9.3 C
Hiroshima, Japan
Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019

Gaijin in motion: Getting fit in Japan

Hanami time has passed and all at once we are on the brink of summer; so before the heat and humidity settle in, it’s time to get outside and get active. With a little guidance, a foreigner in Japan can easily enjoy activities they did back home, or just as easily start something new. Don’t let language be a barrier. With its mountainous terrain, Japan is an outdoor adventurer’s dream! Here is a brief guide on how to get involved in some of the easiest and most accessible outdoor activities in Hiroshima.

A new way to travel: Willing workers on organic farms

For me, life in Japan wasn’t at all what I had expected. Actually it was my goal to come here with as few expectations as possible, but visions of my new life in Japan had nonetheless found their way into my head long before I ever arrived. The problem with expectation is that it often doesn’t match reality. I came to Hiroshima in August 2003 to teach English at a high school in a small city suburb. I waited for the Japanese people to invite me out – to show me the sights, introduce me to their culture, and to teach me their language. I waited and I got increasingly confused and frustrated. Eventually I came to realize that if I wanted to meet interesting Japanese people, have memorable Japanese experiences and connect on the level that I hoped for, I would have to be more pro-active in my efforts.

Let’s Film Festival! 2007

Rainy Day + Movies = Great Time! Bill Lawson reviews Fukuyama Let’s Film Festival 2007.

Live music in Hiroshima City: Sumatra Tiger

I was once like you. Wandering the streets of Hiroshima, gazing at row upon row of snack bars, pondering where to go to listen to some decent music. Desperately searching, in vain, for good live music venues. Painfully sitting through one bad song after another at Club Jamaica / Sacred Spirits / ‘This is no longer a dancing establishment – please dance outside on the sidewalk’. Well don’t worry, there actually are things going on here. Granted, the local music scene possesses nowhere near the same level of cool as Osaka and Tokyo, but hey, at least we don’t live in Shimane. But before you buy that shink ticket to Kansai, listen up: my countless nights of wandering and bad music have paid off - I have uncovered a small yet enjoyable music scene in Hiroshima City.

Dating: What’s rabu got to do with it?

Have you yet to see the inside of a love hotel? Does the idea of dating a Japanese guy or girl fill you with just as much fear as it does excitement? Did you spend Valentine’s Day catching up with friends? If so, you need Carolina’s help to put you on the express train to rabu-rabu-rando!

Trial by ice: the Yuki Gassen snowball fight

What was it? A crazy Japanese festival that takes a childhood pastime and turns it into a competitive international sport. What were we doing? Training for weeks on end (well, does walking to school count?) with the Hokkaido-based national championships within our sights... or you know, just trying to survive and have a laugh. Let's begin by painting a brief picture of the contest. The Yuki Gassen is basically a 2-day hardcore snowball fight, the winners of which go on to compete in the national championships in Hokkaido where teams from all around the world come to participate.

AJET Bulletin, January 2007

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu, fellow JETs! We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season full of bonenkai, travels, friends, family, and keeping warm as the temperatures have dropped. We want to thank everyone who came on the trip to Fukuoka and those who attended the first ever Hiroshima AJET Bonenkai. Both events were a huge success, and we hope that you had as much fun as we did.

On a different note: Japanese musical instruments

I stood huddled outside the music room door in my socks, debating whether or not I really wanted to enter. Wide Island H.Q. had requested that I cover an aspect of Japanese culture; in particular, an aspect of culture that the busy gaijin about-town might like to get involved in to keep themselves warm during the winter of discontent. With that in mind, I had been asked for a few words about Japanese musical instruments. Keep you warm? Musical instruments? Perhaps they knew something I didn’t – after all, before coming to Japan a heated table was only the stuff of dreams. ‘Besides,’ I was told, ‘You might even have fun.’ It was with this damning prophecy ringing in my ears, and bearing about as much musical knowledge as there are copies of Mills & Boon publications in the Vatican library, that I stood attempting to infiltrate the secrecy of the music room.

Skiing, anyone?

When the bitter Japanese winter hits, it is tempting to slip under the kotatsu and, stocked up with enough mochi, green tea and copies of “The Daily Yomiuri” to see us through till mid-March, hit ‘hibernation’ on the body clock. For those of you swaying towards a spot of just such indulgent isolation, a little word of warning – the fierce weather does nothing to dissuade either the NHK man or the Jehovah’s Witnesses from their regular calls so sooner or later you will be dragged begrudgingly from your seasonal slumber. With that in mind, why not make the best of the cold weather and hit the slopes instead? Hiroshima has a plethora of snow-parks, many of which are within easy reach of the city by public bus. But which to choose? Wide Island View solicited the advice of one of Japan’s top snowboarders to find out where best to head for a good day’s adrenalin-pumping downhill action:

Falling for fall

Looking outside during a Japanese autumn, nobody can fail to be impressed by the exceptionally beautiful rainbow of colours seeping from the trees as the countryside prepares itself for the onset of winter. Japanese people, resident foreigners and tourists alike all look forward to this annual display of nature at its very best and many people travel great distances to see the leaves at their various stages of transformation.