When most people think of Japan, the modern madness of Tokyo and Osaka probably come to mind first, followed by the serenity of Kyoto. But Japan is a country of 127.2 million people, and those who aren’t living in a major city such as Tokyo or Osaka reside in mid-sized cities, suburbs or rural areas (the inaka). I will admit that when I first found out I was placed in Namerikawa-shi, Toyama-ken, on the west coast of Japan, I had no idea where that was or what to expect. I eagerly looked online and at every guidebook I could find to read about the area, but sadly, there isn’t much online and even less in guidebooks. That’s a shame because there are some special parts of Toyama that very few foreigners and even Japanese people probably know about. In September, I was lucky enough to participate in a free tour of Toyama prefecture. This week, I will begin to share some stories in hopes that more people come visit Toyama. I will also include some tips about how to get around towns if you’re like me and don’t speak much Japanese. Learn more about the trip by checking out the blogs of two fellow Assistant Language Teachers who were on the trip with me – Cynthia and Xue. The Toyama Perfecture Government’s Website also has some good information on Toyama in English here.