Carole Ann Goldsmith Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved
When I visited the beautiful Lake Shikotsuko in Hokkaido, I stayed at the Shikotsuko Youth Hostel , http://www.youthhostel.or.jp/English/c_shikotsuko.htm a wonderful A - framed building with a great view of the Lake.
When I arrived, the hostel manager, a very friendly happy man, was telling jokes in Japanese to his guests from around the world. I soon joined the joke group and before long we were all roaring with laughter, even though we could not really understand everything he was saying. His laughter was certainly infectious as he was very animated when telling the jokes. Then I went for an afternoon leisurely walk around the magnificent lake beside the forest. A little hungry, I bought some barbequed corn on sale from the lakeside market vendors.
The hostel staff were preparing dinner for the guests, when I returned to the hostel. I could smell the aromas from bowls of delicious looking Sukiyaki (Japanese meat and vegetable stew in a light broth) being cooked on the hot gas flames. Yum, I thought to myself, I was certainly looking forward to that delicious meal at 6PM after my natural hot spring bath at the hostel
All squeaky clean, I was feeling very relaxed after being immersed in the hot spa waters. Now it was dinner time and I was really looking forward to eating that sukiyaki, with freshly cooked rice and miso soup, that I had seen the hostel manager serving to the other guests.
All of a sudden the Hostel manager arrived at our table, which I was sharing with 5 other people. The manager said, "Carole san, it is your birthday today, and we have a special meal for you". He had arrived with a tray of plates each covered with grilled steak, potato chips (fries) and a small salad..The table was decked with knives and forks, while the other tables had chop sticks for the sukiyaki.
I am not really a steak, chips and salad person and would have really preferred the sukiyaki. I did however really appreciate the trouble that he had gone to to make a special dish for my birthday and for our table. Also I am not sure how the other people on my table felt, as they were probably also expecting sukiyaki.
This lovely meal was followed by a huge birthday cake, complete with candles all alight for everyone at the hostel to enjoy. Then everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. After dinner, the hostel manager told some more jokes in Japanese and soon we had tears in our eyes from continuously laughing at his jokes, all told in Japanese. His energy and enthusiasm for making the hostel a fun place to be,provided us all with some very happy days at Shikotsuko. I will always remember my fun and happy birthday and the hilarious time we had a Shikotsuko Youth Hostel beside the beautiful Shikotsuko Lake Shikotsuko in Spring.
Many thanks to the manager at the time for making my trip to Shikotsuko such a great time.