Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hokkaido

We went to Hokkaido for a couple weeks to escape the subtropical Kagoshima heat, study a little Japanese, climb volcanoes and eat some of the famed regional specialties. Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan, with cool weather to show for it. Hokkaido was a different Japan than I have experienced thus far - tall Japanese people, "fat" Japanese people, Japanese people with tattoos, natural parks in the middle of the city, proliferation of international foods and locally made dairy products!
Most larger Japanese cities I have been to are all too commonly "concrete" themed, but Sapporo had lots of herbs growing in the middle of the city. Blackberry bushes even! In Kagoshima a friend found a blackberry bush for sale for $300 and in Sapporo they were in people's front yards everywhere.
There was a beer festival in a downtown park for the weeks we were there. Sapporo Black label is definitely the best Japanese beer. I love you drunk Japanese girls.
The countryside was pastoral and dreamy in a very Pennsylvania way.

There was still a a little jungle.
We studied Japanese and it was hard. Nothing new about that.
One of Hokkaido's specialties is many varieties of crab. On my birthday we went to a crab restaurant where we had our own personal server dish us out dozens of kinds of crab cooked in as many ways.

I had never had crab sashimi before, but mmmmm creamybutterydelicious!

One of my favorite Japanese snacks is senbe, rice crackers, that come in all sizes, flavors and levels of delicious and crunchy.
Before our crab feast we had champagne and cheeses at a lookout point with all of Sapporo below!

Me, Brian's reflection.
Every weekend we headed out to the countryside to check out nearby volcanoes, hot springs and lakes. A lake dreaming of Disneyland.

We climbed a volcano steaming with sulfur and couldn't walk for days after.
Sapporo's parks: A land of long-haired dachshunds!
Inner-city lake-ing.

Get in my stomach!

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