Loving life in Japan is easy
ALTHOUGH he is not turning Japanese, Grafton resident Jakes Hinds said he spent the year of his life in The Land of the Rising Sun.
"It was amazing, the best year of my life," Mr Hinds said.
Mr Hinds travelled to Japan as part of a Rotary Club exchange and based himself in Sazuka, Mie prefecture.
There he met two mayors, went to school, learnt to speak Japanese and met his girlfriend.
"I had to do two speeches in Japanese. The first one I did when I just arrived so it was a little dodgy," he said.
"But I did the second one 10 months later and smashed it."
Mr Hinds spent time with three different host families, the second of which owned a hotel so he lapped up life in a penthouse.
"I went to school all year. I learnt Japanese and did a lot of self study," he said.
"I eventually taught new foreign exchange students."
Now back in Grafton working at his parent's pizza shop, Australis Pizza, Mr Hind is saving money to return to Japan in October, to rendezvous with his girlfriend.
"I've been to Japan twice before," he said. "It was so amazing, the people the places, it was just the best."