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Family Vacation 2010 [Part 1]

by Nozomi

sapporo-hokkaido-summer-2010 - 101.jpgWell, it kind of feels strange writing about a family vacation when we are in the process of sending out a huge appeal for more support for our ministry. Let me just explain quickly that this actually was our very first "extended" (6 days) getaway we have had since moving to Japan, and yes, we were careful to get the best deals online:)

With that out of the way, we'd like to tell you that we had a wonderful time! We went to Hokkaido, which is the top part of the islands of Japan. Rather than just taking a 1-1/2 hour plane ride there, I thought that the kids would get a kick out of going there by ferry boat! It sounds easy enough, right? But traveling is never easy here in Japan:)

We left on a rainy morning in Tokyo, so we wrapped our suitcases in plastic bags, got our umbrellas, and walked to the train station for 20 minutes. (I laughed in Ellie's face when she turned to me after 10 minutes to tell me she was tired!) We took 2 trains to get to Tokyo station, which took about 45 minutes. From there, we got on a 2 hour highway bus. After that, we got on another 30 minute bus to get to the port of Oarai. From there, we got on the boat which took 16 hours. We arrived in Tomakomai the next afternoon, just in time to get on another 2 hour highway bus ride to Sapporo, our final destination. Well, sort of, cause from there, we had to get on a subway train to get to the station where we were staying, then walked with our luggage to a guest room of a Baptist church. Whew!

Let me back up to the boat ride. It was called the Sunflower, and this was truly the highlight of the trip for Zack and Ellie. They were coming out of their skins with excitement, and could not contain their giggles and bounciness as we boarded.

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Our little room had 2 bunk beds and a large window onverlooking the water. We were thrilled to see a family of dolphins jumping out just when we were all looking out the window!

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We enjoyed a dinner buffet that evening, and looked around the ship a bit...there was a small movie room, a couple of game rooms, a lounge, a public bath where you could bathe looking out at the ocean...but I passed on that. I would have gotten nauseous by the waves in the bathtub!

When we finally arrived in Sapporo, it was funny to see the kids' reaction. It was like, "Aww, man. We have to get off the boat. Our vacation is over!" Well, of course it wasn't! Here are a bunch of photos to show you how much fun we had for the next 3 days...

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The fountain at Odori Park became our favorite spot...

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Here's the park at night...

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We went up the Sapporo Tower...

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Had a gourmet buffet lunch with some Asian Access missionary friends (this was on the 35th floor of a hotel at the Sapporo station)...

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The kids got to bake cookies at the famous chocolate factory (don't we look so cute in our hats?!)...

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We took a little Hokkaido melon soft serve break...

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And toured the beautiful garden area as well as the cookie factory assembly line...

(We will continue with more photos in Part 2 of our Family Vacation Blog, so go and refill your coffee.)

 

 

 

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Jeff's column offers a mix of reflections on leadership and fatherhood, as well as news from Asian Access.

 

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Nozomi's column contains reflections on motherhood, Japanese culture, and ministry.

 

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