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Hokkaido – Day 3 July 20, 2007

Posted by ash in about Friends, about Taking random pictures.

I apologize for leaving the Hokkaido trip recap hanging in the air (not that I have ardent fans dying to read it),but this week has been hectic and crazy. Today was my last day at school, it was all very emotional. (and busy)…I intend to blog about that but I will talk about Hokkaido day 3 first.

Day 3

For 2 nights, Kaori and I had splurged on the hotel spa and massage services so even after 2 days of hectic schedule, our legs and backs weren’t aching as much as we thought it would. We had planned to go to Otaru (a nice quaint little town 30 minutes by train from Sapporo) on Day 3. In the morning we woke up on time, enjoyed our hotel breakfast and checked out. So far, we have eaten what we wanted to eat and seen what we wanted to see. If Otaru goes well, this Hokkaido trip can be said to be above satisfactory.

However, Day 3 was to be a day filled with unexpected events. It started with Kaori falling down the stairs at the subway station. She tripped on the hem of her pants and went tumbling down in a split second. We went to the control station and asked for permission to use the first aid box, it was only when she lifted the hem of her pants that we saw that she had actually grazed both her legs badly. The station folks were really helpful as they quickly tended to Kaori’s wounds without any question or complaint. Even as we descended the stairs to board the subway, they were looking out of the glass window concernedly to see if we had any problems. Another example of service in Japan!

 The weather in Otaru was better than we expected (after 2 gloomy days in Sapporo & Furano), in fact it was so hot and the sun was so glaring we could hardly open our eyes during phot0-taking.

The picture at Otaru Canal was a little disappointing because there were too many people and seriously, it was difficult to find people who could take pictures properly.

Kaori’s main purpose of going to Otaru was to buy glassware. The most famous glassmaker in Otaru is called Kitaichi, there are 3 or 4 big shops selling all sorts of beautiful glasswares. Everything that can be used and which can be made of glass can be found. Beautiful soy-sauce bottles with sakura motifs, glass coasters, glass pigs and glass lamps….it was a dazzling sight. A real pity I couldn’t take any pictures of them as photography was not allowed.

Next, we went to one of the many shops in Otaru selling pretty crystal accessories. Every piece of accessory in the shop was fitted with pretty swarovski crystals. The counters were crowded with women of all ages. Some were obviously torn between choices while others like me were trying to squeeze to the front and see the displays available. Kaori was happy to find the exact same pair of earrings which her mother gave to her 2 years ago. (She lost one side and has been trying to replace it with an identical one) I didn’t think I would succumb to temptation but I did and bought some accessories. Tsk, not good to shop with someone who buys without hesitation!

Our stomachs were calling out to us when noon came. The final must-eat item in Hokkaido is fresh sea produce. Sushi, seafood bowl or hairy crabs! I tried the seafood bowl and hairy crab miso soup last time so this time I ordered nigiri sushi. (sushi made on the spot by the master chef after order is being placed) 10 pieces for 2,500 yen (about SGD 32?) Very expensive but very worth it. My favorite had to be the uni (sea urchin), the taste was rich and the texture was creamy. Even the most common salmon sushi tasted divine. No regrets!


2 hours in Otaru zoomed by just like that. We hurried back to Sapporo to collect our luggage and made our way to the airport. When we reached the airport, we heard an announcement saying that our flight may be cancelled due to typhoon. We didn’t think it would really be cancelled so we just went ahead and bought more souvenirs at the airport stores. However, the flight was really cancelled. Worse, all flights back to Sendai was cancelled for the day. What were we to do?! It was 5.30 pm, we were stuck in Shin-Chitose airport and badly wanted to go home.

Eventually, ANA said they would arrange for us to fly to Haneda Airport (Tokyo). There seemed to be no other option so we took it. I couldn’t believe the situation I was in though. Why do we have to fly from Hokkaido to Tokyo?! That’s hundreds of miles away! It’s like going to K.L from Johore and then back to Singapore again by car. Plus, we were informed that we had to pay for our own shinkansen ticket from Tokyo. That was the most ridiculous of all! It wasn’t good news for someone who spent all her money in Hokkaido and had only 3000 yen left in her wallet.

Kaori and I were so tired. In the plane, we entertained ourselves with the kewpie keychain bought in Asahiyama zoo. It’s kewpie in a bear suit. So cute.


It was 7.30 pm when we reached Tokyo. Just thinking about the shinkansen journey from there made me feel like puking. Besides, we weren’t even sure if there were tickets but luckily there were. While we were waiting for the shinkansen at the platform, we heard some girls screaming a distance away. Neither of us paid any attention because it was Tokyo and people were always drunk or something…but as the screaming got louder, we looked briefly and saw some people gathered around the escalator area. Still, we didn’t give a damn because we thought some drunkard collapsed. Minutes later, we finally realised what the hoo-ha was about. It was Katori Shingo! (a member of famous Japanese group SMAP) What a surprise! Caught 3 seconds of his head bobbing down the escalator. Haha, what a weird surprise. Well…


Finally reached Sendai at 11.30 pm. Deadbeat, damn broke and really glad that the following Monday is a public holiday. Of course nobody knew then that the 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Nigata would happen the next day. I really sympathised with the victims of the earthquake. The only earthquake I experienced measured 6.3 and it was frightening enough. Can’t imagine what a 6.8 would feel like but judging from the news footages, it must have been terrifying. (Sorry, was supposed to give Hokkaido Day 3 a proper closure but ended up talking about the earthquake)



1. Suika - July 20, 2007

erm babe was that last pic supposed to be Shingo’s pic? ARGH!! its not viewable lehz!

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