John & Hiromi's Virtual Vacation to
Hokkaido
Day 3 - August 29th, 2001
Day 2 Day 4


Drive Kiryu to Niigata
OK, some minor glitches: We drove in a blinding rainstorm through the mountains of Gunma ken, to the Japan Sea side to the town of Niigata. 

Niigata City
Right now we are sitting in the waiting room, waiting for the ferry to take us to Otaru. The ferry leaves at 10:30am. We have been driving all night, and are ready for a nice little nap when we get on board.We found that the cord we bought to be able to power the computer in the car doesn't EVEN work, and that has slowed down the pictures until we can get to a place where Hiromi can set up and work. We also have had two people tell us that they are having some problems receiving the pix. Please let us know if you CAN receive them, or if you CANNOT.  

Ferry Shirakaba

Happy again
  By the time you wake up tomorrow morning, you should begin to see some pictures.Quite a few new folks have come in at the last minute, and we have added two new countries: Iceland and Germany! We had originally thought maybe 20-30 people would be interested in going with us, but now there are more than 200! And I believe eleven different countries are represented now.   We are excited about getting some shut-eye and our upcoming cruise to Otaru, on the island of Hokkaido. The ferry looks very modern, and I understand there is an ofuro (public bath) on board, so we are looking forward to that! Check us out tomorrow morning when you wake up. If you are in Germany or Iceland, DO THE MATH! By the way, Iceland is a place that we all ought to see! What an interesting country. Much like Japan, it is a land of shake, rattle, and roll, as well as volcanoes and hot springs. More tomorrow! Love, John and Hiromi
 PS: The baby parakeet is with us on the trip, but we still haven't named him. he is mostly yellow, and a little green. Still looking for the right name. We've had quite a few suggestions, but I think "Yum-Yum Eat-em-up Pterodactyl Attack Parakeet of Fear" may be a little heavy for such a cute little fellow.The main thing is that Hiromi is happy again!

Ferry from Niigata to Otaru
Day 3 - PM (YOU MAY GET A BIG SURPRISE!)
Greetings from the Ferry Shirakaba! NOTE: You may get a BIG surprise! EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T SENT US A PICTURE, WE MAY POST AN OLD ONE OF YOU IF WE HAVE ONE, and we have a bunch!! Go to the passenger list and check to see if you are there. We have others that we're going to post! I had a three hour nap, the kind us older folks dream about. You know you're getting older when you plan a nap days in advance, and then execute the plan!  I've also been twice(!) to the ofuro, the Japanese public bath on board the ferry. This one is nice, but the water was a little too hot to suit me. I think the Japanese men in the bath liked having me there, because I made the water so much deeper for them!   All day the Ferry Shirakaba has plowed through the water Northbound to our destination of Otaru. You could occasionally see the coastline, but at such a distance not much was distinguishable.  The weather is misty, but looks like most of the heavy stuff is behind us.   The cell phone with which we connect to the internet, is at the outer limits of its range, and so, much of the time it has been "out-of-business". We are believing that we'll be able to get a connection long enough to put up some pictures, so if you are receiving this, go to the web-site and take a look.  http://zingchurch.com  

Just ahead ....
the Sea of Japan
John at the Laptop

Here's some stuff you may find interestingand helpful for the trip:

Hokkaido West:http://www.jnto.go.jp/mapindex/E/01hokkaido-2.htmlHokkaido East:http://www.jnto.go.jp/mapindex/E/01hokkaido-3.htmlBeautiful Hokkaido Pix:http://www.daisetsuzan.or.jp/e-shashin.html  More, tomorrow! We must arise at about 3:45am, docking at 4:30am. Back to bed!   Love, John and Hiromi Stemmons, aboard the Ferry Shirakaba, somewhere on the Sea of Japan


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