Erste Wwoofing Erfahrung in Japan/First wwoofing experience in Japan

Deutsche Version:

So, die Zivilisation hat mich wieder! Nach insgesamt gut einem Monat, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen nun doch weiterzuziehen, wer rastet der rostet bekanntermaßen. Bevor es aber losgeht, hier noch der Nachtrag der lange aufgeschoben wurde^^. Viele schöne Bilder und ein relativ langer Beitrag. Viel spass beim lesen =).
Derzeit bin ich für drei Tage in Kumamoto, wo es derzeit wahnsinnig schwer ist, eine bezahlbare Unterkunft zu finden, was auf Nachwirkungen der Erdbeben zurückzuführen ist. Dennoch bin ich in einem Kapselhotel untergekommen, das ich sowieso mal ausprobieren wollte, warum dann also nicht gleich, wenn sich die Gelegenheit bietet =). Am Donnerstag wird es dann nach Kagoshima gehen, und zwar mit dem Shinkansen, für den mir mein Host sogar noch 10.000 Yen (etwa 80 Euro) in die Hand drückte. Vielen Dank dafür! Ich hab mich gerade mal bei Couchsurfing umgesehen und eine Anfrage gestellt, warte nur noch auf eine hoffentlich positive Antwort ^^.

English Version:

After I visited Kumamoto-City I planned to do some wwoofing out of several reasons. First of all it’s for free, I don’t have to pay anything, second, I can immerse into japanese culture and experience the japanese cuisine, third, I can practice my japanese and have enough time to learn new words, phrases and such. All good reasons to give it a try, and what should I say? I totally enjoyed it! This may also be because of my superb hosts the wada family. Both are in their 60’s but probably the most relaxed and chilled couple I’ve ever experienced! I felt like I was part of their family, included in their every day life and treated equally and with the utmost respect. I can’t express my gratitude for them taking me in, and let me be part of them. I was quite sad when I finally left, and they too. I told them in earnest words, that they are my japanese family now.

However. I was there for work, and work was not really scarce =). In the beginning, we started to build a stair, made out of two logs and 19 steps (see the photographs at the link in the german Version). I like practical work and especially when it’s about wood, and carving and such. Other jobs where to clean the chicken/rabbit shed (they have some interesting chickens here, called Ukokke. Refering to my host one of the hens only produces about 40 eggs a year, which makes them quite valuable. In Tokyo one pays up to 700 Yen for one egg (about 5,60 Euro)!). But also some tasks like picking grass and cleaning windows in their guesthouses. Which brings me to the point I haven’t written about by now. Their property is not really a farm as I imagined, but rather a Onsen-Spa (Onsen are the japanese Hot springs). They own several Onsen and guesthouses in which they logde visitors. I had my own little cabin and could enjoy an onsen every night, after work, and hell, this was the best thing about working there =). After your sweatstruck, getting into a 42°C hot Onsen with foul egg smelling water and a scenery as beautiful as not even the pictures can depict, and Sakura blooming in front of you, one feels just immeasurable releaxed

Breakfast, Lunch and Supper we always ate together and the woman in charge always made classical japanese food. Who migh expect it, but Rice was an essential part of all of the meals =). Also salad and eggs. Sometime we ate some fisch also, or soups, or even went out for lunch in restaurants. I always ate to much, but except of some minor things I always digged right in and ate everything I was served

When the Kumamoto Earthquake hit us (we were safe up there, nothing happend and damage has not been found, but we felt them distinctly neverteheless), we did go to Kumamoto-City for my host has a house there where his mother and son + family lives. The house itself stood firm, except of several tiles from the roof that fell down, and destructed furniture and other stuff inside. So for the time being, the family members went with us to Yamakawa Onsen, where I got the chance to get to know them better.
It’s really fantatstic, ever since I was there, no one yelled or got loud or angry by any means. Everything was peacefully solved even if there were problems. Though my hosts was shocked that his hous got damaged, cool as japanese people are, he took it as it was. I couldn’t see any regret or hate or despair or anything. This is something one might encounter throughout the japanese society, even when we were at Aso City, which was struck quite heavy too by the earthquakes. The people their are impressively relaxed and take their fate as it comes. Remarkable! No panic, no rushes, everything quite and relaxed. unimaginable in western countries^^.

As I wrote I have much gratitude for my host and what he did for me. He even organized a payed job for my humble self, around a week after I started. He has a friend down at Kurokawa Onsen, which is just about 15 k’s off our location. This friend hired me as cleaning staff in a Ryokan, in which I get around 950 Euro per month. Totally happy about it, I took the job. The starting date was slated for April 17th. Unfortunately the earthquakes happend, hence they closed off their hotel. Transportation was very limited anyway and the fear of aftershocks or new earthquakes was around and totally reasonable as several more shocks showed us. 99% of all Onsen did close during this time, and are even closed off now, though their damages wasn’t as big as it was in Kumamoto-City or Aso-City. So no job for me for now^^. Such a shame, I could have spent two months there, make some money for when my friend from Germany comes to Japan in July, and learn more japanese.
Instead I stayed another 2 weeks with my hosts, partly because I didn’t quite know what to do now, and partly because I hoped they would reopen after a week or so, so that I could start with a short delay. The latter didn’t happen, hence I decided to leave at this very day. So I’m back in Kumamoto now, and on Thursday off to Kagoshima by Shinkansen, for which my Host gave me 10.000 Yen (without me wanting it! Around 80 Euro). Another reason why I am so indepted to him! Such great people with whom I will definetly stay in contact! They were additionally really sad to let me leave and wanted me to stay longer and longer^^. I bet not just because I am a cheap worker.

Ha, well. Farewells are always hard, but as long as we walk under the same sky, we will meet again, eventually!


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