Let's enjoy Kyoto's summer festivals while wearing yukata!
You often see people wearing yukata in Kyoto during the summer. In particular, many people enjoy the sights and sounds of July's Gion Festival while wearing this traditional Japanese clothing. In the old days, yukata were sold at kimono shops (Gofukuya or Tanmonoya), but nowadays, you can buy them at department stores, UNIQLO stores, supermarkets, or even through the internet. Prices vary from a few thousand yen to hundreds of thousands of yen. Seeing people wearing kimono or yukata really gives one the feeling of being in traditional Japan.
Ms. Mitsuko Fujioka, from the Grace Kimono Academy, teaches those who wish to wear yukata at Kyoto's festivals how to put them on properly. Mr. Pan (from Korea) and Mr. Herge (from Germany) graciously volunteered to try them on for the first time.Our models were initially a bit nervous in front of Ms. Fujioka. A yukata is a Japanese style bathrobe, so it's much easier to put on in comparison to a kimono. However, it is difficult to tie the belt yourself if you are not used to it. The method of tying the belt differs between men and women. For men, the knot is tied a little off-center of the middle of the waist while a woman's knot is tied in the middle of waist.
Talking about their experiences, Mr. Herge said, "I feel very comfortable in a yukata." Mr. Pan said, "I was a bit shy at the beginning, but now I feel like a Sumo wrestler." It seems that they both liked their chance to try on Japan's traditional summer wear. Lastly, Ms. Fujioka had some words of advice for those foreigners that might try to wear a yukata for the first time. She said, "The yukata is very easy for anyone to wear. Don't be shy while wearing a yukata and just walk around the city of Kyoto as usual."
A free class where yukata will be available to try on will be held at the Kyoto International Community House on July 15th, the day of Gion Matsuri's Yoiyoiyama. Why not join the rest of the city in this tradition and enjoy Kyoto's summer while wearing a comfortable yukata?
-by ITOU Hidetoshi
Let's enjoy wearing yukata (for free)! Application NOT necessary.
Time: Saturday July 15, 9:30am 〜 4:30pm
Place: Kyoto International Community House, Conference Room 3 (3F)
Yukata-wearing class. If you plan on wearing a yukata outside the Community House you
should bring your own. Photos will also be taken and sent to you at a later date.
Foreign reporters wanted
Do you want to experience Kyoto's culture or traditional handicrafts? Please write down your name, contact address, purpose of your stay in Kyoto, and what kind of traditional culture or handicrafts you would like to experience. Drop the sheet into the Life In Kyoto Help Box.
Although we will still be waiting for the end of the rainy season, July brings with it Kyoto's Gion Festival. Along with the Jidai Festival and the Aoi Festival it is one of the three biggest festivals in Kyoto. It is also one of the three biggest festivals in Japan along with the Kanda Festival in Tokyo and the Tenjin Festival in Osaka. It originated in the year 869 when Japan was gripped by a devastating epidemic. In response to the widespread disease, 66 halberds (a historical weapon that resembles the combination of a spear and battle-axe) were constructed and displayed in order to supplement peoples' prayers and drive away evil spirits. The festival begins on July 1st and continues through July 31st. One of the many Festival highlights is the parade of decorated floats that takes place on July 17th. As many as 32 floats parade throughout Kyoto and hundreds of people flock to the streets to take a look at the glittering spectacle. July 16th is called Yoiyama, and the day before that is called Yoiyoiyama.
Both days are very popular among people enjoying the festival. You can see many people wearing yukata, informal kimono, and enjoying the wide variety of stalls selling goods and foods. Why don't you take part in the festival this year and enjoy one of the biggest and most traditional events in Kyoto?
- by HATANAKA Madoka
- translated by FUJIWARA Yumiko
Hyakumanben Hand-Made Flea Market
On a beautifully sunny day in March I welcomed the end of winter by attending the Hyakumanben Handmade Flea Market at Chionji Temple next to Kyoto University in the northeastern part of the city. This popular market spontaneously appears on the 15th of each month (it is moved to the 16th if there is rain). Thousands of shoppers flock to the more than 250 stalls that cover the grounds of the temple to purchase jewelry, clothes, pottery, and artwork all made by the hands of the sellers. The amount of talent on display is only rivaled by the wonderful smells emanating from the cookies, cakes, breads, and organic coffees and teas that are for sale at so many of the stalls. There is almost too much choice at this colorful fair.
I questioned many sellers about their backgrounds and lives regarding the other thirty days of the month. Many were attending the event for the first time. It seemed as though for most of them, selling crafts was a hobby that they fit into the busy schedules of their lives. One exception was Mr. Takeshi Hirao, a full-time jewelry maker, originally from Kobe, who has been coming to the market off and on for the past eight years. He works in a studio adjacent to his countryside house year-round and travels throughout Kansai and the rest of Japan selling his gorgeous accessories at various markets. He noted that he has seen the numbers of people selling goods at the Hyakumanben Flea Market increase in recent years. He chalks it up to increased publicity. Word of mouth has also increased the scale of the market over the approximately twenty years since its inception. He joked that in the past shoppers used to outnumber the sellers but this dynamic has changed due to the dramatic increase of people selling goods. Needless to say, the spirit remains the same. Customers usually leave the market having filled their bellies with delicious culinary treats and found something unique to buy.
The most popular stalls were the food stalls where people formed long lines to buy exotic cakes and breads coated with sugar that had been clearly baked with love. I was surprised at the relatively few number of foreigners particularly because of the close proximity to Kyodai. Cheap delicious food and wonderfully crafted goods run the gambit of prices from cheap to expensive making the market perfect for all types and all price ranges. I certainly plan on telling my friends about the great ambience and unique goods that are available at Hyakumanben Flea Market each month.
-by Jamie Ravetz
Buzz Words Here we introduce recent words of topic in Japan
PROBIOTICS- Microorganisms that benefit the health of your intestines
You may be familiar with antibiotics, but do you know about probiotics? I think many people can see this word listed on the packages of dairy products like yogurt. Probiotics, an example being lactic acid bacilli, are the bacteria that boost the body's natural immune system and help with digestion. Considering the limitation of antibiotics and the increasing importance of preventive medicine in general, we now need to reevaluate the natural resistance capacity that all human beings have. Thus, we now need probiotics.
- by OKAJIMA Chikako
Series: My favorite Kyoto -Yakiniku anywhere-anytime!!!
I am a Master's student at Ritsumeikan University from the Kingdom of Tonga. I must say that the best place I have been to in Kyoto has got to be an all you can eat yakiniku restaurant in Kita-ku called Yakiniku-ichiba. The accompanying picture does not do justice to the excellent fun we had eating and drinking as well as the karaoke afterwards. That's me on the left!
Prior to coming to Japan, I had never experienced such Japanese ways of eating and having fun. It provides for a lively atmosphere with good friends, good food, good talks, and good times. Although there are many yakiniku places around, I have not been able to enjoy any meals as much as I did that night. This special place in Kita-ku must have grown on me not only because of the food and drink but also because of the fine service and attitude of the workers at the establishment. Eating and drinking in this manner has given me a new kind of fun and relaxation I had not previously encountered. The fact of cooking the meals for your self whilst drinking and slowly getting drunk is all part of the joy of yakiniku. Having much food and much drink provides for much fun for this yakiniku freak. I am definitely hooked on this method and look forward to introducing yakiniku "Kyoto style" to my home islands in the South Pacific.
- by T. Suka Mangisi from Ha'avakatolo Village, Tongatapu, Tonga
Kyoto Guide Club One-day Tour
Let's enjoy Zazen at Tofukuji temple !
Time and date: July 15th (Sat) Meet at 12:30PM
Will finish around 4PM
Participants: Up to 40 non-Japanese residents･Fee: Free
Sponsored by the KCIF and led by the Kyoto Guide Club Contact: 075-752-3511･Please apply via phone.
Further information will be sent to participants by mail.。
Free Counseling Day Non-Japanese Residents 2006
Specialists in the following fields will provide counseling and information: Legal advice,Visa / Status of
residence,Taxation,Social insurance / Pension,Mental health. Interpreters are available.
Date June 17th (Sat) 1PM-5PM
Sponsored by Kyoto City International Foundation
APPLICATION 075-752-3511･Please apply via phone.
Interpreter volunteers wanted!
If you don't need it give it to someone who does! Kyoto City Hall Flea Market
When: June 11 (Sun)・July 23 (Sun) 10AM-4PM
Where: On the corner of Kawaramachi Dori and Oikeseihoku ･In front of City Hall
Check http://www.plusone.ne.jp/freema1.htm for the future schedule.
Sponsor: Plus One Network Tel: 075-229-7713