June 24, 2016
Today was my first full day in Japan! Still jet-lagged, I woke up around 3:30am Japan time and wandered into Sapporo city looking for something to eat. I fell asleep last night just after getting to the hotel, and my last meal had been on the plane from Taipei to Japan around 10:30am yesterday morning. Needless to say, I was absolutely starving. Of course, no restaurant was open that early in the morning, but I eventually stumbled upon a 7-11 which had cheap sushi and rice balls. I found an old, overgrown park nearby and sat down to eat. By this time, it was around 6 or so and an old woman on a morning stroll walked by with her little pet corgi. As soon as I saw the dog, I jumped up and went over to the pair. I said good morning to the woman and then leaned over to play with the dog. I told the woman that he was very cute, and then thanked her for letting me pet him.
After breakfast, I took a bus back to the Airport to catch my ride to Obihiro city. I decided to take a bus this time instead of another taxi because (as I painfully realized yesterday,) Sapporo city is over an hour away from the airport. So instead of having to pay over $100 for another taxi ride, I hopped on a bus instead and found myself only $10 short.
Once I got to Obihiro city, I had to catch another bus to a city about an hour and a half away called Honbetsu. Buying a ticket for that bus proved to be quite an ordeal because I was trying to explain to the woman behind the ticket booth that I needed a ride to Honbetsu, but she only spoke very broken English, and my Japanese was no better off. After a while of confusion, however, she was finally able to figure out what I was talking about and I got my ticket. However, another problem arose when I arrived at Honbetsu. The bus I rode made about 20 or 30 stops along the way, so I had to listen to the announcements to make sure I got off at the right stop. Because of this, I had to rush up to the front a few times to show the bus driver my ticket and ask him if I was at the right stop or not. By the end of the trip, I think I was his least favorite customer.
Finally, after nearly two hours, I arrived at my stop and got off at the bus station. Five minutes later, the old farmer pulled up in his old, dark blue van – head full of white dreads and a wide smile on his face. It took another hour to get to the farm. Once I got there, I was greeted by my host’s wife, Konomi, and their two apprentices. We all ate dinner together and stayed up late talking before rolling out my dusty, moldy futon and falling asleep.