Friday, September 21, 2018

Kusunose Kita - the “minken baasan”- pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement -

Kusunose Kita (1836-1920)
   Kusunose Kita was born in September 1836 in modern-day Kochi City. She married at the age of 21, however her husband died of an illness when she was 38 years old, and she remained single thereon after. They didn’t have or adopt any children, and so she looked after her home as the registered head of the household.

   When the new Meiji era began, heads of households who had paid taxes were given the right to vote for district assembly members, however this right was not extended to women. Not satisfied at being refused a vote, Kita decided to stop paying taxes. After three months of not paying she received a letter from the prefectural government demanding her payment. She replied “it is strange that despite paying taxes, I do not have the right to vote because I am a woman. Rights and responsibilities should work together, and so if I don’t have the right to vote then I won’t pay my taxes”. She submitted the letter to the prefectural government and requested a response.

Let’s hear from the head proprietress at Hamachou, one of Kochi’s traditional restaurants! What exactly is a “hachikin”?

Head Proprietess Kayo of
  After I began working as a proprietress, I started hearing “what is a hachikin?” from customers coming from outside of the prefecture. When I searched through write-ups, I found the word being described as a woman who only thinks about 80% of her actions before acting, and is able to handle four men at a time. This is where the “hachi” (meaning eight) of “hachikin” (literally meaning eight testicles) comes from. Kochi women will say what they feel whenever they want, without listening until the end. A hachikin acts fast, is strong, works hard, and is very clear on their likes and dislikes. This is also a reason for Kochi’s high divorce rate, says Head Proprietress Kayo. The women of Kochi will do their best for their men, but if they feel that it is not going to work out, they are also quick to take action - which means getting a divorce. However, they do not request for settlement money, and even if they do, it is a small, insignificant amount. It seems as if it works out to something like, “I will work and raise my children, so you too live a good life”. Although these characteristics of being forward-looking, strong, independent, and full of confidence are connected to divorce, it is said that just like how Japanese ladies are seen as well-mannered, this confidence that Kochi women have is naturally picked up from a young age.

Introducing some useful things during a disaster!

   I’m sure the July 2018 heavy rain disaster in Western Japan which killed over 200 people is still fresh in peoples’ minds. Here, we would like to introduce some useful tools to protect yourself with during natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.
1. Disaster information apps available in multiple languages
①Safety tips
An information app for use during disasters supervised by the Japan Tourism Agency, geared towards foreign travelers.
Languages: Japanese, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean. It provides push notifications of Earthquake Early Warnings, Tsunami Warnings, Weather Warnings and Eruption Notices issued in Japan. In addition, there is an action flowchart showing evacuation actions to be taken in the light of surrounding circumstances and a communication card for obtaining information from the people around, along with useful links that provide information in times of disaster.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rediscovering the charms of the Niyodo River! Shown to us by Mr. Yamaoka, an Ino Town Tourism Association volunteer

Kochi City Hall CIR Marisa

How to make the most of summertime nature, the Kochi way!
   Like last year, summer has come early to Kochi! Unlike my home country of Indonesia, Japan has four seasons, and the celebration of these seasons is an integral part of Japanese culture, with different things to look forward to as each one approaches. The ideal way to spend one’s summer is relaxing by the sea. However the situation is slightly different in Kochi, which is full of rich and beautiful nature. Of course relaxing by the sea here is equally as enjoyable as relaxing by the river, and in Ino Town there is the famous "Niyodo Blue" at the upper reaches of the Niyodo River, which of course is a beautiful attraction. But this time I would like to tell you about a different aspect of the river’s charm.
Receiving an explanation about the Niyodo River from our guide Mr. Yamaoka.

Barbecuing along the Niyodo River

Kochi Prefectural CIR Han Jeonggyu
One way to enjoy summer
   One of the best ways to spend your summer is enjoying a barbecue! There are many popular places to barbecue in Kochi, such as Yasea Park (Yasu, Konan-shi), Yutorisuto Park Otoyo (Otoyo-cho), and the Shimanto River area, but this time we went to the Niyodo River area which is easily accessible from Kochi City. “Hakawa Park” (located on Route 33 near Niyodogawabashi) is one place where you can barbecue along the Niyodo River. It is a convenient location, located 10 minutes walking distance from JR “Hakawa Station” and 20 minutes from “Ino” tram stop, and also has a parking area right in front of the park. Entrance is also free.
Barbecue: The meat shop did everything
for us, including delivering it to us and
picking it up afterwards.

Smartphone Applications ②

   The world has become a convenient place. One can get a lot done just by using smartphone applications. Today, I will be introducing three applications that are useful even for people who have just arrived in Japan☆
• Japan Travel - Route, Map, JR (by Navitime Japan)
   This app does more than just telling you where to get on and off public transportation. It is a guide book in itself, with articles on the local region’s food, nature, culture, shopping, and more. You can also search for places using only their phone numbers! The most impressive thing about this app is how you can search for Free Wi-Fi, Information Centers, ATMs and more, even offline!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fishing in Kochi

Kochi City CIR, TJ Yanagitsuru
   Fishing in Kochi probably conjures images of Ipponzuri-fishing for Katsuo, but did you know you can enjoy a vast array of other different types of fishing in Kochi?

   The Kuroshio sea current flows off of the Tosa coast, and many different types of fish inhabit the beautiful oceans. Kochi’s long coastline extends 713 kilometers from east to west, and in addition to the 88 fishing ports which dot the coastline, there are jetties, beaches, searocks, and anchored fishing rafts, resulting in innumerable places you can fish from. Anglers from outside of the prefecture make the long trek to Kochi, in order to enjoy this perfect fishing environment.
The boat we went on, the Roman 3-go.

Let’s go to Kochi City Central Wholesale Market!

By Kencho CIR, Teo Valerie
We went to find out about the market!
   The market was opened in 1930 and is the second oldest market in Japan. Fish caught in Kochi and foods from across the country are brought here, and make their way to the dinner tables of Kochi’s residents.
The most commonly caught fish in Kochi isn’t actually bonito!
   If you walk towards the ocean-facing side of the market, you can see where the unloading of fishing boats takes place. I’m sure many of you would think that because this is Kochi, the most common fish caught here would be bonito. However Kochi is not the number one prefecture in terms of catching bonito- it is just number one in terms of their consumption. The bonito eaten in Kochi primarily comes from Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Chiba Prefecture. So what is the most common fish handled at this market? The answer is tuna and alfonsino. Incredibly, approx. 290 tons of tuna and approx. 200 tons of alfonsino are handled here every year, with other main types of fish including bonito, common dolphinfish, blue mackerel and the Japanese amberjack.

Going to the Open Market Day!

By Kochi City CIR Xu Lin
   On the first Saturday of each month an “open market day” is held at Kochi City Central Wholesale Market. March 3, marked its 99th time and I went to have a look around with the staff from KIA.
Bidding for tuna at the fresh fish auction.

Smartphone Applications

   The world has become a convenient place. One can get a lot done just by using smartphone applications. Today, I will be introducing 3 applications that are useful even for people who have just arrived in Japan☆
VoiceTra (Voice Translator) (by NICT) and Google Translate
   Both applications provide impressive interpretations when given sentences of reasonable lengths.
Japan Life Guide (by CLAIR)
   Information on 17 topics of life in Japan written in an easy to understand way in 14 languages! The app will also notify users when an earthquake over seismic intensity of 5 occurs in Japan. It is probably not an app that you will use daily, but it will sure come in handy if you need an encyclopedia of sorts!
Requesting for redelivery on LINE for Kuroneko Yamato
   If you need a redelivery for Kuroneko Yamato, doing it using LINE is the easiest way! All you have to do is to add the Yamato account as a friend and register yourself as a Kuroneko member for free. You will then be able to receive notifications on the estimated date of arrival, and for failed deliveries. You can also request for redeliveries or change the date of delivery before it even happens. Although this service is only provided in Japanese, other than the initial set-up, the usage of this application should only require basic Japanese.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Off to Tosa Yamada to find out more about Tosa Blades

The first step in making a sickle:
wedge steel in between the iron, melt
it in a forge that is of 1000 degrees
Celsius, and hit it with a hammer.
   There are many different kinds of blacksmith shops in Kochi, producing anything from sickles and saws to knives and axes. Various essential tools supporting Kochi’s forestry industry have been made by these blacksmiths, and Tosa-hamono (lit. “Tosa Blades”) is famous for these tools.
   Our destination today was a blacksmith shop just a few minutes by car from the Tosa Hamono Exchange Center in Kochi Prefecture’s Kami-shi Tosayamada-cho, past the expansive greenhouses growing spring onions and chives. There, Mr. Satoshi Yamashita, a craftsman well-versed in the traditional art of Tosa Uchi-hamono, was in the process of making a sickle.

Information gathered at the Kochi Prefecture Coral Association

   Have you ever heard of a coral wedding anniversary? It’s the 35th anniversary of a wedding. Why not gift a coral product to your parents on the day? People may think of accessories and jewelry when coral products are mentioned, but they are actually used in various ways depending on application and through blending Japanese and Western influences, such as good luck charms, ornaments, tea caddies used for tea ceremonies, incense burners, Buddha statues, and picture frames. What makes coral attractive is that it lives in the deep sea and grows slowly, with some varieties taking up to 50 years to grow one centimeter, and it is also beloved because of its rarity. Additionally, because of the fact that coral grows by absorbing free-swimming coral larvae, it can be said that it is a natural work of art. There are no two identical corals as they are made within the natural cycle.

Painting the healing powers of coral raised in Kochi’s nature: Japanese painter, Akemi Ochi

Ms. Ochi and Cho CIR
  I can’t believe there are ways to use coral other than for accessories. That surprise was our first impression. “I’m painting pictures by borrowing power from coral. It’s because Kochi’s beautiful ocean exists. The color and texture of coral contains healing properties for people,” says Ms. Ochi. Ms. Ochi’s works involve various materials such as silver leaf and vivid colors, and they all come together beautifully. Ground coral provides a refreshing warm hue on top. This is a traditional technique used in Japanese paintings, and although it is common to use ground natural minerals as painting material, Ms. Ochi uses materials homemade from refined Kochi coral instead of store-bought materials. This is all pasted on with a glue called “nikawa”. The lumpy texture of actual coral has a spatial effect, and makes the entire art piece stand out. In addition to this, it is said that the color of coral does not fade much over the years. The contrast with materials such as silver leaf, which changes color over time, is beautiful because of this.

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A : What are the traffic rules for bicycles?

   It has now been 2 years since I came to Japan. One area where I felt the cultural difference was with “bicycles”. (I come from South Korea). I saw people of all ages and genders riding bicycles in their daily lives, and felt that Japan was like a kingdom of bicycles. Furthermore, by riding a bicycle in my everyday life, I understood that there were many rules regarding their use. Therefore, this time I would like to introduce the rules for cycling in Japan- the kingdom of bicycles- for those like me who may not have normally cycled back in their home country, or for those for whom the rules differ to those in their culture.

   Firstly, the main premise of these rules is that bicycles are the same as cars. For those of you who ride bicycles, please don’t forget that a bicycle is a type of vehicle, and thus always be careful to give pedestrians the right of way when you cycle!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Do you know about Halal food? The Availability of Halal Food in Kochi

   At a grilled meat restaurant a Japanese man is talking with a Muslim woman. The man notices a dubious expression on the woman’s face as he fries pork on the shared grill. “Muslims don’t eat pork, right? I’m frying beef and chicken too so you don’t need to eat it” he says, gesturing to the meat aside from the pork. Do you know why the Muslim lady felt uncomfortable? The lady felt uncomfortable because she was reluctant to eat meat that has been fried on the same grill as pork, which in Islam is considered unclean.
Marisa from Indonesia,
Kochi City CIR
Rising Awareness of Halal Food
   In recent years the number of visitors and students from Islamic countries coming to Japan has increased, and with the expansion of exportation to areas with high Muslim populations, awareness of Halal food has grown. In Kochi Prefecture as well there are Muslim students and residents, however we have heard that it is very difficult for them to find Halal food, which they can eat without worry.

   In this issue, KIA staff and the CIRs went to a restaurant offering Halal food in Kochi City, as well as a business that wishes to see the expansion of businesses getting certified in Halal and exporting overseas. This time city hall CIR and practicing Muslim Marisa, was also included in the reporting team. Please have a read through of our up to date information on Halal food in Kochi Prefecture!