Niigata

After 2 monster days we deserved a rest day of doing laundry and shopping for DBH cards. We strolled around Bandai Bridge but didn’t find any Digimon or Yu-Gi-Oh cards unfortunately. Ross had organised to meet up with some Niigata locals, which he found through a Meetup event in Tokyo (Chihiro + 1) and through Couchsurfing (Hana). We decided on going to a local Izakaya which had a Meiji period theme. The theme was great, the food was delicious and it was all very cheap! The place is called Hanbey, and they have multiple locations throughout Japan.

http://www.hanbey.com

We were all having fun chatting but the real fun started when they ordered the ‘Oppai Ice’ (Boob icecream). But this isn’t what you would usually expect, they were actually just condoms filled with soft serve ice cream. Here’s Carl giving one a go.

The double!

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We departed shortly after the Oppai Ice which left Ross in tears with all the ripper un-intentional jokes going around. The girls ended up using the change to buy us some old fashion snacks. And I’m not sorry, but that Yocchan ヨッチャン one tasted like cat biscuits. Sorry but Australian nostalgic sweets are better: fizzers, dip sticks, fish sticks (for Carl).

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The next day we departed for Kakuda Cape, south of Niigata City. We were set on finding a park full of dinosaur and artsy hedges, but apparently they are only there in October or something, whoops. A little disgruntled we ended up having some lunch at the newfound best conbini (convenience store) in Japan, ‘Ohayo’ (Mornin’). It was so good we both went back in 3 times to buy more. Including the infamous but illusive block cake, still to this day we haven’t been able to find this gem anywhere else.

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We ended up at the cape (角田岬) and went for a hike around the area and explored the fishing paradise of Niigata.

Deciding 50kms wasn’t enough for a single day, we set course back north to get a head start on tomorrow’s trip up to Yamagata prefecture where we saw some amazing sunsets and set up camp in a random coastal park on the south side of Niigata City and watch it set.

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Setting off early the next morning before too many walking locals peeped in on 2 boys 1 tent, we set along Japan’s beautiful North Western coast, not dissimilar to Australia’s Great Ocean Road. We decided to stop at a campsite roughly 80kms away from our starting point. Upon realising that the campsite was still closed and not open until summer, we noticed a couple having a BBQ in the distance waving us down, so we set off to go greet them. They were a relatively newlywed couple and their names were Takuya (卓也) and Yuuki (有希). Apparently it’s been Takuya’s dream to speak to some foreign people and seems like today was his lucky day. He had food and beer, we were foreign and can struggle through some Japanese conversation. 運命だった (It was destiny) and to be honest I (Ross) was absolutely stinging for a beer. Even though we had only been talking for a few minutes they decided we needed for food, so left us to guard the BBQ equipment and food while they went to buy some more from the nearest supermarket 10kms away.

Once the sun had set, they asked what we were going to do for showers. Carl promptly answered by pointing at the ocean and saying “that looks pretty good”. They both looked horrified and insisted on driving us to the nearest onsen which we happily obliged. All in all a great day and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

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