To experience local life and get some experiences beside the tourist tracks is one of the things I enjoy most about traveling during my 365 days of summer. I was very happy when I found a nice place in Suzaka, close to the former Olympic city of Nagano.
Dorothee who came about 30 years ago from Germany to Japan when she met her husband Taka, looked for some helping hands during the summer month with the upkeep of her Zen Dojo at the outskirts of Suzaka. When I arrived at the centre Frederick from Nicaragua had already spend two weeks at this beautiful place. The house where Frederick and I stayed is a roughly 100 year old farm building, located at the flank of a mountain at a height of 800 m and features all the specialties of Japanese design: low door frames for people of my size, tables almost at the floor level, lots of sliding doors and an almost sacred separation between shoes-on and -off areas. 🙂
Our daily work consisted of small maintenance jobs such as building some steps and paths, exchanging a floor, weeding and painting. Also on the list for me this time was rebuilding the homepage of the Zen Dojo, which kept me quite busy during my stay.
Dorothee and Taka proved very open to share their experiences and invited me into their live. With Dorothee I enjoyed great conversations, we practiced Zen meditation together and we did several traditional tea ceremonies. Taka convinced me even more about the great taste of the local cuisine and made sure Frederick and I would get our fair share of the local pleasures by taking us to the (Japanese hot pool) and Tender, a cozy bar owned by Masumi, the perfect host 😉
Once again the two weeks passed by too quickly and I feel there would be so much more to see. Maybe I can come back one day.