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Barefoot Running

When I was driving on the highway in my Hiace this evening, I had a race with a Ferrari, and I won! To be fair, the guy was driving at about 70 km/h in the inside lane, and I don’t think he realized it was a race. But it was. And I won. Anyway, this week’s topic is a research project. I’m going to tell you about something I did tonight, and you have to figure out why I did it. (And no, the answer is not “because you are stupid!”

I just got back from my evening run. I only did 2 km tonight instead of 5, but for the first time in my life, I ran without any shoes on. As I said, your task this week is to do a bit of research on this and find out what I was up to. Here are some links to get you started.

Look forward to hearing your reaction.


  1. Munta on Monday September 3rd, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Hello!David teacher!
    I am Munta.i am a big fan of u!Nice to meet you!
    Books you wrote are very easy to understand !
    I love your books!
    And I usually see your blog!it is interesting topic every time!
    But now I apologized to you.because my comment is not related to your topic now.
    I’m sorry .but I want you to listen my worrying.
    Let me introduce myself.
    I graduated from university this year.
    And I teach English to junior high school students.
    I am koushi;looks like part time job not real teacher.
    But I have a license to be able to teach English!
    Do you know about junior high school English system changed .
    Time increase.and aim is to forest Japanese can speak English.
    So changed. Text sentences.
    To tell the truth,it became more difficult!
    We have to More communicative class.
    So some teachers didn’t explain Grammer.
    Just. これはこういう風に、言うの!just memorize.
    But I think Grammer is also important.
    And it takes time to understand English because English and Japanese are very different .order,put in a to 名詞,..などなど、
    For mesometimes,I can’t understand. English well.
    So I will try.asking to ALT.
    And sometimes I talk about.English how to teach,how should we teach…
    I know communication is important too.
    But Grammer is difficult to explain easy word.
    But I want students to understand.
    So I spend time more Grammer than communication.
    That is bad.
    So,I ask ALT to do class one time in a week.and
    because two reason.first many ALTs always just to patrol or just reading .
    Because of Japanese teacher is main.
    So I had idea how ALT is main,and Japanese help?
    And I want student to speak with they learn class!
    ALT agrees with my idea and undertook with please.
    I am happy . But for ALT and for students in order to be not trouble to take oral class,I thought try to get them understand English,so I tried to teach easy to understand English Grammer .
    So I ask Alt wondering
    For example what is the difference between. Have and eat?
    Do you use or say how many?←just this phrase.!
    Why fishes. Not fish?
    Like this.
    When I was university student
    I always ask wondering of English to foreign teacher.and we enjoyed difference English and japanese.And I can understand easily.
    They never say just memorize!
    So I always ask about Grammer..
    And I told her I cannot talk conversation well too worry about Grammer
    She says Grammer is not strong point with laughing.
    Somehow I felt sad to hear.
    My teaching english to studends is bad?
    And. My way is mistake?
    I am very sad.
    And I felt she is boring with me?because I always ask Grammer.and I cannot speak well english ?
    In fact I wanted to be a high school teacher.
    Because Grammer reader oral are separated!
    In junior high school mix!
    It is hard to teach English.
    But is it better to just memorize for communication?
    If you have a time ,tell me your opinion!and really sorry!my English is poor!
    I hope your hear

  2. Anne on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 08:12 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for answering my question!
    “Very few people use.” I see.

    You had the race with the Ferrari?:) If the guy knew your thought, he/she would have driven at 80/90 km/h!

    This week’s topic reminds me of my elder son’s kindergarten. The kindergarten had a kind of barefoot education, so children took off their shoes in a play ground. If I remember correctly,it is said to be good for kids to nourish and strengthen their feet or other parts, hips and other parts of the body. They also wore only half-sleeved T-shirts even in winter.

    I haven’t read the articles you showed us, so I’d like to share my thought after reading them.

    Hi Munta,
    Nice to have you with us.
    Oh, you started teaching English this spring? There must have been a lot of things for you to face with. Hope you’ll go through difficulties one by one.

    See you soon,



  3. Anne on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 08:15 AM

    it’s me again.

    I guess “my elder son’s kindergarten” should be “a kindergarten that my elder son went.”


  4. David on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 08:28 AM

    Hi Munta

    Nice to have you with us.

    Hi Anne

    Your first sentence was correct. You could also say, “the kindergarten that my eldest son went to.”

  5. David Barker on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I’m going to Hokkaido tonight. I just called to book the ferry, and I had a very nice conversation with the woman from the ferry company in Japanese. She asked me for lots of information in Japanese, and I gave it to her – in Japanese. At the end of the conversation (which was, remember, all in Japanese), she asked me for my name and nationality. When I told her, she said, 日本語は大丈夫ですか?


    Hi Munta,

    The most important thing about teaching English is finding a balance in your lessons. All grammar is not good, but all “communication” is not much use either. I’m afraid most ALTs do not know much about grammar or usage because they have not been trained as teachers. That is not really their job. To be fair, most Japanese teachers have not been trained either, because there is no real system for teacher training in Japan. (In the UK, you have to spend six months doing practical training and being observed. In Japan, you just visit a school for three weeks and try to imitate what the teacher does.)

    Anyway, I recommend that you have a look at my book “An A-Z of Common English Errors for Japanese Learners.” I know it is not very good to recommend your own book, but I really think it would help you. You can see some sample pages on this website. Just click “All Books” at the top, and then choose the red one.

    Hope that helps.


  6. Munta on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    yes,i started teaching English this spring.
    Every day is studying(毎日が勉強)
    sometimes students become perverse if they don’t unerstand my class.
    so sometimes i am really tired.and lost confidence.
    but when they understand ,they became smile and i am happy too!
    Teaching English is hard,but i try my best every day!

    David teacher,thank you for answering soon!
    i am glad.
    i got it.
    balance is very important!!!^^
    but in japan, teaching English system changes every times ….so i am very worried!!
    I have “A-z of common English errors for japanese”book!
    i read one more time^^
    thamk you!!!!^^


  7. YU on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Hi Munta,

    Nice to have you with us! 🙂

    It seems that English education in Japan has changed a lot since I was a child.
    We didn’t have ALTs at class, so we only learned Englsih from Japanese teachers.
    Reading your comment, I felt that the Ministry of Education is so absorbed in changing English Education curriculums in order to meet people’s expectations that they totally forget to change the ways to train “Japanese” English teachers like you…
    Having said that, I’m relieved to know that there is an enthusiastic teacher like you even today!

    Hi David,

    I haven’t checked all the links you showed us, but I’ve heard of Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia.
    I always wondered why Africans(Ethiopian/Kenyan) are invincible in marathon races.
    The other day, I watched a documentary program of an Ethiopian elite marathon runner. In the program he explained that Ethiopian children go to school running everyday with bare feet. Their schools are normally quite a long way from their houses and the school routes are bumpy roads. Moreover, schools don’t provide lunches nor school cafeterias(学食!?), so that children go back home for lunch and come back to school after lunch everyday!
    When I heard this, I saw what the secrets of their strength in long-distance races were.

    By the way, my husband grew up in a place of perpetual summer. People wear rubber flip-flops all the year round. He told me that small children play barefooted and he’d never worn normal shoes(leather shoes, sneakers, etc..) until he became a high school student. I’m not sure it’s because of that, but his feet are broad and quite big for his body size. And he is good at running long-distance. I wonder if this is just a coincidence…

    > your task this week is to do a bit of research on this and find out what I was up to

    Hummmm, that’s a difficult task.
    The videos you showed say that people land on the heels first when you wear running shoes, and you land on the “forefoot” when you run barefoot or with a very simple footwear. It also explains that you’ll get more injuries when you wear an expensive running shoes than when you run with an inexpensive ones, a very simple footwear or barefooted, which sounds very interesting to me !

    Well, so, you wanted to confirm if the facts above are really true?
    Or you’re planning to participate in a marathon race in the near future and looking for your best
    running form and a best footwear for it!?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to hearing other member’s reaction!

    Bye for now!

  8. YU on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Hi David,

    > At the end of the conversation (which was, remember, all in Japanese), she asked me for my name and nationality. When I told her, she said, 日本語は大丈夫ですか?


    If I were you, I would have asked her in turn, “あなたのアタマは大丈夫ですか??”.
    I’m joking…

    Do you need to tell your nationality when you book the ferry for Hokkaido!? Why??

    Anyway, I wish you a safe journey!

  9. David Barker on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Hi YU,

    Maybe I should have said ごめんなさい、全く分かりません。Does anyone have any better responses to this ridiculous question?

    By the way, the woman laughed as soon as she had asked it. It was obviously one of a list of questions from the manual that she had to ask.

  10. YU on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 01:16 PM

    Hi David,

    I see.

    > Maybe I should have said ごめんなさい、全く分かりません。Does anyone have any better responses to this ridiculous question?

    I think yours is already a very nice response. It’s quite witty, but it doesn’t harm her feeling.
    Love may begin between you….フフフ…
    Did you ask her name?
    I hope she isn’t very old and ugly….

  11. Munta on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 02:23 PM

    hello!!!!YU!!Nice to meet you!!
    sometimes i don’t understand Ministry of Education what to want to doTTなにがしたいのか分からない
    they said English education is we must do more communicative class!don’t care grammer!!!like this….
    so… i am confuse too.
    But しょうがない、
    i want to do class with balance!!
    David teacher told me balance is important!
    so,i take care about balance!!!^^
    i am glad(happy) you told
    ‘I’m relieved to know that there is an enthusiastic teacher like you even today!

    thank you!^^ また、がんばります!

  12. Anne on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 02:54 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    >Your first sentence was correct. You could also say, “the kindergarten that my eldest son went to.”—I got it.
    Actually, I might be stupid,but after posting my comment, another thought came to mind; my son’s kindergarten sounds like my son having(owning) that kindergarten.

    You say,”my book, my son, my bike and some other “my” and in these cases,”my” usually means ownership. That’s why I was confused with.

    I used “a” not “the” in the second sentence, as YU mentioned last week, it’s really confusing. I thought “a” should be used because I hadn’t talked about this before, but my son went to one kindergarten(This is often the case.),so I need to use”the” because it implies a single kindergarten.

    I just wrote this to made it clear. I often make these kinds of mistakes, and I guess one of the reasons is I just wrote sentences which came to mind.

    I can’t reach this week’s topic….

    Hi David and YU,
    David, conversation between you and the woman is funny.
    Well… I would say,”お気遣いありがとうございます.”:)
    This sounds a bit sarcastic and very advance Japanese.

    Typhoon is not coming so the sea will be calm and you’ll have a nice trip!


  13. YU on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 07:00 PM

    Hi Anne,

    > my son’s kindergarten sounds like my son having(owning) that kindergarten.

    I know exactly what you mean!
    I always write “my English (language) club”, but the club is not mine, of course!
    English is interesting!

    > I would say,”お気遣いありがとうございます”

    Your Japanese is elegant as usual…

    Hi Munta,


    I sometimes teach English to very small children at the 親子英語サークル that my son(4y.o.) and I belong to. I can take the job, because small children never ask me about English grammar, and I teach them for free…

    I’m not really familiar with recent English education systems, but I’m very interested in what ALTs do in the class. The only thing I know about them is that they are native speakers of English, aren’t they!?

    It is not nice to hear that the Japan’s English education systems change so frequently.
    I hope the Ministry of Education will have a sound(しっかりした)vision of English education before my son starts school….


  14. YU on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 07:05 PM


    > It is not nice to hear that “the” Japan’s English education systems change so frequently.

    I don’t think this “the” is necessary…

  15. Munta on Tuesday September 4th, 2012 at 08:27 PM

    You have a nice job!
    I have a friend?who teach English 小学生!
    She said the same thing!
    She is not famillar with Grammer.
    And that is why 小学生 don’t care about entrance examination .
    Yes,we have entrance examination to high school.TT
    We must study for examination and for speaking English .
    I heard to my ALT that many Alt patrol during class.
    Japanese teacher is main!
    But I want her to do class mainly,
    So I let her do class(^人^)
    Bingo games,interview friends,speech to us

  16. Fumie on Wednesday September 5th, 2012 at 05:57 AM

    Hi David,

    I have no idea what you were up to. I read your entry and looked videos you posted but I couldn’t figure out what you were intend to do. As YU said, are you trying to do some experiment to prove the effectiveness of barefoot running? And I wonder the story of you won a Ferrari on a race has to do with barefoot running? When I checked this blog yesterday morning there were zero comments yet, but when I checked it last night there were already 15 comments. I thought someone came up with the answer and wrote all of them. I feel 焦った. But I found out that most of the comments were not about this week’s topic after I read them. Hmm~ what the answer could be. It puzzles me…

    The story about a woman from the ferry company is funny. You left for Hokkaido. Lucky you! That’s a great idea to escape from heat. Please enjoy your stay!

    Hi Munta,

    Nice to have you with us. You are a junior high school teacher. I think one of the important thing as a teacher is enjoy yourself while teaching students. 先生が授業を楽しめれば、生徒も楽しいのではないでしょうか?I think current English education is getting better: more communication based than it used to be. (Not enough at all though) For example “New Horizon”, textbook of junior high is much better than that of we used when I was a junior high school student. I wish we could use current textbook. The first sentences we were taught were “This/That is a pen”. Anyway good luck with your job.


  17. Munta on Wednesday September 5th, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Hi Fumie!!! Nice to meet you!!!
    I use “New horizon”!
    I know if I enjoy class ,students enjoy too!
    I think if we don’t take place “examination=just writing”
    I really enjoy,and not thinking about grammer,
    i think current textbook is grtting better,too!!
    When i was a junior high school students ,
    this is a pen!!!too!!!!!
    But, you know, Current textbook is difficult!
    Now i teach 複数形but in the textbook not “two colas” but “five cups of juice”!!!
    it is hard to explain it.
    But i always try to enjoy doing class^^
    Thank you your comment.

  18. rinko on Wednesday September 5th, 2012 at 06:01 PM

    Hi David and everyone.

    >I only did 2 km tonight instead of 5, but for the first time in my life, I ran without any shoes on.

    When I read this I was really surprised and worried if you injured your foot,because I didn’t know about “barefoot running” at all and never heard of it.Having read the site that David showd, I was surprised again to know this natural running and the fact that there are lots of people take up the training and enjoying running with barefoot in Japan.
    Also after reading the part of article saying that “the foot of habitually shod runners typically lands with an initial heel strike,while the foot of a barefoot runner lands with a more springy step on the middle.”, I tried it with barefoot in the room and found it’s true!
    Some years ago, I used to jog with my husband. Before starting it we went to the shop of running shoes and there were too many kinds of shoes that had various high-functioning for running to chose. But as the article says, if barefoot running really reduces the risk of chronic injuries,there are less merit of high-functioning and I wonder if there would be more runners with barefoot or barefoot-inspired footwear when training and even in competitions….
    Anyway I don’t have the courage to run on the road with barefoot because even small pebbles could hurt me! And I just want to know how David felt after running without any shoes on for the first time!

    Hi Munta.
    Nice to have you with us.

    >but when they understand ,they became smile and i am happy too!

    You have a great job! I hope you’ll see lots of smiles of your students.

    Have a nice day everyone.


  19. amo on Wednesday September 5th, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I am back from Okinawa today, and am a bit of tired so I haven’t finished read your new entry and others comments. I just wanted to say hello to you guys 🙂

    I will write a comment on this week topic tomorrow.

    Bye for now,


  20. Gussan on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 05:40 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I suppose this is my TOPIC because I love long- distance running, as some of you know.

    I watched the same TV program about Ethiopian runners as YU did, maybe.

    I understand good points of bare-foot running. However, I wouldn’t like to try, because it is rather risky for running my course. I may cut my foot by shards of glass or pebbles.
    One of my purposes of long-distance running is the time span of running. I usually try to run at least for one hour. Bare-food running may give kind of damage to my body.
    Why did stop running for two kilometers, David?

    I don’t understand the road condition in England. However, in some parts on the main land of Europe, there are many poops from pets on the roads, especially in the morning. I wonder if they do not care about lack of hygiene on the roads.

    See ya,

  21. Fumie on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 05:53 AM

    Hi Munta,

    Most students like games, songs, and chants but grammar and examinations are not fun. I wonder are there any way to teach grammar interestingly?
    As you said, “New Horizon” is not easy for beginner level learners (junior high school students). There are so many vocabulary and the speed they are taught is so fast.

    > But i always try to enjoy doing class^^
    You are wonderful teacher. Your students are lucky to have such an enthusiastic teacher like you!


  22. YU on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 08:07 AM

    Hi Gussan and David,

    > Why did stop running for two kilometers, David?

    Wikipedia says ;

    “Transitioning to a barefoot running style also takes time to develop, due to the use of different muscles involved. Doctors in the United States have reported an increase in such injuries as pulled calf muscles, Achilles tendinitis, and metatarsal stress fractures, which they attribute to barefoot runners attempting to transition too fast.”

    David, maybe is that the reasons why you run only 2km?
    Are you transitioning to a barefoot running style gradually!?

  23. Munta on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 09:05 AM

    That’s exactly!!Grammer and examination aren’t interesting!!!
    I don’t know if students enjoy grammar.
    But I always tell the differnce between Japanese and English!
    and i want them to enjoy the difference!
    we try to think culture or thinking English speaker’s thinking?.
    For example, why is differnce order of English and Japanese?—-Because English speaker is clearly,and they want to say what they want to say soon!(いいたいことをすぐにいう!はっきりしているから)like this??it is こじつけ!kkkkk
    Thank you your comment!!^^

    rinko!hello!!Nice to meet u!!!thank you !!!^^
    i want to write next topic from david teacher!!!!
    (i am sorry i wrote not related to this topic!!!)

  24. David Barker on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 03:25 PM

    Hi Gussan,

    I was wondering what you would think about this topic. Have you read the book “Born to Run”? It’s all about crazy ultra-marathoners. I read it on the ferry to Hokkaido, and I loved it. I think you would really enjoy it too. The reason I only ran 2 km was, as YU suggested, that I am breaking myself into it slowly. I did 3 km today, but I got a blister on my right foot, so I might have to take a couple of days off before I do it again.

  25. Anne on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 09:56 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I read the article and watched the videos you showed us.
    Here are what I got and thought.

    Many people are enthusiastic about running, and they are very conscious about their outfits including shoes.

    There has been a long history about barefoot running, and it was also called “natural running.”
    Abebe, who is a marathon runner and won the Olympic marathon in 1960 in Rome. During the race, he ran barefoot, which made barefoot running famous and popular. After the 2009 publication of Christopher Mcdougall’s book “Born to Run”, this trend rose to prominence.
    There are pros and cons toward barefoot running.
    In general, when you wear shoes, you tend to land on the heel first. It means that the foot hits heel first and sends a shock wave through a leg, which cause various kinds of injuries. And there are also a lot of problems when your shoes don’t fit. On the contrary, when you run barefoot or with thin shoes, you can avoid(or solve) these problems. Having said that, there are some dangers; cutting your sole of the foot,treading on something dangerous,etc. One thing for sure is, as YU and David mentioned, you need to take time when you start running barefoot.

    So, David, by running barefoot, are you going to learn how to place your feet to avoid injuries, and then are you going to use minimalist shoes not to hurt yourself?

    Or are you running a marathon?

    Hi Gussan,
    When I read this week’s entry, I remembered you.
    Yes, this is YOUR TOPIC!


  26. Fumie on Thursday September 6th, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Hi David,

    So you read “Born to Run” and wanted to transform to barefoot running?

    The site I read telling about blister.
    Although I got to know the value of barefoot running, I don’t have a courage to run barefoot outside 外では裸足はいやだ。室内ではやってみたい。The reason I’m afraid of barefoot running outside is I might get injured and step on animal poops.

    I’ll read “Born to Run”.


  27. David on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    I just rode over the Panorama Line from Niseko to Iwanai on my bicycle. I drove it last night, and I thought it was going to be really tough, but it wasn’t too bad at all. The weather is fantastic today, and the views were spectacular. When I woke up this morning, I had one of the clearest views of Youtei I have ever seen.

  28. YU on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Hi David, Gussan and rinko,

    You guys are very fit!
    I hate running…
    “Born to run”….
    Hummm…Maybe I can write a continuation of the book – “Born to sleep”.

    David, you like running, cycling, I don’t know if you are a good swimmer, though…
    Why not challenge “the triathlon”?

  29. Anne on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 05:52 PM

    Hi David,

    You seem to have had a nice day; bicycling and seeing beautiful view.
    Good for you!

    Hi YU,
    >Maybe I can write a continuation of the book – “Born to sleep”.–Haha! Me too!

    Hi Fumie,
    >I’ll read “Born to Run”.—Are you going to read it in English or in Japanese? Actually, I requested it at the ward library, but I need to wait a month or two months. 8 people have requested it to read. Anyway, I’ll read it in Japanese first. I didn’t know how this running style and the book were famous and popular.

    Hi everyone,

    I went to the ward library near my house today and had a look at a magazine”ランナーズ.” I found some of the comments concerning barefoot running. I’m not interested in running but like walking. I’d like to try “five fingers”( five fingers and thin)shoes on because I injured the sole of left foot a couple of yours ago.


  30. David Barker on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 09:57 PM

    I finally finished! I just had a nice onsen. I ended up riding 180 km today. I went from Niseko to Iwanai, Iwanai to Shakotan, Shakotan to Yoichi, and from there back to Kutchan. By the time I got to Kutchan, I couldn’t move my legs anymore, and I felt like throwing up, so I got a taxi the last 15 km back to Niseko. It’s been a long time since I pushed myself so hard physically. I think I might have been influenced by Born to Run, so be careful when you read it!

    I need to go to bed now, so if it’s alright with you, I’ll do the feedback tomorrow.

  31. Fumie on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Hi David,

    You were cycling and seeing spectacular views in comfortable weather. Lucky you! The temparature rose up to 34degrees during daytime here. It’s still relentlessly hot.

    Hi YU,

    >Hummm…Maybe I can write a continuation of the book – “Born to sleep”.
    Ha ha ha!
    I burst into laugh! You are so funny. Your comments often make me laugh.

    Hi Anne,

    I’m going to read “Born To Run” in English. I don’t know if I can understand it or not if I read it English and how many pages are there but I will try it anyway. I’ll go to the ward library tomorrow and request it.


  32. Fumie on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Hi David,

    It seems while I was writing my comments, you posted another comment.
    > I ended up riding 180 km today.
    180 km on a bycle!You are quite an athlete!I checked where you visited on a map. Distances between those places look long even on a map.
    Sleep tight!


  33. Anne on Friday September 7th, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Hi David,
    Wow! 180 km on bicycle!? I can’t believe that. Hope onsen made you feel relaxed.

    Hi Fumie,
    >I’m going to read “Born To Run” in English.
    –Oh, are you? OK, I’ll do that too:)


  34. amo on Saturday September 8th, 2012 at 02:43 AM

    Hi David,

    To tell the truth, I am not very sporty so this topic isn’t my thing. Anyway, I took a look the links that you mentioned. I don’t know which is good for your health, barefoot or shoes on. When I was in school, there were some people who liked running without shoes. During my stay in Okinawa, I went for a walk with my sister and we saw some children playing a school playground, and some of them were barefoot. For myself, I have run without shoes once. It was in PE class in junior high school. I felt the soles of my feet got hot because it was in summer.

    Hi Munta,

    Welcome to the blog:)
    Teaching English must be challenging, and also an interesting work to do. Look forward to hearing your stories from now on.

    David, I am happy for you that you are having fun in Hokkaido.

shemale lesbian.