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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Hiking the Yufudake Trail

The tears came hard and fast. I had just reached the sign marking the last 800 meters of the Yufudake trail but instead of feeling elated that I was almost to the top of the mountain, I felt an overwhelming urge to give up and turn around. Switchback after switchback had made the terrain seem like an endless ascent and…

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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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