Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Goodbye my car!

On Saturday, with the intention of driving to Noboribetsu for the Welcome Party and Hell Festival, my car decided it was finished driving.

I got off the expressway in a town not too far away and it started smoking and making a weird noise.

The nearby mechanic couldn’t do anything, so I had to drive back into town to the dealer.

Turns out that between the cost to repair those problems and my shaken (bi-yearly car tax) it’s going to be around $3500. I could buy a new car for that.

And so, goodbye my car. Goodbye my house-on-wheels. Goodbye my Ipsum. Goodbye convenience.

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(Above: my car on an incredibly foggy day – I just wanted to capture the crazy fog)

Friday, August 26, 2011


Every time I see blueberries in Japan, they are marked as being from Oregon and they are super expensive, so opt not to buy them.

A couple of weeks ago, on my way to church I saw signs that read “ブルーベリー”. I was quite excited and decided to stop on my way back home.

When I turned off the road at the sign, I found a small farm. When I drove up the farmer was working in the fields, but he came to greet me.

He was so kind and friendly. He used as much English as he knew – which was a surprisingly large amount (He said he learned from movies and TV).

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I miss summer berries a lot and it was nice to find a small piece of home in Hokkaido.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Blue Lake

Not too long ago, I went with my friends J & K to the Blue Lake near Biei.

This is the water next to it. I was surprised at how incredibly blue it is.

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J & K.

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J and I.

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Look how blue that lake is, incredible! It has something to do with the minerals in the water.

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Of course, I had to try the blue lake flavored soda. Unfortunately, it just tasted like blue sprite. But it was fun to try.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

The Story of Canada

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Brought to you by R.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bellybutton Festival

H and I headed to Furano on the 29th to see what was happening at Furano’s Belly Button Festival. Furano is in center of Hokkaido and thus, claims the title of Hokkaido’s bellybutton.

The festival was set up on the main road near the station. After searching up and down several streets for parking, we found some and then headed for the stage.

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J’s taiko team performed during what might have been the hottest part of the day – on black top.

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H and I got our photo taken with one of the big belly men walking around the festival.

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The belly-people are Furano’s mascot.

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At the fashion show this tiny girl was too small to reach the mic.

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And this girl, despite the lack of snow, was ready to go skiing (it was around 90 outside).

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Another view of the street.

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When evening fell, a few friends joined us.

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L wouldn’t let me take her photo, so I had to snap it when she wasn’t looking.

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A bunch of tiny bellybutton men heading for the start of the parade.

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When it started to sprinkle a little, the umbrellas suddenly began to bloom.

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My newest friend. When it started to pour they shared a mat with L and I so we could stay dry with our cameras.

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M sharing an umbrella.

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My tiny friend and her poncho.

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What? No umbrellas? How can I keep my camera dry?

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Ha ha ha! I came yesterday and got one when it poured then.

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R is quite happy with the towel.

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All in all it was a strange, but very fun festival.

Monday, August 15, 2011

HEC Replacement Therapy, part 2

After camping at the beach, we headed into Sapporo to go hang out around the beer festival.

R was of course rolling her eyes at the cameras coming out.

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Camera war! I think we were both going for the same shot and then shot each other instead, when we realized the other would be in the background.

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N, the creeper.

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Not sure what L & N were doing, but it was cute.

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Being creepy again.

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I think she hurt her finger.

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H taking her own self-portrait.

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Here’s mine.

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Another fun shot.

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In the end we did get to meet some HEC students, they were doing their own HEC replacement therapy with their ALT – an English dinner at a burger place in Sapporo. It was fun to talk to them and even crazier to find that their school is bigger than my town!

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It’s sad to see so many of my friends leaving Hokkaido and moving all over the world and to have to say goodbye. Even so, I’d love to travel all over the world and visit all of them in the future.

Friday, August 12, 2011

HEC Replacement Therapy, part 1

Almost three weeks ago, we (Hokkaido ALTs) intended to run HEC Camp. (Hokkaido English Challenge). We were all stoked about showing kids the time of their life in English and ready to leave when the news came.

There had been a bear in camp and with the short notice (it came the morning we were supposed to head out), we couldn’t re-locate and had to cancel.

A few of us spent a day feeling sad about it and then decided it was going to be one of the last chances to hang out with each other before various favorite ALTs were leaving. So, we decided to go camping instead.

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And of course, after N started turning out cool night shots, I had to get R’s assistance to try. These were a couple of my favorites.

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