|Trip 6th day
Nemuro - Kushiro - Ikeda - Obihiro(Yellow line)
John woke up at 3:30AM. He was wandering around when I wake up. We drank coffee and started the day around 4:30AM. We wanted to go to the other side of peninsula and drive along south coast to go to Kushiro. Nemuro Peninsula is interesting. The North side is facing to the Okhotsk, and the South side is facing to the Pacific Ocean.
Kushiro is the largest city in Eastern Hokkaido. We decided to have breakfast there.
It was early, and it was a rural place. We did not have almost any traffic. After driving about 10 minutes, A deer came out from the right side bushes and across the street just in front of our car. I stopped the car. Then a child deer followed the mother. Two deer! I started the car thinking deers were gone, but when we passed they were still staying a little opening in the road side bush. So I stopped again and backed up to see them one more time. But by that time, they were gone. Soon after I said to John "They were gone", our car started to shake. At first I thought the car went very wrong, but soon thought "maybe because of strong wind." Then John said "Jishin!" Yes! That was an Earthquake! It was big. It was like an amusement park ride.
|It lasted may be 20 or 30 seconds. Then we started to drive again. We knew that it was not small, but did not know how big. Before we reached the other side of the Peninsula, we saw totally six deer. It was rainy and still not really light.|
|Calm road after the Earthquake|
|After we started to drive coast line, we saw many people at a observation point. They were looking down something. We were curious, so we stopped and went out to find out what people were watching. We did not see anything unusual. Then I hard somebody's radio talking about the Earthquake and Tsunami. The earthquake we felt must be really big.|
|Waiting for Tsunami|
|Tsunami does not happen often. Earthquake followed by Tsunami is usually pretty big. Then we started to
see street damage here and there.
Later we found out that it was the biggest earthquake in the world in more than 10years.
We wanted to drive as far as possible before Police showed up and close streets.
|Earthquake damage||We arrived Kushiro. We parked our car near the railroad station and tried to find McDonald's. We saw some damages there too. There was already 2nd big earthquake hit the southern Hokkaido where we planned to go through. It was amazing that people U.S. already knew those disaster before we arrived Kushiro. We found out when we checked our emails at a phone company office in Kushiro.|
|Damaged sidewalk at Kushiro|
|Thank you for your prayers.
We bought gas and STP for the car before we left Kushiro. John thought it might solve the problem.
Our plan was going through Obihiro and reaching to Hidaka area which is not far from Tomakomai where we originally planned to take ferry to go back to Niigata.
|Lots of four leaves|
|But the road was closed here and there. We had to detour and took much extra time to reach Obihiro. It was already the evening. John thought we should change out plan. We also heard the news about an oil tank was on fire at Tomakomai where we were going to take ferry.|
|Traffic caused by the earthquake||We already got ferry tickets, but they told me that we can change our schedule one time for free. I called the ferry office to change our plan. Instead of Saturday evening, Our new plan was to leave from Otaru at 10AM on Sunday. We got two more nights in Hokkaido. Now we do not need to hurry up so much. We decided to stay at inexpensive hotel around this area. At Obihiro Station, there was a City information booth. This kind city officer helped us|
|Obihiro City officer
|to find a good onsen(Hot Springs) hotel near this area. We are sorry that we did not ask his name. If anybody know him, please send him our thanks because the Onsen he recommended was a good place. We enjoyed the onsen and thanked God for the blessing of sleeping on the Tatami mat floor instead of inside the small car.|