It’s finally time I write in English about my WWOOF experiences in Hokkaido. I started my WWOOFing adventures in Nayoro, a small town north of Hokkaido.
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming. It used to be only about farms but it got looser and you can now work in various places, even some who don’t have anyting to do with organic culture. Nisshin café, the first place I WOOFed at, isn’t organic, but they grow a few thing in a greenhouse. I worked there for two weeks in exchange for food and accomodation.
My tasks were a bit different everyday but I did cleaning at the small guesthouse runned by the owner, a lot of dish washing, awkward waitress work, weeding in the greenhouse, painting and wallpaper, english conversation, and just being the cute foreign girl the owner’s husband was bringing to the university students he was teaching. I never counted my hours so I have no idea how much I worked, but it really felt like I was helping the family business rather than being regular staff so I didn’t mind. When we didn’t have customers for lunch I was sitting in the restaurant with my computer doing my thing.
Nisshin Café’s owner is a really friendly korean mom treating the WWOOFers like family and cooking amazing dishes. I would totally recommend to eat at that restaurant if you happen to be in Nayoro, but why would you be in Nayoro? (it’s actually a ski town in winter so you could want to go there if you like winter sports) . At breakfast and dinner we were eating like the family and at lunch the mom was making us choose what we wanted to eat from the restaurant menu, so I tried a lot of delicious things.
The host and her husband sometimes took me and the other WWOOFer for onsen of just sightseeing and I was able to enjoy beautiful places like an outdoor hot spring with view on the Okhosk Sea in Oumu. The day we went there it wa particularly chilly and it was perfect, because why would you want to take a hot outdoor bath when it’s hot outside?
Talking about weather, I was there from mid june to early july and it was unsurprisingly chillier than Honshu, especially the night that were really cold and made me regret I let my heattech sweaters in Tokyo.
This host was only taking female WWOOFers when I was there because their teenage girl tends to be shy with guys and they wanted her to practise english but she’s actually a bit shy with anyone because that’s how you are when you’re 13. Instead of helping her with english we actually watched movies with her in english, that’s how I can’t really tell how much I worked at that place. You wouldn’t count watching Wreck it Ralph as work right?
As I said the owner is Korean, it could be feel a bit strange to WWOOF in Japan with a non Japanese family but it was a really great experience to stay with a foreign family who has been living in Hokkaido for 20 years.