Sapporo, Japan Part 2

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Sapporo, Japan Part 2

17 Feb 2011 -Woke up late in the morning as we were not in a hurry to go anywhere. This particular journey to Japan is supposed to be a fun, relaxing and to enjoy the culture and the people.

After a small breakfast, we took the subway to Sapparo main station as we were told that the main tourist information office is located there. I also found that the tourist information centre at Sapporo Station is the only place where I can get English brochures and reliable information. The hotel staff was very helpful but their information is very general and not specific. They were not able to tell us much about the ski fields in Sapporo either. If you need details eg train/bus time tables etc to the ski fields it is best to head off to Sapporo station tourist information.

The local subway is just 2 min from the Mecure hotel. We bought a day pass for just subway via a ticket machine (they have instructions in English) cost Yen800 each. We can use that ticket all day for all subways, but not for trains on JR line. Today is a sight seeing day as well as checking out ski information. We checked out the Iseya shop near our hotel. This is a 2nd hand and band new goods but found it not worth my while. Went in and out in 10 minutes. The 2nd hand items were mostly brand name wallets/purses. Not my cup of tea. The 2nd hand and band new goods store is just behind our hotel, The Mecure.

We walked towards the TV tower, our next tourist destination. The 147.2 meter high Sapporo TV Tower sits at the east end of the park offering panoramic views from the 90 meter high observation floor. At the west end is Shirokan Former Sapporo Court of Appeals, built in 1926.The TV tower is not very impressive in my opinion. We then decided to look for this clock tower instead. We thought it might be more interesting. We had a hard time looking for the clock tower, “Tokeidai” which was constructed in 1878, its American-built clock, installed in 1881. The original clock is still telling time and may explain Sapporo’s love affair with large, public clocks.

We could not speak much Japanese and didn’t know the word for clock tower. The Japanese whom we approached to asked for directions cannot speak English. We showed them the map of where we are going and they try their best to tell us the direction. After almost 1 hour of walking around and killing ourselves laughing as one of us was asking the Japanese for “Clocko Towero” (clock tower) as we couldn’t tell them the word in Japanese. I am sure they didn’t have a clue what we were looking for. But they still try their best. We walked round and round and finally decided to call it quits. We had read that it is not a great building for western tourist as that building resembles a western building. We told ourselves that once we stopped looking for this cock tower, we will surely come across it by accident. !

Guess what ! We did stumbled upon it when we didn’t want to go anymore! We walked up some steps and around the corner was this clock tower staring at us! Don’t ask me where to find it as I cannot lead you to it again. It really was not a great tourist building at all. Not worth the effort. I decided there and then, that Japan does not really have any tourist attraction aside from the Japanese garden, cherry blossoms, temples, modern technology, gadgets etc.

Japan is really a very modern country with its beautiful cultural and interesting cuisine. Unlike China, who have the Great Wall and artifacts or Egypt with its pyramids, Japan has nothing much to offer in that category. No matter, I still enjoyed myself and still consider this country to be one of the best place to visit. I believe it is because I am more into cultural aspect, an important part of the criteria for my holidays.

Along the way we saw the “gravel box” You won’t see this in Switzerland, Australia, China etc. This box is placed all over in Saporrao downtown at major intersections. The box is full of “gravel ina bag” and is for pedestrian to spread gravels on the ground. All you have to do is take out one of the gravel filled bags from the box and scatter the gravel on the ice and disposed the empty bag in the proper bin on the gravel box. This apparently helps with melting the snow on the footpath and allow yourself others to walk safetly!. A tourist experience. From this episode, I feel that the Japanese are very much an unselfish type of people. They look after others as well as themselves.

The gravel helps me and others walk safetly. I happen to also have a non-slip attachment for my sneakers/shoes. You can get that from any departmental stores. The slip on rubber contraption cover the heel and ball of the shoe/foot. That helps in walking in slippery surfaces. Someone told me that I can use an old sock! (just wear the old sock over the shoes). As I walked along the road to get to my shopping malls, I also notice that there some parts of the road/footpath are heated (really amazing technology). Can you experience in other parts of the world?

If you choose not to walk in the freezing temperature for shopping, check out the Tanukikoji 1-7 ( the shopping arcade goes through 7 intersection) and they are all undercover and above ground shopping. You can also go underground for your shopping expedition. Places such as at Susukino subway.

At the main Sapparo station and in the Daimaru supermarket, we had a great time looking at al the beautiful presented food and also had a great time tasting food. This is normally at the basement of most shopping centers. By the time we walked one round, treating our taste buds to all these wonderful taste, we were full and can only eat a small lunch.

Things that once can taste freely are coffee, cakes, dim sums, sasauges, seaweeds soup and seaweeds, sweet potatoes cakes/mash, pickled vegetables and seafood. The food that are packed for takeaway are not in just ordinary plastic bags (as what I was used to). They are pack properly and then wrapped up again in beautiful designer papers or plastic. It just looks too good for a “takeaway”. It certainly looks better than any of my Christmas/Birthday presents that I had wrapped in my life.

We went up to Daimaru departmental store restaurant (top floor) to have lunch, “a seafood set meal” comprising of rice, soup, pickle, fish and dessert for a resonable price. This dish is a bit fishy for my taste but was an experience. You don’t need to get a set meal or a seafood meal. They have other dishes eg noodles or beef on offer. This is unlike the restaurant that we went to last night where they only serve sushi and nothing else. I suppose the reataurants here does not specialised in only one cuisine. I decided I really enjoyed Japanese food as they not only cater for my tummy, they also cater for my eyes (beautifully presented).

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