A birthplace of smiles, “Obiyamachi”

“Hey, Let’s go to the Aeon!” I said to Satoru-kun.

I remember it was a cold day on 23rd December 2000 when the Aeon Mall Kochi opened. I was only 12 years old then. On the way home from school and holding a 100 yen coin, I went there with my friends. We saw the mall from outside. It looked really big. We swallowed. Continue reading A birthplace of smiles, “Obiyamachi”

Sports Festival in Nanasato

It is a beautiful sunny day and on the small elementary school’s athletic field, about 200 people have gathered to join in a “sports festival”. Many children and adults play running race, a tug of war, and KIBASEN (knights on horseback) and so on. We can see some University students and exchange students too. Many neighbors or old people from all over the area also come to the sports festival to cheer them on. During the lunch time participants enjoyed foreign country’s foods made by exchange students such as tacos, Chinese fried rice, and fresh spring roll. This International sports festival produced by Kochi University students in a small rural area, Nanasato in Kochi.
Continue reading Sports Festival in Nanasato

Why you’ll love Kochi Castle

Kochi Castle, Main Citadel.
Kochi Castle, Main Citadel.

On a sunny day in the morning, I go to a Kochi castle by bicycle from my house. It takes only a few minutes. Wondering where to park my bike I looked up the castle. I walked through the park under the castle. I found a few people walking, sitting on the bench and feeding birds. It was full of green so felt like time goes on very slowly there. There is a little cabin, where my grandma works as a castle guide volunteer. A tourist comes and asks for a guide. Continue reading Why you’ll love Kochi Castle

A Little Journey to Ekin

It’s one in the afternoon in the Ekin Museum called “Ekinkura” in Akaoka city. A woman in the museum says to me, “Watch your step. This way, please.” She passes me a paper lantern. When I turn on its switch, in the darkness, a blazing red color called “Chiaka” spreads out as far as the eye can see. Some look of pain on her face and there is bleeding from her lip, others are crying with laughter. They all have a lot of energy which seem just about to start moving or come from out of the darkness. And when I bring a paper lantern close to them, I suddenly notice that they are on the planar painting on a folding screen. “Wow! This is Ekin’s works!!” I’m here alone, but the words just jumped out of my mouth. I come here to learn about Ekin’s life, however, I become absorbed by Ekin’s fantastic works as I almost forget my central aim. Continue reading A Little Journey to Ekin

Welcome to Sawa-man

Big slope
Big slope

After a heavy rain in the evening, people are heading up a big slope to go back to their apartments. Somewhere, some people are chatting. Everyone who goes by is greeting each other. “Good evening. How is it going?“ one of them says. In a restaurant on the first floor is a party. They are singing, playing the music and enjoying the foods which the owner who is living there served. Continue reading Welcome to Sawa-man

Gendai Kigyosya: loved in Kochi

About 55 years ago, one couple opened a café at a street corner in Kochi. The café, named “Chopin”, was really small one.

One day, the husband felt his café to be too simple, so he tried to paint its windows like stained glass by watercolors for children. This led him to try to make it more and more wonderful. Continue reading Gendai Kigyosya: loved in Kochi

The Tosaben Musical

Poster for 2011 Performance
Poster for 2011 Performance

On a Sunday evening in April, when the sky is getting darker, some people, old and young, Japanese and foreigners, gather at a big hall in Outemae high school. Hundreds of people (maybe more) are waiting for the show to start and feeling excited. Then, at 6:30 pm, the show finally begins. The spotlight finds two foreign women dressed like Hawaiians and the audience’s attention goes the women. Then the women start singing and dancing a Hawaiian-like dance introducing the show is about through the song. When their dance finished, the curtain gradually goes up and there, six foreign people dressed like a Japanese Bushi and they start their performance speaking Tosaben, the local Kochi dialect! Continue reading The Tosaben Musical

Blue Water Lily

It is a rainy day and the sky is gray. We are deep in the forest. There are no sounds except bird voice. We drive about one and half hours from Kochi city. There is a beautiful garden called Mone no niwa (“Monet’s Garden.”) This is located in a small village, Kitagawamura in Kochi. We keep driving along the coast to the east. If the weather is clear you can see the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Finally we arrive at the entrance of the Garden. There is a green arch top above our head.

“Look there is a welcome sign,” says one friend. It reads “Jardin de Monet, Marmottan au village de KitagawaContinue reading Blue Water Lily

Dear Bear, From Dabada

image06Once upon a time, there was a bear which was kept in a bar in a big city. One night, one of the customers got very drunk and approached the bear. For a joke, he gave his alcohol to the bear. The bear sniffed it, then turned away from it. Other customers also started to give the bear different kinds of drink, but the bear wasn’t interested in any of them. One night after that, a man from Kochi came into the bar. When he heard about the interesting story about the bear, he remembered he had a bottle of alcohol which was produced in his home town. He put the bottle in front of the bear as the other customer has done. At first, the bear gave one glance at it and sniffed it slightly. His reaction was no different from other times, but in the next moment, things were totally different. After sniffing the drink, the bear tasted it a little bit. Suddenly, the bear took a hold the bottle and started to gulp it down! All people who were drinking in the bar were surprised about it. At last, the bear finished drinking and fell asleep. The next morning, the bear had bad hangover. The amazing alcohol’s name was a Japanese shōchū called “Dabada Hiburi (ダバダ火振り)”. Continue reading Dear Bear, From Dabada

Local Produce and Consumption

Here is Shimanto city, my grandmother’s home. Kochi in March, in the early morning around 4 o’clock, chickens are clucking,and people wake up. Walking along the river, people are cutting grass, plowing a field and picking rape blossoms. They work hard under the shining sun, on their head with sweat. Around noon My grandmother harvests rape blossoms and got on the car and went to JA to sell product.

Continue reading Local Produce and Consumption