Category Archives: Ted Taylor

2nd Haiku Workshop with Ted Taylor @ Sakura Ryokan

Our Ted will host his second haiku workshop at Sakura Ryokan this Friday (January 25th). The lesson is free of charge and no reservation is necessary. Sakura Ryokan is located south of Gojo on the east side of Aburanokoji Street. Here is a map. The workshop begins at 7.30pm. More details here.

Cultural Winter Evening! Haiku - Japanese Short Poem Making Workshop

Haiku Workshop with Ted Taylor @ Sakura Ryokan

Just a quick post to say that our pal, Ted Taylor, will present a regular English haiku workshop at Sakura Ryokan from December 7th (tomorrow!). The lesson is free of charge and no reservation is necessary. Sakura Ryokan is located south of Gojo on the east side of Aburanokoji Street. Here is a map. The workshop begins at 8pm. More details here.

The Flame @ Papa John’s Eatery

Charles Roche says,

On Sunday, May 27th ” The Flame”, an evening of true, personal, experience stories told by suspect individuals will debut at Papa Jon’s Eatery. Stories (all in English) begin at 7:00PM. No translations provided.

Inspired by the famous New York storytelling NPO, The Moth, Kyoto’s The Flame has the potential to be an exciting new regular get-together for our community. With some familiar names listed for the opening night, there will also be an open mic session. The first story theme is, “On and off the Road, traveler’s tales of the UNEXPECTED.” For further details, left click on the flyer below and then click again.

Date and time: Sunday May 27th, 7:00 – 9:30 pm.
Entry: 500 yen.
Location: Papa John’s Eatery is on the 3rd floor of the Shimpukan Building, just south of Oike, on the east side of Karasuma.

Children of Water – First Showing!

It’s almost a year ago now that I interviewed Roger Walch and Ted Taylor during the making of the movie “Children of Water”. Regular readers may remember a wide-ranging discussion about story-telling, old movies, jizo statues, and very, very creepy kokeshi dolls. The movie will have its premiere showing in Nara on July 19th. See the details on the poster below:

Actually Roger likes to call this its “pre-premiere” as he will have a bigger premiere in Kyoto in the autumn. Says Roger:

After one year in an ESL-course in the US, Mina (a Japanese graphic designer) returns to Kyoto and discovers that she is pregnant. She contemplates abortion, but her American boyfriend Brad strongly opposes and flies to Japan to convince her to keep the baby. During his stay he not only gets to know life and customs in Japan but also different moral and religious values.

There will be a shakuhachi/piano performance before the screening.

Mina: Lili Sakamoto
Brad: Ted Taylor
Written and directed by Roger Walch
Music by Morphic Jukebox

The location in Nara is a Restaurant called “Geppo”. It is 5 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Nara station. One block south of Sanjo-dori and a bit East of Konishi-dori.

Thanks Roger!

Related: The Children of Water interview

Petals on a wet, black bough…

Sa-ku-ra! Sa-ku-ra!

Yes, the hanami season has arrived and the cheery, cherry blossoms look so good I could just EAT them!

Well, there is no more romantic location than Kyoto to see cherry blossom, but what’s your favorite location within the city? For me it’s the tree-lined Kita-Shirakawa canal. Heading away from the Path of Philosophy follow it down Imadegawa a ways and you’ll find yourself in a great place for a stroll under the trees. And unlike other locations, it’s a secret! No crowds! There are some nice cafes and galleries along the route as well, such as Shizuku and Riho. It’s a good spot for firefly viewing in June too. Altogether, a great sakura spot (though not so good for picnics). I decided to ask some members of Deep Kyoto’s extended family:

What is your favorite location for viewing cherry blossom in Kyoto?

And this is what they told me: Continue reading

Kyoto Vipassana Meditation Center

IMG_1329Deep Kyoto friend and contributor Ted Taylor recently completed a two and a half month hike along the Kumano Kodo and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. Returning briefly to Kyoto before continuing his travels he stopped for ten days at the Kyoto Vipassana meditation center.  Today he sent me a report on his experiences there. Ted writes:

I found myself sharing dormitory space with six other men, none of whom would talk to me.  Which is no surprise really as we`d taken a vow not to speak during the 10 days which make up the Vipassana meditation course.  The Center is about 90 minutes north of Kyoto, at the end of a lovely drive into a remote valley. Continue reading

Cafe Millet

Ted Taylor writes…wheat

On a warm autumn afternoon, during a north Kyoto hike from Ohara over to Kurama, we came across a group of young people building a wood burning oven out of stone. Standing in front of this ishigama, we made small talk with the young couple in charge of the project. The young woman told us that the bread that this oven would bake would be a centerpiece of the cafe that had just opened here, her hand gesturing at a comfortable looking building made of wood and glass. We promised to come back again.oven

A month or so later we ran into them again in Ohara, this time as part of a larger group busy harvesting adzuki and soy, some of which would wind up that night on the table of Cafe Millet.

What at first seems like a throwback scene to the old hippie days is actually a large and growing trend in Japan. Driven by both environmental and economic concerns, many young Japanese are shunning a life in the cities for one in the soil.bread

The idea of returning to the countryside is hardly a new one. Masanobu Fukuoka’s classic work, “The One-Straw Revolution” has for over 30 years lured people back to a traditional life of farming. What is different this time is that the movement is not simply at the personal or grass roots level. In March of this year, Prime Minister Taro Aso created the Rural Labor Squad, as a way to give employment to the young while simultaneously revitalizing rural communities and their dwindling labor pool. Local farmers are for the most part grateful for the help, though some feel that the young will once again return to the city when the economy picks up. Continue reading

Ted Talks

Academic Beers with Ted Taylor

When you describe Kyoto, you couldn’t skip them; pure water, old wooden house in a row, and food culture. This is beer whose mother is the honorable tradition in Kyoto, and whose father is beer boasted of by Germany. A new historical chapter is recorded in our culture.
From the KANBAIKAN craft beer label.

A few months ago there was a big conference in England where all kinds of impressive people got together, and talked about impressive and inspiring things. If you go to the website TED TALKS you can take a look at some videos from the conference. They really are very impressive, but oddly there doesn’t seem to be anyone there whose name is actually Ted. Here on Deep Kyoto we can go one better, with our very own (and impressive) Ted Taylor. As I knew he was leaving at the end of summer (today actually), I decided to interview him before he left. So, one afternoon in July we took the JR line from Karasuma/Shijo up to Imadegawa, got out at exit 2 and there we were at Doshisha University’s Kanbaikan building.IMG_0966We’d been talking about coming here for some time because on the 7th floor of the Kanbaikan, there is a French restaurant called Second House Will that serves Doshisha’s very own craft beer; also called Kanbaikan. The Kanbaikan (寒梅館 which means Cold Plum Inn I guess) is an impressive red brick building with gorgeous views over the city and we enjoyed its namesake beer, also reddish brown in color, along with some crunchy French bread and a plate of tasty hors d’oeuvres. It was a very pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon and you can find a map here if you want to try it for yourself. However, as I knew Ted was leaving at the end of summer, I figured this was a good opportunity to chat with him about not just beer, but about zen, and hiking and writing and about his life in Japan and so on. You know; all things Ted. Continue reading

Children of Water

An Interview with film-makers Roger Walch and Ted Taylor

I love film-making… I love to think of stories, to make a film, to edit a film, to put the sound track together… And as soon as I’m finshed with a film. I want to do the next one…
(Roger Walch)


Left to right, Thomas Cramer (sound, lighting and still photography), Roger Walch (director), Lili Sakamoto (actress).

Last week Ted Taylor invited me to dinner with the makers of the movie “Tengu” in the izakaya “Tengu” (do you see what they did there?). I spoke to Ted and to the director Roger Walch about their new film project: “Children of Water”. They had just completed a long day location shooting at Itami airport, the Kamo river, Yoshida yama, and in front of Tengu. Though tired, over a bite to eat and a few beers they waxed enthusiastic about their new movie. Roger explains the plot as follows:

After one year in an ESL-course in the US a Japanese graphic designer returns to Japan and discovers that she is pregnant. She contemplates abortion, but her American boyfriend strongly opposes and flies to Japan to convince her to keep the baby. During his stay he not only gets to know life and customs in Japan but also different moral and religious values. Continue reading

Resonance II

Artist extraordinaire Daniel Rosen has passed word down from Tokyo about a major event taking place in Kansai this weekend. Resonance 2 is the long awaited sequel to Resonance 1, held in the wake of the 20th anniversary of Kodo’s world renowned Earth Celebration.  In Daniel’s own words:

In the summer of 2007, musician Kaoru Watanabe assembled an eclectic and electrifying cast of artists to realize Resonance, a multimedia celebration of sight and sound that completely transformed SuperDeluxe, Tokyo’s premiere avant-garde arts venue. A former player and artistic director for Japan’s most revered taiko group, Kodo, Watanabe is no stranger to coalescent work, and Resonance was a tribute to his keen sense of collaboration. Under Kaoru’s artistic direction, tap dance wizard Tamango captivated the audience with his broad range of expression; vocalist Mio Matsuda stole the hearts of everyone present with her angelic voice; avant-garde cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto displayed a unique blend of rhythm and ruckus; and calligrapher Koji Kakinuma painted with frenzied passion. Framing this unlikely soundscape was an ethereal stage set designed by visual artist D.H. Rosen, whose floating porcelain tiles rang like resonant bells when kicked or prodded, and shattered into a collage of crumbs under the fiery feet of Tamango. Well over 200 people filed into this intimate art space to witness the magic of a truly once-in-a-lifetime show, and the vibrations from Resonance continue to ripple across the Tokyo art scene to this day. Two years later, Watanabe has reassembled many of the original Resonance cast members and called upon some new friends to create Resonance II: ‘Echology,’ a further exploration of the synergistic crosscultural possibilities that made the first Resonance such a success. Continue reading