No Cranes On Demand

DSC00595

Prepare yourself for an onslaught of Japanese adventures. We’ve been ashore every day, with no breaks, and I’m way behind. I’m going to try to do a rapid-fire catch-up on the last few days, which have been pretty amazing. This was my first Japanese sunrise.

DSC00602

This was what I first saw coming into Kushiro in the early morning. Like every Japanese port it’s protected by a series of low sea walls.

DSC00607

As it turns out, there’s always food awaiting us on the dock, as if the cruise ship were starving us. This, for the donut-minded among you, was one of Kushiro’s offerings. I didn’t try them, but the area around the cart selling them smelled really good.

DSC00608.JPG

A small group of us piled into a van and headed north, up toward Hokkaido’s Lake Akan. Our first stop was the International Crane Center, where, disappointingly, we were about a month too early to see flocks of red crowned cranes in the wild.

DSC00609

DSC00622

Instead, the center showed us a few lonely-looking cranes in captivity,

DSC00612

DSC00625

as well as teaching us about the habits and life cycle of the supremely elegant birds.

DSC00627

DSC00628

Our next stop was a roadside rest station, where delicious snacks were available. I love Japanese food, so I was in heaven here. A kabocha fritter and crunchy wakame and sesame snacks made a fine lunch for me.

DSC00630

DSC00631

Next we went to see Ainu dancing and singing. The Ainu are the aboriginal people of northern Japan, and apparently here in Hokkaido is the only place where they have a distinct cultural, as opposed to assimilated, presence. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside or during the performance, but the theater building was beautiful and the performance was interesting.

DSC00634.JPG

DSC00637

It’s already autumn in Hokkaido, and so beautiful in the countryside. Doesn’t this look just like Japan should look?

DSC00655

DSC00647

The town of Kushiro itself, though, is absolutely unappealing, at least what we were able to see of it.

DSC00661

 

DSC00658

DSC00675The townspeople came and put on a wonderful sailaway show on the pier for us, featuring these taiko drummers, seen here from high up on my balcony.

DSC00657

Kushiro’s sunset was spectacular. That’s our ship, in the golden light.

DSC00686

We were in port with the Pacific Venus, the second-largest Japanese flag cruise ship. Here the pilot boat guides us out past her, and onward toward Yokohama.

 

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Cruising

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

2 Comments on “No Cranes On Demand”

  1. Sheldon Says:

    The countryside of Hokkaido is exquisite.

  2. Katherine Says:

    thank you for letting us travel with you


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: