Scottish Day in Kyoto – November 8th & 9th 2014

Thanks to Toshiyuki Nakano for letting me know about this upcoming celebration of Scottish culture. Though as it takes place over a weekend, perhaps they should have called it “Scottish Days”?
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Lots of music, food and drink (in particular Black Isle organic beer) are promised. For a list of participating bars and eateries click here. You can also preview some of the musical acts on the event’s Facebook page.

Scottish Day in KYOTO

Saturday November 8th from 11:00 – 20:00
Sunday November 9th from 11:00 – 19:00
Food and drink sales will cease one hour prior to the event’s closing.

Place: Moto-Rissei Shogakko (元・立誠小学校グラウンド) on the west side of Kiyamachi, about mid-way between Shijo and Sanjo. Here is a MAP.

Drink tickets are for four drinks + a Black Isle Beer glass.
Tickets bought in advance:¥2,000 Tickets bought on the day: ¥2,500
Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased from participating establishments or via the event homepage or Facebook page.
Food should be bought separately.
Event Homepage:
http://scottish-day-in-kyoto.tumblr.com/
Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/scottishday.kyoto

See also: Horie’s Bar

Irish Concert at Kurodani’s Eiun-in, with Niamh Ní Charra & Sean Whelan x Hatao & Nami

Irish music fans, of which there are more than a few in Kyoto, should take note. Irish musicians Niamh Ní Charra & Sean Whelan will be joining local duo, Hatao & Nami, for a show at Eiun-in on Sunday, November 9th. Details below!

Irish November Concert
Irish November Concert in 京都
~From Ireland & Japan, Two Duets~

Date: Sunday, November 9th 2014
Doors Open: 14:00
Show Starts: 14:30 Continue reading

Pictures from Sanka’s Autumn Ritual by Ensō Watt

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I am now officially a fan of Ensō Watt! Last Friday’s performance was excellent and I enjoyed every minute of it. With musicians posted in various corners of Urbanguild, and Yannick Paget both conducting and performing with hypnotic percussion from the center, we were fully immersed in a landscape of sound. Simultaneously the live video art of Andy Couzens and Masato Tokumaru cast images upon the walls while poet Chris Mosdell cast images in our minds. I really was quite lost in it all, and am looking forward to their next Winter performance. Long live Ensō Watt!

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Samuel André (Soundscape, Field recording)

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Ryotaro (Accordion & effects)

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Chris Mosdell (lyricist/poet) gave a stirring reading…

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Yuki Nakagawa (Cello & effects)

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Taisuke Enami (piano & synth effect)

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Yannick Paget (conductor, composer and percussionist)

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For more details on this performance please refer to the previous post: Sanka’s Autumn Ritual by Ensō Watt
Follow Ensō Watt on Facebook or on their website here: http://ensowatt.org/

English Speaking Doctors in Kyoto – Recommended by Local Residents

Should you fall sick while visiting Kyoto, it will give you much peace of mind to know that your doctor is both reputable and can speak your language! Here is a list of English Speaking Doctors recommended by local residents. This list is not exhaustive of course so please add your own recommendations in the comments:

Kyoto Furitsu Medical University Hospital have English speaking doctors in all department. But you need someone who can help on reception (only Japanese) http://www.h.kpu-m.ac.jp/doc/practice/department/sika.html

Nakano Sensei- who is a regular medical doctor who specialized in gastroenterology but is now a Chinese medicine doctor. I like him because he knows both systems. He’s located on Kitaoji at the southwest corner in the building with the eyeglass store on the first floor. The place is called RokuGoKai.
http://rokugoukai.com/shinryo.html

Kawanaka Sensei at Shugakuin Byoin (Shirakawa Kitayama). Good man, speaks English. I don’t know if the receptionist speaks English.
http://www.shotokukai.jp/shugakuin/

Dr TANAKA, Kanpo (Chinese traditional) medicine:  http://homepage3.nifty.com/rokkaku-tanaka/

Japan Baptist Hospital has some English speaking doctors but apparently the waiting time is long (though in all fairness this will probably be the case in most places). Dr Suzuki in Gynecology, speaks both French & English, and is particularly recommended.
Tel: (075) 781-5191
47 Yamanomoto-machi, Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
http://www.jbh.or.jp

More hospitals and doctors are listed here: English Speaking Doctors.

 

REBELDOM 31st EDITION 〜尊芯塾 × DAM (from Palestine) @ Club Metro

This event at Club Metro on Thursday October 9th features the award-winning Slingshot Hip Hop film, a short discussion about current conditions in Gaza & the West Bank, and a rocking live performance by DAM, Palestine’s first and foremost hiphop group.
RebeldomDate: Thursday October 9th 2014
Part 1

19:00: Doors Open
19:30 Movie: Slingshot Hip Hop
21:00 -21:30: Discussion

Part 2
22:30:
REBEL SOUNDS:DAM (from Palestine) / RITTO (from 琉球) / 志人 / STINKY SCIZA (BONG BROS.) / DR.HASEGAWA
/ DAICHI (BASED ON KYOTO) / LIVING DEAD (UGRR)
/ FReECOol (SOUL POT RECORDS / HUMANMUSIC)
/ DJ PLANT (尊芯塾)
REBEL CALLIGRAPHY:柿沼鬼山
FOOD:ZAM ZAM

Tickets for Part 1 OR Part 2: 2000 yen for advance tickets / 2500 yen on the door
Tickets for Part 1 AND Part 2: 3000 yen
All tickets include one drink.
Order advance tickets here: ticket[at]metro.ne.jp
Access: Club Metro sits beside the Kamo river on Kawabata Dori, below cafe etw and above Marutamachi Station. Take Exit 2 from the station to find it. Here is a map: http://www.metro.ne.jp/access/index.html
Check this page for details: http://www.metro.ne.jp/schedule/2014/10/09/index.html

Rebeldom reverse

Not Sure Which Way to Go – An Excerpt from Deep Kyoto Walks by Robert Yellin

In this extract from Deep Kyoto: Walks, Robert Yellin encourages us to seek chance and adventure along the Path of Philosophy…

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Photograph by Robert Yellin

Not Sure Which Way to Go
Let’s Get Lost on the Philosopher’s Path!
ROBERT YELLIN

One autumn twilight moment I was standing on a small bridge overlooking the Philosopher’s Path’s canal and saw a young couple staring at a map, eyes flittering over the horizon and at each other, each looking to the other for direction, it obvious that neither knew where they were, except that they were on the Path of Philosophy! The guy trying to act like he knew what to do said, “That’s the direction we should go, no wait, let’s head that way!” The girl, in all her feminine wisdom replied, ‘Let’s get lost!” Yes, I thought, that’s what one should do on Philosopher’s Path, get lost and discover.

The Philosopher’s Path or Tetsugaku no Michi in Japanese, stirs up such grandeur in its lofty name that one might even expect to be enlightened somewhere along the way. Some may hit that satori state along the path, as when Ikkyu in 1420 heard a crow not far off the path and got it! And that’s the beauty of this fabled Kyoto walk. It’s not only what one discovers on the paved canal-lined stretch; it’s what one encounters when they step off the guided way. After all a path is a great metaphor for life itself, getting lost often brings the greatest discoveries within and without. Getting lost—and finding oneself—on the Philosopher’s Path: what a grand way to spend a day in Kyoto.

Michi (also read as ) means not only path or road, but also means ‘The Way’ in Japanese. It is not only an integral part of the essence of the Philosopher’s Path or The Path of Philosophy, but can also be found in many names of Japan’s great martial and cultural arts, such as Budo or Chado. Each person’s ‘michi’ will never be the same as anyone else’s and again is a great metaphor for each step taken along this most quaint stroll.

Where to take the first step? Most start from the ‘Tetsugaku no Michi’ signboard that hugs the corner of Imadegawa and Shirakawa streets diagonally across the way from the signboard with the dancing Octopus. Walking east along this entrance one can see Daimonji in the distance with its trapezoidal deforested area where cut lines can be sensed; those lines form the kanji character for Dai—or Large—and a huge bonfire is set alit each August 16th in that form to guide souls back to the otherworld. A fitting view for the first few steps on the path as Daimonji has seen millions of tourists and pilgrims start from the same spot and the mountain never knows where each unique journey on the path will end.

For me I start the path with maybe one or two spots on my list to visit and then let intuition take over. Of course, walking straight along Imadegawa and heading towards the Silver Pavilion one will pass many shops such as a cheap, delicious Japanese eatery next to a coffee shop with a big Teddy bear that has been sitting at the counter since the 60’s; a Michelin-starred restaurant; an open-air Italian spread; the estate and museum of the famed Nihonga painter Hashimoto Kansetsu (1883–1945); and of course countless vendors selling traditional Kyoto staples. The Silver Pavilion is of course a must visit and best at opening or before closing, if those times are possible. Here, so much of Japanese culture crystallized in the 15th century in what is known as the Higashiyama Bunka or Eastern Mountain Culture. Based on the illusive aesthetic ideals of wabi-sabi, Higashiyama Bunka under the guidance of the Silver Pavilion’s retired Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa directed new developments for such famed Japanese arts such as the Tea Ceremony, Flower Arrangement, Noh Drama and Calligraphy. Living itself changed for the elite with the introduction of the ‘Japanese room’ or washitsu.

Bordering the mountains and in Yoshimasa’s time quite inaccessible from the city, the location was chosen for the quiet contemplation of life, nature and man’s fleeting position between the two; surely Yoshimasa would approve that one major stop on the Philosopher’s Path is his subdued ‘palace’ surrounded by his moon-viewing sand cone (resembling Mt.Fuji) and his exquisite garden. Get lost in time.

A noticeable shift in the air occurs a few minutes’ walk from the Silver Pavilion, passing by rows of ordinary homes (not on the Philosopher’s Path, part of the Getting Lost Path) heading south when the trees of Hōnen-in Temple appear. It strikes the senses immediately, the crispness of the air and the ionic air change in energy, the smell, the tingle. There are magical spots all around Kyoto, many to be found along and nearby the Philosopher’s Path, yet none is as serene as Hōnen-in. It’s one of Kyoto’s hidden gems.

Hōnen (1133-1212) was an extremely important Buddhist figure and the temple bears his name. Once, I stood enraptured for many minutes before a hanging scroll depicting Hōnen; a simple portrait it was, yet never before have I seen a face so full of compassion, light, and sheer contentment. That same energy fills the space of Hōnen-in. Walk up the stone steps from sunlit lightness into a moody shaded grove and in the distance is The Gate. Beaming from its open wooden doors is a radiant light that is heavenly. The stone path leading to the thatched gate is uneven, for a reason. You’ll figure it out.

A gate is always another metaphor in Japan, passing from one world to the next, from the mundane daily existence to a silky world of divinity and beauty. There are always two long rectangular sand mounds upon descending the other side of the Hōnen gate where a theme of water is always seen. These are called Byakusadan. The message from Byakusadan is that you walk between the two mounds in order to ‘use’ the water to cleanse your body, mind and spirit. Next, wander about the very small compound and you might even find a small block that says, ‘Listen, Think, Accept, Practice, Believe’—but not necessarily in that order. I believed once that if I left my new bicycle unlocked at Hōnen-in in the height of the autumn tourist season that it would still be there when I returned. It was.

Picture 5 Honen-in by Robert Yellin (Medium)

Hōnen-in by Robert Yellin

Hōnen-in is not a tourist place to see things per se, but a space to feel, to sense the magic of shadows and light, man entwined with nature, the ‘now’ connected to all time. My brother visited once and was amazed at the ‘quality of the silence’ and noted that silence is not simply the absence of noise. There’s a vibration to silence that one can sense. Maybe it’s the spirit of Hōnen himself.

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Text and photographs by Robert Yellin. To read the rest of this story, download our book here: Deep Kyoto:Walks.


DeepKyoto-cover-0423-finalAbout Deep Kyoto: Walks

Deep Kyoto: Walks is an independently produced anthology of meditative strolls, rambles, hikes and ambles around Japan’s ancient capital. All of the writers and artists involved in this project have lived and worked in Kyoto for many years and know it intimately. The book is in part a literary tribute to the city that they love and in part a tribute to the art of walking for its own sake.

About Robert Yellin
Robert YellinRobert Yellin is an American Japanese ceramics specialist who has resided in Japan since 1984. He writes regularly on Japanese ceramics in numerous publications. For ten years he wrote the “Ceramic Scene” column for the Japan Times, the largest English newspaper in Japan. His articles have also appeared in Daruma magazine, WINDS magazine, Ceramics Art & Perception, and Asian Art Newspaper. Robert is the author of Yakimono Sanka published by Kogei Shuppan, a book about sake utensils which was later translated into English under the title Ode to Pottery, Sake Cups and Flasks. He is a member of the Japan Ceramics Society (Nihon Toji Kyokai) and his articles have appeared in its monthly publication Tohsetsu.
Robert owns and runs Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery in Kyoto in addition to an informational website: www.e-yakimono.net, and an online Japanese ceramic art gallery: www.japanesepottery.com. Robert is available to give lectures and lead tours dealing with Japanese ceramics.

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To learn more about Deep Kyoto: Walks please check the following links:
About the Book
Extracts
Reviews
Videos
Interviews

Sanka’s Autumn Ritual by Ensō Watt – Mixed Media Experimental Event @ UrbanGuild; October 10th

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Well, this looks like something…

ensō Watt Sanka’s Autmn Ritual from PollenRec on Vimeo.

Thanks to Marguerite Paget for sending the following information:

Kyoto Experiment Fringe program 2014 presents the artist collective: Ensō Watt at UrbanGuild from 7.30 pm, October 10th

Initiated in 2014 by the sound designer Samuel André, the Ensō Watt artist collective is 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.

For Kyoto Experiment Fringe program 2014, Ensō Watt ensemble
performs SANKA’S AUTUMN RITUAL

A hundred years after Stravinsky’s revolutionary “Rites of Spring,” the members of this artistic collaboration pursues the experience-cum-experiment by focusing on Japan’s seasonal cycles, especially celebrated by the little-known mountainous tribe, the Sanka.

SANKA, can be translated from Japanese by “Mountain Cave” or “the one who
come down the mountain”. They are a mysterious, some say magical group of
people, who retreated, wandering in small bands through the mountainous regions of Honshu when the rice farmers arrived from the Asian continent in the third century. The Sanka are sometimes called the Japanese Gypsies. Little is known of their history. Although they are mentioned in Japanese chronicles from the 11th century, much of the information about them is vague.“Being a secluded community their cultural development grew far outside the social framework of the rest of the country. They developed their own language
based on natural sounds ie: the hum of the cicada, and their daily lives became dominated by rituals and esoteric rites.” Chris Mosdell

For SANKA’S AUTUMN RITUAL, Ensō Watt celebrates, autumn season in three acts. The music is inspired by the poetry of Chris Mosdell; it navigates between improvisation and conducted improvisation live by Yannick Paget, based on scored music’s elements. The performers, positioned in the audience, generate an immersive, musical surround-experience (broadcast on 4 speakers). More than just a musical experiment, the event is also shot live via a series of 6 cameras, and is processed and projected on 2 screens during the performance.

The exploration of the season’s cycle started this summer with the SANKA’S
SUMMER RITUAL (2014 July 18th at Urban Guild) :
Act I : rites of dragon fly, driving the dream machine. Act II, rites of the hundred
wind chimes, rites to refresh the earth, rites of the great fire dance. Act III the insect « hum » of humanity ritual, dance of the sacred peach.

Ensō Watt will conclude the cycle next year with winter and spring. A cycle that is meant to continue through years…

Why Ensō Watt ?
Ensō: 円相, in Zen Buddhism, an ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterised by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics.

えんそう (演奏) means also in Japanese: concert or performance

Watt: reflects the electric energy impulsed by the musicians and the artists of this collective.

Ensō Watt is a space of experiment and overture where frontiers between
musics, classical, electro or sound design melt, where scored music meets
improvisation, where arts (music, image and poetry) enters a free dialogue, where the melting pot of culture is a strength. And so what? with this unique spirit breathed by Kyoto city everything’s possible, isn’t it?

Ensō Watt collective’s members are:
Samuel André (Soundscape, Field recording),
Yannick Paget (classical music conductor, composer and percussionist),
Taisuke Enami (piano & synth effect),
Yuki Nakagawa (Cello & effects),
Ryotaro (Accordion & effects)
Chris Mosdell (lyricist/poet),
Andy Couzens ( live vidéo),
Masato Tokumaru (live vidéo)
Hirisha Metha (Sanka’s Symbols Design)

For more information:
Press contact: Marguerite Paget: mgtpaget[at]gmail.com / 090 6556 1974
Event coordination: Samuel André: sandre.constellation[at]gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ensowatt?fref=ts
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Deep Kyoto in The Simple Things Magazine

cover simple thingsTurn to the “My City” section of this month’s Simple Things magazine and you will find my article on Kyoto. My photographs are also used exclusively in the article.

The Simple Things is a lifestyle magazine from Britain with a monthly My City feature in which “one person – clearly in love with their city” is asked “to tell us what makes it so special.”

Here are some excerpts to give you a taste:

simple things my city image“In Kyoto we’re blessed with plentiful access to nature. We’re surrounded by forested mountains, rivers and tree-lined canals. My personal favourite is the Kamo river, a beautiful nature reserve and bird-watcher’s paradise that cuts right through the city centre. Arashiyama (literally Storm Mountain) is another famed beauty spot, where you can take a boat cruise through the Hozu River Gorge or visit the monkey park. Gosho (the Imperial Palace Park), and the Kyoto Botanical Gardens are also popular picnicking spots.”

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“Kyoto has everything I need from a city with a ready access to natural beauty immediately at hand. The seasonal traditions, festivals and ceremonies of the city are a constant source of stimulation and the historical atmosphere and the rich culture of arts, crafts, music and performance are inspiring.”

To order, subscribe or download The Simple Things please visit their website here: http://www.thesimplethings.com/the-magazine/
You can download a digital issue to your i-phone or i-pad here.

Upcoming art exhibitions in Kyoto

Many thanks to Justin Giffin, who has put me on to two upcoming collaborative art exhibitions by international  & local artists in Kyoto. Click on the flyers for a clearer view of the details:

Viviana (Italy) & Ayumi: Sept 23-18 (opening party Sept 23), Gallery Sokyo, Furumonzen-dori, Gion http://gallery-sokyo.jp/en/shop/

Collaborative Water Colour Exhibition

Walderedo de Oliveira (Brazil) & Tanaka Teruzo: Oct 2-11 (event Oct 4), Kyoto Garou, south of Kawaramachi-Imadegawa http://www.kyotogarou.jp/

Walderedo

鸚鵡小町 – Ōmu Komachi at the Ōe Noh Theatre on Sept 15th

Today we have a guest post from Itsuko Nakamura,

Noh flyer (Medium)
Meet Ono-no-Komachi, one of the Six Poetic Geniuses who lived in 8th century Kyoto, brought back to life by the most highly acclaimed Noh actors of today on Kyoto’s oldest Noh stage!

Noh, the oldest musical drama of Japan, has been continuously performed for over 650 years (and has been designated as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.) Enjoy its sophisticated aesthetics, stunning masks, gorgeous costumes, lyric dance and breathtakingly intense musical accompaniment.

Ōmu Komachi (Komachi’s Parrot-Answer Poem)

September 15th, 2014 at the Ōe Noh Stage
(on Oshikoji street between Tominokoji and Yanaginobanba streets)
Doors: 1:30 p.m.
Show: 2:00 p.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (approximately 3 hours)

Tickets: 8,000 yen (B-seats); 7,000 (C-seats); 6,000 (D-seats, non-reserved seats)
For the seating diagram, please refer to:
www.senuhima.com/senuhima/zuo_xi_biao915_reserved.html
For reservations and more information contact: 5th[at]senuhima.com

Description:
In her old age, the famous Heian poet Ono no Komachi lives in Sekidera, a temple at the border-pass between the capital and Otsu on Lake Biwa. Emperor Yōzei sends Major Counselor Yukiie to enquire sympathetically how she is. His poem ends: “mishi tamadare no uchi ya yukashisa” (Was not life enchanting there / within the jewelled curtains?). Yukiie delivers the Emperor’s poem, but Komachi tells him that she will answer with just one word. To the courtier’s astonishment, she explains how this is possible by changing “ya” to “zo,” so that the answer reads: “How enchanting life was there!” [Roy E. Teele translation]. This, she explains is an “ōmu-gaeshi” (“parrot-answer poem”). The rest of the play touches on the comments made about Komachi’s poetry in the preface to the Kokinwakashū. She describes a dance by the poet Ariwara no Narihira, then dances herself. Yukiie takes his leave and Komachi returns to her simple brushwood dwelling by the temple, her sleeves wet with tears.
Global Performing Arts Database, Cornell University
http://www.glopad.org/pi/en/record/piece/1000345