22 June, 2013

Heading off on our Hokkaido Adventure

Tomorrow we head off on our Hokkaido Adventure.
By road it is about 1,450km from here to the top of Japan, the town of Wakkanai, where we
This is an approximate map of where we'll stay
over the next month (the bottom on being our
home, of course).
hope to be based for three nights. We're not driving the whole way, however. It isn't possible, to start with, there is no bridge between this island, Honshu, and Hokkaido. However, we're not even driving to the tip of Honshu, we're catching an overnight ferry from Sendai tomorrow night.

We'll spend the next four nights at a hotel with most of the OMFers in Japan at our triennial (that is, every three years) all Japan conference. About 130 adults and something like 50 kids.

After that we'll head off on our own camping journey. I'm planning to try to document our adventure here, but we'll most probably not have internet access very often so my plan is similar to our journey to central Australia last year. I'll write at the time and put the entries up later when we're home. We've had lots of people most interested in this adventure, so I hope this satisfies you all.

Many of you will know that we used to live in Hokkaido. When we first came to Japan in 2000, we lived in Sapporo, the capital city, for 3 2/3 years. During that time we studied Japanese and worked in a church planting team. We arrived with a toddler and had our second child in the university hospital there. We were stressed and exhausted most of the time, and now regret that we didn't have the energy to explore this beautiful island. 

It is less mountainous and more spacious than Honshu, so a little closer to Australia in terms of geography, but not in climate. They have severe, long winters and lots of snow. Their summer is short and not very hot (though they've been known to have a few hot days, as in over 30 degree days, in August).

Where we're going is pretty remote, a bit like central Australia but very different! No desserts.The distances are far less. And this time we're tenting, not motor homing. So we'll have to work a bit harder, but hopefully it will be more relaxing because we won't have the all-day drives that we had last year. We'll be camping in seven different spots, doubling the number of campouts we've done in our two-year camping career. It isn't all camping, we'll also stay with a missionary in a small town for two nights, and on the way back stay at an OMF cabin on the beach in Sendai. All that plus two overnight ferries. 

It's going to be quite an adventure. I can't wait!

Below I've posted some photos from our years in Hokkaido for your enjoyment.

Takino Park. We loved this large park and are going to be
camping next to it next weekend.

Takino Park. 
Bouncy hills at Takino Park with two boys who were much younger back then.
Another part of the same park. This was June and I went on a picnic with some ladies from church. The temperature was about 14 degrees in the middle of the day. Brrrr.

I think this was our farewell at the church we work in for about 16 months. We'll be visiting them next weekend. I wonder how many people we'll remember?
This was a memorable drive along the western coast of Hokkaido with my parents. That day the ocean was so calm and the drive was breathtaking, lots of tunnels and lots where the road was the only thing between the mountains and the sea.

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