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Jun 28, 2018

Ninohe: My New Home Away from Home


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The start of my 1 year contract working as an ALT for Interac.  After initial training and fully leaving the city, I was sent straight away to my new home, Ninohe-shi.  


First off, Ninohe is a fairly massive city.  There are many ~nohe's (the kanji being 戸), from 1 to 9, Ninohe being 二戸, or #2 in the lineup.  There is no 4, for reasons unknown.  I've heard 4 is a bad luck number in Japan (since one pronunciation sounds like Japanese for death), or that it merely disappeared due to misuse. 


Either way, Ninohe was originally a district in which many towns and villages resided.  It then became a city, which was essentially a merger of these towns and villages.  


As it is, Iwate Prefecture is the 2nd largest by land mass in Japan.  Ninohe, which is in Iwate, follows the shape of its Prefecture, and is very long.  You can drive half an hour from the city's center and still be within its borders.  This is all despite the fact that the population is below 30,000 people, and it is pretty much just a farming town.  Ninohe also sits right on the border between Iwate and Aomori Prefecture.  This means that there are more than a few adventures to come in the future!


Despite that, there is not much here in the actual city by most standards, but it has its own little charm.  It is one of the last places in Japan where they create Urushi, or lacquerware by hand, and is the top exporter of it.  There is only one cafe, but a whole street of unidentifiable little shops on the Odori, or the Main Street.  There is even a supposedly international award winning sake brewery in the middle of Odori, Nanbu Bijin.  When I first came in March it was still very cold, and I only saw the oldest or the youngest of people out and about on the streets.  As it is starting to warm up now, it seems there is some life in this town.  I'm looking forward to learning all about it and the surrounding area!


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