Have an Adventure in Your Hometown: Mission Fukui

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about how next month It will be 2 years since I came to Japan. Its totally crazy how everything around me has become normal. Japan has lost its novelty. While its good that I have adjusted and become comfortable in my surroundings, it has caused a restlessness and a desire to move and travel more.

This weekend I didn’t travel (again) and I didn’t have any crazy plans. But, I had a fantastic and adventurous saturday and sunday in my own backyard. This weekend has reminded me that there really is nothing normal about my life at all.

On Saturday two of my good friends invited me to their taiko concert. Nicole and Sophie have been practicing taiko for about a year and a half and I had never been to one of their performances before so I was really excited to see them. Taiko is a Japanese style performance drumming. It incorporates choreography, specific rhythm patterns, and chanting. (If you’re interested in a taiko check out Kodo here and here. They are the most famous taiko group in Japan.)

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The taiko group getting ready to preform at Kanazu Sosaku no Mori Craft fair.

 

It was fun to go and see my friends perform. They did well and I had a great time videoing and photographing their last performance before they both return home next month.

After their concert we headed up to Lake Kitagata. Lake Kitagata is a man made lake just north of where I live in Fukui. It’s been my favorite place to go running this spring. I have been going there about 3 or 4 times a week for the last few months. Its beautiful there. On the weekends you can see the students from the canoe club at my school practicing canoe polo (It’s a real thing!)

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The canoe club is super popular at my school!

In early June Awara has an iris festival at Lake Kitagata. Its a small but quant festival. The Iris fields are nothing compared to the flower fields of Hokkaido but, they are lovely and right next to the lake. It’s highly recommended for a lazy summer evening/early afternoon.

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Awara Irises. beautiful

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Across the lake you can see the Ishikawa windmills in the distance.

After getting a few pictures with the irises, Nicole, Sophie, and I decided it was time for dinner. We headed down to the yotai stalls in central Awara. After dinner we had a nice foot bath in Awara’s free foot bath and headed to the beach to sit and chat for a few hours.

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Awara Foot bath! This opened recently in April and is free to all visitors in Awara. Its open from 9:00am-11:00pm and is located right across from the Awara yunomachi station.

They stayed the night and in the morning we walked around Oshima island 10 minutes from my house. The locals say Oshima is haunted because its right next to a famous suicide spot in Fukui. They say the bodies of the people who commit suicide at Tojinbou wash ashore of Oshima and the people’s souls haunt the island. It is a great spot for a short hike in Fukui if you are brave!

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The steps at the bottom of Oshima island

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The view of Tojinbou from Oshima. Apparently the ocean carries the bodies of people who commit suicide there from the cliffs to Oshima.

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While locals find this island creepy and haunted, I find it lovely for a nice stroll.

I have done all of these things hundreds of times. It’s become a habit and I’ve forgotten to appreciate it. However, Sophie and Nicole have never spent more than a few evenings in Awara. For them, everything was exciting. Everything was new. Seeing my hometown from their perspective really allowed me to appreciate it more.

While sitting on the beach Nicole said, “This is one of the most adventurous weekends I’ve had in a long time.” I sat there next to her and had to agree. There was nothing normal or average about the things we were doing. I might get to appreciate them often but they are still special and unique.

There is no excuse for living an adventure-less life. No matter where you are or how long you’ve been there. If you have the right attitude and perspective, you can appreciate and experience the amazing and extraordinary in any place. Sometimes all it takes is someone with fresh eyes and experience to remind you of that. Sometimes it takes wandering off your beaten path of routine.

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As I head into my third year I want to commit myself to exploring more locally in Fukui. I want to do more than my normal routine and go to more than just my routine places. I want to see my hometown from a new perspective. I want to explore. I don’t want to waste this third year with boring routines.

Its time for a new perspective.

Happy adventuring ya’ll.

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