Happy New Year to all!
This year, rather than going to a super countdown party, or freezing waiting to clap at a shrine after throwing in some change, I headed to Ehime, Shikoku Japan with my friends!!
Why oh why you might ask. Learning to speak Japanese helps to open so many doors, and this time a friend asked me if I would want to go to their home town, kinda jokingly. Me being the explorer and curious and wanting to go to a new place was like, “sure, I’ll go.”
Ehime Japan, home of “mikan” or a type of orange/tangerine. Arriving at the airport after a short flight that provided a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji from above, Ehime Airport has humidifiers providing the smell of mikan throughout the building and stained glass of mikan with the sun shining though. Mikan everything!! Juice, foods, toys, gifts, just about anything you can imagine. First stop was to Dougo hot spring. Is famous for being one of the oldest hot springs. While there a tour is given where a former emperor of Japan once took a bath, did his #2’s and where he sat to relax afterwards. I’m no the biggest fan of going to hot springs, but I was extremely happy because this was the first time in my six years in Japan that I was given a yukata, a type of traditional clothing that actually covered my whole body! From there we went to Matsuyama Castle and then to my friend’s home town.
Unomachi, Ehime, Shikoku Japan.
It amazing how country country can get. Unlike being in Tokyo where everyone is always in a rush to do anything going to out the boondocks was a much needed break. My friend’s family was so welcoming and having the best conversations. My friend’s father who is 84 years old was a former English teacher and everyday I would sit with him and talk about so many cultural things in Japan and America. Mom was the best cook and always was preparing something to eat. I’m sure it was tiring because grand daughter Honoka loves her grandma and was stuck to her like white on rice.
Did I mention mikan? Every morning I woke up to fresh squeezed mikan juice and long story short I probably had over a 100 mikan to eat and drink while there. I also had the chance to see an old tradition that primarly only exist in Ehime. Rice storage containers called “WARAGURO” while simple in structure and design, it looks like small hut.
Hennessy and Coke!! Grandpa loved enjoyed drinking with me every evening!!