Japan Diaries 4: Week 41

Week 41: August 8-12, 2022

Day 280: August 8, 2022

Monday - Rumoi

Rumoi High School 8/8/2022

It’s the start of another week. Today, I’m back reporting to Rumoi High School. Like last week, I spent my day studying Japanese using the VLJ course. 

Japan Post Office Rumoi Branch

In the afternoon, my wife and I drove to the Japan Post Office Rumoi Branch in the Honcho area of Rumoi City to pick up undelivered mail. 

Grocery at COOP

KitKat Chesnut Flavor

From there, we drove to COOP to buy groceries for the week. That night, when we got back home, we spent the rest of the day discussing and crafting an itinerary for our upcoming long weekend camping trip. It was a bit stressful because according to the weather forecast, there would be rain on the night of August 13 which meant we needed to be indoors for that. However, the problem is that the hotels are mostly fully booked by this time. Regardless, we slept it off hoping that we would have a fresh relaxed mindset tomorrow when we go back to planning.

Day 281: August 9, 2022

Tuesday - Rumoi

Rumoi High School 8/9/2022

It rained hard last night which made the streets wet and the temperature cold. Regardless, I still biked to Rumoi High School as I needed to get back home early today to finalize the itinerary.

As for my work, I helped Matsuda-sensei interview Kouga-san for his entrance exam. What made me happy was that he wanted to be an English teacher in the future. I also used the day to study Japanese and check Matsuda-sensei’s essays for Eiken.

Nomikai with Koucho-sensei, Kyoto-sensei, and some of my co-workers 😊

This sake (Dassai 39) is one of the best I tried so far!

That evening, I was picked up by Itaya-sensei and Matsuda-sensei and we drove to Koucho-sensei’s (principal) place as we were invited for nomikai. Kyoto-sensei (vice principal) will also be coming. My wife prepared adobo for us so I’m confident hanging out with my supervisors. True enough, we had a blast. I got very positive feedback from Adobo. We talked about dozens of work and non-work-related topics until 10PM. I got to know the principal and vice principal personally and was surprised that they were a lot of fun to hang out with. 

Day 282: August 10, 2022

Wednesday - Rumoi

Rumoi High School 8/10/2022

It’s a cloudy Wednesday here in Rumoi City! In the past few days, I spent my time here in Rumoi High School studying Japanese using the VLJ online course. 

I tried this barbershop along Nishi 5 Go Dori for the first time

Here's the haircut price list 😮

After work, I biked to a barbershop near the school. I paid 3100 yen for a haircut. It is expensive alright, but that is the regular price here in Rumoi City. Just to share, the barber recognized me from the newspaper article in Hokkaido Shinbun a few days back. In a way, it was one of my proudest moments here.

When I got back home, my wife and I discussed the itinerary for the road trip, and thankfully we finally finalized the plans.

Day 283: August 11, 2022

Thursday - Yama no Hi (Mountain Day) and Rumoi Fireworks Festival

It’s Yama no Hi or Mountain Day today. It is a non-working holiday here in Japan. Aside from that, the city is also celebrating the Rumoi Fireworks Festival

My wife and I made japchae to bring for the snack later

We spent our morning preparing for our upcoming road trip. We also rested (a lot). More than that, my wife cooked japchae for our snacks at Teacher Kanda’s place before we headed to Rumoi Port for the fireworks festival.

Snacks with Teacher Kanda and Ikuko-san

When we were about to leave, Sasaki-sensei and Yasuda-sensei dropped by to give us several kilos of Jingisukan and other yakiniku meat as gifts. It was such a sweet surprise.

Heading to Rumoi Port

Just a few blocks away

It was a beautiful day. We waited for about half an hour before the start of the Rumoi Fireworks Festival

We got to Teacher Kanda’s place at about 5:30PM and Ikuko-san arrived a few minutes later. We had fun eating and chatting before heading out and walking to Rumoi Port to watch the Rumoi Fireworks Festival

Thank you, Teacher Kanda and Ikuko-san for the amazing time!

We were told that this fireworks festival is the biggest in Rumoi Subprefecture with more than 5500 fireworks that will light up the sky. True enough, the fireworks display was astounding and at times magical. 

Back to Teacher Kanda's place for another round of snacks. Check out this unique dessert.

After the festival, we went back to Teacher Kanda’s house to continue our bonding. We had so much fun and it was already 10 PM when we decided to go back home. 

Thank you for the bring-home watermelon

Overall, today was another one of those core memories that I’m slowly collecting here in Japan. Thanks to Teacher Kanda and Ikuko-san, our day was again fun and memorable. We are looking forward to our subsequent bonding with them. 

Day 284: August 12, 2022

Friday - Drive Up North Day 1

It’s the start of my 5-day summer break which my wife and I dubbed the “Drive Up North” road trip. With my wife at the helm, we aimed to visit as many cities, towns, and villages in Rumoi Subprefecture. Another objective for this trip is to get the roadside station stamps for the Hokkaido Stamp Rally

Driving north via the scenic Ororon Road

First stop: Obira 

We left our home in Rumoi City at around 8AM. We drove northwards via Route 239. Our first stop was in the town of Obira

Here are the places that we visited in Obira:

🐟 Obira Shrine

Obimaru Square

🐟 Obimaru Square

From there, we continued on to the town of Tomamae.

Here are the places that we visited in Tomamae:

Tomamae Bear at Tomamae City Hall

🐻Tomamae Bear at Tomamae City Hall

Tomamae Local Museum

🐻Tomamae Local Museum

The next town was Haboro. However, since we visited it last July 16, 2022 (Weekend 37: Day 257), we decided to skip it and go straight to the next destination instead. That destination is none other than the village of Shosanbetsu.

Here are the places that we visited in Shosanbetsu:

Misakidai Park

Misakidai Park Camping Ground

Misakidai Park

Shosanbetsu Observatory

⭐Shosanbetsu Observatory

Since it was almost lunch, we decided would eat lunch in the next town Embetsu.

Off to Embetsu

Here are the places that we visited in Embetsu:

Gimpo Primeval Flower Garden

📌Gimpo Primeval Flower Garden

Embetsu Shrine main torii

Embetsu Shrine

We stayed a bit in Embetsu to rest before heading to the next and also the last town for the day, Teshio. 

We saw these beautiful ricefields on our way to Teshio 

Here are the places that we visited in Teshio:

Teshio Roadside Station

Teshio Pokemon Manhole Cover

We tried the Teshio soft cream on a granola cone. Yummy!

⾙ Teshio Roadside Station

Kagaminuma Seaside Park Camping Ground

⾙ Kagaminuma Seaside Park Camping Ground

Teshio Onsen Yubae

It's onsen time!

We set up our tent at Kagaminuma Seaside Park Camping Ground and then went to Teshio Onsen Yubae for an evening onsen dip. 

We then bought some bento meals at the nearby Seicomart for dinner. 

Time to call it a night! See you on the next leg of our trip!

Since we were all tired from the long drive, we decided to sleep early so we wrapped up Day 1 of our Drive Up North road trip a little before 9PM. See you on the next leg of our trip guys!

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