Thanks to the wonderful 'Turntable films' for playing their unique
brand of hillbilly inflected indie folk-rock and for the staff at
Japonica for concocting a fabulous curry and putting up with all that
percussion bashing !
Happy Anniversary and thanks to all who attended. See you next year for
the big 5 year one !
Sangria ! Bingo ! UK Quiz ! Rissotto ! Pumpkin ! Thanks to everyone who
attended and a big thanks for your continued support and efforts in
studying English ! May the force be with you ! Keep the future bright !
Back from their elephant riding, dove-liberating,
sand-swapping Thai love fest, our happy couple Jane sensei
and John were congratulated once again, this time by Jane's students,
who were eager to know the juicy details. Thanks to the arty
photography and a bit of the old technology we were all able to enjoy a
slideshow (replete with soundtrack) and conjure up once again the magic
they must have enjoyed.
Highlights this time include John's impromptu Scottish dance class
(hilarious !) done to the heady sound of ..yes...you guessed
it-bagpipes. As always, gifts and offerings were plentiful -ranging
from a pink boxing glove practise set (put to nice effect in Jane's
fisty-cuffed demo) to a magic food mixer (collective gifts-thanks to
all who contributed) to seasonally refreshing ikebana
homemade savoury cakes. Not surprisingly, the champagne corks were
popping at an alarming rate and we all had a good knees-up despite
everyone virtually melting in the heat. Sometimes the air con just
Soon, Mitarashi Matsuri was a-calling so up
the river we sped in a convoy of chrome and wheels, splitting through
the willows like samurai gatecrashers. The speed soon gave way to
slowed down peace and love vibrations as we water-walked knee deep,
candles in hand. Such a calming experience and as close to -dare I say
it- 'cosmic ', Japanese shrine-visiting gets. With new age chimes being
aired over the candle lit water, it's not difficult to be seduced by
all this. There are also a zillion other details which can enchant here
too (such as the magic pebbles). Seek and ye shall find ! The evening
ended with a liddle listen to some carefully selected, flute-only,
melty jazz grooves and then senko hanabi-those pretty, pretty
fireworks- by the Kamogawa.
Congratulations Jane and John and thanks to everybody
who came and bought or made presents. The newly-weds are already
talking of repeating their voyage d'amour, in which case we'll gladly
repeat our celebrations, this side of the China Sea. See you all at the
third anniversary party !
2008 Cxg : O Hanami-
Riverside Picnic! Diary !
Once again everybody, thanks for a lovely o hanami
riverside picnic! Although the Kamogawa blossoms were already deep into
their green phase, we all managed to have a good laugh. As usual, we
were freezing cold despite the sunshine, so we only survived an hour
and a half by the river.
The food was fun and thanks to Kana for her delicous
homemade banana fruit cake. We also had a special guest drop in
-literally- in the shape of a huge Black Kite (those increasingly
aggressive eagle-like birds that rule the Kamogawa!) which swooped down
and grabbed a bite to eat! After going north up the river to buy
records (yes, there is a second-hand record shop up the river!) the
party re-started and we were joined by three more merry musketeers.
One of our favourite Italian bistros, Maskera
was all pizzas, bottled beers and animated conversation, giving way to
a really interesting bar SOB, down a nice long rouji
on Kiamachi street. There we gazed at the huge toy collection, drank
Okinawan beer and listened to our new records (-Gil Scott Heron and
Funky French Soundtracks ) which the master kindly played for us. One
nightclub later, it was definitely time to be heading home, having
walked and talked for hours..Aaaahh Spring at last!
Diary: GSE Christmas
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10/6 HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY
GSE!!!! - Merry Mexican Style!
This was a night of fun and colour in the luxuriously
spacious Reina de Reina restaurant, by the Biwako canal in Okazaki,
Kyoto. The place is very woody-how we like it-with stately furniture
and it's lush Mexican lighting spills outside beckoning fresh air
seekers back inside away from the still black waters of the canal.
There was a huge gathering this time-filling the entire
restaurant- and despite the slowness of the service (some thought this
was a good thing),the atmosphere soon became lovely enough.
The highlight of the evening was certainly Satoko and
Kazumi's handmade pinata-(see the picture). For those of you
who don't know, this is a wonderful Mexican creation filled with sweets
for kids to smash to smithereens to the sounds of an old spanish chant
after which they hurriedly grab the fallen delights. After the kids had
a go, Chika gave it a real ninja-turtles 'thwack' (plus a thousand
more!) to loosen it up a bit and eventually-lo and behold-the sweets
came raining down!
Although lifeless to begin with, the staff became more
smiley as the evening wore on. Bonus points for the selection of
bottled Mexican beers on offer too (first timers for most of us) and
for accommodating the round of tequila slammers which were shotgunned
by a certain little posse at the wide and woody bar-including our
Dot-back again from the UK!
Foodwise, some liked the paella, others prefered the
blood-red prawn cocktail, I quite liked the selection of fiery green
pickles which went with the tacos. 'Coursey but pretty good' I think ,
is the general verdict. Thumbs up and spinning sombreros all round! A
big thanks to everybody who helped to make it a fun and magical evening!
One more time: ....Dale ....Dale....Dale.... No
Pierdas el tino.....!!!
Future GSE projects :
Summer Circus School! ...watch this space!!
"NEW! NEW! My Kyoto"
-Must-eat Japanese Sweets in Kyoto
Welcome to Kyoto city! What are you expecting from
Kyoto-temples, traditional dance, history and so on? Although there are
many things to experience for visitors, I would like to introduce some
must-eat Japanese sweets here. When you walk around Kyoto City, you
must find many shops making and selling Japanese sweets, which are
known as wagashi. Wagashi originated in the Japanese tea ceremony, so
they have a nice balance with Japanese tea. I hope you can enjoy the
lovely harmony between the bitterness of tea and the following sweets:
kudzukiri, monaka, and anmitsu.
Founded in 1716, Kagizen is famous for kudzukiri, which
is made from devilfs tongue, kudzu, and looks like jelly. Because it is
served with black syrup, you can enjoy the subtle-taste of kudzukiri
and the sweetness of honeydew, which run into each other nicely. Also,
this shop has suikinkutsu in their garden. It makes a nice
reverberation when the water drips into a big jar which is under the
ground. T his is the way to enjoy the sounds of a Japanese garden.
Letfs try to eat and listen there.
My second recommendation is the monaka from Sentarou. It
holds bean paste between thin crisp rice crackers. The bean jam is full
up and almost runs out, therefore, we need to eat it with our mouths
wide open. I prefer to have it with strong tea because the bean paste
is a little sugary.
The best of the sweets I believe is the
shiratama-anmitsu from Gion Komori. Shiratama is like mochi ; and bean
paste and syrup are added to it in a small bowl. If green tea ice cream
is also in it, then it is really tasty. It is not oversweet, and you
can enjoy the beautiful faint smell of tea. In addition, the stream
(which is called Shirakawa) flows right by this shop, so you would see
the swinging willow above the water. Komori will present you with a
nice break from sightseeing.
These three sweets represent a fraction of the number of
Japanese sweets in Kyoto. Please try to find your favorite ones by
yourselves. Sweets are necessary for us to live our lives more
actively. They will make your travel in Kyoto even more enjoyable and
"My Kyoto" - a High School
Giant Stepper writes about the delights of Gosho - The
Imperial Palace Park
I live in Shiga but I really like Kyoto. Kyoto is very
beautiful because there are a lot of beautiful buildings. The people in
Kyoto are very friendly. Many people are very kind and very funny. I
study in Kyoto. I go to a school in Kyoto. Kyoto's history is very
interesting.I have studied Kyoto's history-Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji,
Kyotogyoen etc. I have studied my school's history too. It is
very interesting and beautiful. My favourite place is Gosho
in Kyoto. It is quiet. It is a good place to sleep. My other favourite
place is Shijo. It has many shops. The music and book shops and many
other kinds of shop are very good.