Kyoto International Community House
       “kokoka”

JANSMA Karl
U.S.A.

I first visited Japan on business in August, 1990, and knew on that very first day in Hiroshima that I wanted to live somewhere in Japan someday. I felt as though I had landed on a different, but very intriguing planet, and even though unable to read any signs, I felt at home and comfortable, not worried about getting lost walking around. My first time in Kyoto was in April, 1992, as a tourist and part-time student of Japanese in the US. In September, 1994, I moved to Kyoto for a little more than 2 years, as a full-time student in a Japanese Language Intensive Course, living like most international students. What I needed most then was to feel I belonged somewhere, outside of school and my apartment, so I began looking…

Kyoto International Community House

Kyoto International Community House

When I first came to KICH “kokoka”, I was overwhelmed by the size of the building, and the many and various areas and functions; in particular, the library, as an excellent place to study Japanese, but also: the lobby with a big color TV showing BBC News. There were also the Information Counters; the Posting Board for lessons, buy & sell items, clubs/friendships/language exchange, the racks full of flyers and pamphlets covering everything imaginable, the Sister Cities Room; the Cafe & lounge area; the computer workstation booths, and the classes offered for learning Japanese, kanji, flower arranging, tea ceremony, and calligraphy. And of course the many events, exhibits, and special shows that are held at kokoka were a great break from studying, and wonderful exposure to the culture of Japan and many other nations.

As a serious student, however, I wanted a serious place to study Japanese, and the Library was perfect for that, with the great number and variety of dictionaries, grammar and language-learning books, and the kind help of the Library staff to answer my many questions. The good lighting, quiet atmosphere, comfortable chairs and tables, beautiful outdoor window view, and the presence of other diligent students of various ages made it a place that is still, to this day, like a second home for me. One of the Library staff in particular, Ms. Yasko Araki, helped me and many others with not only Japanese language problems, but other things as well, such as culture, transportation, social interactions, and living far from home. At that time she was in charge of the Library operations and supervision, and she set a high standard of service for the Library and its staff, encouraging them to be engaging and helpful to all who came there. I am grateful to note that since my days as a student 15 years ago, I have been able to maintain an ongoing friendship with her, still benefitting from her wisdom, cultural understanding, and life experience.

It is with sincere gratitude that I relate some of the other benefits and offerings that I have received by coming here to kokoka. The Information Counter has various maps; publications like: Kansai Scene, Kyoto Visitors Guide, Kansai Flea Market; event listings; sightseeing/tourist information and personal help from the staff with any questions or information. The four times a year Free Counseling Day for Foreigners Living in Japan is an exceptionally valuable service I have used, and the job listings book and positions posted on the kokoka website have been very useful, not to mention the opportunity to do volunteer work for the Kyoto City International Foundation. Even some seemingly small things, like bicycle parking, vending machines, beautiful grounds and landscaping, a view of the mountains from front courtyard benches, and proximity to good transportation, temples, museums, shrines, parks...these are all part of the experience that makes the Kyoto International Community House truly My Favorite Kyoto.

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Rakugo

Rakugo performance

Rakugo performance

Rakugo, which is a wonderful Japanese traditional entertainment, is a one-person stage play. But it has no special stage sets nor costumes like Kabuki. Wearing a kimono, the Rakugo performer kneels on a square cushion and tells stories using only a folding fan and a hand towel as props. Depending on the story, the Rakugo performer can make the fan look like chopsticks or make the hand towel look like a letter.

So imagination is necessary to enjoy Rakugo. You picture the scene to yourself as you listen to the story. Almost 70% of information from the outside comes to a person through the eyes. Rakugo does not depend on visual information like movies nor leave everything to the imagination like an audio drama. This moderate freedom is one of Rakugo’ s charms. After all Rakugo is so terrific that a single person can draw an audience into a story and move them deeply.

Rafurafutei rehearsal

Rafurafutei rehearsal

However it may be difficult to fully enjoy Rakugo for those who have not been born and brought up in Japan. It requires knowledge of the Japanese lifestyle or culture, and also understanding Japanese subtle expressions.

But please set your mind at ease. Some people are practicing Rakugo in English. Members of “Rafurafutei” are performing Rakugo, changing Japanese into English. They practice at Kyoto International Community House (kokoka) 4th conference room on the 2nd and 4th Sat from 3 to 5pm. I visited there the other day. Those present were performing Rakugo or short stories in fluent English. The members started English Rakugo by chance and enjoy the atmosphere of Rakugo.

Please come and see Rakugo. If you can experience ever just a little of Rakugo your Japanese life will be more pleasant.

The following is a short story. Short stories are often used as an introduction to Rakugo.

A doctor said to a patient.
“I cannot tell you the cause of your trouble, but it may be due to drinking.”
“Ah all right. I will come back when you are not drunk.”

KOMATSU Takehisa

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Kyoto Hannaryz

In professional basketball, the NBA (National Basketball Association) of the United States is the world’s most popular, but coming up quickly in Japan, is the professional basketball league called the “BJ League”. This League consists of 19 teams and their playing season is from October to April. Every team in the BJ League has a home town, and the Kyoto home-town team is called the “Kyoto Hannaryz”.

players of Kyoto Hannaryz shoot

They joined the BJ League in 2009. The name “Hannaryz” comes from the word “hannari”, which is from the Kyoto dialect, and it means “elegant, brilliant and gorgeous”.

Including foreign players, the Kyoto Hannaryz has ten players now. Among them, on this occasion I interviewed the team captain/player, Mr. Lance Allred who was born in America. Mr. Allred is 30 years of age, and he has previous playing experience in the NBA.

Lance Allred

Mr. Lance Allred

Mr. Allred started playing basketball when he was in junior high school, because he wanted to be in sports to make friends and because he was so tall. After graduating from college, he became a professional player, and has played on many teams in many countries, finally joining the Kyoto Hannaryz this year. Since Mr. Allred studied the history and culture of Japan in college, he has an ongoing interest in Japan, and was very pleased to join the Kyoto Hannaryz team.

Upon coming to Japan, he felt that, compared to the teams of other countries, Kyoto Hannaryz believes the harmony of the team is important. Additionally, he felt that the fans are warmhearted, that even if Hannaryz loses a game, the fans encourage the team. Mr. Allred said, “They are like a family.” I also asked about the fun of playing basketball. He answered, “First of all, it is the sense of speed; the players are always moving. And just like in chess, using the brain is also interesting. Players are required to have bodies and brains which can move quickly!” In game situations, he said this about his own play, “Because of my age, I can’t play as conspicuously, but I want to show, for example, that I can get rebound balls, and make the little plays, which I’m able to do from my long career experience.”

cheerleaders

cheerleaders

Mr. Allred is a player who knows Japanese culture very well and respects Japan; he knows that his good performance in Kyoto is expected. Why don't you go to watch a game and cheer Kyoto Hannaryz including this Mr. Allred? I went to one of the Kyoto Hannaryz games, to watch and to cheer the team. Just as Mr. Allred described it, I felt the game was very fast-paced. And because the audience is so close to the court, the power of the players is easily seen and felt. Also, there are pretty cheerleaders there to liven up the atmosphere of the arena, and that added to the excitement of the game.

The BJ League games are mainly held on Saturdays and Sundays, and the game schedule for Kyoto Hannaryz can be found on their website. Additionally, if you join the fan club, called “Fannaryz”, you can get many interesting team goods and privileges.

Kyoto Hannaryz website: http://hannaryz.jp/

SUZUKI Hidetoshi

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Life in Japan - from a foreigner's viewpoint
  ~ Lee Jinyoung's Opinion ~

李鎮栄さん

Mr. Lee Jinyoung on the left

For this issue, we interviewed Mr. Lee Jinyoung of South Korea, who is studying History of Buddhist Art at Ryukoku University Graduate School. He has lived in Kyoto since 2008, and he spoke about the differences in the cultures of South Korea and Japan. Mr. Lee visited Japan for the first time in 2007, to participate in a conference being held in Hakata. It was when he went sightseeing in Nara and Kyoto, that he became interested in the deep connections of Japanese culture with South Korean culture, and he decided to study the history of ancient Buddhist art.

“Before I came to Japan, my impression of Japan was that there was a wall through which we can’t see, although we are neighbor countries, because of the history in which Korea was a colony of Japan, the different foods and so on. My impression of Japan has not changed, even now that I’m living in Japan.

If I compare the difference of viewpoints between South Korea and Japan, South Korean people see the forest and Japanese people focus on a single tree. I think South Korean people see things all together as a whole and consider that, but Japanese people see in detail every little thing and tread cautiously. For example, in a bank or public office in Japan, it takes a lot of time to do things; there are many procedures, rules, and pages of forms to fill out, and that surprised me.

However, I think there are some similarities in South Korea and Japan, such as respect for older people and the observance of proper etiquette and manners. On the other hand, in South Korea, if some people have a complaint against the government, they will hold a demonstration, but Japanese people usually don’t express their opinions because they care about what people may think of them. If they are bound too much by good or bad rules, their society will not advance, and social activity will diminish, I think.”

At the end of this interview, Mr. Lee said he hopes to continue his research after his doctoral course graduation, and work in a museum or an art gallery, or as a college professor in Japan or South Korea.

TAKII Tomoko
KUSUDA Ayano

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Be healthy at Health Center

at the LIK Information corner

at the LIK Information corner

On November 3, I had the pleasure of participating in kokoka’s largest event of the year, Open Day. As a volunteer staff at the Life in Kyoto Information corner, I was able to meet a number of people, both Japanese and foreigners like me living in and around Kyoto. Not only did I get to see many cultures that day, but I was able to taste them as well. Almost every inch of the area in front of kokoka was taken up by stalls selling delicious dishes from all over the world. Besides food, the air was always filled with the sounds of music and dancing.

Open Day was filled with activities the whole family could enjoy. If you didn’t go, be sure to stop by next year to experience a taste of the world in a single day!

ARTHUR Derek

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Kyoto Mania Quiz

In “My Favorite Kyoto”, the subject is Kyoto International Community House, also known as “kokoka”. “kokoka” was completed in the same year as another world-famous event. What was this event?

a. Tearing down the Berlin Wall
b. Establishment of the EU (European Union)
c. Sovereignty of Hong Kong returned to China
d. Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol

The Answer will be in the next issue.

The answer to the quiz in the last issue is “c” (Minami Ward).

kokoka

★ Please fill out the following questionnaire. ★
1) Which article was the most interesting to you in this issue?
2) Please tell us topics you want to be picked up by LIK in the future.
 Thank you for your cooperation.

 You can get a free original kokoka product by filling out our questionnaire! Ask for it at the kokoka information counter on the 1st Floor.

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kokoka news * * kokusai koryu kaikan news

Charity Events to support the victims of Great East Japan Earthquake

Date & TimePlaceContents
Dec. 16th, Fri.
 7:00pm
Dec. 17th, Sat.
 1:30pm
 6:30pm
Special Conference Room Recitation Play set in Gaza, Palestine which is under occupation.

Advance ticket
 Adults 1,500 yen
 Students 1,200 yen
On the day
 Adults 1,800 yen
 Students 1,500 yen
Dec. 18th, Sun.
 2:00pm
Special Conference Room Rakugo, (Some Rakugo in English) ,
 Free (reservation available)
Dec. 20th Tue.
 2:00pm
Special Conference Room Gift from Rin vol.4
Classical music and Christmas carols concert.

under 15 years old 500 yen
over 15years old 1,000 yen
Dec. 21th, Wed.
 6:00pm
Special Conference Room Syauhachi Concert. 1000 yen

KYOTO Touch Course “Tea Ceremony Class”

This is an excellent chance to learn more about Japanese culture, and to introduce Japanese culture to other foreigners while gaining a deeper understanding yourself, so why not give it a try?

◆DATE : Through January 6th, 2012, Friday to March 27th, Tuesday
 a series of 12 classes
◆Fee : (foreigners) 6,000 yen&embsp;(Japanese) 20,000 yen
◆Application : kokoka counter(first come, first served)
◆TEL : 075-752-3511

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

Where: West North corner of Kawaramachi-Dori(Street) and Oike-Dori (Street) in front of Kyoto City Hall
When : January 22nd (Sunday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
Organizer:Plus One Network
Where : On the corner of Kawaramachi Dori and Oikeseihoku, in front of City Hall
TEL:075-229-7713

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Library Letter - Kyoto International community House Library

The Recommended Book

“Recipes of Japanese Cooking” Color version

Supervised by Yuko Fujita & NAVI INTERNATIONAL
Natsumesha CO.,LTD.
2005

Recipes of Japanese Cooking

Recipes of Japanese Cooking

Many traditional Japanese events come in one after another towards the year-end and New year. You may have a more opportunities to have Japanese dishes such as Osechi-ryori or ozoni.

Japanese cuisine attracts people for its seasoning and presentation which bring out the taste of seasonal ingredients. This book introduces of course recipes for the best-known Japanese food such as sushi and tempura, as well as the basic and typical Japanese cuisine like miso soup, simmered dishes, rice bowl dishes and one-pot dishes. Moreover, this book contains explanation about serving vessels and how to use chopsticks.

Cheer and Advice from Foreigners in Kyoto

Cheer and Advice from Foreigners in Kyoto

As we mentioned in the last issue, free booklets of “Cheer and Advice from Foreigners in Kyoto”are now available at the library. It makes us happy while reading because gracious advice is given to each question. Lovely illustrations by international students from Korea are also attractive!

Library Information

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Volunteer member of this issue

Editors of paper edition

ARTHUR Derek / IKUTA Minoru / ISAKA Kuniko / KUSUDA Ayano / KOMATSU Takehisa / SUZUKI Hidetoshi / SEKINO Masako / JANSMA Karl / TAKII Tomoko / NAGATAKE Yoshinobu / NAKANO Kazuyo / MINATO Masayuki / YAMASHITA Motoyo / WATANABE Takeshi

Designer of WEB edition

SUZUKI Hidetoshi

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