John & Hiromi's Virtual Vacation to Hokkaido
Day 9th - September 4th, 2001
Day 8 Day 10

we currently have around 75 pictures up. IF YOU ARE not seeing them, YOU CAN BYPASS THE RISING SUN SCHOOL PAGE AND GO HERE:
THIS WILL TAKE YOU TO A PAGES WITH SEVERAL BUTTONS. THE TOP BUTTON SAYS, "HERE". Click on it. this will take you to the pictures. THE RISING SUN SCHOOL PAGES HAS LOTS OF OTHER INTERESTING FEATURES, BUT WE want to get you to the hokkaido virtual vacation pictures.

At Lake Akan onsen

Wake up! If it's Brussels, this must be Tuesday! It ain't Brussels, but it was Tuesday! Don't get it? Big Deal, who cares? We have entered into vacation syndrome, where having tooooo much fun addles the brain. Actually, Hiromi is still all right, and I started out this way!
Ken E., from Washington D.C., says that everything is my fault because we forgot to include an "English for Dummies" button on the website. What a great idea. I must mention that to Hiromi. Hiromi is both the brains and the looks of this outfit. I provide bulk.
Headed back home to Fujisawa, but the vacation is far from over. After a rousing good breakfast (see below!), we started out this morning visiting the Ainu village at Akanko. Ainu are indigenous to Hokkaido, and are really caucasian, rather than oriental. The problem is, they all carve wood objects for a living, and they all carve the same stuff. If I never see any more Ainu carvings, I can still have a full life. It really reminds me of Eureka Springs, home of Billy and Sharon S. Great place, but scads of stores all selling the same souvenirs, at outrageous prices. One of the Ainu wanted 100 yen to take a picture of his stuffed bear. Take that scenario and make up your own punch line. The best one that can still be printed will get an honorable mention.

Ainu Village for sightseeing

Traditional Ainu Garb

Actual Ainu individual

Lake Akan sightseeing boat. Volcano in background
On the way to Furano
We pressed on. We went through Karikachi Pass, and it was spectacular. I am quickly running out of adjectives. See the pix. We looked for bears, but saw none. Tomorrow is our last day for bear sightings. We HAVE seen canned bear meat, seal meat, and deer meat, but you're not impressed, because you still cannot believe octopus! Gam P. asked me how we cook it. Oh, any old way is fine, because ANY WAY YOU COOK IT, IT IS STILL OCTOPUS!!!! I saw a GIANT one today, with HUGE suckers all over it! And, heaven help me, I got hungry! It really is like eating a tire, but it grows on you. Don't get me started about squid! This morning, at breakfast, I ate a whole dried fish, probably eight inches long, eyes and all. And it wasn't bad. I think I've made the transition to living in Japan, but I still have memories of reality!
Kathy Hartman's family had three birthdays in the last few days: DeZion's birthday is the 2nd, and Kathy and Destinee's is the third. By permission, here is their e-mail address:
Everyone should send them a birthday greeting! Any others? Make yourself known.

Truck full of carrots

Sightseeing Bus with stewardess at Karikachi pass

Fox pelts

Sorachi river

At Furano City,at the center of Hokkaido

We arrived in Furano at about four pm, and chose this town because Hiromi has an old friend here. We met him at the city office where he is a bigwig. He fixed us up at a swell onsen-hotel,and we are getting rested up for the final day in Hokkaido tomorrow. We have to board another ferry and go back to the main island of Honshu. Tomorrow night we should be on the ferry.
But the vacation is far from over, because we still have to make it to Kuji, where we will try to find amber on the beach. This grandiose idea came from my brother-in-law, Andrew Iatridis, who is an expert on the subject of amber. We also have talked some with Susan A. a professor at the University of Kansas, who specializes in amber. Her last words to us were something like this: "If you find any amber on the beach, I would certainly like to know about it!" If that is not encouraging, what is?

Ainu bear with salmon at city office

Hiromi with classmate, Kawasaki-san
Welcome to Furano
Lavender field after harvest
Good-size Spider
So, tomorrow will be a new day. Will John and Hiromi make it to the Ferry back to Honshu? Will they actually find any amber on the beaches of Kuji? Is there a Balm in Gilead? (YES!) Will John and Hiromi spot any Hokkaido bears? Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of John & Hiromi's Veirtual Vacation to Hokkaido!

Love, John and Hiromi 
PS: Thanks for the e-mails, we appreciate each and every one of them. And we will try to answer them all! 



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