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Japan is finally open again!

Hello everyone, there has been a long time of silence during the wretched days of Corona but Japan is finally open again!

And with this, foreign tourists!
It almost feels surreal to see all these people from different countries walking around with their maps, backpacks, and confused faces. But let me tell you, it feels completely amazing!

This of course means that our guided tours are back in business as well! I have already had the pleasure of guiding a couple of groups.

So our first “real” foreign travelers was a jolly group from the US! A friend of mine was their main guide for a week and he asked me if I could put together something in Minamioguni.
The guests apparently loved food and alcohol (sounds like the typical westerner to me!) so I thought it would be nice to let them experience the local food culture of the Japanese Satoyama first-hand.

To their big surprise the lunch began by getting down and dirty in the soil, digging potatoes! A slightly different experience than the helicopter transfer I heard that they used… In the beginning I will admit that they looked a bit sceptical but after a while they started to get the hang of it, and before you know it…

…they were completely absorbed in traditional rice cooking…

…and the fine art of making rice dumplings with kinako (roasted soy bean flour)!

And when tasting the actual lunch that they had not only been a part of making, but even helped to dig up from the soil(!), saying that they were amazed would be an understatement!

What truly made my day wasn’t how happy they were with the food though. It was how inspired they felt by our hosts. These fairly wealthy people who have traveled the world and live in the heart of the US took part in this experience and before leaving expressed that “I wish I can be as energetic and live as fully as Hiroko-san (left), Noriko-san (middle), and Yukiharu-san (right) when I’m at their age.”
This feeling and inspiration that you can gain from meeting people who live completely different lives in another culture. It is better than any souvenir, it is the driving force of growth, and it is a treasure that will live on in your heart forever. To be able to hear them express this in words meant the world to me!

Thank you for coming!


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