Dagny's passion for Japan was first ignited by a stint spent working in Japan with WWOOF: Willing Workers On Organic Farms. Working for room and board on farms across Japan, she spent her free time between jobs backpacking and fell in love with the Japanese countryside and its culture. Back home in the US, she was inspired to take Japanese classes at college and eventually integrated this passion into her history major with a thesis in Japanese theatre and performance history.
After leaving university, Dagny moved back to Japan to teach English in Northeast Hokkaido - the northernmost of Japan's main islands - where she lived for two years. She was also the first and only foreigner to be voted a 'Daughter of the Wisteria' , a local distinction at her town's annual Wisteria festival.
In her free time, Dagny loves playing board games (a great way to get faraway friends together during the long Hokkaido winter), soaking in hot springs (when she gets the chance), and sushi.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Hokkaido, off-the-beaten-path in general, and quirky stuff. That being said, it wouldn't be a trip to Japan without the must-see's!"
How did you get involved in travel?
"I was looking to stay connected to Japan (still haven't gotten enough of it!), and do for a living what I did for fun when I was living in Japan: show people how incredible this country is, and how varied!"
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"In spring of 2015, I spent several days on the island of Yakushima. I didn't have much of a plan - all I knew was that it was famously beautiful, and provided the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke.
From the minute I got to my accommodation (the cheapest family-run inn on the island), the owner, a sweet older Japanese man, asked me if I had eaten, made me lunch, and took me on a tour of his favourite sightseeing spots on the island. He charged me nothing for any of this: he just drove me, his girlfriend, and another female lodger to some of Yakushima's famous waterfalls, an amazing and untouristed local hot spring, and to a delicious home-cooked dinner a friend of his made for us. His kindness, the crash-course of the island, and the whole impromptu nature of the thing made this one of my most enduring memories from my travels in Japan."