Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with a Glass of Green Matcha Beer at Otani-Chaen Tea Shop, Inari!

If you happen to be in Kyoto on Saint Patrick’s Day and are wondering how to celebrate (other than heading to an Irish Pub and getting hammered) – here’s something new.

This traditional Japanese tea shop in Inari has a novel suggestion for Ireland’s national day.

I was strolling through the Fushimi Inari area today when I happened to spy this sign.

The sign suggests celebrating Ireland’s most important holiday, with a glass of beer, flavored and colored with matcha tea. I was immediately intrigued. So I went home, changed into some suitably green attire, and cajoled Mewby into coming along with a promise of matcha ice cream.

The tea shop, Ujicha  Otani-Chaen, is a 70-year old family business run by a friendly gentleman named  Otani Hideyuki. Their main product is fine green tea from the nearby tea-growing fields of Uji. However, also on the menu are both matcha flavored beer, and matcha-flavored non-alcoholic beer. Guess which one I chose…

First Mr Otani mixes up a fresh bowl of matcha. Then he mixes it into the beer. That second part of the process though, is a trade secret, so we can’t show you that here.

And the result is indeed a very vivid emerald green!

There’s definitely a whiff of the shamrock about this glass… But how does it taste?

To my surprise – not bad at all! The beer used at the Otani-Chaen shop is the Japanese salaryman’s beer-of-choice: Asahi. Asahi has a crisp but subtle flavor, so the added bitterness of the matcha tea really does dominate. In other words, if you like matcha tea, you will probably enjoy this beer.

A big thumbs up from Mikey Lambe

And they were good enough to serve it up with a couple of cubes of cheddar cheese which compliment it nicely.

Is that the green, white and gold that I see before me?

If you don’t like beer, you can always order a matcha flavored ice cream instead (like Mewby). I’m told it’s very good.

A glass of matcha beer at Otani-Chaen costs 500 yen. Alcohol-free beer is 380 yen. And a matcha ice cream is 280 yen. They also sell a range of fine teas, which make for very good local souvenirs. The shop is just a hop, skip and jump from Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. If you walk north on Honmachi Doori Street after exiting the shrine, you will see it on the west side of the street after about 150 meters. Here is a MAP of the location. The shop is open every day from 9.30 – 19.30.

All that remains to be said is – wherever you are in the world on March 17th – a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you!

Sláinte!

Visual Documentary Project Screening Event in Kyoto

Mario Lopez writes, “Are you free on the 15th December? We have our 5th Visual Documentary Project Screening in Kyoto! Come if you are around!


VISUAL DOCUMENTARY PROJECT 2016:
POLITICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

SCREENING DETAILS:
Date & Time: December 15, 2016
Admission: Free
Venue: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University Inamori Memorial 3rd floor, Large Meeting Hall
Language: Japanese / English Translation
Organizer: Center for Southeast Asia Studies
Co-organizer: The Japan Foundation Asia Center

PROGRAM
13:30 Women of the Forest Director: Inshallah P. Montero (Philippines & Malaysia)
14:00 Mother and Son Director: Thwe Myo Nyunt (Myanmar)
14:30 60 Days Directors: Htut Ye Kyaw, Pyay Maw Thein, Sett Paing Aung (Myanmar)
15:15 Break
15:30 Vein Directors: Htet Aung San, KO JET,Phyo Zayar Kyaw (Myanmar) 16:15 Discussion

COMMENTATORS
Ishizaka Kenji, Programming Director, “Asian Future” section at Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) / Professor, Japan Institute of the Moving Image (JIMI / a.k.a. Imamura Shohei Film School)
Wakai Makiko, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Tokyo Office

ABOUT THE PROJECT
Southeast Asia is rich in its diversity of ethnic, religious and cultural composition. The region has maintained the coexistence of such diversity while at the same time achieving economic progress and becoming a hub for the flow of people, goods, money and information. Yet at present, the region is also confronted with serious issues such as the decrease of biodiversity and tropical forests, disasters, pandemics, aging population, ethnic and religious conflicts, economic differentiation and poverty. In the face of this, how is coexistence and sustainability possible despite the diversity that exists? How can we make public resources out of the region’ s social foundations which are the basis of people’ s everyday lives? And, how can we connect these in a complementary way to existing systems of governance towards solving the problems and issues mentioned above?

In order to address these questions in the context of Southeast Asia, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University has initiated “Visual Documentary project” which explicitly examines everyday life through a visual approach since 2012. This project aims to use visual forms of expression to complement the growing literature that exists on Southeast Asian societies. From 2014, the Japan Foundation Asia Center joins this project as co-organizer to help widely promote the richness of Southeast Asian cultures to people in Japan. As of 2016, the project has linked up with numerous film schools in the region to help strengthen the documentary filmmaking network.

For more information click here: https://sea-sh.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/vdp2016/#screening

Ludovic B.A & Yoko Takeda Tour Schedule in Kansai

live
Thanks to violinist Yoko Takeda for sending along her tour schedule with French singer-songwriter Ludovic B. A. Yoko writes: “These three will be interesting places to taste the marriage of Japanese and European cultures, Nihonshu bar, winery-restaurant, and an ancient cinema.
You can view a video of a performance by Ludovic & Yoko here.
The details of the upcoming shows are posted below. Any queries should be sent directly to Yoko Takeda at yokowv[at]hotmail.com

FRI – Dec. 09 : @ Izakaya Mahoroba, Mototanaka-Kyoto open at 18:00/ 1st live : “Ludovic B.A & Yoko Takeda” from 19:30/pause/2nd live : “Karikirin” no charge (thanks for supporting musicians !) Info/reservations : yokowv[at]hotmail.com Karikirin : Local duo of Yoko Shimomura (Vo.) and Azumi Miyata (Cb./Vo.). “Kirin”,collection of school children’s poems published 60 years ago.

SAT – Dec. 10 : Dinner-concert @ Winery and French Restaurant “Du Tamba” http://www.tambawine.co.jp/ Concert 16:00~, wine-tasting 17:00~, dinner 17h15~ Charge : ¥5000 Info/reservations : 0771-82-2003

SUN – Dec 11 : @ Toyooka Gekijo,Toyooka-Hyôgo http://toyogeki.jp/ Open at 16:00/ 1st live : 《letras.》 16h30~/pause/2nd live : Ludovic B.A & Yoko Takeda Charge (1 drink included) : ¥2500 resa, ¥3000 at door, ¥1500 student 《letras.》:Yuki Nakajima(Vo,Pf), Yasuyuki Hoshiba(Gt,Fl,concertina). This local duo will give the opening live with their various repertory of bossanova, pop and classical music. www.facebook.com/letras.toyooka
Info/reservations : info[at]toyogeki.jp / 0796-34-6256 / yokowv[at]hotmail.com

Book & Bed (+Beer) Hostel Opens in Kyoto

bnbt-kyoto-cloak

The Book & Bed Hostel who opened their first branch in Tokyo in late 2015 are opening a new hostel in Gion entertainment district of Kyoto this December. This time the minds behind this bibliophile’s dream have added a crafty bar space into the mix. I’ve written all about it for the ZenVita blog and you can read that right here: Browse and Carouse at Kyoto’s Newest Hostel: Book & Bed & Beer!

Ensō Watt‎ Perform Clonologic Horizone® at Urbanguild Tomorrow!

Our favorite experimental multi-media performance group will be blowing minds again at Kyoto’s Urbanguild tomorrow night. Don’t miss this if you are free and in town.

clonologic

Date: 5 November 2016
Time: 19:30–1:00
Venue: UrBANGUILD Kyoto
http://www.urbanguild.net/
map : https://goo.gl/maps/wHTfPYvzDEN2
door 2800 yen
adv 2000 yen
student 1500 yen
+1 drink

ensō watt (http://ensowatt.org/)
is
{electronics, spatialization}
Samuel André ( aka ieva ) http://ieva.free.fr/e

{scenario, poetry }
Chris Mosdell http://chrismosdell.com/

{composer, conductor, percussionist}
Yannick Paget http://www.yannickpaget.com/

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami http://otodamaradio.blog16.fc2.com/

{accordeon synth}
ryotaro http://www.ryotaro.info/

{contrabass}
岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka  

{trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

{translation}
吉村哲幸
noriyuki yoshimura

Clarinet Recital by István Kohán at Baroque Saal, Kyoto; November 5th 2016

Up-and-coming Hungarian clarinetist István Kohán will play a concert of classical music with Chika Murata on piano at Baroque Saal, Kyoto on November 5th 2016. The musicians will play a selection from Prokofiev, Poulenc, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky as well as István Kohán’s own original compositions.

classical-concertHere are the details:

Date: November 5th 2016
Doors Open: 16.30
Show Starts: 17:00
Advanced tickets Fee: 3,500 yen for adults and 2,500 yen for students
Tickets sold on the day will cost an added 500 yen
You can buy advanced tickets from Ticket Pia or call Aoyama Music Memorial Hall on 075-393-0011

Location:
Aoyama Music Memorial Hall – Baroque Saal is 5 minutes walk from Kami-Katsura Station on the Hankyu Arashiyama Line.
Address: 9-1 Matsuodairichō, Nishikyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 615-8282
Map

Now as it happens, this poor chap is coming all the way from Tokyo for this show, but due to some promotional mishaps has been unable to sell many tickets. Even if you don’t plan to attend this concert yourself, why not help him out by passing the information on to someone else who might? Here are the details in Japanese in case you want to pass this on to Japanese friends:

11月5日(土京都バロックザールでリサイタルがあります。クラリネットの名曲から私の作曲・編曲作品、絶対にお楽しみいただけると思います。関西地区の方是非お越しください。
2016/11/5(土)
17:00 開演 ( 16:30 開場 )
会場:青山音楽記念館(バロックザール) (京都府)
全売一般:3,500円
全売学生:2,500円
シューマン(幻想小曲集)/他 [共演]村田千佳(p)
公演などに関するお問い合わせ先: 淡海:03-6902-2678
チケットは: http://bit.ly/2cYfwIb

Matsuo Basho Colloquium by Writers in Kyoto on October 28th 2016

Here’s news of an upcoming event hosted by Writers in Kyoto (WiK) this week:

BASHO COLLOQUIUMbasho

OCT. 28 (FRI) 6.00-8.15 pm

RYUKOKU UNIVERSITY, OMIYA CAMPUS

Shofukan B101  (Shofukan is located at the intersection of Shichijo Omiya. From Horikawa Shichijo walk west on the south side until you reach Omiya. Shofukan is on the SW corner.)

Contact on the day: 080 4028 3158 (Dougill) or 090 9878 9408 (Carty)

Guest speakers:

Stephen Gill – haiku poet, lecturer

Robert Wittkamp – Kansai University

Jeff Robbins- Compiler of Basho4Now

Co-chair: John Dougill and Paul Carty, English Dept, Ryukoku University

*****************************

Flow of events:

5.30 – Doors open for reception

6.00 – Welcome and Stephen Gill presentation: Basho: Self-portrait

6.20 – Robert Wittkamp presentation:

The failed institutionalization of fictionality

―Reading Oku no Hosomichi as a literary work―

7.00 – Questions for either presenter

7.10 – Break for snacks etc.

7.20 – Jeff Robbins presentation:
Humanity in Basho: Bonding the Generations

8.00 – Questions

8.10 – Conclusion

8.15 – Retire to the nearby “Public House” for drinks, food and discussion

********************

Stephen Henry Gill – university lecturer, haiku poet, translator , BBC radio scriptwriter

Basho: Self-portrait

When Basho portrayed himself, either in his painting or his poetry, he did so as the very epitome of Travel (tabi) itself – garbed in rain-hat and robe, with steadying staff and disposable straw sandals. Through haikai images of his own person, he managed to instill in the mind of his readers the scale of walking and the impact of the elements. In his travel sketches, or kikōbun, he saw himself as a dot on the land, visiting places of literary import, utamakura, subjecting himself to all that nature might offer him, for better or for worse. As evidence of this, we not only have a plethora of marvelous hokku by the poet, but also a small number of paintings of him travelling. He thought of himself as maintaining a tradition of literary travel and often used his own travel accoutrements to represent himself in the images he created.

My presentation will focus as much as possible on Basho in his own words and through his own eyes. Basho evidently thought of himself as ‘a wandering crow’ (tabi-garasu) and painted himself in tattered black robes both on journeys and at rest.

旅烏(たびがらす)古巣(ふるす)は梅(むめ)になりにけり

A wandering crow –

He finds a plum has flowered

At his old nest.

*************************

Prof. Dr. phil. Robert F. Wittkamp – Department of Humanities at Kansai University

The failed institutionalization of fictionality

―Reading Oku no Hosomichi as a literary work―

Contemporary theories consider fictionality as a “fiction contract” concluded between author and reader. Consequently fictionality is not something contained within the text but tied to the pragmatic aspects of language. It is a special use of speech, and this use on the other hand is institutionalized. However, while fictionality itself is not a particular content, the text contains signs labelling it as fictional speech. For example no rational reader would take a modern novel as a factual report on real or historical events due to the fact that one wouldn’t expect it in the first place. We read the novel based on the contract (knowledge) of fictionality. The label “a novel” on the book itself, its place in the designated corner of a book shop, a review in a magazine and so on are examples for institutionalized markers of fictionality, but of course such markers can be found within the text as well. As an author Bashō provided his literary travelogue in haibun stile (haibun kikō) with many such markers, but his attempt―may it be intentional or not―eventually failed. Despite the remarks by several scholars that Bashō the author and the first person narrator are not identical, to say nothing of the usual recipient even most experts, usually are reading the text as a factual travel diary depicting a real journey undertaken by the author in the year 1689. Being asked who is the “I” in the text, most would answer “Bashō”, but actually the text itself reveals almost nothing about the narrator’s identity. In passages which seem to be a little awkward, i.e. which cannot be explained as “laughing in high dimensions” (kōji no warai), or do not fit to the image of Bashō as a “lonely wanderer in the autumn wind” (shūfū kokaku), commentaries fall silent, and smaller “mistakes” usually are explained as a “false memory” (kioku chigai).

In my talk I am going to read the Oku no Hosomichi as fictional speech and examine the text for corresponding markers of fictionality―from the unusual masugata book format over the unreliable narrator to details like “speaking as if”.

*****************

Jeff Robbins: Compiler of Basho4Now

Humanity in Basho: Bonding the Generations

The Basho haiku, travel journals, and few haibun available in English are a mere one-third of his poetry and prose available in Japanese. The two-thirds never or rarely translated — 1700 stanzas of linked verse, several tanka, 118 haibun, and 229 letters – include Basho’s most humane and life-affirming works. Each attendee will receive a pamphlet Bonding the Generations containing Basho linked verses, haiku, tanka, and passages from his letters, about the bonds between parents or grandparents and children. The presenter will explore the “compassionate intuition” in a few of Basho’s linked verses and letters, then attendees can share their insights. You will take away an awareness of the vast ocean of Basho works beyond his haiku and travel journals; an ability to further explore these profound resources for human self-understanding.

Kyoto Soundscapes Vol. 1: The Kyoto Connection – Free Album Download

A message from Facundo Arena…

In August, 2016 Roberto Gluck wandered through the streets of Kyoto recording urban sounds with his smartphone. On the other side of the world in Argentina, Facundo Arena has used those sounds to create a unique musical soundscape.

kyoto-soundscapes-vol1

The result is an album of ambient music, made with urban sounds of Kyoto city which is free to download here: http://www.cultofd50.org/kyotosoundscapes/

BRDG presents “117 -one one seven” “Ghost House Gone House” @ Urbanguild; 10/23

117-flier-ug-23rd-oct

Our friend Bridget Scott writes…

I’d like to tell you about a performance that I have been involved in. It began with me being interviewed by Keiko Yamaguchi,the director of a Kyoto based theatre group BRDG. The first question she asked me was, “Tell me about the house you grew up in.” After two hours, she declared it could be the starting point of a play. Yamaguchi also interviewed my aged father in London. The story emerged by weaving these two interviews together. Now three years later, we – that’s BRDG( Keiko Yamaguchi, Tatsunori Imamura and Hiromi Demura actors and Toru Koda as sound technician) have just returned from performing the resulting piece “117-one-one-seven” in London, in the same neighbourhood as the house.

On Sunday 23rd October, we shall transform Urbanguild into a theatre space and perform 2 shows, a matinee and evening performance at 3pm and 8pm.

It is a double double bill with London based music duo, RABBIT who will improvise music to video of the same crumbling Victorian house.

Be warned this show will stimulate your senses, including your sense of smell and taste. It touches on issues of being a foreigner in Japan, amongst many other hearty topics. It is bilingual.

Urbanguild will be NO SMOKING and NO FOOD WILL BE SERVED on 23rd October. This will enable the audience to hear the spoken word and enjoy the smells generated by the performance.

More information in English:http://brdg-ing.tumblr.com/

FaceBook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1078284298945290/

Reservations: http://urbanguild.net/ur_schedule/?page_id=25

This production has been funded by DAIWA and SASAKAWA FOUNDATIONS and crowdfunding and blood sweat and tears of BRDG theatre company.

117-flier-back

Alex Kerr Book Launch Party – Another Kyoto

Last night I attended a book launch party for Alex Kerr’s latest book, Another Kyoto. The setting was a lovely old machiya townhouse in the Kamishichiken area of Kyoto where his friend and co-author, Kathy Arlyn Sokol has been living. Apparently about 70 people attended the event, and it certainly did feel like a crowd in the unseasonably hot weather. It was a nice occasion though, and I was happy at the opportunity to meet some old friends, and new people – and not least Alex Kerr himself!

Kathy Arlyn Sokol & Alex Kerr

Kathy Arlyn Sokol & Alex Kerr

Another Kyoto is a book born out of conversations that Alex had with his friend Kathy whilst strolling round some of his favorite locations in Kyoto. It is on the surface a book about architecture: gates, walls, floors and roofs… However, the book goes much deeper than that into the culture that has produced these architectural forms, into exactly why they take the forms that they do, into what these forms signify, and also rather interestingly it compares and contrasts these forms with those of other cultures with which Alex Kerr has a great deal of familiarity, those of China, or Bali, or Thailand for example. I am still only on chapter 3 myself but am finding it very absorbing and not least because of the style in which it is written. Kathy Sokol spoke last night about how the book is a transmission of old and erudite knowledge that has been passed down through generations of scholars to Alex, and now through him to us. And this is true. However, the tone in which it is written is so light and conversational that it really doesn’t feel like a heavy or scholarly book at all, but more like a chat with a particularly knowledgeable friend while sightseeing. That’s quite a balance they have struck there and it makes for a very enjoyable read!

John Dougill with Alex Kerr

John Dougill with Alex Kerr

Let me a add a quick word of thanks to John Dougill of the Writers in Kyoto group for suggesting last night’s event and also to Kathy and Alex for organizing and hosting it. I must admit I was very excited to finally meet Alex Kerr, whose book Lost Japan was a huge inspiration for me before moving to Japan in the 1990s. I was glad to find him in person to be just as amiable and friendly as I had imagined from his books. It was a very nice evening.

another-kyoto

More pictures and details about the event, plus a video link can be found on the Writers in Kyoto website.

Another Kyoto by Alex Kerr with Kathy Arlyn Sokol is available from Amazon.co.jp