Japan · 85 Days · 116 Moments · September 2016

Aris' trip to Japan

4 December 2016

Waiting to board for Hong Kong at the Okinawa Airport

3 December 2016

2 December 2016

Dec 2 Okinawa 斉場御獄

28 November 2016

27 Nov Off to Okinawa. Embarking on a 25-hour voyage. Unfortunately, no starry night.

26 November 2016

Sakura shima

24 November 2016

24-27 Nov Our apartment in Kagoshima
The Orange line from 八代to 內川. On the route to Kagoshima.

23 November 2016

23 Nov 點解D水咁淸嘅 A little stroll in the Suizenli Jojuen Park 水前寺成趣園on the Labour Thanksgiving Day.
23 Nov near the Kumamoto castle A group of tree more than a thousand years old
23 Nov Kumamoto castle damaged by the April earthquake

22 November 2016

22 Nov Around Mount Aso
23 Nov Mount Aso is fully steaming up. We can only see it from the distance.

20 November 2016

21 Nov Kumamoto Kumamon everywhere

19 November 2016

19 Nov (Sat). Yudaonsen, Yamahuchi While Geoff and I were waiting for the bus to downtown, I causally read through the pamphlet from the tourist information - the SL steam train runs on Sat and Sun, three times a day. Today is SATURDAY! I decided not to waste the chance and eventually I had my first steam train ride in my life. http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/travel/train/train01.html
18 Nov Yudaonsen, Yamaguchi is as it is indicated an onsen region. Apart from numerous onsen ryokans, there are public onsens on roadside in which travellers can dip there feet in. According to the legend, this onsen was discovered eight hundred years ago by a monk who saw a white fox healed its wound with the onsen water. Hence, it is called the onsen of the white fox. http://jpninfo.com/48507 Pic 1 The Yudaonsen station Pic 2-4 public onsens for travellers

17 November 2016

18th Nov Aliens working in Ichbata, Izumo station, Izumo
18 Nov Saka Shrine (Ichbata, Izumo) , the birthplace of Sake (Ichbata, Izumo). According to the legend, deities from different regions gather here for a feast for several days . It is here where the sake is originated. Every year on 13 October, sake makers gather here to celebrate the beginning of the sake brewing season.

16 November 2016

17 Nov Sunset in Matsue
17 Nov Matsue Lafcadio Hearn 小泉八雲 stayed in Matsue when he first came to Japan. He is regarded as the first writer who introduced Japanese culture and literature to the western world. Pics 1 - 4 are the shrine near his residence that he frequently went to.
18th Nov At the Matsue castle.

14 November 2016

14 Nov. Onomich, Hiroshima There are 24 old temples in this temple route, some temples are just a few minutes on foot away from another. Compared with the Itsukushima, Onomichi temple walk is much less touristy. In Ozu Yasujiro's "Tokyo's Story" , the parents lived in Onomichi. This is also the reason that lead us there.
Nov 14 It is a pleasant surprise to see so many kitties in this scenic cultural route in Onomichi 尾道, Hiroshima. Pic 1 These kawaii girls kidnapped "neko chan" while he is strolling in the courtyard of a temple Pic 2. This kitty jumped on Geoff's lap to get some warmth Pic 3-4 handsome cats

13 November 2016

13 Nov (Sunday) I went to the Itsukushima Shrine 嚴島神社 by myself because my better half don't like crowds. It is pretty straightforward to get there from our guesthouse - an hour on the train and a fifteen-minute ferry. I got there around eleven and everywhere were people. I was glad that Geoff did not come. (Swipe to see other pictures)

12 November 2016

Nov 12 ( The Peace Memorial Park pt 4) I walked out of the museum with a heavy heart. By the exit, there are posters of Obama's visit to the museum this year. Two origami cranes folded by him along with his message are on display. A few step away, there are campaign books for the abolition of nuclear weapons waiting for visitors to sign in. This seems to be a logical conclusion to the tour - nuclear weapons are bad. But the museum seems to forget that atomic bombs are just a tool. While emphasizing the suffering of the innocent people, it did not mention Hiroshima was a military center then. And a lot of civilians were drafted to satisfy military needs. Militarism, prejudice, hatred and greed, these more fundamental issues are not discussed.
Nov 12 (The Peace Memorial Park , pt. 3) If the ruins itself did not impress you with the destructive power of nuclear weapons, the Peace Museum explains how it affects buildings and human beings with graphic pictures and models. Visitors who are interested in physics, in medicine or in personal stories would certainly be able to bring some messages home. The story of a young girl, Sadako 禎子 is selected to illustrate the "after-effects" of the blast. Sadako, a two-year-old toddler, survived the blast, but started to develop leukaemia nine years later. Believing in the folklore that when one thousand origami cranes are folded, one's wish will come true, she folded more than a thousand before she died. Her story inspired many campaigns promoting the awareness of the after-effects, particularly on children and Sadako became the symbol of innocent victims. Pic 1-4 The Children Peace Monument, with Sadako at the top, a boy and a girl on the side and a origami crane in the middle.
Nov 12 ( The Peace Memorial Park visit pt. 2) The Dome sits by a river. Some trees have changed colour. Some remain green. The river is clear. Ships cruise swiftly in the river . Tourists sit by the river bank. If no one tell you the history, it is just a pleasant park. I am amazed by the resilience of the nature and the human race. It also shows the importance of remembering the past.
12 Nov (The Peace Memorial Park , pt. 1) It is a fine sunny day. The warmth of the sun offsets the cold morning air and makes the weather perfect for an outing. The Peace Memorial Park was the location where the atomic bomb was dropped. It comprises three main parts: the A-bomb Dome; the Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and the Peace Museum. The A-Bomb Dome was originally the Hiroshima Prefecture Product Exhibition Hall. The building was bombed to its frame, but was not completely destroyed, as it located right at the eye of the blast. In 1996 it was designated as UNESCO Heritage Site. Pic 1. The A-bomb Dome Pic 2. Volunteers campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons

11 November 2016

11 Nov My first impression of Hiroshima is: Not as Japanese as other Japanese cities. Hiroshima has a lot more multi-storey residential buildings, fewer traditional houses that line on both sides of the narrow streets in many residential districts. It is probably because Hiroshima was rebuilt only in the last 60 years after the atomic bomb attack which almost annihilated the city. Yet, the rebuild of Hiroshima seemed to render it into a city without character. It can be any modern cities. You can't even tell which country you are in if all the Japanese writings are removed from road signs and shop signs. Walking on the land that had once been totally destroyed and more than 200 000 of its residents killed, I can't help looking for signs of its agony past. I did not see any yet. Tomorrow, I will go to the A-bomb memorial park.

10 November 2016

10 Nov 栗林公園

9 November 2016

9 Nov "Naruto Whirlpools! The current in the strait of Naurto is one of the strongest in the world. In the right conditions, the whirlpools can measure up to twenty meters in diameter, making them the largest vortices in the world. Uzu-no-Michu is a 450-meter long floating promenade that has. Even constructed on the girders of the Onaruto Bridge. Glass panels set into the observation room allow you to look down at the whirlpools from directly above. " ~ taken from the pamphlet introducing Uzu-no-Michi As the formation of the whirlpools is directly related to tides, we started to check the time of the tides on the night we arrived at Takematsu. The first day - 10:00; the second day 11:00; the third day- 13:30. Pic 2: from the internet
9 Nov (con.) We went on the 3rd day. It is also the Election Day of the US. It is a gloomy day and the wind was strong and icy cold. The strait is actually quite big and seeing the strong currents coming from different directions pushing each others is quite a spectacular view. Sometimes the sea is like a big boiling pot when water pushing up from the bottom. On the way to the Strait, we took a wrong turn. As a result, I am required not to make another suggestion on the remaining day to redeem my mistake. But both of us think it worths coming. On our way back Donald Trump has won the election.

8 November 2016

8 Nov We took the 10:15 ferry to Naoshima where the famous pumpkin artwork and the Chichu Art Museum are. The Museum claims to make people ponder upon their relationship with the nature. But the whole setting is very manipulative. I can't help relating it to a psychological experiment. It is interesting to appreciate the art pieces as well as the responses of the visitors. I also wonder whether the artists are playing a plank on us. I enjoyed the visit and it is quite an experience.

7 November 2016

5th Nov Too tired to go to Nara today. So the pictures are taken by my honey. Pic: You need to tap to see the whole picture in order to imagine what is in the mind of the bambi.
7 Nov The Kompira 金比羅宮 in Kotohira. You need to climb lots of stairs to the main temple. So strong knees are required. Pic 4: This doggie is going on a pilgrimage on the behalf of its human as in the Edo period, it was not easy to go on a long journey.

3 November 2016

3 Nov The less touristy side of Yuasa.
From 3 Nov Today we go to the birthplace of shuyu (soy source) - Yuasa 湯淺. We took JR from Osaka Wakayama 和歌山 and transit from there to Yuasa. I love traveling on countryside little train.

2 November 2016

2 Nov Pic 1 The Osaka Museum on the left and the NHK on the right. Another symbolic union? Pic 2: An unknown building
2nd Nov From 1st to 5th Nov, we will use Osaka as a base to explore the south western Honshu. Pics 1-2 : The Osaka Castle Pic 4 : the lion taken from China in the WWII. Later China allowed it to stay as a symbol of friendship.

31 October 2016

31 October Some scenes in Tsuruga. The town is somehow related to 銀河鐵路 999. There are a lot of statues based on the story. In 松原 by the sea, I had another beautiful snooze on the beach.

30 October 2016

30 October A day trip to Obama. 1 -2 The seaside town is celebrating saba, the fish. The band is singing a song of saba. 3 A kitty solicits scratching from us 6. Are you ready for trick or treat?
October 30 Sunday They are not yellow leaves. They are persimmons! (On the way to Obama from Tusruga)

29 October 2016

29 October Tsuruga

28 October 2016

27 October The big lawn outside the Kanazawa Castle. The sun is strong and the air is cold. It is a perfect place for sun bathing - another form of onsen- equally soothing.
October 28, a rainy day The Kanazawa 21th century art museum . You can see people walking under water.

27 October 2016

27 October Saigawa river running through the city. It reminds me of the river in Aizuwakamatsu.
27 October The scenic Kenrokuen Garden 兼六園. Can you see the dragon resting on the lawn? The last picture is the view from the castle forest. It is also a good spot for a snooze on such a nice day.
17 October A pretty jar in a cafe and a kitty guesthouse in the neighbourhood of the Castle.
27 October Kanazawa station. Quite an impressive train station. We finished our first three-week railway pass here. anazawa reminds me of Kyoto. It's Kenroku-en Garden (兼六園)is considered to be one of the three most beautiful Japanese garden. The highly sculpted pine trees and the meticulously designed ponds and streams are an exemplary marriage between the nature and the man-made environment. In winter when snow falls on the branches of the pine, special beams and ropes will be put up to support the branches. When snow reflects the decorated lights , the pine trees start to glow in their golden outfit. And it is one of the iconic images of Kanazawa winter scenes. There are several geisha districts in Kanazawa. Even if you just walk by, there is a chance that will hear the sound of shameisan.

26 October 2016

25 October Wed This robot boy attends at the Tokyo station. He is cute but he has a lot to learn. We are ready to go to Kanazawa.

25 October 2016

24 October Ito
24 October Ito seaside
24 October Our ryokan in Ito has a funicular railway going up to the outdoor onsen.
23 Oct, Sun This cute little "namaze" (catfishes) is said to be responsible for creating earthquakes according to the Japanese mythology. It is now also doing its public duty for disaster prevention. Hakone

22 October 2016

21 Oct, Sat Kamakura is a popular holiday destination. It is just one hour from Tokyo by train. It became our destination because we want to see some scenes in Yasujirō Ozu's movies 小津安二郎。 It turns out that Kamakura is a surfing paradise. You can also feel a stronger western influence here in terms of a higher concentration of restaurants serving sandwiches and hamburgers. Kamakura was a political center in medieval Japan. And when Yokohama was opened as a trading port for the western powers, Christianity was also spread to the nearby Kamakura. So apart from shrines and temples, there are also quite a few churches.

21 October 2016

Ochazuke 茶漬飯,I will try to cook it. It should be simple to do.
Before we leave for Kamakura, we met a former colleague of Geoff for dinner in downtown Tokyo. She has been in Japan for seven years, first studying, then working. Well, for some reason, our reservation did not go through smoothly. So we needed to knock at the door of almost any diner which could accommodate us. And after about ten attempts, we luckily got a table in a izakaya (居酒屋). We had a happy time catching up and it feels reconnected to the world again after six weeks of face off with your partner. Over dinner I mentioned that we went to a cruise in Hokkaido hoping to see brown bears in their natural habitat. Our friend seemed surprised at our itinerary and she suddenly pointed at my multiple-pockets vest and laughed. And said, "no wonder you are wearing a explorer vest! "She certainly has an eye for fashion. Yes, I think no Hong Kong girl would wear this kind of middle age fishing guy jacket. I laughed too. Picture: Shopping for a hat but successful. You can see my ve

20 October 2016

My feet today refuse to follow Geoff walking five to six hours a day. They prefer a sit-down relaxing time. 1. My private time in the Inokashra Park 井の頭公園 2. The milk tea served in this cafe is surprisingly similar to our Hong Kong milk tea (絲襪奶茶).

19 October 2016

Lunch in the Edo Tokyo Museum. 1. The one I have is very similar with 潮州湯飯。 2. Geoff has ordered a sardine sashimi set lunch.

18 October 2016

A ramen restaurant revisited After five years, Geoff is still able to find this ramen place easily. I don't know whether all men have a compass in their head, but he certainly has one. 希望軒 in Shinjuku.

17 October 2016

The Forum - a whale or a matrix like space ship? You decide.

16 October 2016

20 October We got to Tokyo last Saturday. And will stay in Tokyo for a week. 1. The parliament. The buildings in this area are huge and the roads are wide. I think Godzilla should make this area his home, rather than living in Shikoku.

14 October 2016

October 13 Yesterday when Geoff took a local train journey, he found a kitty wearing a station master uniform. Today we decided to visit him His name is RaBu (Love). He is a celebrity stationmaster of the Ashinomaki-Onsen station 芦ノ牧温泉駅 .He is the second stationmaster, inherited the job from Basu (Bus) . Basu died in April this year. 1. Bus and Love (a reproduction of their postcard) 2-5 the Ashinomaki-Onsen Station
October 13 Scenes of Ashinomaki Onsen Station.

13 October 2016

12 October I want a quite day today. After breakfast, Geoff goes on his adventure and I stay in the city having a lazy day. 1. Breakfast 2. Snacks acquired in the afternoon 3, 4 Dinner We have wappameshi (輪箱飯)for dinner. It is a local dish in Aizu region. It may not look special but it tastes very good. The mushroom and salmon are very yummy. Highly recommended. One of the side dish is horse meat. I did not eat it. I wish Choi Wan was here because she is very adventurous in terms of eating. She may be able to help me with it.😁

12 October 2016

Nineteen teenage samurai committed ritual suicide (seppuku) here as they misbelieved that their city had fallen. It is a sad story. But all the museum visit narratives only glorifies the bravery and loyalty of these boys. I admire their spirit, but you can also imagine how terrified, lost and sad these boys were. 1. The hill that the boys committed mass suicide 2.The graveyard 3.One of the boy looking at their castle 4.The view from the boy's perspective
Their story became history and history was retold and used to promote loyalty to the military government. As right next to the graveyard, there are monuments set up by the facist states, Germany and Italy, one each, as tributes to the admirable spirit of these boys. Sadly, there are still child soldiers. Some are forced, some are indoctrinated with distorted values. When we are coming down the hill, there are several teenage boys dashing up the hill, competing with speed and power. Isn't it the way the energy of these pure hearts should be spent on? 1. Section of column of ancient Rome - a gift from Italy in 1928 2. A monument set up by Germany in 1935 While strolling down the hill, we saw souvenir shops selling short toy swords. We can't help wondering, who would buy them to their children? To practice seppuku?
The Tsurugajo castle ( the castle of crane) was named for its similarity with a flying crane. It was heavily damaged in the Boshin war by the forces of the newly formed Imperial army. The castle was demolished by the Meiji government in 1874. In 1965 the largest building of the castle was rebuilt.

11 October 2016

October 11 (Tuesday) We got to Aizuwakamatsu on the one month anniversary of our trip. Aizuwakamatsu is in north western Fukushima prefecture. It is also called 鶴ケ城 by the locals. The city is proud of its Samurai traditions. The city fought against the Meiji Restoration force in the Boshin War. Even today they are still proud to be the last stronghold against the restoration army and the heroic deeds their ancestors did in the war. 1. Akabako, the little red ox, is a traditional toy in this area and is said to be able to protect children from epidemics. 2. The small train which takes us to Aizuwakamatsu 3. A stove in a station restaurant provides warmth to travellers.

10 October 2016

October 10 Today we will go back to Morioka. It is leas than an hour drive but we plan to have a slight detour to find more scenic places. So it is like a semi-random drive around. In the end we stopped by Lake Gosho. Geoff took this pretty picture and said the cloudscape reminds him of England's. By the time we return to Morioka, we have driven about 500km through the northern part of the prefecture. 1. The scenic Lake Gosho 2. The Mount Iwate. It's body full of sking tracks. 3. A dragonfly is taking a rest on Geoff.

9 October 2016

October 9 We manage to continue. And when we get to the middle of the mountain, vision becomes clearer. We saw smoke steaming up from the valley. And a strong smell of sulphur fill up the air. Hot spring! I hassled Geoff to go to the onsen. It is an old wooden onsen house. Everything including the big water pipe that you scoop water to clean yourself and the onsen tub are made of wood. The bathing area has very big windows from which you can see the pretty yellowish mountain tree. While in the outdoor onsen, you can see the volcanic rocks billowing out steam and pretty autumn trees.
October 9 By noon, the weather started getting worse. It started raining again, and the mountain was basically in the clouds. The visibility is low and the wind is strong.
October 9 After one day of raining , we set off to the Hachimantai National Park in a sunny morning. While we are driving on the mountain road, we saw many cars going to the same direction, so we followed. There is a fair! Apart from numerous food stalls, there are also Japanese drum performance, charity fund raising, blood donation, blown-up slides and bouncing castles for children and pets.

8 October 2016

8 October Rainy, cold and misty. We are confined in the hotel.

7 October 2016

7 October Our destination for the next three days. Appi Heights in Hachimantai. The salmon is super tasty.
October 7 afternoon Then we see the pumpkin village. They really cheer us up
October 7 afternoon Compared with Hokkaido, the roads are more windy and the paddy fields are much smaller. We see quite a few broken down old houses on the way.
October 7, Friday Moriokashi Sotoyama Forest Park 外山森林公園(On the way to Hachimantai). It is the most welcoming forest I ever been to. The path is covering with carpet like grass. In this restaurant we have another mushroom soba meal. It is also the only canteen for forest workers.

6 October 2016

Iwate is the poorest prefecture in Japan. The weather is harsh and the land is too mountainous for large scale farming. To survive in the northern area which Japanese considered to be backward is tough. And Iwate people is very proud of their ability to withstand hardships. Iwate people and salmons are in common in this sense. October 6, afternoon The rock splitting cherry tree in front of the city court house is said to represent this perseverance spirit as well. It is more than 300 years old and still generously blossoms every April.
October 6 Friday, morning Another pleasant surprise is the river in downtown Morioka. Not because of the historical Kaminohashi Bridge over it, nor of its natural beauty, it is because in autumn, hundreds of salmons will swim up the Nakatsugawa River. I did not see them this time. Oh, I really wish to see these determined creatures when I return to Morioka a week later. More about the salmon run: http://www.japan-iwate.info/app/location_detail.php?lid=11
October 6, evening I like good food. But I am usually too lazy to search for good food if there is too much hassles. This night, Geoff said he want to have soba. We have quite a lot of soba already. So I decided to have the best soba in the city. We hailed down a taxi and gave the driver the address. I don't know whether Geoff has distracted him by asking a lot of questions or what, he took us to another also famous soba restaurant. I was wondering why this the facade doesn't look like the one I saw on the internet. In the meantime, a group of Japanese athletes came out from the restaurant, and told us he just ate 105 bowls of soba! He also showed Geoff the certificate and asked Geoff to touch his tummy! Don't ask he how he could slurp down 150 bowls of soba. I didn't see it. While we were talking to these strong young men, our taxi driver came back and apologised for his mistake.
直利庵is famous for its soba. I am not foodie. I only found its name on the internet. It got 5 out of five or four out of five average in many forums. So I decided to try. And There I ate 松茸 for the first time. Autumn is the harvest time and I saw a promotional booth selling all sorts of mushroom in the 新幹線。A little stalk of 松茸 can cost 5000 yen. As usual, I only remembered taking a picture after Geoff had started eating. I managed to get one slice from him. (I was having 初茸). 松茸tastes quite woody. It is expensive because it cannot be farmed. The tiny bowl of noodles is about 3000 yen.

5 October 2016

5 October afternoon Taking the 新幹線 from Hakodate to Morioka. When we arrive at Morioka, it starts to rain, hopefully the typhoon will not bring too much rain tomorrow. During dinner, Geoff asks me how long I can survive with only one set of clothes as he is planning to put the big suitcase into storage so that we can be more mobile in our adventure.
October 5 Thursday, evening Before I came to Morioka, I know very little about it. When I stepped out of the train terminal, the first thing that caught my eyes is a Morioka cold noodle advertisement. I am not particularly want to have a cold dish, but as Morioka takes pride in it, it may worth trying. And I like it.
October 5 morning Filling up our tank before returning to Sapporo. At the gas station, you need to know three important phrases: 滿 タン(full tank),regular (type of petrol) and 現金 in Japanese.
3 October Today is raining, we decide to stay in the hotel, to do revision, laundry and enjoy the onsen on site. At night, we went to a very lovey cafe. I had a bowl of pho and a cup of green tea soy bean latte. As the place is so cosy, when we left I used my very limited Japanese telling the owner that he has a pretty place. He was astonished and the other customer laughed.
2 October (Monday) We left Akan National Park around nine and have driven 417 km land passed more than 20 tunnels. By the time we checked in to an small hotel by Lake Toya yesterday, it was around 4:00. Pretty tired, we want to have an early dinner. However, as our hotel is located away from downtown, most of the restaurant are closed for business by seven. In the end, we went to a German restaurant to be its only guests.

4 October 2016

October 4 afternoon On the road to Otaru. This time only take an hour and a half drive. The volcano ahead is also Mount Yotei 羊蹄山。Apples acquired from a road side orchard. Not the perfect looking ones we see in the supermarket but yummy.
October 4 late afternoon Very windy and icy cold in Otaru. We take a stroll by the canal. Both sides of the canal are full of restaurants and shops converted from historic warehouses.
October 4 morning Buildings collapsed in the 1977 Mount Uzu Earthquake.

3 October 2016

1. Fireworks in Lake Toya; 2. Having a quite day; 3-5 Jalibu cafe

1 October 2016

1 October (Saturday ) I understand why stars represent hope now.
1 October (Sat) Got up at 9:00. That means we had 11 hours of sleep last night. Today's main activity is to go to the crater lakes nearby. By 屈路斜湖 lake, there is a little Ainu Museum dedicating to the maintenance of the Ainu culture. It tells the history of how the Wajin turned the Ainu from trading partner to slave labours and snatch their land by incorporating Hokkaido into Japan. While we are having soba in a sleepy little town, the chef shoved me with several tourist information. And one catches my eyes: 神の之池。According to the brochure, the water is so clear that you can see five meter deep to the bottom. So we go. Tonight we plan to go back to Mt Mashu hoping that we can see a starry night.
1 October Both Lake Mashu (1-2) and Lake Kussharo (3-4) were volcanic lakes. They are also archeological sites of

30 September 2016

30 September, Friday Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島)is at the furthest north eastern end of Hokkaido . Its name, in Ainu, the aboriginal dialect, means "the end of the word". More important to me, it is the land of bears. When we were in Sapporo, Geoff showed me a footage about bears in Hokkaido. And how they live side by side with fishermen. So when I know that we will go to Shiretoko. We arrive Shiretoko before 10:00. The original plan is to drive across the peninsula over the mountain pass and back down the other side. As it is the salmon season, I think it may be a chance seeing bears catching salmon at the mouth the river, so we change our plan ( in fact it is me who insist) to take the sea route.
29th Sept, Thursday Get to Abashiri before three. As we are a little bit hungry, we walk to downtown in search of food. While I am looking at my phone for direction, Geoff tries the traditional way asking a granny : "Where can we find yummy food?" (In Japanese) Having stuffed our tummy, we went to the waterfront. There we saw migrant birds flying to the south against a sunsetting sky. Seeing these birds flying across the sky, from one end of the horizon to the other end. It feels weird. It is like seeing stars shooting across the sky. Only that this time the stars are dark and the sky is colorful. After dinner, we drove back to the waterfront to look at the starry sky.
30 September On the way to Akan National Park, the sky is on fire.
30 September Coast of the Shiretoko peninsula where the salmon swim back to their birth place.
30 September (Saturday) On the peak of the Shiretoko. The islands in the distance are the northern islands claimed by both Russia and Japan.
30th Sept, Friday Before leaving for Shiretoko, I admire the forest from our window one last time as birds circle nearby.

29 September 2016

Off to Abashiri. I hope I can see some creatures.
The next day, driving around the pretty neighbourhood.

28 September 2016

27 September 2016

The first thing to do is cycling.
After three hours of driving, arrived Biei.
1:On the road. (Not out car). 2: 豬爪建設 (pig knuckle construction) . I wonder what it builds.

26 September 2016

We have been in Sapporo for two weeks. Before we leave for Biei tomorrow. Here are the summary of the previous two weeks. Accommodation: we live in a studio flat ("heya" 部屋 ) rented by "JALS" (our language school). It is very small but it has everything we need: a washing machine, a microwave, cooking utensils and cutlery, etc. It is 25 minutes walk away from our school. If we want to take the subway, it is two stops away from the Sapporo terminal with a cost of ¥200. We usually walked to our school or to the Sapporo station as we enjoy a little walk in this laid back city . Hokkaido University is also right next to our studio. The two rows of ginkgo tree greet visitors on main avenue change colours with the seasons and is one of the attraction of the city.

17 September 2016

In the last few days. We were busy with studying in the morning and doing revision in the afternoon. Today we finally had a proper outing. In the morning we went to the Hokkaido University and then walked to the Botanic Garden. In the evening , we went across town by tram and took the "ropeway" cable car up to Mt Mouwa. The nigh view of Sapporo from Mt Moiwa is surreal. The twinkling lights of the city were like having the whole world of Christmas lights spreading out in front of you!
The view that gradually materialised as we waited on top of Mount Moiwa in Sapporo with a cup of coffee and Japanese language textbooks.
Two bonsai plants in the Botanic garden.
The Hokkaido University.

12 September 2016

Geoff: First day at language school in Sapporo. Many things to learn and forget almost straight away. Hopefully we remember something for tomorrow's lesson. Aris: We have done revision in the afternoon so I believe we will remember most of the material.
1 The view from the balcony ; 2. The main living area; 3. Studying time
1. Our classroom and phrases that we are learning. 2. On our way searching for free wifi. Tourists can enjoy two weeks of free wifi . 3. Pretty bouquets display outside a florist.

11 September 2016

My friends wonder how much luggage I will carry for this trip. Here are our luggage for our 85 days trip. (At the airport express, Hong Kong)