Nagano: Catch a snowflake

With the third day, came new challenges. I started to get used to life in the woods, but still felt uneasy. I hoped greatly to be accepted.

Please enjoy the following post. For the first of the series, click Here and for the second click Here.

photo 3-7

It was a relaxing Saturday morning. I felt calm and today I was not doing any work. It was the first morning that I didn’t feel any tension within myself. However, during breakfast my eye started to twitch. It twitched longer than it ever had before and I started to get annoyed and worried that it wouldn’t stop. I looked up the reasons for the vibrations, and among the many possibilities stress was one of them. Was I really that uptight?
Though after looking it up on google, it seemed to stop and it didn’t come back after that.

I was able to get away from the house a bit and took the camera that I borrowed from my sister and set off on a walk. It started to snow from the afternoon, and after an hour it began to pile up slightly and left a thin layer of white on everything around me. I wanted to be a little more professional and shoot photos with the Nikon that my sister let me take for my trip, but I ended up using my Itouch for the most part.

It was a beautiful afternoon, and I took the time to observe what was around me. I looked at the lining of the trees. I saw the water gushing in the river below me. I listened to the sound of the wind. I felt at home for the first time. I had no stress and no one to bother me. I was alone, with my only goal for the evening being to catch a snow flake on my tongue.

The couple that I was staying with surprised me and told me that there would be a local gathering with a potluck party. I was excited and very curious to see what kind of people would be living in this area.
Before we headed off, Yumi-san and I prepared the food for the event. I suggested the previous evening my speciality: 納豆コロッケ(Natto Croquette). It is always a fun party food because it leaves everyone guessing the ingredients.

When we got into the car for the party, my insecurities started to bubble up, and I began to worry about being rejected. Why must my mind always yo-yo back and forth between emotions?

The people were friendly, and were surprised to see me because Yoshida-san had not told them I would be coming. They were polite and asked me a few questions, then slowly went back to the people that they were most comfortable with.

The best part of the evening for me was playing with the children. I love kids because they have no concept of awkwardness. One in particular didn’t seem to be fazed by anything.

I listened to the conversations around me and most of the topics were on gardening and rice fields. I turned to Yoshida-san and he was acting like leader as usual and began explaining things to everyone.
There was a hippie-ish man with a lisp in front of me taking notes on what everyone was saying. I learned later that he is planning on moving to 和合(Wagou) and wanted to learn as much as he could.

As the end of the party started to near, I had become good friends with all three of the children there, exchanging secret handshakes and fun party games. The adults were thanking each other by exchanging rice from their fields. I thought that was an interesting gesture, and was pleased to have gotten some myself, although I had no rice of my own to pass around.

Life is simple here, and in the beginning I told myself that I could never live in a place like this. I would never be able to get used to it. However, after seeing the tight bonds of the community and of the families, my perspective changed. I was starting so slowly see why they love Wagou so much and smiled at the idea of someday moving to the country myself.

photo 2-12


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