Browse through our archives to read out about past Genius Table events and the unique venues in which they were held.


Gentle breeze from Syria



Suleiman Suleiman

Executive of a venture business

From Syria, living in Tokyo. CEO of an importing company, also does some consulting works about localizing the imported products. Works as a part-time teacher of Arabics in Kyoto University.


There is a little Japanese-Western style house nearby Tofukuji-temple. This is Chiku-jo-so, which is famous for that it was used as an atterier of one of the historical painter Hirai Baisen. Today’s table was set in a room which were usually used as a classroom of tea ceremony and calligraphy. Since the GENIUS today was from Syria which was a far and unfamiliar country to Japanese, participants asked many questions such as ‘Why did you come to Japan?’ , ‘What image do Syrians have of Japan?’ ‘How do you spend time during Ramadan?’. Participants enjoyed Suleiman’s life story with the colorful lunch box filled with Kyo-yasai. Suleiman joined a big Syrian company first, but soon he decided to quit to enter an university in Canada. He started and made it a success on his own business whilst studying, and came to Japan with his then-wife. Everyone at the session was drawn into his unique yet free life story. The lunch session made all the participants to wonder how their own lives would be in the future.


No.10 Chikujousou

Locates on a hill of Toba kaido, South Kyoto, close to Tohukuji-temple. A café space and a gallery were established next to one of the famous historical painter Hirai Baisen’s atterier. With the view of a beautiful Japanese garden, visitors can indulge in the tranquility here.
No.11 Ooeyama

Established in 1950. Mainly caters food, Bento and wholesales dishes to some markets. They have various kinds of Bentos, such as Shoka-do bento, Ori-dume bento, Kaiseki bento, all of them are filled with delicious local cuisine and beauty.



University student

I had a really good time! The story GENIUS told us was so interesting, and the relaxed, frank atmosphere was nice.

Yuki Takeuchi

University student

It was a unique yet interesting experience for me to have an opportunity to talk with a foreigner this much frankly, and get to know the different thoughts and feelings of them. Also, I think it is great to promote this activity as ‘lunch session’ rather than ‘cultural exchange ’ because it makes it easy for people to try. I would love to participate in it again!


University student

Even though I am learning Arabics from Mr.Suleiman every week at university, but I do not get the chance to hear about his life story from him, so it was great to have this opportunity to have lunch with the professor. The café was nice too, I think it was a good place to hold events for cultural exchange.