Local Gaijin Pretending to be Foreigners

First sakura blossoms of the season!

This past weekend, we had a last-minute visit from mama Susan on her way to Tokyo and got the opportunity to participate in a guided trial-tour for foreigners living in Miyazaki. The tour’s purpose was to gain insight into what foreigners like and dislike about sights and destinations in Nichinan, a small coastal area south of Miyazaki City. Along with a large group of gaijin, including other English teachers, JETs and students from the University in Miyazaki, we were taken to several local attractions and fed traditional cuisine. All for free!

Obi Castle’s main gate

Unanimously, the most favored part of the trip was our visit to Obi Castle Town. We spent several hours exploring the ruins of the castle, the ancient streets and some of us even got to try on traditional kimono, replicas of samurai armor, drink matcha and try Japanese archery. The guides also gave us a map with five vouchers for free souvenirs from the local shops owned by the kindest people. It was like a scavenger hunt!

Kaya and Ateffa from Afghanistan
The diversity of the group also made the experience even more enjoyable. The students from Miyazaki University were from Egypt and Afghanistan and will study engineering in Japan for about two years. From what we understand, the men are granted scholarships and then invite their wives and children to join them here in Miyazaki. It was a pleasure to speak with them briefly about their experience here so far and what life is like back in their home countries. How crazy is it that we can meet people from all over the world in this little place in Japan!? We are hoping to reconnect soon and spend more time with some of the couples.

It was also great to have Susan with us. We are so thankful that she can drop by and see us and give us some motherly lovin’. Kaya always enjoys watching the Japanese react to blond-haired, blue-eyed Susan and Jon when they speak Japanese. They are always so confused and sometimes speechless! And listening to Susan’s stories of her experiences here in Japan are always entertaining, specially since we can sometimes relate! Susan also lavished us with American goodies, namely peanut butter, so we are pretty excited about that. We’ll keep her.

Jon in a samurai costume with Susan drinking matcha


We are now awaiting Jon’s cousins’ arrival this next weekend and the following weekend Kaya’s dad and brother! Now that we live in Japan, it is so exciting to show people our favorite parts and explore new things with them! Having guests also encourages us to keep our apartment tidy and gives us more opportunity to practice what it means to be hospitable. And the weather has been beautiful lately so we hope it will stay that way!

Until then, work is quieting down as the students are finishing the term and have very few classes. This means that we have a lot of down time for preparation for the next term, reading new books, talking with our coworkers, studying Japanese and continuing to seek the Lord’s guidance both as a couple and individually. Please pray that this can be a fruitful season! 

We had fun exploring the Obi Castle grounds
Traditional Japanese home dining area


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