Hokkaido, Japan
from the foreign female perspective
Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

We got up quite early to catch breakfast at the hotel, which, much to my everlasting delight, included 焼きそば and omelet, two of my favorite Japanese foods. Even the yaki soba commercial where the spokesman is wearing a Michigan State T-shirt can’t dampen my love for the stuff, and I have been a fan of tamago sushi for as long as I’ve known of its existence. Of course Aaron unearthed more ketchup, which meant he stuck to fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and other home favorites.

We went back to the room so Aaron could sleep, and I think I read for a bit. We were interrupted when the cleaning lady knocked a little before 10, and I bundled Aaron out of bed before opening the door. I asked her to come back later, but after five minutes the futon man stopped by, asking if he could change our linens and put the futons back in the storage area. I gave up defending our turf at that point, telling Aaron it was time to get out and about anyways, so I let the futon man in and he went about his business. He then said the cleaning lady wanted to come in soon, and I told him it was fine. Aaron and I were busy packing up stuff to take on a little hike through 大雪山国立公園 to see the lovely snow and mountains, and were on our way out soon enough.

It was really cold outside. Really cold. But it was snowing big fluffy flakes that stuck to my eyelashes as I turned my face up to the sky, laughing, thinking of home. I hate to think that I might waste my time missing Michigan, but it was good to feel snow on my face and under my feet again.

We walked towards the ropeway that would supposedly take us up through the park, but the wind had picked up and visibility was sucking, so it was closed. Aaron and I decided to follow the highway towards 河の滝 (Ginga no Taki) and 流星の (Ryuusei no Taki), two of the most beautiful waterfalls anywhere. The sidewalks were inadequately paved, but according to our map the falls were practically right behind the hotel. After walking for only a few minutes, we found an old metal bridge that led into the woods.

Unfortunately, the bridge led to a path which led to some random hotel. No waterfalls. So we continued walking.

And walking.

And walking.

Pretty soon the stupids hit. I really had to use the bathroom, it was really cold, but there was no way I was turning back. Aaron discovered that the snow was exactly perfect for making snowballs, so we started scooping up handfuls of clean snow from the guardrail along the way and beaning road signs, trees, and each other. We found an awesome rock that had its own trees growing on it, and the whole sight entranced Aaron to the point that he exposed his camera to the increasingly heavy snow to get a picture.

I think we ended up walking about 2km in at least calf-deep snow (sometimes knee-deep) before reaching a sign that announced we were now in the Park. After nearly turning back several times out of hopelessness, we had made it! A few steps farther, and we found a sign displaying the names of the waterfalls. I peered eagerly past the sign, but couldn’t see more than twenty feet in front of me due to the formidable snowstorm that had sprung up around us. All that walking, and we couldn’t see a thing.

However, I’m glad we went. Even though the walk back consisted of being pelted by miniscule needles of pain digging into my cheeks and eyes, I still had a good time. But I was glad to see the hotel again, and visit the warm potty seat.

That long hike definitely called for a nap afterwards, and we barely woke up in time for dinner. It was delicious yet again, and again, I couldn’t eat everything. This time we were presented with a bowl of crab legs still in their shells, causing much frustration and quite a mess. I’ve never been in the habit of eating seafood at home, so I don’t have much experience prying things apart in any sort of dignified manner. We also had more なべ of slightly different ingredients, different 刺身 served on a platter with a cute little goblet containing a fancy dollop of わさび, and several other mysterious dishes. One was actually quite tasty, though I have no clue what it was. The only way to describe it is a crunchy, chewy tan-colored glob that crunched and cracked with unpleasant sounds when I took a spoon to it, and it had a tiny square of cucumber stuck in the top. The whole concoction was served in a little lidded cup and covered in some sort of clear, thick sauce, vaguely resembling an egg white. It had some sort of filling, though I can’t even begin to guess what it was.

We went to the gift shop afterwards, where I selfishly bought stuff for myself, and a little black and red maneki neko stuffed animal for Aaron. I couldn’t work up the courage to face the stares at the onsen again, so we spent the evening playing with a remote control Mario from N64’s Super Mario Kart that Aaron had bought.

And that concludes Day 5 of kaytay’s Hokkaido travels.

Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7