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Good Manners Prevent Accidents

Do you know how many traffic accidents have occurred in Kyoto prefecture?

This year's (2007) traffic accidents between January and April reached a total of 5,664 cases. Compared with the same period last year, that figure has decreased by 185, but at the same time, it means 47 accidents occur each month, which is about 2 cases per day. Furthermore, 30 people have died in these traffic accidents. Broken down by situation, 10 people were walking, 9 people were driving automobiles, 5 people were riding motorcycles, and 6 people were riding bicycles.

The case which I would like to focus on here is that of the bicycle accident. To tell the truth, the total number of persons who died due to traffic accidents is decreasing, compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. But, on the other hand, the number of victims who have died in bicycle accidents has increased against the previous year. This is a serious situation.

Certainly, the bicycle is a very convenient vehicle and is environmentally friendly in that it doesn't produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But, if we don't respect traffic laws, or if we fail to pay attention, we might wind up in a serious accident.

So, what are the laws pertaining to bicycles? Maybe right now, you're trying to think of some. However, the fact is, Japan's Traffic Code provides severe punishment for violations by cyclists.

For example, failure to use a rear light or reflector and a front light is a violation that carries a fine of up to 50,000 yen. Don't you think it's a good idea to buy a light? Furthermore, riding while carrying an umbrella, or turning suddenly while riding the bicycle on a crowded street might also be an offense.

Two people riding a single bicycle is prohibited in principle and the penalty is a fine of up to 20,000 yen. Riding on pavement that is not designated for exclusive use by pedestrians and cyclists can be punished by imprisonment of up
to three months or a fine of up to 50,000 yen. Finally, cycling while intoxicated is a violation which carries penalties more severe than all others: imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

As mentioned above, bicycles are tremendously convenient, but it is also necessary to exercise great caution. A lot of accidents can be prevented if everyone follows the traffic laws. Why don't we reconsider our manners to make our town safer?a town without traffic accidents.


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Moon Viewing

After the sweltering summer, autumn will bring conditions perfect for admiring the beauty of the moon. Called the harvest moon, the tradition of taking time to admire its beauty is centuries old.

According to the lunar calendar, the best night for this is traditionally thought of as the one which falls exactly between the first day of the 7th month and the last day of the 9th month, which is the middle of the 8th month.

It varies from year to year, however, and this year the night will be that of September 25th.

The origins of the event are very old, having come to Japan during the Heian period from China. In China, it began as an event to celebrate the harvest. Traditions that go along with this event include making dumplings decorated with moon shapes, decorating around one’s home with pampas (susuki) grass, and quietly admiring the moon’s beauty.

At Daikakuji, moon viewing will be held on the evenings of September 23rd, 24th, and 25th. There will be an open tea room, as well as many other festivites planned. And, on Osawa Pond, there will be two covered boats. Including music played on koto, Daikakuji will present an elegant atmosphere as one may have experienced during the Heian Era.

Please join us at Daikakuji on the 25th to enjoy ‘chushu no meigetsu,’ the harvest moon.

Ticket prices for the events on September 23rd, 24th, and 25th are as follow: Adult admission, which includes college students, is 500 yen. The student rate is 300 yen. Tickets for the covered boats are 1,200 yen, while ryurei* and honseki tickets are 600 yen.

*ryurei : tea ceremony with a table and a chair

- translated by Chris SCHIMOLER

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Miyako Ecology Center

Miyako Ecology Center (official name: Kyoto Municipal Center for Promotion of Environment Protection) was opened as a base for environmental study and protection in April, 2002.

the ecological living room

the ecological living room・
the Japanese traditional 8.2-square meter room

In this Center you can recognize the importance of environmental protection with the equipment incorporated into the building, such as the photovoltaic panels on the roof and the biotope gardens1) outside of the first floor and on the roof. You can also operate the Human Power Dynamo and enter the ecological living room・ the Japanese traditional 8.2-square meter room contained within this Center.

The exhibition of the efforts for Environment Protection of Kyoto City・was held from the first to the thirtieth of May, where a series of conferences such as the conference of Promotion of Reduction in Garbage at Kyoto City・were introduced.

If you are interested in environmental problems, we recommend that you visit this Center.

Website of Miyako Ecology Center;

1) Biotope garden: Natural environment reconstructed by humans in an urban area.

- WATANABE Takeshi

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Just west of the Kamo River is the Misogi River. During the summer, restaurants and tea houses along the river between Nijo and Gojo openseating areas on the riverbank. These wooden platforms are called "yuka". On the yuka, a naturally cool breeze comes off the river, and patrons enjoy not only Japanese food, but many types of cuisine, including Chinese and Korean. One can experience this tradition, which began in the Edo Period, until the end of September.

-translated by Chris SCHIMOLER

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Series: My favorite Kyoto

Last year, Teki-san organized an exhibition in the sister city section on the second floor of Kyoto International Community House. He sent us these memories of his life in Kyoto.

Recently I went to see the “Zuiki-matsuri” (from October 1 to 4), which is a festival of the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine. The roof of the portable shrine was made of “zuiki-imo” (a potato). The sides were made of dried food such as kombu (seaweed), nori (laver), kanpyo (dried gourd strips), and also of inaho (ears of rice) and vegetables. All were very unusual to me.

I also visited the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine in the season when plum flowers bloomed. When the flowers fully bloomed, they were wonderful and beautiful. In autumn, I had the opportunity to roam amongst the same trees, after the foliage had fallen. The shape of the old trees looked excellent, and they looked beautiful. They would have looked wonderful in a painting. Kyo-ryori (the cuisine of Kyoto), is satisfying in both appearance and taste, not only to the palate but also to the spirit. I come from Xi'an, so I like noodles. My favorite Japanese noodle is O-udon of Kyoto. It is delicious.

翟 建

Looking at the landscape of Kyoto and experiencing its culture, I feel something that has been lost in the modern China. Kyoto is a precious place which reminds me of that history. These are my favorite places: old houses in lines, the landscape of the Katsuragawa river, the Higashiyama hills, and the Shirakawa river with the swinging willow trees standing in the front of the Chion-in temple gate. I am a painter and glad that Kyoto has many good scenes for painting.

I met many people in Kyoto. Everyone was kind and gentle. I met no one who was unpleasant, and that encouraged me. I really had a good experience in Kyoto.

- Teki Ken-Gun (China), October 2006
- translated by Chris SCHIMOLER


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Event Information

Free Counseling Day for Non-Japanese Residents 2007

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 Sep. 16th (Sun) 1PM-5PM
Sponsored by Kyoto City International Foundation
APPLICATION Tel075-752-3511・Please apply via phone.

KCIF Volunteer Orientation 2007

Contents:We welcome volunteers who can join the activities for international exchange and supporting the foreign residents. Why not introduce your homeland country culture or draw up the multilingual information magazine!?
*Fee: Free (no need to apply. Please come directly)

Date: Aug 4th, Sat / Sep 1st, Sat at 2 PM- 3:30PM
Place:Kyoto International Community House (6 minutes walk from Subway Tozai line Keage Station)
Contact to KCIF:Tel 075-752-3511

If you don't need it give it to someone who does! Kyoto City Hall Flea Market

When: Aug 5 (Sun)・Sep 2 (Sun) 10AM-4PM
Where: On the corner of Kawaramachi Dori and Oikeseihoku ・In front of City Hall
Check for the future schedule.
Sponsor: Plus One Network Tel075-229-7713

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Designed by Yukie Mizoi (HP Volunteer)