I was fortunate enough to not have to spend New Years by myself. My dear friend, Sakura, invited me to her home town, Kagoshima. It’s far south on the Kyushu island. After my first night when I stayed in the hotel, Sakura and her dad picked me up. And they were just amazing! They took me to Kagoshima's famous Sand Hot Springs, outside hot springs and for amazingly famous Soumen noodles. I saw the JR train station that's the furthest South in all of Japan.
I met the rest of Sakura's family and they all made me feel welcome in their typical, Japanese home. I finally got to experience the joy of sitting on the heated blanket under kotatsu. Watching Japanese TV however… an entirely different experience.
We started the day of the New Years Eve going to eat some Jumbo Mochi with Sakura, her sister and her dad. From the place we had an amazing view onto the Sakurajima. Now, Sakurajima is actually still an active volcano and it’s interesting how that influences the way of living for the locals.
First, Sakurajima used to be an island until the huge eruption 100 years ago that connected it to land. Students need to go to school wearing helmets and every 100 meters or so there is a special emergency roof people can hide under in case of rocks falling from the sky.
That also comes with some interesting graphic design
We ended the day taking some adorable purikura pictures and seeing the nightscape of Kagoshima from the ferris wheel. The evening was calm, we ate sushi, drank sake and watched Japanese tv. Much less eventful New Years Eve than what I’m used to.