Sasagawanagare, Niigata: we stopped for a look at one of the top-rated beaches in Japan and what-do-you-know, a helicopter was about to land.
May 5th is 'Children's Day.' People all over Japan hand koinobori, or giant carp flags in celebration for their children (especially their boys).
Jenelle's in Akita-ken, Ruu's in Yamagata-ken
Nyuto Onsen. Ruu found this place on the map. Apparently it's been featured on TV as one of the best onsens in all of Japan.
Baba Aisu (grandma ice cream) - actually sold by grandmas ALL over Akita-ken.
We were hiking up this mountain thinking, this kind of looks like a skii-slope, and then we saw a skiier.
We met some snowboarders on the top, barbecuing lamb. They had also hiked to the top of the mountain to practice jumps.
We were shocked to see that we passed through a town called Saroma ... isn't that where Sean lives??? Yes, yes it is.
Shiretoko National Park's Go-ko, or Five Lakes. All but one was closed to it being too early in the season, or construction, or some other kind of BS
Free Open Campsite. It must have been early in the camping season as we had the whole place to ourselves.
Futoshi to the rescue. The place we went to for dinner was really interesting. In the old days, all throughout Japan, little portable restaurants filled the roads. With modernization, wide streets, and cars though, these little box-restaurants nearly went extinct. In very few areas, they still survive. We ate some pretty delicious Hokkaido karaage (fried chicken), omelette, and salad.
It's difficult for me to read kanji as it is, but this crazy Ainu-inspired Hokkaido kanji is impossible even for Japanese-Honshu people!
Actually, the reason Jenelle went walking around with a bandage on her head for a week was because of this very Ainu bear.
The set of 北の国から, or 'From the North Country.' Futoshi told us to sleep in the car while he secretly searched for Furano, the town of one of his favorite childhood TV shows.
Futoshi, happy as a kid in a candy store ... or as Futoshi would be with good sake, on the set of his favorite drama.
Shockingly, raw chicken is delicious!