Day 7

Day 8, Sunday: Aug. 29, 2004

Day 9

We drove down to the small church on Sunday morning…in the town of Mombetsu…Six ladies and two very bored children. But it was very warm and friendly. This church is pretty much it for miles around. The voice of God is heard very small in this part of the world. Buddhism and Shintoism are all over the place, as are the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Can you imagine what your life would be like if the only real church around was a three hour drive away? Mombetsu, Engaru, Kamiyubetsu, Shibetsu are some of the unusual town names we encountered. Most derive from the Ainu people’s language. Ainus are Caucasian, and yet indigenous to Japan’s North Island (Hokkaido) as well as Sakhalin Island, Russia. They are a dying breed, and there may be none of them left already, but I have heard that there were as many as 200 left. Save the whales. If you want more information about the Ainu, here is a pretty good web-page:
After the church, we drove along the Sea of Okhotsk to the town of Kamiyubetsu, and found a campground. The campground was practically empty and very wild. There was an old train car available for free use of motorcyclists who needed some sleep, but we went first class this time and found a bungalow. It had electricity and lights! We met Seiji-san and his son Kazuhiro at the onsen in the town of Kamiyubetsu. He has been corresponding with us since we got home, and we have hopes of meeting him and his son again on our next trip. For English-speaking Japanese in that area, it is a real treat, I guess, to speak to an American. And a treat for me as well, because the language barrier is like a prison in some ways…it is so nice to converse with someone once in a while. I am so happy that Hiromi is so fluent in English

Click on each picture to see enlarged one

Church in Monbetsu Recycle stop owner in Engaru
Gambo Iwa

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