A couple of months ago, Professor Pilon, who coordinates the study abroad program and also the “Kuji job,” gave Liz and me a box to share.
There’s nothing special about the outside of the box. It’s made of cardboard, is slightly bigger than a shoebox and is labeled “Japan” in permanent marker.
But the inside of the box contains some pamphlets and brochures about Japan and Kuji that are helpful. At least, most of it is helpful — everything but the map, which is completely in Japanese characters, so I can’t even read it!
Browsing through the material taught me several things I didn’t know about Kuji. For instance, there’s a mountain stream in a natural park that is considered a tourist attraction. Kosode Coast is described as having “distinctively beautiful” panoramic scenery. I can't wait to see it!
I also didn’t know that Kokuji-Yaki pottery (whatever that is, exactly) has a 200-year history and is a symbol of a traditional art of Kuji City. According to one of the brochures, there’s "a pottery art festival every May that attracts many pottery fans from all over Japan.” I don’t know that I’ve ever really considered myself a “pottery fan,” but I’d definitely attend a festival; sounds fun!
The Shin-Yamane Spa also sounds like something else I might want to go to while I’m in Kuji. I like the wording on the pamphlet about the spa: “It’s well-known to warm one’s body completely and gives a silky smooth sensation on the skin. At Shin-Yamane Spa, one can experience the nostalgia of Japan’s traditional scenery and its simplicity.” This could potentially be expensive, but it also could be worth it.
While I knew that Kuji manufactures amber, I did not realize that it’s actually the largest manufacturing district of amber in Japan! It has even gained world renown for its worldwide production of amber, in rank with the Northern Baltic Sea and the Dominican Republic, where I went on a mission trip three years ago.
This new information that I've learned from what was in the cardboard box only begins to scratch the surface of what I’m sure I’ll learn about the city once I get "out of my own box" by moving there! But it’s a start. I’m excited to learn more about Kuji and the surrounding area. I just found a blog about Iwate, which is the prefecture (I’m guessing that’s like a county) where Kuji is located. I look forward to learning more about the area of my future home.
Sayonara for now.