Thursday, May 06, 2004

Howdy folks. This last week has been what the Japanese call Golden Week. There were three national holidays in a row (Mon, Tues, Weds), as well as one on the Thursday of last week, so it has felt a bit like holiday season over the last few days. I went up to Shimokita with Aki and a few others for a spot of camping, which was pretty good. On the Sunday we set of early and got to Yagen Valley by about 4 in the afternoon. The weather was really good and we had a barbie and sat around drinking with these Japanese biker guys until late. I drank a bit too much and echoes of Niseko rang through my ears that night.

The next day was overcast, but we all got up and went off to see the sulphur lake behind Osorezan. It was pretty cool and there were all these steaming geysers and things. After that we went to Mutsu city to get some more beer and food in before jetting down to Wakinosawa to see Shimokita's famous monkeys. They weren't there, of course, so we went back to the camp site for food and beer. On the way back we were met by fog on the haunted mountainside of Osorezan, which made everything seem really spooky. Aki got scared and started to cry. Ha, ha, ha, what a wuss! There were lots of bats and frogs about as well, so Aki was really pleased when we got back to the camp site. Another casual night was spent with a camp fire and Yaki niku/soba cooking on the bbq.

The next day I went off to do some exploring on my own. I drove my car down the road towards Sai village, which soon turned into a dirt track, and found lots of small dirt trails leading off to each side of the road. I went down a couple of them and nearly ruined my motor, but it was fun all the same because the scenery turned into a jungle and there were lilly pads floating on ponds to the side of the road. I was really deep into the Japanese countryside, which is where I wanted to be. I did fail in finding either a bear or a monkey though.

Next I drove back to the onsen near our camp site and dumped my car at the side of the road. I found a narrow walkway back to the camp site and walked back expecting to find either Gavin or Alex to give me a lift back to my car. They had already gone to the onsen though, so Aki and I walked back down the same track (about 2 miles) to get my car. The track was cool because you could see naked people in the onsen on the other side of the road. The only bummer was that I forgot my glasses (I left them in my car!!) so I couldn't see if they were men or women. Gavin, Mark, Alex and Junayd went off to drive around the Axe of Shimokita (Shimokita is axe shaped) and Aki and I went back to Tsugaru after curry rice and ramen. One more thing I should mention is that Aki cried yet again on the walk back to get the car. We had to walk through this dark tunnel and she started whining, and when I walked off quickly in front of her she burst into tears. What a cry baby!! "I'm scared of the dark" she said. It was really cute.

I'm back at work and I'm currently finalising my insurance payment documents. I'm going to post them off on the way home.