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.