“Where do you live in Japan?” (I smile and reply) “...Where’s that?!” (my smile grows, and a comfortably warm feeling glows in my chest).
Admittedly, these are common questions for foreigners and locals alike who live in Shimane. “What do you like about living there so much?” becomes a question that can be expected from both inquisitive friends and family, but also from curious locals as well. For people who have the great fortune to experience living here in Oda, answering this question becomes a great source of pride.
My name is Steve. I am a Canadian who has worked and lived in the Oda area for well over a decade now. I look forward to sharing with you a bit about this area that I have come to know and love: Oda, Shimane!
As I mentioned in the previous installment, Oda is a place blessed with beautiful nature, uniquey fascinating historical sites and friendly people. Before getting into further detail about some of the amazing and unique places that await you in Oda (some of which I listed off in my first entry) I want to dive a little deeper into this question of “why Oda?” and the quality of experience that awaits you here.
One of the great things about Oda is that it has a way of very naturally - almost mystically - rewarding its visitors. It’s maybe a bit of a poetic thought, but it has often made me wonder whether it is that people choose to visit Oda or maybe it’s the other way around? The quality of experience that I’ve both enjoyed myself as well as seen countless others realize in their time spent here makes it easy to get whimsical about this place. Sure, Oda exists in relative obscurity to ultra-famous places in Japan like Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto, yet in my experience Oda offers a much more rich, authentic and rewarding experience for those who want to discover the real Japan.
Want to learn a Japanese cultural art form? From Karate to Kyudo, Ikebana to Iai-do, Taiko to Tea Ceremony, Koto to Kendo: in Oda you’ll not only find someone who can teach you, you’ll likely make some friends for life in the process!
In my opinion, Tokyo is an experience unto itself - almost an entirely different Japan than the one I have come to know here in Oda. Perhaps it is reassuring to know that everyone will almost inevitably spend time in those bustling, tourist Meccas (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc), either visiting or passing through their airports - but it takes a certain quality of traveler to persevere and seek-out a destination like Oda. Those who do are rewarded with an authentic experience which most people come to Japan seeking! Furthermore, this is something that both locals and well as those who themselves make the journey here are all acutely aware, and this special status permeates and energizes every facet of one’s experience here. It’s one of those things that is difficult to put into words, but is better to experience for yourself!
With that said, the choice is up to you!