I had grandiose plans to sleep-in again today, however, I forgot to sign out of Skype on my iPhone, and was rudely awoken by my brother’s constant calls. He was lucky that I was in the mood for a chat. It was good to speak to him, but the call quality was inconsistent, even though we were on wifi.
Today I had two main missions: Change the single seat on the ‘cub to a dual seat and finalise our accommodation for the coming season in Niseko. We bought a double seat via Yahoo Auctions (¥5000), and for the most part it fit, it was just missing rubber bushings and the rear carry rack had to be put on backwards. We went to a friend’s bike shop in Niseko, said hello and borrowed some of his tools. Quite convenient.
The main mission for the day was to find somewhere to live for the winter season. I’d called several real estate places, and spoken to several friends and the general consensus was that there wasn’t much available. It was kinda disheartening. Eventually, I was shown a few small single bedroom houses, one was a few kilometres out of town (and ¥200,000 a month…) and the other (while large) was set up to be an open plan office. It was much cheaper (¥100,000), but still not cheap. Luckily, the man that showed us the office knew of a log house in the lower village for roughly the same rent, so we organised a time to meet later that afternoon.
What can I say, we fell in love with the place instantly. I’d wanted a cute log house to share, and it looked like we were going to make that happen. From the outside it looked enormous! And, while it certainly wasn’t small inside, it was a lot smaller than it appeared. It’s only a single bedroom (loft style) house, but it’s super homely, and I can’t wait to live there! We complain about how expensive it is (¥110,000 a month), but when compared to what a room in a share house costs (¥30,000 – ¥50,000 per person/month), it’s quite a steal. If we were to stay there for an entire 12 month period, the rent would almost be the same (per year). Foolishly, I didn’t even think to take a photo of the place.
Final stop of the day was a well-deserved onsen. Earlier in the year the Niseko Milk Factory were giving complimentary vouchers to Niseko Hilton Onsen(for four people) with each purchase. So, a ¥300 ice cream would give you an onsen for four people. Yeah, we made the most of that at the start of the year. Today was my last remaining voucher. It’s an amazing outdoor rotenburo (bath), there is a pond with koi adjacent (so you can see them swimming around, right next to your bath) and you look out towards Mt Yotei. I’d love to smuggle in a camera one day…
It was getting dark, so we finally left Niseko, and headed towards Toya-ko. We had a quick bowl of ramen, and when we walked out of the restaurant, we were greeted with fireworks. We’d forgotten that every (EVERY!) night during summer, Lake Toya has fireworks. We were recommended a camp site, but it wasn’t free, so we looked for somewhere else. And, that somewhere else was the Soubetsu (adjacent town) michi-no-eki.