Charity Auction for NICCO at Kyoto Isetan; February 20th – 22nd

The following message was sent in by Akiko Yoshida of the Kyoto based NGO NICCO and all queries should be addressed to her at the contact address given below.

The 26th Charity Auction for NICCO:
“Exhibition of Finearts” in Kyoto
February 20th – 22nd at JR KYOTO ISETAN
(Open Event)

nicco charity auction

The 26th Charity Auction for NICCO will be held at JR KYOTO ISETAN during the period of February 20th to 22nd, 2016. All of its proceeds will be donated to NICCO, Kyoto-based humanitarian organization, for its projects in and outside of Japan such as support activities for victims of the tsunami in Tohoku and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. By either bidding for or purchasing these works, visitors can contribute to humanitarian projects for people living in developing countries and disaster affected areas.

The Event
To support our overseas projects, we hold an event which is called “Charity Auction for NICCO-Exhibition of Artifacts-” for our fund raising. The exhibition has been held every year in one of the famous department stores in Kyoto City since 1991. This event is supported by a variety of artists such as ceramic artists, Japanese-style painters, masters of tea ceremony and calligraphers. These include Kyoto-based creators like Mr. Brian Williams and Mr. Randy Channell. These supporters contribute by donating their works freely as charity. The total number of works of art will be over 200. People can appreciate and obtain these works at a relatively reasonable price by participating in the auction. All the profits – except for necessary expenses – will be donated to NICCO.

Details
Dates and Time:
February 20th (Fri) to 22nd (Mon), 2016
Venue: JR KYOTO ISETAN, 10th floor (JR Kyoto Station Complex)
Admission: Free
Organizer: “Charity Auction for NICCO” Executive Committee

Charity Auction for NICCO

About NICCO
Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development (NICCO) is a Japanese non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to supporting self-reliance among people in developing countries in Asia, the Middle-East and Africa. Since its establishment in the early days of Japanese NGOs in 1979, NICCO has focused on emergency assistance and human resource development, as well as rural development based on environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Contact:
Akiko Yoshida, Charity Auction for NICCO Executive Committee
Tel: +81-75-241-0674
E-mail: info[at]nicco-auction.jp
URL: http://www.nicco-auction.jp/en/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charityauction
Address: 101 Nishi Rokkaku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan 604-8217

Pictures from Enso Watt & Instant Eternity!

2016-01-24 21.47.59

Enso Watt performed Sanka’s 5th Season Ritual at Urbanguild on Sunday night and as always it was a fantastic show. If you are not familiar with what they do, it is a choreographed multi-media extravaganza, of experimental music, pre-recorded soundscapes, live video, art, poetry, heaps of talent, color, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. All of it conducted by classical composer/conductor Yannick Paget, and inspired by the poetry of Chris Mosdell. Sometimes when they are all playing and the lyrics are bubbling from Chris Mosdell’s mouth, I feel like they are just happily playing, that I don’t need to take it so seriously, just go along for the ride. But by the time we got to the 3rd act on Sunday night, I was thoroughly sucked in by the poet’s words, swept up by the music, and Yannick’s pounding drums… enthralled, enthused, moved and inspired.

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“We are elementary,” said the poet, “awakening from a phantasmagorical sleep… We have lived everywhere…”

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Words and music, light and sound were bringing us back to our first beginnings, and to our essential unity: “We have learnt to dissolve in all directions, to transfer identities.”

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“We are an ancient race with an essential innocence, with virginity in our veins–”

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Imagine that; a creed underlying culture that celebrated our essential innocence, rather than the dead weight of original sin.

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I was intoxicated by the energy of this performance. My mind was taking the poet’s lyrics and spinning new mythologies, new litanies of healing, multiplying through “dimensions, strata, levels, layers…”  I imagined the Sanka Rites poured into the common consciousness, overwhelming  terror and trauma, washing away tired philosophies of division and denial! How splendid to be “charged with renegade magic”, to celebrate and build rather than fight and destroy!

2016-01-24 22.32.34

Thoughts like these went through my mind at Sanka’s 5th Ritual.

Many thanks to all the participants in Sunday night’s show. There really is nothing else like the raw mix of talent and adventurous spirit that makes up the Enso Watt collective.

2016-01-24 23.11.34
But will they play again, I wonder? After Eternity, what next?

ensō watt are
{soundscape, spatialization}
Samuel André (aka ieva)

{composer, conductor, percussionist}
Yannick Paget

{poetry}
Chris Mosdell

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami

{accordeon synth}
ryotaro

{contrabass}
岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka

{guest : trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

{drawing}
Hirisha Metha

{translation}
吉村哲幸
noriyuki yoshimura

See also: Images from Sanka’s Winter Ritual

Ensō Watt Return to UrbanGuild for Sanka’s Fifth Ritual!

Oh boy! They are back! This is going to be great!

enso

From Marguerite Paget:

Dear Friends
Ensō Watt is coming back for the Sanka’s Fifth season Ritual !
After completing the “seasonal cycle” (the rites of summer, autumn, winter and spring), honoring the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary Rite of Spring, the musical/visual ensemble Ensō Watt will add a fifth season: INSTANT ETERNITY – a journey through the Great Void on “reincarnation runs,” in their mind-feathers and abyss oil, in search of the Lost City of Abstract Hours.
Come along for the ride!

Ensō Watt is an artist collective born in Kyoto from the encounter of artists coming from different countries and raised in entirely different artistic universe, from classical music to electro, improvisation and sound-design.
http://www.ensowatt.org

2016 January 24th (Sunday)
Venue: UrBANGUILD Kyoto

http://www.urbanguild.net/
map : https://goo.gl/maps/wHTfPYvzDEN2

On the door: 2800 yen / In advance: 2100 yen
Students: 1600 yen
+1 drink

ensō watt is
{soundscape, spatialization}
Samuel André (aka ieva)

{composer, conductor, percussionist}
Yannick Paget

{poetry}
Chris Mosdell

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami

{accordeon synth}
ryotaro

{contrabass}
岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka  

{guest : trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

{drawing}
Hirisha Metha

{translation}
吉村哲幸
noriyuki yoshimura

See also: Sanka’s Winter Ritual

Manga in History Exhibition at Kyoto International Manga Museum

2016-01-14 15.49.02

Yesterday, Mewby and I went to see the “Great Manga History Traces from Edo” exhibition at Kyoto International Manga Museum. This is a fascinating exhibition whether you are interested in the early development of manga, or of its role in social history. Manga has a long history as a satirical tool, used broadly to mock social and political trends. The museum displays a great number of original materials to show manga’s development from playful sketches intended purely to amuse, to works of more serious intent, such as the battle scenes that satirized opposing forces during the Boshin War. And happily everything is clearly explained in English as well as Japanese – just as you would expect from this “International” museum!

Here are just two pictures that caught my eye yesterday among the many on show.

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Sequel to “oshinpan moji-e sugata” – Nagahide, 1840s.

Above is an example of moji-e or “letter pictures”, in which hiragana characters are playfully used in pictures. For example the cat or ねこ (neko) in the third picture from the right clearly employs the character ね.

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“Ryuko sannin namayoi” – Three tipsy people nowadays by an unknown artist, 1855.

This picture satirizes society after the Great Ansei Earthquake, a major disaster in Edo (now Tokyo) in 1855. The geisha is grieving over her lost customers. The merchant on the left is an angry drunk because he has lost so much business. However, the construction worker in the middle is laughing at the money to be made in the coming reconstruction. Some things don’t change…

Mewby at the exibition.

Mewby at the exibition.

While photography is generally not permitted inside the Manga Museum, it is permitted in some sections of this exhibition.

Great Manga History Traces from Edo continues until February 7th (Sunday).

The International Manga Museum is open 10:00 – 18:00 (Last entry at 17:50). It is located a 5 minute walk from Karasuma Oike Subway Station. Here is a map.

Entry for adults is 800 yen, for middle school students (12-15) 300 yen and elementary school students (under 12) 100 yen. Entry entitles you to view all the exhibits in the museum. Visit the website to find out more: http://www.kyotomm.jp/english/

See also:
Introduction to Kyoto International Manga Museum
Seika University Manga Faculty Article in Morning Calm Magazine

Toka Ebisu Festival Schedule – January 8th – 12th 2016

#20 Maiko from the Miyagawa district

Maiko from the Miyagawa district at Toka Ebisu Fesitval

The first big event of the year in Kyoto is the Toka Ebisu Festival which starts this week.

Knocking for Ebisu

Knocking for Ebisu

Ebisu is the god of good fortune and prosperity in business, so thousands of local people will descend on Ebisu Shrine this week to pray for success in this year’s work and business endeavors. The streets leading to the shrine will be packed with food stalls selling typical festival foods like taco-yaki, kara-age, ringo-ame and the like… Meanwhile the shrine itself does a roaring trade in good luck charms and lucky bamboo grass! Among the events listed in the schedule below are ancient purification rites, ancient mystical dances, traditional rice-cake pounding, tuna-fish blessing and the chance to meet some local maiko, or apprentice geisha.

A shooting range among the stalls. Can you see the maiko?

A shooting range among the stalls. Can you see the maiko?

Below is a handy schedule of the main events to see during the 5 day festival from January 8th – 12th. For a more detailed account of the festival with lots of pictures, take a look at my account of last year’s Toka Ebisu festivities on the Inside Kyoto website: http://www.insidekyoto.com/toka-ebisu

A full account of last year's festivities is up on Inside Kyoto.

A full account of last year’s festivities is up on Inside Kyoto.

January 8thShōfuku-sai (招福祭) – Fortune Beckoning Festival
9:00: Ebisu Shrine opens
10:00: Hoekago Parade (宝恵かご社参)
Actresses from Eiga-mura are borne in litters to Ebisu Shrine. Later they will distribute branches of lucky bamboo grass to local businesses.
14:00: Yudate Kagura Ritual
A purification rite in which bamboo grass is dipped in boiling water to sprinkle it over the crowd.
14.30: Mochi-tsuki Kamiwaza
A rice pounding ritual with priests and shrine maidens in attendance.
23:00 Shrine closes

January 9th – Yoi Ebisu-sai (宵ゑびす祭) – “Ebisu Eve”

9:00: Ebisu Shrine opens
9:00: Shōfuku Maguro Hōnō (招福まぐろ奉納) – Dedication of lucky maguro tuna
10:00: Hoekago Parade (宝恵かご社参)
14:00: The festival continues with regular kagura dance performances
The shrine will be open until late.

shrine 3January 10th – Toka Ebisu Taisai (十日ゑびす大祭) – The Grand Toka Ebisu Festival
11:00 – 12:00: Toei Actresses give out branches of lucky bamboo grass.
1300 – 14:00: Toei Actresses give out branches of lucky bamboo grass.
14:00: The festival continues with regular kagura dance performances
The shrine will be open until late.

January 11th – Nokori Fuku-sai (残り福祭) – “Remaining Fortune Festival” 
14:00 – 16:00: Maiko from the Gion district will give out lucky rice cakes and branches of lucky bamboo grass.
shrine 420:00 – 22:00: Maiko from the Miyagawa district will give out lucky rice cakes and branches of lucky bamboo grass.
Midnight: The Shrine closes.

January 12th – Tetsu Fuku-sai (撤福祭) – “Retreating Fortune Festival”
9:00: Ebisu Shrine opens
20:00: Final kagura ceremonies
22:00: Ebisu Shrine Closes

Directions: Ebisu Shrine is on the west side of Yamato- Ooji Street, south of Shijo. Here is a map.

Myoshin-ji Article on Inside Kyoto

A few weeks ago I spent two pleasant days exploring the Zen temple complex of Myoshin-ji in north-western Kyoto. The results are now up on Chris Rowthorn’s Inside Kyoto website. This is my last article of 2015.

myoshin-ji

Myoshin-ji, or “Sublime Heart Temple,” is a massive Zen temple complex in the north west of Kyoto. In addition to its main buildings the grounds contain 46 sub-temples, all connected by beautifully preserved stroll paths. The grounds of the compound are so extensive that walking them you feel very much like you have entered another world, a kind of Buddhist village. In fact, most of the sub-temples are family homes as well as places of worship, and are not open to the public. Nevertheless, one can still enjoy the unique atmosphere here, walking the lanes between the temples, and peeking into the gates. LINK

Special thanks are due to Reverend Takafumi Kawakami for the wonderful meditation and tour he hosted at his Shunko-in Temple. You can read the full article here: http://www.insidekyoto.com/finding-zen-in-myoshin-ji

A Night of Sake & Cuisine – Sponsored by Takara Shuzo

UPDATE! December 9th 2015: A message from Takara Shuzo:

We regret to inform you that this event is now full. We have received an overwhelming response and wish to sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to apply. We do currently plan to run this event again in the near future and look forward to welcoming more participants at that time.

sake night 1

I attended the first of these events in October and found it fun, instructive and extremely tasty! Here’s Chris Malcolm with the details of the next event. All queries should be directed to the email address given below.

A Night of Japanese Sake and Cuisine

Event:

Takara Shuzo, based in Kyoto and one of Japan’s leading sake and shochu producers, is looking for non-Japanese participants for a fun and informative night of Japanese food and sake at a beautiful Kyoto-style town home in Higashiyama, Kyoto. This cultural event will be hosted in English by international staff from Takara Shuzo, and attendees will have a chance to taste and learn about 9 premium sake, including several daiginjo varieties, while enjoying a full meal*. During dinner, the staff will give a short seminar on sake, Japanese food, and sake pairings. In addition to the meal, participants will receive a bottle of Mio Sparkling Sake at the end in exchange for their cooperation in filling out a couple of short surveys.

*Please inform us of any dietary concerns at the time of your application.

Fee:

500 yen. This includes a full meal, and sampling of 9 premium sake.

Time:

Friday, Dec. 18 from 6:30 (doors open at 6:15). The event will end around 8:30pm.

Participants:

The event is limited to 15 non-Japanese guests.

Application Method:

・Simply send a message with your name in an Email titled ‘Sake Tasting’ to international@takara.co.jp. If you wish to invite friends, please include their names in the Email as well.
・Application deadline: Wed. December 16, 2015 at 5:00pm.
・All applicants will be notified by email with the result of their application.
・Participants will be determined via their applications on a first come, first serve basis.
・If we have reached capacity at the time of your application, we will add you to a waitlist and contact you if there are any cancellations.

Location:

5 min from Higashiyama Station on Kyoto’s Tozai subway line. Participants will be given specific location details, and event and contact information via email once their participation is confirmed. .

* We ask that participants do not drive to the event by car, motorcycle or bicycle, as alcoholic beverages will be served and we do not have available parking facilities.

Other:

・Any information collected via Email from attendees will be used solely for the organization of this event or future editions of the same event for applicants unable to attend due to overcapacity.
・Takara Shuzo does not sell, trade, or rent your personal information to others.
・All guests must be at least 20 years old.

We look forward to seeing you there!

sake night 2

Exploring Daitoku-ji on Inside Kyoto

Last month I spent a couple of days exploring the Zen gardens of the Daitoku-ji Temple complex, and the results are now up on Chris Rowthorn’s Inside Kyoto website.

daitokuji inside

Daitoku-ji was originally built as a small Zen temple in 1319. Like many historical sites in Kyoto, it was repeatedly destroyed by war and fire before being rebuilt on a grander scale by Zen master Ikkyu Sojun in the late 15th century. The temple’s political importance was sealed in 1582 when the great warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi held a funeral ceremony here for his predecessor Oda Nobunaga. Over time, political patronage and the money of a rich merchant class, led to a great flowering of the Japanese aesthetic here, expressed through architecture, painting, calligraphy, tea ceremony and of course those famous Zen gardens. All of this means that for you the visitor, there’s a whole lot of beautiful things for you to look at. LINK

In addition to the temples and gardens in this article, you can also read about ancient sweet shops, guardian shrines, a hot spring bath, a cafe in a renovated bath house, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, the grave of the world’s first novelist and a unique savory relish called Daitoku-ji natto!

Read more here:  http://www.insidekyoto.com/exploring-daitoku-ji

Exotico De Lago – Live @ Kinse Ryokan, Kyoto; 11th December 2015

Some event news from our old friend Shinpei Noda of Paraíso Records…

exotica

2015.12.11(Friday) Paraíso Records Presents Exotico De Lago LIVE!!! @ Kinse Ryokan, Kyoto
Open: 19:00 / Start: 20:00
Advance tickets: 2500 yen (+ one drink order)

Live: Exotico De Lago
DJs: Paraíso Records / Cherii (Calibnoutagoe)

Exotica De Lago are a “Oriental & Exotica Lounge Sextet” from Tokyo who play unconventional, moody music with a vintage feel. Check out their music in the video below or at this link: EXOTICO DE LAGO “Live at FOGGY”.

Paraíso Records by Shinpei Noda is a movable feast of music chosen without regard for country, age, or genre but simply for its ability to evoke a feeling of Paraíso – or paradise! The Paraiso Records stall has appeared at various locations around town including the Kyoto Record Fair.

Cherii will be playing vintage Jamaican reggae, and ska records for a truly exotic celebration.

Kinse Ryokan is a 250 year old traditional Kyoto building with a wonderful atmosphere. The location is east of Senbon Doori and a little south of Hanayacho Doori. Here is a Google map and there are more details on the Kinse Ryokan access page. Check the Kinse Ryokan events page on Facebook for more events at this venue: https://www.facebook.com/kinseryokan/events

For advance tickets and other queries please contact Kinse Ryokan
Tel: 075-351-4781
Contact mail form: http://bit.ly/rue2BU

exotica flyer

Joel Stewart Painting Exhibition at Hakuhou-doh Gallery, Kyoto; 12/1 – 12/13 2015

Local artist, Joel Stewart, will be exhibiting his very fine works at Hakuhou-doh Gallery in Kyoto from December 1st to the 13th. Be prepared for some thought provoking juxtapositions of both abstract and representational art!

joel

art gallery HAKUHOU-DOH / アートギャラリー博宝堂

Located on the east side of Jingumichi, south of Niomon Dori. Here is a MAP.
Address:〒606-8344 京都市左京区岡崎神宮道東側
Hours: 11:00 – 18:00
Tel: 075-771-9401
URLs: http://hakuhou-doh.com/ / http://blog.goo.ne.jp/hakuhou-doh