Adventures in Kansai

I have been busy exploring and discovering the Kansai region. My work load had increased recently and I needed something to look forward to and to remind myself that life is also about living.

My first adventure was a hike to one of Japan’s longest wooden suspension footbridges ‘Hoshi no Buranko’.  The 280m bridge is built 50 meters from the ground and having a fear of both heights and bridges I was quite nervous about the whole experience.

I joined a hiking group to do the hike and it was fun getting to know new people whilst taking in the scenery. After we mounted the many stairs to get to the top the view was pretty awesome. It was a gorgeous day and the bridge stood high amongst the tree tops and my nerves began to kick in. After a few obligatory pictures we began our way across.

Initially I thought this isn’t so bad and then the bridge started swaying and that was when I began holding on for dear life. Most people were overtaking me which I didn’t mind but I had to talk myself through the journey to keep me sane because I couldn’t cope with how much the bridge was moving. I barely looked down whilst walking but focused on reaching the other side which I did. I was very proud of myself but also asked if we were going back via a different route which to my relief we were! It was a great day and it was nice to get out of Kobe and I’m hoping to do more hikes with this group.

My next adventure took me to Uji (the home of matcha tea) in Kyoto. The first time I visited Kyoto I noticed a pottery workshop and I thought it would be fun experience.  I chose Asahiyaki Pottery Workshop because they catered for English speakers and the class sizes were small. My friend also wanted to come along so we ventured to Uji not realising how far it was.

We had lunch at this cute restaurant and I tried green tea soba noodles which were really yummy. Once again it was a beautiful day and so we walked along the river and took in the lush scenery of our surroundings. The 90 minute pottery class was harder than I imagined. We were shown how to work the pottery wheel and how to make a bowl, drinking vessel and plate. My first attempt at a bowl was really good despite it having a wonky bottom. I tried my hand at making a plate and a drinking vessel too but bowls seemed to be the only thing I could ‘master’. My friend had more difficulty than me, his drinking vessel had an ‘abstract’ look but he was proud of his work. We were able to select from the pieces we made to be fired and glazed so hopefully we will receive them in the next few weeks!

As well as making the most of my weekends exploring I have enrolled in Japanese lessons. I attend classes twice a week and to be honest it’s full on. It’s hard finding the time to not only study but to do my homework and practise what I’ve learnt. I’m persevering even though I do struggle at times but I know when learning anything new the more you practise the better and more confident you will become.

The book club I have started is also blossoming and I have regular members. It’s nice meeting up once a month to discuss the book read and to catch up with everyone. I’m glad I decided to create a book club because I love reading and sharing recommendations with others.

It’s nearly ten on a Saturday morning and I’m hoping to spend the day on the beach reading and listening to music. It’s supposed to be a lovely day so I’m going to make the most of it!

 

Koi kites on the way to start the hike to Hoshi no Buranko
Hoshi no buranko bridge
Green tea soba noodle soup
Uji River
Uji River
Making my bowl on the pottery wheel.
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