I feel so lucky to be here among the lush mountains, thundering waterfalls, endless beach and delicious onsens in Yakushima.
Yesterday, I began my first workaway experience. When I signed up for it, I was super excited because it’s in Yakushima, the magical land that I’ve wanted to visit for the longest time. Why? Because it inspired Princess Mononoke. And when I got here, it’s exactly that – the Enchanted Forest is alive and larger than life!
Besides, the work would involve some interaction with students at a special high school. And let me tell you why it’s special.
The Ōzora (means Big Sky) High School is a special school that does not conduct regular classes, but is one where ALL high school students in Japan must come and complete a week-long intensive program in order to receive their high school diploma.
So here, we will see a mixture of regular high school teens, and some who are already in their 30s trying to get through this week so they can finally graduate high school. Many of these older participants used to be troubled students. It is interesting to see a great diversity of students here – even have the feeling of a high-school manga coming to life 😀
Our job was to engage in conversation with them in English and have some sort of cultural exchange. These couple of days, though, there hasn’t been much exchange – on one hand, the students are rather shy and on the other, we’re kinda handicapped by our Japanese inability and therefore, difficult to begin any conversation with them.
My workaway group comprises a Swiss-Chinese guy, a girl from Poland and another from China. Our other job was to take care of tasks at Senvus Village – a huge farm for organic planting, which also includes an amazing cafe-cum-museum that showcases herbs, scents, organic food. Our morning meetings on the Workaway Terrace is the most amazing meetings I’ve had ever – having coffee and snacks overlooking a lush green land, the sea and horizon in the distance, with white clouds rolling by above (it’s starting to sound like a Ghibli movie already, doesn’t it!)
Tasks are not too bad, too. Today I was doing some translation for a video they’ve shot into Malay so they could show it to visitors, while the Chinese girl did the Chinese part. The other two fellas helped with getting the land ready for some exciting sweet potato planting on Thursday, which will be overseen by a professor from Kagoshima University. Wooo! We had breaks regularly too with coffee and ice cream and cookies … I can totally live like this for the rest of my life 😅
Our host, Shinichiro-san used to be a world traveler due to his job at ANA. Now he chooses nature over city lights. After work today, he took us to the magnificent Senpiro-no-Taki Waterfall. Once again, photos don’t do justice to these grand sights. The viewpoint had one side facing the waterfalls and mountains, and the other side facing the vast ocean with white clouds rolling by. The beauty was so unbelievable and overwhelming I swear I had tears in my eyes. Our excited Chinese friend exclaimed, “The movie is real!”
Oh yes, it is, honey, so real 😄 And I believe the best has yet to come. Ahhhhh … my little heart is bursting with so much happiness 😘