December 19th, 2006
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.
PRELUDE AT TOKYO
Tokyo was our first stopover en route to Hokkaido. Whom did we meet? Well, none other than the lady of liberty herself.
Saw this huge inflatable pink cat outside a pet shop. Japanese pets sure have it good I tell you!
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.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
Fresh king crab (Kani) in a market at Hokkaido. Absolutely finger lickin’ good!
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.
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!
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.
Volcanic ranges at Noboribetsu, with sulphurous fumes being emitted. Smelled worst than it looks!
A lovely view near the Okhotsk area, which is the sea at the north of Hokkaido.
Rutsutsu Ski Resort near Sapporo, where we had lots of fun sliding down in a little yellow toboggan.
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!
ENCHANTING MUSICAL TOWN
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.
Aren’t these music boxes simply gorgeous? They sounded pretty good too.
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.
SIGHTS IN URBAN SAPPORO
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?
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!
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.
Tags: Christmas, Hokkaido, Holiday, Winter