Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Abashiri is located on the east coast of Hokkaido. It is famous for prison museum, drift ice and scallops. On a clear day, one can see Okhotsk Sea and Sakhalin Island from its bay.
Abashiri is a small town but surrounded by majestic mountains and is within a few hours drive from the famous Shiretoko Peninsula (from Ainu language The End of the World Peninsula) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My host was a 31 year old Japanese woman. I was introduced to her through another couchsurfer and was looking forward to meeting her because of her background. She is a very unique person. Living in the modern age, she decided to preserve Japanese culture and tradition and is learning how to make and wear Kimono, perform Green Tea Ceremony, apply Reiki and practice Kyudo. She is also very athletic and has hiked many mountains in her area. On top of that, she has traveled to many countries and keeps an open mind when meeting new people. All these traits are very unique for a modern Japanese person.

My first evening in Abashiri was spent watching her perform Green Tea Ceremony. During the lesson, she translated everything that was going on in the room and taught me how to properly drink the tea. It was amazing to watch how delicate and detailed the ceremony is. It is truly a fine art. To become a professional ceremony host takes many years. My host looked wonderful. Wearing a beautiful thin kimono designed with small print, she was humble and graceful. She was a sight to see.

The next day I was able to watch her practice Kyudo. The movement of the archer is flowing. There are no angles; only perfect curves. It’s slow and beautiful. Bow; move into the position; place two arrows at the feet; take two arrows into hands; snap them gently between fingers; pause; breath; relax; concentrate; place one arrow in the bow; stand still; raise hands high above the head and slowly bring the arrow down into the eye’s view; breath; breath; breath; pull back the bowstring; pause; let universe’ energy fill you. Let go.

The following day my host took me to the Shiretoko Peninsula. We drove around half of the peninsula. Watching deer and foxes. Seagulls and salmon. Waterfalls and lakes; Mountains and trails. Shiretoko is very beautiful. Of course we ended the day with an onsen with a beautiful view of the sunset.


  1. These are GORGEOUS photos, and the writing is terrific. Keep 'em coming.

  2. WHen do we get to see you in a Kimono? Lol Heidi

  3. great pic's. i want to do kyudo, too. after the house build!!