Tokyo Damage Report

Japan trip 2: Shikotsu-ko

SUN SEP 4 — LAKE SHIKOTSU

 

Up hella early and tear-ass out of this little ratty tourist trap town (touya). But I have to wait half an hour at the bus stop, and then wait almost a full hour at the train station, all so I can take a train all the fuck the way back to the airport, before going to my destination — a lake just to the east of the town I was just in!! there is no direct route in hokkaido. it took 6 hours to go door-to-door from my house in Tokyo to Hokkaido, it took almost as long (5) to go from one lake in Hokkaido to the next lake over!!! Jesus! This is the thing about this island– there is only one train car and all the cities must share it. On the good side, it is still t-shirt warm in september, and the nature is fresh! In fact, this whole place is so bulging with plants it looks tropical! So lush and dense. Hard to believe that it is all covered with snow half the time. Huh? How the hell do they grow so fast??

Anyway then I get to log bear which is this totally friendly bed and breakfast like a log cabin run by this old dude looking like a Japanese rob wright from nomeansno. Upstairs is the guestrooms which due to the 45 degree angle roof, there exists a 5 ton log right where your head is if you sit up fast in bed ; not the best place for drunks to sleep. Downstairs is a log bar, and this one cd that loops over and over. all the songs sound like the mildly exuberant folk music that happens at the end of a movie when the hero comes of age or overcomes some pitfall.

then I get a map of “tourist attractions” and rent a bike. Well, they call it a bike, but basically it is, jesus, I don’t know what it is. it looks like something made by MacGuyver’s retarded twin brother, out of a q-tip and some manteca. It is without a doubt the worst bike ever. And the place that the guy reccomennded to me is like 15 km away. Whatever, I will do my best. But the thing is, there is only one road, and it is basically a highway. Like, I know every tourist complains about the other tourists, as if we are not part of the problem ourselves. But this is rediculous. How are you supposed to enjoy the nature when literally every 5 seconds is an 18-wheel truck or bus whizzing past your “bike” like 3 feet away? And to make matters worse, the highway is right in the middle of a beautiful forest, WITH NO TRAILS.

Every five seconds, as I breathe exhaust from another truck, I want to go to the forest, but there is no way in. no one thought to build a hiking trail or a bike trail. It is just sitting there, teasing me! Like “nyah nyah, I am beautiful and peaceful and 3 feet away,and you are not allowed in, you are only allowed on this stinking industrial highway.” I get so fucking pissed. I try to take a shortcut, which leads down a gravel road, but even here there are lots of cars, which kick up dust, which I have to breathe for like 20 minutes after they pass. I basically lose it at this point and start yelling GET THE FUCK OFF MY ROAD!!! And HOW DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY CHICKEN WITH A MAN WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO DIE??? I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE, MOTHERFUCKERSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

 

Pleased to report that I won the game of chicken but still I was pretty hysterical. To make matters even worse, I had a stevie wonder song stuck in my head: “isn’t she lovely.” And I loathe stevie wonder to an extent you can barely imagine. And to make matters even worse — the REASON I had this song stuck in my head is that the cadence of my own hysterical weeping for some reason came out sounding like the chorus to that song. Jesus fucking christ man.

Anyway I give up and go back to the bed and breakfast, and then find another place to hike, which is only 1 km away. It turns out to be hella peaceful and fun mountain hike. But of course I wasted so much time on the bike/hysteria that it got dark before I could get to the top. Which is too bad, because the top had hella crazy science apparattuses on it. Actually, because of all the volcanoes around here that need measuring, pretty much you can’t throw a rock in Hokkaido without hitting a damn science apparatus.

for example, in the middle of forest, BEHOLD– science treehouse!

anyway, the point is, i could not make it to the top. . . If only I had rolled with this hike from the beginning! Why did I listen to the dude’s recommendation??? Shit, man. That is the thing about travel. By the time you learn how to overcome the pitfalls of a given place, you are out of there and never coming back, and never get to make use of that information. It would be great if someone were to write a book, some kind of book that would talk about what places are good and what places are bad, and what to watch out for. Because that would be hella more helpful than this damn lonely planet guidebook.

 

also interesting and fucked — the japanese construction industry, as i have said before, is out of control. consider thse hosues — compared to Tokyo’s cramped houses, which typically overlook the wall of the next house 3 inches away, these guys have the best damn view in the country!!! volcanoes, pristine lakes and clear sky. so what do the construction motherfuckers do? build a power line DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING WINDOW.

and again here!! (bad photoshop montage sorry)

jesus fucking christ!!!

Ok, so after dinner I went to this little tourist island next to the hotels which for some reason is totally deserted at night, which is dumb because it is fucking beautiful. Drank some whiskey and listened to missy elliot and opeth. checked out the lights on the far side of the lake. Also the lights of the bridge are orange, and reflected in the rippling lake water they look like parallel flames and it was hypnotic. Laughed at her silly lyrics and drank more and just felt fucking excellent. Also, for the first time in a long time I can actually look up and see THE SKY!!! So I am staying at LOG BEAR, and The first constellation I see of course is ursa major, the great bear. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.

the bridge–

 

also they had some dope arachnids there —

 

MONDAY SEP 5 – LAKE SHIKOTSU

Pretty much nonstop awesomeness. I climb the volcano for an hour . On top was a stupendous view — one side was ocean, one side was endless forest, one side was FUCKING VOLCANO MAN.

oh plus, MORE SCIENCE APPARATTUSES!!!

You could hike across maybe 1 km of rubble and actually peer into one of the side vents, and look up at Mt. Doom! The big volcano hole had hella crows flying around it for extra evil points. The side vent was cool because it also had a crazy slap-back echo, that was pretty fun.

PLUS, volcano rocks are no joke. all looking like super rock-cows.

Also there were these pathetic few die-hard semis. Semis are like these noisy little bugs that live for one month in the summer, and make crazy noise to attract a mate. How would you like it if someone told you, ok you have one month to find a mate and then you die. . .. OH AND YOU HAVE TO FIND HER INSIDE A FUCKING VOLCANO. YOU LIKE THAT? YOU LIKE THAT, DON JUAN??? That is just the saddest thing in the world.

All on their last legs , still chirping away.

also, apparently cell phones do not work inside volcanos (that’s the kanji in the upper left hand corner, saying "sorry kid, no reception"). I am going to launch my OWN line of designer VOLCANO-FONES that ONLY work inside active volcanoes, and make a mint.

Shit, my phones would not even need reception either. no matter who you dial, you just get the same recording, James Earl Jones yelling *"YOURE IN A FUCKING VOLCANO MAN, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING???? GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE AND STOP CALLING ME!"

Anyway after 4.5 hours of hiking and vent-peering I go to moss gorge. Moss gorge is awesome — this totally narrow valley filled with 20 kinds of moss. I guess it was formed by lava cascading through the earth 170 years ago. But just a few years ago some nameless beuracrat declared it off-limits, so, after traveling 15 km, you can get within spitting distance of it, and then not actually go in. that is how lame, again? oh yeah, FUCKING. . Also they even had a guard! I made up my mind to double back through the forest, make my own trail, and find a back way into the moss gorge. This went better than I expected – after 50 meters, I actually found a logging road that was going that direction. But it all went to hell when I saw a bear. Just a cub. But if there is a cub, that means Mama Bear is around, and pretty much there is no bear more pissed than Mama Bear protecting Baby Bear. So I bailed, sorry to say.

Too slow to photograph the bear, but here is the scene where it was. . . . doh.

 


japan page 1 — touya

japan page 2 —shikotsuko

japan page 3 — shirogane

japan page 4 – biei

japan page 5 – asahidake

japan page 6- tazawa lake and nyuto onsen

japan page 7 – miyako festival

japan page 7 and a half – miyako beach

japan page 8 – kinkasan

japan page 9 – osaka

japan page 10 – texture photos, can you guess what they are of?


japan page 1 — touya

japan page 2 —shikotsuko

japan page 3 — shirogane

japan page 4 – biei

japan page 5 – asahidake

japan page 6- tazawa lake and nyuto onsen

japan page 7 – miyako festival

japan page 7 and a half – miyako beach

japan page 8 – kinkasan

japan page 9 – osaka

japan page 10 – texture photos, can you guess what they are of?

japan page 11- engrish! (hokkaido edition!)

 

No comments

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a reply

Mexico