KANSAI Close-up

[Columns]Kyoto Kokusai Juku

She is responsible for an international culture school for foreigners, called 'Kyoto Kokusai Juku,' where Japanese classic arts are taught. In a class of 'Noh,' a form of musical dance-drama, a Noh specialist gives a lecture on the basics of 'tsudzumi' (small drum), 'fue' (traditional flute), Noh costumes and Noh languages, on the first day. Next day, students go to a Noh theater of the Kongo school to see a performance of Noh plays at first hand.
Recently a class of 70 students attended a performance which consisted of a chorus, a Noh play, a Kyogen play ( a comic interlude played between Noh plays) and again a Noh play. Kokusai Juku also holds a class on 'wagashi (traditional Japanese pastries),' 'sake (Japanese wine)' and 'osechi (a special kind of cooking for New Year)' and lets participants taste them.
Olena added that the KPIC last year inaugurated a new program, called 'Pioneer Kyoto 21,' aimed at having foreigners see state-of-the-art technologies based on Kyoto's traditional artisanship. Kyoto boasts traditional industries that have lasted for hundreds of years, based on which state-of-the-art technologies have developed. There is no lack of world-famous companies, like Kyocera Corp. and Nintendo Co., that have developed on the basis of Kyoto's traditional artisanship.
The first event of the program, conducted last year, was a visit to Kyoto-based Shimadzu Corp., to which Koichi Tanaka, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002, belongs. Olena plays a leading role in supporting the program, including preparations, publicity, making posters in English and Japanese, and recruiting participants. Her presence is indispensable in implementing the program.