After coming back from Otaru (小樽), I still got about half day and the next morning in Sapporo(札幌) before I concluded this trip.
In my opinion, Sapporo seemed like every big city in Japan but just less crowded. As usual, there were department stores, electronic stores, all kinds of stores near the train station. I stayed in the same hotel as the first night in Sapporo, ANA Hotel Sapporo, which was less than 10 minutes walk from the train station. ANA Hotel is a very common business-type of hotel chain all over Japan. It’s decent with fair service and quality, which I had no complain about after staying in several of them in Japan.
I decided to take the subway to Odori Park(大通公園) to walk around. Odori Park is situated in the heart of Sapporo, where it often holds different ceremonies and celebrations for seasonal occasions. There were indeed some activities going on in the park, with a corner clustered with several large tents and crowds. Apparently it was a beer party!
There were also several carts selling BBQ corns. Summer is the harvest season for corns, along with melons (cantaloupes), potatoes, and asparagus in Hokkaido.
Many people have read Japanese comics (manga) and are familiar with Japanese’ creativity and imagination. In Japan, it’s not hard to see that some creatures are personified in very cute illustrations. Here’s the corn illustration I saw all over Sapporo this time: Odori Park is also a place for people to relax after a day’s work. I saw several people apparently just got out from the offices and decided to sit around enjoying the breeze.
I walked further away from Odori Park and arrived in “Anuki Koji” (狸小路). It’s a very long shopping street that crosses several blocks, constituted by restaurants, drugstores, entertainment shops, and some hotels.
For people who have been to Japan several times, it’s not difficult to find out that many Japanese people are enthusiastic player of UFO Catcher. I’m certainly not addicted to it since I’m always not the winner. 😛 You will be surprised what the prizes are sometimes–besides stuff toys being the usual prizes, this time I saw plums, cookies, socks, and the one I really couldn’t anticipated the most, was it dry meat… or dry sausage?? And I did see some people spending quite a few money to catch these giant…dry meat? Sausages??
The next morning, I took the subway to Nakajima Park (中島公園). It was much serener and greener than Odori Park. There was a big lake and numerous trees that I would stroll around longer if I had more time. It reminded me of New York’s Center Park.
There were many hydrangeas blooming in the park. Hydrangea is my favorite flower because of its violet and blue shades that don’t seem as common in flowers. Isn’t that green plus violet and blue combination just nice? 😀
Watanabe Junichi’s (渡边淳一) little museum of literature is next to Nakajima Park. It’s constructed by the famed architecture–Ando Tadao (安藤忠雄). It contains a small library and displays Watanabe Junichi’s works. I’ve read several of Watanabe Junichi’s works; I can’t say I favor every of them since some of them were overly sad. However, I still enjoyed his works as he always has observed human characteristics carefully and described them vividly in his stories.
Finally I’ve arrived in the tasting area. The museum was free, but the tasting wasn’t. However, the charge for tasting was pretty fair. A glass of beer was 200 Japanese yen, or a set of 3 different kinds was 500 Japanese yen. There were also soft drinks for 100 Japanese yen each glass. You’d also get some free snacks to go with your drink. Kanpai! 😀
So this concluded my trip to Hokkaido. I must say that Hokkaido is great for summer as the temperature is just fine and the weather can’t be even nicer. Shinchitose (新千歲) airport contains many shops and you really can spend hours stocking up what you’ve forgotten to buy in Hokkaido or to further fulfill your shopping desire. 🙂