Friday, September 27, 2013

The Move That Changed My Life

The Ogishima Family whose romance
 began at the Yosakoi festival
   We talked with Takahiro Ogishima, who is from Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and is now a Tourism Ambassador for Kochi Prefecture. Mr. Ogishima opened his home in Kochi City to us, where he lives with his wife, their one year old daughter, and his parents-in-law.
How did you first come to Kochi?
   A friend of mine from Kochi used to tell me all about the charm of Kochi and the Yosakoi Festival back in my days at vocational school. I was able to make my own schedule when I got an independent job as a designer, so when my friend invited me to participate in Yosakoi, I agreed, and that’s how it all started. At that time, I had zero prior knowledge about Yosakoi, and I thought it was something like the Obon Festival dance.

Do you have any memorable episodes from when you first came to Kochi?
   When I went drinking at an izakaya the evening before my first Yosakoi Festival, the man sitting next to me treated me to a bottle of sake to celebrate. I was completely destroyed by henpai* after henpai, and I remember thinking that Kochi was a scary place!

What was the deciding factor that caused you to move to Kochi?
   I had made many friends from different Yosakoi dance teams in the nine years that I had been coming to Kochi for the Yosakoi Festival, and they would even call out to me on the street, which was really nice. When my wife from Kochi, whom I met through Yosakoi, became pregnant, she told me that she wanted to raise our family in Kochi. I said yes, knowing that we both had roots here. My friends in Kochi energize me, after all. I don’t even feel like an outsider here.

What has it been like being away from Kanagawa Prefecture?
   I can no longer go to Southern All Stars concerts, which I used to never miss, and I can no longer eat Iekei Ramen, a type ramen made with pork and soy sauce broth. Because I have a daughter now, I can live with not going to concerts, but there’s not even one Iekei Ramen restaurant in all of Kochi! People from Kanagawa Prefecture eat so much ramen that it’s said that our blood is half ramen soup, but now I can only eat it when I go back home.

Mr. Ogishima after about 2 years
since moving to Kochi.
His Tosa dialect is excellent
What do you have to say to people who are thinking of moving to Kochi?
   The desire to move somewhere new is important, but I want people to really research a place before they go there. I think it’s the responsibility of the person who has moved to open up lines of communication with their new neighbors. Moving is an event that will change one’s life, so think about it deeply beforehand. Then, of course, I want people to come to love Kochi.

*Henpai is when you are offered a cup of sake, drink it quickly, refill the cup, and return it to the person who originally offered you the drink. Your partner then drinks and returns the cup to you, continuing the cycle.

Message from Katsuo-Ningen
   Finally, we received a brief comment from “Katsuo-Ningen”, who is the leader of the supporters for the campaign. “Katsuo-Ningen” only speaks Tosa dialect, so we at KIA have provided an English translation.

   These girls are migration counseling representatives that work for Kochi Prefecture! They offer consultation for anyone thinking of moving to Kochi. They’re all very pretty, but also Kochi “hachikin women (as strong as four men)”, so they’re tough and very helpful!

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