Welcome to the “Manga Kingdom” of Kochi!

All across Japan, about 1,500 high school students are making their pens fly across the page in order to qualify for the national Manga competition. They try to describe something with picture and words based on a theme. Some students draw a girl who is going home, the other students draw an apartment. They have a same theme, but their Manga are completely different. 

Continue reading Welcome to the “Manga Kingdom” of Kochi!

Shikoku Henro attracts people from around the world

A man who come from outside of Japan is walking along the mountain path to the temple, Chikurin-ji in Kochi. He is wearing a white cloth called byakue, a straw hat called suge gasa and holding kongou zue which is a stick, and a big back pack. He doesn’t smile at all because of the steep hill. He finally find the signboard on which is written “Chikurin-ji”, but he also find long stairs. Continue reading Shikoku Henro attracts people from around the world

Should all farmers rely on agricultural cooperatives?

Vivid red mangoes full of Kochi’s sun’s essence are packed by Murata Seikou, owner of Murata Farm. He then puts a sticker and an address on the boxes as they will be trucked to customers who ordered them from all over Japan. They are destined to be someone’s smile every year. These are “Yosakoi Mangoes”, and they are raised with a lot of love by Murata Seikou and Yuriko’s husband and wife team at Murata Farm in Ino. Continue reading Should all farmers rely on agricultural cooperatives?

Yosakoi key to enjoying Kochi

The tall, beautiful red-haired exchange student, Julia Olsson from Sweden, is practicing the dance movements enthusiastically, sometimes laughing out loud and sometimes she and her Yosakoi teammates’ eyes meet happily at the campus of Kochi University. But everyone takes the dancing seriously. The festival is coming soon. Continue reading Yosakoi key to enjoying Kochi

Small tomato farmer’s big decision

When customers enter through the wooden door, the many tarts and pies dazzle their eyes, sweet smell comes to their nose, the bell signaling just done baked tarts rings in their ears. In this store, time moves very slowly and filled with happiness and good atmosphere. The owner, Ms. Hikaru Nomura, and workers welcome customers warmly. Once a tomato farmer,  she and her daughter now run this store they have created on their own. Continue reading Small tomato farmer’s big decision

Our Town, Aterano Asahi

“Welcome! Please relax and have a seat.” Women smiling gently were serving coffee and there was full of joyful chatting. Not just smiles, but bright yellow aprons and the soft colored orange roof written Ateraano Asahi seems to welcome people happily. It looks like a kind of place lighting up the small, quiet neighborhood of Asahi-machi. Continue reading Our Town, Aterano Asahi

Kochi-Shinko opening its door to the world

On a sunny mid-morning of March at the downtown tourist bus terminal, about 10 people wearing yellow-green vest with the word “Staff” across the front are walking around and checking various lists again and again. Suddenly, they check their watches, swallow hard and ready their perfect beautiful smiles for the arrival of the long-awaited tourists. Continue reading Kochi-Shinko opening its door to the world

Hachy Catches People’s Attention

A man is busily running in and out of an office in beach sandals. He takes 2 or 3 phone calls during just half an hour, and soon after, driving 15minutes to, running around with sprays through his factory, in which there are about 20 tanks of different sizes and those are exposed to sunlight. When he finishes taking a look at everything, he runs back to his car and goes back to his office again for one more conference or one more important document.

This is Jun Hachiya’s everyday life. Continue reading Hachy Catches People’s Attention

Hirome Ichiba: a fantastic place to enjoy Kochi culture

The smiling maneki-neko always welcomes visitors to Hirome Ichiba in Obiyamachi, Kochi city. “Irassyaimase! Ikagadeshoka?” (Welcome! Would you like to try this?) From inside the hall, high-spirited voices spill out the gate along with delicious smells. Inside, the burning fire to cook one of Kochi’s famous foods, Katsuo-no-tataki, surprises and attracts all visitors, especially foreign tourists from China. Continue reading Hirome Ichiba: a fantastic place to enjoy Kochi culture

Kochi Castle Museum of History, where the people and history of Tosa meet

Treasures are shining and lighting the road to travel through the history of Tosa in the dark and quite space. Men and women of all age, their eyes glued to the exhibits.

“It is a fertile land that faces the Pacific Ocean on the south and is bounded on the north by the mountains of central Shikoku,” says a woman leading a group of visitors. “Let’s review the history of Tosa domain.”

“Wow…It was a 100 years ago!” an old woman says as they look at long Chronological table of Tosa history studiously. Continue reading Kochi Castle Museum of History, where the people and history of Tosa meet

The Embassy of Kochi: Katsuo-Guesthouse

Everyone around the table is smiling and laughing. This evening, three young female backpackers are just back from sightseeing, and naturally join in at the small table. They are like a big family, and the center of this family is Maki, the proprietress of Katsuo-Guesthouse.

“Welcome back from your trip”, says Maki. “Where did you go? I heard you would go to…” Continue reading The Embassy of Kochi: Katsuo-Guesthouse

Yuzu: the fruit that made a village famous

This citrus fruit was brought from China long time ago. It almost looks like an orange, but its thick yellow peel is rough and irregular. It’d a difficult fruit to harvest because of the sharp long thorns on the tree. Moreover, its taste is hardly delicious. It’s Yuzu.

“I can’t eat this! It’s too sour!” a 5-year-old boy says. “I want a sweeter one!” Continue reading Yuzu: the fruit that made a village famous

How to enjoy your stay in Kochi

 

A hotel guest is welcomed by a room with a strange culture of taking shoes off, and a big surprise comes into view – there are many ‘tatami mats’ on the floor. Tatami mats are commonly used in Japanese ‘washitsu’, and are made of straw and rush, and consists of a thick base and a soft, smooth surface that covers the base. Washitsu is a Japanese style room with tatami mats in the ryokan (Japanese-style hotel). The main difference between a hotel and a ryokan is that a ryokan has a certain number of washitsu. A hotel guest may wonder why there are no beds in the room as there are only two folding chairs and table at the centre of the room upon entering. In all awe, the staff continues to explain where the yukata (casual summer wear in Japan) is, what time dinner time is, and the facilities available within the ryokan. Continue reading How to enjoy your stay in Kochi