H is for Hokkaido

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August 11th 2006
Published: September 12th 2006
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I am in Japan!!! A long way from Adelaide, Australia, but here I am in Shizuoka for a year teaching at an English Kindergarten while seeing and experiencing as much of this crazy, mixed up, amazing country as I can!

So to make this blog a bit more exciting to write its gonna be an A-Z of what Marissa and I did in our 4 day visit to Hokkaido. Not that Hokkaido wasnt exciting, it was, its just you get sick of writing 'and then we did this and then we saw that', and come on lets admit it, most people just look at the pictures anyway!!!

A is for Air! It was fresh, clean and you could even see the stars, the mountains and blue sky- no haze!!!!

B is for Beer We were in Sapporo for their annual beer festival, and being the town that is home to the Sapporo Beer Factory, the Asahi Brewery, Kirin and I think even Suntory, they certainly know how to do it in style! If only we werent already hung over from the tours of the aforementioned factories we would have made the most of the festival!

C is for Cows So much for Hokkaido being Milk Land- we didnt see one real live cow.

D is for Driving In our own Mazda hire car!! Coolest thing ever, with GPS (thank goodness). We drove to Otaru, through Furano, Biei, and to Asahikawa before heading back to Sapporo.

E is for Eating a truckload of meat Before we had even booked our flights we had found out about the All you can eat BBQ (they call it Genghis Kahn here) in the Sapporo Beer Garden, and so this of course went straight to the top of the list of things to do in Sapporo! We didnt have time in the couple of days before we picked up the car but we made a point of dropping the car back early so we could go before coming back to Shiz. Nearly missed our flight but it was so so so worth it. Yum!!!!!

F is for flowers Never thought I would appreciate flowers so much!!! Lavender, sunflowers, poppies, marigolds, daisies. Just amazing splashes of colour everywhere around Furano and Biei.

G is for Gipped! We were shown a brochure at the hostel for a park (Moerenuma

But where are the cows?
to be exact) which boasts (and I quote) "Moere Beach... which envisions beautiful seashore, is paved with coral... water springs forth from three outlets... the delighted voices of children resonate here in Summer". As well as a glass pyramid like at the Louvre, a play mountain and other things that sound cool in the brochure. Anyway, we get to this park after a 30 minute hot, yucky bus ride, with 'envisions' of lush green fields, children playing, and a beautiful oasis of cool clear water in the middle. The first signs when we arrived were not good- Dry brown grass, not many people, a dirty river, but surely the man made beach would still be there- I was hot enough to swim in anything at this stage. We made it to the 'oasis'- and the water was truely a mirage. The bloody thing was dry. Do not go here.

H is for Hokkaido Obviously

I is for Ice Festival That we werent there for but looks awesome- might have to go back in Winter!!!

J is for Just making it to the airport in time to check in- lucky the flight was delayed!!

K is for
I double dare ya!!!I double dare ya!!!I double dare ya!!!

On the way home from the Izakaya we ate at on our first night in Sapporo. Just cooling her feet!
K Killer Bugs and snakes in the sunflower paddock- according to Marissa!!!

L is for Lavender Icecream In Kamifurano we had lavender icecream overlooking yet another field of flowers! It was yummy!

M is for Milkland Most of the dairy products we buy in Shizuoka come from Hokkaido. The cows are invisible though.

N is for Navel City Furano is proud to be the belly button city of Hokkaido- yep its right in the middle! They even have a festival every year to celebrate, the people paint their stomachs with their mouths as the belly buttons and cover their heads up. Now thats a festival Id like to see!

O is for Otaru The Venice of Japan. Ok, so it only has one canal, but it is very pretty and easy to find with GPS! Also looks nice in Winter.

P is for Posing and Photos Come on, a field of flowers is a lovely back drop dont you think?

Q is for Quicksand Not really- couldnt think of anything. But now that Im thinking about it, does quicksand actually exist or is it just something out of the movies?

R is for
The Factory- SapporoThe Factory- SapporoThe Factory- Sapporo

Near the old beer factory is this massive shopping centre. Didnt have time to explore!
Ramen The best one ever in Sapporo- served with a big crab claw. It was delicious!

S is for Sleeping Naked No not us! See Chicken Pox and Naked Roomies blog!!

T is for Trick Art MuseumAlso in Kamifurano was a trick art museum. It was great, very clever tricks of the eye and optical illusions- check out the photos. Bit of a bizarre place for an art gallery when you think about it though!!!

U is for Unidentified White Statue Spotted when we were driving towards Furano. Still dont really know what it was!! Looks like Mary though I think!

V is for Valet Parking We went to Asahikawa for tea one night and the car park was valet- in a muddy dirt park mind you, but still!

W is for Woody Life Another 'before wed even booked the flights'. Marissa and I had talked about how cool it would be to stay in a log cabin in the mountains. We didnt book any accomodation for the Friday night coz we figured wed just drive til we found something cool. Well we did find something cool and for me probably the highlight of the

Asahi Factory- you do the tour and then 30 minutes free drinks!!!
trip- our very own log cabin!!! We pulled up, rang the doorbell and told the man who spoke little english that we wanted to sleep. We asked the price and tho it was a bit more expensive than what we wanted we let him show us the self contained cabins that they had there. They were gorgeous, but like I said a bit expensive, so we told him that and then he took us back inside and up the stairs where there was an indoor balcony that ran all around the roof with dugouts right the way around where you could sleep maybe forty people. Then there was a little room with two smaller rooms with two single beds and then up another flight of stairs there was the attic room with two futons. And this was in our price range!!!! And the best bit- the shower was outside in a barrell! It was great- and just what I imagined!!!
The next morning as we were leaving the father and mother that built the house came out and were talking to us and gave us 100% cows milk- the mother kept asking us if our stomachs would be alright! Then as we were putting our bags in the car father ran out and took us to the familys' museum, with shells etc collected from around the world, but even better, his own personal art collection out the back. This was amazing, with beautiful photographs from around the Furano area and Japan. It was funny, the guy didnt want us to leave and made us promise to come back in Winter!!

Y is for Yet another hostel in Tokyo before back to our home away from home- the mansion in Shiz.

Z is for ZZZZzzzzz Needed another two weeks holidays to get over the holiday!!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 69, Displayed: 27


Sapporo BeerSapporo Beer
Sapporo Beer

Here we go again!

There was a lot of seafood in Sapporo, its not far from the coast.
And then we ate itAnd then we ate it
And then we ate it

Yummy crab ramen
Not something I'm proud of...Not something I'm proud of...
Not something I'm proud of...

But when in Rome.... Can you guess what endangered creature I tasted a tiny bit of? By the way Marissa and I didnt order it.

The sparkling oasis of beautiful cool clear water. As dry as the proverbial nun. Sorry is that too rude??
That parkThat park
That park

At least I got one nice photo there.
Dumb parkDumb park
Dumb park

But hills for rolling down.
Tube of Beer!Tube of Beer!
Tube of Beer!

At the Beer Festival!
Beer FestivalBeer Festival
Beer Festival

The Sapporo Beer Area
Beer FestivalBeer Festival
Beer Festival

Happy strangers
A sculpture in the ice festivalA sculpture in the ice festival
A sculpture in the ice festival

Just kidding, it was a mountain of sand for kids to slide down, but my camera turned it to ice!
Downtown SapporoDowntown Sapporo
Downtown Sapporo

This was fun, you just chuck balls at the things on the screen.

12th September 2006

Hokkaido Flowers are outshone by our little aussie petals Love to you both
12th September 2006

PS Love you in matching dresses
12th September 2006

Love your Blogs Amy...they are the highlight of the week. Hope Wendy didn't see the belly buttons.....Love Sheila
13th September 2006

Who is the guy in the blue shirt?
13th September 2006

Guy in blue shirt...
Matt, an American staying at same hostel.
16th October 2006

S is for Stephen
This is an awesome blog! Totally gives you a feel for being in Hokkaido, even if it isnt the Ice Festival in Winter or touring Ainu Villages. The A-Z is creative and works well, but lends itself to too simplistic accounts of things, I like it when you write more!

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