2010 05 03 - Date day 1

Date Travel Blog

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One of the two "Americans" I met at the Wakato Camping at Lake Kussharo. He is actually Canadian and is called Shane
The next morning I met with the "Americans" one more time and this time we talked much more about them and the things they had done in Asia before ending up in this place I loved. Every hour I said I was going to pack my stuff and start hitchhiking but it wasn't untill 3 that I really started packing and 4 untill I left the camping. I wanted to have a look at Lake Akan, Mount Oakan and Mount Meakan but the "Americans" had already told me that going up the mountains would only be possible with snowshoes. As a final goodbye they said that if I wouldn't get a ride I could ride with them a few days later. It turned out they had worried to much. My crazy 2500 km hitchhike to the other side of Japan (where I already had been a month before) was about to start.

As soon as I walked of the camping a car passed by, stopped and the older couple in it brought me to Teshikagawa where there was an intersection with the road to Lake Akan (route 241)

Then a couple that was going to visit an Anui village along route 241 stopped and we went to this village together.
The other "American" I met at the Wakato Camping at Lake Kussharo. He is actually Australian and is biking around the world (but has and will be stuck in Japan for a looooong time)
She spoke English really well because she had been to the US before. The Anui are to Hokkaido what the aboriginals are to Australia. Unfortunately the whole village was small and had been commercialised. I only looked around for a bit and then continued hitchhiking.

At this point route 240 and 241 had combined and I wanted to stay on the 241. But when a car came by offering me a ride all the way to Kitami I was tempted to take it. But because I didn't want to take the same route back as I came I only rode with him for a few kilometers untill the 240 and 241 split again.

So far hitchhiking was going well despite of many cars being full with people and luggage due to Golden Week.
There is a tiny place where everything in the Akan National Park seems to collide. Lake Akan, Mount Meakan (woman) and Mount Oakan (man) are all very close. Even road 240 and 241 get combined here for a while. In this village live the native Ainu
The car that stopped next seemed full, but the 2 boys and girls made room and offered me a very fast ride past Ashoro to Hombetsu. I ate their spicy pringles while they ate my candy and all the time they were trying to find the best ferry and timeschedule from Shimonoseki to China. They eventually found one that goes every day at 12:00, takes 1 day and 4 hours and only costs 15000 Yen (120 Euro). From the ferry destination of Gungdao it would be about 600 kilometer to Beijing which could be a few good hitchhikes and/or a cheap Chinese train. It was at that moment that I decided I would take that ferry on Friday and would make it to the competition in Beijing on Sunday. They also helped me find a good route to Hakodate and assured me that the ferry to Aomori was going there again, no longer stopped because of Golden Week.
A couple from Obihoro was visiting this village and came from Teshikaga. I happened to travel exactly the same way and only knew about the Ainu village because of them
At the entrance to the Hombetsu highway we stopped and took some pictures. I was getting a little worried that the highway seemed entirely deserted but while we were taking pictures a car stopped.

Mother Ami (a financial advisor), father Yugi (painter) and sons Kosei (4) and Kaisei (8) and I spent the next hours driving all the way to Eniwa where they would continue there final few kilometers to Sapporo. Kaisei created me in a game/program on his Nintendo DS and needed to know everything about me to do that. From my favorite color to my bloodtype (very important in Japan, like your sign is for reading your horoscope and determining your character). We had a lot of fun all the way and the long drive soon ended. Because there was no service area at Eniwa we had to drive a bit further to Watts where I would have to cross 2x3 lanes of highway to get to the other side for direction Hakodate.
Unfortunately this native village is just filled with souvenir shops. Many of them extremely beautiful, especially the handcarved wood, but not much "native" is still left

1 Minute after walking accross the highway I had another lift to Date with a very fast driver called Makoto that called his American friend Michel and I explained the situation with her help.

I was dropped off around 23:00 at the Date service area from where I wanted to continue hitchhiking to Hakodate so I could take the ferry that night and get some sleep onboard. Unfortunately I got taken off the Date service area by the police. This time their excuse was that it wasn't safe to hitchhike in a service area during the night because cars might not see me (although the whole service area was lit brightly). Anyway, they stuck me on National route 37 where none of the 5 cars that passed me by while I was walking out of Date stopped. At 01:00 I gave up and found a good place to sleep in a busstop.
SuperSannie says:
Wow.... Arnaud, your stories go so well with a good mug of coffee.... So good to read about all the impressive experiences you are having... Take care, try to stay safe and keep on writing and making pictures!

All the best wishes from Holland,
Posted on: May 19, 2010
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One of the two Americans I met a…
One of the two "Americans" I met …
The other American I met at the …
The other "American" I met at the…
There is a tiny place where everyt…
There is a tiny place where every…
A couple from Obihoro was visiting…
A couple from Obihoro was visitin…
Unfortunately this native village …
Unfortunately this native village…
Owls keep a watchful eye on the Ai…
Owls keep a watchful eye on the A…
18,289 km (11,364 miles) traveled
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photo by: whereisavg