So here’s a random story for you. When I moved from Shinjuku to Taito, I was looking for a moving company to help me with my luggage and also to pick up furniture I had reserved from a Craigslist ‘Sayonara Sale’. Scouring the interwebs and enlisting my coworker Keiko for help, I looked for an affordable mover but unfortunately, most companies charge by the weight of objects moved rather than the size or quantity. Enter Tokyo Helping Hands which quotes a flat rate including tolls, gas, and moving assistance. It seemed to be the most affordable and streamlined option. During the drive I bonded with the owner Yusaku-san, a delightful, gentle man who speaks Chinese, English, and Japanese. We shared stories about our respective time living abroad (he in China, Australia, and Colorado, and me in Japan) and our families and goals; all of this done in the quiet midnight hours of a weekday which made our task that much more palpable, a good example of ganbaru. Yusaku made the unpleasant chore of moving so much more entertaining and efficient.
If you need English language help moving house within the Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, or Saitama areas, check out www.tokyohelpinghands.com for an incredible service!
Anyway, Yusaku-san invited me to go to a camp out music festival called It’s a Beautiful Day Asagiri JAM at the base of Mt Fuji in beautiful Shizuoka with a group of friends (#alicemakesfriendsallovertheworld). It was my first time to meet true dyed in the wool Japanese hippie adventurer types. Half the group spoke no English at all, and my Japanese is hardly up to snuff yet, so it was an interesting and enlightening experience listening to their conversations and pantomiming, picking up important vocabulary words along the way such as うまい (umai, a casual way to say delicious besides oishii) or 関係ない (kankenai, which is a sassy way to say that’s not my problem or I don’t care). Despite the communication barrier, everyone was so kind and generous and the spirit of each interaction was savored all the more because they were slow and intentional. We also picked up some fellow American friends along the way. The musical program featured Japanese rock, Jamaican ska, reggae, EDM, and pop music; the smaller crowds and colorfully dressed folks provided delightful imagery and space to have an open heart and most importantly, dance!
The following photos are a compilation of adorable baby-stalking, festival fashion, and Fuji-san in all its glory. Brace yourself, for it was difficult to narrow them down to just a few…
feat. Yusaku, Atsushi, Sebastien, Hiroko, Akane, Ken, Lauren, Carmen, Fernando, et al.
Seriously though, I want a little Japanese baby to play with. I’ll read him books and only let him eat ice cream before bedtime a few nights a week…We finished out our camping weekend the Japanese way with a trip to Q Kamura onsen, overlooking Lake Tanuki and Mt Fuji. After 3 days of camping in the rain, it feels incredible to wash the campfire smell out of your hair and the mud caked in between your toes. I have always loved the communal feeling of bathing with other women at onsen. I feel enamored with the female form and just in awe of the way bodies can move through space unadorned.
This last photo was taken by the good people at festival-life.com, who took my picture at the Rainbow Stage. You can take a peek at the original post here.
What a lovely weekend. Thanks again to Yusaku and team for a wonderful experience! Until next time…
xo your friend alice
Location: Asagiri Arena, Chubu, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan