Tag Archives: kiritappu

Tree Planting

Planting trees with the local children

Tree planting with the local kids and farmers, the trees were planted at the edge of the farms to prevent further erosion to the soil. Needless to say the kids were much better at handling a shovel than I was. On the flip side we got more local

This little guy is my favourite, the moment I pointed the camera to him, up came those V sign and he’s only three years old.
Planting trees with the local children

Planting trees with the local children

As always we were royally fed, the marbled beed was from Australia actually.
Planting trees with the local children


Coming to an end

Farewell dinner - Kiritappu

All good things must come to an end, and Kiritappu ended with another amazing feast. Set up in an old fishermen shed, the local women from the town cooked up a meal like nothing I’ve tasted before.

Farewell dinner - Kiritappu

Miso with fresh crab

Farewell dinner - Kiritappu

Hamanaka Town Matsuri

Hamanaka Matsuri 2008

Hamanaka Matsuri 2008

We were lucky to be around when Hamanaka’s Festival was on. It’s a little town festival to wish for a good year during the seedling period, so small that it will never be on any tour group itinery. We helped out with making the mochi, which was later on tossed to the crowd for good luck. I was expecting a gentle toss, not the machine gun throw of several hundred mochi being thrown at once!

My highlight for the day was the children sumo, where the wrestling is presented to the god or kami as part of the wish for a good year. The children’s age range from 3 to around 12 or 13, and it was obvious who the ongoing champions were as the weaker wrestler’s face dropped once they realise who their opponent was.

Hamanaka Matsuri 2008, making mochi

On being fed

Food during conservation again

I was told that it looked like we did very little working and plenty on eating, it probably was true to an extent. We were fed to the bursting point, but it’s difficult to say no to home grownshitake mushroom of a size that you wouldn’t believe. The photo is actually my hand holding three mushrooms, now I know my hand is the same size as an eleven year old kid, but the mushrooms are huuge.

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Seafood in Hokkaido

Seafood in Hokkaido

Originally uploaded by mirvettium

Bento lunch

Bento lunch with oysters

I know I was in the right place in Japan, when the specialty bento box in Kushiro contained oysters. What I wasn’t expecting was the sheer volume and quality of the food in Hokkaido, especially in the region we were working at.

The ocean is so close, that for everyday of the week, we had fresh seafood without fail, of a size that you just would not believe! Pictured here are some photos of our meal at a restaurant on our way to Kiritappu.

Postcard from Kiritappu

Fox fishing near Kiritappu Info Centre

Postcard from Kiritappu

I’m typing this while staring outside the window of my bedroom at Pension Porch (quaint little pension, with fantastic food and a landlord who’s quite a character). Where I am geographically is more or less here. I’m in a little town called Hamanaka in Hokkaido, so remote that my Japan Lonely Planet guide mentioned the wetland, but not the township itself.

My room at Porch Pension

The entire area feels a little surreal, a place that is slightly out of sync with Japan as we know it. The industry around the area revolves around dairy farming, fishing, general agriculture and eco tourism, with the surrounding marshes being a huge attraction.

Kiritappu Wetland Apparently in summer and winter the tourists come in droves. In winter for a spot of bird watching, particularly for the famous Japanese cranes as they perform their ballet like mating dance. In summer, the area is covered with flowers for a good month before a quick autumn comes around.

Right now, it’s so quiet that it’s difficult to believe that tourists would come in drove into this sleepy little town. Though as I woke up everyday, new shoots are turning up more and more each day, bringing a late spring to the area.

This is the first time that Kiritappu Wetland trust has the fund and connection to organise a group of oversea volunteers to come and collaborate with the local team and work on conservation projects together. Part of the incentive for the project is to promote the area’s natural asset internationally, as well as provide an example to other similar sites in Japan. As it is the first time, the amount of coverage is somewhat crazy. We have a full-time cameraman and video man watching our every move and two TV stations have turned up following us for the past few days, not to mention the newspaper journalists that dropped by.