Until My Dream Comes True

flag of Mongolia

Enkhmaa PUREVDORJ (Mongolia)

Kinkakuji Temple

"Kinkakuji Temple"
by Enkhmaa PUREVDORJ

Hello! I'm Enkhmaa from Mongolia. In the beginning, I came to Japan with an aim to study art; it has been 12 years since then. During that time, I have had a family with a lot of children, raising them while I work on art and culture exchanges between Mongolia and Japan.

As for my own art, I paint mainly in oils. In my paintings, I'm searching to express the colors I feel through nature. As for other interests, I like teaching Mongol culture to various people and I work on a support committee of the Kyoto International Cultural Citizens Exchange. I give talks about cultural differences and the differences in child rearing and education between Japan and Mongolia, and other topics.


Enkhmaa (2nd from right) and her family

At first, I lived in Yamanashi, where I could see wonderful Mt. Fuji. I drew many pictures of Mt. Fuji and my memories there. My first visit to Kyoto was eight years ago. Until then, I had no opportunity to have contact with historical Japanese culture.

My special memories in Kyoto are from Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion Temple. When I saw Kinkakuji that first time, that is when I felt the beauty of Japanese culture touch me. I couldn't leave Kinkakuji for many hours. I prayed for domestic peace in my family and for everyone. Since then, I felt strongly that someday I wanted to come back to Kyoto, but some years passed before I could do so. Finally, three years ago I moved my atelier to Kyoto and started working here. Nowadays, I'm greatly influenced by the culture of Kyoto and try to do my best in my artwork. I will be happy if I can bring the culture and art of Kyoto and Japan to Mongolia.

Mount Fuji

"Mount Fuji
by Enkhmaa PUREVDORJ"

My dream is to establish a genuine art school in Mongolia. Since I've lived in Japan for a period of time, I was impressed by the beauty of Japanese art and the degree of perfection in all things made in Japan. In my opinion, these virtues are unique to Japan, and I want to try to bring into my county this sense of beauty and appreciation for perfection. I believe what is important for Mongol people is culture and art, and I feel that the world's developed countries’ levels of art and culture are high. No matter what, through my dream school, I want to convey the virtues of Japan, the closest and most friendly country to me.

translated from Japanese by KANAYA Chinami

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How I beat the summer heat!

sensu an uchiwa

sensu (left)and uchiwa (right)

15 years ago, I lived in New York City; my room faced south, on the 4th floor of a century-old apartment building. Sunlight is strongest there in the summer, and the building was wrapped in hot air, making it feel suffocating and stuffy.

I remember young women living in New York at that time putting their hair in ponytails and wearing camisole tops and short pants to ease the heat.

However, I think that New York style of dress is not commonly seen in Kyoto. Summer here is not only hot, the humidity is high as well, and you may feel fatigued from even a brief walk. Students wearing suits for their job search and walking in unfamiliar areas may feel even hotter.

Here, I will introduce my own anti-overheating measures. I freeze in advance a PET bottle drink, carrying it with me when I go out, and holding it on my neck when it feels flushed. Carrying a frozen thermal gel-pack wrapped in a towel is also good. Also, I carry handkerchief sheets sold at convenience and drug stores, frequently wiping the sweat from my skin with them. Finally, for the mid-day sun, I try to walk underground, or carry a sun umbrella and a hat, to create a shadow around me.

radio taiso

"rajio taiso" exercise

Also, I want to refer back to some useful tools from the past: sensu (the common folding fan) and uchiwa (the round flat fan). The sensu folds up, so it is easily kept in a bag; since there are many places using less AC (to combat global warming), you can cool yourself with it there. Uchiwa are often distributed at events as a sales promotion tool. It is refreshing when you can create a breeze around your neck. Sometimes, on hot afternoons, in the middle of your day's travels, you may feel sluggish and completely dried up by the heat. Before you feel sick, you should find some shade, and take a short break. In summer, when planning your day, try not to forget putting in some extra time. Scheduling your time too tightly only creates impatience, and your physical strength gets worn down. Since we don't have siesta (Spanish custom of an after-lunch nap) in Japan, we can better deal with the heat by relaxing at cafes and such. It is important to take care of yourself in the summer, especially with so many outdoor activities available. In some neighborhoods, you can find and join groups that meet in the cool early morning to do outdoor “rajio taiso ” (short radio program of exercise instruction and piano accompaniment). Do all of yourhousekeeping in the early morning coolness, and enjoy the starlit sky or some fireworks at night.

Have a healthy and happy summer!


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Let's try enka !


Karaoke is loved by many people, not only in Japan but all over the world. Especially in Japan, the birthplace of karaoke , it is familiar to many people as a typical amusement. Why do you suppose karaoke has become so popular? It is because everyone, men and women of all ages, can happily, cheerfully enjoy spending time together. It seems that by getting rid of day-to-day fatigue and worries, karaoke is helpful in reducing stress, improving heart/lung function, stimulating the brain, and preventing aging; this means karaoke seems to improve the health of mind and body.

Probably everyone has been to a karaoke place , but have you ever been to a 'karaoke school’? I have , two years ago , when I was in Tokyo , after seeing an advertisement in a public-relations magazine for classes at a karaoke school. I reserved a trial lesson at once, because I naturally like singing songs and the tuition was reasonable.

My thinking was we would have classroom lessons in pop music, but when I went there, I saw that the students were all elderly, and they sang nothing but enka (traditional-style Japanese popular ballads). We sang from a musical score along with a recording, and then, the teacher pointed out our mistakes. We practiced one song, four times a month. Each student sang in front of the class, beginning with the second lesson, and was recorded in the fourth lesson.

Since I couldn't read music and didn't even know kobushi (vocal ornamentation used in enka ), I almost gave up on singing enka . However, I thought that enka , often called 'the spirit of Japan’ , was exactly the kind of challenge I needed as a foreigner, so I started to apply myself.

Because I hadn't tried singing before, I was worried, but, the kind help and explanations from my teachers and classmates made my worries vanish, and I felt relaxed. Although it was for only nine short months, it was a really precious experience for me. Thanks to karaoke , I not only made some good friends and memories, I was also able to learn how to sing a number of enka songs.

Some time has passed since then, and recently I went to karaoke with my current Japanese language teachers, and tried to sing some enka songs I learned at the karaoke school. My teachers were very surprised and impressed. I was so glad to be praised by them. Gradually, I have come to like enka more and more.

WANG Xiaoqin
translated by FUJITA Risa

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Fireworks in Japan


Fireworks are a symbol of summer in Japan. Fireworks displays are held in many places around Kyoto every year from July through August. At the fireworks displays there are many food standssuch as takoyaki (fried octopus dumpling) and kakigori (flavoredsyrup on shaved ice) , and many people wearing yukata (summerkimono ) go to see the fireworks.

The special features of Japanese skyrockets include: forming a large, perfect sphere; changing colors of each star or ray; and making double or triple rings. Depending on the shape and form of the starburst, they have names like “chrysanthemum” , “peony” , “willow” and so on. Lately, some fireworks have the shapes of characters such as Doraemon and Hello Kitty .

Sometimes you may hear a shout of “Ta - maya - !” or “Ka - giya - !” when the rocket bursts. These are the family names of famous fireworks makers of the Edo period. They competed by creating unique fireworks displays, and the spectators would cheer them on by shouting out their names. The Tamaya company no longer exists, but Kagiya is still in business in Tokyo.

Except for pyrotechnists, setting off skyrockets is prohibited, but people in general are allowed to handle small fireworks. For example, there are handheld fireworks like sparklers, and stick (bottle) skyrockets, Roman candles spouting up colored fire, shooting stars set on the ground and lit, and pinwheels of fire or smoke whirling around on the ground. All of these are sold at supermarkets or convenience stores.

Why not enjoy fireworks in the cool evening yourself during the hot summer?


Fireworks Displays around Kyoto

Thursday, August 7Hozugawa River Fire works Festival
Monday, August 11Ujigawa River Fireworks Festival
Friday, July 25Tenjin Matsuri Fireworks Festival
Friday, August 1PL Fireworks Festival
Tuesday, August 5Nagahama North Biwako Fireworks Festival
Friday, August 8Biwako Fireworks Festival

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Kyoto Marathon 2015 is looking for 16,000 runners!

Kyoto Marathon

Application period:
Tues., July 29 - Mon., Sept. 1, 2014

Event Date:
Sun., Feb. 15, 2015
※ It will be held rain or shine!

Please go to the following websites for more details:



Use your Japanese language skills! Apply through the original Japanese website:

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Information from Kyoto City Hall

"Temporary Welfare Benefits” and “Special Benefits for Child Rearing Households"

Since April of this year, the consumption tax rate was increased. As a result, the City of Kyoto has announced that it will provide “Temporary Welfare Benefits” to low-income earners (persons not taxed with municipal inhabitant's tax), and “Special Benefits for Child Rearing Households” to people who are raising children (those receiving child allowance payments).

There are some conditions to meet in order to receive payments. Please inquire to the appropriate Call Center for a detailed explanation of the requirements, .

○ Kyoto City will send application forms. The application forms must be filled in and sent back inthe envelope enclosed. Postage is prepaid.

Temporary Welfare Benefits” will be sent in a blue envelope.
Please send it in by February 2, 2015.

Special Benefits for Child Rearing Households ” will be sent in a yellow envelope. Please send it in by February 12, 2015.

○Kyoto City will review the application, and the benefits will in turn be transferred to the applicant's bank account if approved.

○ In case the application form does not arrive, please call:
Kyoto City “Temporary Welfare Benefits” Call Center 075-251-2360
Kyoto City “ Special Benefits for Child Rearing Households” Call Center 075-251-1255

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For pleasure, beauty and health:
  Takeda Garden for Medicinal Plant Conservation, Kyoto

Takeda Garden for Medicinal Plant Conservation

Kyoto has some gorgeous botanical gardens, having a lot to offer to the eyes of their visitors each season, with the Kyoto Prefectural Botanical Garden being the most famous of them. Although it's not widely known, there is a very special botanical garden at the foot of Mt. Hiei. Walking up to the Manshuin Temple in Ichijoji, you will inevitably pass by one of the various parts of the "Takeda Garden for Medicinal Plant Conservation, Kyoto". Maybe when you pass its Kampo Garden in May or June, you will wonder what that infatuating fruity scent might be. The tree which produces it is called karatane ogatama in Japanese and in English is Banana Tree, from its flowers’ strong fragrance. There is also the Japanese Bigleaf Magnolia, which looks as if it is just too frail for its big leaves; its bark is thought to be effective for reducing pain.

Another pathway goes through a part of the camellia collection, where there are about 560 kinds of camellias. Camellias are not only satisfying to the aesthetic sense when viewing them, but also the skin of those ladies who use face creams containing camellia oil. After that, some tall trees with fruits that look like long, black beans hanging down may surprise you; these Chinese catalpa fruits are thought to have a diuretic effect.

There is also the Japanese Cinnamon tree, which has historically provided a stomach medicine made from its roots. In all, an enormous variety of helpful plants are here, about 1,400 kinds of medicinal plants and about 1,100 kinds of non-medicinal plants. Their cultivation started here about 80 years ago, and now continues with preservation as the primary purpose.

Although this garden is not open to the public during the year, there are times when guided tours forvisitors are held. To participate, you can check the schedule on their website (http://www.takeda.co.jp/kyoto/english/).

Fortunately, the kokoka (Kyoto International Community House) volunteer group "Kyoto Guide Club" has organized a special tour which will take place on Sunday, Sept.14. Don't miss your chance to visit this unique garden and learn about the pharmaceutical effects of plants.

For further details please contact kokoka KCIF.
Tel: 075-752-3511, e-mail: office@kcif.or.jp
To apply please use the provided QR code.


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kokoka news * * kokusai koryu kaikan news

Kyoto City Comprehensive Disaster Drill 2014

We welcome you to participate in this drill in order to be better prepared for a disaster.

◆Date: August 30 (Sat), 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
◆Location:Kodaiji Temple - Kiyomizu Temple (Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto)
◆Meeting time and place:8:30 a.m. at Yasaka Shrine in front of the west gate at Higashioji-dori
◆Cost:Free. We will pay for your round train transportation (bus, trip or subway) between your home and Gion Shijo Station (Keihan Line)
◆Eligibility: Foreign nationals or descendants of foreign nationals living in the Kyoto area.
◆Apply at the following website: http://www.kcif.or.jp/HP/jigyo/saigai/en/bousai/top/bousai.htm
◆Applicaton deadline: August 24 (Sun), 2014
◆Inquiries: Kyoto City International Foundation (Information & Programming Section) TEL: 075-752-3511、FAX: 075-752-3510 Email: office@kcif.or.jp
◆Remarks: In case of weather warnings "keiho" , such as heavy rain, flooding, or high winds, issued by 7:00 of the day of event, it will be cancelled.

cool kokoka campaign 2014

cool kokoca

Let's get cool at kokoka! from July 1 (Tue.), through September 30 (Tue.)

kokoka Kyoto International Community House has made special arrangements to provide a cool spot where anyone can hang out, where people can walk in when passing by, to escape from summer's heat!

The restaurant and café in kokoka will have specials during this campaign.

Please show them your “cool kokoka” ticket, available at the 1st floor reception desk, or just say “cool kokoka” when you order. The specials are as follows:

※ one free drink at the restaurant Lever Son Verre (2F)
※ 50 yen discount on any drink at the Café Canal (1F)

In addition, many interesting events will be held at kokoka during this campaign.

For more information, please visit our homepage:
or contact kokoka by e-mail: office@kcif.or.jp,
or by phone: 075-752-3010

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Library Letter - Kyoto International community House Library

kokoka recommends this book



Produced by Stone Fields
Published by OMURA SHOTEN

Do you go to karaoke with friends on your day off? It would be more fun if you sing a Japanese song, don’t you think? This book has the lyrics of many popular songs or songs long loved in Japan.

The lyrics have small Japanese hiragana above the Japanese kanji and the pronunciations are also shown in romaji (Roman alphabet). The “Artists’ Directory” in the back of the book briefly introduces 55 famous singers.

You can enjoy the unique charms of these Japanese lyrics, which have a very different feel from everyday conversation.

You may be able to find out about something new by simply changing your viewpoint.

You can also try to sing ...

You can also try to sing Japanese nursery rhymesand shoka (songs for school music classes) in English. Songs sung in the elementary schools have been translated into English in the book“Japan’s Best Loved Songs of the Season”. Although they are in English, they have the same rhythm as in Japanese. By all means try singing these songs at karaoke! The book includes a CD, so you can listen to these songs at the kokoka library.

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Volunteer members of this issue

Members and Collaborators

FUJITA Risa / FURUTA Tomiyoshi / IKUTA Minoru / Juan VACA / Karl JANSMA / KAMEDA Chiaki / KANAYA Chinami / Kevin ROBERTS / Megan ROBERTS / Michiru ONIZUKA / NAKAGAWA Satomi / OHARA Manabu / OKAMOTO Yuko / SUZUKI Hidetoshi / SUZUKI Shoichiro / YAMASHITA Motoyo / YUZAWA Kimio / WANG Xiaoqin

Editor of this WEB page

KANAYA Chinami

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