L is for 土地の人

L is for tochi no hito, or the Japanese word for Locals. No country can really be home without the flavor of its local residents, and Japan has its fair share of characters. From cosplayers to upright business men, there’s a sort of quirky, fun-loving, gentle nature about the people here that has always made me feel right at home. Of course, sometimes, the locals aren’t even human, as our neighborhood geckos and monkeys often remind us. Having the opportunity to meet maiko (apprentice geisha), kabuki actors, mayors, tea and martial arts masters, and, of course, the regular people who became my dearest of friends has changed me. I am more confident, more willing to explore the unknown and take chances. They’ve taught me it’s okay to be silly, and choose the heart’s path over the logical one. They’ve also given NJ and I the chance to go to so many places we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. My favorite memory will always be when an older friend said, “When you’re hungry, come to my house. I will feed you. Just press the buzzer and meow, like a cat, ‘I’m hungryyyy’. We’ll give you nabe (hot pot)!”

Images hosted on Flickr.

Festival of Light and Sound (Fukui-ken)

Ohara, Kyoto

Ohara, Kyoto

Genji Monogatari Rally - Uji

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Hokkaido (Last Day)

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Himeji Castle, Himeji

Mie-ken

Nara

Obama, Miyazu

Osaka

Maiko Drinking Game

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46 thoughts on “L is for 土地の人

  1. mbarkersimpson says:

    None of my friends offer me food on tap – hot or otherwise! I love that memory as it seems to encapsulate everything you said about your friends and neighbours – the locals. Beautiful pictures. Now I don’t just want to visit, I want to live there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Mwahaha, then my nefarious plan is complete! 😛 No, but it really is a wonderful place. So many good memories with so many people… even when our time together was mostly mimed gesticulations. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yeah~ he’d just gotten a mouthful of cracker when that photo was shot. 🙂 The deer in Nara are so cute. They bow before they take the food!

      Like

    • Alex Hurst says:

      So many with that family. They’ve been so friendly and inclusive. I’m going to be really sad to possibly never see them again! But we’ll write cards to each other. 🙂

      Like

  2. saraletourneau says:

    As breathtaking as nature and architecture might be, people are what truly make an experience so memorable. I feel like there’s a little story behind each of these photos. They’re all just so…. Ah, I love it. 🙂

    Not sure if you noticed, Alex, but the last photo (under the fire dancer/performer) isn’t working. There’s an error message saying “This photo is no longer available.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      They’re super adorable. ❤ I love them to pieces. But not real pieces. That would make me sadistic, and I'm not from Medieval Hungary. 😉

      Like

  3. Heather M. Gardner says:

    Your theme is so beautiful and immersive.
    Your pictures are just stunning. You’ve captured more than life in Japan, you’ve captured the spirit as well.
    I love the tiger in the snow and is that an upside down leopard? 🙂
    And, now I’m hungry.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Great job!
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part [http://hmgardner.blogspot.com/]

    Like

  4. bobleponge216 says:

    Agreed, locals make or break your stay in a place, I’ve also been really lucky to have made some fantastic friends in my adopted country.
    Once again, fantastic photo’s, and if you ever hear your buzzer going and an elderly sounding cat noise coming through, just throw some food out the window. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. strangepegs says:

    Man, an offer to be fed whenever you’re hungry?! That’s awesome!
    For my friends, that was always my mom, so there was always some excuse why we needed to go by my house (being an hour away) when I was in college.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jazzfeathers says:

    Fantastic 🙂

    I have a friend who lives in Germany but is fascinated with Japan. She’s visited quite a few times already and she always says she loves the people there.
    I think I understand a bit better, now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Celine Jeanjean says:

    I loved the photo of the older man in the boat – it looked like he was in the middle of recounting an energetic anecdote! You must be learning so much from spending time with people in Japan – I know very little of Japanese culture, but what I do know I love. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Gaijin means foreign person, so it would only be used for people like me or your mom. That may be why. 😄 how long was she in Japan?

      Like

      • Sabina says:

        Exactly 🙂 We usually use it to tease ourselves when we’re the only gaijin in a given area (regardless of whether the people around us are Japanese). She was there for four or five years I think. Not exactly sure but I want to say it was about 6th-10th grade, give or take a year or two.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. TRISTA says:

    I think I would be soooo intimidated by the kabuki actors! Have you read the play _36 Views_ by Naomi Iizuka? I loved it, and I think you might like it, too. It’s about art and what gives something value, but also about what’s “real” or not, and kabuki actors are part of the story. Lastly, I so want to be a gracious host to people, and I hope I can some day ask them to meow like a cat and promise to feed them comforting food!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      They were super friendly! I was really surprised. The actor on my left tossed his hair tail around my shoulder and everything. And now we’re friends on Facebook! 😀

      Thanks for the rec. I’ll definitely check it out.

      Like

  9. Nagzilla says:

    So cool! When lived in Texas, we had geckos but never monkeys. I love all the pictures, especially the geisha in training. The only downside? It makes me want to go back!

    Like

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