Pechakucha Night Kyoto is an event held in both Japanese and English that features ten speakers presenting their own unique visions, passions, and stories all around a decided theme.
The style of presentations is called Pechakucha, a format of 20 Slides each 20 Seconds long.
This word pechakucha, comes from the Japanese onomatopoeia for chit-chatting.
Pechakucha Night Kyoto is exactly that; presentations held over a short period of times and filled with unique expressions that convey the passionate messages of the speakers. The name also encompasses the fun back and forth that occurs between the audience and speakers after each presentation too.
Catch one of these events and enjoy a fun Japanese/English bilingual discussion!
Pechakucha Nights are events held in 1172 different cities around the world. Kyoto is host to around four or five Pechakucha Nights a year.
Usually, the events are held at Urbanguild, in downtown Kiyamachi, but with recent collaborations with different groups and events, the nights have been held at various locations, under various themes.
The event we attended was Pechakucha Night Vol.35, held on the 27th of July, 2019.
The theme for the night was “Town and Country.” Keeping with the theme, the event was held at Ōharano Shrine in Kyoto’s very own countryside area of Ōharano.
Getting to the venue
The Pechakucha Night we attended was a unique edition of the event. First, we began making our way to the venue of Ōharano Shrine; a bumpy 30-minute bus ride from the JR Mukōmachi Station. The moment we stepped foot off the bus, we were taken aback by the sprawling greenery and beautifully clean air.
The scene of mountains with their peeks hiding amongst the clouds gave the area a magnificent ambiance. Even before the event had begun, we were already enjoying the appropriate theme of “Town and Country.”
While we were here, we also got to meet some friends you don’t see much in the city, scarecrows.
Firstly, a cheers to everyone who came!
After arriving at the venue, we began the night by enjoying a beer garden at the shrine-adjacent Kasugachaya.
One of the highlights of these events are the exciting conversations you have with other participants over drinks before the presentations begin. Of course, soft drinks are also available, so those who don’t drink or wish to bring children can also feel free to participate too.
*Pechakucha Nights are usually held at venues with bars, so you’ll have to pay for any drink orders then and there. (Usually, admissions include 1 free drink)
On to the presentations
As everyone was enjoying their conversations and began settling into the venue, it was time for the presentations to begin.
This night was to feature six presenters; all of whom were from different backgrounds and occupations, and some even of different ethnicities. Usually, Pechakucha Nights are about half Japanese and half English, but as the audience at this night was largely Japanese, each presentation was held in Japanese.
Just looking at the program, we were getting excited.
In this blog, we decided to showcase two of the presentations we heard at the event.
The man pictured here is Saito Masamichi, the chief priest at the event’s venue of Ōharano Shrine. He traced back his roots and introduced us to a number of shrines, stretching from the Ōharano Shrine, to his home town of Fukui Prefecture.
He provided a high tempo presentation, filled with tidbits about shrines little known to even Japanese people. This wonderful presentation felt far and away shorter than 400 seconds.
Following each presentation, a Q&A session is held. These sessions are also incredibly lively as the audience engages with the presenter, and a fun back is had in forth in both English and Japanese.
The second presenter we would like to showcase is the Ōharano based Korean artist, SangSun Bae. How did the town of Daejeon go from being part of the countryside to the sprawling city it is today? What was Japan’s role in all of this? Speaking on such topics, this presentation looked at the theme of town and country from the perspective of Japanese and South Korean history and was deeply impactful.
Of course, the following Q&A session was filled with laughs and smiles, and at one point even featured a guest appearance by SangSun’s child.
The ability to allow for discussion on such complex issues, without becoming too dark, is just one of Pechakucha Night’s many wonderful aspects.
Just like that, all six presenters had finished. The unique and enthusiastic presentations really had us take a step back and marvel at how the simple theme of Town and Country could be looked at from so many varied points of view.
After the presentations, there was, of course, time for more conversations with the people there. As people gave their thoughts and opinions on the presentations, this became a time for both presenters and participants alike to speak openly with one another.
The event moved back to Kasugachaya, where everyone enjoyed the after-party over drinks and light refreshments.
This was our experience at the Japanese/English, global event that is Pechakucha Night. With participants from both Kyoto and overseas, this event is sure to broaden your horizons and introduce you to something new.
If you’re ever in town during one the Pechakucha Nights, then we highly recommend checking it out!
|Sakurako[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|