First days in Sapporo

Hey there It’s been a while!
Given the amount of free time I still have at the moment I decided it would be a good thing to start blogging again. Well maybe it isn’t but I felt like it is, so I’m doing it. But as you’d expect from the title of this blog entry, this is going to be about the Japan trip a while back. Arrival and first stop was in Sapporo. Going to Japan without visiting Hokkaido and our favourite Japanese family that lives there would feel like treason and just isn’t going to happen.

The Airbnb place we stayed at for the two nights in Sapporo was the first ever and it turned out to be a fairly nice experience. Our task was to get the keys of the apartment at a laundry store a few blocks away. Unlike most European cities that sprinkle salt and/or gravel to melt the snow or make it gritty, the sidewalks in Sapporo, except for the main streets, were mostly left untouched. Walking over the frozen snow with that heavy luggage turned out to be more difficult than expected and while slipping for the umpteenth time I kept wondering how old people manage to go out during the winter months without breaking every bone in their body. But then again, all the Obasans and Ojisans I’ve met throughout Japan were incredibly brave.

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I can’t remember what subway station that was.. do you know maybe?

The place was a typical Japanese style single room apartment with a bathroom. We turned on the kerosene heater right away because it tends to be freezing in Japanese homes. I love the distinct smell and calming buzz of the heater and for me it’s associated with cozy times I had in Japan. Must be because we mostly stayed there during the autumn and winter months.

Sapporo station with the JR tower – if you look closely you’ll see there’s stars on the clock face

So what do you to when it’s cold and gets dark very early?
Right, you go for some arcade games and stuff you belly with hot Miso Ramen. Twice if necessary. Not getting hungry and eating while walking around Susukino demands self-control which I didn’t even bother with. The Ramen they served at a small Ramen shop called Okami were simple and reviving with an oh so yummy broth. Frankly though I wasn’t satisfied after one bowl but was too shy to ask for “Okawari” which means “seconds please”. Maybe I didn’t want to come across as the insatiable western barbarian, especially not as a girl.

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Oden is the best food – I love the different textures and warm flavour

But if your craving for something really badly there’s still the chance you’ll find something according to your taste at the next Konbini shop. I’m a Onigiri/Nikuman/Oden kind of person but there’s also candy and dessert stuff if you’re more of a sweet tooth.

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Gudetama – an egg yolk I can relate to

At times there would be snow flurries with such strong and unpleasant wind that seeking shelter in the huge ESTA mall beside the train station or entering an arcade seemed to be the only reasonable options. There’s a huge selection of massage chairs on one floor of the mall and it’s common to find people taking a nap and relaxing there. But you’ll also find cute shops and restaurants and kids go there after school. I got the softest pillow at Loft in shape of a piglet since I didn’t feel like the pillow at the Airbnb place was fresh enough. Piglet is too cute to flatten him under my heavy head though so I still had no pillow. You will probably meet him in one of my next posts. It’s strange that I didn’t get something with Gudetama but I find it more fun trying to get it with the UFO catcher.

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Sumikkogurashi characters

It was shortly before Christmas and the trees of the main streets were illuminated and looked all festive. How could a city like Sapporo though not always look illuminated with all the neon signs and color screens on the buildings. I probably prefer Sapporo during autumn since you can stroll around the botanical garden and look at the exotic and pretty plants and maybe enjoy a beer in the beautiful parks around the city. Flashy neon signs at night are always neat though!

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Arcades make me smile :) ..and insane

Besides eating and hanging out we didn’t do much in Sapporo. Renting a car for a few days was quickly done as we still had the translation of the driver’s license from last time. As much as I love hanging out in the big cities, I lost my heart in rural Japan because that’s where I’m always drawn to. So after two nights we left for Furano for some hot springs and mountain viewing.

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