Coffee Break (Monthly Report) / June 2024 issue

Marshall Elliott Ginsler Viner Exchange Coordinator

June in Toronto, Tosa Diary

Hello. This is Marshall Elliot Ginzler-Viner from Sagamihara International Lounge. The rainy season has arrived. How is everyone doing?

When you think of June, you probably think of rain. There is no rainy season in Toronto, Canada, but in June elementary, junior high and high school students finish their school year, their summer vacation begins and a summer full of outdoor events begins. There are many music and art festivals in particular. Canadian Music Week, which features live performances of various genres, the Toronto Jazz Festival, where Miles Davis once performed, and the Luminato Festival, where you can enjoy both live music and theater, all decorate June in Toronto.

Last week, I was talking with a colleague and he asked me, "Do you like reading?" Actually, I haven't read anything recently. He recommended a book I'd never heard of, saying, "I found a modern translation of Tosa Nikki at the library, and it was interesting!" I borrowed it from the library and read a little bit. "Tosa Nikki" is a work from the Heian period, and it is a travel diary that describes the journey of a provincial governor who leaves Tosa after finishing his term and returns to Kyoto. There are many waka poems in Tosa Nikki. In some scenes, they are sung to convey the sadness of parting to the provincial governor before he departs, and in other scenes, they are attached to gifts. I thought it was wonderful that people mustered their vocabulary to write beautiful waka poems to convey their feelings to their loved ones. I was also impressed that various traditional Japanese cultures, such as the Seven Herbs Day, were already rooted in people's lives at that time.

Everyone, it looks like the heat and rain will continue for a while, so please take care of your health.