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Nov 18 2012

going postal

The castle of Hirosaki

The castle of Hirosaki

I go on to Hirosaki, Japan’s apple capital. Already more than three weeks ago my mum sent a package from Germany to my hosts here. Medical supplies, my new credit card, most important however are German sweets/candy which I need urgently. On arriving at my host’s the package still hasn’t arrived. Yet I have three more days in Hirosaki before going on to Aomori, my last city located on Japan’s main island, Honshu. My hosts Tori and Kyle are U.S. Americans, both teach English. After spending three days in Hirosaki the package still hasn’t arrived. I can’t help it. I have to go on without the package as there already have been some first reports about snow in Hokkaido. So I don’t have a lot of time left to end my tour safely. But this really becomes an issue for me as I can’t survive log without the package. On one hand I have to reach Hokkaido before onset of winter. But that’s almost impossible – without German candy. I simply can’t do that!

 

 

 

On a warm sunny autumn/fall day I set forth for the harbour town, Aomori. The autumn foliage is true eye candy which eases my hunger for real candy – at least for a day.

On my way to Aomori

On my way to Aomori

Ted in Aomori is my first host who speaks Mandarin and Japanese as second languages but comes from the U.S.A. He had lived for some years in China. Of course he’s an English teacher here. He takes me to a small restaurant, introduces me to his friends: “He comes from Otsuchi.” “Otsuchi?”, I’m asking, “that Otsuchi located on the east cost in the Tsunami area?” “You know it? Yes!”, the man responds surprised. I tell him that I raise donations for the Midori Kindergarten there and it turns out that my conversation partner and the kindergarten manager were classmates. A Japanese couple eavesdrops our conversation becomes curious and asks questions. Just before they set off they thrust a donation for the kindergarten into my hands.

Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center and Aomori bay bridge

Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center and Aomori bay bridge

Poster in the ferry to Hokkaido

Poster in the ferry to Hokkaido

It is my last day in Aomori and tomorrow my journey goes on via ferry to Hakodate, Hokkaido’s southern most port town. Even though I will travel over 100 km on the sea I could also take the train. Honshu and Hokkaido are connected by the world’s longest operating train tunnel, the 53 km long Seikan Tunnel. However this tunnel will have lost it’s status in 2017 as the longest to the 57 km long Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland. And will be placed on rank three when the 55 km long Brenner Base Tunnel will be completed around 2025 connecting Austria and Italy.

A mail from Tori reaches me – the package has arrived. Four hours to departure of the ferry. Now I could take the train back to Hirosaki only 50 km away from here. But I learn the package is no longer in Hirosaki. As Tori’s husband Kyle teaches here in Aomori he already took the package with him and I pick it up at his school near the docks. Extremely exhausted, already trembling and using the last of my strength I reach Kyle, rip the package out of his hands, rupture it and insert the candy into my mouth. Rescued! Thank you mum you saved my life!

Special thanks to: Bob Gettings (text revision), Tori & Kyle Sharpe, Ted Lackman, all Japan; (all U.S.A.) Hubertus Neidhart from Webspace Provider Network for excellent web page hosting services; Lilith Pendzich

 

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