Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31

Six years ago today, I left on a grand adventure. 
I'm happy to report that the grand adventure turned into a grand old life. 
Wonderful, messy, beautiful - check!
But I love it and can't wait to see what happens next!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rural Day

Today was a day.

What a day.

It started off with a lovely breakfast. About 8:30, I headed out on a walking adventure.


Um, maybe I shouldn’t be here. Let’s try somewhere else, shall we?

Good morning, weeds! Good morning, trees! Good morning, hills!


Yesterday, I saw a sign for a parking area. I was on a hunt for a vending machine this morning, so I headed off down the highway. A patrol car passed me twice – the first time, it slowed down. Don’t worry, fellas. This random foreigner strolling down the highway in a dress really isn’t lost.


As a matter of fact, here’s a cheery morning selfie! Yay, morning!


Unfortunately, the parking area had no vending machine. It did, however, have a big map.


And some benches in the sun.


I actually sat there for a while and read and wrote. I didn’t really have anywhere better to be. It was pretty hot, though.

On the way back to the hostel, I saw these lovelies.


When I got back to the hostel, it was closed.

Now what?

I sat outside and read for a long time, and then decided to take a bus to Wassamu. There aren’t many buses and trains out this way, so timing is pretty critical.

Wilting at the bus stop. Why did I think standing here for 20 minutes was a good idea?


It is a pretty place, though!


When the bus arrived, I stepped on and felt a cool rush of air. Oh, hurray!! Air conditioning! I love you, bus. I never want to leave.

I did leave. Obviously, since most buses don’t have wifi.

I walked around Wassamu a little, but I quickly realized that I had no idea where to go in this tiny town. So, I bought drinks and apple sherbet at the convenience store and curled up in the station to chill out. Well, the station wasn’t air conditioned, so not much chilling was done.

I decided to take a train back to Shiokari from Wassamu. Although the bus was lovely, the train was actually quite a bit cheaper. And, trains are fun. I caught the next local, and sat down. My seat partner had the shade pulled down, so I couldn’t see out very well.

After we’d been on the train an awfully long time for such a short ride, realization began to set in.

Wrong train!


I got off when the train finally stopped in Pippu. I’d never been there before, but I’ve always thought it had a cute name.

Bye, train. Don’t worry about me.


Well, now what?

I looked around Pippu and saw some lovely houses and not much else. Maybe Pippu is famous for strawberries? I have friends who like skiing there.


Eventually, I came across a lovely little park with a fountain and shaded benches. Yay! I settled in there and got down to some serious reading.

The park was pretty quiet until three boys who looked like upper elementary students rode in on their bikes with waterguns. The first one greeted me very politely in Japanese before riding on. The three of them seemed to be having a grand old time playing and attacking each other with water. But then they slowly started to drift towards me. One little turkey rode his bike behind my bench.

Hey, I’m not a human shield here!

I think they might have wanted to talk, because as they were playing, I heard one yell to his buddy, “You are apple, Yamada-kun?”

“No, I’m not! Are you apple?”

“No, I’m not! You are apple, right?”

It was pretty hilarious. I would have hung around the park longer to find out if Yamada was an apple, but my train – the correct train – was coming. As I got close to the station, it pulled in. I ran the rest of the way and leapt aboard.

I leapt aboard the train headed straight back to Wassamu.


This time, I sat by an open window and watched as my hostel came into view and went out of view.

Here we are, back at Wassamu Station.


I decided to give up on the train business and go back to the old faithful bus. But, I had only 2 minutes to make the switch. I ran across the street to the bus station and leapt aboard (maybe the reason I’m tired is all this leaping).


Oh, sweet bus, why did I leave you?



When I got back, the hostel was open. I took a little break, made my dinner, and headed out to sit by the tracks. Very relaxing!


Hi, you big turkey! Guess I’ll just stick to watching you for a while.


End-of-the-day tired and salty selfie! It really is quite pretty out here!


But it got too dark outside to see, so now I’m at the slightly frail desk in my hostel room. I’m starting to think I’m the only one here tonight.


Tomorrow, I’ll hang around somewhere and head to Nayoro for the next stage in this journey!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Orange Bus

Ok everybody, get on!
I didn't want to get on this morning. 
Yes, I know that face is ridiculous!

Bye, friend!
Once we got underway, I felt a little better. I read and looked at the scenery. 
And took some selfies. Well, why not?
When we arrived in Asahikawa, I headed to the convenience store. I'm currently staying in the middle of nowhere, and I needed some food. 

Tonight's dinner (I haven't found a way to cook anything):
Pretty pathetic!

Anyway, after an hour long local train ride, I arrived at my home for the next 2 nights. It's always a bit thrilling when the train leaves you in a deserted area. 

Anyway, the place where I'm staying is quite close to where the train dropped me off. 
And, it's introvert heaven. Plenty of places for solitude, but people around enough so you don't feel lonely. 

I think the next few days will be a lovely time to just relax and be alone with my thoughts. I'm considering a Facebook ban. Maybe I will! I'll be here and on email and Line, though. I don't waste as much time there as I do on Facebook. 

If you need me, I'll be here:

Last day in Kushiro

Tomorrow I will leave Kushiro and ride a bus for 6 hours. One thing I didn't think about while planning the vacation was that every meeting has a goodbye stuck to it. 

You'd think I'd be a goodbye master by now!

Sad fox also hates goodbyes!
Today was lots of fun, even as the last day. We drove to see a beautiful lake. Unfortunately, the clouds were hanging a little low. Here I am at an observation point. 
Wait, what are we observing here?

The clouds made for some nice shots. 
We also went to a wild area - there is some natural hot water underground. That is a huge understatement. It pops up into scalding springs and steam vents. It turns things yellow and the stench of sulphur is a force to be reckoned with. These are not clouds!
It was kind of frightening and cool to feel warm rocks under your shoes. Hope a new vent doesn't form!
Hokkaido or the moon? I'm not sure! Here's my brave friend!
We also bought matching watches there (my gorgeous watch from before is in need of repair). 
We also had one more ice cream. I ha peach soft serve with collagen. Don't ask. Tomoko had soba flavor (buckwheat noodle). 
We also went to a place where you could put your feet in hot water. It was super hot!
I'm going to miss my friend and her husband and east Hokkaido! Stay tuned for the next stage!