Sunday, February 14, 2010


I just had an absolutely amazing weekend! Really, the only bad part was finding out that I somehow have acquired an extra 3 kilograms since September (blush).

Anyway, I was planning to go to the Wakkanai Winter Festival and really looking forward to some good times in the snow, music, and junk food (maybe this explains those extra 3 kg). Then, I received a very nice invitation to a high school concert on one of my islands. Well, I was quite conflicted and put off making a decision until the last minute. There were really strong pros and cons for both sides.

So, I decided to do what I usually do when I need advice - call Mom! She always has great advice and is a wonderful sounding board. Sometimes, at night here I can catch her before she leaves for work. But, home was having an unusual snowfall (!) and school was cancelled, so I didn't want to call and wake her up.

Hmmm...I really needed to make a decision, and I really wanted some advice. So, since Mom wasn't available, I decided to pray instead (do you think that perhaps this should have been my FIRST resort?? ;-).

Long story longer, I decided to go to Rishiri. I was looking forward to being there, but not really happy about the cons, most of which resulted from leaving my house at 5:45 on a Saturday morning and returning well after 7pm. I was also sad about missing the festival.

One call to my friend on Rishiri to confirm details wiped out the majority of the cons! The concert had been moved from early afternoon to late evening, which meant that I would take the 2nd ferry out (there are only two going in each direction at this time of year) and spend the night. I was very happy!

The next morning - Saturday - I was able to sleep as long as I wanted (I still woke up over an hour before my alarm clock went off, but it was definitely NOT 5 in the morning). I had a nice, easy morning (this was when I found about those extra kgs!). A little after noon, a local family of friends picked me up for the winter festival.

The festival was a lot of fun! I was able to spend about an hour there (which was plenty, as it was a COLD day - yikes). There were lots of cool snow sculptures, musical performances by a children's choir that some of my younger friends are in, grown-up friends, and plenty of nice, warm junk food. I did some definite editing of the junk food :-).

After the children's choir finished performing, I took off to catch my ferry. It turned out to be a lovely day for boating.

Once I arrived at the ferry terminal, I was picked up by a strange person (the story of my life) and discovered my ideal life! The family who took me in pre-concert operates a shop in town, and their home is in the back of the shop. The back of their house has a perfectly unhindered elevated view of the sea and one of the huge island rocks. It was a-a-a-a-a-m-m-m-m-m-ma-a-a-a-a-z-z-z-z-z-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-n-ng! And everyone in the family was so nice to me! It was a good internationalization experience!

After dinner at a noodle shop in Kutsugata, we headed to the concert. It was just lovely! Everyone did a great job! Afterwards, I went out with a lot of people for a party, which was also a ton of fun! I had a great time meeting a whole new group of people! I even got invited to join a chorus group...sadly, I had to tell them that I lived in Wakkanai and would probably not be able to make it to rehearsals (!). It was really sweet, though!

I had a nice night in the hotel and managed to eat breakfast in the morning before heading back to Wakkanai. This hotel serves HUGE breakfasts. HUGE is an understatement. It's more like
Hmmm...still an understatement. I will be eating breakfast there the day after tomorrow. I should probably fast in preparation, starting now. Nah, I still have school lunch in my forecast for tomorrow! And school lunches are pretty HUGE, too. And one has to inhale them in about 5 minutes flat. I'll still be arranging my meal artfully in anticipation of my first bite, and I'll look around and everyone is finished and either ready to clean up, or staring at me waiting for me to finish. :-)

Anyway, it turned out to be a lovely weekend!