I hope that everyone is doing well and that the early summer heat will not cause any trouble to you. In June a Swiss based German TV company decided to make a documentary movie about the Izakaya Nozomi in Luzern, who’s owner Beni Egli visited us in April 2019. Beni visited Itoigawa with his family for a Rice, Sake and Sansai experience. He was very much impressed with the new taste that he has discovered in Itoigawa and recommended to the TV company to also include Itoigawa in the documentary movie. In July we have arranged an interview with Sake brewer Inomata-san, rice farmer Hara-san and the Sansai-collectors around Higuchi-san. Thank you very much for your kind contribution! According to the TV company, the documentary movie will be released in Switzerland in autumn this year. Needless to say that we will try to get a copy of it in order to share it with you.
In July we planned to climb Mt. Yakeyame, however, bad weather did not support this plan and we look forward to joining the local community again for the hike up Mt. Yakeyama in autumn.
When you read this, I have already left Itoigawa and will be already working for my company in Switzerland again.
I will have met my family, which I really missed and have welcomed our newest family member, my niece Charlie, who was born two months ago. And we will have had a huge Party. Maybe I have also already met my Swiss friends again.
But then, there will be the times where I am at my apartment, in the evenings when I finished my work, said otsukaresamadeshita and good night to everyone, lying in bed and thinking back. And then, there will be tears. Because even know, whilst I am writing this, still in Itoigawa, in my room at Sasakura Onsen, the salty wet is running down my cheeks. But those tears are a present. A present from all you who I met during my time here in Itoigawa. Because it is only sad, when good things end.
In the beginning of my internship a very good friend presented me three Japanese sayings:
- ichigo ichie
- onko chishin
- setsugetsu fuuka
I tried to live every single day remembering those. And I regret nothing. It was the best time of my life. Being here always feels like being home. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important to me then family and friends. The two things which are the definition of „home“ for me. And because of that I will consider the ending of my internship here as the beginning of something bigger. I will try to visit Itoigawa as often as I can and until I found a way to live here. I will continue to learn Japanese, so I can finally have the conversations with you, I wish I could have had the last five months. I want to apologize for being a burden to you and I want and have to thank you!
To the people of Itoigawa:
I have not been and will never be to a better place than Itoigawa. You folks of Itoigawa, the landscapes, the mountains, the sea, the lovely villages, the history and tradition, the food and of course the very best of all nihonshu in Japan.
Thank you for just being the best town with the best people of the world!
To Rolf Müller:
Thank you for showing me Itoigawa. Without you I wouldn’t even know about Itoigawa. The hidden jewel on this beautiful island, Japan. There is no person I liked more to work for. Otsukaresamadeshita! Mata yoroshiku onegaishimasu!
To the members of Sasakura Onsen... The people I have to cry again only by thinking about leaving you:
Thank you for having me. Not just for having me, also for growing to a family to me. Sasakura Onsen was my home for 5 months and it will ever feel like that. I am just looking forward to the day, when I enter the gates of Sasakura Onsen again and say: Tadaima!
It felt better living here, then living in my apartment in Zurich. Thank you for inviting me to gatherings, events, talking to me even it must been very exhausting, letting me work with you, caring about me. I will miss you so much!
This is no goodbye. We will meet again, and I wish you the very best!
Dear everyone in the Kamihayakawa area!
Dear everyone, spring is gradually approaching and I hope that everyone in the Hayakawa valley is doing well!
Marvin from Switzerland is with us since March 2nd, helping at the Sasakura Onsen as a volunteer. Marvin would like to improve his Japanese language skills, hence, please take the opportunity to meet and talk to him.
Following is a first comment from him. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Message from Marvin
Kamihayakawa Newsletter APR2019
By Marvin Schmid
Hello everyone! Whilst I am writing this, it has been two weeks since my arrival in Itoigawa. I never thought that it is possible to experience so much great moments in such a short time.
My stay started already with a big event. Rolf M?l-ler and I had the pleasure to greet the Swiss-Marathon-Team in Itoigawa which ran in Tokyo through the worst weather. After the delicious Ramen-Soup at the Sasakura Onsen, where the group stayed and which is my home for the next sev-eral months, we took a relaxing bath in the nice Onsen. But of course not before we got a detailed briefing by Rolf, how to do it right. Which was really needed for all of us I think.
The day after a good rest got a little busy again. But therefore we got a day loaded with the incomparable Japanese culture. First, we did a beautiful walk through the snow.
You wouldn’t have thought that they ran a marathon just two days before, because they were really fast. I had to run after my group, yelling, and force them to pause, just to pour them a warming cup of Amazake. It was really funny and abso-lutely worth it. After a delicious bento for lunch we went to the Tsukimizunoike Brewery. We were honored to get guided by Inomata Shuzou through the brewery followed by a tasting of finest Nihonshu. Even the press joined us. After drinking the delicious Nihonshu from Inomata-San we hitted the road again to visit the ongoing Sumo whilst their training. I was impressed what force those young fighters are able to muster. Keep it up!
Like the bread crumbs leaded Hansel and Gretel in a famous German fairytale, the Nihonshu and his lovers from Itoi-gawa guided me through this first two weeks. The following weekend, Inomata-Shuzou invited me to join their booth at the Sake no Jinn in Niigata. This day in Niigata together with the Tsukimizunoike Brewery was that great, I can’t even find the right words to describe it. But I’m already getting goosebumps again just writing about and remembering it.
A few days after the Sake-Fair, I got invited to the celebration for 5 years Cross-Kanpai-Worldrecord. This evening was awesome. In Europe one says, that Japanese people can’t drink. After this event I am sure, that those who say that, never had a blast with folks from Itoigawa. They would definitely get proven wrong. You are amazing! And that not just for your drinking abilities. But for just being great people. Thank you so much!