The Japanese government is going to adopt the Social Security and Tax Number System (it is called `My number' system) from this October.
We will be all receiving 12-digit individual number from government and the number will be used for administrative procedures related to social security, taxation and other procedures. There had been a constant discusson over the years about this system. Actually, government started `resident-registration network' some years ago with the similar purpose but it ended up being unsuccessful. This `My number' system has to be started or they will lose their face!
They are planning to use the number for all other purpose in future except the original purpose (that is why many people are against this system, but first of all they system is used for taxtation- avoid tax evasion and dishonest receipt of welfare and other assistance.
Small companies like ours also are responsible for keeping these numbers of staff not to leak out or be used for other purpose.
Our tax accountant Takeda sensei and her fellow accountants held a seminar to learn and prepare about this tytem for their clients and I attendt this seminar. Takeda sensei is a native Kyoto girl, Ichiro used to be a tutor of her and now, she is helping us as a wonderful accountant, it is a great en(fate!). She is a brilliant accountant and also published a book about tax for women.
The seminar was held at one of the enchanting machiya house in Kyoto. Machiya are traditional wooden town house. Machiya literally means town house(machi - town and ya means house). Machiya-type house history dates back to Heian period(794-1185). Machiya are basically `dwelling with shop' type residents facing streets. Along with economy growth in Tokyo and Kyoto, merchants gradually had power and money, so they could build machiya houses. You can see remaining machiya in Kyoto. Most of Kyo-machiya(machiya in Kyoto) are narrow type with the narrow small entrance.
The photo on the top is the room of the Kyo-machiya where they held the seminar this time.
The tour company RAKUTABI has their office in this house. This house was built in 1932 by Muranishi Gofukuya( kimono seller), The house is rather big and has many rooms compared to other machiya and was used as a reception house also, not only for the residence. You can click the photo below to see the house.
The house has big tatami rooms, western style rooms, a tea room, and two small square court yard. There is no photo but there are small room upstairs for housekeeper (and the narrow stairs from the housekeeper's room) and a very small room with two windows to view the moon for the master. The room is very small with only two tatami mattress, but it was really cozy- we could imagine the master viewing the moon, enjoying sake! There was a kura, storehouse also.
RAKUTABI is a company for people who like to experience the traditional lifestyle of Kyoto. They have event, lectures, short trip of Kyoto and other unique program. This house is not open to public all the time but they have event using this house occasionally such as tea ceremony, workshop of painting fan, wine tasting and so on. The unique event is to experience seasonal house rearrangement. They had `summer' type sliding shoji this time which was not paper screen but yoshi (reed screen) but according to calender, they change interior items such as screen door, decoration of alcove, partition and so on. They have an event on December 19th to experience the preparation to welcome new year, including mochitsuki (pounding mochi) and making zenzai, sweet bean soup! You may need to have an interpreter to attend the event ( I was not sure the staff could speak English) but if you were in Kyoto on the day, it may be a lot of fun, attending the event in this machiya.
We atteneded the lecture to learn about My number system (our accountant Takeda sensei was a great speaker!) and had a wonderful obento(lunch box) by a great Japanese cook who only make obento for supreme Geiko Okiya house, I am sorry I forgot to take a photo of the obento! We had a tour of the house after the lunch, we hope you enjoy the photos from their website we included in this newsletter.
It was a lovely day at the charming machiya. The machiya locates very close to Shijo Karasuma, the main spot of Kyoto and Nishiki market is very close too.