"Restaurant Kita Banya - Enjoy fresh delicacies from land and sea as you sit around the fire in a private fisherman's style hut." That's what the blurb from the hotel handbook in our room says. Our dinner ticket was written in Japanese but by comparing characters we were able ascertain that Kita Banya is where we were to be eating tonight. I didn't fudge up the hotel reservation after all. When you book one of these hotels you have to choose a stay plan that includes meals. When it is all in Japanese it can be... difficult. Thank you translate.google.com. What we didn't want was the buffet. When we saw the number of people piling into the buffet hall we were very relieved we had reserved the intimate private dining room for two. Speaking of the number of hotel guests I can almost state categorically that Michelle and I were probably the only westerners in Sounkyo this weekend. I flipped through half a dozen guest books in the private dining rooms and there were only 4 other entries by westerners - 1 Aussie, a Frog and a Yank. Actually in the almost 30 days we've been in Japan we've been lucky enough not to see many westerners at all. In Hokkaido so far they have been very scarce on the ground. Anyway, these big hotels are amazing in how they accommodate different people for meals. Huge banquet rooms and fine dining for two. Our waitress for the evening was the lovely Mutsuko. She had almost no English and of course we had no Japanese but we were still able to communicate and she was a delight. The first thing we had to do was choose a main course. One of two fish or Australian(!) steak. One thing about Aussie beef, it made miss the Hida beef even more.