29 days remaining
Goodbye WWOOF 8 Dairy Farm. Tears. Genuine.
And away we pedal. Sad but happy(ish). BACK ON THE BIKES. Our Japan ‘Bucket List’ nearly complete. After THE EDGE OF THE WORLD and milking A THOUSAND TEATS, what’s left?
Ice-cream! Hokkaido Ice-cream! Melon flavoured! Not sweet corn today. Or green tea. Or bean. Or soya sauce. So quite conservative really.
And after 94km of tailwind cycling beside THE SEA OF OKHOTSK, our tent sits on a field of white, yellow and purple daisys. Overlooking a wetland with setting sun. Slapping mosquitos. Sam & Joe two hours in the Eco-centre and exploring. “Mum, mum, can I borrow your camera? It’s amazing…” Sam and Joe showing us the way.
Tomorrow we hope this tailwind continues. Tomorrow we should also reach the most NORTHERLY point of Japan. It’s a big deal.
28 days remaining
Wetland Campsite loo. 7am: An uplifting recording of ‘Swan Lake’ to help the bowels and advertise on behalf of the Whooper, Bedwick, Whistling & Mute Swans that winter & spring here. Surely it’s all downhill from here…
At the most NORTHERLY point of Japan, Joe had a wee in the sea. He stood on the most Northerly rock and produced a magnificent arc into the OTHOSK. The distance of which reduced his Dad to tears. Then Heidi & Brad had a swig of Suntory Whisky (in handy 1.5ltr plastic bottle). Ate some rice balls stuffed with sour plums. Mounted bicycles, and headed South. Another one off the TO-DO list.
Surprise sightings of a White-tailed eagle & Spiny Dog Fish ‘pursing’ along the shoreline kept the pedals turning and spirits up. Rain greeted our arrival at 稚内 (most NORTHERLY town) and, through some completely unplanned good fortune (the best kind), we made the ferry to 利尻. So, since leaving the Dairy Farm yesterday, we have cycled 197km (about 11 saddle hours), and have now set camp on island that is one volcano. A cone that’s popping out the sea. The classic child’s drawing of an island. But REAL excitement was still to come. Heidi, coming out the campsite loos. Beaming, “Soap, they have soap. I’ve just washed my hands with soap”. We gonna stay HERE another night!
60(ish) km loop around 利尻 island today. No bears! But still got a bit of a fright at 8am when the powerful public announcement system greeted the island with a booming ‘Ohio gossamas’ (polite good morning). These public announcement systems very useful in case of natural disaster (this IS Japan). In between times of earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, they are used to remind people throughout the land about DESIGNATED times. Time to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc…etc…a bit like that having your photograph taken at the DESIGNATED photo-spot in front of the DESIGNATED tourist attraction. It provides for a wonderful REASSURING feeling that you are, without doubt, in the right spot. So very comforting to know that you are waking/ eating/ shitting at the same time as everyone else.
Heidi very bad wife. Always late for meals.
Following our ‘tour de 利尻’ (some of the best dedicated cycle lane paths we’ve ever cycled…several gorges with 40m high bridges, lush green forest, birdsong…no bears) a hot spring ONSEN. Always naked & gender separated.
Whinging Pom: Why ONSEN?
Japanese Etiquette Guide: We Japanese love to be clean. We use ONSEN to show one another how we love to be clean.
Whinging Pom: Why naked?
Japanese Etiquette Guide: We Japanese love socialising in the nude.
Whinging Pom: Gender separated socialising?
Japanese Etiquette Guide: A place for peace and harmony. Men & women separated. Exactly.
Whinging Pom: Peace and harmony? Socialising? No-one speaks and men cover their dangly bits with a towel.
Japanese Etiquette Guide: We Japanese are always mindful of others. We don’t want to embarrass others by showing off our dangly bits.
Whinging Pom: You mean you get shy?
Japanese Etiquette Guide: Yes.
Whinging Pom: Ever considered costumes? Marvellous things.
Japanese Etiquette Guide: Ever considered going back?