Last weekend was Beppu’s biggest summer festival – the Hi No Umi (translating roughly to ‘sea of fire’) Festival. It takes place every year at the end of July, and has festival stands selling food and toys, music and dance performances, and the main event – fireworks!
One of the things I was most surprised to find that Beppu had in the surrounding area when I got here was the African Safari. Although it’s located a bit further away from the central city area, it’s still a popular tourist spot and a good way to spend half a day or so, plus you can get there by bus from Beppu Station.
But the best thing about it? You can feed the animals!!
After sakura season comes “ido” season, which I experienced for the first time this year.
“Ido” means ‘change’, which is a fitting word to describe April, as both the fiscal year and the school year actually start in April, unlike back home where the school year starts in September. This is why in a lot of anime or manga, at graduation or school entrance time for the characters, there’ll be cherry blossoms everywhere, rather than autumn leaves.
So, April is a month of new beginnings for both children and adults, with children starting a new school year, or depending on their age, starting at a new school entirely, and for adults, a lot of companies have their new employees (especially newly-graduated new employees) start in April. For the already established employees, there’s “jinji ido” (人事異動), which can be translated as the “personnel reshuffle” or “staff reassignment”.
Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I returned home for a week to visit my family so that prevented me from writing for 2 weeks and then the last two weeks have just been very busy. I’ll try to catch up and get back to the regular schedule~
This week’s Throwback Thursday is about sakura (cherry blossom) season, a much anticipated time of year in Japan and a time when everything is cloaked in a beautiful layer of pink.
Today I thought I’d write about the first time I went to Fukuoka with some of the ALTs.
Fukuoka is the capital city of Kyushu island (the island Beppu is on) and has the biggest population out of all cities here. It’s the largest metropolitan area west of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area (also called Keihanshin) and actually has a larger population than that of not only Kobe but Kyoto too! Fukuoka has lots of great places to visit whether you’re into shopping, art, manga + anime, novels, fashion, traditional buildings, music, or other things! It’s home to people like Tokyo Ghoul writer Sui Ishida, novelist Yumeno Kyuusaku, and singers Ayumi Hamasaki, Ringo Shiina, former Morning Musume members Reina Tanaka and Erina Ikuta, and HKT48, Fukuoka’s AKB48-related group.
So, what did we do in Fukuoka?
I’m gradually getting through my backed up post ideas from last year and now we’re finally at Halloween! I’ve always loved Halloween, and any excuse to dress up really, but Halloween’s the big one so I wanted to do something really fun. I’d say that from what I’ve seen, a lot of Japan seems to celebrate Halloween, either by having big Halloween parties in the local community or just in local nightclubs, or by having Halloween themed English lessons (mostly thanks to all of the ALTs over here who love sharing their own countries’ events with their students). Since I don’t teach, however, I mostly shared my Halloween spirit with other foreigners, which was still really fun.Read More »
Last weekend I attended my first ever festival in Beppu and one of its biggest events – the Onsen Matsuri (hot spring festival). This is a festival held to celebrate and give thanks to Beppu’s numerous hot springs (Beppu has the largest number of hot spring sources in the whole of Japan, and these sources discharge the highest volume of hot spring water in Japan as well) . This year there was a large variety of festivities – the Onsen Matsuri actually ran from around the 1st to the 7th April, culminating in the main events at the weekend. I only attended the Sunday events, but this was arguably the highlight of the week.Read More »
Since it’s the week of the Onsen Matsuri, a festival celebrating Beppu’s numerous hot springs, I thought what better time to talk about the first time I went to an onsen, and give some tips and answer some FAQs to hopefully reassure those that’re unsure about trying onsen (like I was at first).
First, let me explain about Beppu’s onsen districts, known as “Beppu Hatto” (“Hatto” is written with the kanji for “8” and the kanji for “hot water”, so this’ll give you the hint that there are 8 of them). The main part of Beppu counts as one, then there’s Hamawaki, Kankaiji, Horita, Myouban, Kannawa, Shibaseki and Kamegawa. Each district has its own various good onsens and interesting areas to explore. Read More »
The day after I went to Kannawa for the first time (see last post), I went on a local bus tour with one of the ALTs here and her husband. Our tour location? The Kunisaki Peninsula, an area with numerous interesting sightseeing spots and landmarks. It’s also pretty hard to get to some places without a car, so this is a useful way to see some sights that might normally be inaccessible if you can’t drive, like me.
The tour we took was the “Rokugo Manzan” tour (literally meaning “Six Towns, Full Mountain, as the region was originally divided into 6 areas, with Mount Futago in the centre). This tour focuses on various Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in the area.
Today I thought I’d write about my first trip to one of the other Beppu Hatto – a group of 8 hot spring districts in Beppu. Two of my co-workers and I went to Kannawa, an area with traditional narrow stone-paved roads, where steam rises from the drains to give it a mysterious atmosphere.Read More »