Our International Staff – Past & Present Vol.1

Name:Ella Sezer
Country:Sweden

Det ar andra gagen jag besoker Norikura. Detta ar helt klart en av de mest underbara stallena jag besokt. Det ligger precis i de japanska alperna, omringat av helt obeskrivligt vacker natur. Det jag tycker om mest med stallet ar att vakna upp om morgnarna till ljudet av floden som rinner utanfor. Bara ett steg utanfor dorren sa kan man se bergen. Jag kan sta flera timmar och bara ta kort pa de vackra omgivningarna. Det kryllar av hikingstigar man kan ga, vattenfall att besoka och en massa vacker natur. Sen ska det erkannas att jag gillar mat. Och gissa om det serveras god mat har. Det ar inget stalle som hittas i Lonely Planet, kanske en av anledningarna till att det inte har forlorat sin charm. Definitivt ett stalle som maste besokas!

This is the second time I have visited Norikura, and I can say it’s definately one of the best places I have visited in Japan. Located in the Japanese Alps it’s surrounded by breathtaking nature. Being a person who loves nature this is like heaven to me 🙂 I can just go around and take photos for hours. Also here I can enjoy the mountain views, hiking trails, waterfalls, etc.

The owners are very friendly and helpful, providing information about sightseeing spots etc. Not to mention the food… now, that is something really special! So to conclude: wonderful surroundings, good food and great people. Not a place to be found in the Lonely Planet, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why Norikura has kept its charm. A definite must-go

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Name:Joost van Steenderen
Country:The Netherland

Dutch:
Tijdens drie maanden backpacken in Japan heb ik, als laatste werkadres,
het guesthouse TENGALLON HAT aangedaan als werkadres. Niet wetend wat
mij te wachten stond bleek de familie bijzonder vriendelijke en
ondersteunend op alle fronten. Boodschappen, kapper? Geen probleem het
werd geregeld! Mijn favoriete plek was de keuken waar alle Japanse
lekkernijen vandaan kwamen, wat naast de gastvrijheid het speerpunt van
het guesthouse is. Naast het meehelpen in de keuken werd ik in de
gelegenheid gesteld om wat Hollandse pannenkoeken op tafel te zetten.
Het eten is hier zo goed dat ik sinds mij terugkomst in Nederland geen
Japanse gerechten meer heb bereid, om de herinneringen hierna niet te
verpesten.

De omgeving van Norikura biedt plaats aan een geweldige natuur met
riviertjes, watervallen en bijzondere bomen. Naast mijn passie voor eten
heb ik ook een passie voor de onsen, welke hier in overvloed te vinden
zijn. Stuk voor stuk bijzonder en met een prachtig uitzicht! TENGALLON
HAT was een bijzondere ervaring en ik hoop de familie nog eens met een
bezoekje te kunnen verblijden.

English:
TENGALLON HAT was my third address to work during my three month
backpack period in Japan. The family is incredible (and sometimes – too)
kind and helpful, making the work at the guesthouse a privilege. ハMy
favorite place in the guesthouse was the kitchen where the preparations
of the delicious food took place. It was a great experience to be part
of this delicacy producing engine and be given the opportunity to try
out food and make some myself. Since my departure from Japan I didn’t
prepare any Japanese dishes yet, being afraid that it wouldn’t taste as
good as I remembered!

Besides my passion for food I’m also a fan of onsen with nice scenery.
This is definitely something you can find in Norikura. Nice rivers,
waterfalls and special trees along hiking trails can be found in large
numbers here, and the same goes for onsen. Just imagine; enjoying a nice
hot onsen and at the same time enjoy the view of the snow topped Alps! I
really enjoyed my time in Norikura and I’m hoping to visit TENGALLON HAT
a second time.

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Name:Julien Guillet
ountry:France

I arrived on the end of may at Tengallon, ハI was pleased to see that Iユ
ll live for 2 weeks in this wonderfull place that is Norikura. I
enjoyed every moment I spent with Rie, Roysuke and Yusuke, even working
at 6am was easy. When I arrived I was hoping eating a lot of japanese
food but it was better than that it was a mixed style of japanese and
western foodノDELICIOUS. They put so much effort to please every
clients that itユs really a pleasure to help them. You can also feel
how much theyユre concerned by Norikura, and Ryosuke knows perfectly
how to describe this feeling to the many students who stop by.
I was very happy when I came back a few weeks later for Walk&Run and
help them again. It was like I never left Tengallon, and I really felt
like I was coming back home. Iユll definitely go to Norikura again when
Iユll go to Japan.
テンガロンで2しゅうかんいました。まいにちがたのしかった,みんなはとってもやさしい。
いろいろありがとう

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Name:Joyce Chu
Country:Hong Kong SAR

Tengallon Hat was the first place I stayed at as a WWOOFER with a friend of mine and it was very memorable in every way! Firstly, we had the privilege of being the first WWOOFERs to stay there, so it was a fun-filled learning experience for both the family and us; secondly, the Miyashita family was so warm, friendly and hospitable that it made us feel very welcome and like we were part of the family; and lastly, the food, ambiance, and scenery at Tengallon Hat was excellent (especially the cakes hand-baked by Rie-san!! I still remember her three-tiered strawberry cake fondly)!

We stayed at Tengallon Hat from mid-December to the beginning of January and so, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s together. Although it was a very busy period of the year for the pension, I also had a lot of fun. Everyday was filled with grand adventures with new people and interesting tasks ranging from decorating gingerbread houses for the Christmas party to simply enjoying the warmth of the living room whilst a snowstorm raged outside the windows.

Looking back at those days, Tengallon Hat was a place filled with warmth, laughter and memorable memories that I would never have missed for the world. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime!

P.S. If you decide to stay at Tengallon Hat, the following activities are a must at Norikura-kogen: make use of the onsens in the area ミ Shirahone is magical; go for a hike; eat katsu curry at Abbey Road; and chill and relax with the Miyashita family!

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Name:Kwek Kon Eng (a.k.a. Kon-chan)
Country:Singapore

Tengallon Hat is the first place I went WWOOFER-ing and was accompanied by my friend Joyce. 😀 We first arrived tired and slightly lost, wondering what we signed up for as the place seemed quiet and secluded. Our worries disappeared when we were welcomed by the Miyashita family. Warm, friendly and hospitable are just some of the words which best describes them. During the time spent at Tengallon, I experienced many sides of Japan, I would not have otherwise seen if I had just stuck to the big cities or tourist spots. Hrmmm… Where do I start?
At Tengallon there was Marron Shochu, making lots and lots of cakes (3-Tiered Strawberry メTALLモ cake), learning to prepare various foods, soaking in the ofuro at the end of the day plus hear the adjacent river stream flowing, acoustic performance by owner and Yusuke (WOW!), learning about the latest news every morning (seems to always be some murder on the news… weird), Rie-sanユs various flavours of bread rolls (Yummy!) and much more…
Around the area, be sure to go to Abbey Road for Katsu Curry (ROCK!), Ramen (opposite Tengallon Uphill, MOUNTAINOUS!), Waterfalls, nature trails, Shirahone Onsen etc…
During our stay, we also got to know some of the various regulars who came to Tengallon like Chu-chan (a real veteran of Tengallon) who taught us the game Daifugo and Ken-chan who brought us to eat inoshishi & kumaniku Donburi (that was not all, ask Rie/Owner about Basashi too)
The place got really busy during the festive season when we were there, so it was really warm, lively and cheerful.
All these fond memories of the time at Tengallon makes me smile everytime I think about them. Oh how I want to go back just writing and thinking about it… Thanks for everything and hope to see you all soon!

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Name:Joris Speets
Country:Holland

My stay at Tengallonhat was very nice. The first day I was friendly welcomed by Ryoichi and Rie and just after that some Japanese band came in and started playing all kind of american songs straight away in the music area over here. They turned out to be quest staying at this place. They came here for the 2 days to practice. Very nice people to meet, I enjoyed their music. I discovered some new Japanese receipies which were very delicious. The area around here was very nice and there was enough time to explore the beautifull mountains and waterfalls around here. I liked that a lot. I had the chance here to experience the hotel life out of first hand, which i really apreciated. I felt very much at home at the family. And ( i think a lot of people already wrote this) the food is very delicious. Thanks for all!

Ik heb een geweldige week gehad bij Tegallonhat. Op de eerste dag dat ik hier aankwam werd ik vriendlijk verwelkomt en even hierna kwam er een groep Japanse gasten die meteen naar de muziekhoek renden en daar als en band engelstalige muziek begonnen te spelen. Fantastisch. De familie gaf me heel erg het gevoel om me thuis te voelen. Niks was te veel en overal werd er mee geholpen. Ik heb weer nieuwe Japanse gerechte voorgeschoteld gekregen die ik nog niet kende en ook deze waren weer heel lekker. Roichie and Rie kunnen echt heel lekker koken. Ik heb ervan genoten. Tussen het werken door was er ook genoeg tijd om de omgeving te ontdekken, de bergen en watervallen zijn erg de moeite waard om door te wandelen. Ik heb hier verder ook de kans gekregen om de hotel business (en leven) vanaf de voorste rij te bekijken. Ik zat er middenin eigenlijk, daar was ik erg blij mee omdat ik dit graag een keer mee wilde maken. Bedankt voor alles!

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Name:Pavla Zalesakova
Country:the Czech Republic

When I opened the door and entered, I was very warmly welcomed by live music played by a group of architects from Tokyo staying at that time at Tengallon Hat… and then by Ryoichi and Rie, the hosts, and also by Joris, a co-WWOOFer from Holland. I am really glad that I could meet all of you. I always thought that it is no big deal to manage a restaurant or a small hotel, but now I know very well how difficult and demanding this occupation can be. And you, dear Miyashitasantachi, have, no doubt, become 100% professionals (since starting running this original place in 1985). Let me thank you for opening my eyes, for your patience and kindness and, of course, for all the delicous dishes… mmmmhmmmmm… I will keep an eye on you! (webcam) Pavla

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Name:Baz(バズ)Ruddick
Country:Australia

I got on the bus at Shinshimashima(quite the mouth-full for an Australian toungue!) and before i knew it i was in one of the most beautifull places i have been! The views from the window were amazing- mountains and rivers. I thought i would be here only till around new year but as soon as a i settled in that changed. The whole family, Rie, Ryoichi, Moe and Yusuke treated me with emmense kindness and respect. Supporting my travel plans by making me hitchiking signs and offering advice, all the while suggesting things i should see and doing there best to find me a snow monkey. Always keen for a laugh, we shared more than a few jokes. I felt right at home talking to a `neighbour` in the form of Yusuke, the Japanese Kiwi. Instantly i felt like he was an old friend. Rie was always friendly and great to talk to. Each meal was my new favourite! Nabe, Crab shabu shabu, Sukiyaki, amazing curry and many many more. I was lucky enough to be able to try a wide variety of japanese food. All of it amazing. Ryoichi makes for a great conversation, talking about nature, guitars, music and freezing to death! He is Norikura`s own jimmy hendrix/eric clapton equivalent and a great blues teacher! Even the guests were amazingly nice. Fuji-san took me on a snowshoeing tour of Norikura on New Nears Day. This was amazing and i recomend it to everyone. Keep your eyes peeled for a snow monkey. The nature of the area is amazing. The snow and the rivers are phenomenal and the waterfall seems like a hidden jem. I think Yusuke should call up some Kiwi mates and build a bungy from it (as is the New Zealand style). I had an amazing time at ten gallon. It is a great place to relax and get to know people. A few days turned into nearly three weeks and it could easily turn into more. I will definatley be back. Hopefully with some songs to sing, vastly improved Japanese, but still using my thumb as my primary means of transportation. ありがとうございます。じゃまたね!バズ

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Name:Euan Hill & Sophia Sow
Country:Bermuda & Scotland

t was great to stay here. I got to see a different part of japan than tokyo and saw snow for the first time in over two years. We built the coolest snowman (called herbert) and I got to go Skiing in Japan which was made more awesome by the fact that I was given free ski gear. Head to toe boots pants, jacket gloves the lot. I was amazed by the friendliness of my host and the patience. On many occasons I would have to be told how to do something more than once but not the slightest hint of resentment could be detected. I saw animal tracks (I believe racoon) which took me back to when i used to track animals. I saw monkies and my chopstick skills have improved tenfold. I also discovered that people outside of Tokyo are in fact very friendly and you can look them in the eye without them flinching.

((needless to say the food was amazing))

~Euan

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Name:Sophie Snow (and Euan Hill!)
Country:Scotland and Bermuda

Arriving here was brilliant, warm and welcoming with good music playing, also the sight of all the instruments. As Euan said the snow was fantastic, more than I have ever seen in my life, and skiing for the first time ever was fun if terrifying! I remain in awe of Rie’s baking and both of your cooking! Hopefully one day I will be as good.. And then perhaps I can be your host! Thank you for your patience and kindness, and for giving us somewhere to stay outside of the usual tourist spots. Hopefully if I come back I will be able to say more than four words in Japanese! Thanks again, Sophie

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Name:Stelios “リンゴ” Miliarakis
country:Greece

When I first arrived in TengallonHat, I was quite shocked to see the ammount of work that goes into making every single day special for the guests and customers. I thought I had worked in understaffed places before, but Tengallon really opened my eyes!

However it’s amazing to see how Riesan and Ryoichisan make every task seem like it can be done with the greatest of ease (like serving 25 people a 6 course meal that in my opinion belongs to a 5*hotel’s restaurant). Their extraordinary kindness and hospitality is the obvious reason for their loyal customers that visit Tengallon every year; the less obvious reason (except for members of staff and WOOFers) is the ammount of detail that goes in every little thing, details that took me weeks to learn and STILL have no confidence with (although I’ve been asked to handle the “training” of new WWOOFers)!!

It is difficult to put down in words the gratitude I feel for the family (Riesan, Ryoichisan and the Kiwi-ed Yusuke) for everything they have offered me. For example, it was great to try skiing again after 20 or so years, and even greater realising that it didnt cost me a penny due to Ryoichisan and the extremely kind ski-rental manager.

Unfortunately I have to leave, but hope to return one day. I will be taking with me the image of this lifestyle: the work life and personal life balancing in a golden equilibrium, the harmony that comes when everyone gives their best and works hard, the occasionally firm but always loving way of managing.

Thank you for everything! Osewa ni narimashite, arigatou gozaimashita!

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Name:Colin Thomas and Chris Salvati
country:Canada


Our first few days at Tengallon were overwhelming. We had just got to Japan and had never experienced anything similar. But after just a few days, Tengallon felt like home.

The area is also beautiful. We’ve never spent very much time in the mountains before but now it might be one of our favorite environments. Hopefully we’ll be able to come back one day and visit Tengallon again.

It helped that Rie and Ryoichi did everything they could to make sure we had a fun and rewarding experience. Going snowboarding for my first time(Colin) and having the opportunity to practice snowboarding more (Chris), snowshoeing, and going to the onsen were all activities we would have never done without Rie’s suggestions.

Leaving is bittersweet. We’re excited to go live in Osaka but we’ll miss the company, sights, and activities from Tengallonhat. And the always-delicious food! Rie and Ryoichi ensured that working here was never lonely and always interesting.

Thanks for everything, Miyashita family! We’ll never forget this.

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Name:Torben Kloster and Sebastian Kjae
Country:Denmark

Tengallon Hat var det foerste sted vi skulle besoege som wwoof’ere, og vi var selvsagt meget spaendte, da vi ikke vidste hvad vi kunne forvente. Vi havde aftalt med Rie at hun skulle samle os op i Matsumoto,og da hun kom ti minutter senere end aftalt undskyldte hun mange gange – en oplevelse der blev meget sigende for den venlighed vi kom til at opleve.

Norikura har gennem hele opholdet budt paa en masse fantastiske oplevelser; skiloeb (som var grunden til at vi valgte Tengallon Hat), dejlig natur med vandfald og bjerge, onsen (hvilket er fantastisk efter en dag paa ski) – oplevelser vi aldrig ville have faaet hvis ikke det var for Rie og Ryoichi som baade fortalte om stederne og stod for transport dertil. Den ekstreme venlighed skulle igen vise sig da vi for vild, og i moerket blev samlet op af Ryoichi som var blevet bekymret, og derfor var koert ud for at lede efter os.

Selve stemningen paa Tengallon Hat har vaeret det bedste af det hele. Rie, Ryoichi og Moe har taget overvaeldende godt imod os – en ting er at lukke et par fremmede drenge ind i sit hus, en anden ting er at goere os saa meget til en del af stedet som det var tilfaeldet. Vi har haft fantastiske aftener med japansk oel, shochu og sake, Ryoichi’s guitarspil, Moe’s sang og Rie’s evne til at skabe en herlig stemning – med eller uden Tengallon Hat’s gaester.

Tengallon Hat har givet os et indtryk af japanerne som det venligste folkefaerd i verden, og en masse oplevelser vi aldrig vil glemme.

Hvis i nogensinde overvejer at tage til Norikura, saa tag ind til Rie og Ryoichi!

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Tengallon Hat was the first place for us to visit as wwoof’ers, and we were ofcourse very excited, as we didn’t know what to expect. We had agreed with Rie that she should pick us up in Matsumoto, and when she came 10 minutes late she apologized a lot – a good example of the kindness we were about to experience.

Norikura has through the entire stay offered us a lot of amazing experiences; skiing (which was the reason we chose Tengallon Hat in the first place), beautiful nature with waterfalls and mountains, onsens (which is amazing after skiing) – experiences we would never have had if it wasn’t for Rie and Ryoichi who both recommended and drove us to the places. The overwhelming kindness showed again as we got lost, and were picked up by Ryoichi who had gotten worried and driven out to look for us.

The atmosphere in Tengallon Hat has been the most fantastic of all. Rie, Ryoichi and Moe have welcomed us incredibly well – one thing is to let two complete strangers into your house, another is to make us so much a part of the place, as the family did. We’ve had som amazing evenings with Japanese beer, shochu and sake, Ryoichi’s acoustic guitar, Moe’s singing and Rie’s ability to create an incredibly cosy atmosphere – with or without the guests of Tengallon Hat.

Tengallon Hat has given us an impression of the Japanese people as the most friendly people in the world, and a lot of experiences we will never forget.

If you ever consider going to Norikura, visiting Rie and Ryoichi is a must!

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Name:Stacie Anderson
Country:USA

The owners of Ten Gallon Hat Pension are the most welcoming, gracious, kind hosts that I have ever experienced. As an American who speaks VERY few words of Japanese, visiting Japan can seem a bit intimidating, but there is no reason to worry when staying here. They speak excellent English and are helpful and enthusiastic about teaching Japanese. I felt completely at home. Every action they perform is done with a smile. Their patience and laughter are unending.

Then there is the food! You cannot go wrong with anything that comes out of their kitchen. Absolutely, some of the best food I have eaten in a LONG time. Their love of cooking shows in everything they produce. And again, they do it with a smile.

The location on the pension is also fabulous. It is just minutes away from the ski area, and they are willing to either drop their guests off or pick them up at any given time. I was only here in the winter, but I would love to visit during warmer weather to experiece hiking around the area. There are also onsen (hot spring bathes) within a short distance.

The building itself is welcoming, with the large gathering area for guests to eat and relax, and guitars and a piano just waiting to be played. There are wonderful bathes here in the pension as well.

Honestly, I will always look back fondly on the time that I spent here at the Ten Gallon Hat Pension and I would recommend a visit to anyone. You will love it!

see next page Vol.2

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