/ Japan

Kuma kogen volenteering

One can do million things in Japan, Tokyo surely is the Meka for that. Japan has so many sightseeings and not even Shinkansen can't help you see them all. And really, why would you want to see them all? Would this give you the real picture of the Japan? Definitely not. As much it's possible I wanted to feel the real picture Japan has now. See the empty, abandoned ghost houses as the locals call them and try to understand the story behind the fast centralisation happenings in Japan.

I found Workaway as a great way to meet people and spend some time away from cities. People can connect easily if they work together and helping local people it's always rewarding with laughter. The work I found was in the nature resort on island Shikoku.

The place usually hosted around ten volunteers, old around my age and coming from all a cross the world. We worked together for five hours per day on various different tasks around resorts. In exchange for work we got a place to stay and food. Two days per week where meant for going around. Can't express, how relaxing is to work with strangers, and how easy is is to become a friend.

Working on protection fens for ducks
Nearby waterfall. Actually it's a bit higher than it looks

In two weeks there I had, more than enough time to meet people around the village, I mean say a word or two. Maybe find someone that know how speak English, manly people don't speak the second language here. Near Kumakogen there was a waterfall, onsen, few restaurants and lots of trails. The most famous one is Shikoku Pilgrimage, connecting 88 temples all around the Shikoku island. Some even believe that walking this path brings you one step closer to enlightenment.

We found many places empty, left behind, full with the toys, and all amenities. Whole families moved to the cities searching more opportunities. One old guy explain us that is cheaper to leave the complete house rather that pay for the tax plus breaking down cost, so the moto goes like "if you don't use it, let it be".

If you are looking for the resort, you are welcome to write Kazu here on the Facebook Page. I am sure you will have a great time there with other volunteers and get a new perspective on Japan.

Onward Matsuyama