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Escaping the city heat (better known as summer vacation) IV

Day 5 - Rebun Island


View Summer Vacation 2006 on agc_cwm's travel map.

We got up nice and early to check out of the hostel. The staff member here drove us down to the ferry at 8:00 and we caught the 9:45 to Rebun.

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This is us waiting for the ferry to leave Rishiri.

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We didn't call to confirm our reservation at this hostel, all we knew was that we had to look for a guy with a flag screaming something. We eventually found him when we got off the ferry.

He loaded our gear into the van, but before we good go anywhere we had to yell something. I forget what it was, but the van wasn't moving before we were really loud. There was us and a middle aged Japanese Salary man. I don't think the Japanese man was too impressed with what was going on.

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On our trip to the Hostel we stopped and picked up another staff member. Luckily, he could speak a fair amount of English. Unluckily he was crazier than the first guy. Once again before we left we had to yell again. He also taught us that we had to yell, "Tadaima!" whenever we came back to the Hostel (This means, "I'm home!").

It was about a 15 mintue drive to the Hostel. On Rebun there is a road that goes from one of the end of the island to the other on one side. The Hostel was on the side without the road.

When we arrived at the hostel we had to stand at the door and yell,"Tadaima!". When we opened the door all the other staff members were kneeling on the floor yelling and banging on drums or anything else they had that makes a lot of noise. It was a nice way to enter a hostel.

We checked in, found our bunks, learned the rules. We also found out that this side of the island, basically the youth hostel, is 30 minutes ahead of the other side of the island and the rest of Japan. I suppose it's sort of like Newfoundland, but Japanesier. We do not know what the reason is for this, other than to be different.

We had purchased breakfast and supper, but we were on our own for lunch. Some of the staff member's run a cafe up the hill from the hostel, called Ben and Joe's. We decided to head up there. Actually, we were forced to go there because there was no where else.

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We went in, took our shoes off and sat on the floor next to our table and relaxed. The locals also got a big kick out of us when I was reading the menu and someone came up an asked us, "Wakaremasenka?" ("Do you understand?") and I said "Sort of". It made us feel good knowing that we are always provide entertainment wherever we go.

We sat there for a while relaxing and waiting for our food, Court tried an origami pattern they had. It didn't work out that well because it was only written in Japanese, but she did well with this severe handicap. While we were sitting there we met another Japanese guy that could speak English. He quit his job and drove his motorbike up from Tokyo and was touring around Hokkaido. He took on the task of translating for us throughout the rest of our stay.

Once we left there we debated the hike on Flower road, which was a 4 or 5 hour hike with some spectacular views of flowers and the ocean. We heard we missed the prime flower season and people who finished it said they couldn't see anything because of the fog. We decided we'd pass on this hike and we wandered into town.

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It was about an hour hike in to town. Once we got there we poked around at all the souvenir shops and I was amazed by the amount of crap that you can buy.

Once we wandered around town we decided to take the bus back and not hike back up and over the mountain. I told the bus driver the wrong spot so he let us off earlier than what we wanted. We got off where we suggested and we had to start walking down the road. However, the bus had already gone down to the next stop turned around and was coming back. When the bus driver saw us again he stopped to make sure that we were ok. I suppose this was nice of him.

On our hike we passed this box. In this box there were bags of sand and salt. The hill was extremely steep so we figured these boxes were for the winter so people can actually get up the mountain. I think it is a great idea!

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We made it back in time for supper and to have a bath. Supper was a typical Japanese meal, rice, miso soup, fish, tea and some melon or fruit for dessert. Needless to say we both lost weight while we were travelling. I also know why Japanese people love sweets so much, there is no sugar in their regular meals at all.

After supper the hostel staff started a sort of campfire, i.e. a campfire without the actual fire because it was inside the hostel. The staff came out and sang songs, did some skits and generally acted stupid. We had our interpreter that kept us informed of what was going on which was a big bonus. Even though we had no idea what was going on it was a lot of fun. The only time we did know what was happening was when we recognized the theme song from Astro Boy being sung in Japanese.

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This finished up at 22:00 local time (21:30 the rest of Japan time) and lights out was at 22:30 local time. We all just hung out for 20 minutes or so then they start playing this music, basically it was the 'go to bed' music. As soon as the music came on everyone stopped what they were doing and headed towards their bed. It was quite impressive to see. The music finished exactly at 22:30 and that is when they turned the lights out. Wake up was at 06:30 and the wake up music came on at 06:30. We had enough time to pack our stuff and have breakfast before there was the going away ceremony.

At 07:00 there was a going away ceremony. Basically all the staff and the people that were staying came outside sang a song and cheered as we all walked away. We had to hike into town to catch the ferry. The hostel staff did drive all of our bags to the ferry terminal. We thought that they would stop cheering after a minute or two but they kept cheering until we were well out of sight. It was actually pretty impressive.

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It took us about an hour to get to town when we got there we got right in line so that we could try to get a space on the floor to sleep. We managed to get on the ferry and find some floor space, but just as we were sitting down the other people from the hostel came and got as and asked us to come up front. Which we did. All the people from the hostel and the people that just arrived were standing on the dock singing and waving goodbye. The problem was that as soon as we stood up some sat down in our spot. Courtney was not too happy (Note: to say 'not too happy' is putting it mildly ~C) at losing our sleeping spot. It was too early and she just wanted to sleep.

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Other than this the ferry ride was uneventful.
~A

Posted by agc_cwm 20:55 Archived in Japan

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