Our group decided to visit one of the countries that has long been on our list of dream travel destinations. While ideally Cherry Blossom season at the beginning of April would have been great, we decided it’s better to avoid the huge touristic season rush that would not be ideal for a family. Also hotel prices soar to even twice the price making this time just too costly. And little do people know, that before the cherry blossoms there is another tree equally beautifully blossoming in many places in the country: the plum tree. The flower is more of a mix of pink and purple, with smaller flowers. A delicate, beautiful as well as delicious plant that they use to make the famous “umeboshi” or sour plum. Inspire by this trip we have also decided to plant a few plum trees to our farm.
To survive in this gorgeous land we started out by figuring out how to learn japanese fast which is a method that works amazingly well. Originally started by Michell Thomas, the foundation language courses provided are meant for the pupil to take Japanese into real active use as soon as you start listening to the audio tapes. We’ve never really had such an amazing experience about language learning before so it really blew our minds. As they mention on the recommended website, the method is more than fast, it’s instant! Anyone interested I encourage people to try it for themselves.
One of our main interests on this trip was to study about domestic sheep in Japan. The government has imported many breeds to the country, namely Mongolian & Chinese breeds of sheep, as well as other western types. However these projects to motivate sheep farming has been largely unsuccessful and in today’s Japan there are only handful of private farmers that engage in shearing and other such activities. This makes the cost of Japanese wool extremely cost ineffective. Despite this, it makes it more interesting to understand how a few passionate people have managed to put up business, perhaps for their love of the work. What is native to the land however, is the Capricornis crispus (English: Japanese Serow) which is perhaps closest to a sheep that the country has. It’s also considered a national animal.
One of the highlights of the trip was to “Hill of Sheep” (Japanese: 羊ヶ丘 or Hitsujigaoka). This is of course in one of the least densely populated islands of Japan: Hokkaido. There you can see gracing sheep in vast grasslands. This pastureland is something very special to the people of Hokkaido and provides astounding views of the surrounding nature and hills. It would be very similar to ones in the west if there were not also huge mountains in the backdrop of the scenery. With the sun setting, it’s really difficult to put words to this place but it has definitely grown our love for the northernmost island of Japan.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip and that we motivate people to explore the country and learn it’s language. See you soon our dear readers!