Greetings from Japan!

A letter from Ashoro, Japan

Croissant Taiyaki. Submitted.

Croissant Taiyaki. Submitted.

It is the beginning of my third month in Ashoro, and I am still having a wonderful time. I have not yet worn out my welcome and the people here are still very kind to me, offering to show me all of the beautiful things Ashoro has to offer. There are many sights to see, activities to try, and food to taste!

Every week, there is a new vendor in town selling their own specialty foods. It varies from more complete meals like shawarma food trucks, to sweets like waffle balls or a Japanese favourite: mochi, complete with different flavours and fillings. I have yet to try something I did not enjoy. In particular, I thought that the croissant, taiyaki, was absolutely delightful! It is a fish-shaped waffle filled with your choice of filling. My go-to’s were the caramel cream, and anko, or red bean paste. What made them memorable was the exterior was a flaky croissant instead of a regular, fluffy waffle. I can’t wait to see what’s next in town!

The autumn leaves in the area are mostly gone now. This is the most spectacular autumn, as it is long, and warm for the most part. All the trees covering the hills that surround Ashoro turned a vibrant orange, yellow, or red. The leaves remained on the trees for weeks, and I have never felt more fortunate for slow speed limits so I could take in all of the views around me. Seeing rolling hills coated in a blanket of colour is something I’m not likely to forget. As beautiful as Alberta’s evergreens are, it sure is nice to get a change in scenery.

As for activities, it is a shame that COVID-19 has been responsible for shutting down the regular festivities that would have taken place throughout the fall, such as the Ikeda Wine Festival and Ashoro Harvest Festival. I hope that by this time next year, I will be able to explore that part of Japanese culture.

Until next time I just wanted to remind you that anyone in the City or County of Wetaskiwin can be a member of the Wetaskiwin Ashoro Friendship Society (WAFS). They meet in the evenings once per month. This group helps co-ordinate the student exchange trips and looks after the hiring of CIR’s like me! Send them an email to WAFS1980@gmail.com for more information.

Jasmine Jackson, Coordinator of International Relations in Ashoro, Japan