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日本人の印象 The People of Japan



I am always asked similar questions as I prepare for a trip to Japan. Various questions are posed to me ; Is it the food?, Is it the climate? or Is it the attractions? My answer is always simple, ‘All those matter, but the reason I always go back to Japan are because of the people’.


As I had arrived earlier in Osaka, 1 day, so that i can make preparations for my Ishigaki flight the next day; I decided to head out and explore Osaka as much as I could. I became lost after alighting from Tennoji, looking for Shittenoji Temple. With the cold and exasperation of seemingly going in rounds, i decided to approach a passerby, who could not speak english very well. However, he gestured me to follow, and brought me to the temple, a good 15mins walk. After which, he then proceeded to walk back the same way we came, I enquired immediately. He then explained to me the best he could that he was going home now, and I saw him walk the exact same route back, and then at the location we met, he went a different way.

日本人は、彼ら特有の優しさとホスピタリティを持っています。日本人は、たとえ遠回りすることになっても、わざわざ私たちを助けてくれるのです。これを書きながら思い出しましたが、そういった人たちの中でも私の印象が最も強いのは、リゾナーレ 西表島のかわさきようこさんです。

The Japanese people have their own class of kindness and hospitality.They always go out of their way to help you. Topping that list as I write this would be Yoko Kawasaki of Risonare Iriomotejima.

10926435_10155075230880641_5199781909106296691_n大阪から石垣島まで飛行機に乗り、午後13:30発のフェリーで西表島(上原港)に到着すると、私は疲れてしまいました。リゾナーレ 西表島のようこさんに会うことができて、本当に嬉しかったです。彼女は、気持ちのよい笑顔で私を迎えてくれて、西表島へようこそと言ってくれました。


As I arrived at Iriomote (Uehara Port) after flying from Osaka to Ishigaki and waiting till 1.30pm to catch my ferry; I was tired out. It was absolutely refreshing to meet Yoko, the representative from Risonare Iriomotejima. She greeted me with a wide smile and welcomed me to Iriomote. She continued her hospitality, tending to everything I needed in the hotel, explaining to me all the Okinawan Variety of fruits, vegetables, liquor and music. She even translated the whole ** song for me as I asked her what it meant. She treated me well, not as a guest, but rather as she would her own friends/family.


‘Do unto others as you would for yourself’


Before I had come to Japan, I believed everyone was selfish. I truly believed no one would do anything for anyone else without a reward or monetary compensation. Japan proved me wrong. I have made many friends in Japan throughout my many trips here, and some of them I call my family.


竹富&沖縄の伝統 Traditions of Taketomi & Okinawa.


As sports were the main activities in both Iriomote and Kohama, I really wished for a dose of local culture. The food in both Iriomote and Kohama did reflect the culture but my heart longed for more. Crafts, Music, Architecture were my top priorities that i wanted to learn about.

竹富島に向けて出発した時、スポーツはどうでもよくなり、とにかく地元の文化を体験したいと思っていました。琉球村という場所があると聞いたので、ここを最初の目的地としました。星のや 竹富島のたがわなおきさんに会えて本当に感謝しています。フェリーを降りると、彼は、琉球村、なごみの塔を案内してくれた後、美味しい沖縄のドーナツを出してくれるカフェにも連れて行ってくれたので、私はすっかり島に魅了されてしまいました。

As i left for Taketomi-Jima, i really wanted to put sports behind me and experience local culture. I heard about the Ryukyu Village and wanted that to be my first stop. I was thankful to have met Naoki Tagawa, the representative from Hoshinoya Okinawa. As I departed the ferry, he swept me off to see the Ryukyu Village, the tower, as well as a local Coffee stop which served delicious Okinawan Donuts.


I then proceeded to Hoshinoya Teketomi-Jima, where i met the local villager on Tektomi Island, I heard he was quite the celebrity around here.Shousuke-San, met me to teach me a local craft which was the Goza Mat, madewith GetTOU Plant (stem) with has been dried. It is like a natural air freshener as it has a very pleasant smell whichever room it is placed in. Not only did he teach me how to make the Mat, he also showed me some of the local variety of plants, namely the GetTOU plant where the mat materials are made.

MG_8196その後は、ひらてさんに会いました。三線の先生です。彼からは、コードの弾き方ときらきら星(Twinkle Twinkle Little star)の弾き方を教わりました。三線は三味線に非常に良く似ていますが、弦は3本あり、沖縄を代表する楽器です。三線は蛇の皮で美しく造形されています。私はあまり手先が器用ではないので、うまく抱えることができなかったような気がします。ですが、なんとか万事うまくいき、三線の曲を教えてもらって、自分の部屋に戻りました。

Afterwhich i met Hirate-San, a San-Shin Sensei who taught me how to play the chords and Twinkle Twinkle Little star on the San-Shin. The San-Shin osvery similar to the Shamisen, but with 3 strings and is the local instrument of Okinawa. The San-Shin itself is beautifully made with Snake Skin. and i was a little uncomfortable holding the instrument as I am a very clumsy person. But all was well, I learnt a song on the San-Shin and proceeded to rest at my room.


カヤックと雨 Kayaking and the Rain


In the morning before i was due to leave for Kohama-Jima, I wanted to try Kayaking in the Urauchi River. Hiro, ever helpful helped me set it up and we boarded a 2 person kayak to explore the Mangroves. Even the view before Kayaking was very beautiful, I had brought my DSLR Camera and wanted to snap pictures while we Kayaked. It would have been approximately 40mins as we kayaked down the Urauchi river to the mangroves. And then the rain started, it was a slight drizzle at first, Hiro and I paid no attention to it as we enjoyed a cup of Okinawan Brown Tea on the Kayak.


As we were about to leave the mangroves, the skies opened with force. Rain poured down like blessings from the heavens and drenched us completely. Remember, we still had to kayak back at least 40mins to our starting point. Even though the rain seemed to be a curse, Hiro and I shared many stories and history about Japan, Singapore and Okinawa. Even thought the rain pounded hard on us, we maintained a cheerful and happy outlook as we talked and rowed our way back to the starting area. It seems that the rain had been a blessing in disguise, through the rain we became friends. A bad situation was made light by cheerful banter. Thank you Hiro, Risonare Iriomotejima.


おばあちゃんのキッチン Grandmother's Kitchen

10429399_10155067748960641_4456622967873990884_n 10923738_10155067701225641_257381752847006379_n石垣港で1時間半後に来るフェリーを待っていた時のことです。私は、少し腹ごしらえをしようと思いました。少し周りを歩いてみたのですが、看板のメニューが日本語しかないため全く読めません。西表島まで我慢しようかなあと思っていた時に、このおばあちゃんに出会ったのです。彼女は、身振りで自分の小さな店に入るように示してくれました。


While i was waiting at Ishigaki port for my ferry, which would arrive in 1hr30mins. I decided to quell my hunger pangs. While i walked around, I was not able to decipher the menu as it was all in Japanese. I was thinking of just waiting till i reached Iriomote when i met this grandmother, she gestured towards me to enter her little shop, that had pictures of all the food items she sold. This grandmother might have somehow saw my difficulty in reading that she had brought me to her restaurant that had pictures instead of a menu. I quickly ordered off the pictures and noted it was Somen Champuru. The Grandmother did not speak a word of Japanese but made me feel right at home, with a cool drink and hot food made specially by her, on order. She took great care of me always looking over to see whether i needed anything else. Thank you Grandmother of Ishigaki Port.


MG_7739短い期間に、たくさんの島を訪れ、地元の人々の温かいおもてなしを受けました。しかし、この質問に答えなくてはいけません。それが旅ですから。何度も飛行機、バス、フェリーなどに乗ったので、非常に疲れてしまいました。それ以外は、特に不満はないです。でも、何度も交通機関を乗り継いだからこそ、リゾナーレ 西表島やリゾナーレ 小浜島、それから星のや 竹富島の素晴らしいホストの皆さんに出会えたのです。

In the short span of time, I have visited multiple Islands and enjoyed the warm hospitality of the locals. But a I have to answer this question it would be the traveling. The multiple flights, buses and ferries had me absolutely tired out. Other than that i have no complains whatsoever. But, without the multiple times traveling on transport, I would have never met the wonderful hosts from Risonare Iriomotejima, Risonare Kohamajima and Hoshinoya Taketomijima.






Boarding Peach Flight at Kansai Airport Terminal 2

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