Life in Daisen — Natasha Green

They say, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and while I’ve only been here for a short time, the days are passing in the blink of an eye. Before my arrival to Japan, I waited over a year to finally come to Daisen due to the pandemic. All that waiting was spent researching and daydreaming about what this city would be like. I was already living in a small town so I wondered how different Daisen would really be. However, after spending my whole life surrounded by flat land and cornfields, I was overjoyed to be living in a place with huge mountains and rivers. I never tire of looking at them and I regularly walk to the Maruko River despite the snow, just to get a better view.

Walking around town has been my favorite way to learn about what this city has to offer. Two weeks after I arrived, I wandered over to Himegami Park, and was shocked by the lovely view. There was a peaceful atmosphere with few people out that day. As I walked along the path, I was intrigued by the shrine tucked away in the trees and wondered if I could find more.

Turns out, there are many around Daisen, including one right down the street from my favorite dessert shop Patisserie Deux.

They make baked goods like assorted cookies, lemon cake, and a delicious chocolate brownie, which I enjoyed on my first birthday here. It’s no secret I love sweets. In fact, all my coworkers know this and fatten me up by leaving both traditional and popular Japanese snacks on my desk almost every morning. It’s a welcoming gesture and I can burn off the calories the next time I go snowboarding.

Learning how to snowboard has been a fun experience so far. I could barely stand and struggled to hop on the ski lift the first time I visited Ohdai ski resort. However, all my efforts were worth it when I saw the view from the beginner slope that day.

The sun was shining over miles of untouched snow in the distance. I have seen snow in my hometown too, but the light dusting we get in Ohio is nothing compared to the several feet Daisen has received this year.

I also love how the snowfall makes a lovely backdrop for fireworks. In America, fireworks are saved for major holidays like the 4th of July and New Year’s Day. So, it was a pleasant surprise to have dinner and a show on an ordinary, snowy Wednesday from the comfort of my home.

I’ve had many new experiences this winter, but I’m happy I get to participate in an old hobby too. After years of being unable to dance, I never thought I’d get the chance to do ballet again.

The classes at Peare are very fun and provide a good challenge too. It works both my body and mind since they are taught in Japanese. This gives me a chance to improve my language skills, which will be useful the next time I chat with the employees at my favorite cafe, Espresso 1oz.

The dim lights, warm heaters, and scent of fresh brewed coffee create the coziest ambiance. There’s no better place to enjoy a slice of baked cheesecake, an iced latte and friendly conversation. As far as first impressions go, I think the inviting atmosphere there is reflective of Daisen as a whole. I look forward to finding even more things to do this spring!

 Natasha Green

Life in Daisen