-Series- My favorite Kyoto Welcome to Imadegawa Beach
I know that for some of you it is hard to believe, but there are some countries in the world where summer holidays last more than one month. Italy is one of them.
I had made my first flight to Sicily when I was neither one year old, with my family, for reaching my grandfather's house for my one-month-long vacation. I remember that I received my certificate of first flight・from the air company that is second in the world for the delays of its flight and first for the number of lost luggage (it is said that in the Linate airport there is an entire hangar - quite full, according to the rumors - where no aircraft is kept, just luggage that has not been so lucky to reach their owners). So the summers of my childhood (and more) had been passed through beach volley games, bath in the Mediterranean Sea, tons of Ice creams and sweet.
But, like childhood, the summer time was suddenly vanished last year, my first time in Japan for working and no more studying or traveling. Where were the beach umbrella, the people screaming for being thrown in the water despite their opposite will, the cocktails drunk in the beach at midnight, kissed by the moonlight?
I decided not to despair myself and I decided to just let the imagination fly together with my bicycle in the place that has always being attracted me: the Kamo River. I was riding, hearing the sound of the tires on the ground, and looking the majesty of the kites that are flying over the river, always searching for food (sometimes too close to my bento).
Suddenly, I saw my place. There were people in bathing suits, foreigners getting burnt by the sun, many children running and shouting (I swear I have seen also a life vest on one of them. Frankly speaking I didn’t know Kamo River could be so deep). I decided that that place will be my special spot for passing, if not my entire days, my lunch break. I began to run faster and faster day by day with my bicycle, managing to perform the record of around 13 minutes from my job (Senbon Nakadachiuri) to my spot, always hoping that the breaks would have not abandoned me like they did when I began my travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by bicycle, two years ago.
Arriving at my little paradise, I could finally take off my clothes (the shirt and jacket, I mean) and enjoy the flight of bees and birds, the shady and windy place, and the sensation of freedom that just the summer can give.
In September, I believed that the appeal of the area could finish with the Kyoto sweaty summer, but I was wrong. I began to go there for enjoying firstly the sundown, then the Momiji, and now that I go out of the office just when the day is already finished, I am attracted by some little, floating and dancing lights that are blinking at me from the water.
Sometimes, when I think that the Shimogamo Jinja, just in front of my place, was there before the city of Kyoto was founded, a strange sensation pervades me. Probably, in some way, the magic of this place is still there after more than one thousand years, only asking for someone who can stop for just a while for hearing its charming notes. Melody that will never finish, till there will be someone who is listening to it.
Thank you, dear Imadegawa Beach. With all my heart.
- CUNIORI, Jose
Flower report in Kyoto Spring is here
The Heian era (794 - 1185) when Kyoto was the capital; people were entranced by the flower and crossed the world to see where it moves and it goes. Poetry was written. Slip back in time to that age and appreciate the flower! Encouraging is the Kyoto imperial garden (Kyoto Gyoen). It is 1 minute on foot from Karasuma line “Marutamachi” subway station. Such a convenient position. Stroll there at any time. Though it is spring in chilly Kyoto, visit there, enjoy the spring where it goes, please.
There might be a lot of people who imagine cherry blossoms in Japan as just a “flower”. However, it is not only that. First of all, when February comes, the plum trees swell into bud. They bloom slowly, spring and is reported. From a white, to thin pink, to bright red plum flower, a faint smell is noticed. When the plum trees begin to bloom, people of old times knew the visit of spring was coming. The aroma of plum has been taken to life. Now the sour and sweet aroma is tasted in plum wine, in addition it is used as an incense stick and a smell.
March comes, when plum trees begin to scatter slowly and peaches make the bud bloom. In “Hinamatsuri” that is girl’s day, the peach flower is used as a decoration next to the dolls. The flower color of pink is called “Momoiro”. It is adopted as the cheek color and within the kimono as a traditional Japanese color. It is popular as a color that suits the cunning girls.
April comes, cherries bloom fully all together. And when thinking of the cherries, soon petals will scatter - fluttering. The gorgeousness and transience are Japanese favorite inclinations. The feast is held under the full-bloomed cherry blossoms tree. At this time, it is also a turning point for meeting and separation such as graduation, entrance, and joining a company. Therefore, it is likely to remain as one of the memories. When Japanese see cherry blossoms, pensiveness and decision making come more easily and one becomes determined not to be defeated by failure. What do you feel in gloried cherry blossom?
It is still cold, so take a warm drinking and a Cairo. You are sure to feel “Spring is here”.
- YAMASHITA, Motoyo
Women-only passengers car CHI-KAN!!!
When you ride the subway or electric railway, did you ever notice there is a special sign on the platform that is written “Ladies Only” or “Women Only”? And inside the train and at the train/subway stations, there are always some signs of a black coat person staring at a woman figure, did you see that? Those are referring to Chi-kan and Woman-only Passengers Car. Chi-kan is mostly referred to men who take advantage of the crowded conditions to physically harass people sexually. Cases of chi-kan frequently happen on the public transit systems such as subway or electric railway during rush hours. However, there are also situations where incidents also occurred at bicycle parking area or elevators. Due to the uncontrollable situation, since 2001, several Japanese transport companies began to offer josei senyo sharyo or Women-only passengers cars. These cars are specifically meant for women only, especially during rush hours in the mornings and evenings of weekdays. Men are not allowed to ride in these cars except men with disabilities. Women have shown positive feedback to this service as well as men. On occasions, men were wrongly accused to Chi-kan due to the overcrowded situation in the train during rush hours. Hence, with the introduction of Women-only passengers cars, men have less concern of such accusation.
However, most trains have only one car specifically designated for that purpose among a 7-car or more train, is it enough and useful? Some men have also reflected that because one less car is full of people (usually the women-only car is not crowded by the ladies), it makes other cars even more crowded. Some have also claimed that for those women who are riding in the regular car, it actually increases the chance of being harassed. So, is this really a good idea? What do you think?
Please send your comments to the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- CH’NG, Shi-P’ng
Keitai Shosetsu From “cell phone novel” to feature film!
Have you ever heard of “cell phone novels”? Using a cell phone (or keitai denwa in Japanese), all a writer has to do is upload their story to a “cell phone novel” website. These stories are very short and easy to understand, with colloquial language and pictograph. Just log onto one of the websites and choose the story you'd like to read. Some popular “cell phone novel” have been turned into published books, and some have even been made into movies. A popular film in Japan last year, Koizora, was one such story that gained popularity on the internet among young people. Who knows? Your story may also make it onto the big screen!
“Keitai Shosetsu” web site (in Japanese) http://ip.tosp.co.jp/index.asp
- translated by Karen Lee Tawarayama
Left and right, both Station escalators in Kyoto (1)
Left in Tokyo, right in Osaka. And in Kyoto? ---No rules!
Left or right? ----- I am talking about the standing position on station escalators. People stand on the left in Tokyo and on the right in Osaka. It’s an interesting difference in Japan, isn’t it? Around the world, many countries have the “stand on the right” rule, which is the same as in Osaka.
What is the rule in Kyoto? ----- Some people stand on the left, others on the right, and some in the middle ... totally mixed. There is no fixed rule. How did this situation arise?
In the past, there were attempts to create a rule for the standing position on station escalators in Kyoto. Interestingly, however, two different rules were created: to stand on the left in subways but on the right in the Keihan line. That is commonly regarded as one reason explaining why there is no fixed rule in Kyoto now.
Another reason might be that fewer people rush in stations in Kyoto than in Tokyo and Osaka. Indeed, in Kyoto, I do not feel the strong atmosphere that presses me to stand either on the left or on the right. People look relaxed. This “actual feeling” is different from the one experienced in Tokyo and Osaka.
Do you take care whether you stand on the left or the right hand side of station escalators?
In the next issue, I will think about the mechanism creating queues on the station escalators in Kyoto. (to be continued)
-- ISHII, Takugo
Kyoto City Hall Flea Market If you don’t need it give it to someone who does!
When: FEB. 10 (Sun), MAR. 2 (Sun), 10AM-4PM
Where: On the corner of Kawaramachi Dori and Oikeseihoku,in front of City Hall
Sponsor: Plus One Network 075-229-7713
Check @http://www.plusone.ne.jp/freema1.htm for the future schedule.