I can't believe I've already been here in Japan for a year... A year ago in Tokyo at orientation Justin, John and I formed Team Marimo... so we made it a pact to make a pilgrimage out to Lake Akan in Hokkaido which is the birthplace of MARIMOKKORI!!!!
For those of you who forgot, marimokkori is the amazing mascot of Hokkaido. "Marimo" means algae ball in Japanese and "kkori" means a guy's bulge... so yes!!!! Marimokkori is all you thought he would be and more!!! An algae ball with a bulge!!! You can find marimokkori dressed in all sorts of different outfits... as a seal, a squid, a policeman with his pants down, marimokkori swimming in a ramen bowl, climing the TV tower and more...
(you can do a search on my blog for "marimo" to find more posts on him ;-)
The marimo pilgrimage started with a bus ride from Sapporo to Bihoro where we had a farewell party for our dear friend Chris who's sadly leaving us... Patrick gave us a grand show of hula hooping in unicorn rainbow tights....
(farwell chris.... we miss you dearly!!!)
The next morning after a good sleep in, Justin, John, Patrick and I hit the road to Akan National Park!!!!!!! We were soooooo excited to finally meet marimo's family.... Here's his bro snowboarding, his little nephew, his dad and saucy mom ;-)
John and I were the only ones brave enough to try the marimo tea!
I also jumped on the opportunity to dive into a marimo ICE CREAM!!!!
(the marimo ice cream lady was soooo fun too! she would be perfect for a Japanese Hairspray musical!!!)
marimokkori and i were so excited to find a marimo candy ball in our icecream!!! YUM!!!
After I devoured my marimo ice cream we boarded the ferry to go see the marimo algae balls on the lake!!!
Marimokkori LOVED the ferry ride. ;-)
Marimokkori FINALLY reunited with his long lost algae ball.
To remember your trip you can visit one of the trillions of marimokkori souvenir shops!!!
You could even buy marimokkori's girlfriend's "oppais" (aka. boobs.....) in jelly form.
and the dangling key chain was also a best seller. if you press her oppai then she screams YABBAI!!!!! (OH MY!)
Even the dogs in Akan were sporting green marimo hairdoos!!!!!
Also in Akan you can take a foresty walk to visit the..... BOG OF ETERNAL STENCH!!!!!! Sadly David Bowie in tights was nowhere to be found. sniffff..... so Justin and I had to belt out some Labyrinth tunes on our own
we were in search for this mysterious hot stone....... patrick jumped fences to try and find it without luck.... but we later found it right under our feet!
Camping at night! We had a flaming BBQ!!! mmm........
The onsen in Akan is also TO DIE FOR... its absolutely gorgeous and there are free delicious potatoes in the hotel lobby ;-)
On Day 2 for lunch we stopped off in the Ainu village for a taste of some Ainu local fare.
After wiping our tears and saying goodbye to Marimokkori's family... we headed off to Lake Kushiro to meet KUSSIE!!!!! The Japanese Lochness monster!
All around Kussie's lake were bubbling hotsprings.... you could dig a hole in the sand and plop your feet in for a nice hot foot bath ;-)
I was dissapointed by the lack of crazy Kussie souvenirs... but at least you could buy a blow up beetle for your baby to ride!!!!!!!
Since the weather wasn't on our side we decided to head back to Kitami to stay at Justin's for the night.
We stopped on the way back for some DEEEEEEEEELISH monjayaki and okonomiyaki!!! mmm....
What better way to end a trip than a visit to the Abashiri prison?!?!?
For some strange reason I felt like we were getting jipped on the translations....
I also think the prison models were a bit jipped too... (or are all Japanese inmates castrated???)
Not too sure what this guy was up to.
This poor messanger pidgeon has been flying around in circles for YEARS...
I'm still baffled at how none of the prisoners seemed to notice the GIGANTIC bear and deer right next to em!!!
At the Abashiri prison you were even given the opportunity to eat prison food right next to the mannequins....
Instead we headed out to Cape Notoro!!!
What a fab trip out East!!!
I highly recommend everyone to make the pilgrimage out to Akan to meet Marimokkori and his family!!!