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I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who moved to Japan and stayed for exactly two years. Most of the study and work opportunities that initially bring people here are 12-month programs, and while plenty of people decide that’s enough Japan for them, most people who manage to adapt and thrive during that first year reup for an even longer stay.

One such example is Canadian Thomas Simmons, who’s now been in Japan for four and a half years and counting. Given the country’s relatively small geographic size, you might think that’s enough time to see everything, but as the powerful video Simmons created about his experiences so far shows, he’s just getting started with his life in Japan.

While Simmons’ brief profile explains that he currently lives in Japan, it’s hard to pin down which city, or even prefecture, he’s based in. That’s because his video, titled Welcome to My Japan, features breathtaking scenery and awesome events from across the nation.

As cool as Tokyo, Kyoto, and the rest of Japan’s major cities are, Simmons turns his camera instead towards less urban parts of the country. For example, Iwakuni’s Kintai Bridge, which was once for the exclusive use of the samurai class, is amazing to look at, whether or not you’re dressed for a kimono fashion shoot next to the Nishiki River.

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Likewise, we think we could spend the whole day admiring the view of the thatched roof farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, one of our favorite spots in Japan.

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On the other hand, Simmons is also up for enjoying the natural beauty of Japan in more active ways, as his trips to snowboard its mountains and shoot the rapids of its rivers prove.

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The video also features plenty of dancing, running the gamut from clubbing, school group performances, and Tokushima Prefecture’s Awa Odori, which has been performed for over 600 years.

▼ If it aint broke, why fix it?

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There’s visual art to go with the performing ones, too. During the video’s runtime, we get glimpses of Inakadate’s gigantic mosaics made out of rice paddies, plus the gigantic illuminated floats that are paraded around cities in Aomori Prefecture as part of the Nebuta Matsuri.

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Of less historical significance, but no less importance as evidence that Japan is awesome, we also get quick visual reminders that Japan is the home of sushi, sake, karaoke, and the best-selling roadster of all time.

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So far, this is Simmons’ only publicly available video love letter to Japan, although you can check out more of his still photography here. Still, we think he’s done an excellent job in its roughly four minutes of answering the self-imposed question of why he’s stayed in Japan for four and a half years, and we’re looking forward to what he has to show us if and when he hits the nine-year mark.

Related: Thomas Simmons Ink 361 photography page
Source: Kotaro 269
Images: YouTube