Japan’s population is estimated at around 127 million, with 80% of the population living on the island of Honshu
When the country is laid on the east coast of the United States, you can see that Hokkaido is in Maine and
Okinawa prefecture, the furthest to the south, is in the same range as Florida. The climates therefore are very
similar except because Japan is long and skinny the typhoons and various earthquakes can affect a greater
portion of people in just one event. The USA has around 325 million people and with such is the 3rd largest
country in the world. Japan has about 1/3 of the population but is also slightly smaller than the state of California!!
Hokkaido is not only the northernmost island but the second largest island and has only just over 4% of the population of Japan.
While Hokkaido has a couple different mountain ranges in the southern part
it also has the most open farming areas with northern root vegetables, rice,
melons, apples and pears as part of their major produce.
In the northern part of Japan there are more fields that produce hay and have
dairy farms. This area is too far north for rice growing and has a shorter growing
season so it good for the dairy farming and along the coasts, both east and west,for fishing industries.
Dairy and hay fields along the Japan Sea coast across from Mt. Rishiri Island at the northern end of Hokkaido.
Hokkaido also has four seasons with the longer being winter. The snows usually start to fall the end of November
and the melting snow is mostly gone some time in April. Eventually you drive on hard pack snow rather than
dry roads in the winter. Blizzards abound and weather watched to protect when you have the necessity of travel.
Due to harsh winters, one must travel to the center and lower part of Hokkaido to have the beautiful spring,
summer and fall beauty of color in flowers and trees. But Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, also has the
worlds largest snow and ice festival early in February.
The Mansells have been in Teshio Country for over 30 years.
Teshio is the sub-county seat and has a main police station
meeting the needs of a three community area. While it is smaller
in size (population around 3500) there is a population of around
10,000 in this general area. Their main home and church building
is in Teshio but they have an outlying building in the community about
25 minutes away where they continue to hold English classes and Bible studies.
The Ainu or the Aynu (Ainu アィヌ Aynu; Japanese: アイヌ Ainu; Russian: Айны Ajny),
in the historical Japanese texts Ezo/Emishi/Ebisu (蝦夷) or Ainu (アイヌ)
are an indigenous people of Japan (Hokkaido, and formerly northeastern Honshu)
and Russia (Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and formerly the Kamchatka Peninsula).
The hut pictured above is a rendition of the style of temporary lodging they would use
when they were in the Teshio area for hunting and fishing during salmon season in the fall.
The Ainu name for this area was Teshiho (te-she-ho) so the Japanese named this town Teshio (te-she-oh).
The kanji characters used to write Teshio are 天 and 塩 (ten & shio). The ten character means heaven
and the shio means salt. How blessed we are to be representatives of Christ as read in Matthew 5:13-16
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. As the only foreigners in town, we must always be aware of our testimony before men and God that we do not lose our ‘savour.’
Our red roofed two story building, Teshio Baptist Bible Church, is where the asterisk is in this photo.
We live on the second floor of the building and all services and English classes are held on the first floor.
Teshio is nestled on the Japan Sea right at the mouth of Teshio River. Because of being right on the Japan Sea
coast, we have milder winters (less snow than in the center of the island and stay around freezing or just below) as
well as milder summers –shorter season of humidity with temperatures in the upper 70s, low 80s.
Besides salmon and other various fishing for business here, Teshio is famous for it’s small fresh water clam.
It is usually about the size of a quarter or a bit bigger and is used in soups and rice dishes.
It has a two month season in July and August.
Dairy farming is one of the other main industries in Teshio area
with over 10,000 head, and has been producing an annual 50,000 tons of milk.