Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kamiubestu Tulip Adventure

Remember my very first friend in Japan, Aki? Aki told me about Kamiubestu, a tuplip farm an hour and a half from Nishiokoppe. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we hopped in the car on Saturday to check it out. Look who we ran into there.... hi Aki!
Not knowing what to expect is kind of the theme of our time in Japan. We were surpirsed to see so many people, huge tour busses, even a helicopter tour of the tulip fields. What a strange place to come closest to feeling the "crush" of humanity so synonymous with Japan. Nova, feeling the crush of tulips. I have great memories of my mom taking me to the Skagit Valley for tulip viewing when I was a kid in Seattle. It was flashback city, watching wander the rows and rows of color. Great view of the valley from the windmill.
Where tulips bloom today, Japanese soldiers used to work at a farm camp on this very site. A couple re-enactors try their hand at fire-starting the old fashioned way with a wooden dowel and a piece of string outside the Kamiubetsu town museum.
This museum was designed by famous architect, Watanabe Toyokaz. It was a surreal sight as backdrop to the tuplip fields.
Ainu ice skates maybe? Brrrr! On our way back home we stopped to get gas. Despite the word "diesel" on our gas tank the service attendant pumped our car full of "ni ju litters" gasoline. Luckily our car decided to stop working right in front of the Monbestu airport. And that is how we ended up at the ANA service counter.
Emi, spoke excellent English and helped us phone the superintendant of school's wife, Kamaya-san for a ride. Emi is SO getting a thank you card!

Killing time at the Monbestsu airport looks a lot like killing time at the Juneau airport.
We think customer service in Japan might be the best in the world. The service station manager from Kamiubetsu drove the 1/2 hour to Monbetsu and waited with us until the tow guy came then waited until our car was repaired. Luckily our car was ready within a few hours and we made it home safe and sound.
Lots of JapAffirmations today!