Monthly Archives: July 2008

Summer festivals

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HI351717      I went to two festivals yesterday: One was held at Mori-no-ie, which is a physically challenged people’s institution in my neighborhood, and another was at the approach to Nittai-ji Temple, in Kakuoh-zan. I went to the former for lunch and to the latter for evening meal.

     The physically challenged people’s institution Mori-no-ie opens their facility to the community once a year in July.HI351718

      There were many stalls for selling food such as Sri Lankan curry, Brazilian cuisine, Vietnamese noodle, cake and cookies, doughnuts, and shaved ices and so on, and many booths of massage, chiropractic, and other kind of medical treatment this year. 

     First I got a kind of massage called seifu there. After relaxing by the massage, I had Sri Lankan curry and rice set and Brazilian mince pie called pastel and Churrasco with beer. Both of the Sri Lankan curry and the Brazilian cuisine were the real things. I enjoyed not only food but also conversation with Sri Lankan and Brazilian people. Then I had another massage there. I enjoyed the festival very much!HI351720

     Relaxing, I came back home and took a nap. You know, it’s been really hot in Japan, especially in Central area of the country, recently. You shouldn’t go out during the day time! After several minutes past five, I decided to go to another festival in Kakuoh-zan.

     In Kakuoh-zan, there’s a well-known Buddhist temple, Nittai-ji. The festival was held at the approach to the temple. During the festival, it’s a vehicle-free area. 

     When I arrived at Kakuoh-zan station, I heard rock music. A rock band was performing at the stage. HI351719

     Wow! When I turned the corner of the stage, I saw many people and stalls on the approach: glasswork, potteries, accessories, dress, beer, wine, pizza, yakisoba noodle, barbecued chicken and beef, cheese, sandwiches, sweets, massage (!), etc! I was so excited!    覚王山

     First I had French white beer and a few crab coquettes, next had Japanese beer and a piece of pizza. Then I had a shaved ice with lemon syrup, some iced tea and iced chai, looking in stalls one after another. That was really fun! On my way home, I dropped by a Starbucks and had an iced double caramel macchiato there.

     Ahhhh, I had a really wonderful day!

SISAY in Kanayama: Inti Raymi

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HI351714      There was an event in Kanayama, Nagoya last week. SISAY, the Ecuadorian band formed by Imbayas Indian in Otavalo, had concerts and Inti Raymi, or the festival of the sun, there in four days. I went and see the event last Saturday because I’ve liked the band since I met them at Aichi Expo in 2005.HI351699

     They had four or five concerts and Inti Raymi a day during the period. I left home for the event in the evening. Recently it’s been really hot during the daytime here in Nagoya. It was around 6:30 p.m. that I arrived at Kanayama, when Inti Raymi was about to start. HI351703

     One of SISAY’s members spit alcohol on the ground, saying his prayers on the stage. He seemed to act a kind of priest. Then he daubed flowers on people’s faces. The people who were daubed flowers by the priest also hold some alcohol in their mouths and spit it on the ground. Then a man in a trance (of course, playing!) wore a special costume and he and people started dancing in a circle.HI351705

     Inti Raymi was the religious ceremony of the Inca Empire to thank the sun god for harvest. According to them, they also purify their sin and evil spirits and wish them happiness next year with strong drink and flowers. HI351710

     After the performance, a concert was held. SISAY played some folk music.

     Their music was wonderful as usual. SISAY, however, has changed some members for others whenever I see the band. I’ve heard from some fans of them that it’s difficult for them to keep forming the band with the same members because some can’t stand their long-term tour abroad.  HI351707

     I’ve heard another problem that is hard for them to find pure Imbayas Indian players lately as mixed-race people have increased. That’s why it seems that the present members have to marry women from the same tribe to save their music and culture. Many of Japanese female fans of them may be frustrated about that!

     Anyway, I had a wonderful time to see the rare festival in Japan and to listen to their music over beer in the evening cool wind.

Students’ Concert

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     Last Saturday I wen t to an interesting concert with some of my friends. A friend of mine, K appeared in it. HI351681

     The concert was for students of Prisca Molotsi, who is originally from South Africa and has been around as a jazz singer in Nagoya, Japan, and teaches singing to Japanese at the various places such as Chukyo University. At the concert, students of hers, including a friend of mine, performed. HI351692 

     The concert was held at a jazz bar named Jazz Mary Poppins near Chukyo University last Saturday. About 25 students of Prisca’s sang enthusiastically. 

     Some of them looked veteran and happy at their time, but some looked really nervous and darted away from the stage as soon as they finished singing. HI351670As for my friend K, she didn’t look nervous at all and sang majestically. Her performance was impressive! I thought it was the first time for her to perform in public…?

     A few novices at singing in public went into a panic, but Prisca led them or their friends sang together, resulting in wonderful performances. But the great accomplishment was not only by the students’ effort but also by the pianist, the bassist and the drummer who were backing them.   HI351664

     The pianist played the piano marvelously no matter what kinds of scores he was given. Some scores had just simple chords when I looked in.

     Anyway I enjoyed seeing the concert very much. Somehow, I have a sigh of relief as if I had been a performer when it was over, though…

The Workshop on the Environment

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  名東

      There was a workshop on the environment in Meito-Shogai-Gakusyu Center (Meito Lifelong Learning Center) the other day, and I took part in it. Meito is the name of the area where I live in.

     At the work shop, there were about a dozen participants and we looked back the past and considered what to do, or what to get rid or and to save for our future.

      The workshop was for members of Meito-Shizen-Club (Meito Nature Club) and I sometimes join them. The participants this time were really variety: young mothers, grandmothers, housewives without kids, and university 名東1students. 

     We formed ourselves in groups of four or five and made a list: what the society, the environment, people’s lives were like about 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, and lately. And then each person gave their views for the future.

     In recent years lifeline or roads have been completed and the town has been a wonderfully modern. People have been enjoying the convenient lives. Meanwhile, however, the environment has been destroyed.

     Rivers have been surrounded by concrete for bank protection, resulting in disappearance of many creatures such as frogs and fireflies from rivers. Mountains, forests, and fields have changed to residential areas, and some scarcity birds and animals have vanished.名東2

      It may difficult to return extinguished things, but we can try to do something for our future. We should see recycling in a new light. The present recycling system doesn’t work well. Japanese used things are just exported to developing countries. Consumerism is the past. It’s not enough to separate garbage according to type. We should reduce the amount of garbage itself. We can promote planting trees in the building as well, etc. 名東3

     One of the participants brought an interesting thing. It’s a furoshiki, or cloth wrapper. Furoshiki is a just square cloth. It can be used for many things. Look at the photos. Doesn’t it look like a fashionable bag? She takes the cloth with her when she goes shopping instead of getting some plastic bags at the shop. We can start with a small thing for our future.

     Our opinions are to present to the office of Meito-ku. This year, the office is promoting a kind of administrative reform and collecting citizens’ opinions. After the discussion, the participants learned about the worlds’ issues over lunch. I had a beneficial time.

Apartment-Hunting

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     A Nepalese friend R came to Japan the other day and I was able to see him with a friend of mine. R brought his nephew B and a friend of the nephew P to the reunion. I took them to a Japanese restaurant.

      The young people are now studying Japanese here in Nagoya. I heard that R’s nephew B left his apartment and started staying in P’s apartment the day before. R asked me to help his nephew to find an apartment. The reunion switched apartment-hunting for B at that moment.ねぱり

     B has been in Nagoya since January and had lived at his apartment for six month. The apartment was offered by his language school and he had paid a lot of money to the school for rent. He left his apartment because he thought it was too expensive. Yeah, I was very surprised to hear the cost. That’s definitely expensive.

     As I happened to find that there were many free magazines for housing and job-hunting at the restaurant, I picked one and brought it to our table. All of sudden, B screamed out pointing a photo of an apartment house. He said, “This is the apartment where I had lived for six month and left yesterday! I can’t believe it!”

     At first I didn’t understand what he was surprised at. The reason why he cried out is that the rent written in the magazine is much cheaper than he had paid. Actually he had paid his school almost twice as high as the rent ! How terrible! Who makes money with swindling foreign students!? 

     I checked the language school. I found out that the expensive cost includes many things: deposits, key money, brokerage, charge for a co-signer, and some kinds of insurance and so on. If you want to rent an apartment in Japan, you need to follow the complicated necessary procedures and pay for it. So, probably they don’t intend to deceive students. But I think they earn too much.

     R and B called the real estate agent that mediates the apartment house B had lived until last month. B wanted to return the apartment. But the agent refused them. The reason is that B is not Japanese! I also called the agent. The clerk on the phone said just “NO.” coldly. I really got angry at her reception. Sadly many kinds of discrimination exist in this county, especially racial one is deep-rooted. ねぱり2

     Luckily, R and B were able to find another agent to rent the same apartment to B. R said to me that the agent also declined to rent B because of the nationality at first. But R negotiated with them, resulting in getting the apartment for his nephew. Probably B has returned his apartment because he hasn’t given me a phone call so far. I told him to call me if he needs a Japanese person’s help.

     This time I was surprised to see R because he wore all in white: a white jacket, a white shirt, white pants and white shoes. He said that Hindus men in Nepal wear all in white during the mourning period. He lost his father this year.

     The reason why I took them to the Japanese restaurant is that I know R loves Japanese food, especially fish and sake. But he didn’t order either of them. He just ordered soba, or buckwheat noodle. So, I said, "Only soba is not enough to you, isn’t it? How about eating some fish or meat?" Then he replies "I don’t eat any fish and meat during the mourning period. Sake neither." The mourning period is whole a year…

     By the way, B’s friend P, that was first time to try Japanese food! I wonder if he liked it…I hope B and P have many good experiences while staying in Nagoya, Japan!

Handcraft Fair 2008 in Nagoya

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hc1      There was an annual event on handcraft at Fukiage Hall in Nagoya last Friday and Saturday. It was the 20th anniversary this year. I went there with some of my friends last Friday. hc3

     Every year nearly 200 groups including yarn companies, sawing machine companies, book shops, knitting schools and cloth shops and many lovers of craftwork or handcrafts get together at the place. 

     I am one of those who love to make something, and take part in the event every year. I like to see around many booths and to shop something interesting there. hc

       I thought there were fewer shops that sold odds and ends this year. There were, however, many booths to make something on trial instead. HI351606

     Probably most people made something at the event, but didn’t buy many things. I saw many empty-handed people on the way back from the place. Does it have to do with economic depression?  HI351607

     As for me, it’s better to find something in jumble sale. I prefer buying some pieces of “junk”, dreaming of what I am going to make with them, to taking part in a trial class at the place. 

     But I didn’t buy any junk this year because of the new direction of the event. I just bought two pendants, one for a friend of mine’s birthday present and one for myself, this time. Oh, I can save of my money!