For those reading who don't know me, or have forgotten my name, I am Neil Gordon and I intend to keep this blog up to date with my travel activities in Japan - taking place from mid July 2010 till some time in January 2011.
I'm English and am interested in the Japanese culture and language, as well as computers and technology.
The blog name neiltanken is simply my name + 探検 (tanken) - which means expedition.



We let the goat outside and feed the chickens every day, so unless something out of the ordinary happens I won't mention it from here on.
R-san's house is circular shaped and he plans to have concrete decking around the circumference.
Today we made a part of the deck's formwork.
But the plywood we had was a little too small, so we went out and bought bigger plywood, rivets and stuff.
While we were out, we also tried a chemist for hydrochloric acid but apparently they can't deal in it either.
We left the stuff we bought at home then went out again to see S-san and get the milk we arranged to yesterday.
We bought 8 litres of milk from a dairy farm.
Then we went home again and screwed the plywood for part of the formwork into place.
I then tried to learn a Japanese wind instument called a Shakuhachi which R-san loves, but I was only able to make some rather pathetic noises with it.
We went to a nearby farm (which also hosts many WWOOFers) for a BBQ for dinner.
There was even a stage, and even though I don't know the lyrics to anything I was made to stand and sing!
There was something about tat experience that can't be described with just the word 'embarassing'. I ended up singing a song about a cat which I made up on the spot. (in Japanese)
There were WWOOFers from England, France, Germany and Japan who I was able to meet.


Niseko WWOOF, day 1

This mornig I slept well in the wide space of the basement room in a western style bed. It rained all day, so work was letting the Goat outside and feeding the chickens. In the morning, I went out in the car with R-san and a German WWOOFer to buy milk and hydrocloric acid. First we went to the concrete factory and checked if they had any hydrochloric acid, but apparently not. They did tell us that maybe a pharmacy would have some. Anyway, we then went on to buy milk at a dairy farm owned by someone R-san knows. Only his sons were there, so we asked them but they wouldn't sell us milk for insurance reasons. So next we went to R-san's friend S-san's house and asked if he knew any farms which might sell us milk. He called around on the phone and found somewhere which would sell us milk, so we made plans to go tomorrow. We talked with S-san and his wife for a while and they were really interesting people. S-san himself has been to all sorts of foreign countries, and has made it a hobby to collect their currency. He only had coins for England, so I decided to give him a five pound which I had with me by chance tomorrow. After that we returned home. R-san and his wife self built the house, so there are still lots of things to do. Today we fixed a light which wouldn't turn on and a dead power socket. We took off the plasterboard and insulation and checked the socket, and the cable was broken. After R-san changed it over to a new socket and rewired it the problem was solved. We ended up removing the plasterboard on the ceiling (this was tough) and in front of the switchboard but the problem didn't vanish. In the end we found out the plywood and plasterboard which was being kept in front of one of the switches were just pushing on the switch. Never mind! After we cleared up it was evening and we all went to the local hot spring. It was my first hot spring, but it felt good. Though I wasn't used to the heat.



I finally went to Hokkaidou!
I got up 6:30 this morning, went to the station with Yosuke.
I said my thanks and farewell and got on the train.
I spent the whole day on the train, but thanks to this I experienced both the Bullet train and an undersea tunnel.
I ate Gyuumeshi (beef, rice and some side bits) - it certainly wasn't cheap, though.
I spent my time on the trains writing blog drafts and reading a bit of Hoshi Shinichi's 

short novel "Beyond the Slide".
I met the WWOOF host (hereon R-san) at Niseko station fine. He's a kind and interresting person.
R-san's wife and teh other WWOOFers are also really nice, and I'm looking forward to the rest of my stay.
Dinner was a venison pot roast with potatoes and other veg, it was delicious.


I'm an alien

I was told to collect my Alien Registration Card on the 29th, but as I intend to be in Hokkaidou by then, I tried goig to Kuki municipal office to see if they had it yet.
Amazingly, it seems they recieved it in this morning's post!
I happily took the card and went stright to the post office.
Why, you ask? Well if you have an Alien Registration card you can make an account with Yuucho bank.
I had no trouble making an account.


Oomiya & a Festival

I went to Oomiya with Yosuke this morning.
We bought preprepared lunches at Seven Eleven, walked into Oomiya park and ate at a bench.
We walked through the park some more, and left the park briefly to see the Gokoku shrine (litterally 'protect country shrine', it is devoted to those who died in war.)
We returned to Oomiya park and walked around a small Japanese garden, then went to see Hikawa shrine (both within the grounds).
A person who I think was the shinto preist of the shrine was emptying the collection box.
Offering collection!

We also went to the Munakata shrine.

After that we went to the Oomiya 'Book Off', a store dealing in figurines called 'Mamegyorai' (bean torpedo..?) and had a look at 'Game Workshop'.

We then went home, ate dinner and went to see Yasaka shrine's Summer festival. (Yasaka shrine is within the same grounds as Washinomiya shrine, which I visited previously)
That's right, before even 2 weeks have passed since I entered Japan, I've experienced 2 festivals!

It was a smaller scale than Tenousama, but it still had a good atmosphere and was fun.