2010 05 01 - Lake Kussharo day 1

Lake Kussharo Travel Blog

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Erik is Asian, this proves it!
The next morning I woke up in a proper bed that was exactly 1.80 meter long. The father and mother were already awake and eating/cooking while the daughter was acting lazy. She told me she wouldn't have a Golden Week like everyone else because she was a wedding planner and many people used this time to get married. The parents were delighted to see me eat Nato and rice the proper way and with chopsticks and the eggrolls that the mother had prepared tasted great. Before coming to Japan I had very high hopes of the great tasting food, but so far it hadn't been as great as expected. Don't get me wrong, Japanese food tastes good, but they use Soya-sauce for everything. All food has a very good basic flavor but it is always very plain. Imagine great pasta and great fish but nothing else than those two flavors on a plate (or in a bowl).
I found an Onsen! A big one, completely filled with tourist during Golden Week
The father dropped me off at the nearby city of Eniwa and that is where the slow but steady hitchiking to my first Hokkaido destination of Lake Kussharo would start.

The first real ride was a very short one to Kitahiroshima that was taking his toddler-son to see the trains. The kid could work wonders with his little feet and managed to open/close the glove compartment the entire ride. His baby daughter kept looking at me from the back seat the entire time like I was a circusact.

Another short ride followed, this time to Sapporo.
How much would you pay for a night in an ice hotel?
I spent the whole ride with a super excited teenage daughter that already thought her father rocked for taking her to see the dolphins, but he instantly became "Worlds best dad" for picking up a hitchhiker. After that ride I walked around Sapporo for a bit and got another taste of the great Hokkaido food. Seicomart is by far the cheapest of the Japanese supermarkets but can only be found on Hokkaido. They actually had very good bread called Miso Pan that weighs a ton and fills you up very well. And at another place I found a great backery that had several more interesting types of bread I took with me.

After finding a strategic place in Sapporo I got a good ride out of the city. First we had to pick up his friend and make a stop for his work (placing signs on route 12 to Bibai). His friend was an elementary school teacher. Both bought some cheese snacks but cheese with corn or cheese with fish aren't really great combinations in my book. Route 12 wasn't the route I had planned on taking from Sapporo but it would do the trick.

In Bibai I got immediately picked up by a truck/crane driver. It was a slow but far ride to Fukagawa. Unfortunately the cranedriver didn't speak any English.

The point where he dropped me off seemed like a deserted road but Taik and Erika past by it on their way to Asahikawa where they were going to see Alice in Wonderland with "Oh my God he is so hot, JOHNY DEPP". It was fun to see two 18 year olds being so excited about their date but still taking the effort of taking me with them.

Asahikawa was a big city and that meant many cars passed by the intersection where I stood. But after 30 minutes nobody had stopped yet. A car was waiting for the light to become green, a boy waved at me, I waved back and made him smile, and then his dad decided that it would be safe to offer me a ride. Inside the car were also a mother and daughter but nobody spoke any English. After having a few laughs the kids went to sleep and so did I. Hokkaido was cold outside so they had put their air conditioning on maximum warmth. We stopped at Shounky Onsen, a big commercial Onsen with only a very expensive looking hotel and a former ice-hotel that was now melting down.

I was glad I had my sweater and jacket on while trying to get the next ride. The Hokkaido cold had intensified with the wind. A 22 year old boy from Hokkaido stopped in his 4 wheel drive and brought me to Kitami. He didn't speek English but we had plenty of deer and some foxfarms to see while driving there.

I got my final ride to Lake Kussharo with a vetenarian who spoke English really well. We had only planned to go to Bihoro where he would get his hair cut for a wedding. He missed his appointment and decided to drive me all the way to my dream destination of Lake Kussharo. We talked a lot about the difference in education between The Netherlands (only the top students go to a university) and Japan (about 3/4 goes to a university but the level there is extremely low). I wanted to treat us to dinner but there was no such place at Lake Kussharo. Instead we shared all the food we both had and made an improvised dinner in the car. A good place to sleep wasn't so easily found in a deserted area like this, but a check at the luxury Prince hotel pointed us to the camping at Lake Kussharo. We said goodbye and I was ready to setup my tent at the lake and go to bed.

But instead I met two "Americans" that were having a nice fire going. One of them was biking around the world but had been stuck in Japan for a while (he was actually from Australia). The other one was pretty drunk and was actually from Canada. A lot of chitchat, bold stories and advice about "letting go of Have-To and embracing Want-To" and it really became time to put up the tent and go to bed. It was cold at the Lake, but felt very calm and enjoyable. It felt "right" somehow.
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Erik is Asian, this proves it!
Erik is Asian, this proves it!
I found an Onsen! A big one, compl…
I found an Onsen! A big one, comp…
How much would you pay for a night…
How much would you pay for a nigh…
Lake Kussharo
photo by: whereisavg