05/08/2018-07/08/2018: Campsite #2, Aomori

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If setting up camp in Akita was an awfully sweaty experience, then setting up in Aomori was the polar opposite. Believe it or not, it had been raining and there was mud! (yes, mud!) all over the show, despite it being the middle of summer. I was glad I was wearing jandals instead of my sneakers, which would’ve gotten completely soaked otherwise.

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Poor old Pukeko (that’s the name of my tent model) looks in a bit of a sorry state here, but believe me, she was lucky to get one of the last spots against the wall of a building and on higher ground–though you can see where the pool of mud begins just at the entrance.

Did I mention it was also insanely windy? Even with earplugs shoved right in, the noise of neighbouring tents flapping away in their less sheltered spots nearby was bad enough that sleeping was a bit of a mish.

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And if it wasn’t the flapping tents that kept me awake, it was the chattering of people and smell of delicious camp food wafting late into the night and first hours of morning that did it.

Yet I was somewhat relieved to be at a campsite with so many Japanese people after having seen the startled reactions of my local friends at finding out I was camping.

Camping isn’t common here as it is in back home in New Zealand, and it’s largely done as a summer activity for a short duration of time. And though it’s totally legal to freedom camp,  you’d catch a Japanese person doing it once in a blue moon–at least, in the places I’ve been so far. Maybe the more isolated spots in Hokkaido will prove to be different. Either way it does make me feel a tad self-conscious at times, so it was good to be able to make it to a designated campground this time.

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The campground was a “bike camp”, generally referring to motorbikes, though I did see bicycles around as well. Motorbikes seem to be a fairly popular mode of travel among Japanese, especially when you consider they make campgrounds specifically for these bikers.

At the end of the day, the noise didn’t bother me too much. I couldn’t really blame them considering it was the time of Aomori’s biggest summer event, the Nebuta Festival, and everybody was just trying to have a good time. Anyway, I was too high off the atmosphere of the festival myself to feel much like sleeping! But more on that in another post. I’ll finish this one off with a pic of Sleevee enjoying an onigiri for breakfast.

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For a full list of “CAMP JAPAN” blog entries, click here

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