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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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),…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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.…

Read More

Apartment Tour (Part Two)

Our apartment is in quiet neighbourhood with a view of the mountains and rice fields. The loudest thing we hear during the day are the kindergarteners adjacent to the apartment, and the ring of the school bell. However, we are also a convenient 5 minute walk away from one of the main streets of Oita, populated…

Read More

Apartment Tour (Part One)

One of the pros of living in the countryside in Japan is the abundance of reasonably priced apartments. We found our apartment online on a Japanese website while in Vancouver, and were able to find several decent options. Eventually settling on one with a view of the rice fields, we put in our request with…

Read More

Grape Picking in Ajimu

Oita is lush with various fruits, and one in particular are grapes. A 30 minute drive from Usa takes us to Ajimu, an area famous for grape growing and award-winning wineries. Within this district is 歩くように (Able to Walk), a grape growing house, that we (myself and other English teachers) decide to visit one rainy…

Read More

Futago-ji Buddhist Temple (and an Epic Hike)

There are many small pleasures in life, and one particular luxury for me is owning my own car. No rental cars or expensive car shares – just spontaneous road trips at the drop of a hat. One quiet Sunday morning, that’s exactly what we did. After a brief conversation with a barista about local activities…

Read More

Haruru Cafe

It’s another balmy, summer day in Oita, and another Saturday to go exploring for a cafe. Just off of Highway 10 is Haruru(はるる), a cafe that we’ve been eyeballing on Google maps. From photos, it has a “classic” Japanese-style cafe interior, with an emphasis of wood paneling and coffee bar. Entering Haruru feels like entering…

Read More

Apartment Shopping Day

It’s apartment shopping day! I’ve been dreaming about this day even before arriving to Usa, and am excited to fill in some of the gaps that’s been felt while being here. There’s a few places in town, but we decide to head out to the neighbouring city of Nakatsu 30 minutes away, where our pick…

Read More

Sora (Dog) Cafe

Since I’ve arrived in Usa, it’s been a goal to find what I would call “My new favourite coffee shop”. On the hunt on an early Saturday morning, Jesse and I take the car out in search of Sora Cafe, one of the closest spots we find on Google maps to our apartment. While driving…

Read More

In the Land of Green Ricefields

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post! After spending 2 weeks hopping from hostel to hostel, I’ve finally arrived in the small town of Usa-shi, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, where I will be staying for the next two and a half months. I’ll be living with my partner who will be starting work as an…

Read More