JA­PANESE LOVE AF­FAIR

Nor­we­gian surfer Leva Ozola fell in love with the mag­i­cal surf and cul­ture of Ja­pan. On her trav­els she ex­pressed her love of the is­lands by paint­ing what she saw.

Surf Girl - - Spot Check -

Ja­pan is ev­ery­thing mashed to­gether in per­fect har­mony: A fu­sion of Zen, neon, na­ture, spir­i­tu­al­ity and city life. Dur­ing my three months there I fell head over heels in love. I be­gan my jour­ney in Kyushu, the south­ern­most is­land of Ja­pan, mostly be­cause of its great surf­ing beaches, and also be­cause it’s slightly warmer than the north­ern ar­eas of the coun­try. Kyushu isn’t that touristy, so I met many lo­cal peo­ple and I’m deeply in­debted to the owner of the Itoshima juice bar, Blue Roof, for lend­ing me his friend’s surf­board. Not only did I dis­cover that Nogita Beach was the best surf­ing beach in the area, I also shared some un­for­get­table surf ses­sions with a Ja­panese girl

named Akari. Itoshima is the go-to spot dur­ing the sum­mer, when the warm wa­ter and colour­ful at­mos­phere draws more crowds than in the spring­time.

The mid­dle of my trip I spent miles from any beaches. In­stead I dived deep into the cul­ture and lived along­side lo­cal peo­ple in the ru­ral Kume-Gin re­gion. Here I stayed under the wing of a weaver called Toy­omi, and her hus­band, who is a wood­worker. With them I learned some tra­di­tional Ja­panese recipes, in­clud­ing how to make soba, miso soup and sushi. I also learned to weave with indigo yarn. I was for­tu­nate to meet many amaz­ing peo­ple and have a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence in this arts and crafts vil­lage.

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