23 August, 2013

Our Hokkaido Adventure Days 19 & 20

Friday 12th July
About 260 km. It was a pretty journey, as almost
all the journeys around Hokkaido were.
Odaito to Naka Satsunai via Kushiro

During the night we were surprised to find a fog had rolled in and everything got wet again, even those things under the annex. Thankfully we had sun later and were able to dry everything off before we packed up once more to move on.

Here ended our 14 days straight under canvas. The longest any of us have ever done that. I have to say I was a little regretful, I could have continued another week at least! I’ve found camping addicting!

We're always on the look-out for good parks. We found
some good ones on these two days.
We drove via Kushiro, quite a large city with 180,000 people. We stopped at a large park there for a leisurely lunch, play, and another chapter of The Hobbit (we’re getting near the end of the book now). It was chilly, even in the midday sun. We Tokyo-ites felt it, anyway. There were many children in the park enjoying their 'nice warm weather.' Many were playing in the artificial stream and the younger ones were very often running around in their wet underwear (in the absence of swimmers, I presume). I shivered inside as I watched them. I forget what the temperature was, but today as I type, Kushiro is 22℃ while we in western Tokyo sit at just over 30℃. Yes, it's generally cooler in Hokkaido!

This day's adventure took us through mountains and
then out onto the Tokachi Plain. This plain is like a
"bread basket". It provides food for about 3.5 million
people but only 350,000 live there.
This English-language website boasts of the enormity
of the plain. In reality it is only 10,000km² which is not
quite twice the size of Brisbane or about 2,000km²
less than the area of Sydney. It does, however, look
much more like Australia than most parts of Japan.
The wide open spaces filled with agriculture was a
wonderful sight for these Aussies.

After lunch we headed on to the village of Nakasatsunai (south of Obihiro),  about 4,000 people, where an OMF missionary is working. She is on her own there in a five-bedroom house. She welcomed us into her house for a couple of nights.

Playing games in "Aunty" Connie's living room.
She is a lover of games: board games, card games, dice games. And she has a large collection (though many had instructions in German, her native language). Our boys got into playing her games and then for dinner we walked a couple of blocks to a locally famous chicken restaurant. There we feasted on chicken baked over coals. Yum!

Our missionary friend had an English class from 7.30, so David joined them while I tried to put the boys to bed in a room. They were a bit skittish. We’ve been used to just going to bed all at the same time, with me reading The Hobbit to them. They didn’t settle easily when we changed the routine, but still I managed to get downstairs for the last few minutes of the English lesson and stay for the Japanese conversation time until 10pm. Needless to say it didn’t take me long to get to sleep after I went to bed.

Saturday 13th July

We gave ourselves over to being tourists again. Together with our hostess we played Park Golf at a beautiful nearby course and the boys enjoyed a large obstacle course there too.

Then she took us to a famous farm where they make cheese and caramel (and we watched this for a short while). We enjoyed some animals and watched a live show with the animals. The boys got to try milking a very patient jersey cow and I participated in a butter making competition (shaking a jar of milk for about a minute). We enjoyed cheesy pizzas and a fondue for lunch. After the show our afternoon tea was ice cream with caramel sauce. Mmmmm.
Enjoying park golf in a very green park. This town is
very close to the place where Park Golf was invented.

The area we were in has more cows than people, but evidently lots of chickens too! It was a little hard to remember that we were still in Japan. The paddocks are wide and flat and only when it is quite clear could you see the distant mountains that lie between us and Sapporo in the west (see the information under the photo above).

Later afternoon we returned with our colleague to her home and chilled out again with games (and me typing up our experiences).

The cheese factory.

Big horse. Little horse. We sat in some welcome shade
and watched a live presentation by the gentleman on
the big horse. Before the show we spent some time
giving the poor animals some fresh grass. It was odd,
the animals were in grassless pens, yet there were
large patches of grass nearby that needed mowing. Our
boys enjoyed feeding the animals with this free food.

More wide fields. Quite unusual in Japan.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Did you play Settlers of Catan? Awesome German game!