My birthday was on 19th June. Although hubby and I are not into celebrating birthdays or anniversaries in a grand way, we usually have some simple funny celebrations to create happy memories for us. But this year hubby planned a surprise sightseeing trip to Hokkaido about which I will write later in this post.
Hubby knows about my love of all things in pairs. So he bought several pairs of cute dolls from shopping malls in Akita City over a couple of months. He also bought a few beautiful souvenir dolls during our sightseeing trip to Hokkaido. In fact, now while writing this post I realized that he bought a total of five pairs of dolls, namely, a pair of cute ceramic owls, a pair of tiny ceramic Dairibina dolls, a pair of Dairibina dolls painted on an ornamental ceramic plate, a wonderful pair of wooden carved owls, and an amazing pair of wooden carved Nipopo Kokeshi dolls of an Ainu couple with painted costumes. Hubby presented me all these pairs of dolls on my birthday. I was thrilled to get so many cute pairs of dolls. All the dolls are fascinating and fantastic additions to my curio collection.
A pair of 5-centimeter-tall ceramic owls
A pair of 3-cenitimeter-tall ceramic Dairibina dolls
A pair of Dairibina dolls painted on a 10-centimeter-tall ornamental ceramic plate
A pair of 10-centimeter-tall wooden carved owls
A pair of 12.5-centimeter-tall wooden carved Nipopo Kokeshi dolls of an Ainu couple
Hubby often goes to Thailand for business trips. Every time he returns home, he brings back some presents for me and most of the time they are some sort of jewelry. Hubby had been to Thailand during mid-June and brought back two colorful chunky stone beads necklaces. I was very happy with these additional birthday presents.
I love the blue colored and the brown colored chunky stone beads necklaces that hubby brought back from Thailand
On the weekend two weeks prior to my birthday, hubby and I went to a shopping mall named Aeon Mall in Akita city where we watched a Hollywood movie at a theater named Toho Cinemas. We had almost two hours of free time before the movie started. So hubby took me to one of the watch shops in the mall. I was very surprised that hubby asked the shop staff to show pair wrist watches for couples. Initially I thought that he was just killing time, but he really bought a pair of wrist watches. Hubby chose the design and pattern of the watches and they are really very cute. Afterwards he told me that the pair wrist watches are for celebrating our companionship and togetherness. Thanks hubby for the wonderful present for ourselves. I am thankful that God put the most wonderful husband in the world in my path. I am very happy and thankful for all the joy of having a loving and understanding hubby.
The shop staff packed the pair of wrist watches for couples in a beautiful box
Thanks hubby for the pair of wrist watches
I had been wanting to travel by Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train ever since it officially started its service in the month of March this year. It is the first Shinkansen bullet train line directly linking Hokkaido and Honshu islands through undersea Seikan tunnel. Therefore for my birthday hubby arranged a sightseeing trip to Hokkaido! On 18th June, we traveled by Hayabusa train service of Hokkaido Shinkansen from Morioka Railway Station in Aomori prefecture to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido. It was really a wonderful thrilling experience and we loved the travel by the newly introduced bullet train. Later we used two other express trains to reach Asahikawa City where we stayed at a hotel for two nights.
I am standing on a platform of Morioka Railway Station along with two Hayabusa trains of Hokkaido Shinkansen in the background
I am about to enter inside the Shinkansen train
Hubby and I sitting inside an express train while going to Asahikawa City in Hokkaido
Beautiful sea as viewed from the express train
Nighttime illumination of Asahikawa City as viewed from our hotel room
Asahikawa is an interesting city
On the day of my birthday on 19th June, we hired a car and traveled from Asahikawa City to Cape Soya situated in Wakkanai City. Cape Soya is located about 250 kilometers north of Asahikawa and it took us about 4.5 hours of car ride to reach the cape. On our way we saw lush green fields and many cattle farms. There was hardly any traffic and it was so quite and peaceful throughout the way. We reached Cape Soya at about 2 pm. Cape Soya is the northernmost point of Japan and on a clear day Sakhalin Island of Russia can be clearly seen further north. The view of the wide sea (Soya Strait) from the cape was spectacular. Standing with hubby on a stone monument at the northernmost point of Japan on my birthday was absolutely wonderful and so peaceful. I felt a sense of fulfillment and it was a unique experience. We returned to the hotel in Asahikawa City at about 10 pm. We were exhausted but it was such a memorable day!
I am standing in front of a Michinoeki Roadside Station on our way to Cape Soya
Cattle grazing in a farm on our way to the cape
We stopped our car for some time to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the nature
I am standing at Cape Soya
I am standing with hubby on a stone monument at the northernmost point of Japan at Cape Soya
Two deer grazing on a hilltop at Cape Soya
On 20th June, we visited a farm named Ueno Farm in Asahikawa City. The farm is modeled on an English-style garden where we saw many hardy perennials and unique flowers that are suitable for the climate of Hokkaido. In the evening, we returned to Hakodate City where we stayed at a rather expensive hotel named Hakodate Kokusai Hotel. It is considered to be a luxury hotel and overlooks Hakodate Bay. Our room was big and very comfortable, and we enjoyed the stay. On 21st June, we had an impressive buffet breakfast at the hotel. The one thing I will not forget about this hotel is the fantastic breakfast spread. It had both western and Japanese food and the variety is most memorable. We had various kinds of delicious food items. I loved Kaisendon dish very much. It was the best breakfast I have had in Japan. In fact the breakfast of this hotel is ranked fourth in the 2016 ranking of ‘hotels with delicious breakfasts’ (webpage in Japanese) in entire Japan. The stay and the wonderful breakfast at the luxurious hotel were a present from hubby for my birthday. I am very much thankful to him.
I am standing inside Ueno Farm in Asahikawa City
The farm is based on English-style garden
I am watching some television program inside our room at Hakodate Kokusai Hotel
I am standing at the hotel lobby
Our breakfast at the hotel
I am very happy seeing so much food for breakfast
On 21st June, after breakfast, we went to see Kanemori red brick warehouse buildings in Hakodate City. The warehouse buildings were built in 1909 and have great historical significance in the development of the city. Later in the evening, we traveled by Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train and returned to our home in Yurihonjo City.
I am standing in front of one of the buildings of Kanemori red brick warehouse
This year my birthday became even more memorable when on returning home, I received a hand-written birthday card from hubby’s two nieces by post. They live in Ichinomiya City and it was really thoughtful of the girls to send a colorful birthday card by post in this era of internet. I am very thankful to the girls. The card is very precious to me and I will keep it safely. Lastly, I am thankful to my relatives as well as all my real and virtual friends who send me birthday wishes and messages on Facebook, WhatsApp, e-mails, and made phone calls.
A colorful birthday card from hubby’s nieces
To summarize, I am very thankful to hubby for presenting me a pair of wrist watches for couples (actually they are for us), two necklaces, and several pairs of cute dolls, as well as for arranging the memorable sightseeing trip to Hokkaido by Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train and the wonderful stay at a luxury hotel in Hakodate City. What a memorable birthday I had this year. I made many pleasant memories. I will write in details about our travel by Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train, visit to Cape Soya in Wakkanai City, visit to Ueno Farm in Asahikawa City, our stay and buffet breakfast at Hakodate Kokusai Hotel, and visit to Kanemori red brick warehouse buildings in Hakodate City in several blog posts later on.