The Contrast of Red and White

October 3, 2016

by Mayu Kuwahara, Karen Takeda, Yuri Nonaka

Why people are attracted to Maiko

The Gion district in Kyoto is one of the famous places where you can spot a Maiko. These places are called “Hanamachi.” On Hanamachi street, if you are lucky, you will have a chance to see maiko in the early or late evening. You would probably fall in love with their beauty. Especially, the contrast of their pure white skin and the vivid red lips; it attracts many people irrespective of their age or gender. Some girls yearn for being such a beautiful maiko, and I was one of them.
2 maico

Longing to be a Maiko

Why do Japanese girls want to be a Maiko?
​When I was 15 years old, I watched a TV documentary about how a girl became a maiko in Kyoto. The protagonist was a  15-year-old-girl who looked normal, and yet she really yearned to be a maiko, the same as me. In the program she said that she wanted to live in the hierarchy, the mysterious world which cannot be seen easily, and the world with traditional conventions. Also, she felt a special attraction for living just next to the things that have been handed down since olden times. When I heard that, I realized these she and other girls who want to be maiko were meant to live in Hanamachi.  At the same time, I was moved to tears and thought what a nice thing it would be to master the skills of a maiko!

Maiko Makeup Step by Step

There is one step to becoming a Maiko in Kyoto and anyone can become a maiko by following this way of make up.
1. Soften the “bintsuke abura,”* which is waxy/oily undercoat, in your hands and apply liberally all over the face, neck and top of the chest. This method is used as the foundation for the “shironuri,” the white base.  The workmanship of shironuri is different depending on the way bintsuke abura  is applied. Therefore, this part is very important.
2. Dilute the “neri oshiroi”* in a dish and dissolve it in water. Then, paint it over the same areas where you applied the bintsuke abura with a special brush called “itahake.”* Use a sponge to blend the makeup. In this part of the process, maiko apply the make-up to their own neck while using a mirror, or the maiko will help each other to apply this coat. After that, apply  the “kona oshiroi”* over your face and press by using a puff.
There are two meanings of neck make-up; one is to make the neck look slim and the other is to wish the maiko will perform well. For Japanese people, showing the nape and neck line is thought to be erotic.
3. Dust “tonoko”* onto the upper half of the face with a brush. Do the same for cheeks.
4. Draw the eyebrow with the black eyebrow pencil. Then, add red lining to the black eyebrows.*
5. Make a small diamond shape on the outer corner of the eyelid with red lining color. These are called “mebari”* in Japanese. Then, use a cotton swab to bring excess color from the diamond underneath the lash line.
6. Use black liquid eyeliner to create a fine line and apply a second or third line to create a thicker line.
7. Put red lining color on the lips. Apply slightly higher than the natural lip line. Maiko who only have one year of experience use different ways of makeup. To show their loveliness, only their lower lips are painted with red lining color.

Become a Maiko

If you were over 16 years old, it might be too late to be maiko, but what if you could turn yourself into a maiko for a single day? There are many places where you can experience becoming a maiko in Kyoto. Turning yourself into a maiko is one of the most popular activities for tourists and girls who yearned once to become a maiko in Kyoto. Unlike other activities, you can get an impressive and fun experience thorough traditional Japanese culture. If you are in Kyoto, maiko makeover experience is a must!
mixmixed
* bintsuke abura : Waxy/Oily undercoat
* neri oshiroi: White face paint
* kona oshiroi: White face power
* tonoko Rouge: Pink/Red power
* mebari/beni Red Lining Color: Red cream
* itahake: Wide brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Treasures of Japanese Taste—Dashi 

 by Shoko Ota & Yukari Kimura

Kombu (kelp, sea cabbage)

Kombu (kelp, sea cabbage)

Katsuo-Bushi (dried bonito)

Katsuo-Bushi (dried bonito)

 

 

 

The new Popularity of Japanese Food

 

Recently, the number of tourists who are visiting Japan have been on the rise. Japanese food is becoming famous worldwide as a healthy cuisine. One of the basic tastes of Japanese cuisine comes from dashi, which is stock for soup and sauces.

 

 What is “Dashi”?

 

Simply, “dashi” means Japanese soup stock. There are many different kinds of soup stocks that are used around the world. Japanese Soup stock doesn’t use any animal products, however, instead it uses products from the sea: katsuo-bushi (dried bonito) and kombu (kelp). These are important tastes in Japanese food culture. Other alternatives that are sometimes used in soup stocks are mushroom, beans, and other dried fish.

 

How to make “Dashi”

 

Althjough fairly simple, it is said that to make a real good dashi is very difficult and only very skilled cooks can make it. The way of filtering dashi is the same as making coffee. It’s very simple and easy for beginners. It takes only 1-2 minutes to make authentic dashi (first soup). You can also change the thickness of dashi as you like.

 

1. Set up the filter and put in packs of dried bonito, dried tuna and dried kelp into the cup.

 

2. Pour in hot water and cover the top (about 500cc). Wait 1-2 minutes

 

3. Place the dripper over another cupp. Dashi will automatically filter into the cup.

 

Source: Dashi Atelier Soutatsu Products Catalog

 

 

 The Difference between Western Japan and Eastern Japan

 

Did you know Japanese people often use dashi in cooking, and the ingredients differ from place to place? Traditionally, in Eastern Japan dashi is made from katsuobushi. Once it is mixed in udon (a type of noodle dish), the color becomes dark brown and has a taste like soy sauce. Whereas in Western Japan, dashi is made from kombu. Again, when the dashi is mixed in udon, the color becomes yellow, and has a little salty taste.

 

How did this difference occur?

 

Although there are various reasons why this difference in dashi occurred, basically it comes down to the main types of fish use in the regions: western = white meat fish; and eastern = red meat fish. From the history of Eastern Japan, people ate red meat fish very frequently. For example, skipjack and sardine are types of akami (red meat). The taste is known to be very greasy. This is why people from eastern Japan like strong taste. Nevertheless in western Japan, people have been eating white meat fish all the time. For example, herring and Pacific cod are types of shiromi (white meat). The taste is light and simple. Furthermore, Western Japanese people eat it on a daily basis. This is the reason why people from western Japan do not like strong tastes.

nishitohigashi

Bonus fact

Did you know that long, long ago in Japan, the capital in Japan was Kyoto? Of course back then, the distribution of foods to Kyoto flourished. For example, since Hokkaido’s sea cucumber is known to be the most delicious in Japan, a lot of fresh, delicious sea cucumbers were delivered to Kyoto before Tokyo. Therefore, many good quality sea cucumbers were consumed by Kyoto people. Since the transportation technology was not very advanced as it is today, it was very difficult to send products across the Pacific Ocean. If products were sent by land, it would take a long time to get to Tokyo from Kyoto. As a result, the freshness will decrease enormously. This means perhaps the sea cucumber was unpleasant once it arrived.

 

 

Special Thanks:

だし工房宗達京都店 (Dashi Atelier Soutatsu Kyoto store)

 Address: 〒604-8115, 京都市中京区蛸薬師通堺町東入雁金町375-4

OPEN: 11:00~19:00

CLOSED: Tuesday, Wednesday

Fukakusa

by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai

Our travel dairy: Fukakusa’s loves story

1453076042407

We visited Fukakusa to see Fushimi-inari shrine. It is very famous shrine, so people visited to there from around the world. People visit to see many Torii. Torii separates gods and humans. Torii looks like shrine gate made of wood, the color is bright red. Fushimi-inari shrine is the main shrine of all the inari shrines in Japan. Other Famous place is Fuji-no-mori shrine, it has to with Japanese emperor Tenno.   This shrine is famous Ajisai festival and the god is known for having luck in games, so people visit this shrine. When we visited this shrine, we saw may beautiful Ajisai. Ajisai is one of the flower in summer. Next place was main the temple for this trip. This temple is Gonjo-ji temple. Gonjo-ji temple is has to with our report.

Fukakusa’s love story

 

The place we visited is called Fukakusa. It is called Fukakusa because a long time ago, a person named Shosho-Fukakusa lived there. He loved Onono Komachi. She was most beautiful woman in Japan in Heian period. He loved her, but she didn’t love him, so she got an idea. The idea was very simple, he met her every night for 100 days. Her house and his house were far away. The distance was about 7 km, but he would like her to be his wife, so he met her every night. First day, second day, 97th day 98th day 99th day, he met her with peanuts. On the 100th night, she waited for him. However, didn’t come. That day he died because of heavy snow. The next day she found out that he died. She was very sad, so she was planted his nuts in her village. Later the nut grew and the tree is believed to be 1,000 years old.

Gonjo-ji temple

1453076040311

Gonjo-ji temple is a very important place. This is where Fukakusa lived.   There is a pond and this pond is where he looked at himself. There is a big Buddha in this temple, and Fukakusa and Komachi are buried here. Her house was in Yamashina. Yamashina is a town on the border of Kyoto and Shiga, so her house and his house were far away. However when she heard that he died, she was very sad. Therefore when she died, she was buried in this temple.

Access

Fushimi-inari shrine

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

Fuji-no-mori shrine

609 Fukakusatoriizakicho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

Gonjo-ji

1038 nishimasuyacho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

The great sento of Kyoto ~Nishiki-yu~

Ayaka Murai, Hikari Yanai & Daichi Hatakeyama

The great sento of Kyoto ~Nishiki-yu~

 

 

Most people spend their bath time only to take a bath and shower themselves. How do you want to enjoy your bath time? There is one traditional public bath here in the city of Kyoto called Nishiki-yu. A number of people really like to go to the public bath.  So, I would like to introduce about this great public bath.

 

image1 (1)

 

 

Sento is one of the cultures of Japan. Japanese people call the public bath sento. Nishiki-yu has a long history. It opened in 1927. It is in the center of Kyoto citiy’s, Nishiki market. Nishiki market is called the kitchen of Kyoto. The place is famous for tradition and culture in Kyoto. It is near Karasuma station on the Hankyu line. It takes only 5 minutes to walk to the public bath from the station. So, I recommend you take a train and walk to go to this public bath. Nishiki-yu is usually open from 16:00 to 24:00, but every Monday, it is closed.

 

noren When I visited there, there were Japanese shop curtains,noren, which are hung outside the entrance and has the shop’s name written on them. It seems that they change their color to deep blue during Gion-matsuri and New Year holidays. I would like to see the special noren. In addition, the outside is very tasteful. It is a three-storied, wooden building like the traditional Kyoto-style house called Machiya. Nishiki-yu has been featured in various magazines .

 

image2 In side this public bath is quite tasteful too. The bathtub is very hot for the first customer. The temperature is about 43 degrees. The bath is filled right up to the brim and spills over with new bathwater every time. So the bathwater is clear every time.

 

 

 

 

 

Regular customers of this public bath leave their basket at the changing room. It has their name written on the it. This basket is a traditional craft, and the price is about 40,000 yen. You can use the basket in this public bath, but you have to use this basket carefully, because of its high price. In addition, not anyone can make it anymore. However, sento visitors have decreased in Japan recently. So the owner set up some events to draw more guests to this public bath. For example, comic story telling party, music party, second hand book fair, Japanese summer cotton kimono on the spot sale party, and so on. You can also listen to jazz music only in this public bath in Japan. The manager, Mr. Hasegawa, likes music very much. He especially likes jazz music. He has a lot of CDs in his watch stand. As a result of these events, more tourists came to Nishiki-yu. I became popular for young people. Everyone can become friends in this public bath. Sometimes apprentice geisha, Maiko-san, come to this public bath. Maybe if you are lucky, you can meet one.

 

image3

 

After taking a bath please go to Nishiki market. You can feel more Kyoto style. If you want to feel Kyoto in your bones and meet people who will be your friends, please go to Nishiki-yu.

 

Yōkai Street

by Kanako Murakami and Ayane Yoshikura

Kyoto and Ghosts

The old capital, Kyoto has been connecting with a lot of ghosts since ancient days. On Ichijyo-street at Jyokyo-ku in the north part of Heian-kyo and it is said there is a border line between the daily life and not so. Ichijyo-street is the place where people meet ghosts. Now, this street is famous as Yōkai Street.

Yōkai Street

Yōkai Street

Yōkai Street is located in Jyokyo-ku, Kyoto and its official name is “Taishōgun shopping street”. These are many ways to set here. The nearest stations are Kitanohakubai-cho on the Keihuku Electric Railway and Kitanotenmangu by Kyoto city bus. You can go by the easily walk from either station. It is easy to find this street because there are some flags at the beginning. This project started in 2005 by Mr. Jyunichi Kono, a ghost’s culture researcher. The first function was a costume parade of ghosts in 15 October 2005. They reenacted HyakkiYagyō by marching down the Ichijyo-street dresse as ghosts. HyakkiYagyō is a parade with lots ghosts in midnight. It is said these are found mainly age of Heian in Kyoto. Ghost events are not only at Yōkai Street. Randen- Yōkai Train held at Arashiyama Electric Railway is another event. Usually the rate for adults is 200 yen and child is 100yen but if you dress as a ghosts, your rate will only be 50yen. Anyone adults and children participate in this event. There is also a costume contest.

Ghosts in Yōkai Street

Ghosts in Yōkai Street have great originality and they are very mysterious. There are some ghosts who are designed in the motif of goods are sold at stores in Taishōgun shopping street and some ghosts who are famous in Japan. For example, a ghost which is designed like a loaf of bread in a bakery, at a fish shop, it is designed like a fish, in a drugstore, it is designed like a bandage. There are also Nurarihyon (the ghost who looks like an old man with big head and he is sometimes said to be leader of ghosts), Rokuro-kubi (the ghost who wears a kimono and most people think that this ghost has the ability to stretch its neck to great length) and neko-mata (a monster cat) which is famous in Japan. The most popular ghost is white bread-ojisan who lives in a bakery.

white bread-ojisan

white bread-ojisan

Taishōgun shopping street has a mascot character, Yagyōdōji. It is not designed like a product though. Yagyōdōji is a child who has three eyes. He is considered to be a messenger of the god, Henge Daimyojin. This god can change old tool to ghosts. Yagyōdōji is active in some events, not only in Yōkai Street, but also in Kyoto. For example, in Yōkai Street, Yōkai art flea market, an event where the general public sells their original goods of the ghosts and Ichijo Street HyakkiYagyō, an event where the people disguised as a ghost parades around the Ichijo street take place several times a year. The ghost of old tools is called Tsukumogami. It’s said that the idea appeared from the ancient people’s mind to save old tools. In Taishōgun shopping street, they hand down the importance of recycling through Tsukumogami.

Revitalization of a town by ghosts

In 2005, Ichijo Street was renamed Yōkai Street. The street started revitalization of a town by ghosts. Some goods of ghosts are sold in the shopping street. For example, Yōkai korokke which is a green croquette, Yōkai ramen which is a black ramen and so on. These entertained the people who visit the street. And Yōkai camera which is application for smart phone has been provided. You can take a picture which includes a ghost when people take a picture in Yōkai Street with this application. Things like these have been an opportunity to visit increase to Yōkai Street.

A big influence of Yōkai Street

Yōkai Street is a landmark event that connected old tradition and shopping street having necessaries of life. But now many shopping streets are out of vogue in Japan. The biggest reason is the appearance of large commercial complexes. Many shopping streets are decreasingly. But if you come here, you may feel something warm all its own. There are many not chain stores, only family run shops. The shop assistants and customer are very close. Yōkai Street is a big chance to take back former Taishōgun shopping street. I hope that everyone will visit here not only on event days but every day to buy something and enjoy talking to the local people.

Japanese Traditional Cloth (Kimono)

by Erina Okamoto and Arisa Hirano

image1

Have you ever seen Japanese traditional clothes? Most countries have their own clothes, For example, people wear chima jeogori in Korea, China dress in China and deel in Mongolia. In Japan, we have our own traditional clothes called Kimono. Kimono has a long history and it is a tradition which we are proud of.

 

 

About Kimono

 

image4

These days, although Japanese people usually wear Western clothes, kimono is still loved by many people. The reason why kimono is loved by many people is not only the beauty, but also the fact that Kimono can adapt to the Japanese culture. It is said that kimono fits the person who has no waist and sloping shoulder. Moreover, we can use the word kimono as an international word all over the world. Originally, kimono is “kirumono” which means the cloth we wear. After that, it became “kimono” for short. Kimono exist for long time, however, it is around Heian era that kimono became the present form.

 

 

 

< charm of Kimono >

 

image8 Kimono has four charms. First, everyone fits the kimono. Kimono fits all bodies. Kimono is a straight stich, wrap tied with an obi is a self. In many cases, kimono is passed on from mother to child, to grandchild. Also, the feeling is passed on, too. Second, we can recycle kimono if we stop wearing it. The first cotton is about 13meters. Kimono is made of eight cotton clothes which are cut. We can change kimono into gadgets such as obi, bag, and nagazuban. Nagazuban is underwear when we wear under kimono. Third, we can fold it up small. When you hang dresses, you need plenty of space because then it wrinkle so easily. However, kimono is very compact, so we can hang many kimono. Fourth, the design is only one. Originally, kimono don’t often make same design. They looked the same, but the color scheme was little different. Then, we choose some items like the color of obi, the form of obi and kakeeri. Kakeeri is a protective collar sewn on a kimono. Therefore, perhaps even if you wear the same kimono, the image changes using some items.

image5
 

Kimono has these good points. Kimono is made of silk so that it make us feel cool in summer and warm in winter. In addition, when we wear kimono, our movement becomes slowly and politely. It make us feminine and elegant. It’s the best point for women.

When you go to a party, what clothes do you wear? You may not wear a T-shirt but a dress. People choose the clothes depending on where they go. We‘ll introduce rule of kimono and compare western clothes with kimono.

When people go to a celebration such a wedding ceremony, a celebration, or a coming-of-age celebration, they wear morning dress, evening dress or long dress. With kimono, people wear kurotomesode, irotomesode, and furisode. Married women wear Kurotomesode or irotomesode and unmarried women wear furisode. At the party, people wear cocktail dresses, but for kimono, they wear a kimono which called houmongi. It shows the high status. When we go to a ceremony, we wear formal suit, but with kimono, we wear tsukesage. The design is few and it’s more simple than the houmonngi. Like these, kimono has various kinds and choices in the situation. If you remember this, it’ll be useful.

 

< casual Kimono >

 

Aimage9s we wrote, Japan has many kinds of Kimono. If you would like to wear a Japanese Kimono, we have casual kimono. It’s called “Yukata”. Yukata has some good points. It is thinner than Kimono, cheaper and easier to wear. We can buy it for about 10,000 yen. However, Japanese don’t have the opportunity to wear it so much. Therefore we often wear Yukata at summer festival. If we see people who are wearing Yukata, we feel like summer is here. A woman who is wearing Yukata is considered very beautiful by man because it is different than usual. Young Japanese girls long to go to a summer festival with a boyfriend.

< trend of Kimono >

 

image2 image3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course Kimono has trendy designs. In the past, many people prefer to wear Kimono with small flower and butterfly. These Kimonos are cool. But now we prefer  pop design like this.(left picture) These Kimonos are cute. This design is called “Kotengara”. Design is a bit bigger than before, and the color is more bright.

 

Kimono and the culture of kimono are very deep and wonderful. We are glad if you have interest in kimono. If you have a chance to wear kimono, please enjoy feeling Japanese culture.

Karancolon Kyoto – a souvenir shop

by Maiko Hotehama and Sae Nagata

When you visit Kyoto, what kinds of souvenir will you buy? In Kyoto, there are a lot of souvenirs, for example, Japanese-style confectionery, Japanese green tea, and Japanese pickles. I strongly recommend the cute Japanese-designed goods at Karancolon Kyoto. Of course, for woman it will be fine as present for yourself or your friends, and also for man. If they buy it for your girlfriend, she will be definitely delighted.

 

What is Karancolon Kyoto ?

Karancolon Kyoto is a shop that has many kinds of goods that are cute Japanese-patterns, for example, bags, purses, pouches, pencil cases and towels. Karancolon Kyoto was established in May, 2005 by itochu as a new project, and was started in Sanjo, Kyoto. Itochu is a company that has been producing and selling footwear, bags and merchandise since March, 1895.

 

History of Karancolon Kyoto

Since opening the main store in Shijo-dori street in July 2007, the number of Karancolon Kyoto shops in Kyoto has been increasing, and now there are 4 shops, in Shijo-dori street, near Kiyomizudera temple, at Kyoto station and in Arashiyama. In addition, Karancoln Kyoto has shops not only in Kyoto, but also in other areas in Japan, for example, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Fukuoka. This year, Karancolon Kyoto had its tenth anniversary.

 

Here is introduction of things at Karancolon Kyoto. First, original products of Karancolon Kyoto.

Original goods of Karancolon Kyoto

This series are printed on cloth made of cotton or hemp clothe. There are many variations, from the bags in picture above to small articles such as commuter pass holders and change purses. The bag on the left is a gamaguchi, and the one on the right is oblong bag.

 

Next, original products that you can only buy at the shops in Kyoto. There are three kinds of products, which are each different patterns and designs.

Kyoto original products

The first ones are design is based on houses and architecture in Kyoto. The cloth of this series is made carefully by dying patterns in fabric at dye house in Kyoto. Both pouches in the picture are pouch with Gamaguchi design.

 

The second ones are designed with ornamental hairpins of maiko, the apprentice geisha, walking in entertainment district in Kyoto. The cloth of this series is crepe, and dyed carefully at dye house in Kyoto. The oblong case is for glasses, and the others are pouch with Gamaguchi design.

 

Last ones are goods designed with scenery of Kyoto. They are made by using glossy cloth a long time to weave. Both pouches in the picture are Gamaguchi, but the right ones is with a handle made of leather.

 

Lastly, seasonal products. You can enjoy and feel the four seasons in Japan by these products which remind us of the season.

Seasonal products

Karancolon Kyoto sells not only goods that you can buy all year, but also seasonal products that you can buy in particular period. For example, a round fan in summer, and a rabbit and moon in autumn because autumn is the season of moon viewing in Japan.

 

What did you think about a Japanese souvenir shop, Karancolon Kyoto ? I would like you to visit there ,feel japanese culture, and find a favorite item if you come to Kyoto or another city in Japan, and also please check official site.

 

*Official site

http://kyoto-souvenir.co.jp/brand/karancolon/

*Main shop

Address : 〒600-8001, 83-1, nishiirushincho, shijo-dori, shimogyoku, kyoto

TEL : 075-253-5535

Hour:10:30~20:30

The Holy Annunciation Cathedral in Kyoto of The Orthodox Church in Japan

by Yuya Fukuda

churchIf you walk a few minutes from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, you will be able to see a mint green pretty church in the middle of local residential area. This building is The Holy Annunciation Cathedral in Kyoto of The Orthodox Church in Japan.

On the 10th of 1903, this Church was built. At that time, this church imported many iconostasis. For example, St. appliance, Chandelier, chandelle stands and carpets from Russia. Nowadays, those important things are not exist in other orthodox churches in Japan, and even in Russia, many of those things were lost after the Russian revolution.

During the Russo-Japanese war, this church had a difficult time, but after the war, they solaced Russian prisoners of war. When they returned to Russia, they offered 2 Icons to this church. At the end of the World War II, this church faced the danger of demolition. But immediately after this decision, the war finished, and the church was saved from the danger of demolition. Though twice restorations, in 1987 and in 1999, the original building still exists. In 1986, this church was designated a cultural property of Kyoto city.

iconostasis the Holy Bible and a cross the Holy Bible

The building was designed by Shigemitsu Matsumuro. This Church is one of the oldest Byzantine Architecture Orthodox Church in existence in Japan. The total area of the building is 21,778m, in addition to that, the dimensions are: 1) Depth 27,21m 2) width 15m 3) height 22,3m. The unique part about this building is the wooden copper roofing.

11755195_692656840839920_7038372100091351786_n 11248953_692656867506584_2977447807555968173_n chandelier 20592_692656940839910_3790338838675886822_n

Our first contact with the Orthodox Church was in 1861. It was brought by St. Nicholas of Japan (baptised as Ivan Domitrievich Kasatkin). St, Nicholas was sent as a presbyter to a chapel of the Russian consulate in Hakodate, Hokkaido.

iconostasisHis first converts in Japan were the retainers of the Sendai Domain. For that reason, there are many Orthodox churches in Tohoku region. In 1891 St. Nicholas founded a cathedral church in Kanda, Tokyo. This Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral is known as Nikorai-do today. Japanese Orthodox Churches got over very difficulties, such as Russo-Japanese war, the Great Kanto earthquake, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Fifteen Years War(1930-1945), which was part of World War II. In 1970, Orthodox Church in Japan became an Autonomous church of Eastern Orthodoxy under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On the 5th of July, I visited this Church, and joined in its Divine Liturgy for the first time. It was my first time to visit a church or worship. At first, I was surprised at its simplicity. I thought churches were more gorgeous, like Catholic churches with stained glass windows. In this church, there were no frescos on the ceiling, or statues. In spite of its simplicity, I felt the holiness from the many icons, hymns and the sounds of the bell. And through the worship, I found that this church is not only a legacy, it is still used today among local Japanese, Russians and other foreigners from orthodox countries. I also felt that these Orthodox Churches are a centre for the Slavic community in Japan. In the church, they think about their home, and they receive peace of mind in the far away and foreign country of Japan.

church

Address; 6-283, 2-Jo Agaru, Yanagino-banba, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto city
Tel; 075-231-2453

Non-verbal Performance GEAR

by Kanako Murakami and Ayane Yoshikura

NON-VERBAL PERFORMANCE GEAR

GEAR is non-verbal performance group from Kyoto, Japan. 5 performances, ballet, juggling, pantomime, magic and break dance make up this show. In addition it uses projection mapping and laser as direction of light. The show is performed on a realistic stage that moves. It is excellent and enjoyable performance art.

The story we saw is as follows. Four Roboroids working at a disused factory meet a doll that has a human heart. The doll has a miraculous power and gradually, the Roboroids have a human heart too. You will be amazed that someone can represent these feelings so strong and delicately non-verbally.

The show is held at Sanjyo Gokomachikado, Nakagyouku, Kyoto city, Kyoto. The 1928 building has historic value. It was chosen for its cultural properties in 1983. You can see this orange building has a star design at the exterior and peculiar balcony, called “art deco”.

Art Complex 1928

Art Complex 1928

You can choose 3 prices of tickets. To purchase tickets, you can buy the tickets from internet or telephone. GEAR’s website is written in 4 languages, Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean so everyone can buy the tickets. In fact, a lot of foreign tourists visit GEAR.

If the day that you visit GEAR is your birthday month, you can get the ticket cheaper than the usual price. And after the show, you can get the special present from the GEAR.

 

GEAR’S ATTRACTIONS

 

GEAR has many attractions. First of all, it’s non-verbal performance so anyone can enjoy it. Young and old of both sexes can be amused by the excellent performances, music, and projection mapping.

The theater is very small, so the cast is extremely close to you. The performance is not only on the stage but also beside your seat. So you can become a member of the performance and it is very powerful. There are many places where you can go sightseeing in the evening in Kyoto, and GEAR can also be enjoyed in the evening.

a cast list

a cast list

Because the cast changes depending on the day, GEAR is fun no matter how many times you see it. And there are cushions with each seats, baskets to put own baggage under the seats and goggles to protect your eyes from confetti. That attention to detail let the fun happen again and again. GEAR considers that the stage director is the guest. That’s why the guest’s opinions actively have been incorporated in the performance. In addition, all casts and staff of GEAR hold an evaluation meeting each time they have finished the performance.

I think you can schedule to go to GEAR easily because it’s held three or four times a week. Even people working on the weekend can go.

GEAR does many events in a year. In January, “KIMONO DE GEAR” where the guests who wear a kimono are given some privileges. In February, Valentine’s plan is often held. This year, “GEAR NO WA DAISAKUSENN”, Every time a guest bought chocolate sold at the theater, a ticket was presented to children who live in Kyoto.This is to offer a chance of real stage enjoyment to children. In December, a Christmas special performance was held at the underground mall in Kyoto station. This was a free event. The events are full of warmth and love, so there is no doubt that you leave there with a big smile.

 

GEAR’S ACHIEVEMENT

 

GEAR exceeded 60,000 guests in May, 2015. And the number of performances exceeded 1,000 times in 1st of June, 2015. This is extraordinary at such a little theater. In the same year, GEAR was given “Certificate of Excellence” by Trip-Adviser that is one of the world’s largest sites of trip. Certificate of Excellence is an award given to the excellent tourist attraction. And GEAR is on nineteenth at the ranking of popular tourist attraction in 2015 at the same site.

GEAR has been introduced on TV many times. And GEAR often participates in events that are held in other countries, like, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

 

GEAR’S FUTURE

Everyone can enjoy GEAR’s performance regardless of age and sex. GEAR’s goal is holding their show in New York. I think that their dream isn’t so far away. GEAR has various social networking services, for example, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. People all over the world can get their information. Whenever you come GEAR, you can find new pleasures. GEAR will reach 1,000 shows this coming June 19, 2015. GEAR keeps developing now and forever.

Kyoto Prefectural Library

by Yuya Fukuda

When people think of Kyoto, they imagine the traditional temples and shrines. However, there are also many modern western style architectures that exist in Kyoto.

Modern Western style Architectures in Japan

Most of those buildings were built from Meiji period to early Showa period (end of 19th century to early 20th century). In the Meiji period, the Japanese government hired many foreign government advisors (Oyatoi gaikokujin) to gain the knowledge of western countries to assist in modernization. Those western style buildings were one of the symbols of progress for the Japanese people. In 1877, the Japanese government funded the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo. It was the very first university of architecture in Japan. In 1879, the first students graduated from the university. They became the architectures who represent Japan.

Why does Kyoto have so many western style buildings today?

Today, Kyoto has more than 25 modern style buildings. Kyoto is traditionally known as a cultural city in Japan. Why? There are some reasons.

  1. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than 1000 years. But in the Meiji period, the capital transferred to Tokyo. At that time, Kyoto faced some difficulties. Since the Emperor and imperial families moved to Tokyo, many people and industries also left the city. Kyoto needed to rebuild its economy and social systems. For this reason, Kyoto invited some exhibitions and businesses. In the Meiji period, Kyoto held 2 big exhibitions. “4th National industrial exhibition” and “1100th anniversary of the transfer of national capital to Kyoto.” Kyoto had relocated those pavilions to another place, and used them.
  2. Kyoto didn’t have air raids by the United States during World War II. Therefore, many old buildings still exist in Kyoto.

Kyoto Prefectural Library

Kyoto pretectural Library

Kyoto pretectural Library

The Kyoto prefectural Library is located in the Okazaki area (east part of Kyoto), near Heian shrine. It was established in 1873 as the Shushoin library, the first public library in Japan. In 1898, it became the Kyoto Prefectural Library in the Kyoto Imperial Park. In 1909, it was relocated to the Okazaki area. At this time, the building was designed by Takeda Goichi.  The main building was a 3 story building which made by bricks. This library was one of the Takeda’s most famous work. However in 1958, the building suffered serious damage during the Great Hanshin Earthquake. In 2001, it was renovated, but the original building is still preserved to this day. The original building is combined to new, modern style building.

Goichi Takeda

Goichi Takeda was a one of the most important Japanese architects, and is often called “the father of Kansai architectural circles”. His study in Europe influenced him. Takeda is said to have introduced several new architectural styles, such as Art Nouveau or Wiener Secession, to Japan.

Address : 9 Seishoji-cho, Okazaki Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8343

Tel : +81-75-762-4655

Website : http://www.library.pref.kyoto.jp/tagengo/english.html