final sapporo walk-about

After lunch we walked a bit around the streets of Sapporo just to see the sights. For me it was a time of quiet introspection, looking for the small treasures rather than the larger-than-life monuments. Our general target for the walk was the Botanic Garden at Hokkaido University.

landscape in saporoAs this was mid-December and Sapporo is as far north as Buffalo NY, the gardens were in their quiescent state (obvsiously), and closed to the public, even during the day. In spite of this I still found a quiet beauty in the grounds. The part of the Gardens that were open were the greenhouses. We paid ¥100 to walk through the greenhouses, where I managed to find a few personal photographic gems even in the winter.

the greenhouse roofvioletredfrozen in timethe stonesthe promise of springAfter spending time in the greenhouse and around the outside, we slowly headed back towards the train station and the trip back to Chitose. It was getting towards sunset (4pm), the wind was picking up, and the flurries were growing heavier.

saporo streetback wayhallway in saporo

As we walked back we also walked into a number of the public buildings. This long hallway immediately caught my fancy. The architect built it with lights buried in the floor and lit in such a way that it looked like the light was coming from the slits in the wall and falling on the floor. It looked like a set from a science fiction film.

We finished our exploration of Sapporo with a stop at a local Starbucks and each had a large hot cocoa. On the way back to the train platform I happened to spot this young woman using some public art as a texting rest stop.

sitting and textingWhen we got back to Chitose we stopped off at a local 7-11 (yes, they have those all over the place, too) so that my business partner could withdraw some cash from the local ATM.
oh thank heavenOnce again I marveled at the intersection of Japanese and American pop culture.

ramen ya

ramen shopLunch was outside and around the corner from Yodobashi Camera in a literal hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Tucked into the side of the much larger building, this particular ramen ya was barely wide enough for a bar to sit at, a walkway behind the bar to serve the customers, and the kitchen at the end of the serving bar. And it turned out to be popular. While we were inside eating the place filled up and a queue formed outside
in the ramen yamiso ramenraman lunchOne of the side benefits of eating udon and miso ramen was (finally!) learning how to handle chopsticks. At least, I handled them well enough not to starve and dribble food down my front.

Personally I find I love both udon and ramen with the right ingredients. Which means, for me, no udon quite like the first night. I like my noodles in soup, and the soup a bit spicy and all the extras, such as the small piece of pork. It was windy and icy cold that Thursday in Sapporo, and that ramen was just about perfect.