Nagano-no-Kazaana: cool and the most mysterious place in Wakaki Town
The second day of the program started. The first destination was Nagano-no-Kazaana, a wind cave in the mountains in the Nagano area of Wakaki Town.
The average temperature in the cave is 8 – 9 degrees C throughout the year. At the mysterious place, visitors can see cold air blowing out of the entrance of the cave in summer.
Under the broiling summer sun, both the Thai and Japanese students participating in the program climbed a mountain road for about 20 minutes to the first destination.
Deepening exchanges at a “somen-nagashi” (flowing somen noodles) party, a Japanese summer tradition
After coming down from Nagano-no-Kazaana, the participants went to the venue of the Kawa (River) Festival, which was being held in the Sugamuta area of Wakaki Town. The Thai students had a quizzical look on their faces when they found a long line of gutters made of bamboo produced in the town, set up at the venue.
This was a setting prepared for a somen-nagashi (flowing somen noodles) party, a Japanese summer tradition. Now, the first somen-nagashi party for the Thai students started. They enjoyed it together with local people, including children.
The Thai students were very busy taking photos and eating somen noodles. The party was very successful.
Local children also ate somen noodles with obvious relish.
The Thai students were very good at catching noodles flowing through the bamboo gutters with their chopsticks. It was a new experience for them to enjoy somen-nagashi. They seemed to have fun.
After the party, handmade meals by local housewives were served for lunch to the students. This lunch hour was the last opportunity for the Thai students to interact with the junior high school students who had been sharing the two-day program with them. The conversations between both groups of students initially looked strained when they first met on the previous day; however, they fully enjoyed conversing during this lunch hour.
To facilitate a better understanding of Wakaki Town’s attractions for people overseas, the first “Water, Wind and Star Festival in Summer” was organized in the town this year. The festival concluded successfully, with the participation of seven Thai students studying at either Saga University, Nishikyushu University, or Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College. After the Slow Trip program, participating Thai students smiled, saying: “We’ll tell all our friends back in Thailand about the program.”
We hope that this program will become a bridge to connect Thailand and Saga.
May the second “Water, Wind and Star Festival” to be held next year also help create a new interaction between Thai and Saga people!
Thank you, Thai students, for participating in the program in Wakaki Town! Khob khun Krab