Tosa-Korea between People

In a classroom in  the Sole Community Center in Kochi, my three students sit quietly trying to write their diary entries in Korean. While they write, I’m happily munching snacks. I have been teaching them for 8 months and they are making slow progress. After their work is finished, I listen to what Tsunoda-san has read and shake my head.

“No, in that kind of sentence, you have to use a different expression.” I explain.

“Oh, I see. “Neomu” can be used in here also!” Yamamoto-san claps her hands and replies. Continue reading Tosa-Korea between People

Juku: Shaping Attitudes for Life

Sitting at a long table, a woman in her fifties is checking children’s answers. Her hand draws a lot of red circles quickly on student’s papers. Elementary school pupils are studying at a few tables in a small room.

“There’s no room for me to be senile,” says Naoko Machida, a teacher at the Gakken Kyoshitsu juku, “I have to study hard to teach children, you know?”

Continue reading Juku: Shaping Attitudes for Life

Katsuo no tataki: Kochi’s Most Famous Dish

IMG_1151It is a nice warm afternoon, perfect for visiting the restaurant ‘Katsuo Fune’ near Katsurahama Beach on an empty stomach. In the huge ship-shaped building, visitors have a chance to experience grilling katsuo no tataki. The staff greets you at the front door and asks which course you would like to eat: Katsuo no tataki teishoku (with rice and miso soup) or Katsuo no tataki tanpin (a la carte). After ordering visitors are handed a long pole with a huge slab of katsuo (“bonito”) skewered on the end. Then Nishimoto-san, the head cook, guides you to the grilling station and prepares the rice straw fire for grilling. Continue reading Katsuo no tataki: Kochi’s Most Famous Dish

A place for memories: the Ashizuri Kaiteikan submarine tower

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The beautiful approach

The first time I saw the Ashizuri Kaiteikan submarine tower was last year when my family took a 3-hour trip down the coast to enjoy the beautiful weather. We drove through Nakamura and the Hata district and enjoyed looking at the streets and buildings which were old and in the Showa* style. Continue reading A place for memories: the Ashizuri Kaiteikan submarine tower

“John Mung”, Kochi’s First Cosmopolitan

image00Tosashimizu is a really rural area in Kochi. There is little but the beautiful ocean and the tiny ports. Sea birds circle gracefully. In such a place, there is a little museum. The museum has a large parking area, however, almost no cars are there. But this museum is actually really wonderful and interesting. If people go inside and walk around, they will engrossed to see exhibitions. What is inside of the museum is Nakahama Manjiro’s history. Continue reading “John Mung”, Kochi’s First Cosmopolitan

Atago Theater: Kochi’s Cinema Paradiso

Entrance to Atago Theater

The sun is nowhere to be seen but I feel sweat myself because of humidity, a ticket collector of the theater is opening the door for me to enter the room. He leads me upstairs along a dark narrow staircase like that in the movie “Totoro”. It feels like many soot gremlins are there. That stairs are made from wood and make a groaning noise. Continue reading Atago Theater: Kochi’s Cinema Paradiso

“Circle” festival in Ino

It is getting cool when the sky begins to darken on June 30th. As we get out the car, we can hear the excited voices of children, see the various colors of yukata (Japanese garment) and the many yatai  selling takoyaki (octopus ball), watagashi (cotton candy), ningyo-yaki (something like sponge cake) and so on. People form lines to the yatai that line the way to Sugimoto shrine. We push our way through the crowd and walk through under a Torii (a gateway to a Shinto shrine) and catch sight of the big circle about 250cm woven from imperata cylindrical–the “circle” festival is well under way. Continue reading “Circle” festival in Ino

Kochi Organic Market in Ike: Let’s Eat Organic!

There is endless conversations between customers and sellers. There’s children’s laughter, and a clear singing voice by a local performer that makes a more relaxed air. There are fresh organic and familiar vegetables, daily dishes made of organic vegetables, sugar free sweets and handmade crafts. But there are no northern European vegetables. Continue reading Kochi Organic Market in Ike: Let’s Eat Organic!

Kochi’s Sika deer population caught in the crosshairs

512px-Cervus_nippon_01The forest is rather bright. It appears to be in the middle of winter as there is not a leaf left on the tree. But wait, this tree doesn’t seem right. The bark of the lower trunk is gone. It’s obvious as there is stony bark on the upper trunk, but nothing stony on the tree trunk below about 1 m high from the ground. It’s completely smooth with a woody creamy color. What is going on? Continue reading Kochi’s Sika deer population caught in the crosshairs

Kochi Ice: an inspired ice cream company

Hamamachi, owner and dreamer of Kochi Ice
Fumiya Hamamachi, owner and dreamer of Kochi Ice

“If you don’t beat the drum, you can’t know what it sounds like.” (utan taiko ha saran) These are the words that inspire Fumiya Hamamachi, president and CEO of Kochi Ice, a local ice cream company. “My mother taught me these words”, Hamamachi said. “They are my treasure.” He believes in this saying so much that it led him to become the producer of handmade premium ice cream. Continue reading Kochi Ice: an inspired ice cream company