(Appreciate your hometown more than ever)
This is Nagisa, a Tomodachi guide in the San’in area.
“Tomodachi” means “friend”.
I love showing people around my lovely home town as a friend and making unforgettable memories together!
Last Saturday, I met a lovely international couple.
They are currently living in Hiroshima City and working near Hiroshima Peace Park.
We got along instantly while making rice balls together and talking about Okuizumo’s attractive culture.
I am really glad I was able to tag along with them on this trip because I could pause to appreciate Okuizumo once again, and they made me very proud of my hometown.
We first stopped to have lunch with local residents at “Ooe-no-sato residence”.
We made rice balls, which are made with locally grown Nita rice and formed into triangular or round shapes to make rice portable and easy to eat.
Rice balls are a very popular picnic food in Japan!
Nita rice is one of Okuizumo’s specialties and is known for its natural sweetness and strong flavor.
It is actually chosen as the only Special A–level rice in western Japan.
If you have ever made rice balls with freshly cooked rice before, you probably know that it is really hard to even touch rice with bare hands because it is super hot.
I should have gotten used to it by now, since I have made a lot of rice balls, but I cannot help myself saying “Hot! It is very hot!” every time!!
The couple has a teenaged daughter who is currently a member of her school’s badminton club.
They told us how she likes mushrooms and they enjoy traveling together.
They seem to enjoy their busy life at their own pace, and it made me so happy.
I remember when I was a student and busy at tennis practice every weekend, my mom used to wake up very early to make me breakfast and a boxed lunch.
I cannot thank her enough for that.
It is a very hard time in the world now, but it’s important to stick with your loved ones and be thankful for every little thing!
After a night comes a day, always!
Now, it is time to eat the rice balls!
We had Nita rice balls with Japanese pickles made from veggies.
Aisa (the other tour guide) and I LOVE these pickles so much that every time we finish off the plate!
Can you see his happy face while picking up pickles?
They are THIS delicious and the best match to the Nita rice!!
They enjoyed Nita rice very much, and even told us that it is the best rice they have ever had and they will buy Nita rice from now on.
I was very happy and proud to hear that, to be honest!
Even though Nita rice is the only rice chosen as Special A-level in western Japan, it is lesser-known than other famous rice brands such as Uonuma.
As one of the local residents here, I am overwhelmed when they finally do justice to Nita rice!
Thank you very much!!
Through this trip, I realized I had taken my hometown for granted a little bit.
They told us a lot of things they found attractive about Okuizumo and Shimane Prefecture, such as its beautiful nature, Nita rice, mushrooms, Kagura (Shinto music and dancing), and Shinto mythology, all of which I didn’t even think about a lot.
Thanks to them, I have gotten a chance to know Okuizumo better, and it made me realize I love Okuizumo!
For the first time, I paused to appreciate my hometown.
Thank you very much!!
You might be stressed out from staying at home and not being able to travel outside your hometown.
Please take this chance to appreciate your hometown a little bit more.
It may give you a whole new world!
After the tour, there were thousands of stars above us at the Kisuki highway bus station.
Just by looking at them, it felt like they washed away all our stresses and concerns.
Let’s have hope for the next year (2021) and hope we can see each other again!