Thursday, September 24, 2009
Hokkaido!... Lake Mashu
The roads: 274 -> 134 -> 242 -> 241 -> 243 -> 52 -> 243 -> 391 -> 52 -> 243
The first lake was Akanko.
This is, of course, the birthplace of Marimokori, the character who has almost surpassed Hello Kitty in cell phone strap attachment popularity. What is a Marimokori? Lets examine the Japanese. A marimo is an algae ball formed in this particular lake in Hokkaido. The gentle lapping of the lake, along with what I can assume is ideal algae making chemistry results in small green spheres.
Combining marimo with mokori we get Marimokori. What's a mokori? Well, its a big hard cock! This is official business here, and in any tourist spot in this fine country you can purchase a Marimokori celebrating the local area to hang from your cell phone for $4. You think this is some sort of pervert joke, but hella my Junior High and High School students have Marimokri things.
Also there is official marimo (kori?) ice cream.
Found a nice camp spot on the shores of Kussharoko, another lake in the area. Can't beat this!
These lakes are all volcanic craters, which means plenty of onsens. This one is on a beach. Dig into the sand and the hot water bubbles out.
Check out this one. Left is for the ladies and right is for the boys. Privacy, shmivacy.
This one is a disgusting marsh-hot spring. It remained un-entered.
This beautiful artwork is native to the area, and part of the Ainu culture.
There were two old guys selling it, and we started talking. They asked if my tattoos present a problem when I teach in High School in Tokyo. I told them that I always wear long furosode. A slip in the language, as sode means sleeves, but furosode are the special sleeves on Japanese kimonos. His response, and remember this is some random dude I just met, was something like, "You know whats totally awesome about furosode? Because the cuff is so huge, you can slip your hand in, sneak it up, and then grab a giant handful of bare tits. Wouldn't you agree? My friend here knows what I'm talking about. I love me some titties!"
More local volcanic fun. Wicked!
Selling eggs. Probably been selling eggs for the past 40 years.
And more local ice cream. Scrumptious!
Then it was off to Lake Mashu. An iconic lake in Hokkaido, there are no rivers into or out of it's basin. The water remains at a constant level, and the sharp edges prevent access. I heard later that it is covered in fog almost every day.
Had a nice soak in a foot onsen at the station with some new friends. We talked about Disneyland for 15 minutes.
Back to the camp site for a midnight dip into the onsen.
The next day I took a walk around the peninsula I was camping near.
All kinds of sulfur leaking out. There has gotta be a hot spring.
Someone built this hidden onsen into the lake. Some other dude was there, and we were just chatting when I see this furry black thing walking along the bank of the lake. It was a massive black ferret, just minding the fuck out of it's own business, while scaring the shit out of a couple of naked dudes.
My Japanese language ability is no where near what I'd like it to be, but when in one day you have a conversation about how a ferret is more interested in bugs than naked dudes, a conversation about how kick ass Disneyland is, and a conversation about feeling up girls through their festive, traditional clothing... well maybe my Japanese is just where it needs to be.
Next time: Off to Shiretoko, where deer and bears roam free.