Thursday, August 18, 2005


The summer in Fukui is incredibly humid. The temperature extends well
into the thirties almost every day, and doing even the smallest amount
of physical exercise will leave you sweating like a kebab and gasping
for water. The solution to this problem? Hire a Jeep Cherokee, load it
down with camping gear and booze, then drive as far north as you can.

And so it came to pass that Sam, Chris, Gary, Danny and myself bundled
into a 4x4 on August 4th, fired up the iPod, put on some tunes and
blasted off up the highway with absolutely no plan of where to go
whatsoever. Except up. Yes folks, we were headed toward.... HOKKAIDO!!!!

On the first night we ended up camping in a little town on the
southern border of Niigata prefecture, which funnily enough shared the
same name as my hometown in Fukui: Asahi-cho. After broiling in our
tents for a few hours we quickly decided that we had to get as far
north as we could as quickly as possible - another night of
tent-induced steam cooking would be one night too many. So we came up
with a new plan - rather than driving all the way up the main island
of Honshu and then taking the ferry to Hokkaido from Aomori city, we
could take the 18 hour ferry from Niigata city instead. It turned out
to be a cracking idea - the sea was beautifully calm, the rooms had
air conditioning (hurrah!), and I got to see wild dolphins for the
first time ever.

I was amazed at just how different Hokkaido looks from the rest of
Japan - for a start it's covered in grass. (Grass!!! How I've missed
thee!!!) The climate up there is fairly similar to England (ie. it
rains a lot), which means grass can grow pretty much anywhere. Down
here in Fukui the only grass you ever see is on golf courses...

But it doesn't end there - most of Hokkaido is made up of national
parks, which have strict building regulations to retain the natural
beauty of the landscape.

Which means.....

Yes, that's right, NO CONCRETE!!! Woohoo!!! It was such a breath of
fresh air to find a part of Japan where it has been deemed that the
mountains are perfectly able to stand up without the aid of a concrete
straitjacket, and where it has been decided that the rivers actually
look better when they're not hemmed in by concrete walls. Sing

Anyway, it was a cracking trip, but rather than banging on any more
I'll let the photos do the talking...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, wow. Seriously wow. Stunning views. Did it creep you out that the whole 'ring' saga started out on Hokkaido (sp?) somewhere? Any drowned girls crawling out of wells?

8:28 pm  
Blogger Lewis said...

Thankfully no. We weren't offered any videos to watch either. Thankfully it's all DVD now.

3:57 pm  
Blogger Guy Jean said...

Nice blog, boyo. Great pics. And barely a sign of the natives! You might indeed be forgiven for thinking you were in the Highlands ;-)

8:15 am  
Blogger Ian said...

Course the later Rings the girl didn't need the video anymore. Maybe Lewis is now possessed and by reading his blog we've doomed ourselves...

Sorry, have to go my phone's ringing...

8:10 pm  

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