Yakuba-free Vacation - Days 2 & 3

Why can't everything be vacation? I'm having a great time this week!

Yesterday I took the advice of one of the teachers, and decided to go to the observation deck in the hills above Niikappu.
And what a hill! It's 225 feet (68.5 meters) above downtown Niikappu. It isn't a gradual hill either- it's way too steep to ride my bike up. I walked up it with my bike. It's the same hill that has the barbecue house that I went to my first week here.

Finally made it up. You can't get a sense of how big the hill is because there are so many trees, but I'm way the hell up there.

It looks like an extra piece of the Record Museum that they couldn't find a place for.

Looking forward at the top of the hill.

Now that's a picture.

More trees!

Up that way is the barbecue house. This was actually my first time here during daylight, so I could actually see it now.

There are a lot of forest trails up here, but I didn't go because there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground up there and I was wearing sandals.

There's a whole park up here!

The road went on in this direction, so I followed it.

A map of the place.

A playground!! There are tunnels through the giant mound.

There is a strange fascination with owls here.

"Something Something Something Something Forest."

And like many of my Japan adventures, I end up wandering through a graveyard.

A picture of Tough Guy. I'm sitting on a bench resting.

Facing the ocean.

Well, I guess that's the end of the line!

So after that, I turned around. I wasn't able to get to the observation deck, because you must have to go on the forest trails to get there. I'll have to go again when all the snow has melted! But I think I'll ask someone for a ride next time.

Another view of the top.

I snapped this picture on the way down. You can kind of get a sense of where I am.

Looking back up the hill from the bottom!

And finally...

I got myself a picture of the iconic "Niikappu" mural! It's technically in Seppu (the next town), but it's between Seppu Station and Niikappu Station, so there's no way to get there easily unless you have a car or are willing to bike there. I've seen it a few times, but I've never been able to stop and get a picture!

These are the restaurants next to the mural. I've eaten at Bench Time before with the teachers.

Heading back to Niikappu! There's kind of a shanty-town on the right side.

Back in Niikappu! That ridge in the background is where I was. The observation deck is on the far left of the ridge, but you can't see it in this picture.

And that brings me to day 3 of vacation! Today I was exhausted from having two bike adventures, so I just bummed around the house. I was going to clean and work on those tests... But then I played Starcraft instead. I took one of the tests yesterday and failed it. But I learned something in the process, and that's what really counts! I couldn't care less about passing tests that even my Japanese teachers argue over the answers to.

Finally, I played badminton today!

This is me and most of my badminton group. There are a few more people who come regularly, but sometimes they can't make it. The girl in orange is an English teacher from Shizunai, but she's moving somewhere else for the "April Refresh" that they do here. The other girl works in the town office on the first floor, she's really nice. The guy in front and the guy in back are really good at badminton!
They're all a really nice group. :)