Today was the beginning of a great adventure, starting from our first step outside Kushiro airport! I was expecting us to go into the wild little by little, but instead I was pleasantly surprised to observe that we were already surrounded by nature as soon as we went outside. My first impression from the window of the bus was the feeling to be back in Switzerland, and I immediately understood why Japanese people call Hokkaido the “Japanese Switzerland”.
The feeling to be totally free and see infinite landscape when we went to the guide tour on the wooden footpath in Kushiro wetland was also very great. Even when I am in my hometown inside nature, I can never see very far ahead because I am always surrounded by nature. On Kushiro wetland however, we could see as far as the fog allowed us, which was still very far to me. At this moment I really felt the pressure of buildings reaching the sky in Tokyo, and I really appreciated the fresh air of Hokkaido.
Another typical and pleasant thing in Hokkaido was the warm hospitality of the people that we could really experienced with the lectures given by four representatives after dinner. I am so grateful to them for taking their precious time for us instead of enjoying their Saturday night with their family. It really showed how eager they are to solve the problems they encounter in Akkeshi, and really motivated me to know more about their work. What surprised me the most was the sense of consciousness regarding the protection of nature. They seemed like pioneers to me! For example, the fact that they stopped whale fishing because it started to have a bad image internationally despite the economical advantages, or the connection they saw between the mountain and the river, the measures they took to satisfy fishermen, farmers and citizen together… They also carefully listened and answered to our questions, and kindly offered us one of the tastier milk I ever had! If there is one place in the world where we can follow a lecture by drinking milk, it can indeed be only Hokkaido!
This first day really made us understand the need to satisfy everyone’s goal and resolve everyone’s problem without damaging the environment, which sounded both very challenging and interesting in the same time!