John & Hiromi's Virtual Vacation to
Day 4 - August 30th, 2001
Day 3 Day 5

Arrived at Otaru
Hey, Everyone!!  What an incredible day!   We started off at 3 AM, when we woke to prepare to dock at Otaru.  We could have slept a little longer, but the excitement was too much. Also, Hiromi has been working hard to put up the pictures (and to put up with me!).  So she went to bed later, and got up earlier! Finally, we drove the stinking little Subaru off the ferry into the streets of Otaru, Hokkaido! Why do I say, "stinking"?  Well, Hiromi, being the frugal one, decided to save a liter of milk by carrying it in the back seat of the car. During a quick stop in traffic, the milk spilled all over the back floorboard. Needless to say, by day 4, the milk is no longer at its peak of perfection! Be glad this is a virtual vacation for you! We bought some spray, and cleaned it the best we could, but it is rank!!   Undaunted by the stench, we pressed forward into Otaru, and found the home of Yoko, Hiromi's sister. Her husband, my brother-in-law, Shoichi, was waiting for us on the main street, along with Kota, the family dog, and guided us into the driveway, where we were warmly greeted by Yoko. Yoko is effusive, ebullient, and effervescent! After a breakfast of smoked salmon and do-nuts, I took a much-needed shower and prepared for the day's excitement. We piled into Yoko's Mitsubishi, a comfortable four-seater, and headed out for some sight-seeing. You're going to love the pictures, today!  

Otaru City
Ready to get off

Droved around Shakotan Peninsul
about 40miles north-east of Sapporo

We drove across the north coast of the Sapporo-Otaru-Yoichi area, and saw stunning scenery. The coastline is fraught with splendid cliffs and rock formations that are really breath-taking.  We stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant, where Yoko treated us to lunch. I had curry-rice, because this lunch was for Hiromi, she had one of her all-time favorites, "uni". Uni is some kind of sea-urchin, and the taste is for a more discriminating palate than mine! But, we topped off the meal with some Hokkaido ice cream, which may be the best in the whole world! While enjoying the ice cream, we spotted a rarity in the parkking lot, a Hokkaido fox.  I got some great pictures, up really close, but we were warned not to touch as they are wild animals and could be dangerous. Hokkaido foxes are considered to be lucky. Luck is a big deal in Japan. Yoko told us a philosophy at lunch: "if one good thing happens, you may expect two bad things to follow". Hiromi and I informed her that that policy did not apply to Christians! We are used to our God turning any cursing into blessing!   As we left the restaurant, Yoko stopped the car so that I could check out a snake in the road. We believe it was a "mamushi" reportedly very poisonous. This one, however, had fulfilled his destiny in life and had "checked out", with the help of a passing car.  Services will be held without us, if ever.

First stop at Shakotan Peninsula,
Yoko & Hiromi

Hokkaido Splendor

Coastline, one of the most beautiful 100views in Japan

John attacks a crow at the beautiful coast

Have you ever seen drying fish & octopus ?

A little Hokkaido fox
Strange rock formations
Beautiful northern shore coastline
We stopped at a roadside fruit stand, and got some Hokkaido grapes, among the finest anywhere. Huge and luscious, they are expensive, as is all the other fruit in Japan. I have seen cantelopes as high as 7,500 yen, about $60.00 (each!). I know they go even higher. Cheap ones may be had for as little as 1,000 yen or so.  I think they are 2 for $3.00 at Wal-Mart, which BTW, (by the way), is coming to Japan in early 2002. Because of the early rising, I napped a lot on this trip, but still got some great pix. Wish you could see them all, but we'll pick out the best of the best for you.  We stopped at the "Everything's 100 yen" store in Otaru on the way back, where we saw many Russians, some of which smelled a lot like our car. At least one of them was friendly and stuck out his hand to be shaken, which I did. I then checked for my watch, which was thankfully still on my wrist. These very large men are mostly from Vladivostok, just across the Sea of Japan, and, although many of them are undoubtedly nice, some have sullied their general reputation with bad behavior, and they are not well-regarded in Hokkaido. Pity, that!  

 Back at the house,we feasted on all kinds of sushi, and yaki tako, grilled octopus. It tastes better than liver, but like liver just gets bigger and bigger the longer you chew it. Kind of like eating a tire, I imagine. During the meal, we were visited by shy little Haruko-Chan and her brother and Oba-san (grandmother). I had met them a year  ago, and she was just as shy now as she was then. Her brother is very interested in soccer. And then to bed!!
When e-mailing us, please hit "reply" and then delete the old message. Just for this trip, and because we are using a battery operated wireless phone to download, and we don't want to run out of "go-go juice".  We hope you will favor us with some feedback, but no demands are being placed, we are your tour-guides for this trip and want you to be comfortable! If you do e-mail us, we will try to answer every one. And PLEASE,sign the guest book!  We think most of the "kinks" have been worked out, but if you are experiencing any difficulties, let us know. Be sure to give the pictures ample time to load.  We still don't have a name for our new little yellow parakeet, so keep trying to help us think up a good name.  We've had about twenty suggestions so far, but none of them fit.
Love, John and Hiromi - Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan  O-yasumi nasai! (Good night!)

Go to previous page

Go to next page

Go back to Virtual vacation main page