Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hyakumanben Ishigaki Cafe

Ishigaki Stone Wall Cafe does not take reservations. In fact, you don't need a reservation. The staffs here are friendly and enthusiastic. But one problem that they do have is space.
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Rather flimsy looking, this cafe was erected since January 22nd, 2005. One can enjoy coffee or tea for ONLY 50 yen and not to mention a good view of the Hyakumanben road junction. One can look at the people in their cars, the crowd on the street.
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The location of the cafe at the Kyoto University main campus - a privileged location for some good attention.
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For more than 50 years, this stone wall has been simply a place where students could post billboards and signs in order to promote upcoming student events. A spot where students hold protest on any topic (i.e. university and government policies) that is deemed to be important to them.
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When Kyoto University announced a plan to knock down the wall to make a new entrance to the main campus, a student-designed demonstration project was then started.
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These students wish to protect the history and culture of the campus - the stone wall as the info spot for students.
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Therefore, since January, this makeshift cafe was set up and has then became known as the Ishigaki Cafe. Ishigaki literally means stone wall. A group of students serve tea and coffee and tell their story to those who care to listen to them.
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Although the university administration did allow for several open dialogues and conversations, these negotiations did not imply that the students demonstration has succeeeded.
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Now that almost six months have passed, the students continued to camp at this site. One of the organizers claimed their protest drew as many as 3000 people to the cafe. However, not everyone agrees to the protest.
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View of the Hyakumanben junction from the cafe.
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"To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day." -- Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

13 comments:

Acrix said...

So the only way to get to the cafe is by climbing the ladders? So gal with skirts would have difficulty visiting it then~ The cafe looks very warm and cozy! They sell shaved ice as well? Coz seen the banner with the word ice in the first photo:P How nice if my uni got such a cafe. I hate the cafe at my uni :P

Nightraveller said...

I always want to weep for Malaysia's Uni when I see Ishigaku Movement.

emotionalistic said...

Very creative indeed. Guess we can never get to experience such a cafe here in Malaysia.

MengZ said...

cool place.
they can set up a cafe in such place.
cool...

Primrose said...

It might look like an artist's shack inside but pardon me but it does look a little rundown from the outside, as unique as it looked. If you didn't state that it was a cafe, I would have thought it a squatter area or something. :O

Eddie said...

i want to weep too for Malaysian Univeristy...

zbjernak said...

well...let us weep together for the poor malaysian uni...

we here are forbidden to express our own ideas, views, and everything are restricted....

anyway...this cafe is something cool ... the idea is great, but the physical of the cafe itself doesnt seems to be quite stable... heehheheheheh

nevertheless, i believe the experiences itself worth the risk... and to listen to stories from those students are something i wish i had chance... i always like to know wht other people think about a certain topics ...

Patrick Leong said...

acrix : the ladder is not the only way to enter the cafe. there is a back way. i was too shy to climb the ladder. yes, they do have shaved ice. sometimes to attract kids. i think not only students visited the cafe but as well as non-students (parents with their kids). this cafe is just temporary (i guess). once the protest is over, the aluminium scaffold cafe will be pulled down.

night traveler, emotionalistic, eddie and jbzernak : students have their right to free speech. i think that's quite a shame to have laws in the universities capable of suppressing free speech. if one were to organize a free speech movement back home, most likely he/she will be kicked out from school the following day if not a warning letter. how can we be world class then ...

mengz : it is supposed to be a student spot. the students are trying to protect it. they are angry with the university administration for having a plan to knock it down. i believed dialogues are on now for some compromise.

primrose : i didnt know about the protest until i actually sat in the cafe and listened to the students. pardon me (like you) i dont read chinese. although it is clearly written (ishigaki tekkyo hantai) which means objection to knocking down the stone wall. but at least i am better off than some of my other foreign friends. they didnt even aware that the cafe existed despite that it has been there for the past six months.

Anonymous said...

I only knew about the protest because my friend explained to me. Saw the cafe a long time ago but didn't know it was involved in the protest. I can just imagine wht would happen if we decide set up a cafe for protest back home!
Ai Ling

Amanda Brightwell said...

What digital camera do you use?

Desmond Goh said...

That should be the system in Malaysian Universities. Students protest followed by authorities and students sitting down together to listen to each side's views, then negotiate for a solution acceptable to both parties.

Patrick Leong said...

ai ling : i dont remember i am involved in any protest back when i was studying in USM. i mean, we could complain to new policies but never there is a student protest or demonstration during that four years.

amanda : i am using canon powershot s30. i am pro canon. i like nikon as well.

desmond : i dont follow much about the changes in local universities. i did read abit about the Dr Gomez (Universiti Malaya) case. glad that the issue has been settled in favour of the professor. i graduated in the late 90s. so it has been awhile. perhaps they have changed over the years.

Domenic Runk said...

Wishing you all the best!