Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roadside Attractions and Revelations

One of the fun things when travelling through a foreign country is encountering strange and interesting things. That's one of the great things about bicycle touring. You can quickly stop and check them out. Here are some of the quirky things we encountered.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

The Furano Valley of Hokkaido Island is a rich agricultural region. One of the products grown here are melons, particularly cantalopes. Melons in Japan are not cheap. The unblemished prized ones sell for $70 a piece.

At this melon stand are melon ala mode . . . for only $5 . . . we didn't bite

Still in the Furano Valley is a onion harvesting machine

Homage to Elsie.
In northern Hokkaido, the dairy industry is the main-stay.

A funny thing. This is an automated flagman at a road construction site. The flag rolls up and down so the movement gets the driver's attention. Note the generator behind the fake man. I guess there is a labor shortage.

At the same road construction site, are these cute monkey stanchions holding
up the pipe barriers.

A fleet of fishing boats in dry dock

On many stretches of the coast, huge interlocking concrete breakwater barrriers are found to preserve the beaches from typhoons and tsunamis. The most common ones are the four-legged tetrapods seen on the right. On this particular beach, were these swiss-cheese interlocking balls. The coastal armor are controversial and some say cause more damage than it helps. Regardless, kinda' ugly, strange yet fascinating.

Here's a interesting fish dehydrator. A electric motor spins the wheel holding the fish. It whips around so fast that flies have no chance of landing. Very clever home-made device.
Note clothes pins.

Entering Murre Country

We saw many of these rice harverster "combines" working during the fall season. Note how neat and precise they cut the rice stalks.

Just a cute photo. Don't have any idea what they're for . . .

Seen at Sapporo University. "W" not too popular here either.

A giant Buddha taking a 4 o'clock nap . . . which reminds me . . .

These duckie pedal boats are found at all the beach resorts

Cool tie!! . . .

. . . don't ask me what this guy is all about?

Saw this at a cemetary. Don't know the meaning behind the red outfits.

The guy in the middle is the driver . . .

OK, you got me again. Seen at a roadside rest-stop.

Road-side vendor selling giant sea snails

Close-up of the giant snails. Could be quite tastey . . .

An "Antonio Gaudi-ish" gymnasium

Scrumptious takko for sale

Not a contemporary art museum but a visitor center for a dam . . . how rad!

In a beautiful river valley was this cool red bridge

On the bridge were these neat stone sculptures . . . part of the art in public places program. We met the artist, Kentaro, earlier at his coffeehouse (see next pic).

Kentaro, a renown stone artist, who made the art pieces in previous photo. See pic of red bridge behind him where art pieces are located. A very nice guy.

Cool primitive stone garden art for sale

Times are changing in Japan. A modern granite robot for your garden?

Each town has a mascot. This small village has the egg man.

Neat graphics on local train

I took this photo for Dawn. Check out all the delish' 'shrooms!!
We were riding through fungiland.

These colorful fruit are not cherry tomatoes but are egg-plant tree.
Which I never heard of.
Not to be eaten but for decorative flower arrangements.

Stopping at a roadside apple vendor. Very large apples - crisp and sweet.
We need to grow them here.

Three maidens in an apple orchard

A very snazzy cycle

If you are a civil engineer, you would love Japan. Here is an example of a new channelized river and new bridges (in the background) being built in this beautiful mountain valley.
Lonely Planet says Japan is an over-engineered country.
What do you think?


dAwN said...

Well this was a fun post...Thanks for the pics of the mushrooms...they looked yummy...but i think you also wanted a pic of the cute girl...tee hee...did you bring me one of those cool stone sculptures...ha...This is a fun tour...hope you arent done yet..

Alchina said...

Nice pictures! Interesting.
Actually, I didn't like Tokyo that much. But seeing your pictures, I thought Tokyo is not that bad. Anyway, I like that your sight.