Category Archives: Nature

Experience traditional culture with Japan tent

I’m finally graduating with an MBA from Doshisha University in two weeks from now. As a great way to end my life as a student, I participated in JAPAN TENT. In this program, 300 foreign exchange and research students from 78 different countries around the world are gathering together in Ishikawa Prefecture for a one-week homestay. I was offered a chance to live with two local families in the  remarkable beautiful and culturally rich Ishikawa.

The first three days I stayed at Shun’s house and explored the Noto peninsula, which has excellent seafood and interesting history from the Jomon period. I woke up every morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee from Shuns own Cafe Urara. The most memorable experience was carrying around a Kiriko or a giant festival lantern  at the Noto Kiriko Festival.

The last three days I stayed with the Kobori family in their huge Japanese house in Nonoichi. It was obvious to me that the Kobori’s represents the stereotypical image of a Japanese family: Grandpa works in the rice field and garden, Grandma stays home and cooks, Father works at a manufacturing company, Mother stays home with the baby and the rest of the kids goes to school. The Kobori family gave me a very warm welcome and showed the Japanese hospitality. In Nonoichi, I tried making magatama (a kind of power stone) and wagashi (Japanese sweets). The last day of the homestay we visited Kenrokuen, a landscape garden said to be one of the three great gardens of Japan.

I will never forget my time in Ishikawa learning of Japans traditional culture. At the last day, I got a notice that I was one of the 10% selected to become ambassadors for the Japan Tent program. Japan Tent is free of charge and all expenses are covered by sponsoring partners and volunteers. I warmly recommend You to apply for the program in 2017 because this is a new way to get introduced to traditional Japanese culture.

Made it to the newspaper

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京都の同支社大学に在学中、石川県のJapan Tentプログラムでの体験は学生生活の中で一番よい思い出になりました。このプログラムは世界中での78の国々の300の留学生を集まりました。綺麗として文化的な石川県にホームステイをしに行きました。石川県で二つの家族に泊まるチャンスがありました。


最後の三日間はホストファミリーである小堀家の大きく、日本的な家に泊まりました。この経験はステレオタイプの日本人家族を表して:お祖父さんは農業、お祖母さんは料理、お父さんは会社で仕事、お母さんは赤ちゃんのお世話、他の3人兄弟は勉強をしていました。 小堀氏は私と初めて会うにもかかわらず、親切で大変あたたかくおもてなししくれてました。 とても素晴らしい家族です。 観光で訪れた野々市市では、勾玉や和菓子を作ったりしました。最後に兼六園を訪れ、その美しさに大変感動しました。

石川県の伝統的な文化を学んだ事は忘れられない特別な良い体験となりました。 帰りの日は、全体の10%からJapan Tentの大使に選ばれました。スポンサーやボランティアの御かげでJapan Tentは無料になっています。心から日本に住んでいる留学生をJapan Tent 2017を進めます。

Skiing in Japan

A late Friday night, an international team of 9 participants set out from Tokyo in two rented cars. Since Japanese people, in general, have a tendency to work late, we departed at almost 00:00 to arrive around 05:00 in Nagano at our hotel. The group consisted of 4 men and 5 women, all with the determination to enjoy a nice skiing weekend. These kinds of activities are encouraged by Social Apartment, where you can live and enjoy socializing in an apartment style share house.

With only a few hours of sleep, we got up and rented ski gear for about 5000 yen and then bought a lift pass for about another 5000. Hakuba was the name of the ski resort we went to and it’s a village in the kitaazumi district of Nagano prefecture.  Nagano is mostly known for the 1998 winter Olympics, is also connected with Tokyo by the  Hokuriku shinkansen. After enjoying skiing for a few hours, we ate dinner at a quite decent Yakiniku restaurant named Miyama(深山). The night was finished with an onsen visit close to the hotel will some drinks at our rooms.

Skiing in Nagano was quite different from skiing in Sweden. The snow was equally great, but it was a bit warmer than expected. The ski lift worked flawlessly compared to Sweden and Hakuba was well staffed. The next ski trip will no doubt be in Hokkaido next year!




Kyoto from the sky – Awa Drone

Ever heard of drones? A few weeks ago I met a few friends living in Tokushima in Shikoku. They are very interested in drones and even have a business called Awa Drone!

We spend a whole day touring Kyoto, starting with the ritual throwing of a coin at the first shrine visit of the year(Hatsumoude). We spend the rest of the day exploring Arashiyama and especially the area around Katsuragawa. There I gathered goshuin and we took amazing aerial footage for a video project called “Edge of Kyoto”. The video showing the slow river boat turned out better than expected and the video is a MUST see!

ドローンって聞いたことありますか?数週間前には、四国の徳島に住んでいる友達と会いました。彼らたちはすごくドローンに興味があり、Awa Droneというビジネスを設立しました

一日中に京都を観光し、初詣のために、神社でコインを投げました。その残りの間は御朱印巡りをして、嵐山の辺に行って、特に桂川の方に探りました。そこで、”Edge of Kyoto”というビデオプロジェクトをドローンで空からの撮影しました。そのビデオは桂川と屋形船を現して、思ってたよりいい感じで撮りました。是非ご覧ください!

Mount Fuji

On an early Friday morning the 10th September, my friends Ashraf, Atreya, Daisy, Ryan, Tasneem and I set out to climb mount Fuji and visit the amusement park Fuji Q Highland the day after.

We set out from Doshisha University in Kyoto with a car from Times Car Rental. The deal was slightly better than expected because they upgraded us to a bigger car for free.

Arriving at Fuji-Yoshida (the north side), we started the climb about 8 p.m. It was wind-still and a quite comfortable temperature at the 5th station. While climbing up, we took a rest at all of the upcoming stations and decided on the spot to stay for two hours at the 8th station’s mountain hut. We went to sleep around 1 am and woke up at 3 am to climb the last bit up to the summit. It was freezing cold and the wind was very strong at the top, but we made it just in time to see the stunning sunrise.

After walking around the crater one lap, we started the descent around 6 a.m and it took about 3 hours to get down to the car again. It was very tough. In hindsight, climbing Fuji-san sleep deprived and jet lagged the day after coming back to  Japan from Sweden was not such a good idea. My body felt incredibly heavy and I definitely got mountain sick. However, we all did a good job on planning the trip and we had the right gear with us.

After resting, we went to an onsen facing fuji-san and stayed at a guesthouse for the night. The following day, we went up early to go to FujiQ Highland: an amusement park famous for having world-record roller coasters and one of the world´s scariest ghost house.

Take a look at my Gaijinpot post about FujiQ highland







Beauty of Shirakawago

Do the names Gifu and Kanazawa ring any bells? Or maybe they are a faint memory hidden in the recesses of your mind?  In this blog post I will shed some light on these two culturally rich prefectures in Japan.

Not long ago, I rented a car in Kyoto and explored the area northeast of Kansai.

The first stop was Gujo Hachiman, a small mountain village that takes pride in its water and is famous for its dance festival every summer, the Gujo Odori. It’s said that the dance goes on all night on each of the four consecutive Obon days in mid August. Another funny fact is that Gujo is the place where Japan’s famous food replicas were invented, and are still produced there today.

As the sun began to set, we checked in at the cozy Sakura guest house in Takayama. Before going to sleep, we had a Nightcap at the Red Hill Bar in a hidden place a bit far from the central area! The Morning Market was also decent, but filled with strange and often unnecessary things. The highlight of that excursion was that I was able to finally try goma(sesame seed) flavored ice cream! It was overpriced but delicious.

The second stop was our main destination, the amazing Shirakawago village in Gifu Prefecture. It reminded me of Sweden in many ways, except for all the Japanese people there. There was a fresh mountain river running through the valley by the village. The local village temple had a fire that was perpetually burning downstairs, and even during the hot summer months! I heard that it was to keep insects away.

We spent the last day in Kanazawa, where we stayed at another guest house. The enthusiastic owner there showed us the true meaning of Japanese Omotenashi. The house is called Akatsukiya and is a cultural heritage site. It also has a beautiful garden that can be viewed from the dining area.

The final destination of the trip was Kanazawa’s Myoryuji  (Ninja) temple! In reality, it has nothing to do with Ninjas, but the temple was built by the Maeda lords of feudal Japan and has many deceptive defenses. There were hidden rooms and traps, and scaled a total of seven stories! We first spoke to a rude Japanese woman who gave us misleading information about parking spaces. However, the experience was saved when a guide from the temple came to the rescue!





日没が近づいたとき夕日をせに、私たちは高山にある居心地のいい桜ゲストハウスにチェックいんしました。夕食を食べ、就寝前に中心部から少し離れていて、見つけにくい場所にあるRed Hillというバーで寝酒を飲みました。そしてまたゲストハウスに戻り旅の第一日目を終えました。高山市の朝市はなじみのないものや、観光で来ている私たちには不要なものが売ってあったため、そこでは何も買いませんでした。しかし、その朝、私はついに!高くて美味しい胡麻アイスクリームを食べることができました。