I LIVE IN JAPAN / Jeff Jensen / Professional Dreamer

SEPTEMBER 2022 (VOL.179)

Jeff Jensen

  • Home country/state /city:Banff, AB Canada
  • Occupation:Professional Dreamer
  • Duration of living in Japan:28 years
  • Why do you live in Japan?:That is a difficult question!  It still blows my mind when I think about it.  I live in Japan….  BOOM!

What do you do in Japan?

I am humbled and crazy proud of so many things I do and have done here in Japan.  I have accomplished these great things only because I am so lucky to be surrounded by many amazing people.  I am;

– Co-founder and vice-chair at NPO Mirai no Mori: You can check us out on https://fb.com/MiraiNoMori  we support youth living in care homes through outdoor and experiential learning.  

– Co-founder/COO at Nomadics Inc.: We are a kick-ass team of superstars (approaching 20 of us now) that help people to get outside and enjoy our beautiful earth.  We have retail spaces, run awesome events like OMM Japan and Re-generate, plus so much more :D.  We recently organized an event at the foot of Mt. Fuji: https://fb.com/regeneratejapan

I am a strong believer in the power of nature.  Between Mirai no Mori, Nomadics, and my love of the mountains I am ‘outside’ all the time.  If I’m not hanging off a rock or ice high up in the Japanese Alps, you’ll find me chilling in my (converted) bus by the campfire on some secluded riverside or beach.

I have a bunch of nutty dream projects in the works for 2022/23.  I’d love to share them with you, but I’m not really on social media (yet – besides FB anyway).  I plan to get going later this year.

What do you miss about Canada?

The people.  For me, it is always about the people.  I have great people here too.  I have 2 awesome kids, a life-partner in crime, everyone at Mirai no Mori and Nomadics, etc., but I miss my friends and family from back home.  

I also miss the mountains in my country, there are SOOOO many amazing mountain ranges in Canada.  Oh yeah! and I miss the PIZZA.  It is hard to find good pizza in Japan.

What do you appreciate most about Japanese culture?

When faced with difficulties, Japanese people support each other.  It is like nowhere else.  Their ‘respect’ for one another is an awesome thing.

Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?

NOOOO…  I cannot/will not answer this question.  My lips are sealed 🙂  

Seriously though: 

– Blooming sakura trees in spring – pick a spot, everywhere you go they are beautiful (booze not included).  

– Kumonodaira in the summer – a stunningly beautiful high alpine meadow in the Northern Alps (don’t forget your bear bell)

– Mt. Houkendake in the autumn (colors) – easy access by ropeway (highest in Japan) and a thrilling ‘knife-edge-ridge’ walk you’ll remember forever.  This area is beautiful even if you don’t climb the ridge (and remember: climb at your OWN risk… :D).  

– Niigata in the winter if you like the snow deep – REALLY DEEP!

Bonus recommendations – Anywhere in: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kansai, Shikoku, or Kyushu… ALL worth your time. (don’t forget Yakushima island)

What parts of Japanese culture do you recommend that foreign people try to experience?

Onsen (hot spring) is my #1 choice!  Try the old-school style with just the bath and a bucket like in the Nozawa Onsen area.  Takigyo – meditating under ice-cold waterfalls is my #2 choice.  You can cleanse your mind, body, and soul.  And you don’t want to miss the Hatsu-hinode – seeing the first sunrise of the new year.  Try welcoming the year with the first rays in the land of the rising sun.  This coming new year will be my 23rd in a row.

What is your favorite Japanese food?

Katsudon… real Japanese food for living a powerful life.

Would you like to continue to live in Japan for the rest of your life?

Japan is my home.  I do want to return to Canada, but probably just to visit (sorry Mom).  Maybe I’ll buy a cabin there one day to get away from the summer heat of Tokyo.  Or, maybe I’ll just go high up into the hills of Yamanashi instead….  see you there :D.