The Train

ARTHUR Derek
U.S.A.

ARTHUR Derek

ARTHUR Derek

With so many beautiful historical attractions, it is no surprise that Kyoto’s train system goes largely unremarked. But as the old saying goes, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters.” Since I actually live outside Kyoto, a significant portion of most days is spent on the journey. Though it can often be crowded, it has become a part of Kyoto that I truly appreciate.

I was a student in New York City before coming to Japan in September; and like my life in Kyoto, I often traveled by train or subway. New York is known for many things, but having a clean and punctual metro system is not one of them. I was initially amazed that Kyoto’s trains are almost always on time. And if one is even a few minutes late, those waiting neatly in line can always expect to hear an apology from the conductor. In Kyoto stations—and stations throughout the country—I have been pleasantly surprised that there are no rats running through the tracks nor garbage littered everywhere, a sight I considered normal back home. Now, I am amazed at how clean riding a train can be.

But it’s not just for its cleanliness and punctuality that I have come to love Kyoto’ trains. As an exchange student, I am in Japan to learn about its language, people, and culture; and my daily commute to classes has given me an excellent opportunity to observe. People rarely show emotion, although it is okay (and common) to sleep. People quietly keep to themselves, absorbed in their books, music or passing scenery. The morning train is usually packed, but passengers remain civil even as more people politely inch their way in at each station. At first this silence seemed lonely and isolating, especially compared to the hubbub of New York. But now, even a cell phone ringing in the car seems jarring. This consideration for others around has made my daily commute an incredibly peaceful and enjoyable routine, even when I am pressed right up to the door. When I leave I will miss Japan’s unique train culture, as well as my daily sights: morning passengers scrambling from one side of the platform to another at Takeda; being amused by the seats changing directions at the Keihan Demachiyanagi Station; the koto-like sounds announcing coming trains at Tozai Keage. And in my stumbling Japanese, I will miss trying to mimic the frequent announcements: Mamonaku, Kyoto, Kyoto desu. Wasuremono no nai you, gochuui kudasai...

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Final Income Tax Return

Final Income Tax Return is to calculate the tax based on your real income (throughout a year) and declare to the tax office. If paid tax is less than final income tax, you have to pay the balance. If paid tax is more than final income tax, you can receive the balance.

Then in which case, can you get the tax return? For example, if the total amount of your family’ s annual medical fee is more than 100,000 yen, you can get the tax return by declaring. The duration of Final Income Tax Return declaration is from February 16th, Thursday through March 15th, Thursday. If you want to consult for more details, please make an appointment for the counseling day at Kyoto City International Foundation, kokoka. When youcome to consult, please bring the papers concerning tax such as withholding slip.

Counseling Day:
February 19th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm
TEL : 075-752-3511

YAMASHITA Motoyo

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

The Spring Koushien

Koshien Stadium

Koshien Stadium

It is spring, which is the season of graduation and entrance, meeting and farewell. Spring is also the season of high school baseball. National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament will start on March 21st (Wed.) at Hanshin Koushien Stadium in Nishinomiya in Hyogo prefecture for 12 days. Exciting games will be unfolded among 32 schools to win the tournament. People call this tournament “SENBATSU” or “The Spring Koshien”.

Under the influence of the Tohoku great earthquake disaster which occurred on March 11th last year, was skeptical about holding the tournament. But it was held and dramatic tournament was deployed by high school players. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Noyama from Soshi-Gakuen (Okayama prefecture) yearned for the disaster site in a pledge for fair play and touched people’s hearts. Kyoto Seisho High School participated from Kyoto prefecture. The champion was Tokai Uni. Sagami Senior High School of Kanagawa prefecture.

By the way, which school will win this year? Watch the game on TV or get tickets to cheer the players in live games, both are nice ideas. Please listen to the theme song “Ima Arite”, which you can listen only during the spring koshien period.

YAMASHITA Motoyo

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Water

Japan is rich in water thanks to much rain, so we tend to forget its importance. Rivers and ponds keep water that is indispensable for life. Severe cold freezes the ponds. Once in New York a boy was worrying “Where do the ducks go when the lagoon in Central Park freezes over?” The worry is reasonable. But fish in ponds are all right because ponds start to freeze from the surface.

Why does water freeze from the surface? Heated water at the bottom of a pot becomes light and rises. As it heats it becomes lighter; and as it cools it becomes heavier. But somehow water cooled below 4°C becomes lighter instead. Water at 0°C comes to the surface so the freezing begins from the top.

Kamo River

Kamo River


Chozuya of Kitano Shrine

Chozuya of Kitano Shrine

That ice floats on water is another wonder. If ice were heavier icebergs would sink to the bottom of the sea, so the tragedy of the Titanic would not have occurred. Between water molecules exists an attraction called a hydrogen bond. When water is cooled, the molecules slow down and hydrogen bonds connect them together rigidly. In this stiffened state, water becomes ice, and slight gaps form in the structure, which leads ice to expand and become lighter.

In this season Kyoto is wrapped in a cool tranquility. The never ending flow of the Kamo river, Osawa pond in Daikakuji temple, the cool water of the Chouzuya(*1) at Kitano shrine. All around Kyoto, water is directing winter. After this, you might just change your view of water.

KOMATSU Takehisa

*1 Chozuya: A water supply at shrines where visitors wash their hands and cleanse their mouths

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Be healthy at Health Center

Everyone wants life without desease and injury. Furthermore, it is horrified by the thought of going to a hospital in a foreign country where one has not yet become accustomed. You probably pay attention to the health management of yourself and your family.

Kyoto city provides a variety of health examination, check and advice for the residents at the health center of the ward office or branch ward office. For example, residents between 18 and 39 years old can take the young adults health examination. On the day of examination you’ll have a medical interview, a body measurement, a blood pressure measurement, urine analysis and a blood test ( to check anemia, lipid, liver function, uric acid and blood sugar level) . The result will be given to you two weeks after the examination day. The day of the result announcement, you can also get nutritional and health advice. The examination fee is 500 yen. There is a fee exemption support programe according to conditions such as the level of income. For an appointment and any other queries, please contact the health center or branch of the ward office in your area (refer to the table below). For those who feel difficult to communicate in Japanese can use the telephone interpreting service offered through “Administrative interpretation and counseling service” by Kyoto City International Foundation.

Schedule for the young adults health examination
  Telephone Days Hours
Kita Health Center432-14381st and 3rd Monday9:00 - 10:30
Kamigyo Health Center432-3221st and 3rd Wednesday9:00 - 10:30
Sakyo Health Center702-12192nd and 4th Wednesday9:00 - 10:30
Nakagyo Health Center812-25941st and 2nd Monday9:00 - 10:30
Higashiyama Health Center561-91281st and 3rd Friday9:00 - 10:30
Yamashina Health Center592-34771st and 3rd Monday9:00 - 10:30
Shimogyo Health Center371-72921st and 3rd Monday9:00 - 10:30
Minami Health Center681-35732nd and 4th Wednesday8:30 - 10:30
Ukyo Health Center861-21772nd and 4th Monday9:00 - 10:30
Nishigyo Health Center392-56903rd and 4th Thursday9:00 - 10:30
Rakusai Branch Office322-81401st and 3rd Friday8:30 - 10:30
Fushimi Health Center611-11621st and 2nd Monday8:30 - 10:30
Fukakusa Branch Office642-38761st and 3rd Tuesday8:30 - 10:30
Daigo Branch Office571-67472nd and 4th Thursday8:30 - 10:30

Administrative interpretation and counseling service 075-752-1166
English Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Chinese Wednesday and Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm

TAKII Tomoko

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Kyoto Mania Quiz

Kyoto City has 11 wards. The topic of this issue's “My Favorite Kyoto” was the trains in Kyoto. Then, how many wards are there in Kyoto City which have no train stations?

a.3 b.2 c.1 d.0

The Answer will be in the next issue.

The answer to last issue's quiz is "a". Tearing down the Berlin Wall. kokoka was completed in 1989. When the other events happened...
b. Establishment of EU(European Union) is in 1993.
c. Sovereignty of Hong Kong returned to China is in 1997.
d. Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol is in 1997.

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

kokoka news * * kokusai koryu kaikan news


the Kyoto Guide Club

Information from the Kyoto Guide Club – Tours for foreign residents

The Kyoto Guide Club holds enjoyable tours for foreign residents. There will be tours held in February as follows:
Feb. 4th (Sat.) Tour to the sake brewery in Fushimi
Feb. 26th (Sun.) Tour to the public bath

Also, the club will hold a walking tour of Yoshida-Yama in March. Please find more details on the Kyoto City International Foundation’s website.
URL: http://www.kcif.or.jp/en/

Kyoto City International Foundation Volunteer Orientation

Why don't you make a contribution to internationalizing Kyoto City Area? Please apply from kokoka website.

◆DATE : February 26th, Sun, March 3rd Sun 2:30pm - 5:00pm
◆PLACE : Kyoto International Community House (KoKoKa) 3F Seminar Room
◆TEL: 075-752-3511
◆URL: http://www.kcif.or.jp/jp/jigyo/volunteer/toroku/orientation.htm
◆FEE: Free

Counseling day for non-Japanese residents

Do you have any trouble regarding law, visa, tax, insurance or pension system? The specialists in each area will give you advices. Can you sleep well? Are you lazy about going out? Do you feel stress with your life in Japan? A female counselor will listen to your anxiety. Please feel free to contact us and make a reservation. There are interpreters also.

◆DATE:February 19th, Sun 1:00pm - 5:00pm
◆PLACE:Kyoto International Community House (kokoka) 3F Conference Room
◆TEL: 075-752-3511
◆FEE:Free

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 : February 19th (Sunday) , March 4th (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

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Library Letter - Kyoto International community House Library

The Recommended Book

"MIRROR"

MIRROR

Author : Jeannie Baker
Publisher : Walker Books Ltd.
2010

Are picture books only for children? Picture books, which offer a variety of unique pictures, rhythmical phrases like songs, diversity of size and shape, could amuse everyone from children to adults.

This book contains two stories side by side, one should be read from the left and the other from the right. One side depicts a day of an Australian family and another side shows a day of a Moroccan family by putting patches and papers. Culture and language vary with climate or where to live. However, we belong together all the time on the same planet, the earth in some way. You may have such a feeling while turning over pages one by one, and side by side.

Newspapers and magazines of verious countries

There are newspapers and magazines from various countries such as the U.S., the U.K., China, Korea, Thailand, Russia, Vietnam, France, Brazil etc. Do you miss your native writings while you are away from your own country, don’t you? Have a time of relief with your mother tongue at kokoka library!

Please tell us your impression about this article!

To the top of this page.

Volanteer member of this issue

Editors of paper edition

ARTHUR Derek / IKUTA Minoru / KUSUDA Ayano / KOMATSU Takehisa / SUZUKI Hidetoshi / TAKII Tomoko / NAGATAKE Yoshinobu / YAMASHITA Motoyo / WATANABE Takeshi

Designer of WEB edition

SUZUKI Hidetoshi

To the top of this page.