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  • Hey guys.

  • I was recently invited down to Kumamoto Prefecture.

  • (upbeat music)

  • It was my first time being down in that area.

  • It's down near the bottom of Japan.

  • Put a little map here so you can get an idea.

  • It's quite a quick plane ride from Tokyo actually.

  • I think it was just over two hours.

  • I got invited there to do a volunteer workshop actually.

  • I'll tell you a little bit about that

  • near the end of the video.

  • I was invited to Mashiki Town which

  • is the area of Kumamoto that was worst hit

  • by the earthquake that occurred last year April.

  • Over 200 people lost their lives

  • and thousands of people had to evacuate

  • their homes because their homes

  • were either completely destroyed

  • or the damage that was caused to

  • them was too much to where it wasn't safe

  • for them to live there anymore.

  • I was given a little tour of the town

  • and we drove around.

  • All the debris had been cleared up.

  • But there were so many empty lots

  • where there used to be a house.

  • It was just such a weird feeling.

  • I've never seen anything like that before.

  • There would be a perfectly good house

  • and then another perfectly good house here,

  • but in between would just be a flat, empty lot

  • without absolutely nothing left.

  • That was all throughout the town.

  • Every other house would be an empty lot.

  • I was also taken to a famous tourist spot

  • in Mashiki Town called Shioi Suigen.

  • They had the most beautiful water.

  • It's this little temple.

  • Then there's this pond right under

  • the temple area filled with koi fish.

  • The water is just so clear and so clean.

  • There's a little stream running down into the pond.

  • I tasted a bit of the water and it was

  • just so delicious.

  • Apparently people would bring their water bottles there

  • and fill them up and drink that water.

  • It's just coming fresh down from the mountains.

  • It was really really nice.

  • That whole shrine had been completely destroyed

  • in the earthquake.

  • Lots of the debris was left as it had fallen.

  • The torii gate, the entrance to the shrine,

  • the stone torii gate was just fallen

  • and lying across the pond area.

  • The stairs were destroyed.

  • You couldn't go up the stairs to see

  • the shrine anymore.

  • Here's some more clips from Shioi Suigen

  • so you can see the extent of the damage

  • but also how beautiful the place is

  • and I really really hope that they

  • can gather the funds to restore it

  • because it was just such an amazing spot.

  • This gray area beside the jinja here.

  • You can kind of see that this is where

  • the earth split during the earthquake.

  • That's why there was such large damage.

  • It looks like this tree that was

  • in front here completely fell over.

  • That's a big tree.

  • The jinja itself was apparently rebuilt

  • just a few years before the earthquake.

  • It was quite a sturdy structure

  • and that's why it made it through the earthquake all right.

  • I spotted some big koi.

  • Wow.

  • Wow, white one.

  • The water's so clean.

  • Look at how big it is.

  • After we finished our tour of the town

  • I was taken for lunch at this local mom and pop restaurant.

  • They were so sweet and the food

  • was really delicious.

  • We're at a local restaurant right now

  • and we're gonna grab some lunch.

  • I'm going to get the yasai teishoku

  • Apparently this is Kumamoto thing

  • to do is to put somen in your miso soup.

  • I got the yasai itame with rice,

  • pickles, miso soup with the noodles in it.

  • This is gobo salad.

  • Gobo is a root.

  • It's called burdock root in English.

  • It's really delicious.

  • If you come to Japan, and you have

  • a chance to eat it, please do.

  • The noodles go actually well with the miso soup.

  • I really like that.

  • It's a great idea.

  • But their shop was not the original shop.

  • It had been destroyed in the earthquake

  • and they were now renting a building

  • and working out of that.

  • There were I believe four other businesses as well

  • in that parking lot area that were doing

  • the same thing.

  • After lunch we went around and visited

  • the other shops and we got to know

  • the people there.

  • They have really interesting hanko.

  • They're hidden inside of sushi.

  • I've never seen anything like that before.

  • That's so cool.

  • I think that would be so hilarious

  • if you pulled out your hanko at the bank

  • and it was sushi.

  • Toshimaya, they are selling drones

  • and radio helicopters and planes.

  • Look at this helicopter.

  • Apparently it has a 50cc engine inside.

  • That could power a small bike.

  • It's so small.

  • Next we're gonna pop into a chiropractic

  • and massage business.

  • Really, really welcoming and friendly

  • and they were so happy to tell me

  • about their story and the experience

  • they had in the earthquake

  • and how they're trying to get back

  • up on their feet now.

  • I just really hope if any of you guys

  • are down in the Kumamoto area

  • that you make a stop at Mashiki Town

  • and you pop into these stores

  • and you help them out a little by buying something

  • or even just going in and saying hi to them

  • and telling them you saw them in my video.

  • I think they would be so happy.

  • After that we went a little further up

  • the street around the corner to a famous local Manjyuu shop.

  • Takana is like the meibutsu of Kumamoto,

  • one of the foods they're famous for.

  • Manjyuu are usually sweet, but this shop

  • has a Takana Manjyuu which should

  • be kind of salty.

  • I'm super excited for this Takana Manjyuu.

  • I have never heard of anything like this.

  • I love Takana and I love Manjyuu.

  • So those two things together sounds very intriguing.

  • Wow it's very big.

  • It's salty, this is so weird.

  • It reminds me of like a vegetable version of nikuman.

  • It's kind of spicy.

  • It's a little spicy, but not too much.

  • I really like it.

  • If you happen to be in Mashiki Town

  • stop by this place and grab one

  • of these Takana Manjuu because

  • I'm pretty sure you won't find anything like this

  • somewhere else.

  • Then we had gotten a recommendation

  • from one of the other shop owners

  • to visit this Futomaki sushi shop.

  • Futoi means fat in and Maki means roll.

  • So it's like a huge roll of sushi.

  • Then after all that we went to the city hall

  • where I would be giving the workshop.

  • But the city hall was also not

  • the original city hall.

  • It had been damaged and everybody

  • had been moved to a building

  • that they were renting for now

  • while that gets fixed.

  • We went to the room and we set it all up.

  • What the workshop was is that I

  • would be teaching the local people

  • of Mashiki Town how to make YouTube videos