbed, the energy streams cannot flow smoothly.
   “Tsubo” are points on the energy streams where you feel pain, and through them you can check whether your bodily functions work well or not. Particularly, our hands and feet have many “Tsubo.” Try acupressure on your body by yourself. If you keep pressing on the point that you feel pain, your bodily functions will recover. In Kochi city, there are various massage salons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Katsura Matsuri
   When you think of Kochi, you think of the Yosakoi Festival! Every year from August 9 to 12, the streets of Kochi City overflow with music, decorated buses and over 20,000 dancers. It’s Carnaval, Kochi style!

   While spectacular, however, Yosakoi is but one of the countless matsuri, or festivals, celebrated throughout the year all over Japan. Practically every city, town, shrine and temple has its own matsuri celebrating everything from local deities to snow sculptures. Kochi City alone has matsuri celebrating the castle (Kochi Oshiro Matsuri), the life of local hero Sakamoto Ryoma (Ryoma Matsuri), and even wigs (Katsura Matsuri) to name but a few.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Onsen in overseas

Onsen in Turkey
   Japan’s onsens may be amongst the most famous in the world, but several other countries have their own hot spring culture. But one thing that each place has in common is that wherever hot water bubbles to the earth`s surface, humans have rarely ignored it’s curative properties. There is something about the soothing nature of hot water that leads people to seek it out for healing, relaxation and socialisation.

Use of onsen besides bathing

Eggs steamed by vapor from onsen
   How many uses of onsen do you know about besides bathing or drinking? I also realized that there are a variety of uses of onsen in Japan.

The Onsen as Social Lubricant

Kitagawa Village Onsen in Kochi 
   Getting naked could well be called Japan`s national pastime. Across the country in any one day, there must be many thousands of people who disrobe, bathe and casually chat with their fellow onsen-users as they soak away the day`s stress and sweat.

Autumn Cuisine

<Lightly salted charbroiled Mackerel Pike>
The time to eat “sanma” has come! The best way to cook it is charcoal roasted!! Very smoky....but try it!
・Mackerel pikes (Sanma)
・Grated daikon (white radish)
・Splash of soy sauce and salt
(1) Put some salt on each side of the mackerel.
(2) Just broil on the bbq until the color turns golden brown.
Serve with soy sauce & grated daikon.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

International Rapport Square 2012

Fureai Hiroba in 2011
   On the 14th of October (Sun.), at Hirome Ichiba in Kochi City, KIA (Kochi International Association) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Shikoku Branch Office will be holding the "Kokusai Fureai Hiroba 2012" (International Rapport Square), an event devoted to international cooperation.

   There will be booths selling traditional crafts from Laos and Guatemala, as well as cheap Chinese, Korean, Mongolian and Vietnamese home cuisine. There will also be Asian music and hula dancing.

   All profits from the sale of the crafts will help improve the lives of people in developing countries. For example, you will be able to contribute to the construction of an elementary school in Laos if you buy one craft item from Laos, where there are still many children who don`t have any opportunity to receive an education. We are looking foward to seeing you at this event.

Opening hours: 10a.m.-5p.m.
Contact: Kochi International Association (KIA)
TEL: 088-875-0022

Special Exhibition “Swords of the Mononofu (Samurai) Spirit - Noted swords from Bizen and swords with historical connections to Tosa”

   This exhibition will be displaying three groups of swords. Group 1 is old swords mainly from Bizen, which was among the 5 Old Countries of Yamashiro (old Kyoto), Yamato (old Nara), Bizen (old Okayama), Sagami (old Kanagawa) and Mino (old Gifu).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Invitation to Jogging

   Do you feel you lack exercise since coming to Japan? Or has the doctor advised you to get some exercise in a recent medical check? If so, I recommend that you start jogging.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

“Live House” in Kochi

   Autumn has come! Why don’t you enjoy the long nights of autumn with a lilting tune at a “live house”? “Live House” is Japanese for live music venues. The most famous live house in Kochi is “BAY5 SQUARE”. This live house has a seating capacity of 2,000. One of the appeals of the live house is that a lot of artists who are famous throughout Japan often hold their gigs here.
   The place attracts a large number of people from Shikoku Island and is always brimming with energy. The scene covers a wide range of genres including J-pop, Rock and Zazz. That’s why not only young people but also elderly people can enjoy their favorite music here.

Monday, September 3, 2012


sweetfish fishing
   Autumn, a good season to start new things, maybe you’d like to try something new but haven’t figured out what yet. I recommend fishing as a way to experience the changing of the seasons while surrounded by the abundance of nature in Kochi.

Dangerous Fish

      Although we can enjoy catching many kinds of fish in the seas of Kochi, we need to be cautious when handling some potentially dangerous fish. Please be especially careful of a fish called "gonzui" which closely resembles a catfish and has poison in the dorsal fin. If stung, you’ll feel intense pain and bleed as well. If you catch one, keep the fish immobilized by placing your foot on the fish’s belly to hold it down (wear thick-soled shoes or boots as the spines penetrate thin shoes) then remove the hook.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Three things for which I’m proud of Kochi

Kochi is a paradise for sake drinkers
   It is often said that Kochi is well known for its sake (Japanese rice wine) production and consumption, and people outside think Kochi people are heavy drinkers.When I lived in Tokyo, people often teased me by saying “you must drink a lot because you are from Kochi”! I tried to keep up with the reputation and at first tried to drink a lot. After a while people recognized that I was not a big drinker and that such a stereotyped perception didn’t apply to me. But indeed it seems to me that many Kochi’s citizens drink a lot.

Kochi’s Hidden Village

   Thanks to amalgamations, there are now even more great places within Kochi’s city limits. One of these is former Tosayama village. A close friend of mine lives in a converted farmhouse in the town, and so I have the pleasure of visiting the area 2 or 3 times a month. Despite being only 30mins from the city, it’s as if you’ve entered a different world!
   Whether I sit by the headwaters of the Kagami river reading, or spend hours soaking in the Tosayama Auberge onsen, I am always refreshed by the trip. I’ve been particularly impressed by the active community around the Nakagawa area. Facing up to a declining population, they plan various events and try to revitalize their town. Deciding that the town needed a hotel, they convinced a company to set up the Tosayama Auberge hotel.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


   “MY-yuu-Bus” is a tourist bus operating between JR Kochi station and Mt. Godaisan and Katsurahama. You can use this service to visit the Makino Botanical Gardens, the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum, and Katsurahama. The daypass also gets you discounts at some hotels and museums, etc. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Haruno Athletic Park

   This must be Kochi’s largest athletic park. Located in former Haruno Town, it boasts various facilities for sports, such as a stadium, track and field facilities, a big gymnasium, tennis courts, a shooting range, and a swimming pool.

Desuka IC Card

Image of the Desuka IC card
   Starting from Jan. 25 in 2009, the Desuka IC card, a new public transportation payment system, is available on buses and tramcars in Kochi City and several other municipalities around the city. Passengers with the IC card are able to pay the fare without worrying about having to carry change.

Museums of Ryoma

Here are brief explanations about three museums in Kochi about Ryoma.
Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum
Houses easy-to-understand exhibits of valuable historical documents about Ryoma and explanations of his personality, achievements and his visions. The building is located near the Katsurahama beach and the observatory lends a panoramic view of the horizon and Pacific Ocean.
Open: 9a.m- 5p.m.
Directions: Get on a Kenkotsu bus bound for Katsurahama, then get off the Ryoma Kinenkan-mae stop and then walk one minute.
Entrance fee: ¥500 for 18 and older, free for high school and younger students, ¥400 for groups of 20 and over
HP: (in English)
TEL: 088-841-0001

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Temple Ghosts

   Once upon a time in the west of Kochi was a sad village – home to a haunted temple. One day, a monk came walking through the town, looking for a place to rest. The villagers told him of the temple, but warned him not to go. However, the monk insisted, and went to the strange temple.

The Witch in the Cauldron

   Once upon a time there was a man named Asakichi living in Yasu Town. One day on a winter’s evening, as he made his way home with a bunch of freshly-picked radishes strapped to the back of his horse, he suddenly noticed that a witch with long, white shoulder-length hair was clinging to his horse’s hindquarters.

The Mountain Witch and the Rice Balls

   A poor man named Seibei once lived in what is now Tsuno Town. Despite being very poor, every new-year he made sure he had enough money to make rice balls for his children to eat.

Shirikire Kannon

   Long long ago in a small village, a woman named Otera Baasan (the old lady of the temple) died unexpectedly. Otera Baasan liked to visit temples and could always be seen praying to Amida Buddha. So she was buried along with many Buddhist invocation tablets. That same day, a young man named Hachi also unexpectedly died.

White-Ben, Black-Ben

   There once lived a man named Shinjiro Nishiyama in a solitary house at Gongendaba in the Yamada area of Sukumo. Shinjiro liked hunting and had two dogs whose names were Whit Ben and Black Ben respectively.

Enko Sumo

   The frog-like, turtle-like water goblin known as the kappa features in folk tales from all over Japan, including Kochi, but here they are also known as enko. Legend has it that one of these enko used to inhabit the Iyoki River south of Kubokawa.

   One day, some children went to the river and called, “Enko, enko, come out! We’ll give you cucumbers!” Enko absolutely love cucumbers, so it came up out of the water. After giving it some cucumber and eggplant, the children challenged the enko to a sumo wrestling match. The enko was small – about the size of a 5-year-old child – but used its quickness, slipperiness, and incredible strength to easily beat all the children.

Yokoyama Memorial Manga Museum

   This museum was completed in the Kochi City Bunka Plaza “Culport” in 2002 in order to commemorate the achievements of Ryuichi Yokoyama (1909-2001). It exhibits a variety of his works including one of his best known characters, “Fuku-chan”.

Open: 9:00am-6:00pm
Closed: Mondays (unless Mon is a national or substitute holiday), Dec.28-Jan. 4
Access: Get off at Saenba tramcar station, and then walk 3min.
Fee: Adults 400yen, 65 years and over 200yen, SHS and under free
Inquiries: TEL088-883-5029
HP: (English)

Taken from vol.30 PDF

Koshin Manga Dojo & Kuroshio Manga Taisho

   Do you regularly read the Kochi Newspaper? Each month, they have a manga column, called “Koshin Manga Dojo,” to which readers can contribute their own manga. This special column was started in February 1987 for amateur manga writers who wanted to put their skills to the test.

Manga characters for railway stations

   Did you know that each station along the Gomen-Nahari line has its own manga character? Each character was designed byYanase Takashi – who is famous as the creator of Anpan-Man – and reflects something of the culture or produce of the area around the station. Let’s take a look at two characters that I find interesting. First is ‘Noichindonman’ at Noichi Station.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yanase Takashi & Anpan-Man Museum

   Anybody living in Japan is bound to run into Anpan-Man sooner or later. As his name would suggest, this superhero is made out of Anpan: bean-jam-filled bread.
   First appearing in a picture book in 1973, he was made into a television cartoon in 1988, and has been loved by all Japan for nearly 40 years. He is a kind, strong warrior for justice who flies through the sky, battles the evil bacteria Baikin Man, and gives pieces of his own delicious body to the hungry.

Yuko Yamaguchi (Kitty’s third generation designer)

   Originating in Japan, “Hello Kitty” is Sanrio’s most famous international character. Kitty was first seen printed on a Sanrio plastic coin purse that went on sale in 1974. Since then, she has been appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and has also been co-opted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as a Goodwill Tourism Ambassador for China and HongKong.


Kuroshio Kun (the mascot of Kochi)

   I am Kuroshio Kun, the mascot of Kochi Prefecture. I am a wave of the Black Current (Kuroshio). You must have seen me somewhere else before.
   My charming points are a cute pair of eyes and a smiling face. I will make you happy by my relaxing atmosphere. In 1997, Kochi Prefecture held a public competition to design a mascot. A lady from Aichi Prefecture drew me and won the prize. I guess you could call her my mother.

Water Disasters in Kochi

Flooding in September 1998
   Kochi gets higher rainfall than any other prefecture in Japan. Usually that’s a good thing – Kochi doesn’t suffer from water shortages, and the rain is great for agriculture – but too much of even a good thing is bad, and every now and then the rains bring disaster.

Mr. Daniel Ribble with Shakuhachi

   Shakuhachi is a Japanese vertical bamboo flute, which was used by the monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism at the Edo period. The name means “1.8 Shaku”, referring to its size.
   Daniel Ribble is a Shakuhachi player from the US. He came to Kochi as an English teacher in 1986, and has been living here ever since.

Rare Djembe Artisan in Kochi

   Meet Toshihisa Kuzume, an artisan, musician and teacher of the djembe in Nagahama in Kochi City. The djembe is a traditional, goblet-shaped drum originating in West Africa that is found at most festivals and events. Several people play at a time, some beating the drums by hand or with other apparatus like horns and drumsticks.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Make Japanese Paper in Kochi

   Japanese paper production in Kochi (Tosa Washi) is believed to have a 1000-year history, based on records which indicate that paper was presented to the emperor at that time. Handmade paper production reached a golden age in the Edo and Meiji eras and became one of Kochi’s specialized products. Over time, the demand for handmade paper has dropped sharply. But in 1976, Tosa Washi was designated as a national traditional craft and now Ino Town is the center of paper production in Kochi Pref.

Study Japanese Culture in Kochi

   If you want to enrich your life in Kochi, or make more Japanese friends, why don’t you take classes in Japanese culture with likeminded individuals?

Hand-Made Soba

   Imagine how satisfying it would be to make your own soba, and be able to take it home to eat. There is a place in Kochi that lets you do just this.
   About 40 minutes by bus from JR Kubokawa Station (Dosan Line) you will find “Hokushin no Yakata,” a small building standing inconspicuously next to a mountain hot-spring hotel. You can make your own original soba noodles at this Japanese-style wooden house. Add water little by little to local buckwheat and flour, mix and knead until the dough is as hard as your ear lobe. Roll the dough with a special bar, and when thin enough, fold it into four and then cut evenly.

Make Katsuo no Tataki (lightly roasted bonito)

   In Saga, Kuroshio Town, your can make “katsuo no tataki” (lightly roasted bonito) at the “Kuroshio-ichibankan”. This dish is the crowning glory of culinary culture in Kochi. This facility gives you a chance to experience authentic tataki making using a fire fueled with straw. It’s open between March and November. A minimum of two people must apply for the lesson to go ahead. The fee is from ¥3150 per person including a meal using a whole bonito, featuring your own handmade tataki. Reservation is required.

Access: Walk 20min. from Tosa Saga Sta. on the Tosakuroshio Line
Inquiries: 0880-55-3680

Taken from vol.28 PDF