Past News (June 2007)

June 29th

Early last week, I was walking on Shijo Street after work and I heard Ohayashi from the House of Naginataboko. Ohayashi is traditional music for festivals. What is Naginataboko? Itfs one of the most famous floats of Gion Festival. It is one of the Three Greatest Festivals of Japan, which started in 869. Lots of people think the festival goes on from Yoi-yoi-yama ([yoi] means a night beforecso [yoi-yoi-yama] means two nights before the festival) which is July 15th to the big parade of the floats on July 17th, but the festival actually starts on July 1st and goes on for the whole month. This festival is a great deal for people in Kyoto, especially those people whose families have lived in the center of Kyoto city from long, long time ago. The reason why itfs a big deal for them is because they are the ones who carry the gigantic floats. The floats belong to each town/area of the city and itfs their tradition to take parts in the festival. When we hear Ohayashi in Kyoto, we can feel that the summer is just around the corner. (Risa)

June 27th

People called June [Minazuki] in the old days. The word Minazuki means [month of no water]. June is the rainy season here in Japan, so whatfs going on? If you check the lunar calendar, the wonder clears. The no water month was todayfs July, the post-tsuyu month of increasing dryness. June 30th was called Ice Day back then. It was the day when natural ice, stored since winter, was delivered to the homes of the aristocrats.Apparently, it was believed that eating ice on this day guaranteed getting through a hot summer with a minimum of sweat. A man thought it was a good business opportunity, and started to sell a jelly like sweet out of rice flour in the shape of ice. This idea was well received, and people are still eating Minazuki on June 30th. If you have a chance to have a tea break in Kyoto this month, try some Minazuki! You might forget the heat and the humidityc(Risa)

June 25th

How was your weekend? It was sunny and beautiful on Saturday, but it was very stormy on Sundayc As it was pouring down all day in Kyoto yesterday, I got soaked when I was out. But, according to the news this morning, water shortage has become a serious problem in some areas around Japan. I prefer a sunny day without any doubt, but I am sorry lots of people are suffering from water shortagec (Risa)

June 21st

I will introduce a bit unique exhibition today. A special exhibition, which traces the transitions of the Imperial Familyfs funeral ceremonies, is being held at Sennyuji- templefs museum in Kyoto. During the Edo period, all emperorsf funeral rites took place at the temple and the exhibition introduces a glimpse of the temple where generations of the Imperial Housefs family are enshrined. From the Kamakura to Edo periods, funeral ceremonies for 24 emperors were conducted at the temple. Until then, other dominant temples had been reserved for imperial funerals. After the passing of the Emperor Shijo in 1242 however, his maternal grandfather, Michiie Kuko, used his authority to have services moved to the Sennyuji-temple. There are about 30 exhibits on display, including writings recording imperial funerals. The program of ceremonies for the Emperor Gokomyo in 1654 became the model for later funeral ceremonies. Articles related to the deceased of the Imperial House are also on display. The exhibition will continue until September 23. If youfre interested in a Japanese history, please come and visit! (Risa)

May 19th

The hydrangea are in full bloom here and there in Kyoto. How about visiting the temples which are famous for the hydrangea next weekend? [Mimurotoji] or [Ohara Sanzenin] (Risa)

June 18th

Did you have a good weekend? As I mentioned in the news last Friday, I went to the Saiho-ji temple on Saturday. We, a group of 12 people, gathered at Matsuo Station and walked to the temple. As soon as we entered the gate, we were directed to the main hall. We listened to a sutra by a monk and transcribed it on paper in India ink. We, the younger generation, are not used to kneel for a long timecso it was quite hard to concentrate on what we were doingc But, it was a good experience. As for the garden, it was indeed beautiful. You should definitely visit the temple and the garden if you have a chance to come to Kyoto. It became my favourite temple in Kyoto! (Risa)

June 15th

Yesterday, the rainy season has finally started in Kinki area – about a week later than usual. Itfs not raining now, but the sky is dull and greyc Maybe I guess it will rain this weekendc What are your plans for the weekend? I am going to the Saiho-ji temple ( on Saturday. I always wanted to visit the temple, but I just didnft have a chancec I will let you know what I think about it on Monday. Have a great weekend! (Risa)

June 13th

What are you into now? Maybe my answer is yoga. I have been taking up a yoga lesson for about 1.5 years. I started it just because I was curiousc I didnft expect I would devote myself to it that much. I understand why the yoga has gained such popularity in Japan. I guess lots of people are tired from a busy lifecand we are looking for a stress-buster moment. I think yoga could help us to relieve the physical discomfort and stress caused by everyday life. Whatfs hot in your country? (Risa)

June 11th

How was your weekend? I fully enjoyed it. I had a bad experience on FridaycIfve already forgot the hard feeling against them though. I think it is very important to think [What would I feel if I were you?], right? When we are busy or tired, we frequently tend to forget thatcbut please take a pause and think it over. (Risa)

June 7th

Do you eat breakfast every day? Yes, I do. A survey shows that 34.3% of men in their 20s do not have breakfast here in Japan, the largest percentage of all age brackets. Some 65.5% of men in their 20s who live alone skip breakfast. It is said that a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast is important to help people concentrate on study/work and increase their productivity, right? What do you usually have for breakfast? Itfs interesting to know the differences because every country has it own food culture. (Risa)

June 6th

Wefve recently received a lot of inquiry mail about the availability for Autumn this year. September and October are still okcbut NOT November. The ryokans in Kyoto are already getting busy. Please let me remind you to make your ryokan reservation if are planning to visit Kyoto this autumn. I bet the rooms will sell out really soon! (Risa)

June 5th

I received an email from our guests last week. They visited Kyoto in April and stayed here for 2nights. As soon as they left Kyoto, I got a surprising gift with a nice letter from them. I never expected thatcso I was very surprised and impressed by their thoughtful letter. It made me smile and feel so happy. They emailed me again and sent me some lovely photos taken in KyotocThank you so much for sharing them with me, the Xenophontos family! I am waiting for your next visit to Kyoto!!! (Risa)

June 4th

Did you have a neat weekend? My one was pretty mellow and relaxed. While I was reading, I remembered my parents always read a story to me when I was a child. My mother bought me a picture book every month, and I was always looking forward to that. The books are still in the atticecso hopefully I will read them to my kids in the future. What was your favourite fairy story? (Risa)

June 1st

I canft believe itfs already June! Itfs sunny and dry today, but I guess the rainy season will be starting soon. As I am a simple person, sunshine makes me happy cand rain makes me bluec I hope the rainy season wonft be long this year! I know enough rain is needed for growing rice though! (Risa)