With no snoring bikers, crowing cocks or foghorns to disturb me, I managed to sleep for eleven hours, and after a leisurely breakfast, stopped off in Nakashibetsu Town for an equally leisurely lunch.
When I sat down at the counter of a local café, I could hear the fellow sitting next to me confer with the waiter in Japanese ('How do you say "Where are you from?" in English, he was asking). Once he had plucked up the courage to introduce himself, Mr Strawberry told me that he had just formed a rock band, and it has to be said he looked like just the kind of person who ought to.
Too Cool for School
Lipstick on a Pig
Despite passing this list of names on to Mr Strawberry, sadly I never found out if he adopted any of them, so if you happen to be forming a rock band yourself, feel free to use one (so long as you agree to pay me a percentage of all future royalties, that is).
One young lad was halfway through a ten-month circuit of Japan, and had a plastic samurai sword attached to his bicycle frame for good luck. Another, who was only the second female cyclist I had met so far this summer, had a full-size pillow tied to her bicycle seat for staving off saddle sore.
Mr Cedar Mountain had come cycling for a couple of days from his home on the Shirétoko Peninsula, and while he owned a farm elsewhere in Hokkaido, he was currently renting it out with a view to returning in a year or two's time.
'Farming is a pain these days because of all the quotas and subsidies,' he said. 'A few years ago there was too much rice and the government told us to grow less. Now the price has gone up again we're being told to grow more! What they don't understand is that if you stop cultivating a rice field, it takes a fair bit of effort and money to get it up and running again.'
Now sixty years old, Mr Cedar Mountain had spent the 1970s travelling the world, from Europe and Africa to South and North America, and including a stint as a waiter at a Japanese restaurant in New York. While his children had yet to follow in his footsteps, both had moved from the countryside to the city - one to Tokyo and one to Sapporo. 'They like the freedom,' he said.
Mr Cedar Mountain and I had our evening meal at a local izakaya, where we sampled an impressive array of raw fish and seafood, including the aforementioned sanma, hotaté (帆立 / scallops), one variety of salmon that was served semi-frozen, and another that is prized because it only migrates from Russia to Hokkaido once every four years. Halfway through the meal a film crew turned up, although my hopes of being interviewed on Japanese TV were dashed when for some unknown reason they ignored us in favour of two younger, better looking female customers on the opposite side of the room.
Later on as we were cleaning our teeth at the campsite's communal sinks, we got talking to another of the cyclists, a gangly, scruffily dressed man in his fifties who devoted his holidays to finding - and bathing in - natural hot springs deep in the wilderness.
'For this one,' he said, showing us some photos on his laptop, 'I got up at 3am and hiked for six hours. It took another four and a half to get back.'
'Have you ever come across any bears?' said Mr Cedar Mountain.
'Oh yes. Three times, I think. But I survived to tell the tale!'
Mr Cedar Mountain said that when they wake up from hibernation in the spring, bears are, understandably enough, hungry, and more likely than usual to venture into towns and villages in search of food. He had seen several behind his apartment block - from the safe vantage point of his bedroom window, that is - so with only a thin layer of Gore-tex for protection, I was quite relieved to be able to spend the night in an officially non-bear-infested campsite.