Sun Messe: The Maoi of the East

In the Valparaíso Region of Chile, a group of statues equal in shape and size rise from a site known as Ahu Akivi and stare out into the Pacific Ocean. These mysterious Maoi are just some of thousands discovered on Easter Island, built by the Rapa Nui to honor important people who had passed on. More than 14,000 km (±…

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The Nishimera Gibier Festival

“You ate what?” Maria-san asked with surprise. “Wild boar and deer.” She scrunched up her nose in disgust, “Urgh…really?” “Yeah, it was delicious!” “Oh no,” she frowned unconvinced, “I’ve never tried it.” Maria is the co-owner-co-chef of one of my favourite restaurants in Miyazaki, which made her reaction that much more amusing. It’s not an uncommon one in Japan though,…

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Sumo on a Sunday

Two crouched rikishi look each other dead in the eye. In perfect symmetry, they rub their hands together, clap once, and then move their arms out slowly to their sides, first facing their palms up, and then turning them to face down. They put their hands on their knees, still not breaking eye contact. One grabs a handful of salt…

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Miyazaki’s Winter Illuminations

At this time of year, the terrifyingly life-like fibreglass statues of Colonel Sanders that guard the entrance to every KFC in Japan are dressed up in red suits and Santa hats ready to greet the long line of customers waiting to pick up their Christmas dinner: roast chicken, champagne and strawberry shortcake. Born out of a Western visitor’s search for…

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The Nishimera Village Revival

In the Ichifusa Mountain Range of Miyazaki, alongside the Hitotsuse River, seven picturesque hamlets are scattered across a 272 km² area filled with forests, streams, rice fields and vineyards. Collectively, they are known as Nishimera Village (西米良村). It’s a quiet, peaceful place – a nature-lover’s haven filled with hiking trails and fishing spots that are home to wild boar, deer,…

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