Japanese influence on American Quilting

March 24, 2008: 日米関係Culture Shock

Mom showing off her Japanese quilt

(First Report From My Trip Home to Seattle)
Patchwork quilting is popular in Japan as a way for people to create something original. Here in the original home of creating, America, quilts using Japanese kimono fabric and other traditional Japanese materials is gaining in popularity. My mother is an avid quilter, and enjoys collecting Japanese fabric and making quilts such as this one, 'Maru'. We have a couple of my Mom's wall hangings at Kamesei Ryokan, including one Hawaiian style quilt of some turtles (Kamesei's 'kame') hanging in front of the baths.
(シアトルの里帰りの第一リポート)
久しぶりに親の家に行ったら、母親がいま作っているキルトを見せてくれました。何と日本風!アメリカのキルトの世界の中で日本風な生地(着物など)がはやっているようです。亀清にも母親の作品が飾ってあります。お風呂の前に、ハワイイ風の亀(亀清の看板動物)の作品です。
Click here for Kamesei Ryokan website亀清旅館のHPはこちら





Going to America里帰り

March 23, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

9 hour flight -- how many movies is that?

When I made the decision to move to Nagano to help out here at Kamesei Ryokan, I promised my parents I would go home to Seattle once a year to see them. Today, my wife and kids and I are flying out for this year's trip. I am especially looking forward to showing them are little daughter Misaki walking.
Once in Seattle, I plan on continuing this blog, commenting on what kinds of cross-cultural dynamics I find. Stay tuned!
亀清旅館の後継ぐ事を決めた時に、親に年に一度里帰り約束した。今日はその為に家族の皆で飛びます。我が娘が一才になったばかりでその歩き出している姿を見せたくて。。。
シアトルからもブログをやりますの宜しく!
Click here for Kamesei Ryokan website.亀清旅館のHPはこちら





Debito Talk

March 22, 2008: 日米関係Culture Shock

Debito-san in the 'zone'

Kamesei Ryokan was proud to host a series of talks by Debito Arudo. This morning's was sponsored by the Chikuma Int'l Cultural Exchange Assoc. Approximately 20 people attended and heard about how Japan's population is becoming more international, and some of the dynamics that are resulting. On one hand, foreigners are increasingly contributing to Japan's society and economy, bringing desired effects to offset Japan's aging and shrinking population. On the other hand, foreigners are often villified in society.
In my own personal case, on one hand I am often complimented by people in town for working so hard to carry on the ryokan tradition here at Kamesei and my efforts to 'enliven' the town. On the other hand, there was a time I was refused an apartment here in Nagano simply because I was a foreigner. Of course similar prejudice happens in all countries, but here in Japan there are no laws against it. Yes, illegalizing discrimination doesn't make it go away, but that's of little comfort to someone who has been refused a basic human right like shelter.
After the talk, someone from Chikuma City Hall inquired about getting Debito-san back to give a talk to the city employees. I'm happy Kamesei was able to play a role in producing such positive results!
千曲国際交流協会の提供で、亀清旅館のロビーにArudo Debitoさんの講演が行いました。主の内容は日本の人口減少・高齢化問題に対して、外国人の増加が重要なのに、外国人は沢山の壁に当っている。自分の場合、亀清の若旦那として戸倉上山田温泉の仲間として受け入れて頂いているので色んな面で「町興し」に参加しています。しかし、以前は私が長野でアパートを借りるのに断れた事がある。もちろん、全世界に外国人差別があるけど日本の場合はそれに対する法律が無い。法律を作っても差別は消えないけれども、「衣食住」の「住」も断る事を許す事は?!?!
ところで、講演の後に市役所の方が今度、Debitoさんに千曲市役所のこの有利な講演をして欲しいと言い出した。亀清旅館が役に立てて、良かったと思います。





Easter Egg Festival III

March 22, 2008: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Happy Easter Egg Hunters

Our city's Third Annual Easter Egg Festival was held today at the park along the Chikuma River in front of our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada. Despite Easter being early this year and running up against preschool graduations, we had 120 people turn out. There were lots of smiling children there, so it was a success in my book.
On a personal note, I was limited in how much I could participate this year, but thanks to all of the other volunteers, the event went relatively well. I proposed the event to the Chikuma Int'l Cultural Exchange Assoc. 3 years ago, and have been the Event Chairperson for all 3 years since then. However, all events need to be larger than any one individual to succeed. And this year, the other volunteers really stepped up to make it happen.
120人が今年のイースタエッグフェスティバルを楽しみました。子供の笑顔は沢山ありました。それが成功だ!
個人的なことを言わせたら、私がこのイベントの実行委員長で三年目でした。今年は特に手伝う時間が少なかったなのにイベントが無事にお子の割れた。千曲国際交流協会の皆様のお陰ですよ!有難うございました。



The Hunt is on!ハント


Egg Tossゲーム


Break Eggゲーム


Spoon Relayゲーム


Egg Dyingアート


General MacArthur in Kamiyamada?

March 21, 2008: 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano

General Mac

At the hill behind Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, there is a History Museum that has become, err, historical itself. It closed its doors many moons ago, and most of the artifacts have moved on. There are a few interesting statues remaining, though, including ones of Chang Kai Shek and of this guy, General Douglas MacArthur. I had heard stories of him related to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City, but it's somewhat bizarre seeing his statue here above our town!



Stone Lanterns lining the road by the defunct History Museum


New guest room sink洗面j台改善

March 21, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

Misaki checking out my plumbing work

One of our guest rooms had a leaky sink. In my attempt to repair it, I managed to crack the porcelain. So I went ahead and updated the whole thing, with a cool ceramic bowl, a stylish faucet, and a nice, wood countertop. If guests like it, I plan on updating more bathrooms in the future.
あるお客室の辛苦が水漏れしていました。直してみたら、ひびが入っちゃった。仕方が無い:全部を新しくしました。陶芸なボールを使って、ちょっとしたお洒落な雰囲気になりました。





Special Guests 珍しいゲスト

March 20, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

Tairaa and Sayuki and Debito

A gathering like this doesn't happen very often: Arudo Debito, the 'Michael Moore' of Japan; Sayuki, Japan's first foreigner geisha, and Yours Truly, the blue-eyed 'wakadannna' innkeeper. The three of us, in our various ways, are actively working to bridge the gaijin-nihonjin gap and share Japan's rich culture with people overseas (as well as working to open Japan up to some Western ideas). Needless to say, we had some lively discussions. Up to 2:30 in the morning. Two days straight!
亀清で珍しい集まりがありました:札幌からのArudo Debitoさん(人種差別に対する活動している)と浅草からのSayukiさん(日本発の外国人芸者)と私(青い目の若旦那)。三人ともがそれぞれの業界で日本人・欧米人のギャップを超える努力をしています。
Click here for Kamesei Ryokan website.亀清旅館のHPはこちら



Debito-san experiencing Shateki for the 1st time


イースター準備 Getting ready for the hunt

March 19, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

約1000個 Approx. 1000 eggs

千曲国際交流教会のメンバーと一緒に土曜日のイースターエッグフェスティバルの準備しています。イベントの詳しくは
http://www.chikuma-kanko.jp/kyoukai/easter/easter.htm

Getting ready for Saturday's Easter Egg Hunt with members of the Chikuma International Exchange Association.

亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website





2007年度旅館組合青年部活動報告

March 18, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

A Year in the Life -- My annual progress report to the ryokan assoc.

旅館組合青年部の皆は毎年、活動報告を出さなければならない。こうやって見れば、一年間の出来事は凄いですね。青年部の先輩の皆様、今年も宜しくお願い致します。また色々と教えていただけるようにお願い致します。





セツブンソウ 騒ぎ

March 17, 2008: 季節 Seasons

魅力なセツブンソウ

アメリカから日本に来てから、いつも関心するのは日本人の季節感です。特に花の季節感。今は雪が融けた後の敏感の時期です。戸倉駅の裏の山に雪が先週から融け始めて、今はセツブンソウと言う山野際が咲いてきました。最近はここの花が新聞などに載っている成果、見る人がうんと増えたようです。去年に上田さんが亀清に泊まった時に見に行ったので今年はまた来ました。今日は案内して頂いてしまいました。小さくて可愛いらしい魅力的な花です。今年は3月23日辺りがピークだそうです。本当に短い間しか咲かないので今がチャンス!



私と上田先生


カメラマン達一生懸命


ハモニカのBGMも