What I Like About Kyoto

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Rosenstein Hannah (U.S.A.)

Kyoto and Boston

Ever since I was a child, I have always had great interest in traditional Japanese culture and history. In 2011, I studied in Kyoto for 5 months and came to love its historic atmosphere. Because I especially like the traditional atmosphere of Higashiyama, it is my most favorite place. My hometown, Boston, is very much like Kyoto in that it is a very historic city, and with its old buildings it is a very beautiful place. Not only is Boston similar to Kyoto in that it has beautiful scenery and is a historic city, but Boston and Kyoto are also very similar in size. Since I find it difficult to live in big cities, I find that Kyoto is the perfect size. After experiencing life in Kyoto, I have come to like Kyoto very much and feel as if it is my hometown much like Boston is to me.

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Hiking on Shogunzuka Mound:
    communing with wild grasses and herbs

~ The KYOTO TRAIL Higashiyama Course ~

Kyoto Trail

Looking towards the distance hills surrounding our city, with nothing special to do, you could easily realize the wonderful nature these mountains hold. Especially from autumn through winter, colorful leaves turning red or yellow tell us of the changes of the seasons. The sights will surely make you feel like hiking in the mountain areas and getting in touch with nature.

Today, I would like to introduce you to Shogun-zuka, which is easily accessible and a safe spot to stroll along even for beginners. The starting point is Awata Shrine located to the southwest of Kyoto International Community House (kokoka) within 10 minutes by foot. 10M to the right side of the gate of Awata Jinja Shrine, you can find a small path. Walk along this path for a while, passing Awata Sanso (a high class Japanese inn) and climb up the stairs which lead to Sonshoin Temple. Visit the temple if you like before walking through the garden. At the back of the garden you can find a gently winding zigzag trail. It is recommended to check up on a Google map in advance so as not to lose your way.

At a 216M elevation, the Shogunzuka Mound is not only easily accessed but also provides a fantastic view over Kyoto. You can find a wide variety of trees, wild grasses and herbs, and can begin to become familiar with Japanese flora. Stroll along the path enjoying observing the plants, and you will reach the peak within one hour. Shoes with grip type rubber soles and a walking stick will help you to keep your balance on the slopes. Looking later for the plants you observed in a pictorial book of Japanese plants is another amusement. On the other hand, finding a plant in the field which you saw in the book will give you a satisfactory contentment, and this will induce you to return to the spot again and again.

Check the weather forecast in advance to avoid cloudy or rainy days with possible lightning. As the days are getting shorter, start before noon to get back before 16:00. To be on the safe side, go with a Japanese companion who has a good knowledge of mountain climbing.

The whole hiking course is maintained by the KYOTO TRAIL Association. Members are: Kyoto City, Kyoto Alpine League, Keihan Railway, Hankyu Railway, Keifuku Railway, Kyoto City Transportation Bureau, Kyoto-Osaka District National Forest Office, Kyoto City Tourist Association. For further details please visit their English website: http://kaiwai.city.kyoto.jp/raku/kanko_top/kyoto_trail_en.html or search for “The KYOTO TRAIL”.

MINATO, Masayuki
Translated by AZUMA, Keiko

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Why don’t you make your life in Kyoto more enjoyable?
  - Introduction to the tours of Kyoto guide club -

Gion Festival

Gion Festival

What do you usually do on weekends and holidays? Don’t you want to go to anywhere you don’t know well? Kyoto Guide Club invites you to join their various interesting tours held almost every month.

making paper

making paper

The Kyoto Guide Club is one of the volunteer groups of the Kyoto City International Foundation (KCIF). The members, mostly living in or near Kyoto, conduct tours for foreign residents. Some examples from resent tours are a tour of a Japanese sake brewery, experiencing making Japanese traditional paper, visiting and studying about the Sento (Japanese public bath), and so on. The club also holds a tour of Gion Matsuri (festival) every year, when participants can climb up on a float.

This fall, there will be these interesting tours: in October, you will have a chance to experience dyeing a handkerchief : in November, we’re going out to an English Rakugo (comic story) performance. You can find further information on our activities at the website of KCIF.

Unfortunately, the tours are limited only to foreign residents. If you are interested in us, why don’t you join the club as a volunteer? Please feel free to attend the orientation for volunteer activities of KCIF, and check out the activities of Kyoto Guide Club!

KCIF website: http://www.kcif.or.jp/en/

NAGATAKE, Yoshinobu

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What are the things you can’t see unless you close your eyes?

Shodo Lesson

In Tohoku, where about one year has passed since the disaster, necessary things such as food and daily necessities have been gathered little by little. Whenever I heard stories from my French friend who went to Sendai about how volunteers were needed for the victims who were still mentally suffering from the disaster, my desire to go to Tohoku became stronger. I started to learn calligraphy in Paris (France) and studied it in earnest, moving to Kyoto three years ago in hopes of becoming a calligrapher. Because calligraphy is the greatest delight for me, I wanted to enjoy calligraphy with the victims to convey this delight to them. Through an acquaintance in Kyoto City International Community House, I contacted the organization called Ishinomaki Revival Support Network. This organization held the workshops on handicrafts for people living in temporary housing. Thanks to them, it was decided that we were to hold two calligraphy lessons at the end of April. However, in order to carry out the plan, volunteers were supposed to prepare the difficult task of arranging transport, accommodations and preparing tools for calligraphy by themselves. For example, I had to prepare everything because the participants in the calligraphy lesson did not have tools. I asked my friends and acquaintances for their help, and they prepared more than 10 sets of calligraphy tools within the short time of one or two weeks. They helped me greatly in collecting various tools, and thanks to their help, I had become able to hold the calligraphy lessons in Ishinomaki.

As part of the lessons, I thought that I should decide which character to write before going. At first, I consulted the members of the organization about it. Although it seemed that any theme was fine, they said that the Chinese characters related to the disaster should be avoided because of trauma from the earthquake and tsunami. I vaguely understood that 「絆」 (Kizuna) and 「夢」 (Yume) had too heavy of meanings for people in Tohoku. However, I thought that the structure of the Chinese character 「夢」 I liked was not so heavy, but more elegant instead. After the disaster however, these Chinese characters were often used by the media and was afraid that people were fed up with seeing the same characters, making them unsuitable for this event.

I questioned how I could convey the delight of calligraphy to participants in such a short time. At the same time, I couldn’t also be convinced of my ability for that. Thinking about various things, I chose two themes; “「楽」 (Raku) which means delightful” and “The structure of the radical Kusakanmuri through writing 「花」 (Hana)” since it was spring. To start writing, I hoped that the participants wrote「花」 (Hana) which has a bright meaning and everyone likes. And in the end, I hoped they would write their favorite Chinese characters of Kusamanmuri, including 「夢」 (Yume), with freer feelings.

ODIN, Sylvie
Translated by ROSENSTEIN, Hanah

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Let's get together for Hot Chat:
  A place for encouraging communication about raising children

Hot Chat

Do you know the saying “千の倉より子は宝.”? This is a Japanese proverb that means there is nothing more precious than children in the world. Children who will have key roles in the next generation are truly treasures, not only to their parents but also to the community, society and the whole world. Although raising-children in everyday life gives many delights to their parents, it may sometimes cause feelings of anxiety, stress and worry.

kokoka provides you with a place for sharing those feelings “Hot Chat: A place for encouraging communication about raising children” . Both Japanese and foreigners, those who are raising children, can participate. Why not come to exchange helpful information and widen your circle of friends while your children play? Regular meetings are held twice a month; feel free to come without a reservation and it is FREE!. A flea market/free market for infant goods will be held on October 6th (Sat), and you will need to apply for entry in advance. Who knows, you may make a lucky find!

Hot Chat

“Hot Chat” regular meetings

1st Sat. of the month 3:00pm-4:30pm
 3rd Tue. of the month 10:30am-12:00 noon

Flea market / Free market for infant goods
 (by advance appointment only)

 October 6th, Saturday 3:00pm-4:30pm

TAKII, Tomoko

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kokoka news * * kokusai koryu kaikan news

Overnight Evacuation Shelter Training Program

When an earthquake occurs, where shall we evacuate? Why don't you join our drill to stay at an eavcuation shelter and learn what we can do at a time of disaster?

Welcome Party & Seminar for foreigners

We will provide information about basic daily needs to the newly arrived foreigners to Kyoto. There will be party to make friends, too. The events are free.

kokoka OPEN DAY 2012

There will be many events such as international food stalls, and world music, dance, performances, world culture workshops.

  • ◆Date: November 3rd, Sat. 11:00am to 4:00pm
  • ◆Place: Kyoto International Community House (kokoka)

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

  • When : October 28th (Sunday), November 17th (Saturday) 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
  • http://www.plusone.ne.jp/fm/fm_shiyakusho1.html

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Library Letter - Kyoto International community House Library

kokoka Book Review

“Discovering Kyoto in Temples and Shrines”

Discovering Kyoto in Temples and Shrines

published by Shikousha, 2010

It seems that hot and humid days will keep continuing, don’t you think?

The sultry summer is officially over and we are approaching the middle of autumn. When you feel like going for a walk to enjoy some cool air, why not consider visiting a few temples and shrines?

“Discovering Kyoto in Temples and Shrines”divides the city into six areas in order to facilitate your one-day tour planning. Not only famous sites like Kiyomizudera Temple or Yasaka Shrine, other places featuring architectural or landscape beauty or precious Buddha statues are also introduced. In addition, you can find useful tips like“Early in the morning is the best time to visit Kinkakuji temple, thereby avoiding crowds”. The descriptions of people and natural objects associated with each place or its historical details gives you further reasons for comfortable contentment.

Fitting nicely in your pocket or bag, the book is a perfect companion for your walking tour to discover Kyoto in autumn!

Bike Riding

Bike riding is highly recommended for getting around in Kyoto.

And “Kyoto Cycling Handbook (Kyôto-Sansaku-Jitensha-Nôto)” by TAGA Kazuo, will help you plan an itinerary meeting your own interests, referring to various tours listed in the book as well as their traveling time and distance.

"Lonely Planet Kyoto : City Guide" by Chris Rowthorn may be useful for walking tours in the city besides cycling.

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Volanteer member of this issue

Editors of paper edition

AZUMA Keiko / IKUTA Minoru / JANSMA Karl / SUZUKI Hidetoshi / SEKINO Masako / TAKII Tomoko / NAGATAKE Yoshinobu / HIGASHIDA Miyuu / FUKUSHIMA Asuka / FRENCH Kaori / MINATO Masayuki / ROSENSTEIN Hannah / YAMASHITA Motoyo

Designer of WEB edition

SUZUKI Hidetoshi

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