During my trip to Japan last week, I visited one of the oldest national park in Hokkaido; Akan National Park. It's an area of volcanic craters and forests which was established in 1934.
There were some places that I visited in the area, the first one was Iozan, the sulphur mountain. When I was on the way to the mountain, I saw very thick smoke from afar and I thought: "Whoa! that mountain is burning!". Of course it's not, the smoke comes from the steaming sulphurous vents in Iozan. As soon as I got off the bus, my nose catch the unpleasant smell from the mountain. And the closer I walked into the mountain, the smell was getting more and more intense. It smells like a rotten egg. Or even worse it smells like someone who ate a rotten egg and fart non stop. Yuck ! Okay, let's not discuss it in any further detail. I was kinda glad that my nose was frozen because of the cold weather :p
|Iozan the Sulphur Mountain|
|hold your breath and smile :)|
Then I made a quick stop in lake Kussharo because there were a lot of beautiful white swans swimming gracefully in the frozen lake. They will come close to you when you have food in your hand. The swans were really hungry, they will eat anything from bread, pop corn, and chips. But they can be quite aggressive too. I saw a kid was crying and running frantically because one swan was trying to eat a candy on his hand. I was laughing when suddenly the swan decided to chase me. Geesh ! no offence, Odette !
|Odette the angry swan :p|
|saw a lot of this beautiful deer during my road trip|
|an Ezo deer passing by|
Next stop is lake Mashu, one of the world's clearest, most transparent lakes. It is a caldera lake lying 315 meters above sea level, born from the fires of a massive volcanic eruption nearly 7,000 years ago. The lake is known for the mist and fog that often forms here, and as its name in the Ainu language, “Kamuy-tou” ("Lake of the Gods"), implies, it presents a stately and mysterious atmosphere.
There's one interesting story about lake Mashu, since it has an image of being "always covered in fog, and only sunny once in a blue moon." Because of this, it's said that those who see the lake when it's sunny and without fog will either not be able to marry until later in life, break up with a loved one if with that person at the time, or be unable to advance their career, and therefore jinxed. Phew! Glad it was foggy when I was there, hehehe :p
|see! it's foggy, right ?|
|with my twin sista :p|
It was getting dark so I headed to my hotel in Lake Akan to have dinner. I had a traditional multi course Japanese dinner, called Kaiseki. So basically it's like a Japanese style fine dining. All the food is prepared carefully and presented on plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the taste. Before entering the dining room, everyone has to take off their shoes. Then we all sit on a low chair and everyone get their own table with 10 kind of assorted dishes
|those are all mine|
It was a lovely new dining experience for me. I was enjoying my food when the waitress preparing another dish for us. I took a glimpse of it and thinking "Oh, they are going to serve sashimi (very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces) for us". While I'm not a fan of raw meat, usually I don't mind to taste a bite or two. Then suddenly I catch a movement from the fish." OMG! is the fish still alive?" I asked the waitress. She smile very sweet and nodding, "Yes, miss. It's Ikizukuri" That means the preparation of sashimi made from live seafood and it is consumed while still alive. And just like that, I lost my appetite. How can I eat the meat while the fish is still breathing, wiggling and staring at me? I put my chopsticks down and staring blankly. I feel like crying at that moment. I was imagining that someone is mutilating my body while I'm still conscious. Feeling the pain from the knife slicing off my skin into the flesh *shudders*
|believe me, this fish is still alive and wiggling at this point :(|
Feeling brokenhearted, I left the dining room and decided to stroll along the street in front of the hotel. There are numerous of shops selling traditional Ainu handmade souvenirs made from wood. I also watched a fireworks above the frozen lake Akan which is presented every night at 8 during the Ice Festival. It was pretty, as I need something to take my thought away from the poor fish.
|one of the souvenir shops|
FREEBIES time !!!
I've bought some sweets from Japan for you. Kit Kat Green Tea, Kit Kat Sakura, Kit Kat Strawberry, etc.
How to get them ? Just follow this 3 steps below. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy ! :D
1. Follow my twitter @twitdebbzie and "like" the Facebook page, My Time Capsule
2. Tweet this: Freebies! Kit Kat from Japan for you. Let's join http://www.debbzie.com/2013/02/hokkaido-akan-national-park.html via @twitdebbzie
3. Leave your email address and your twitter name on the comment box below
|this is for you !!!|
Closing date will be on 28 February 2013. The winners will be drawn at random and be contacted via email. So hurry up ! Good luck ! (closed)