Kushimoto

I’ve spent the last week at a farm near the southernmost point of Japan’s main island. The nearest town is called Kushimoto. It has been hard work preparing rice fields for their winter cover crop but it has been a very rewarding experience. The host is an older Japanese couple, still very active. For instance, their rice fields are enough to support their rice needs all year, plus they grow many other vegetables which always supplement our meals. I’ve harvested sweet potatoes and many leafy greens. The scenery is absolutely stunning-every day we drive along the coast to get to the farm. I can see the ocean from the back porch and small mountains rise up behind the house, where I’ve scared off monkeys when walking the dog. The days aren’t filled with much free time- typically busy from 6 am to 7:30 pm if you include our eating times (which are quite a long affair because every meal could be considered a feast). The bath here is wooden and heated by wood fire most days, quite a treat that I’m becoming addicted to.
Nearby train station.

Sweet potato harvest. 

Leaving Sasayama

Sasayama has been a great experience. I’ve done lots of various house renovations like painting, plastering, etc. I slaughtered a chicken on the farm and helped assemble some shiitake mushroom logs. I also made some bread in a stone oven and learned how to make pasta from scratch! I read many books while I was here because the hosts have a great English library with many books on alternative living.

 

Sasayama farm


I’m doing my first WWOOFing experience at a farm in Sasayama. The farm for now is pretty low production because the family I’m staying with has been renovating a house the past year and will be moving in in a couple of weeks. The husband is Japanese (with perfect English) and the wife is American. The husband’s mom lives here as do his two kids, 3 year old Jin and 5 year old Mio. They keep a few chickens and a goat for now. So far I’ve done some tile grouting in the new house and picked some persimmons, along with the animal chores.


It’s very peaceful here and the family is great. There are also two other WWOOFers here right now. I’ve been reading a ‘green construction’ book in my free time.


Their dogs are quite small but have a lot more pulling power than Stirling.

Matsumoto adventures

It has been a while since I had an update I suppose- I have more of a routine since I’m working at a hostel so I don’t get up to something every day. I’ve been hiking lately (kamikochi mountains) and I got to witness an annual fire festival. The festival was too cool. There were groups of guys carrying large bundles of hay (on fire) up to a bonfire at the top of a hill to communicate with the gods apparently (with the help of sake and beer). I tried to camp on an observatory in town the other night but it was a little strange for all the romantic teenage dates to see a tent up there so I packed it up and headed back to the hostel, haha. One checklist item complete: conveyor belt sushi restaurant! We had many more plates than pictured below. 

   
    
   

Matsumoto, Japan

  
I’ve arrived at the hostel I’ll be working at for some time. It’s a cool little place that is a converted house in a typical Japanese style.  It sits beside a little river in town. The work isn’t hard but it takes up a decent chunk of the day. 

  
It’s a little chilly here in this town because it’s situated near the Japanese alps. 

  
The train station had quite a gorgeous view when I arrived. The hiking is about an hour or more away so it’s not quite as accessible as I had hoped so we’ll see what I can make happen. Japan is quite significantly more expensive than Korea, at least in the realm of transportation. 

I won’t have too many posts for a while probably since I’m just hanging out and practicing my Japanese but I will have good wifi so I could FaceTime. I could post pictures of all the yummy food but I don’t want to make anyone jealous.