And guess what, this is exactly what I did last week. I am not yet prepared to deal with the dire cold and copious amounts of snow in Hokkaido, Japan’s furthest north large island and biggest prefecture, but I was prepared to benefit from the colder atmosphere for a few days in the summer. On a Thursday morning I made the flight to Sapporo’s Shin-Chitose Airport, arriving to Sapporo station around 10am. The first thing I noticed about Hokkaido was the reason why they are famous for so many fresh foods: there is a lot more flat and uninhabited land here than in the Tokyo area, so there is MUCH more space for farming (fruit, veggies, cows, and more).
Because I chose to stay with a host family for this trip, the first thing I did was meet my host mother’s daughter, Keiko. We went to Hokkaido University: absolutely gorgeous; ate Sapporo ramen: absolutely delicious; and went to Odori park: a 12-BLOCK park in the middle of Sapporo. At the park, Keiko had to leave me so I wandered in alone from the TV tower all the way to a rose garden on the other end. The middle of the park was setting up for a beer festival that starts this week, there were at least 4-6 blocks of park dedicated to this festival… I guess the people of Sapporo really like their beer.
One cool thing I found in the park is that there were a lot of artists: from photographers to painters to students rehearsing a drama, it’s something that I don’t see a lot of in Tokyo (except for the touristy type of photographers) and I thought it was awesome to see all of these people out and about pouring their hearts/hands/voices into artwork.
Then it was time to head home with the host family: I got a ride from my mom, Hiroko, to their house about 15 minutes away from Sapporo station. There we had dinner: omuraisu (omelet-rice) made with nama-cream (fresh cream?) and mushrooms and stuff (AKA deliciousness), fish, and delicious sides. This night was the only time I saw my host-father for the whole trip, but he as hilarious and I loved him. Then it was time for a shower and relaxing/unpacking.
http://teikan.chuo-bus.co.jp/en/course/2037#calendar (Bus tour)
http://www.farm-tomita.co.jp/en/ (Lavender Farm)
From the Patchwork road to Biei blue pond and finally to Farm Tomita's lavender fields and all of the beautiful landscape in between, this day was absolutely wonderful. See pictures below.
When I got to Aomori, I expected the tour buses to be running in the morning, but they didn't even start until 9:30!! I wish this information had been online so I could have prepared (stayed the night in Hakodate and taken a different ferry to the mainland...). I was so tired and not willing to pay for a taxi so I slept a few hours in the ferry terminal and then trekked my way to the train station where I changed my ticket and came home early.
Someone once said that the best part of a vacation is actually the coming home part. At that time I thought they were crazy, but now I completely agree with this statement. It felt so good to be home.
Until next time,