Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Akatsuchi Pottery Ojika Island

Akatsuchi Pottery

Ojika Island 

Written by Lara - Instagram: @possumspossy

I have been fortunate enough to experience many things in my time on Ojika Island. One of the best would have to be the Akatsuchi pottery experience. The opportunity to make something personal on your travels really brings deeper meaning to the word souvenir.

When we arrived, the tables were already set up with a piece of clay, a small turn table, some tools and a wooden board. We began by working the clay until it was soft, making it into a cone shape and cutting it into two separate pieces.

I love, love, love making things, but, I'm also a bit of a perfectionist. While in some ways this can be a great trait, it has also been my downfall many times.
I started my pottery experience the same way I typically start most things - with high expectations for myself.

The sensei showed us two different techniques to make a pinch pot. I wanted to make two perfect pots for succulents, to give as a gift to my mum and sister. As you can probably imagine, this did not happen. My first attempt ended with me scrunching up my pot and starting again.

The second attempt was much better but as I was finishing it, Sensei told us that we had one hour left. At this point I realised that if I wanted to have a finished product, I would need to get over my perfectionist ways.
I felt like I was being tested. I realised that my pots were not going to be perfect, no matter how much time I spent on them. I began to focus on good enough.

This changed everything. I managed to finish 3 pots, a coaster (it's not a coaster but more of a dish to place small items in), and 6 chopstick rests. I found the more I just pushed through and created, the more experimental I became and in the end the chopstick rests and coaster were my favourite items.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Catching Fugu on Ojika Island

First Solo Fishing Attempt

Written by Lara - Instagram: @possumspossy

Taiyo San has been kind enough to teach me the basics of fishing and lend me a fishing rod while I have been on Ojika. The other day I decided to go out for myself for the first time. 

I set off with a goal - to catch one fish. Catch one fish I did! It was a puffer fish (fugu), known as a dangerous delicacy in Japan, when prepared by skilled and certified chefs. However, when it is prepared by amateurs, it is simply a poisonous fish. 

I chose to set my little fugu free... if only I could get it off the hook. As I had had Taiyo with me on every other fishing expedition, I had not realised how tricky it can be to get a slimy fish of a fishing hook. 

So after many failed attempts and stabbing myself twice, I decided to cut the line and ride with the fish in the bike basket. After some laughing and poking fun, Taiyo San took off the fish with very little effort and we set it free.

Moral of the story? I don't know, because I still can't take a fish off the hook...

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sunset Cruise around Ojika Island

Sunset Cruise

Ojika Island

Written by Lara - Instagram: @possumspossy

One of the best things about staying on Ojika Island, has been the hospitality Taiyo San and his family have shown the workawayers. Since I have been here I have had the chance to participate in many community events, fishing, and most recently a sunset cruise around the island.

Taiyo San's parents own a small boat, and kindly offered to take us to see the sunset in their own time. I feel so grateful for the generosity of the people on this island, particularly Taiyo San and his family.

We left the dock as the sun was setting and cruised around looking at the smaller surrounding islands, stopping at Noshima island. This island is famous for it's peanuts, as well as a large tree as soon as you step off the dock.

Hiroko San told us that there is a legend that when foreign traders arrived on the island, they dropped a seed, which grew as the water levels rose. When the people on the island built the dock they chose to spare the tree for its beauty.

Although it was difficult to take photos and videos because of the waves! I managed to get a few and posted them on the Shimayadogoen youtube channel. You can watch the montage by clicking here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Exploring Kuroshima Park

Exploring Kuroshima Park

Written by Lara - Instagram: @possumspossy

One of the first places I visited on Ojika Island was Kuroshima Park. Located just a short stroll or quick 10 minute bike ride from Shimayadogoen, it presents beautiful views both on the journey and at the destination.

There are two entrances to the park, one from a long, steep set of stairs, and the other provides a shorter set of stairs but requires you to cycle up a steeper hill.

If you enter from the first entrance, you will see a tori gate at the top of the long set of stairs. As you walk through it, you will come to a large turret that offers a stunning view, and a small round table with a tiled map of the island.

The second entrance offers a beautiful pathway surrounded by lush green grass, trees and views of the ocean. 

After walking along the path for a couple of minutes, you will come across a shrine that looks beautiful at sunset. The day that I visited, there were many spider webs so I did not enter the shrine, but hopefully you have better luck!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Exploring Ojika Island by Bicycle

Exploring Ojika Island by Bicycle 

Written by Lara - Instagram: @possumspossy

Ojika Island is part of the Goto Islands of Nagasaki Japan. With approximately 2,500 residents on the island, traditional small alleyways and untouched beauty, it is often referred to as a glimpse into what Japan used to be.

One of the best ways to explore the island is via bicycle. As the island is a little hilly, if you would like to make your life a little easier, I would suggest getting an electric bike. It's just enough to give the uphill starts that little extra push to propel you forwards.

Shimayadogoen offers free push bikes and electric bikes for a small fee.

When you arrive for your stay, there are maps at the entrance.They show you all of the main places to visit on the island and the approximate cycling times to get there.

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