Saturday, April 10, 2010

Off to Yoichi (Hokkaido)

5th October 2003 - T-chan's brother, H-kun, had organised for us to join a company tour up to Yoichi, which is on the more north-western coast of Hokkaido, about 60 km west of Sapporo.

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A very strange idea of the office workers all getting on a bus and sight-seeing together (after having a very lavish lunch). The Japanese company system is quite different... here in Australia, the closest we get to this is the lunchtime/after work booze up.

Actually - what was strange about this was the fact that it was a sunday.

Yoichi has a claim to fame that few if any Japanese cities can claim. It was the birthplace of Mamoru Mouri. A Japanese astronaut who flew Space Shuttle missions for Nasa. And you won't "miss it" either.

As the sign says "Welcome to the Yoichi Space Memorial Centre... Space Dome".

To be honest - I can't recall there actually being a dome there... the best part of the place was the strange and wonderful tunnel where you can experience near weightless shinanigans... There's something about the Japanese genetic makeup that they can't get enough of off-axis rooms. Just look mum, I'm David Copperfield!

And after a good meal of Yumm-O Hokkaido seafood and just a few good brews, there's nothing better than to pass out. Ok H-kun doesn't really drink that much, but when combined with a sugoi takusan tabemono (super lotta food), it's a good time to park your body in a horizontal orientation.

 Actually I have to say that some of the foods included in the lunch were "unusual"... and many I didn't know what they were. Not being a natural seafood eater, there were some challenges there. 

Yoichi itself is a fairly sleepy little town

The outlook near Yoichi is spectacular.... there's water... there's cliffs... there's lots of green. It's a nice place to visit, and further up the road is Shakotan Peninsula. I hope to go there some day. But not today.

And around the other corner...

Next and last stop... the Nikka Whisky Distillery...

At 500 yen a thimble taste, this 20 year old whisky taster was pretty damned expensive (but it was very smooth).

All things come to an end, and as the sun started setting we jumped in the bus and joined the traffic jam back to Sapporo.

The bus trip back was a long and tiring one... nearly everyone was asleep by the time we made it back to Sapporo. A good day...

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