Volunteering in Iwate

I recently spent two weeks volunteering at a farm in the prefecture of Iwate, which is located in northern Japan. It was a part of Japan that I’d never visited and is perhaps a little less traveled by tourists. The volunteering I did was called WWOOFing, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In exchange for help, WOOFers receive food and a place to stay. I had several reasons for visiting this area:


So recently I attempted to update my Facebook information to say that I was in Japan. When it came to specifying my city I put “Tokyo” and received the follow options: Tokyo isn’t on the list, which confused me. Tokyo is a city right? This is all to say that I don’t really know a lot about Japanese geography. So strap in and hold onto your butts. It’s time for a geography lesson.


I’ve been in Tokyo for just under a month now. Seems like much longer. There have been so many logistical details to overcome since arriving here. Paperwork, government papers, bank account, cellphone plan, language school entrance exam, etc.. And that was the just first week. I’ve since had some time to settle in and find my footing again. I always find arriving in Tokyo to be super overwhelming. The contrast of my lifestyle here compared to Canada is quite drastic.


Last week I interviewed my father about his journey to Japan. I’ve never had the chance to document exactly how it all happened, but it’s a cool story. There were definitely surprises and risks that I’d never appreciated until now. It’s a story that I’ve always loved hearing growing up and it serves as a good prologue for the journey that I’m about to embark on. Thanks dad. For those of you who don’t know, my father is a Canadian from Manitoba.


Originally written in August of 2018. When I tell people that I want to learn Japanese so that I can speak with my relatives and connect with my ancestry the reaction I often get is “wow you’re a good person for caring about family.” But I don’t feel deserving of such a compliment. From my perspective I’m not pursuing Japanese for them, I’m pursuing it for myself. To me, I have the luxury of having still-living relatives in another country; unlike most of my friends I have a rare opportunity to connect with my ancestry.

I'm moving to Japan

At the beginning of April, I’ll be moving to Japan with the goal of connecting with my ancestry 🎉. It’s something that’s been in the works for years, but really my whole life. I’m really excited and scared to finally say it, but it’s time for a new adventure. As I mentioned, I’m moving in hopes of connecting with my ancestry (I’m half Japanese). I’ll pursue that either by talking to my existing relatives or living in their culture.