I first became interested in Japan as a teenager, falling in love with its timeless culture and the poetic sound of the language. After a long time spent planning, I set off for Japan on my own, my first solo international trip. I spent five weeks exploring the mainland as well as touring the southern islands to immerse myself in Japanese culture and food.
After completing my master's degree in archaeology, I got certified to teach English as foreign language in order to return to Japan and experience what it was like to live and work there. I taught English for a year in Nagoya, a city ideally located to make short trips to many of Japan's most important cultural cities and sites. In my free time I explored the country more extensively and, with the passing seasons, got to experience the beauty of Japan with new eyes.
I'll never forget when…
I was extremely lucky to arrive in Tsumago, a preserved Edo-era post town, on the day of their annual fire festival. It was mostly attended by locals and they were so welcoming; including me in their traditions, toasting the end of summer with sake, and teaching me the local Kiso dance. Despite near torrential rain, the fires burned brightly, and the voice of the Shinto priest chanting his invocation mixed with the sound of rain on the rooftops. We wrote wishes on small planks which we put into the fires, before moving into the village hall for taiko drum and traditional dance performances.