Born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Sally took the road less travelled to Japanese culture, having learned the language to communicate with a slime mold laboratory team whilst studying microbiology…. Mold aside, she was also excited to read poets Kobayashi Issa and Kenji Miyazawa in their native tongue alongside her favourite author Haruki Murakami.
After teaching English on the island of Awaji-shima, Hyogo and attending a language school in Yokohama, she misses her enthusiastic high school students, Japanese combini (supermarkets), inarizushi (sushi in fried tofu) and yaki-imo (roasted sweet potatoes - "the perfect hand-warmers").
If you have a sweet tooth, she's the one to make friends with, having worked as a sous and pastry chef she has a penchant for making croissants and cream puffs from scratch. Not just a foodie, she's also a crafty one who enjoys pottery in her spare time and once made her own lute whilst attending a workshop in the UK.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Quirky/off-the-beaten-path/foodie adventures across Japan, but especially in the Kansai, Shikoku, and Chugoku regions."
How did you get involved in travel?
"After teaching English in Japan with the JET program and studying Japanese at the IUC Yokohama, I was looking for a way to stay connected to the country I love. I was so lucky to find InsideJapan - a place where all the Japan nerds come to work, socialize and spread our passion for this unique part of the world."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"The first time I went to Japan was on a short study-abroad. I knew just about enough Japanese at that time to buy a soda at the convenience store and ask where the post office was, but everyone was so kind that I never had any worries.
One evening some students at Shimane University took us out to a little urban park. Lake Shinji stretched out beyond the horizon as we shared a can of beer between a dozen people in little paper cups and lit tiny, sparkler-type fireworks. These fireworks are more a test of patience than anything else; they go out instantly if you make the slightest movement. The image of a college girl wearing a yukata (kimono) squatting silently in the dusk, her whole body focused on the tiny pinprick light in her hand is unforgettable."