My favourite experience at AIU so far has been one of the many trips we as AIU students are able to go on: The Odate Farmstay Trip.
Homemade Food and Farmwork
We started early Saturday morning, and arrived at the Happy Mother Shop around 11am. The weather was really nice, the sun was shining on the rice fields surrounding the shop and the forests in the distance.
Our first task was to prepare lunch: soba. It was quite the experience! It is hard work to make soba noodles by hand, but it was worth it. The soup the host mothers prepared with our self-made noodles was very delicious!
Next on our list was a trip to an apple orchard. Hidden away in a corner, between forest and even more apple orchards was our destination. The apples were beautifully red, and so big! We were allowed to wander around and pick apples for us to keep.
After our visit to the orchard, we went back to the shop and seperated into groups. Now with the smaller groups, we each went to the farmhouse we would stay at for the night. However, we only stopped there shortly to put away our backpacks and duffle bags. Then, off to the onsen we went! It was quite a nice experience, and very relaxing.
When we returned to the farmhouse, our host mother already prepared everything needed for kiritampo cooking! Kiritampo, as well, is hard work to make by hand, but we were rewarded with the best kiritampo all of us had ever had. It’s especially nice to just sit around the fireplace and enjoy a chat while eating the freshly baked kiritampo.
Not all the kiritampo we made went into our hungry mouths, though! Our host mother put some aside, to be put into the hotpot that awaited us! Dinner was so delicious, and we got to try so many different dishes we never had tasted before. It seemed we would only be fed amazing fresh food during our stay!
The next day, after breakfast, our host mother took us to yet another part of the farm, where we helped peeling and cleaning onions. The onions were fresh and smelled very nice, however, some of us had teary eyes from the smell. Being a farmer is hard! When all the onions were clean and prepared, we went back to the shop to meet with the other farmstay members.
We parted ways with our host mothers and fathers and went to a truly beautiful place! It’s an old traditional japanese house, where an amazing bento lunch waited for us. We were allowed to roam around the old but well-maintained house, as well as in the big gardens! Our last stop was Odate City, to pay the Akita Inu, Hachikun, a short visit! He was very cute and fluffy.
We arrived at AIU late afternoon on Sunday, and though it has only been two days, so many exciting things had happened! Everyone parted in a happy mood.
And the best of it is: this sure wasn’t the only amazing trip, AIU offers its student many opportunities to go on trips and to visit events!