Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Hokkaido Train Tour (June 1 - 7): 3. Obihiro

The skies were so clear the next morning in Kushiro that I feel I should post a couple of shots from the hotel window... Same view really, but one closer up so you can see the mountains. Everywhere I go here, there are mountains in sight.

Train ride...
It says, "Kushiro."

Train spotters.

Men at work.


I saw lots of people on the trip like this guy, out harvesting. What they were after, I don't know.

New travelers.

Someone leaving us.

The engineer's view.

The region around Obihiro is wine and cattle country.


My hotel. It is very comforting to be able to see my hotel from the train.

It says, "Obihiro."
The walk-around...

Obihiro is the only inland city that I visited on this train tour. It is wine and cattle country. The only reason I went there was because of the train schedules. I don't remember the specifics, but somehow to get to Nemuro I had to go make a connection in Kushiro, but didn't want to stay in Kushiro two nights since I wanted to take as full advantage of the pass as possible. That meant moving everyday. Obihiro made the most geographic sense. It turned out to be a good choice. There was a real different feel there, as you might expect. It struck me as a meaner, less laid-back town. It was the town where I most had the feeling, "I don't want to be walking around here too late into the night." In general, I think it is easy to have a false sense of security on the streets of Japan at night. People say you don't have to worry, but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. A couple of folks have told me to be careful who were not talking about tight train schedules.

In Hokkaido there are lots of symbols that are also associated with King David, most of them being of the six-pointed star variety.

Public art at the train station.

A very rare sight in Japan, a vegetarian restaurant.

The poster says "Veggy," but there are photos of meat on it. It is cow country. (Please forgive the landscape orientation, no matter what I do, it uploads that way.)

Lots of pedestrian walkways like this. Each kiosk is a restaurant that will hold no more than 10 people.

I would have been interested to hear this choir, but the dates didn't line-up.

Wine country.

A party-hardy town. I had hoped to come back by after dark to shot it when lighted, but it was not to be.

Cowboys and cowgirls.

Then this bridge appeared.

The riverside park.

Local fauna.

One of Obihiro's three rivers. 

Monuments for graves.

Monuments, probably not for graves.
I walked a very long way in one direction in Obihiro. Rain was threatening there too. I took a bus back to the station. I cannot stress too strongly what a huge decision it is to take a bus in these cities. You just don't know where the damn thing is going to end up. I take pictures of bus signs along my wandering ways so I can show the bus drivers, since I really can't talk to them.

Here's a thing about the buses here - they all seem to be manual transmissions. It has been a while since I've ridden a bus in the U.S., but manual transmissions are not what I remember.
View from my room at night.

Dinner was the opposite problem here as opposed to Kushiro - many, many choices. The main criteria was flesh from ungulate mammals. Even that took a bit of doing because the place was full of restaurants serving fish. I managed.

Vegetable 1- a token effort.

Vegetable 2- a token effort.

Meat 1 - cow.

Meat 2 - cow.

Meat 2 - pig.

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