Click here if you would like to read an overview of my 3 months wwoofing experience in Japan
Zousan cafe is about 1 hour drive from Hiroshima city. It's located at a small town with lots of warm and friendly farmers. Wwoofing there was tough yet extremely rewarding. I think I've grown so much from it. I did so many things that i have never done before.
I had some difficulties when i was there though, mainly people issue, which i later concluded to be associated with culture difference and communication barriers. I almost wanted to leave earlier than I planned to. But i'm glad i didnt. "It's all in you mind", that's what I've learnt, you are the only one that can control your own happiness. Whatever tough situation you faced, as long as you keep the positive thinking and learn to stabilize your emotions, everything will work out just fine. And it did.
I was there during a super busy period - 5 days straight of public holidays where we had event at the cafe every night. I worked from 8.30am to 11pm during those days. Then the following week, we started harvesting and mashing tea, which requires us to start work at 5am in the morning. But the owners of the cafe were really nice, they kept asking me to rest whenever i can. At times it was me who didnt want to because i know how short-handed they are. It's a big problem that japan is facing, shortage of farmers, that's why they need wwoofers like us.
The interesting thing is that one of the staff is an astronomy professor, he had many telescope with him, so i got to see the moon from the telescope for the very first time. It was so amazing.!
I saw many shooting stars too!
It's pretty cool how he, an early 30s professor who used to worked for NASA, chose to live in the country-side with the hope to share information about astronomy with the country-side people through radio broadcasting. He also love hunting, so i got to try a lot of wild deer meat. There are simply too many deer in the country side and they are destroying the farmers' crops, that's why they have to hunt them. They also catch snakes sometimes to make snake wines. haha.
So beside farming (harvesting tea, removing weeds), i also helped out at the cafe (making coffee, cutting vegetables, preparing food, serving, and lots of cleaning and washing).
I like how the owner was proactively introducing me to the locals and his friends from Tokyo and Korea. He said it's a part of the experience, which i enjoy very much. He and his family took me out a couple of times - shopping, dinner, and even onsen. It's really nice of them.
Besides cafe and farm, the owner recently started a fishing business. I went out to the sea to fish with them once. It was pretty cool.
The accommodation there is pretty simple, futon style, it's not very clean but livable. There ain't wifi though, so i most of the time I would stay at the cafe till i'm about to sleep. The cafe is about 5mins drive from the accommodation place. So i usually tag along with the manager, who was also living there, to work and back home. If you decide to wwoof there, the owner will pick you up from Hiroshima Train Station, so no worries about getting there.
During my off days (once a week), i visited Hiroshima city, Miyajima, and Hamada. Hamada weren't on my list at first, but because the manager had to go there to settle some stuff, i had the opportunity to visit that place. He took me to Iwami Tatamigaura and then we drove all the way to Izumo-taisha.
Iwami Tatamigaura is so pretty! I just love being by the beach. I felt so rejuvenated! It's definitely a place worth going to.
It takes about 2 hours drive from Hamada to Izumo-taisha, but it's a coastal highway, so it's really pretty. We passed by many rice fields too. I just love road trips so much!
Izumo-taisha is one of the most ancient and important Shinto shrines in Japan, It's said to be oldest Shinto shrine in Japan. I can't believe i didn't know about it. So glad that my manager brought me there.
Overall, wwoofing at Zousan cafe was pretty rewarding for me. The owner is a very funny and entertaining guy. I had lots of fun drinking, chating, and singing with the team. This is kinda like a place where people work extremely hard but play extremely hard too. haha.