From Tokyo, my next destination was Okayama. Okayama Prefecture is rural for the most part especially when compared to Tokyo. More traditions are left untouched and you can also enjoy great views, lots of old architecture,  and farm fields. Lots and lots of farms. Okayama is probably most well known for the Koraku-en park and as the origin of the Momotaro fable (Peach Boy). If you’ve been following Made with Japan, Okayama is also home and origin of Japanese denim. The industry here is the strongest it has ever been thanks to the efforts to preserve traditional high-quality denim making techniques by companies like Japan Blue Group, parent company of Momotaro Jeans. You can read our interview with Momotaro Jeans HERE.

Okayama is a very special place for me because my mom is from here, a small town in Okayama called Ushimado (literally translating into “cow window”). I used to come out here to visit my relatives and I have fond childhood memories helping my grandparents out in the fields (they were super farmers), playing with my cousins, outings to parks, the beach, fishing, sailing, and what not. In this episode, I will share pictures of my grandma’s traditional Japanese house, where a good chunk of my memories in Okayama revolve around.

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At Shinagawa station, I browse around a shop to find me some lunch to bring with me on the Shinkansen (bullet train).

Hmmmm. Lots of choices. The individually wrapped sushi looks enticing but what should I do?

I ended up getting a pork katsu (pork cutlet) bento which I ate right after I got on the train.

I’m home! It’s been two and a half years since the last time I visited so I was really excited to see my relatives! Here’s a nice picture I took with my grandma. See the resemblance?

This is my aunt and my uncle, who is my mom’s older brother. It was dark by the time I arrived and my aunt had prepared me dinner. My cousin bought me a ton of sushi! Good thing I decided not to buy sushi for lunch in Tokyo. My cousin unfortunately left for his home because he had work early the next day. The tomato and potato salad dish was made with vegetables that grandma and aunt grow in their backyard. I eat and hit the futon.

Rise and shine! This is the backyard, but everyone uses this side of the house to enter and exit because it’s the side in front of the road. The dog you see is Ayu. Do you see me? Yes, thank you for remembering me.

My grandfather, before he passed away had this small farm growing a whole bunch of stuff. It used to be covered with a plastic material and used it as a greenhouse during the fall and winter. Looks like it’s not getting much use any longer.



Dining and kitchen area. My grandfather used get drunk and sing karaoke in front of the TV here. He sucked at singing! but I wish I could hear him sing again.

Where we pray to our ancestors here. Let’s go outside. This side is actually the main entrance. When we had visitors come here for special occasions, they came in through here even though it was more convenient to enter through the back entrance. I guess its more courteous that way.

Ah—. Good to be here. This is my aunt, cousin, her old time best friend, and my first niece. Her name is Yuzu!

Whachu lookin’ at foo-. Sorry, I couldn’t help but look at your stubby penis… The sack is quite large though… Creepy Tanuki (Racoon-dog).

Tanuki statues like this (but bigger) are found all over the place in Japan especially at temples and restaurants. It is said they have eight trains of good luck. The eight traits are: a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather; big eyes to perceive the environment and help make good decisions; a sake bottle that represents virtue; a big tail that provides steadiness and strength until success is achieved; over-sized testicles that symbolize financial luck; a promissory note that represents trust or confidence; a big belly that symbolises bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile.

Hi Yuzu. She is adorable. Reminiscing childhood.

It’s hot but it’s actually fall. Starting to get dark.

I drink beer with my uncle. It’s really dark now.

I must say, the country side does get scary outside at night. I remember always being scared to be out here by myself when I was a child. I step outside for a kimo-dameshi (test of courage).

Hello guys. This is what I was afraid of happening.

Hi Ayu♥ My cousin named her Ayu after the pop singer Hamasaki Ayumi. Ayu is masculine for a female dog, so my cousin wanted at least her name to sound cute and feminine.

Garage area. All my granpa’s tools are still here.

The stars are out and beautiful. Oyasumi. Photography by Made with Japan

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