One Sweet World

Not so important posts about a married couple living in Baltimore.

Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Japan - October 14th

Today was our last day on the island of Hokkaido and we were in the city of Sapporo. We needed to leave the hotel to get to the airport around 9:30AM so Kevin and I decided to venture out into the city by ourselves to do some quick sightseeing. We left the hotel at 6:30 AM and took the train into downtown. For the next 2 hours we did a pretty quick tour of downtown and all the sights there. We started at Sapporo Station where the local and regional trains arrive/depart and headed south back towards to hotel. We saw the former Hokkaido Government Office Building (picture at the left), the Clock Tower, Odori Park including the TV Tower, the Shopping Arcade and the Suskino neighborhood, known more for it's night life than early morning activity. We did all that walking and managed to get back to the hotel for a quick pack and shower and we all got on the bus for the long ride to the airport. Once there, Dave, Eurie, Kevin and I left on a flight to Tokyo while the rest of the family returned to Pusan in Korea.
The flight to Tokyo took a little more than an hour and we landed at the local airport, Haneda Airport, the one that is closer to downtown. From here we got our luggage and braved the Tokyo light rail and subway. Since Dave & Eurie were staying at a different hotel we parted ways for the day and agreed to meet up in the morning the following day. Our hotel was near Tokyo Station so we made it there to discover this train station is HUGE!
It's a labyrinth of trains, shops, busses, taxis, restaurants and everything in between. From where we got off the train to leaving the station, it took a good twenty minutes! To the left is a photo taken just outside of Tokyo Station and the huge crosswalk that's outside. Lots of people! Once we got situated in our hotel we headed out to explore the neighborhood and get something to eat. We had lunch at a small diner type place where you placed your order at the vending machine and the ladies in the back cooked it up for you. Pretty efficient if you ask me! After that we headed to the Ginza district to see the shops and madness of the area. Lots of money can be spent in this neighborhood! On our way back to the hotel is was time for a drink so we stopped at the British pub that was on the first floor of our hotel for their happy hour specials on beer. We would come to find out tomorrow that those beers were the cheapest around!
After a long day of traveling and exploring, we went to sleep in our tiny hotel room.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Japan - October 13th

On Wednesday morning we left the hot springs and drove to Lake Toya, about an hour away. Once there we boarded a boat shaped like a castle (still haven't figured that out yet) and took an hour tour of the lake and the scenery. To the left is Kevin and Eurie on the boat. The lake is like a big donut with an circular island in the center. It was a nice and peaceful boat ride and we got to enjoy the fall scenery. After the ride it was back on the bus for a long, scenic drive through the mountains. The road was very curvy and made for lots of turns.
It made us all a little tired and sick since we hadn't eaten lunch yet. But, along the way we did get to see some beautiful scenery. After that long ride we finally arrived in the town of Otoru. Here we finally got to eat lunch! We went to a local sushi restaurant and enjoyed a relaxing lunch with the family. After lunch we strolled through the streets of Otoru and did a little shopping. It was good to get out and walk a bit after sitting in the bus for so long. In the late afternoon it was back on the bus for the drive into Sapporo.But, before we could get to the hotel we had one more stop.We weren't entirely sure what the next stop was but it turned out to be a Chocolate Factory!?!? Not sure that any of us was excited about this portion of the tour. But, we dutifully got out of the bus and hurried our way through the Shiroi Koiboto Park, which houses the Shiroi Koibito Factory where they make chocolate. We were told it was a famous attraction but we didn't buy it. At this point in the day we were all tired and just wanted to get the hotel before dinner. A bus full of tired people is dangerous! We finally made it to the hotel and got about a hour of rest before it was back on the bus to head to dinner. We decided tonight we were going to celebrate Grandpa's birthday so we went to a nice, traditional Japanese restaurant and ordered the local specialty, crab! We each chose how many courses we wanted and just started eating! So much food came out that we got really full pretty quickly, but everything was so good! We ended the dinner with eating a cake we bought for Grandpa's birthday. We even took a nice group photo.

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