Kwaidan: The exhibition and a prestigious cultural event connecting Japan and Ireland

Please see the following information about ‘Kwaidan’, the exhibition and a prestigious cultural event connecting Japan and Ireland managed by Blue Moon Projects and SO Fine Art Editions, Dublin. Project organisers are looking for supporters and are offering sponsorship opportunities.


About Kwaidan
Kwaidan aims to follow in Lafcadio Hearn’s footsteps by connecting east and west through common cultural values, and will be a shared celebration of the life and work of Lafcadio Hearn, the Irish literary figure revered in Japan as the cultural icon Koizumi Yakumo.
 

Kwaidan will include 20 leading artists from Japan and 20 artists from Ireland who will visually interpret a story of their choice from Kwaidan, Hearn’s 1904 seminal collection of ghost stories inspired by Shintō and Buddhist legends.

The exhibition will be staged in six venues in Japan and six in Ireland from September 2023 to the end of 2024. This will include being one of the main opening events for the exhibition space in the new Irish Embassy building (New Ireland House) in Tokyo and at the Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Matsue. In Ireland the prestigious venues will include the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) in Dublin and the Yeats Museum in Sligo.

Kwaidan will offer unique access to connections, exposure and cultural affinity with an historic event that will have lasting resonance in both countries. Project has the support of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs Ireland, Irish Embassy in Tokyo, Japanese Embassy in Dublin, Business to Arts and UCD, and organisers will engage with Culture Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland.

 

Please see brochure about the project and sponsorship options here!

About the Curators
  • SO Fine Art Editions is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary galleries specialising in printmaking. SO Director Catherine O’Riordan has worked with many of the Kwaidan participants previously. SO’s most recent international print project was a lonely impulse of delight in 2015 which toured to London, Beijing and Tokyo. www.sofinearteditions.com
Contact details
Stephen Lawlor
0868314040
slawlorart@gmail.com
www.stephenlawlor.com

Hiding in Plain Sight: Mieko Kawakami & Rónán Hession | ILF Dublin 2022

Ireland’s premier literary event – International Literature Festival Dublin (ILF Dublin) – is taking place from 19th – 29th May, bringing the world’s finest writers together to enthral, engage and excite audiences.

This year’s festival has an amazing line-up and is proud to celebrate the very best Irish and international fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters. Festival strands include StoryMachine, a curated series for families and children; fringe programme Boundless; and Advance professional development events. You can explore the full festival programme here!

The world-famous International Dublin Literary Award is presented during ILF Dublin. Awarded for a novel written or translated into English, it promotes excellence in world literature. One of the richest literary prizes at €100,000, it is solely sponsored by Dublin City Council.

Among other amazing events, we would like to highlight event and discussion with two authors from different corners of the globe who share a literary eye for vulnerable, gentle characters in a hostile world.

Mieko Kawakami and Rónán Hession excel in portraying quiet individuals who are almost invisible at the centre of their own lives. Mieko’s latest work, All the Lovers in the Night, is as much about the problems of modern society in Japan as it is about the intense joys and terrors of womanhood the world over. Rónán’s long-awaited second novel, Panenka develops the warm yet uncompromising voice he is known for in the story of Joseph, a middle-aged man attempting to save his own life.

Date: Tuesday, 24 May
Time: 20:00
Venue: Merrion Square Park (Le Fanu)
Tickets: €10 / €8 – Book here!

Photo: ILF Dublin 2022

Originally from Osaka, Mieko Kawakami has just been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, for her 2021 novel HeavenRónán Hession is a Dublin-based writer and musician. His debut novel, Leonard and Hungry Paul was selected as the One Dublin One Book title in 2021. 

The authors will discuss their novels with chair, Martin Colthorpe, Programmer at the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Kawakami never evangelizes, never wags a finger. . . This is the real magic of Heaven, which shows us how to think about morality as an ongoing, dramatic activity.’ Merve Emre, New Yorker


For more information, please visit ILF Dublin website: https://ilfdublin.com/

Festival map & venue:

Say Yes to Languages | Language Sampler Module 2022/23 | APPLY NOW

Last month, the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, announced an extension of the “Say Yes to Languages” primary languages sampler module for a further year and invited primary schools to apply to participate in the module.

The length of the module in 2022/23 will be increased from 6 to 8 weeks. The grant to schools participating will also be increased to €400 per class up to a maximum of €1,600.

The module is aimed at 3rd to 6th class and the school can select the language of choice depending on its demographic and school context.

The 2022/23 module could be used to support the integration of newly arrived Ukrainian pupils to our schools by acknowledging Ukrainian as one of the languages of the classroom or by choosing to teach Ukrainian for the duration of the module.

 

Photo: languagesconnect.ie

 

Languages selected in 21/22 included French, Spanish, ISL, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Arabic, Tamil and Portuguese.

The primary language sampler module can be delivered by either the class teacher in the school or by an individual identified by the school as a suitable tutor (for example, a language teacher/ foreign language assistant in a local post-primary school or a member of the community who is fluent in the chosen language, for example, a parent, who meets the scheme’s criteria).

Training for the teacher/ tutor will be provided by Post Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) which will also provide all the necessary resources and supports to the schools delivering the module. Further information on the resources are available on the Post Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) website.

Further details on the module are available in a circular.

How to apply: Schools can apply to participate in the module in 2022/23 here.

The closing date for receipt of completed application forms is 5pm on 11 May 2022.

Experience Japan 2022 | Join the celebrations of Hanami Festival!

Experience Japan festival will be returning to the wonderful Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday, 10th April to celebrate traditional Hanami or Cherry Blossom festival with lots of Japanese music and dance performances, martial arts, cosplay and kimono displays, delicious Japanese food, and demonstrations of Japanese culture and traditions.
All events are free and everybody is welcome!
The programme of Experience Japan festival has been published and it is packed with amazing events for everyone to enjoy! 
 
HOW TO GET THERE?

BUS

Dublin Bus Route 37 will drop you at Castleknock Gate (stop number 1669).

Enter Phoenix Park and take the narrow pedestrian path to your immediate right. Walk down this path until you reach the road, and turn right to see the gates of Farmleigh. This is about a 15 minute walk. On a rainy day, it may be muddy and a longer route along roads may be preferred.

CAR

Farmleigh is inside the Phoenix Park.  There are 300 free car spaces on site.

We encourage all festival goers to prioritise the parking needs of people with access or mobility issues, and take public transport wherever possible.

It will not be possible to park on White’s Road as Garda traffic restrictions will be in place. Please be wary of sat-nav! There is a 5-7 minute walk from Farmleigh car park to the House, Gallery and Gardens. Full driving directions are here.

BICYCLE

There are several Dublin Bike stations close to the shuttle bus stop on Parkgate Street.

***

Follow Experience Japan for more updates and news!
 

Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returns to Irish cinemas this April

The Japanese Film Festival returns for its 14th outing this April, bringing the best of Japanese cinema to audiences across Ireland.
This year, Ireland’s only truly national film festival returns to its usual April slot. Screenings will take place in seven venues nationally, starting in Cork on Sunday April 3rd. April 7th will see the start of screenings in Dublin, Galway and Waterford. The festival continues in Tipperary on April 9th and concludes in Dundalk on April 23rd.
From festival favourites and hidden gems to the latest anime and blockbuster hits, every year JFF aims to bring the best of contemporary Japanese cinema to Irish audiences – and this year is no different.
This year’s line-up includes Tokyo Revengers, a live-action adaptation of the hit manga / anime series and one of the biggest Japanese box office successes of 2021. Time travel, romance, yakuza drama, action – Tokyo Revengers has it all.
Under The Open Sky, meanwhile, is among the most acclaimed Japanese dramas of recent years, boasting a career-best lead performance from veteran star Koji Yakusho (The Eel, Shall We Dance?, Cure, 13 Assassins).

Photo: Under the Open Sky (JFF 2022)

Other highlights at this year’s festival include Ito, a funny and poignant drama about a disaffected young woman who starts working in a maid café; Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, a captivating take on one of the most unusual chapters of World War II and its aftermath; and Dawning on Us, a sharp social satire set in the immediate aftermath of lockdown. Foodies won’t want to miss the sumptuous The Pursuit of Perfection, a documentary that focuses on four of Japan’s most internationally celebrated chefs.

Photo: Ito (JFF 2022)

JFF 22 will also include the Irish premiere of the visionary stop-motion animation film Junk Head. Full of grotesque creatures, bizarre sights and unexpected comedy, Junk Head is an unforgettable trip into a subterranean sci-fi dystopia.

Photo: Junk Head (JFF 2022)

There’s something for everyone in this year’s anime selection. Looking for Magical Doremi is a lively and charming coming-of-age story and road trip across Japan. Sing a Bit of Harmony – the latest from Patema Inverted director Yasuhiro Yoshiura – is a joyous and energetic mix of high school drama, sci-fi and musical. Pompo the Cinephile brings a larger-than-life manga character to life while serving as a celebration of all things cinema. Last year’s JFF included the first Irish screenings of the Oscar-nominated Drive My Car.
JFF audiences in Cork, Galway and Waterford will this year have a chance to see director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s other 2021 masterpiece – the extraordinary anthology film Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy – on the big screen.
TICKETING
Ticket sales information for screenings are available from each participating venue.
Ticketing links and listings are also available at www.jff.ie
JFF 2022 FULL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
Gate Cinema, Cork
Sunday April 3rd to Wednesday April 6th
April 3 @ 18:00: Under The Open Sky
April 4 @ 18:00: Tokyo Revengers
April 5 @ 18:00: Pompo the Cinephile
April 6 @ 18:00: Ito
Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Thursday April 7th
April 7 @ 18:00: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 7 @ 20:15: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
Light House Cinema, Dublin
Thursday April 7th to Thursday April 14th
April 7 @ 20:15: Under the Open Sky
April 8 @ 18:30: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 8 @ 20:15: Tokyo Revengers
April 9 @ 13:15: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 9 @ 15:00: Sing a Bit of Harmony
April 9 @ 18:30: Pompo the Cinephile
April 9 @ 20:15: Junk Head
April 10 @ 19:00: Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
April 11 @ 18:00: Ito
April 12 @ 18:00: Dawning on Us
April 13 @ 18:00: The Murders of Oiso
April 14 @ 18:00: The Asadas!
Pálás Cinema, Galway
Thursday April 7th to Monday April 11th
April 7 @ 20:30: Under the Open Sky
April 8 @ 18:45: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 8 @ 20:30: Ito
April 9 @ 14:45: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 9 @ 16:30: Sing a Bit of Harmony
April 9 @ 18:45: Pompo the Cinephile
April 9 @ 20:30: Tokyo Revengers
April 10 @ 14:00: Dawning on Us
April 10 @ 16:30: Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
April 10 @ 20:00: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
April 10 @ 18:30: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
Garter Lane Theatre, Waterford
Thursday April 7th to Saturday April 9th
April 7 @ 19:30: Sing of a Bit of Harmony
April 8 @ 19:30: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
April 9 @ 19:30: Pompo the Cinephile
Tipperary Excel Centre, Tipperary
Saturday April 9th
April 9th @ TBC: Sing a Bit of Harmony
An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk
Saturday April 23rd
April 23rd @ TBC: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 23rd @ TBC: Summer Ghost + Making Of
April 23rd @ TBC: Pompo the Cinephile
***
Japanese Film Festival 2022 is co-organised by The Embassy of Japan and access>CINEMA.

IJA Annual General Meeting 2022 | Review

The 32nd Annual General Meeting for the Ireland Japan Association took place on Thursday, 24th March 2022. Meeting was held as a hybrid event with members attending in person and remotely via Zoom platform.

Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson, thanked the outgoing Council members for their work, participation and team effort throughout the past year, Embassy of Japan for their continued support to the IJA, and all IJA Corporate and Individual members who have supported association and its activities in 2021.

Raymond Hegarty paid his respects to the late Derek Ryan, founder of Yamamori Japanese restaurants in Dublin. Yamamori has been a Corporate Member of the IJA and supporter of the IJA events for years.

In his report, Raymond Hegarty noted that 12 business and culture events were organized online and in person throughout the past year, including IJA Japanese Conversation Group, AGM 2021, Online Book Launch: Black Dragonfly by Jean Pasley, Sake Tasting Night, Origami workshop, Mid-Summer Japanese Outdoor Event, Tokyo Olympics: The Countdown, IJA Golf Outing 2021, Placing Employee Wellness at the Heart of Your Organisational Culture, tickets for the IJA members to the Ireland vs Japan Rugby Match at Aviva Stadium, Business Opportunities in Changing World, and Bounenkai Sake Reception and Dinner.

In 2021 IJA supported and promoted a list of online events organized by the IJA partner organisations, members and friends UCD Japan, Unique Japan Tours, the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce, Writers of Kyoto, Chester Beatty, Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens in Tramore, and many more.

The IJA supported Japanese School of Ireland with a donations in 2021.

Raymond Hegarty informed that IJA member’s network had 35 corporate members and 58 individual members in 2021. Two new corporate members joined the IJA in 2021 – VIOTAS and Shikkui Ireland.

An update on the Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda Scholarship was given during the meeting. Raymond Hegarty informed that after pausing scholarship award in 2020 due to Covid pandemic, in 2021 the IJA was honoured to award it to Francis Donnelly, studying for BA in Applied Languages, University of Limerick. Francis is planning to go to Nagoya University of Foreign Studies to continue her Japanese studies abroad. Raymond Hegarty thanked Paula Kelly for her support and assistance with the scholarship management and administration process over the last year.

Summary of the IJA Financial Statements for 2021 was shared with the AGM participants, membership subscription fees were discussed and approved for 2022/2023 and the new IJA Council members were announced.

Raymond Hegarty informed that this year there are 2 Council members leaving the Council. He thanked Verity Swan and Hiroaki Ozaki for their valuable advice, work and participation during their time on the Council. Yasuyuki Ozeki, former IJA Vice Chairperson will continue his work on the Council as an Ordinary Council member.

This year the IJA received enough nominations to satisfy the constitutional requirements for Chairperson and Ordinary Council members, and all places were filled without requiring a vote. This year 2 nominations were received for the IJA Vice Chairperson seat and voting took place from Thursday, 10th March – Thursday, 17th March 2022. Election results were reviewed and confirmed by an independent assessor – Stephen Power, Power & Associates.

We are delighted to announce that the new IJA Vice Chairperson is Tsugumi Yamamoto, IJA Individual member. We would also like to thank other nominee Hiro Ino, IJA Individual member, who will continue his work on the Council as an Ordinary Council member.

Four new Council members were welcomed to the IJA Council this year – Tsugumi Yamamoto, IJA Individual member who will take the seat of the IJA Vice Chairperson, and Brian Marconi, JTI, Hiro Ino, IJA Individual member and Jonathan Kelly, IJA Individual member who all will join the Council as Ordinary members.

The newly elected IJA Council for 2022:

Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson

  1. Raymond Hegarty, IJA Individual Member (Chairperson)
  2. Tsugumi Yamamoto, IJA Individual Member (Vice Chairperson)

Corporate Members:

  1. Brian Marconi, JTI
  2. Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS
  3. Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours
  4. Laura Goonan, Dillon Eustace
  5. Pamela Connell, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking
  6. Stephen Mullin, CPL Ireland
  7. Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO

Individual Members:

  1. Eddie Hughes, IJA Individual Member
  2. Hiro Ino, IJA Individual Member
  3. Jonathan Kelly, IJA Individual Member
  4. Paula Kelly, IJA Individual Member

Not on Council but invited to attend meetings:

  1. Sou Watanabe (Honorary Member)

 

Experience Japan festival returns to Phoenix Park on 10th April

Long awaited and good news from our friends at Experience Japan – it has been confirmed that Experience Japan festival will be returning to the wonderful Farmleigh house and estate this spring.
The festival takes its name from ‘Hanami’: the traditional Japanese custom of viewing flowers, especially cherry blossoms, to mark the arrival of Spring. Each year Experience Japan brings families and friends together in the beautiful setting of Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, to enjoy music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, seminars, and a variety of traditional arts and crafts, and to discover Japanese culture, including lots of delicious Japanese food. Many festival-goers dress for the occasion: in traditional styles, following Japanese fashion subcultures, or in cosplay.
Festival organisers will look forward to welcoming you at this year’s Hanami Festival on Sunday, 10th April.
Festival team also is looking for volunteers who could help at the festival. Volunteers are invited to complete the application form to register as a volunteer for the 2022 festival. Any questions can be emailed to volunteers.experiencejapan@gmail.com
For more information and letest updates, please check Experience Japan website:

JLTI Language Contest 2022 | Applications Open

IMPORTANT: Application deadline has been extended until Monday, 14th March 2022!
The Japanese Language Contest 2022 is open for entries.
This year’s theme is ‘Time for Fun’, contest will take place online, and you can send entries in the form of speech or Japanese language soundtrack videos which demonstrate a fun outlook.
The entries will be evaluated on a variety of criteria such as language level and expression, creativity and performance, and the prizes will reward a range of different styles, abilities and effort. The judging panel will take into account the language background and learning experience of the entrants which will be documented through their application forms.
Applications are accepted in 2 categories:
  • Secondary School Category A & B (A: TY& 5th year, B: 6th year) – individuals
    • Video clip of a self-introduction speech
    • One individual speaker should be clearly shown making their speech on screen.
    • No use of special props or items, other speaker or background noise or music etc is permitted.
    • Duration is 1 – 5 minutes
  • Open Category – individuals or groups
    • It can be individual or group production
    • Open format; (i.e.) speech, conversation, skit, drama, song, poetry, show & tell, presentation or animation
    • There must be a soundtrack in Japanese voiced by the entrant(s)
    • If entrants are not shown speaking on screen, then a separate short video must be provided with the application form which clearly shows the entrant(s) giving their names and speaking the lines. This video will not be evaluated for judging purposes.
    • Duration is 2 – 7 minutes

CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION

  • Participants must not be Japanese native speakers
  • Participants must be residents of Ireland.
  • Secondary School Category: This category is open to individual entrants of Secondary School age only.
  • Open Category: Participants cannot have lived in Japan for longer than 5 years in total. This category is open to entrants of all ages.
  • Neither participants themselves nor their immediate family members may be members of the JLTI.
  • Only one entry per category per person, regardless of whether individual or part of a group.
  • Participants should submit the application form including their YouTube video link and consent form(s) by the deadline.
  • A signed consent form must be provided for each member of any team entries for the Open Category.
  • For individual entries, the file names for the YouTube Videos and Consent Form should include the name of the entrant. The group name should be included in the file names for group entry videos and group member consent forms.
  • Applications will be accepted until March 7th.

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MONDAY, 7 MARCH 2022.

Results will be announced by the end of March.

The winners will be added to our website and winning entries will be showcased on social media.

For information, application forms and guidelines, please visit JLTI website: https://jlti.org/jp/speech/
***

Contest is hosted by Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland (JLTI) and The Embassy of Japan in Ireland. Supported by the Japan Foundation. Sponsor: PPLI.

Book Review: Structures of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4 | Review by Jean Pasley

My first thought on reading Structures of Kyoto (Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4) was that I must go back to Kyoto. I have visited the city many times, lived there for months on end, and this book reminded me of what a special place it is and how much I miss it. It also alerted me to how much I missed while I was there. In this anthology, writers share their insights, knowledge and experiences of life in Kyoto, from the sublime tea ceremony to the other extreme: a school trophy made out of a rubber duck taped to a plastic plinth. There is something here for everyone.

The wonderful title of Mark Hovane’s essay, Rocks, Gravel and a bit of Moss, gives a sense of playfulness that belies the erudite content of this excellent essay and indeed of the entire anthology.

Did you know that Ryoanji is the second most photographed garden in the world? No? Neither did I.

I expect there is much I don’t know about Zen gardens. Hovane writes, “Knowing historically that these spaces are, on one level, 3D representations of 2D Chinese ink paintings is a good place to start” your study of these enigmatic spaces.

Reggie Pawle recalls a monk telling him that “Zen practice is like tying yourself up with a rope and then, in that condition, finding your freedom.” It seems that the harder you try to understand Zen the more elusive it becomes. Pawle says you learn “by doing rather than by analytically figuring things out.” His essay offers an amusing glimpse into the bewildering concept of Zen.

It is interesting how you can live somewhere and remain oblivious to the significance of what you are seeing all around you.

How many times have I walked past five-tiered tower-like structures without realising the profound importance of them? These are gorinto and they are “primarily associated with memorialising the dead.” In Jann Williams’ intriguing and informative essay, Beyond Zen – Kyoto’s Gorinto Connections, I learned that the five geometric shapes stacked on top of one another that form the structure of gorinto are the cube, sphere, triangle, semi-circle and jewel. The five shapes represent the elements of the universe: earth, water, fire, wind and space and they embody the interconnectedness of all creation. The next time I see gorinto, I will pay more attention.

 

It was in November 2012 that Jann Williams first experienced gorinto at Adashino Nenbutsuji, a small Pure land Temple in northern Arashiyama, Kyoto. She was deeply moved by their form, beauty, spiritual connectedness and energy.

Gorinto Siddham, Higashi Otani (photo: Jann Williams)

 

Catherine Pawasarat writes about how she spent untold hours at the annual Gion Festival before she started delving into the understated rituals taking place. She asks the question: “How can we humans long so deeply for significance in our lives and be blind to it at the same time?” Pawasarat explains the gruesome origins of this spectacular thousand-year-old festival during which the main deities, the god of storms and the goddess of rice, are welcomed every year to purify the city and its inhabitants.

 

Tradition holds that the spectacular Gion Festival floats purify the city streets in preparation for the Yasaka Shrine deities to bless central Kyoto, protecting its people from epidemics and other harm. (photo: Catherine Pawasarat)

The Gion Festival’s Ennogyoja Yama celebrates the 7th-century founder of Shugendo. This nature-mystic Buddhist path is followed by practitioners called Yamabushi, shown accompanying the float here. (photo: Catherine Pawasarat)

 

This book contains many little gems and nuggets of wisdom. Did you know that monks used to use green tea to help them stay awake during long periods of meditation, or that the sound of an iron kettle boiling on the charcoal brazier in the teahouse creates a whispering sound known as matsukaze, wind in the pines?

Apparently, “a ladleful of cold water poured into the kettle causes this sound to cease and creates a moment of utter silence and peace.” This, Rebecca Otowa tells us in Structures of Tea, is “one of the many wordless moments in tea ceremony that have the power to lift one out of ordinary sensation.”

There is another side to life in Kyoto. In Ina Sanjana’s heartfelt piece, Sunrise over the Kamogawa, we feel the loneliness of a homeless man, who “would like to hear someone say his name. Even in contempt.” And in Karen Lee Tawarayama’s science fiction set in 2050, The Life Dispensary, the summer heat has become unbearable not just for humans but for other bewildered creatures who are forced to take refuge in ponds, springs and rivers. This sad story highlights the climate crisis and a possible future intensifying of the sweltering heat that Kyoto already suffers during the summer months.

The unique landscape in and around Kyoto is depicted beautifully. Travel with Edward J. Taylor on a winter’s day to the village of Ohara where he hopes to walk “through fields of snow, the white purifying valley, called the Pure Land.” Stay with him through an area of “small forest between two massive beds of moss from which small jizo statues sprout like mushrooms.” Or enjoy John Einarsen’s elegant piece about the Dragon Gate of the World. “It stands alone atop wide stone steps, its three doorways always open to a forest, and beyond, mountains, keeping nothing in nor anything out.” The forest is “wild and free and vast beyond imagining.”

 

Nanzen-ji Sanmon (photo: John Einarsen)

 

Vast beyond imagining, as is Kyoto, a city where the secular world and the spiritual world stand side by side. During Obon, the annual Festival of the Dead, the souls of the ancestors return to visit their families. At the end of the three-day festival huge bonfires are lit on the surrounding mountains to guide the spirits back to the heavens. The fires can be seen all over the city.  In Lisa Wilcut’s beautiful poem, Okuribi, two recently bereaved people stand on their hotel roof and toast a departing spirit while gazing at the fires burning in the distance; “the spirits almost palpable in the haze that hovers over the city.”

Structures of Kyoto Anthology 4 is an eclectic mix of things personal, poetic, aesthetic, magical, modern and ancient, gathered together in an informative, thought-provoking collection. Enhanced with photographs and illustrations, this is a delightful book to dip in and out of.

It will amuse, inform and move you, whether you live in Kyoto, are simply passing through, or are dreaming about this ancient city from the other side of the world.

***

Award-winning writer/director Jean Pasley lived in Japan for many years. Her debut novel Black Dragonfly was published in 2021.  Set in late nineteenth century Japan, it is a historical novel based on the remarkable experiences of the Irish writer, Lafcadio Hearn.


More information about the book can be found – here!

Order your copy of ‘Structures of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4’ (2021) – here!


 

IJA Bounenkai End of Year Party 2021 | Photo Gallery

On 2nd December the IJA members, friends, and supporters came together to celebrate and enjoy one of the most exciting cultural events and celebrations of the year – IJA Bounenkai End of Year Party with Sake reception and delicious Japanese dinner taking place at Yamamori Sushi, Dublin.

Eddie Hughes, IJA Council, welcomed everyone to the event and shared a message from Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson:

Bounenkai – the Japanese traditional year end party is a way to close off the year with friends and colleagues and get ready to welcome a new year. The word Bounenkai literally means ‘a gathering to forget the year’ – to put the troubles of the year behind you and face the future.

This echoes traditional celebrations dating back to 16th century Japan, when the Samurai lords would gather in late December for a day of cultural activities such as writing and reciting poetry. In the evening they would celebrate with a large banquet.

We do not expect much poetry to be written tonight, but we do hope that you enjoy each other’s company at the sake reception and during the meal.

Thank you for supporting the IJA this year. I wish you all the best for this evening and for the end of the year. I look forward to seeing you all again in 2022. – Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson

Colly Murray, RetroVino

Event guests had a wonderful opportunity to taste traditional Japanese Sake drinks, including premium Junmai Sake, accompanied by a short presentation on Sake history and culture by Colly Murray, RetroVino followed by a delicious dinner at Yamamori Sushi restaurant.
We would like to thank everyone  – our individual and corporate members as well as friends and supporters who attended this event. We appreciate your continued support to the IJA throughout this year.
A very big thanks goes to Colly Murray, RetroVino, for sharing his passion and knowledge about Japanese Sake, to Graham Ryan and his team, Yamamori Restaurants, for hosting our event and making sure everyone had the best time, and last but not least – to Eddie Hughes, IJA Council, for his time, support and help to make this event such a great success.

Note: Please note that during this event the IJA followed and complied with the health and safety recommendations and restaurant policy.

Photos: Eddie Hughes