Tottori: All or Nashing
By Omrum Bozdogan
Walking up to the sand dunes and being faced with this natural beauty is something I will never forget. Feeling the hot sand between my toes and looking up at the steep wall of sand, questioning whether I could climb it, is a memory that will stay with me. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t know what to expect from these famous sand dunes or if I had never seen sand dunes so high before, but the scene paralysed me. I stood before it and took it all in.
Tottori had been on my list of places to visit in Japan before I leave. I had heard a lot about it from my co-worker, who is originally from Tottori. She would show me pictures of the famous sand dunes and recommend things to do and see there.
Over the last year, I planned and prepared for this trip as part of Hiroshima AJET and on June 18th, all those preparations came to life!
Our weekend in Tottori included visiting the sand dunes, visiting the sand museum and trying our hand at paragliding!
We set off from Hiroshima, on our small party bus for 20 people, and merrily made our way to Tottori. We stayed in a quaint little hostel near Tottori station (Y pub & hostel) and made sure we were well-rested, so that we were prepared for what was ahead.
Since it was the rainy season in Japan, I kept my fingers crossed that we’d have a dry day. Luckily, it turned out to be an extremely warm and bright day. Ironically, the rain poured the following day. Thank you Japanese Weather Gods!
We arrived at our assembly point and met our paragliding trainers. After signing my life away on the insurance form provided, we received a “crash course in paragliding” and off we went.
I was nervous for my first flight, nervous because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself and nervous because it was my first time paragliding. However, I put my nerves aside and took a leap of faith! I thought I was doing well, that is, until I ended up on my bottom not far from my starting point! But, I tried again. The second time was definitely much better. I enjoyed a smooth glide to the end of the beach, while taking in the scenic views and looking down on my friends who were packing their parachutes back into their bags on the beach below. After a couple of tries, I was satisfied with my experience. Everything had gone perfectly.
My last stop on this trip was to the Sand Museum. A Sand Museum? A museum full of sand? Why, yes, that’s right a museum full of sand… sculptures. I had done a bit of research on the sand museum and knew they had a group of sand sculptors that work on different themes for each exhibition. The exhibition this time was on South America. I knew it was going to be worth the visit, but boy was I gobsmacked by how beautiful and detailed the sculptures were. I just kept walking around and saying ‘Oh my god, look at that! Look!’
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Tottori with a great group of people. Best of all, thanks to this trip, I walked away with an amazing buy that I think sums up the essence of this trip perfectly. For people that can’t read that kanji, it says ‘nashi’ which means pear. (Tottori is known for its amazing pears). So, if we put the kanji and the English together, it spells out ‘All or Nashing’. Isn’t that amazing?! I laughed for a good 10 minutes when I found this! It was simply perfect. As a motto for this Tottori trip it doesn’t get better than “All or nothing’.