My English Life "International Exchange Journal"

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Kyoto is a popular tourist destination, attracting various tourists from overseas.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was quiet and deserted.
However, recently, with the lifting of restrictions, many foreign tourists have started visiting again.
Not all foreign tourists speak English, but it is a great opportunity nonetheless.
Looking at it from another perspective, by engaging in conversations with people from other countries,
you can experience a sense of traveling abroad without leaving Kyoto.
It creates an atmosphere of being on an overseas trip while staying in Kyoto,
and it allows you to expand your knowledge and understanding of different cultures.
This is an excellent chance that should not be missed.
I am considering documenting these interactions in a blog format as a record of cultural exchange.
I intend for this website to become a platform for continued communication with the people I meet in the future.
It will serve as a space where we can stay connected and share our experiences beyond our initial encounters.
Through this platform, we can continue our cultural exchange, exchange ideas, and maintain meaningful connections.
I hope that this website will serve as a bridge for fostering long-lasting relationships and furthering our mutual understanding.

On June 27, 2023 (Tuesday), in Arashiyama
 When walking upstream from the Togetsukyo Bridge, there is a narrow path along the river.
 On this day, two women from the family in the photos were seen kneeling and standing, facing towards the sun and offering prayers.
 (The two photos in the top left) I took photos from a distance and approached with a smile after they finished their prayers.
 A man then spoke to me in Japanese. It seems they came as a family from Indonesia.
 This time, I gave them my QR code card, and they scanned it to receive my contact information and send me photos via email.

[Later, on June 29 (Thursday), I received an email in Japanese from him.]
Hello, I am Feri from Indonesia, whom you met this afternoon in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

On May 24, 2023 (Wednesday), in Arashiyama - Part 2
 I had the opportunity to talk to two men and one woman near the Togetsukyo Bridge.
 It turned out they were a father, mother, and their son.
 The son mentioned that he works for an IT company in Tohoku and could speak Japanese.
 It seemed that this time, the son had invited his parents, who live in France, to visit Japan.
 There was a restaurant on the opposite bank where they could have a meal, and the son and mother boarded a free boat to get there.
 However, it appeared that the father didn't like boats, so he went downstream to another bridge and crossed to the opposite bank to reach the restaurant.
 The photo I have attached shows them boarding the boat to get there.

[Afterwards, on June 13 (Tuesday), I received an email in Japanese from this person with the attached photo (top center).]
 My parents recently returned to France, and I was very happy to have had the opportunity to talk with you, Mr. Kurata.
 During their visit to Japan, I was able to experience the beauty of Kyoto.
 I was deeply impressed by the character of the Japanese people, including yourself, Mr. Kurata.
 I also visited your website, and I think it's wonderful that you have created it on your own.
 I pray for your continued success. Please take care and accept my best regards.

↑Click ↑ ↑Click ↑ This pic was sent from Mr. Chris

On May 24, 2023 (Wednesday), in Arashiyama - Part 1
 I came across a woman with an unfamiliar high-end wide-angle lens attached to her Sony DSLR camera.
 She was constantly moving around and capturing the surroundings, giving the impression that she was recording a video.
 Upon talking to her, I learned that she is a professional camerawoman involved in the film industry in the Philippines.
 After researching her website address on the business card she gave me, I discovered that she is engaged in various active endeavors.
 I was impressed by her unique and remarkable camera work in the promotional videos of Arashiyama.
 If you watch these videos, you will surely be inspired to visit Arashiyama.
 While she is featured on various social media platforms for her work, there is also a video where I make a brief appearance on her Instagram page.
 Additionally, you can enjoy videos of her happily playing the keyboard and drums on Instagram. Please click here to view these videos: → Click

↑ Click ↑  Large picture
During this visit to Kyoto, the video appears to have been recorded by her, and its captivating appeal lies in its innovative pace and the successive unfolding of scenes.
instagram Me

☆ May 10, 2023 (Wednesday) - Arashiyama
   I had the opportunity to meet someone at Arashiyama, which has been hit by a series of storms recently. As I walked about 300 meters upstream from Togetsukyo Bridge, I encountered a person who was operating a model boat with a remote control. It turns out that this individual frequents this spot to run their boats, and we had actually spoken before.

  They have an impressive background in the production and installation of underwater optical fibers, having worked for a major electronics company. I also introduced them to a passing foreigner and it turns out that person had worked on a similar project in the UK, so they were able to communicate smoothly in English.

  This place provides ample topics of conversation, making it a great opportunity to naturally engage with foreign tourists. On this particular day, the person mentioned that an English colleague we used to work with would be visiting, so they brought a special "rescue boat" with them.

  By the way, a few years ago during a period of flooding, the water reached the upper part of the pine tree visible in the bottom right of the photo.

This person in Arashiyama, Kyoto, occasionally operates remote-controlled boats to entertain tourists.
On this day, he brought a special 'rescue boat' as a special arrangement because their former British
colleague, with whom they had worked together before, was visiting.

☆ May 9, 2023 (Tuesday)  - Arashiyama

  There was a group of about 5-7 people, and I approached the man who was walking at the front and asked him in English where they were from. He seemed a bit confused at first but eventually answered, "Italy." However, it appeared that he was having difficulty communicating, and then a Japanese woman from their group came over and started talking. She was married to the man in the group and was acting as their guide.
  The Italian man mentioned that not many people in Italy speak English. Although our interaction was brief, when I said "Ciao," everyone smiled, so I used that word occasionally to communicate while enjoying the atmosphere of a virtual overseas trip.

  Next, I encountered two men and a woman resting in the shade. Again, they turned out to be Italians. I thought they might be part of a tour group, but it seemed to be just a coincidence. When I mentioned Nini Rosso, the famous Italian trumpeter known for "Il Silenzio" (The Silence), they seemed unfamiliar. However, when I heard someone mentioning "mosquito," I corrected them by saying it was actually "bumblebee" in English. The person then took out their smartphone and played the piece for me. I'm not sure if they were familiar with Nini Rosso, but I mentioned that I had attended one of his live performances and that his music inspired me to start playing the trumpet.

  We later switched to English, and they mentioned that Italians also don't speak much English. I shared a bit about English education in Japanese middle schools. Their son complimented my English skills, so I took the opportunity to compliment their English as well, which was the first time I had complimented a foreigner's English.

  Before parting ways, I exchanged business cards, and I thought about saying "adios" in Spanish, but they corrected it to the Italian equivalent and added, "Arrivederci" as well. Unfortunately, I forgot the exact wording. Looking back, I realized it would have been nice to record the pronunciation on my smartphone, as it could have served as a memento and even for a group photo. I will make sure to do that in the future.

☆ May 3, 2023 (Public Holiday) - Takatsuki Jazz Festival in Osaka

  I went to listen to a performance by the United States Army Band at the Takatsuki Jazz Festival and interviewed four members afterwards. Enjoy the music, and for the continuation of the story, click here: [Link](Japanese)

The United States Army Military Band is performing at the Takatsuki Jazz Festival in Osaka.

☆ April 21, 2023 (Friday) - At Kobo-san (Toji Temple)

  At a shop selling flutes near the South Gate of Toji Temple, I met a Chilean man and a French woman. The man played the guitar available at the shop, and together we enthusiastically sang "Can't Help Falling in Love." The moment turned into an impromptu street performance.

  The woman mentioned that she is an English teacher in France, and although she spoke rapidly, her English was very easy to understand.

  Despite having decent sales in the past months, even on rainy days, the weather was beautiful on this day, yet the sales were not as good. Nonetheless, I bought a small flute that can also be worn as a necklace before leaving.

To-ji Temple holds a bazaar on the 21st of every month within its precincts.
Every time I go, I always make a stop at a shop near the South Gate that sells handmade flutes and other items.
This couple, who are married, consists of a Chilean husband and a French wife.
With his guitar, which is being sold in a shop, and our vocals, we passionately performed
Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love,' turning it into an impromptu street live performance.

☆ March 2023 - At the Katsura River

  I was practicing the trumpet alone by the riverside when an Indian couple stopped to listen. They recorded a video of me playing and we had a brief conversation before parting ways.


Date of Entry : May 10, 2023 (Wednesday)
Last Updated : May 11, 2023 (Thursday)

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