The end of this month will mark exactly one year since I returned to Japan and started working for the Kesennuma Tourism Bureau. In that time, I’ve become sort of a local celebrity here… from television and radio appearances to debuting in webcomics.
My job is to help bring in more visitors from the international community to Kesennuma, and although I haven’t yet been successful in doing that in a large scale, the local media has often taken up my story and featured me as a member of the “youth who are helping to build Kesennuma’s future.”
My friends from back home who see me on Facebook from time to time, and are probably thinking “what the hell is that dude doing in Japan?” Wearing fishermen’s clothes, doing Zen stuff in temples, eating a lot of weird-looking fish and selling Indian food from food stalls. That’s probably a good gloss of my life in Facebook photos. And while all of that might make for an interesting smorgasbord of social media posts, it really doesn’t tell you much about what’s really going on here.
Kesennuma is my second home, and it’s full of wonders you wouldn’t be able to experience anywhere else in the world. On any given day I might be making sushi with a local chef, surfing the reef breaks off of the Sanriku Coast, , or meditating with some monks. In this city, there’s always a new adventure to be had, and all of that is thanks to the locals, whose generosity and humor inspire me to try to be better every day.
This year, I want to use this website to give you all a window to my life here, and share the everyday stories that made me fall in love in love with Kesennuma, and with Tohoku. This region is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and rich in historic tradition. But the essence of Tohoku’s beauty is found not in the sights, nor the food, but in the hearts of the people here.
My wish is for the stories of these people to move you to come and visit for yourself.