Couchsurfing in Suwa-ko Japan!
After my amazing (and amazingly quick and easy) hitchhiking experience I arrived in Suwa-ko, Nagano-ken, Japan 2 days earlier than I had expected! My couch host, Ceion, had no problems with this! This was great for me too because it meant I could take some time off from working and absorbing massive amounts of information everyday. Ceion has been teaching english in Japan for 1 year and we immediately felt comfortable around each other. She worked in the afternoons but each morning she showed me around the area. The first morning we went castle viewing. First to the smaller Takashima-jo[jo = castle] in Suwa, which was only a 10 minute walk from her flat, and then we hopped on a train to Matsumoto to check out the famous black and white Matsumoto-jo . Mostly we just slowly strolled through the city and enjoyed really good conversation. The castles were just some beautiful arbitrary destination, the journey there and back was the enriching part…
Playing on the Takashima-jo playground!
I only planned on staying with Ceion for a night or two but we were enjoying each others’ company so much, and I needed the rest and relaxation so I ended up staying for 5 days. I fell into the role of Japanese house wife. Grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning while she was out at work. When someone lets me stay with them I always try to leave with more food in the house than there was when I got there, my host never has to wash a single dish, and I always cook for them. Cooking for other people always seems to bring out the best chef in me. Cooking is easy, you only need to listen to your heart.
This night I made a soup with: Maitake, enotake & shiitake mushrooms, burdock root [gobo], cabbage, carrots [ninjin], onions, ginger, lefover soba noodles, wakame (a type of seaweed), miso paste, shoyu, and minimal spices. The salad was spinach, endive, onion, celery sprouts, raisins, walnuts and strawberries with a ginger & garlic in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and shoyu dressing.
^^^ The city of Suwa by twilight. You can see the large lake that the city is famous for. This lake is famous for the ice formations that.. form around it’s edges. Many people told me that this year it was so warm that there was not enough ice to create these formations. Global climate change yo. Japan seems to be more effected by this than what I am used to in America. Every where I go people are telling me that spring is coming a month earlier than 10 or 20 years ago, the Sakura bloom shorter, etc. Maybe Japan just pays closer attention to the seasons?