Hi No Umi Festival

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!

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Throwback Thursday: Beppu’s African Safari

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!!

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Throwback Thursday: April “Ido”

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”.

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Throwback Thursday: Halloween

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 »

Throwback Thursday: First Onsen Trip, and Onsen Tips

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 »