Octpber 2004
Intoroducing The Medical Interpreting Service at Kyoto Municipal Hospital

cross         What happens if you get sick, but cannot explain your symptoms to the doctor in Japanese? What if you have to undergo hospitalization for ongoing treatment, but cannot communicate with the doctors and the nurses? You don't have to worry any longer. The City of Kyoto, with cooperation from the Kyoto City International Foundation, and the Non-Profit Organization Tabunka Kyosei Center Kyoto (Center for Multicultural Information and Assistance), have introduced a medical interpreter dispatch system at the Kyoto Municipal Hospital as of September 2004.

      In order to ensure reliable medical services and a healthy lifestyle to non-Japanese speaking citizens of Kyoto, these organizations have been preparing to install this system for several years. Countries with established multicultural communities such as Australia have made great progress with this sort of interpreting system, but many Japanese hospitals are still not properly equipped to serve foreign patients who cannot speak Japanese.

      This interpreting service will begin at Kyoto Municipal Hospital, with the intention of increasing the number of participating hospitals in future. The hospital and intepreters are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of the patient's personal information, so do not hesitate to use this service. Please bear in mind that the interpreters are volunteers, not professionals, who will be learning through direct experience in order to provide patients with the best service possible. If you have any questions or comments about the project, feel free to speak to someone at the interpreter request window.

How do you request an interpreter?

Interpreters will be dispatched to be at the hospital every Tuesday from 8:30 am to 11:30 am to assist first time patients.

      The interpreter request window is located in the Kyoto Municipal Hospital medical department (医事課: ijika). People who wish to have an interpreter present at their first appointment, should come to the hospital on a Tuesday between 8:30 am to 11:30 am. Patients who have scheduled a follow-up appointment, are anticipating hospitalization, etc. can make arrangements at the interpreter request window for an interpreter to be present. Interpreters are available three days a week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The interpreter will assist you with the entire process of treatment, including reception, examination, billing, and filling prescriptions. Please note that interpreting cannot be done over the phone.

      Ms. Matsuda wants her guests to experience the kind of lifestyle that people in Kyoto have held dear for hundreds of years. She has many other plans, include taking guests to visit local public bath houses, or sento. Lately she has been receiving a lot of attention from magazines, TV, the Kyoto City government and non profit organizations who are interested in promoting her.

Available languages: Chinese, English
Fee: Free
Place: Kyoto Municipal Hospital (Kyoto Shiritsu Byoin) Mibu Higashi Takata-cho 2-1, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto City
TEL: (075) 311-5311
FAX: (075) 321-6025
Homepage: http://www.city.kyoto.jp/hokenfukushi/siritubyoin/
Map: http://www.city.kyoto.jp/hokenfukushi/siritubyoin/

-M. Okuwa

Green E Books

Yuko IwasakiYuko Iwasaki: Founder, Green E Books       
In May of 2004, Green E Books was opened at the north-east corner of Kawabata and Marutamachi streets, near Keihan Marutamachi Station. Green E Books is the first bookstore in Kyoto to specialize in used English language books, making it an invaluable resource to English-speaking foreigners in Kyoto who cannot afford expensive imported books.

      Green E Books is unique in other ways as well. The atmosphere of the small shop is both home-like and exotic, overflowing with green plants which change from season to season, creating a relaxing atmosphere. You can even order a cup of coffee and read a book under the shade of a miniature tree!

      Green E Books founder Yuko Iwasaki was born in Miki City, outside of Kobe. She first went abroad at the age of 16, to study for a year in the United States. After returning to Japan, she moved to Kyoto in order to study Spanish at Kyoto Gaikokugo Daigaku. After graduating, she returned to the United States to work as an intern at a Marriot Hotel in Orlando Florida, gaining experience with business reception and VIP relations. However, her visa ran out after a year and a half and she subsequently returned to Japan.

      Prior to opening the bookstore, Ms.Iwasaki explored working for an Asian goods import shop in Kyoto, and then found employment at a company that exported dry goods from India. Her job allowed her to visit India and Indonesia every few months, and she welcomed this chance to explore different cultures. Ms. Iwasaki's interest in India can be seen through the many Indian books and textiles she sells in her shop.

      Ms. Iwasaki's long term career goal is to work in the United States or Europe, selling Japanese export goods, as well as doing Japanese-style interior design. However, Ms. Iwasaki decided to try running a business in Japan before trying her luck abroad. She had heard foreign friends lament the lack of a used English bookstore in Kyoto, and decided it would be a good project to try, since it would give her a chance to interact with foreign customers on a daily basis.

      Ms. Iwasaki wanted to name her bookstore "Green Books", but after discovering that there were already many bookstores called "Green Books" across the world she decided to add the E to the name. Ms. Iwasaki says she chose the letter E because many good English words start with E, such as Enthusiasm, Energy, Environment, Ethnic, Ecology and so forth.

      When looking for a location, Ms. Iwasaki decided she wanted to open her shop close to the Kamo River. After some searching, she managed to find her current location at Kawabata Marutamachi. The location seemed perfect for an international business, as it was very close to the Goethe Institut German Cultural Center, the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, and Metro, a nightclub that is very popular with foreign residents of the city.

      When Ms. Iwasaki first decided to open the shop, she distributed fliers asking people to donate their used English books. She was only able to collect around 200 books this way, so she decided to import many English books from India, where she could obtain a large number of unusual books cheaply. She continues to buy and trade for the books that customers bring in, so the stock isconstantly changing. She also sells other unusual products from around the world, such as clothing and fabric from India, wooden bowls and eating utensils, and imported snack foods.

Shop      Ms. Iwasaki's hobbies include collecting fabric and textiles, interior design and travelling the world. The influence of these interests can be seen in her shop. Iwasaki san designed her shop with the concept of "a foreign country within Kyoto" that appeals to the five senses, and this comes across in the exotic decorations, abundance of greenery, and wide variety of books from all over the world. She leases the green plants in her shop from a plant specialist, and plans to change them throughout the year to suit the season. Her shop's distinctive logo, signs and other graphic design elements were designed by her business partner Naomi Kawai. Ms. Iwasaki says that she comes up with the ideas and that Ms. Kawai gives them a form. She would like to produce original goods based on the Green E Books logo someday.

      Green E Books is more than just a bookstore for Ms. Iwasaki. She has helped put on various events at her bookstore to help bring the foreign and Japanese community together. One example would be "One Day Professor", an event where she invites an expert in an unusual subject to give a talk at her shop. Another example would be the "Blue Party" she held this past July, where the party-goers wore blue clothing and drank blue drinks while chatting, playing games and reading books.

      Why not stop by Green E Books and discover a whole new world inside Kyoto?

-B. Jarvis and A. Kanitani

Green E Books is located on the second floor of the near the North East corner of Kawabata and Marutamachi, near the Keihan Marutamachi Station.

Hours are 15:00-23:00 on Mondays through Saturdays, 11:00-22:00 on Saturdays, and 11:00-21:00 on Sundays.


Email: greengreenbooks@aol.com

Homepage: http://www.greenebooks.net

Note:This list is by no means exhaustive. Information is subject to change without warning.
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