Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tosa Masters - Koichiro Nojima (The Landscape Designer from Kochi City)

Nojima designed and created this cluster
of trees and boulders near the Yakushi-do
building of Dainichi-ji temple.
   It’s been 40 years since Koichiro Nojima dove into the world of landscape design after marrying into a landscaping family. Thanks not only to his superior skill, but also to his contributions to the formation of the next generation of landscapers, Nojima was selected in 2012 as Kochi Prefecture’s thirty-ninth “Modern Master.” Along with these accomplishments, Nojima is also one of Kochi’s few professionally qualified tree doctors.
   When he began to learn landscaping, with zero knowledge about the job, the first tool Nojima was allowed to handle was a broom to sweep up the leaves and twigs that had been pruned from the garden plants. While sweeping, he says, he observed the more experienced workers at their tasks, and memorized their pruning methods. Eventually, he began to be allowed to use the big pruning shears to prune things that already had a good shape, such as hedgerows. A few years later, he had improved enough to use the small shears as well.

Tosa Masters - Shinichiro Tani (The Porcelain Craftsman from Kochi City)

The clay passes through the waterway from right to left,
where it is deposited.
   Shinichiro Tani began his porcelain journey when he was 15 years old. At first he wasn't satisfied with his works, so he would remake items over and over to practice. About four years later, he was finally able to sell his first cup. He said he’ll never forget the joy he felt that day. Currently he is carrying on five generations of tradition since the Edo Period at the Tani Porcelain Manufacturers in Kamobe, Kochi City.

Tosa Masters - Takeshi Yoshikawa (The Dyed Goods Craftsman from Konan City)

He says the most difficult brushwork for the face is the nose.
   Around the time of Children’s Day (May 5th), originally a celebration of the birth and growth of boys, large furafu flags decorate Kochi’s skies in addition to the traditional koinobori carp-shaped banners. Takeshi Yoshikawa, a Tosa Master of dyed goods, says that, “One of the draws of furafu is the feeling of bravery one gets when they see a furafu swimming in the sky.”
   Yoshikawa, who makes furafu flags, nobori banners, and tosa-dako kites as a fifth generation owner of his family business Studio Yoshikawa, has been helping make furafu since he was a child. He started with washing furafu (which can take 1 hour per furafu!), and gradually moved on to painting colors. However, his young self didn’t enjoy the intensive labor, and his father explicitly asked him to succeed him in the family business, so he sought employment at a semi-governmental corporation in Kagawa Prefecture after graduating college. Then one day, while visiting home, Yoshikawa saw the happiness of a customer who ordered a furafu, and realized that he wanted to do a job where his personal efforts could directly make others happy. That’s when he decided to carry on his family’s craft.

Kochi Life Q&A “Kochi-ke ALL STARS”

Q: I’ve been seeing photos of people with star-shaped pins on their lapels, or people wearing star-shaped rainbow sunglasses. What’s going on there?
A: These goods have become popular thanks to Kochi-ke ALL STARS, the third stage of Kochi Prefecture’s Kochi-ke promotional campaign. This campaign seeks to introduce the charms of Kochi across the nation by highlighting how all members of the Kochi Family, both Kochi residents and people who have some kind of connection with Kochi, are stars in their own unique ways. People can apply to be recognized as a Star based on their hobbies or the things they like. For example, you could be the “star at living a carefree life in Kochi’s natural world.” To apply, search for 高知家 (Kochi-ke), find the Kochi-ke website, and go to the page called 高知家のスターに応募 (“apply to be a Kochi-ke Star”). From there, you can upload a photo of yourself, and overlay the image of the star-shaped sunglasses on your face so it looks like you’re wearing them. Finally, add a sentence or two explaining what kind of star you are, and you’re done!

   Once you become a Star, you’ll be registered in the Kochi-ke website’s Star Reference Guide, and you may have the chance to take part in Kochi PR videos, even sharing the stage with a famous actress from Kochi! It’s not just something fun to do for yourself, but something that could help all of Japan learn more about the charms of Kochi. The subject matter of this “Star Debut Project” changes every month, so it's always fresh and fun. Recommend your favorite stars, apply to become a star yourself, and help us revitalize Kochi!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Let's Enjoy Kochi Sushi and Party Culture!

Learn about Kochi Sushi (making Kokera Sushi)
Learn about Kochi Drinking Culture (Hashiken, chopstick game and Shibaten Dance)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 25
Time: 13:00 - 16:00
Place: CUL - PORT
Check-in starts at 12:30 at the Cooking Room on the 10th floor.
Fee: 1,000 yen (Student: 500 yen)  
English, Korean and Chinese interpretation will be available!
You can apply on the SGG homepage or Facebook.
Due Date: Thursday, Oct. 15
Organized by Kochi SGG Club