Hello everyone !
Today we had the hard task to guide foreign students at two of the most popular tourists spot in Aso. Around 90 students from many different countries such as Indonesia, Austria, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, China, Korea, Congo and others I may not remember, were there not only to discover Aso's beautiful landscapes but also to learn more about Kumamoto earthquake and how the locals dealt with it.
We made two groups of more than 40 people and left Michi no Eki Aso around 10:30 this morning. The group I was with first went to visit Kusasenri. Nothing better to start the day that to enjoy the view from here. And they were lucky cause the snow didn't melt completely yet and the view was really breathtaking. Toyomura-san, staff of the Volcano Museum gave a presentation about the caldera and explained a lot about the volcano or the consequences of the earthquake for all the facilities situated on Mount Aso. As usual a very interesting presentation that, I am sure, helped the student to have a better understanding of the situation here. One point he insisted on, and I can't agree more on that, is that it is now safe to come to Aso and enjoy a stay here.
Then it was time for lunch, so we took the bus to go to the Kurumagaeri community center. Before eating, the headman of this local center gave a speech about the time of the earthquake. We learned that this community center was used as a shelter and mister Miy told us several anecdotes about how the locals handled the situation during the earthquake as well as the following days.
The lunch was hand made and we were able to enjoy a delicious bowl of Dagojiru soup As you may already know this is a local soup, Miso based, with many vegetables and dumplings of flour. This is also a food specialty in Aso and in the cold of winter, there's nothing better to warm yourself up. We also ate some rice balls and eggs or many kinds of pickles like Takana for example. I really want to thank the group of women who took the time to cook for all of us. They put their heart in it and we were able to taste it.
The last place of the day was the famous Aso Shrine. Here too we had the chance to be guided by a local. This local is the owner of Torimiya a shop situated on the shopping street next to the shrine. Sometimes I go there to buy some croquettes. They're really delicious! He explained how the locals discovered that Aso Shrine collapsed during the second large earthquake while all the buildings around where still standing. For them Aso Shrine took everything to save everyone'house and commerce. I found is comparison to the shrine with the figure of the parents reall interesting and even moving in a way.
It was a really nice day we spent visiting Aso and I hoped that they all enjoyed the trip. I also had the opportunity to speak in french with the students from Congo and you can guess how much I appreciate to be able to express myself using my mother tongue. See you soon in Aso !
Michi No Eki Aso
https://www.facebook.com/aso.michinoeki?ref=hl (in Japanese)
https://www.facebook.com/eng.michinoekiaso/ (in English)
https://twitter.com/MichiNoEkiAso (in English)
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