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2019/10/31 20:20:00 Community Engagement Program: Kyoto Report

  • Categoryお知らせ
  • Posted byStudent Reporter
Hello, my name is Chika Okamura. I am a second-year student majoring in Global Tourism Studies.

I have taken part in a CE program in Kyoto this summer. This internship program consists of a participant observation of a Japanese-style inn, training at a Zen temple, and studying the traditional industry. The participant observation takes up to two weeks to complete. The number of participants is 8. In a workshop before the program, we made preparations such as searching about the current situation of Japanese-style inns and traditional crafts in Kyoto. This is what the program will be based on.

First, we had the participant observation of a Japanese-style inn. I made trips around three inns with my partner. We worked at “Watazen(綿善)”, “Nishokan-Shosintei(日昇館尚心亭)”, and “Satomo(さと茂)”, and the period lasts 4~5 days for each inn. We were in charge of being the room clerk, albeit working time and business outline were different at each inn. In addition, we thought a room clerk usually takes care of customers, but we mostly worked behind the scenes. Yet, it appeared that the spirit of service to customers were found in all those backroom tasks such as checking rooms and setting up the futon. The purpose of the participant observation was to search the reasons for the declining of Japanese-style inns, relationships in the workshop, and business outlines of room clerk. Finally, we discovered the problem, and was able to present the solution. When we work in a Japanese style inn, it is important to entertain guests. This point has not changed since the old days.

Next, we had training at the Zen temple. This was done at the Fumonken (普門軒) near the Kinkaku temple(金閣寺) for two nights. We were not allowed to use electronics or put on makeup. In the temple, we practiced “zazen” (meditation) many times a day, ate a vegetarian diet, went to bed early, and got up early. In addition, there were many rules, so it took time for me to get used to them, albeit it didn’t feel painful at all. I was interested in the chief priest’s conversation. Although the content was difficult, I have learned various things from the conversation. Besides, there were many kind people in this temple, and I felt comfortable. I thought the life in the temple would be uncomfortable because of its different environment from the everyday life. However, I think this training has been a good opportunity for someone like me who goes to a convenience store a lot.

Finally, we studied about the traditional industry. They had many traditional crafts. In this program, we were able to experience “Kyo- lacquerware (京漆器)”, “Yuzen dyeing with patterns(型友禅)”, “gold leaf Yuzen dyeing(金彩友禅)”, “Kyo-tassel strings(京房紐)”, and “Sanada strings (真田紐)”. There were histories and historical contexts for each craft. That is why I thought that there was some sort of romantic sprit of inheriting tradition. However, at the same time, I knew the traditional industry had some problems, which we were able to suggest solutions to. In addition, we got to bring back the crafts that we made; they became our mementoes.

In this way, we made progress through the program. I appreciated being able to experience so many things in these three weeks. Although the things that I experienced were not altogether good, I think they will become steppingstones for the future. Moreover, I am certain that this program will be better in the next year, so please consider participating in this CEP Kyoto program.
  • The Japanese-style Inn “Watazen(綿善)”
  • We practiced "zazen."
  • This is the book cover we made using the "Yuzen" with gold leaf.

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