Walking in Winter Wonderland

December 19th, 2006   •   15 comments   

As promised, here are some photos of my recent holiday in Hokkaido, with a short one-day trip in Tokyo. It sure was a wonderful wintry experience in near or sub-zero temperatures. Will blog about some key learning points next.


Statue of liberty in Tokyo
Tokyo was our first stopover en route to Hokkaido. Whom did we meet? Well, none other than the lady of liberty herself.
Humungous pink cat outside pet shop
Saw this huge inflatable pink cat outside a pet shop. Japanese pets sure have it good I tell you!

Giant Ferris Wheel @ Tokyo
Giant ferris wheel at Tokyo. Err….so what’s so unique about the Singapore Flyer?

In Hokkaido itself, there were many different high points which I have (neatly) divided into categories below for your viewing pleasure.


Fresh King Crabs - Yummy
Fresh king crab (Kani) in a market at Hokkaido. Absolutely finger lickin’ good!

Barbequed Lamb
Barbecued lamb done Mongolian style. The taste was simply awesome, juicy and tender without any strong mutton-like smell. Even Tina, who normally won’t touch this, ate with relish.

Sashimi and steamboat galore
Raw foodies delight featuring fresh halibut, abalone, conch shell and salmon. Just minutes ago, these were all swimming in the aquariums so you can imagine how fresh they were.

Give that man a couple of Asahi beers and see how widely he smiles!


Frozen (almost) lake near Akan View
Partially frozen lake near Akan View Hotel. Several ducks were swimming in the icy waters, looking totally nonchalant while we were freezing our behinds off.

Noboribetsu volcanic mountains
Volcanic ranges at Noboribetsu, with sulphurous fumes being emitted. Smelled worst than it looks!

View from the mountain
A lovely view near the Okhotsk area, which is the sea at the north of Hokkaido.

Ski Resort
Rutsutsu Ski Resort near Sapporo, where we had lots of fun sliding down in a little yellow toboggan.

Snowmen (not ours though)
Tina and I shamelessly posing with somebody else’s snowmen. These snow folks were created by a very diligent father and son team, who toiled for more than an hour!


Otaru Music Box Factory
At Otaru, we were mesmerized by the lovely chimes and music coming from the town square. It really sounded as if we were in a magical musical kingdom. Here is a picture of the largest music box shop in Asia.

Music Boxes 1
Aren’t these music boxes simply gorgeous? They sounded pretty good too.

Otaru Music Box Museum
Popped by the Otaru Music Box Museum but unfortunately, it was already closed. Managed to catch a glimpse of music boxes from the past to the present though.


Santa doin' a Mission Impossible act
Spotted this Santa trying to make a quick getaway at the Asahi Beer Factory. Had one too many and tryin’ to escape from the scene ol’ Saint Nick?

Trees in clothes
No, these are not botanical equivalents of the Ku Klux Klan. Instead, the straw mats covering them are supposed to protect them from the harsh winter weather. See, even plants have it good in Hokkaido!

Sapporo city at night
Finally, a lovely night scene in Susukino, Sapporo’s shopping district. It is as modern and sophisticated as you can get, dispelling images of Hokkaido being just about snow and seafood.

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  1. posted on Dec 19, 2006 at 4:00 PM

    Thanks for sharing the photos. They made me consider Japan as a potential country to visit.

    By the way, could I check with you if photography without using flash is permissible at the National Museum of Singapore’s Mother Empress of Habsburg Austria’s exhibition? I managed to take several photos without flash, but the security stopped me (thank goodness I was almost done). I am hoping to write about it and post on Yesterday. sg. Would I need to obtain clearance to post those photos?

  2. posted on Dec 20, 2006 at 7:32 AM

    Nice photos, Walter. Looks like you’ve had a great time in Hokkaido. Would like to visit it too but my wife can’t stand cold weather. Worse, she doesn’t even like travelling. I am an unusually lucky husband, am I not? :p

    Did junior join the two of you for the holiday in Hokkaido?

  3. posted on Dec 20, 2006 at 4:10 PM

    PY and Victor,

    Thanks for dropping by!

    With regard to taking of photographs and blogging about it, there are two sets of answers I can give you. The official answer is that you really should adhere to the guidelines on the wall of the museum. The unofficial answer….well….. 😉

    Victor, we didn’t bring Ethan this time around coz were afraid that he may catch a cold. However, will be bringing him to Bangkok in end Dec/ early Jan.

  4. posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 4:18 AM

    peiyun, eastcoastlife, this is screencap of a page detailing national museum of singapore’s stance on photography: http://www.nhb.gov.sg/mcc/attachments/nmphotography.jpg as extracted from their webpage. Apologies, I am unable to provide the exact url as the page is in flash. Its under the navigation of facilities/photography and filming.

  5. posted on Dec 20, 2006 at 11:52 PM

    Hi Walter, thanks for the reply.

    How would I be able to request for special permission to take non-flash photography of the exhibits the next time when I visit the National Museum of Singapore?

    ACM now allows non-flash photography on hand-held cameras, but I am surprised to be informed that NMS’ policy is strictly no photography.

    I am unsure whether the officials from NMS may haunt me if I were to publish photos of the exhibit without their consent. I don’t like it when people disturb my sense of peace. *Winks*

  6. posted on Dec 20, 2006 at 11:53 PM

    gosh…I think I shall email you instead, if I have query on that matter.

  7. Dipankar
    posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 8:08 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Dipankar
    posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 8:10 AM

    Walter > Thanks for leaving a response on my blog entry at http://kuzzuk.net/index.php?itemid=19 and I finally had the chance to read your blog. I found it to be a great mixture of personal and professional musings. Talk about balance and now I’ll think Walter.

    Happy holidays.



  9. posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 3:16 AM

    Wow! Hokkaido looks fabulous! Japan has great scenery, I’ll go going in March ’07 to see the Sakura blossoms.

    I see that you enjoyed your Hokkaido trip! I love the food best. mmmmm………..

  10. posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 3:21 AM

    Cannot take photos & blog about National Museum of Singapore? Then how to promote our museum to our foreign friends? If I use flash photography, the exhibits will melt ah? If I blog about the exhibits in NMS, will they sue me?

  11. posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 11:23 AM

    Thanks for your enquiries Peiyun and eastcoastlife and also to Shaun for helping to demystify museum photography 101. I hope that it helps to encourage you guys to blog more about museums!

    Dipankar – pleasure was all mine. Your blog is on my subscription list and I find it an interesting read too!

  12. posted on Dec 22, 2006 at 8:10 PM

    when it comes to travelling, food is always on my mind….

    anyway, i hav linked yr blog to my blog

  13. posted on Dec 26, 2006 at 1:30 AM

    Great pics, it seems that both you & Tina are having a great time! Wish to visit Japan 1 of these days. Meanwhile, Rog & I will continue to enjoy our Suan Lum and Chatuchak escapades….

  14. posted on Dec 27, 2006 at 11:07 AM

    Thanks for visiting Johnny and for your links. Will be linking to your blog too.

    Lee Hwa, hope that you guys will enjoy your vacation to Malacca. We are bit concerned about the flood though and do take care. One day when the kids are older, I am sure that we can all go to Japan for an Oishii experience!

  15. posted on Apr 17, 2007 at 6:21 PM

    looks like you have a great time! but for me, i will surely avoid winter like plague LOLz

    Lady of liberty @ odaiba? the rainbow bridge behind 😉

    so lucky, you fly to Sapporo from tokyo? I did the shinkansen route, there is a interesting undersea train tunnel joining the japan main island to hokkaido island.

    anyway your kid didn’t tag along? many of my married friends couldn’t travel further due to their children.

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