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Screening report 6.6.2009

I left my flat on Friday night for the screening in Kyoto. I got on a highway bus from Shinjyuku, then I arrived in Kyoto station on the next morning.

On the bus, I felt very hot, so I couldn't get much sleep. I was very tired when I got off the bus. It was still very early in the morning. I had an appointement at noon to interview some people at Kyoto University, then screening would start at 6, so I wondered how I could kill my free time. There were no 24hour restaurants, so I walked around carring my heavy luggage.

I found a shrine, and laid on the stone bench. Then I slept for three hours!!! When I woke up, it was already 10, then I jumped out from the stone bench. I felt very good because of the sleep, but I thought it was not safe sleeping in the public space with all my belongings!!

I had a breakfast, then I headed to Kyoto University. I heard the weather forecast was cloudy/rainy, but the weather was very good and fairy hot. On the way to the university, I bought a bag of rice for the people I was going to see.

The symbolic clock tower and the camphor tree of Kyoto University.
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Well, why did I come to the uni? Because I was going to interview 'Union Extasy' (cool name!!)' members. Union Extasy was formed in 2007 in order to against the university admin's regulation of "5 year rule".

The university made the rule for temporary workers, their annual contract would renew up to 5 years. Half of the university employees are "temporary" workers (over 2,600 people!!). But their job and responsibility are not "temporary" at all, they are just employed as "temporary" to reduce personnel cost.

University admin explains why they have 5 year rule, because if they renew the contract so many times, employees "expect" to be hired like full time workers, so they stop hiring person 5 years later whether the person is very able or not.

Union Extasy's blog (Japanese only)
http://extasy07.exblog.jp/

Ex Kyoto University's temporary workers, Inoue-san and Ogawa-san are the main member of Union Extasy. They are against the 5 year rule and squatting the place under the uni's symbolic camphor tree until university admin agree with having meeting with Extasy Union. They also opened  "Kubi Kubi cafe" (lay-off cafe) under the tree!

The sign of Kubi Kubi cafe
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Inoue-san recently vacated his flat and he brought all his household effects to the cafe and living here. He used to work in the uni's library, so he likes books. Most of his household effects are tons of books!! So, he started to sell his book collections when the weather is good.
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The day I visited them, the weather was very hot, but under the camphor tree, I felt very cool and comfortable. They explained to me why I could feel good under the tree, because the camphor tree has essential oil in it and used to aromatic products. I see!!
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Cafe's menu is several kinds of coffee (they roast here!), tea, cocoa, herb tea, etc. Customers pay the fee as donation. But price of the drink depends on customer's income (if his/her annual salary is 2,000,000 yen (10,000 pounds), the price of the coffee is 200 yen (1 pound). Inoue-san and Ogawa-san  are unemployed since April, so Union Extasy's activities are supported mainly by the danation from the cafe.

Roasting coffee beans!!
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I heard 2,600 people are employed as temporary workers to Kyoto University. So, I thought it must be very powerful if all of them go on strike for a day. Kyoto University would go panic so easily because half of the employees go on strike. I asked Union Extasy about the idea. They said "We started the union and the strike without thinking carefully. Now I think we should have planned carefully before starting."

Most of the other temporary workers have sympathy with Extasy Union, but they worry about their contract renewal stopped by joining the union. So, they are not satisfied by the situation, but they can't do anything about it. Some temporary workers visited them at night and gave cold remedy, left very quickly...

I can understand both situations. But if we don't protest, our rights are neglected by the authorities. If someone stand up with courage, but he/she can't get support from people, the movement will not get bigger... What I can do about this? I don't know, but one thing I can do is letting people know problems and report their activities to get support... I'm still trying to do many different ways.

University admin still not having meeting with Union Extasy. Addition to that, they sued the union for squatting the university premise!! They even said "the tent is eyesore", "cause damage to the camphor tree".....!!!! It reminds me the infamous London GLA!!!!

Union Extasy has been squatting over three month now. If you have a chance to go to Kyoto, please visit their Kubi Kubi cafe. You will get very delicious coffee :-)

I realised the time was already 4 pm, so I headed to the screening venue, Hito-machi Koryu-kan.

Outside of Hito-machi Koryu-kan Kyoto.
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Today's event board
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The screening room was on the third floor. I met the today's organiser, Peace Movie-ment. It was my first time to see them face-to-face!

The screening room....too big!!
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I was told that I had to post-screening talk by myself. It was kind of a lecture-style talk, but I had never tried. The talk was 30 minutes, the questions from audiences were 30 minutes.

I was a bit nervous about the lecture-style talk, because normally I had post-screening talks with someone who ask questions to me and lead the conversation. But if I have to talk by myself, I don't know about the peace movement in Kyoto, so I don't know what subjects attract audiences!

On the other hand, I was interested in having talk by myself, too. I found myself quite enthusiastic about making film and telling British peace movement to Japanese people. So, I thought I wanted to try. I don't believe there will be miracle without effort. So, I wrote down all topics I wanted to talk. It became 3 pages on A4 paper.
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After the screening, I did my first lecture-style talk! I talked about how I met Brian, why I wanted to make a film, inside story of Brian & Co, freedom of speech in Britain, other British famous protest groups, etc. These topics I chose were the questions I was often asked from audiences.
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When I started talking, I realised my way of talking changed along with the audiences' response. I was the only person who spoke, but I felt audience reaction and it decided me to talk more in details!! Especially, I felt Kyoto audiences were interested in protest, so I talked a lot about the topic.

When I talked half of my list, I looked at the clock and I found I had only 5 minutes! So, I couldn7t talk all of the topics I prepared. I have to  care about time procession.

In the Q & A session, I got a lot of questions, comments and advises from audiences. For example, "Does British media report war better than Japanese media?", "Are you going to film Brian in future, too? I hope so!", "Have your life changed after making this film?", "Does Brian have trouble with other people?", "You should appeal more about it is your first film, it will encourage others to make film, too!" etc.

Time was up, so the screening ended. After the screening, me and the staff members, and audiences went to the Japanese style restaurant/bar.
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In the restaurant, I was happy to listen what other people do in their daily lives. One guy said, he graduated Kyoto university. He explained the rough and unrefined character of the uni, student dormitory (some dormitory was functioned like sanctuary; some exile people are living over decades, they are nothing to do with the uni!!). My university in Tokyo was not politically active, so I was very surprised to hear those stories!

The party finished around midnight, then I stayed at the hotel near Kyoto station.

On the next day, I had still enought time to look around Kyoto city because my highway bus was goint to depart at 10:30 pm. I went to Gion town where it is famous for Maiko (apprentice geisha).

It is like feeding frenzy!! What!!??
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It reminded me of the chaos at London demonstration! They tried to take photos of Miko!
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I could take a photo, too :-)
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I went to Yasaka shrine.
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I had a Kyoto-style lunch. Customers can choose their favourite mini dishes (Obanzai) from counter table. Kyoto is also famous for vegetable pickles. There are even pickles of asparagus, pumpkin, etc. They were all tasty!
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After lunch, I was walking around the Gion town, then I found a very old temple. It was "Yasui-Konpira" shrine.

These wooden pieces are called "Ema". You can write down your wish on a wooden piece. For example, good health, love, money, longevity, passing the exam, and so on.
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When I looked at some Ema, I was so surprised at their wishes!!!
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It says; "I have been putting up with my wife for ten years, but it is enough. I want to divorce as soon as possible!"

I realised all of Emas here were like that! I didn't know the shrine was famous for "breaking off" until I got there. So people wish divorce, quite a job, smoking, relationship, some people even want to good-bye to their fat!!

The shrine also sell "breaking off" papers along with Ema. People can write down wishes on the piece of paper (it costs 2 pounds per paper!) then stick to the object. There were already too many papers, so I didn't know how the original object looked like. I thought "breaking off" business was free from this global financial crisis!!!
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After sightseeing Gion, I got on the highway bus from Kyoto station, then came back to Tokyo.
I really enjoyed my first Kyoto screening :-)

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