Exploring the Outdoor Playground of Aso, Kumamoto

Originally written for Voyapon @ http://voyapon.com/outdoor-adventure-aso-kumamoto/ Sponsored by Northern Kumamoto Administrative Headquarters Ahh, the great outdoors of Aso. Famous for its rich milk and yogurt drinks, Aso is an incredible fusion of contrasting terrains that seamlessly blend into one another. As a Canadian who split her time growing up in the Canadian Rockies and its…

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Miyazaki Day 3: Takachiho

Day 3: Takachiho Gorge Our last day in Miyazaki starts early. There’s a place I’ve wanted to visit since looking into our travels in Miyazaki. Takachiho Gorge is famous for its gorgeous ravines. There are turquoise blue boats you can rent for a unique perspective of the gorge. The previous night, we learn on the…

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Miyazaki Day 2: Udo-jingū and Wild Horses

It’s day two, and the sun feels prickly on the back of our necks. It suddenly feels like summer, and I am overly dressed with pants and a long sleeve shirt. Our first stop is Udo-jingū, a brightly painted shrine set within a cave on cliffs facing the Open Pacific. With brilliant red paint set…

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Miyazaki Day 1: Aoshima Island and Obi Town

From the 29th of April to early May, a string of consecutive holidays called Golden Week (GW) takes place every year in Japan. This year’s abdication of the Emperor and the subsequent succession meant that this Golden Week would be extended to the first ever ten consecutive days off around the country. It was always my…

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Into the Mountains of Nakatsu, Oita for Vegan Curry and Coffee

If anyone is looking for a Rastafarian inspired Japanese restaurant, look no further than Satta Yard in Nakatsu. About a 40 minute drive from the city and into the quiet hills of Nakatsu will bring you to some of the healthiest (and tastiest) curries around. It might feel like a bit of a trek, but…

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Parent Observations and Roasting Yams with Neighbours

It’s almost the end of my fourth month working as an English teacher. In the beginning of May, I started three weeks of “Parent Observations” (P.O.s), where parents observe lessons delivered to their children by yours truly. It’s an opportunity for parents to see how their investments have been utilized, and I can’t help but…

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April Neighbourhood Walking Tour

There seems to be what feels like a sudden change in the air here in Usa city. With the warmer temperatures come blossoms and flowers of all shapes and colours, and the rice fields that were laid bare during the winter is now lush with thick, green waves of wheat. So, I believe it’s high…

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Showa no Machi

The change of weather into hotter days has given more opportunities to explore areas of Oita prefecture haven’t yet visited. That’s exactly what I did on a beautiful 22 degree Sunday. A 20 minute drive takes me to Bungotakada, where Showa no Machi (Showa-era Village) is. The popular shopping district preserves many nostalgic shops of…

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Rice Harvesting in October

In October of 2018, rice harvesting season was upon us here in Usa. One warm, sunny day in the still balmy heat of autumn, I decided to go out for a walk. Around the corner from the apartment are several rice fields, and I noticed a harvest in progress. After asking for permission to watch…

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Work as an English Teacher

Hello! And apologies for the silence these last few months. As most of you may know (and some may not), I’m on an brand new adventure: I got a job as an English teacher!!! <Cue dramatic music here> “DAN DAN DANNNNNNN.” If you told me I would be working as a teacher a year ago,…

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Grand Sumo Tournament

In November, the last major sumo tournament of the year takes place at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center. The wrestlers battle it out over 15 full days to decide the eventual champion. We were lucky enough to get tickets (thanks to a teacher in Usa City with an inside contact) and went to Fukuoka early Saturday…

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First-time Futon Buyer’s Cautionary Tale

Ever since arriving in Japan, I had a romantic idea of sleeping on the floor on top of a futon bed. To clarify, I don’t mean the low, wooden sofa beds of the Western-style futons. I mean the real, lay-on-the-floor, heavy duvet sandwich with you in the middle. Whenever I visited a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn),…

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Potato Hoeing

A few weekends ago, new friends (Michi and Mac) from the gym invite us to go sweet potato hoeing. I’m curious to know what a Japanese farm looks like. On a Saturday morning, we meet Michi at the gym parking lot who drives us to Mac’s farm. Expecting to be driving a ways, I am…

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Ontayaki Pottery Village

We are lucky to be in Kyushu, as it homes some of the most famous pottery styles and techniques in all of Japan. One of these is Onta-yaki, a small town rich in decades of pottery history. On a cool, cloudy weekend day, we took a 2 hour drive to Onta. As we drive, we…

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Cooking Rice in a Nabe and Local Seafood

Seafood is a surprisingly affordable product in grocery stores, and there’s a great variety available to us here. Not all attempts of cooking has been what I’d call a success, but it’s a fun experience nonetheless. One way we’ve learned to cook with seafood is with a hot pot, or nabe (なべ) as it is…

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Fukamido Cafe

On a Saturday morning, we head to a cafe called Fukamido, after being invited to their opening the previous night at an English conversation meet-up. Our ears perk up when they mention coffee, and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to try out good cafes. It’s pouring out, a perfect day for a coffee indoors.…

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