16 August, 2013

Our Hokkaido Adventure Day 15

You can see our beleaguered tarp-annex here just before
we gave up on it on Sunday morning.
Sunday 7th July

Nishi Okoppe

On Sunday we had a slow start, which was good because we’d had a lot of gusty wind in the night that knocked our tarp-annex around. Three times between 3.30 and 5.30am David and I had had to go out and re-erect it.

A three-wheeler that we could use for a small fee at the
town park we were camped in. Lots of energy expended
on these for an hour or so.
At 11 we joined a very small group for church. It was held in someone’s home and centered on a live broadcast from a large church in Sapporo. Our family of five almost doubled the number attending. It was a good experience: to see a tiny bit of the isolation and challenges that Christians in rural areas face.

We all (apart from the one lady who’d joined in worship for the first time) went to the local hotel for lunch. I tried venison for the first time. My thoughts? It was a bit dry and would have been nicer with a bit more sauce or gravy. It also reminded me a little bit of liver.

After lunch our enthusiastic hostess showed us many things, including the local library, Japanese garden, complete with an authentic teahouse. 

The three wheelers were easier to ride than
I thought they would be. But I wouldn't like
to ride them on the road!
Then we saw Komu, the Museum of the Forest (wooden toy center), where our boys spent most of the afternoon. We too enjoyed this remarkable attraction. It was very interactive and a relaxing place to hang out. Also cool on a relatively hot day.

At 5pm we set out, with the family we came to visit, to a restaurant on the coast and then for an enjoyable bath at an onsen on the beach. The meal was fantastic and while bathing, we were able to watch the sun go down over the water. We got home quite a lot later than we wanted to.
Venison. A bit dry.
The only Christian man in the village. He is a large animal
vet and trained in the Japanese tea ceremony. Here
he was showing us an old authentic tea house. He explained
the various parts of it and their meanings. Fascinating!
Outside of the tea house.
The woodwork museum. The town has applied for this
wooden-ball "pool" to go in the Guiness Book of Records
as the largest of its kind in the world.
It was surprisingly comfortable to sit or lie in. This is David.
The museum was full of puzzles and toys. Here my
boys are trying to put the pieces back into the vertical
triangle puzzle on the wall. Even with a picture, it was hard.
More puzzles at the museum.
Indoor wooden playroom.
I didn't take any photos at the onsen. But the view of the sun setting over the ocean was pretty spectacular. There are a couple of photos at their website.

The town of Nishi Okoppe, nestled in a valley.
I've just done a little bit of research about this village: Nishi Okoppe. It has a population of about 1,190. The elementary school has less than 10 children. But the town has its own TV station which they use to broadcast local news to their citizens! Industry in the area includes a lot of dairying. Controlled logging also is a part of the local industry, and they're trying hard to bring in tourists. Nishi Okoppe also has a guitar factory!

It was fascinating to get a deeper glimpse into one of the small towns we drove through on our journey. We had a very friendly welcome, but a little overwhelming at times. These rural Japanese people are certainly great tourism promoters. They'd have had us stay in Hokkaido till the end of summer, with all the things they were recommending do and places they recommended we go!

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