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

Day 8 - A day in Furano


View Summer Vacation 2006 on agc_cwm's travel map.

As usual at this hostel, we got up around 07:00, had an onsen ate breakfast and hit the road again. We left while blasting our 'first song of the day' song, "Life is a Highway"; we figured we needed a good Canadian road karma at the start of the day.

This day our plan was to head into Furano, a town that was about 1.5 hours away.

Furano is famous for its fields of lavender. We stopped at a couple really nice spots for Court to take some flower shots; I slept in the car while she was gone!

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At one of the photo spots we stopped at there was a frame and a ledge set up for the best possible shot. You put your camera on the shelf and take a shot through the frame and bam! a postcard worthy shot. This is a very typical Japanese way to do things; it's very efficient. You walk on up put the camera down and you don't have to think about your picture at all.

Once we got into Furano we decided to head to the cheese factory. This was the only reason Courtney wanted to go here. We wandered on up and found that you could go in and make cheese. So that was how we spent our morning, making cheese.

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We were the only non-Japanese people there and the staff was very worried that we were going to burn or ruin our cheese somehow. We were set up around a square counter with four other cheese-making stations. There was a family, with two boys, standing next too us. The youngest boy was too young to make the cheese but he decided he was going to be my best friend. He was always watching me to see what I was doing and went up and watched Courtney as she made her label. He kept trying to ask me things in Japanese, but I couldn't answer them at all. He was cute and came outside the cheese room to wave to us as we left.

Once we made the cheese we bought some other cheese, milk and crackers, and some loaclly made grape juice and had a little picnic outside.

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Near the cheese factory there was a ice milk factory. After lunch we went to check that out and maybe get some ice milk. But, the flavours they had there were things like Green Tea and Sweet Bean Paste. We saw this and decided we would pass on this.

Once we left this parking lot we just headed off, we weren't sure where we were going. While I was driving Court found an ad for some guy that lets you make your pottery. We figured this we be a cool way to spend the afternoon and went on the hunt. We put the phone number for one place into our GPS and continued on our way.

The only problem was when we got to where the GPS said we should go there was no pottery place there. We drove around the block some more, but there was nothing. Unfazed, we moved to plan B: find a different spot to make pottery.

The only problem with this other spot was the GPS didn't even recognize the phone. On our way to the second spot we were on some roads that weren't on the GPS map. However, with some creative map reading and spacial reasoning on my part we found where we wanted to be.

We walked into his studio and the man there was surprised to see us. I don't think he gets too many westerners in his shop (it was in the middle of nowhere). I also think he was even more surprised when we said we wanted to make pottery. Well, we didn't actually say that. He couldn't speak English and we can't speak Japanese, but we managed to get this across.

We went out back and watched him knead the clay a bit, then whip off a bowl a mug and something else all within 5 minutes. Then it was our turn. Court went first and made a bowl and I went second and made a mug. The Japanese man basically watched over us and getting telling us, "Chotto. Slower.", which means "A little. Slower."

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I must say he made this look extremely easy when he made his pottery, but it was hard. It was really hard. It was a good thing that he was there to fix any mistakes we made or to tell us to go slower. This was a fun way to spend the afternoon. We left our masterpieces with him because he had to fire them in his kiln and he is going to send them to us next month. It will be nice to get another souvenir of Hokkaido a month after we get back.

After this we made our way back to the hostel (it was around this point where we decided that cheese and cheese and crackers does not a stomach-settling lunch make ~C). At dinner, we were sitting next to another couple who turned out to be from Waterloo. He was a professor of physics who had a conference in Osaka. He was on sabbatical and they were living in New Zealand for a year. We had a nice chat with them at supper and breakfast the next morning. After this it was time for some cards, an onsen and sleep.
~A

Posted by agc_cwm 00:20 Archived in Japan

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