It is a wet and humid night in Kochi city and many regulars enter the Okinawan bar where I work. They sit at the counter with a karaoke mic in one hand and an Awamori – on the rocks or mixed with water or coffee in the other hand. They are thoroughly enjoying themselves singing Okinawan songs and drinking Okinawan spirits and beer because while they are drinking and singing (even if the singing is a little off key), they have no worries. While a few customers are asking me questions about my life in Kochi, some are just socialising and talking about work, their spouses and life in general. Continue reading Kochi : Japans’ haven for drinkers
When you cross the bridge, you will smell the ocean. The color of the bridge is difficult to tell…. It is not red. Brown is also wrong. Of course it is not yellow. It almost seems to be made of brick. If there were no rust every where, it would be really a modern style of bridge. But it is such an old bridge that it may have no choice. Continue reading Ushioe: The Bridge Nobody Knows
A car went through the lane, and a flag came into view. A shop was surrounded by private houses. I opened the door, the shop was jammed with big flags. Wherever I looked, there were big flags. Many famous characters which figure in history or are popular among children and adults were painted on these flags.
“I’m happy that you came, though it’s rainy today.” Continue reading Furafu: Friend of Koinobori
In the village of Karyogo, in Nahari town–which prospered in Taisho and Showa periods from ocean Tuna fishery–is a shrine named Nobumori Jinja. In the autumn once a year, the Jinsai festival is held to get the god’s blessing for catching lots of fish. At night there is a party, an “Enkai” where the good harvest is eaten with god’s blessings. The meaning of such a Japanese traditional festival is to share food and drink with god. Continue reading Our Sawachi
It’s five in the afternoon in the kitchens of Kochi “obiyamachi arcade”, and lots of women come and go, totting shopping bags with both hands. Delicious smell of croquettes from the meat shop makes me hungry. At the snack stand, high school students are talking and eating taiyaki. Powerful women, their heads covered in hair nets shout out, “Konban no okazu ni, ikagadesuka?” (“How about these with dinner tonight?”) They are full of strong energy. Continue reading Hachikin!
One shiny Sunday morning at a market in Tosayamada,Katsutoshi Tsuzuki, 66 year-old-man is selling his bread to the local people as he always has. The market is held from about 8:00a.m to 15:00p.m and customers usually come to buy some vegetables in the morning and some young couples come in the afternoon. Nowadays, it’s rare to see young people going to a Sunday market to buy local food. A customer at the market says, “I’ve been coming to this market for years to buy his bread”. Some of them are really good friends of us since we moved to Kochi. Katsutoshi says that, “moving to Kochi was such a wonderful change in our life and we’re so glad that kids can grow up in such an environment”. By the time he started to keep the bakery with his family, the family had already settled down their life in Kochi. Continue reading Alternative Lifestyles in Kahoku
At the lively Sunday market in Kochi, people look for fresh fruits and vegetables for cooking for supper. And farmers sell their proud products like sweet tomatoes, juicy shaddocks, and so on, enjoying conversations with their customers with lots of smiles. One day, my friend from Okayama and I visited to see the Sunday market. She bought vegetables like a sweet tomato and lots of Kochi’s specialties. Continue reading Kochi’s Sweeties Grown with Love
One hour from the city centre of Kochi, two Pachinko stores are either sides of the road and an old-looking sign of “welcome to Kure” looms over head. The day we visited, it was raining so heavily and loads of moored ships on the dark colored sea came into sight. Stepping out of the car, the first thing that hits you is the smell of the sea, the smell of a fisherman town which lets you know you have arrived in Kure. Continue reading Kure: tiny fishing town with a long history
For Kochi’s summer, ice crin is nessesary. Everyone thinks ice crin is Kochi’s original food,but actually it isn’t. Furthermore, everyone doesn’t know the exact differences between ice cream and ice crin. Continue reading Ice Crin? Ice Cream? What’s the difference?
It was a heavy rainy day when I visited the sake factory in my home town of Kure. I went to that store after, I don’t know, several years, and it had not changed at all. It’s an old Japanese building and at the front of the factory hangs a brown sakabayashi the symbol of sake making. Continue reading Jizake in Kochi
The sound of dripping water can be heard in a small room and a man who wears casual clothes and an old woman who wears an apron are working to make special paper. They rinse out materials from the water which includes a paste made from plant extracts.
This is the way Tosawashi has been made for ages. They make many kinds of special paper but it takes so much time. To make, or “pull”, a piece of paper, the whole process is repeated 300 to 350 times. Continue reading Making Tosawashi