Category Archives: Up-and-coming…

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.

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

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.

Akiko Yoshida, Charity Auction for NICCO Executive Committee
Tel: +81-75-241-0674
E-mail: info[at]
Address: 101 Nishi Rokkaku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan 604-8217

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

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


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.

2016 January 24th (Sunday)
Venue: UrBANGUILD Kyoto
map :

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

Chris Mosdell

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami

{accordeon synth}

岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka  

{guest : trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

Hirisha Metha

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.

2016-01-14 14.49.56

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.

2016-01-14 15.46.14

“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:

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:

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.

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


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.


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


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


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 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.


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.


・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

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

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


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:

For advance tickets and other queries please contact Kinse Ryokan
Tel: 075-351-4781
Contact mail form:

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!


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: /

The 5th Kyoto Photo Walk with Javier Montano

5th photo walkNews from our friend Javier Montano:

It is finally here!

– Meet new friends and learn about photography in beautiful Nanzenji and beyond.
– All you need is a camera or a smartphone
– Please register now, It is FREE!

Sunday, November 29, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM (JST)
Kyoto – Keage station (Tozai line). 蹴上駅 Keage-eki. Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture JP

Register here: Kyoto Photowalk

See also: Javier Montano’s Website
Javier Montano on Facebook: Daijoubu Photography

Upcoming Events at Kyoto Impact Hub; November – December 2015

Many thanks to Masami Utsunomiya from Kyoto Impact Hub for sending in this events list for the end of this year…

peacemaskDate: November 21st (Saturday)
Peace Mask Hibakusha Launch Party
Time: 17:00-19:00
Fee: 1000yen

On November 21st, we invite you to join the Peace Mask Project team at the Impact Hub Kyoto from 17:00-19:00 to join us in launching our newest initiative, the Peace Mask Hibakusha Project.

There will be music and some refreshments. We are asking for a 1,000yen donation towards the project, but most of all for your presence and support to the Hibakusha, whose Peace Masks we will be making in the coming month.
LINK: Facebook event page

kobujutsuDate: November 30th, December 7th, 14th, 21st (Mondays)
HUB Dojo ~ KOBUJUTSU ~ a classical Japanese martial art
Time: 18:30-20:00
Fee: 500yen for a trial lesson / 2000yen for each lesson / 8,000yen for a 5times ticket / Impact Hub Kyoto members and students will get 20% discount.

Kobujutsu originated in Japan over 500 years ago. Although life in Japan has changed considerably from the time when this martial art first took shape, the teachings remain unchanged and still hold great value and application to modern life.

  • Learning Kobujutsu will allow your body to reset to its proper usage and you will experience improved balance along with the benefits of exerting the least amount of energy necessary to perform any given task.
  • The focus of the class is to reconnect our mind, body, and spirit through the wisdom passed down from the ancestors of Kobujutsu.
  • The classes begin with still and moving meditation, followed by stretching and specialized warm up to facilitate proper movement and usage of the entire body.
  • The lessons are taught mainly in English to provide a unique multicultural learning experience


yogaDate: November 24st, December 1st, 8th (Tuesdays)
MORNING YOGA & MEDIATION ~ Heart Mind Body Health for late Autumn season ~
Time: 7:00-8:30
Fee: 3000yen for each class/ Impact Hub Kyoto members and students will get 20% discount

We have morning yoga & meditation classes at Impact Hub Kyoto. You will learn about health and balance for late Autumn Season. Home assignment will be given every week, so you will be aware of your condition of body and mind in everyday life.

sexy saladDate: November 24th, December 7th, 21st (the first and third Monday each month)
Sexy Salad
Time: 11:30-13:30
Fee for Members: Please bring your favorite vegetable or ingredient to share + donation
Fee for Non-members: ¥500 + Favorite food or ingredient to share + donation

Sexy Salad is a shared lunch prepared by our team at Impact Hub Kyoto. It is an event that is unique to Impact Hub and enjoyed all around the world.
All are welcome!
Kindly bring your favorite vegetables and we will mix them into a delicious, collaborative concoction to enjoy together on a coming summer day.
Let’s share stories and have a wonderful time together every other Monday!

For more information please visit the Kyoto Impact Hub website.

Ikuo Salley’s photo exhibition, “Whiskey Drinking Troubadour” at GalleryMain, Kyoto; Nov 13 – 22 2015

Thanks to Mike Vlasman for passing on news of this upcoming photography exhibition by Ikuo Salley.


The invisible society we built in cyberspace is prospering well like the tower of babel. It is the magic of anonymity helping us to express the many things we have wished to do secretly, and yet, people want to believe that this is real communication. On the contrary, our visible society is loosing the actual sense of expression and the personal touchof communication. When I was living in Hollywood, I noticed that all the tourists looked the same, but desperate people living on the street all had one of a kind faces. Prostitutes, gay guys, exiles, drug addicts, criminals……those people who have already known how hard life is……tell you a lot with their eyes. Looking into a face reaches me in a deep and honest sense, and also convinces me what “real communication” is. LINK

11/13 [Friday]ー11/23[Monday]

*closed on monday


**last day 13:00-17:00