Jamie “Slice Bush” Mackay has started up The Republic of Mackistan, chronicling his experiences as a JET in Aso-gun. Here’s a little excerpt:
Imagine you have been sent to a new land, virtually unreachable from the home you used to know. Upon arrival in this truly “foreign” country, you are shipped off like a newly acquired zoo animal (Cuddly Dominion) to a ginormous pit in the earth, put on exhibit for all to see. This massive dent in the earth is surrounded by sheer walls of rock 500 meters high, unclimbable except for a breed of animals known as “shogakkusei,” which are mysteriously and ritualistically herded up and down these walls every year. Within the natural barriers of earth lies a giant volcano spewing its deadly sulfur breath into the air as a constant reminder that your existence is at NATURE’s mercy.
Jamie and I shared in a fair share of good/interesting times last year. We almost got blown away during a hippie music festival on top of Mt. Aso, went hitchhiking through half of Kyushu (come to think of it, this qualifies as part of the hitchhiking experience), and have dazed recollections of past parties and hashes. Keep on eye on his blog to see what life in Aso as an obvious gaijin is all about.