For those of you who don’t know, I took a Japanese class as a general education subject in my final year of uni. Every semester they bring some teachers from Japan to Australia to become like assistant teachers (teacher in Japanese is sensei 先生). I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Jibiki Sensei. I made a firm impression with my bad language skills and love of the more refined things of Japan like maid cafes. I always told her that if I was ever to come to Japan we would go together to a maid cafe. And it actually happened, twice! The first time was in 2014 with my good mate Dan.
In true Japanese tradition, we went again before the start of the trip.
As I explained the trip to her, she said “if you go through Akita prefecture let me know. You can stay with my grandma.” And so the story begins. After another very pleasant stay in the manga cafe, I set off early in preparation for the 120kms ahead of me. By 11am I had already covered half of that and was chowing into some fresh ¥100 sushi from one of my favourite Sushi Trains (回転寿司 – かいてんずし): Hamazushi (はま寿司). Highlyyyy recommend it.
Soon I had arrived in Akita prefecture.
Ready to meet the legendary Jibiki family, consisting of her grandmother and uncle who live in a super nice rural town called Fujimichou (富士見町). Upon being greeted by the uncle we must’ve smelt pretty bad because we were shoved into the shower very quickly. Jibiki-baachan went to all the effort to cook food for us all. I had to pull out all the Japanese flattery I knew such as “I’ve never eaten curry that tastes as good as this!” こんな美味しいカレーを食べたことありません！But seriously, it was amazing. Carl, myself and Jibiki-jisan talked late into the night about anything and everything. He opened bottle after bottle as if trying to test us. First beer, then nihonshu, sake, chuuhai and to top it off some sweet sweet red wine. However he ended up drawing short and ended up with a hangover the next morning, hence the hat in the photo below.
I am greatly appreciative of all the efforts so many Japanese people have taken on the trip thus far. I did not expect anything like this to happen as I don’t think I’ve experienced such kindness in Australia. I bought a special souvenir from Yamagata prefecture in preparation of the Jibiki family’s kindness and gave it to obaachan who looked both surprised and delighted.