【Event Report】 Think about Kagoshima’s Prosperous Future
「KAGOSHIMA KATABBAR 2023」Vol.1
~ Let’s “Kuier” in Kagoshima ~


This year’s “Kagoshima Katabbar” was again a great success!
The event, which has become a favorite among repeaters, is future-oriented. Participants discuss the future of Kagoshima in earnest and enjoy the delicious food and drinks while deepening exchanges and renewing old friendships with people they have just met.

 

“Kagoshima Katabbar” is Divided into Two Parts

 

The first part of the meeting began with an address by the Council’s Chairman Mr. Nakao, followed by an explanation of how the meeting would proceed by Mr. Kubo, Director of the Council.

Then, the first guest speaker gives a 10–15-minute keynote speech, followed by a group discussion in which small groups of participants discuss “subjects” posed by the guest speaker. This year, we had two guest speakers, so the keynote speeches and group discussions were held twice.

In the second part of the event, participants enjoyed buffet-style food and drinks while chatting freely with those they wanted to talk to at their favorite tables. It is a social event where some people say they have made connections with the people they want to meet.

The advisors and board members of the council donate wonderful wines, beers, and soft drinks every year, so participants enjoy more

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This Year’s Guest Speakers

 

This year’s guest speakers who spoke in the first part of the event were Ms. Nicole Ehlers and Mr. Kengo Mandokoro.

Ms. Nicole Ehlers is from South Africa and a lecturer at Kagoshima Junshin University. She has traveled throughout Japan to learn about new cultures and has volunteered here in Kagoshima to introduce South African culture and cuisine.

Mr. Kengo Mandokoro, through his 18 years of experience as an architect in the world-class international city of Tokyo and the cultural heritage city of Rome, is now pursuing his lifework on architecture and urbanism unique to Kagoshima.

Their stories were full of originality and made us realize things that we had never noticed before.

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Nicole Ehlers, “Let’s Kuier in Kagoshima”

 

The South African Community Culture of “Kuier”

 

- Kuier.
It is an unfamiliar word, but it is common in South Africa.

Kuier is a third place where you want to stay for a long time. It is a space that is casual, relaxing, and continuously connected to the community. Located between home (the first place) and work (the second place), and a place where people spend time, exchange ideas, share good times, and connect with others.

In South Africa, people gather there, and strangers get to know each other and spend time in a friendly atmosphere.
It could be someone’s house, a restaurant, or a pub, where people meet, talk, and drink together. These places are called “Good Kuier Spots.

 

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In Search of Kuier Spots in Kagoshima

 

Nicole said that after coming to Japan, she looked for good Kuier spots in Kagoshima. She found a few nice places with good food, good drinks, and attractive interiors, but few spaces where she could connect with the community regularly.

The Kutsuki River Festival, the Nagatsuki Cherry Blossom Festival, and summer festivals held in various locations. They are also fun, but each is held only once a year. How can we create this atmosphere all year round?

And how can izakaya, restaurants, and cafes become a third place?

Many people enjoy communicating with others online. But, sociologist Ray Oldenburg notes, “the most effective ones for building real community seem to be physical places where people can easily and routinely connect with each other”.

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Current Situation and Kuier Spots in Kagoshima

 

The characteristics of Kuier are as follows.

 

 

What do you think?
A place where you can feel at home, where conversation is central, and where people who do not know each other can casually talk and interact.

In this respect, Nicole doesn’t think the typical restaurants and cafes in Kagoshima can be called “Kuire spots,” where groups of friends clump together and interact with no one else.

Language and food diversity is also essential for a “good Kuier spot”. If the menu is unreadable, or if there is no food for vegans or halal people, it does not meet the “low profile,” “leveler”, and “accessible and accommodating” requirements of a “Kiere” spot.

For example, posting a picture of the menu at the front of the restaurant, adding a brief explanation to the menu name “Tempura soba”, and listing the ingredients will make it much easier for those who cannot read Japanese to get to the restaurant. We also hope that you will pay attention to the diversity of food.

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Kuier spots in The Community

 

Several community sports activities take place in local elementary and junior high schools, but Nicole feels that it is not easy to join such groups.
It is difficult for foreigners to obtain information about these groups, and she also feels that you need to be introduced or have an acquaintance who can talk to the members to get into the groups.

She says finding a nice Kuire spot, a third place, is not only an individual endeavor but is key to building a city.

Its residents, both local and foreign, thriving as a part of the community rather than surviving as a group of individuals, is essential to the future of Kagoshima.

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Nicole’s Group Discussion Assignment for Participants

 

 

- Where are the Kuire Spots in Kagoshima? –

Each group of about 4 to 6 people discussed this question presented by Nicole. Although many of the participants had never met each other before, the discussion started right away, and they were actively exchanging their ideas about “Kuire Spots in Kagoshima” until the 15-minute time limit was up.

They shared their ideas of Kagoshima’s Kuire spots, such as familiar cafes and parks, and discovered new places to visit.

I hope everyone reading this article will try to find a Kuire spot in Kagoshima where everyone can feel at home. I hope that the number of such places will increase in the Kagoshima area and that one day it will become commonplace for citizens to interact with each other regardless of gender, skin color, religion, etc.

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Tag : 24 divisions of the solar year , 24sekki , corona virus , COVID-19 , COVID19 , Emergency , Japanese culture , season , tanabata , The coronavirus , 日本の文化

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