Once again I had friends visiting, and once again I found a new favorite place in Kansai. This time it was my friend Ryoko, a neighbor from my hometown, Nanaimo. Ryoko was born in Vancouver but is a fluent Japanese speaker and a career Japanese teacher in Canada. Every year she brings a group of her students to Japan to practice their japanese and learn about Japan. This year, Ryoko’s son Fraser is studying in Tokyo, so he joined them for their trip to the Kansai area. I met them at Kyoto station and from there we went to Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Fushimi Inari is located on a mountain in the east part of Kyoto. As it is a huge tourist attraction, there were lots of English signs and it was easy to get there via the Nara line, from Kyoto station. Fushimi Inari is famous for its thousands (millions?) of red tori gates. It’s also a great place for a hike! Bottom to top is about 1 hour, and at the top their are a half-dozen alternate routes to keep you hiking and guessing! Also home to a great view and quiet woods.
Walking around with a group of Nanaimoites (as residents of Nanaimo are known) was truly reminiscent for me, and it also made me miss my hometown. But it was great to spend a day chatting easily in English with people who know what I mean when I use local jargon. As in Japan, different regions of Canada use different lingo, have local colloquialisms and varying English accents. Of course the greatest difference in English dialect is east to west, with the east coast Canadians having a particularly strong ‘maritime’ English accent. The point being, it was great to be able to chat casually in my ‘native’ dialect!
Hoping all foreigners living abroad can bump into friends from back home from time to time!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu