Ogijima Camping Trip
Between spring and summer, Japanese have this week break called Golden Week. This is because there is a cluster of national holidays during this time. As such, that was a perfect opportunity to travel or see other parts of Japan. I was originally intending to go to Korea with my Vietnamese friend, but when that fell through, I decided to see other parts of Japan. It was then that I found out my circle was doing a camp in Ogijima, another of Japan’s islands, and without a hassle I decided on going.
To get to this island, we had to change various trains until we got to this town called Takamatsu. Here we were going to take a forty-five minute ferry to the island, but since it was already mid-day we went to eat lunch. We separated into groups and mine went to this local Udon store that was very famous. Udon is a type of thick Japanese noodle. As we got there I could see the store was very famous indeed as the line was quite long and we had to wait for about half an hour to eat. However, it was totally worth it as the noodles were delicious. In addition, we could put as many toppings in the noodles as we wanted as it was a ‘serve yourself’ type of store.
When we got to the island, the campsite owner came to pick up our bags and crew equipment. We walked for about half an hour until our campsite which was basically in the island lighthouse and set up our tents on the beach shore. The view of the sea was spectacular, but unfortunately, we couldn’t swim in it as there were strong currents and one could see the unstableness of the water. Afterwards, the rest of the afternoon was spent in setting camp and getting ready for dinner. Some of the camp leaders were skinning and cleaning a fish that was going to be cooked later that evening.
As the time for dinner finally came, they began preparing the three fires for the barbecue, also known as Yakiniku, which translates to grilled meat. These were in a designated area with three bases made of bricks. Japanese love the concept of Yakiniku as you get to cook it by yourself and there are even restaurants specifically designed for this. Before officially starting the barbecue, the group gathered and as a circle tradition, we all got a drink and cheered for a job well done on the day’s activities.
Barbecue was a very good way to socialize with others from the circle and practice my Japanese. I explained about my island, Puerto Rico, and why I was studying abroad in Japan. Since Puerto Rico is not very known to Japanese, they were all very enthusiastic in learning about it. Lastly, I learned more about Japanese lifestyle and they explained to me other things such as the difference between two Japanese beverages, Choshu and Nihonshu. In such, despite having a somewhat similar taste, the previous is made from rice and the latter from barley.