Archive for the 'English' Category

04th 7月 2006

The YUKATA Way: Cultural exchange in a secret cafe

Yukata dressing lesson and after successful party
If you are intareseted in it, see the below site!
http://kongetu.kimono-sakaeya.com/?eid=325284
Thanks,
Kahori OCHI

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18th 6月 2006

Cultural exchang, the Kimono way by THE DAILY YOMIURI

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先日お話しさせて頂いたDAILY YOMIURIさんの記事です。
テキストはこちらが読みやすいです。→http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/scene/20060618TDY22004.htm

今から1年前の6月、私のノルウェー留学はスタートしました。
それまでは、普通のサラリーマンでしたので、自分の活動が記事になるなんて思いもよりませんでした。
人生は誰でも変える事ができるのだと、今私は思っています。
私はそれをこの場をお借りして、自分の経験と日常を紹介させて頂き、
少しでも女性を応援できればと思っています。
お店にご来店いただくと、皆さん私がすっごく普通だと思われると思います。
ある日、店の模様替えで、ジーパンとTシャツノーメイクで奮闘していると、
サイトをみていらした初めてのお客さんに「意外と汚くって驚きました」と声をかけられました。
そうなのです。私はどこにでもいる30代の一市民。
誰でも自分をポジティブに変えられるチャンスはあるのです。
そんな、実証例1 越智 香保利をご覧になりたい方。
どうぞイベントやお店にお運びくださいね。

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05th 6月 2006

Why Norway?

Why Norway?
Before talking about the reason we broke up, I would like to talk about the frequent question I’ve gotten “Why Norway?” because it is also related to our separation.
While in Norway, I came to think how their quality of life is high.
Compared to my life those days, their life seemed like a utopia.
One life in Japanese company
After my graduation, I joined JTB, Japan Travel Burrow.
Since I was stimulated by my ex-boyfriend’s ambition, I made the goal: “Become the editor of a domestic guide book and spread the idea how domestic travel in Japan is nice”.
So, I wanted to appeal to Japanese local areas. You know local areas in Japan suffer from the problem of declining population and economy. I wanted to cheer them up. My classmates tended to like traveling abroad and loved shopping there. However, I believe if you know a place deeply, you become interested in it and want to visit. I thought making good guidebooks made sense.
Luckily, I was able to take part in the making guidebooks section. First I had worked as an advising sales staff for 4 years and then I got an editor position of making guidebooks. My dreams came true.
To be honest, I enjoyed making guidebooks a lot. I made Okinawa, Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Nagano guide books. I could visit all the places and had nice times there as well.
However, I didn’t have any private time at all. I had to work so hard because in Japan, we always have to pay attention to what our bosses are thinking of us. For example, we have to stay our desk until our bosses leave for the day.
I felt so much stress. Even though I did the research and looked over the areas to make a good guidebook, only my boss’s words carried any weight.
So I was exhausted physically and mentally.
At that time, I met Norway.
====to be continued on this blog http://2daime.kimono-sakaeya.com/?eid=373949
Sorry this English blog is moving to my privet blog becouse of copyright piracy.

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21st 5月 2006

An afternoon of Japanese culture, Sunday May 28th

We will have an event on Sunday 28 of May in English
“Remembering Shikoku and the original Sakaeya Kimono Shop”
Sunday May 28th 2006
Sakaeya Kimono Shop farewell in English
Our shop was started 47 years ago by my parents, Sakae and Keiko Ochi who moved to the Kanto region from the southern island of Shikoku. The present original shop is soon to be destroyed to make way for a larger building so the shop will be moving to another location.
So I was has organized a farewell event so that past memories of the original shop can be remembered and new long lasting memories can be formed.
The event is held in the present shop, which gives members an opportunity to see the inner-workings of a traditional family kimono shop. This event features live shamisen (a traditional Japanese instrument) music as well as the opportunity to try Shikoku sweets and Japanese tea. Also each attendee is given the chance to dress up in a kimono and have photos taken as well as receiving a souvenir to remember the day’s event.
The main reason behind this event is to give Keiko an opportunity to talk about the shop’s history and her birth place Shikoku. Keiko wishes to reminisce about how she started the shop with her late husband after World War Two and how the war changed Japan and left behind peace. This is a chance to hear Japanese history with a more personal touch. Keiko`s daughter Kahori will be translating everything into English on the day.
Date: Sunday 28th May 2006
Time: 3:00pm-6:00pm
Where: Sakaeya Kimono shop in Omiya (see http://www.kimono-sakaeya.com/english/index.html for map)
Cost: 3,000yen
Reservation is essential as space is limited so please write me comment on this page if you would like to join it.

A new service that the shop is offering is kimono rental for the day and a guided tour around Omiya, an older part of Saitama prefecture. If you are interested in hearing more about this service please visit the websitehttp://www.kimono-sakaeya.com/english/index.html .

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06th 5月 2006

First love and for 8 years boyfriend

First love and for 8 years boyfriend

My mother allowed me apply to go to 4 a year college so I started going to cram-school my second year of high school and studied hard. Then, fortunately, I got one acceptance letter from a 4 year college.
My subject of study was human sciences – I planned to study mainly philosophy – but I changed my mind. Honestly I was not sure what I really wanted to study, but just going to a 4 year college was more important. After a big competition to get into the school, an 18 year old girl could not find her future.
It was a pity that in spite of studying hard in high school, I was not motivated to study in college at all. In Japan, what we learn in school is not important to enter companies. The most important factor is the school from which you graduate. Besides, entering is difficult but graduation exam is quite easy! For Japanese, university and college is the last chance to have freedom before hard work at the company begins. So I didn’t feel guilty to hardly study there. (Now I am ashamed of it)
I participated in one scuba diving circle at another school and traveled with them a lot. Then I met one guy there and we become a partner for 8 years until the year before last.
Who is he?

He was studying law at one of the most famous universities in Japan. Even through I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to study and what I really wanted to do after graduating, he had a strong motivation to study and follow his dream. 20 years old, I was fascinated by his ambition. He wanted to be a lawyer and wipe out social ills.
It didn’t take very long to fall in love. We had a great situation, a sea of clear water and beach of white sand in a small island off the southern part of Okinawa and the shining sun and sunset in Ogasawara Island where take you for 34 hours trip by ship from Tokyo.
Surprisingly our relationship continued for 8 years, but Norway broke it up.

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04th 5月 2006

My mother’s ideal daughter

My mother’s ideal daughter
Preppy girl
My mother wanted to make me a preppy.
Actually she had made me enter a private school from elementary to high school.
She could not go to school in spite of the fact her brothers were going there since WW2. At that time parents put boys above girls to go to school.

“Be girlish!”

My mother has been saying often and even now she still says, “Be girlish!” to me. When I was child, rice refills had a limit of 3 times.
Because eating a lot doesn’t look good and is not girlish.

Many enrichment lessons

She thinks these lessons must be adopted by her ideal daughter.
The Japanese tea ceremony – The first time when I learned it I was in Kindergarten. I could not understand why almost every hand movement was prescribed, even walking! I ran away from lessons after a few times.The Japanese tea ceremony certificate
The flower arrangement- But I dislike cutting flowers a lot. It seems cruel! I stopped going to these lessons too.
The Japanese traditional dance – Indeed I love it but it was too expensive. I stoppped as well.
The Japanese harp – I have a basic certificate but I can’t play it at all!!
(However I think the tea ceremony lessons were necessary for me. Studying it, I silently understood why Japanese company and family structures have been made like this. So I have started to study it again. Extended entry show you what the tea ceremony is for me. if you like, please have a look.)
The first break in my life
I think I have tried to be my mother’s ideal daughter until last year.
However, once I did oppose her request when I was a high school student.
After my graduating high school, she recommended me to go to 2 yearswomen’s college.
According to her, women should have lower educationthan men, otherwise it is hard to find a husband.
However, I was keen on going to a 4 year university or college.
Because I wanted to become an office worker at a big company and get a good salary as much as I could, so I could rise a child by myself.
Why I thought like this is because my father died, but thanks to my mother, I could keep going to my private school, although it is common that woman became housewife in Japan.
Becoming a good salary office worker is necessary to graduate a 4 year school. Which university you graduate from is impotent to our entering a company and our subsequent life. The higher university you graduate from, the higher salary you can get.
Therefore the competition to get into good schools makes the Japanese over-concerned about our status and prestige.

(続きを読む…)

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17th 4月 2006

Father’s death: Mother cried, but I could not cry

Father’s death: Mother cried, but I could not cry
My father’s disease was discovered when I was a third grade elementary school student.
It was liver cancer but the name had been kept secret from him. At the time liver cancer always meant death.
He needed emergency surgery. However even after the operation, the surgeon said, “It’s too late. There’s nothing I could do.” We were told by doctors he was to be within a maximum of 4 years of death.
It was a remarkably cold day on February 4th. After a 3 year and 10-month battle with cancer, my father Sakae was called to heaven. He was 62 years old.
papa033.jpgHe always had few words, always had his temper under control, and loved Japanese culture. He was born in south island in Japan before WW2. During the war, he moved to China in opposition of the war, where he graduated from high school. He then went back to Japan and in spite of receiving training to become a solder, the war luckily ended before he could use it.
During the funeral service, my mother cried so much but I couldn’t cry.
For 13 year old children, death doesn’t mean father’s death but simply “death.” I couldn’t stop thinking: “One day I will die as well”. The thought filled my mind.
The bubble economy bursting
After father’s death, the other dark shadow came knocking on Sakaeya Kimono Shop’s door.
Kimonos had come not to be sold at all. Just before the bubble economy burst, the Kimono industry started suffering from a recession.
My mother said, “No money! What should we do?” quite often.
The one positive aspect of the Kimono shop had been “No lack for money,”but it was now gone. I had to study,“be pertinent.”
The Kimono shop became no longer attractive to me.
Therefore it was natural that I had no idea of becoming a Kimono shop owner.
Until last year I hated the Kimono shop because it was the reason for my loneliness, uncoolness and poorness.
Now it feels strange writing this Blog as the Kimono shop’s second generation owner.
I had been looking for The Blue Bird outside, but it seems I have found it inside instead.

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12th 4月 2006

From a Kimono shop daughter’s point of view

Lonely infant stage
16 years after our shop opened, I was born.
So let me move on to my experiences and about what I have thought about our Kimono shop until last year, from a Kimono shop daughter’s point of view.
Looking back at my childhood, our shop was in the best of condition and managed so well. Indeed, my parents were so busy. They opened the shop from 10AM to 9PM every single day. Therefore I wasn’t able to spend much time with them.
When I went to a friend’s house, I envied them for the fact that their mothers were at home (In Japan it is common after getting married or having a baby, for women to quit their jobs and become housewives).
I always felt lonely and thought, “Why was I born into a Kimono shop owner’s family?”
Preferring office work to Kimono shop
Kimonos are worn mainly by older people. It seemed so uncool to me!
I hated to say what my parents were doing.
In fact, Japanese tend to have a longing for Western cultures. When I said my parents ran a Kimono shop, no friend paid any attention. On the other hand, when others said their father was an office worker, we said, ”that’s cool!”
For me, the Kimono shop was the reason for my loneliness and uncoolness. However there was one good point — we had no lack for money. Feeling guilty for not being able to be with me, my parents bought me almost everything I ever wanted. Yes! I was spoiled!
However, the wealthy period was short. We would see two dark shadows in a few years. One was the bubble economy bursting and the other was father’s death.

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09th 4月 2006

Escape from rural hometown

Escape from rural hometown
After getting married, they started a new life in Tokyo.
Keiko was so happy because she hated her hometown and dreamed of living in the city.
First of all, Sakae was working for a company and Keiko was a housewife.
However, they had an ambition to have their own shop.
Empress Michiko decided what the shop should be doing.
At the same time, the current Emperor got married with Michiko.
Ms Michiko was the first empress who was not from an imperial family.
She was entirely beautiful, friendly and intelligent.
Indeed she became popular among Japanese. The fist time she was
introduced to Japanese by photo, she was wearing a Kimono.
(This photo of Michiko was unvelled on November 22th, 1958.)
My mother was fascinated by her and Ms Michiko had become the women of
Keiko’s dream. Finally they decided what kind of shop they were
starting. It was, of course, a Kimono shop.
The kimono shop, which is named Sakaeya ( the name is from my father’s
name) was born on September 20th, 1959.
At this time, Keiko was 24 years old and Sakae was 31.

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08th 4月 2006

Prewar generation parents

My childhood
I was bored being in a Kimono shop owner’s family.
It was a hot day in July 19, 1975.
At that time, my father Sakae was 47 years old and my mother Keiko was 41, they already had two boys, one was 17 and the other was 13.
They were too shy to say they had a child again to my brothers.
So giving birth to me had been a secret.
The fist time my older bothers saw me they wondered if we had a new monkey as a pet. They already had a monkey and I looked like it according to them. (Please make sure to know that having a monkey in Japan is uncommon!!) (The monkey, Aki. Do I look like him?)
Prewar generation parents
Both Sakae and Keiko were born in Shikoku, a southern island in Japan, before WW2.
After WW2, Sakae moved to Tokyo to get a job. Afterwards, he met one woman who was not my mother and they had decided to get married.
In Japan, the custom is still working where grooms and brides ask their parents for their consent to marriage. Getting married is not a personal matter but a family one.
Therefore he went back to his house to get his father’s permission.
At that time, the US encouraged Japanese to go to church for postwar turmoil.
When he was in his hometown, he went to the church, Keiko was introduced to him by her friend who was the priest. She fell in love quickly.
The priest didn’t know why Sakae returned to his hometown. Oh God!
How Keiko got Sakae
The reason why my parents got married was because of Japan’s traditional family system.
As I said above, marriage has to be allowed by their parents.
Sakae’s father used to be a sergeant and was very strict and conservative.
Even through Sakae was not the oldest son (for patriarchal reasons, the oldest son’s wife is important), his father could not understand women who were living in the city and working.
On the other hand, my mother’s family runs the biggest liquor store in the town.
The daughter from such a famous family was welcomed!
( Our shop in around when I was bored)

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