Beautiful Mother Nature Pt.2: Friendship and Autumn Colors

Moziah Thompson
November 14, 2015

It has been longer than I would have liked since my last post and I have had several friends and family asking "when is the next post?!" haha. Well, here ya go guys! I'm glad to finally have a little extra time to post about some of the really awesome experiences I've been having while abroad. This post, while still for the most part pertaining to mother nature, is very much focused on the expectantly long-lasting friendships I have made so far here in Japan on the IES Abroad Nagoya program. I can't emphasize how truly awesome it is to be involved with this collection of young minds and spirits, very much like myself, in so many more ways than just being interested in Japanese language, and anime, and manga. We have all become so tightly knit as a group, and even within our group we have each found at least one specific person that we will definitely be friends with for many years to come. This blog post focuses on our IES Abroad trip to 白川郷 (Shirakawago) and 高山 (Takayama), two very beautiful places in the mountains of Japan.

Shirakawago, so far, has probably been my favorite trip and overall area since coming to Japan. It is known for its old-style Japanese homes with very steep sloping roofs that are covered in Japanese moss. The timing for this trip was nothing short of completely flawless planning. Although, I'm sure some of my fellow IES Abroad students may disagree due to the weather being significantly colder than what we were, at that point in time, used to from Nagoya. But, for people like me and Jason, it just felt like another day back home (New York and Pittsburgh, respectively). On the other hand, people like me and Ichi, knew it was the perfect time for this trip because of the autumn colors that Shirakawago had to offer. This rural setting, up in the mountains, has shown me some of the most beautiful colors and sceneries I have ever experienced. The only immediate things that come to mind that compare would be my childhood autumns spent in the Hudson Valley of New York, looking out over the Grand Canyon at sunset and spring break two years ago on a cruise to the Bahamas, when I went to the highest point on the boat in the middle of the night, and stared at the stars. Welp, that was a great trip down memory lane for me, and I'm sure I've got you all pumped up now, so here's some pics! Enjoy.

First I'll show you some photos of the old-style Japanese houses that Shirakawago is known for, of course with the only beautiful, green backgrounds I had to choose from in the area :)

Next up are some photos from our nature walk early on the Sunday of our IES Abroad Trip. We were also scheduled for a night walk on Saturday, but had to adjust plans due to rain. I would say that was unfortunate, but it truly was not because instead of going on a night walk, we were grouped into 4 teams and given the task of building and keeping a campfire. We were given 5 different boxes of supplies, and had the option to pick from 2 of them (sticks, big leaves, small leaves, etc.), two pieces of firewood, a paper fan, and 3 matches. Unfortunately my team didn't win (in the slightest haha, oh well), but I'm sure I'm not the only person who still thouroughly enjoyed it. It was a beyond fun experience and after the "competition" (I only used quotes for competition because we didn't win lol), we all sat around a big campfire and played some fun games that involved full participation and also shared our feelings on subjects ranging from drinking hot cocoa around campfires with friends back in America, to what we thought of Japan so far, to what we saw when we looked into the fire. After our morning walk, we once again broke up into teams and built what would essentially be little huts if we were mountain nomads. This was also really fun and typically being able to do this is considered a type of rite-of-passage among young Japanese males. Not to say there are expected to become mountain nomads, it was more of a survive in the wilderness type of experience. Anyway, it was great! And we got to drink hot tea made from sweet branches of trees found primarily in the Shirakawago area, おいしかった!


Events in this blog post happened quite a while ago, therefore, expect another new blog post sooner than later! :D Hope you enjoyed and feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly and tell me whatcha think!

Moziah Thompson

<p>I am a graphic design student at Georgia State University. I work in a number of mediums including drawing, painting with oils, acrylics, and watercolors, and screen-printing. I tend to draw inspiration from artists such as Chuck Close, Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, KAWS, and Jeff Koons. I also enjoy studying different artistic styles as a whole, including: surrealism, pop art and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. Other than art and work, the majority of my time goes to listening to music and attempting to learn anything new from photography to playing a saxophone to transcendentalism. **attached creative sample is titled &quot;A Groovy Portrait of a Universal Soul&quot;. 19.5x25.5. Micron pen and watercolor on paper.</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
Georgia State University
Graphic Design
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