When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hokkaido Trip
Day 2 (13/12) - Lunch, Mount Showa, Bear Farm
(Part 2)

The tour was not bad, with good pacing (there was even slightly too much time at a few places). Tours of Central Japan are apparently extremely rushed though. We also had only one Chinese meal (Chinese Singaporeans must not mind Jap food).

Are menstruating women allowed into Japanese onsens (hot springs)? They'd still leak, even with tampons. And the heat might cause relaxation, which would cause them to drop out.

[MFTTW: tampons most certainly do not leak in the shower or bath. and do not fall out. tha'ts like saying if big-sized women had sex with men with small penises their penises would keep falling out.

40 degrees is 3 degrees higher than body temp
are you saying that when women have fevers their cervixes relax

the reason why i am saying so is because someone i know went to teh hot spring with a tampon on. and it was perfectly fine.

anyway my friend in sec sch used to go swimming without a tampon even when she had her period. and it doesn't leak.

tsk tsk
........... men.

so ignorant towards the details of female plumbing]

[MFM: I am told that the reason why unplugged vaginas don't leak in the pool is because the water pressure keeps everything in. However, swimmers have to make a quick dash for the bathroom when they get out of the water.]

At all the Japanese meals provided by the tour company, we got red tea instead of green tea. I'm quite sure it's because it's cheaper.

We then went for lunch, which was steamboat. Unfortunately we had to buy a crab ourselves, as it was not included (MFTTW: man you got gypped lah. don't always go for the cheapest packages lahhh @@), and other tables got things like scallop.


Octopus tentacles and salmon

Live crabs

Crab showcase

Me and the crab we were about to eat

I'm betting this is the original crabstick

'In a kitchen. I am prohibited from an entrance besides the person concerned'
I wonder if the Korean is as mangled

Steamboat spread
It was mostly vegetables. The stock was also very strong, reminding us of who invented MSG (my father felt extremely uncomfortable later)

Crab claws. They were disgusting raw, like all sashimi.

I got my butt wet doing these dumb poses.

We next went to Mount Showa, an active volcano which formed in an eruption in 1943.

Mount Showa

Snowmen someone from another tour group made

There was a Bear Farm there.

Bear Cubs

Biscuits were 100 Yen a pack, and apples 200 Yen for a pack of 3-4. I got one of the former.

Bear feeding
This is the only movie in which I successfully throw a biscuit into a bear's waiting mouth. I did it a few times which weren't recorded, though. Holding a camera impedes your throwing skills.

Bears begging and fighting

Bears waving

Missed biscuit

On two legs


Missed (2)

Missed (3)

Missed (4)

We could go down to their level, but unfortunately the view wasn't very good from there.

Through grille

Missed (5)

At play


Cubs running


Snow-covered mountains

I had some Yubari Melon soft serve. I also saw Milk soft serve for the first time. They must be really proud of their milk.

"SUNTORY BOSS is the boss of them all since 1992"
I prefer: "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time"

A different light

"It only takes fingers to throw it away. It takes the whole body to clean up." (Cigarette disposal sign)

The hotel we went to for the night employed a lot of PRCs. Given how much the PRCs hate Japan, these must've been kidnapped from the mainland.

[Disinfected toilet bowl sign] "Please don't throw this paper in to the stool"
They must have a lot of PRCs at the hotel
"The only good ideas are the ones I can take credit for." - R. Stevens


After going to Japan, I can appreciate this better: the Japs seem to talk a lot but not actually say a lot.
Hokkaido Trip
Day 2 (13/12) - Edo Wonderland
(Part 1)

Seen on a hair-dryer in the room toilet: 'Please do not use for the other purpose except for drying your hair'. I wonder what the other purpose is. Damn Japs.

Part of the bathroom mirror was heated, so it didn't fog up.

I only saw Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) tourists in Hokkaido, and most signs, if subtitled, were only in those languages (if they didn't have enough space they had English and Japanese only).

At breakfast one guy brought a metal flask to the buffet table and starting scooping porridge into it. Probably a PRC.

The first stop of the day was the Noboribetsu Date Jidai Mura (Edo Wonderland) - a theme park recreating a town during the Edo period. Surprisingly, given the lack of non-CJK tourists, the signs and pamphlets were almost all in English as well as Japanese. Unfortunately the staff were not similarly competent, and the shows were only in Japanese.

We had a form of snow this morning, but it wasn't the good type, rather being the styrofoam ball type of snow.

Staff at the entrance

For some reason I only saw a couple of stray pussies, but no stray dogs in Japan

'The popular souvenir shop for foreigners' - Read: ripoff. I wonder where the popular souvenir shop for locals was.

'Splendor. Vitality. Daring.
A step into Noboribetsu Date Jidai Mura is a step back in time to the glorious days of the Edo period.
This theme park is a timeless world where you can relive one of the most exciting eras in Japanese history through costumes, martial arts and entertainments. The spacious grounds recreate the sights and sounds of the Date fiefdom, the largest in Northern Japan. Let yourself drift back to a more relaxing, exotic time as you stroll along with samurai and townspeople down streets lined with reproductions of traditional buildings'
Yes, and peasants ran the risk of being beheaded by irate Samurai. Relaxing indeed.

There was a Ninja House, with things like floors tilted 45 degrees (which were surprisingly disorienting):

Shitting ninja

Ancient auto-door. I've always wanted one of these.

Haunted house (it sucked. the other one was better)

Then it was a Ninja Show (wordless, thankfully):


Ninja ritual

Ninja ritual

Ninja sparring preliminaries

Ninja sparring

Stick sparring

Ninja sparring with swords

Reflexes test



Flashing combat

Curtain call, and the audience tries to kill them by throwing projectiles at high speed (it was a custom during the era to wrap coins in white paper and throw them at the stage if the performance was good)

The ninja show showcased a lot of hidden compartments (the altar could slide aside, the ceiling became a staircase, walls were actually swivelling doors etc), but these were used too quickly for me to capture.

Temple dedicated to the stupid cat

The temple was a haunted house in disguise.

Proof that cats are evil

Proof that cats are evil

Skewering evil cats

Presumably the stones are to walk across the stream, so why did they block off access to them?

No Wonderland is complete without cigarettes

Then it was the Geisha show.

Geisha show

The Geisha show wasn't that good, unfortunately, not least since it was all in Japanese (with occasional Korean and Mandarin translations by tour guides). It was also like a Jap variety show, with all the shouting and screaming. I don't think they were like that in Ancient times.

Museum. They had some swords there, as well as a wacky video which featured mascots in suits beating up ninjas

Pond outside museum

Unused mascot suit. I don't know where the man was.

"Spirit of Samurai
The fighting instinct of a human being is universal and natural.
Japanese tried to control and manage this rough instinct of a human being.
This is called ‘bushido’.
Once, it controlled and gave energy to the Japanese society and made the Japanese realize something holy hidden behind.
Even though the feudal system has vanished nowadays, ‘bushido’ still exist within the Japanese people’s heart and those who embody are called 'samurai'.
The reason why ‘bushido’ is said to be the unique Japanese idea is because it was strongly influenced by Zen and Confucianism.
There were various types of samurai according to the times and also because ‘bushido’ was influenced by two different schools of thought of those periods. Therefore both Tokugawa Ieyasu who was known as a patient man,
and Miyamoto Musashi who lived to fight are called samurai
The two have nothing in common with each other’s life.
The only common they had might be their soul... the spirit of samurai.
- Ryoichi Yuki"

Prayer wheel

Watch tower (for fire), and buildings


There was a recreation of the artisan area (?) of a village:




Fire tower


The place wasn't all like Disneyland - there were exhibits (like the one on Samurai swords), and also one on ninjas:

Various types of Shuriken

Ninja tools. Besides black costumes, they also had brown, yellow-red and dark blue. Surprisingly, brown worked best in the dark.


Their staff. They're very proud of them. They even included their birthdays and blood types.

Chocolates featuring their mascot

One-eyed Samurai
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