I Love Sapporo!
Wow, yesterday was really busy. I think my feet still hurt from all of the walking. Luckily, most of today will be a big train ride, so I think I’ll be fine. Anyway, here’s what happened yesterday!
The night before, while walking to the hostel, Jacob had soaked his shoes entirely from the snow (why he chose to wear shoes made of thin canvas, I’ll never know). So, when Taiki arrived to pick us up at the hostel the following morning, he actually brought Jacob a whole new pair of shoes! And Chip and Dale socks to go with it! On top of that, he gave me a whole bag of interesting things, including copies of Sakura Taisen games, Yattaman! toys, Fist of the North Star comics, and so on. I only wonder… how will I ever bring all of this home? Might need to buy another bag…
One of the first places we walked to was to a restaurant for breakfast. For only about three dollars, I got quite the sizable meal! It was basically a gyudon breakfast – a large bowl of white rice, with other greens, meat, and side dishes of miso soup and fresh salmon so on. Really quite good. I’m sure that a local would consider it sub-par, if only because it was part of a full restaurant chain, but hey, it’s better than the breakfast I eat at home every day.
We then went to the JR Sapporo station to reserve seats for the Shinkansen (bullet train) the next morning. Luckily for us, since we’re JR Rail Pass holders, the Shinkansen tickets were free. Unfortunately for Taiki, he’s actually ineligible to purchase a rail pass, and so he had to actually purchase a Shinkansen ticket for himself, which I’m certain cost him quite a pretty penny. Shinkansen tickets are absolutely not cheap at all.
The next place we stopped at was actually not part of the original intended order of things, but we stopped at a Book Off/Hobby Off, a popular chain of second-hand shops across Japan. Everything there was really cheap, especially considering what you would pay in Tokyo, where I was living two years ago. I ended up with an approximately $3 set of figures from the game Sword of Mana. I could have purchased much more, but I think it would not have been in my best interest at all.
We did indeed walk all the way to the Sapporo Beer Museum, and my friends and I took our own tour. The place was actually quite entertaining, even for myself, and I don’t even like alcohol. At the end of the museum, beer and other drinks could be purchased for only 100 Yen (around a dollar). Very worth it! Taiki, Sean, and Jacob got some of Sapporo’s original beer, while Greg, Andrew, and I got mandarin orange drinks and orange sodas. The beer-drinkers say the beer was good. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t try it. It may seem like I’ve missed out on something, but I’m actually quite proud to say I’ve never had so much as a sip of alcohol.
We did quite a number of miscellaneous things, including visiting an electronics store. But we actually stopped for food at McDonald’s, some place we actually had originally said we didn’t really want to eat. But then, Taiki told us that they were selling the Texas Burger. Well, being from Texas and all, that was absolutely a must. Would this really taste like Texas?
The short answer: No.
The long answer: There was more bread in it than there was meat. Two buns and another slice of bread in the middle? Only one beef patty? Bacon that was limp instead of crispy? The barbecue sauce was a nice touch… but then there was this strange mix of onion and mustard, and it tasted radically different from our onion and mustard, for some odd reason. At first it tasted quite good on its own, but then about halfway through it, it started to taste… kinda gross. Oh, well, I can now say that I’ve tried it. Wish I had been there for the Windows 7 Burger, though.
We also visited the old Sapporo Government building. It was a little slow in there, but still interesting enough. I like knowing a bit about the history of a place, and why it is the way it is. Prior to this, I didn’t know that Massachusetts was the sister-state to Sapporo! The building is quite large and fancy, good pictures will taken. I promise a good set of photos from this trip.
Ah, I also recall stopping at a park. It was covered in snow, and the snow was so deep! I must not be particularly familiar with snow, because I couldn’t seem to walk in it properly, and I kept sinking with each step, about half way up to my knees. There were some benches in the park, almost completely covered in snow. Took some pictures on/in it. Will have to share that later.
Spent a bit of time in some arcades. As can be imagined, I played a good bit of Dance Dance Revolution X (which, actually, is thus far one of my least favorite DDR arcade cabinets. I hate that announcer!) Some places around San Antonio have a DDR-X machine, but not where I can easily get to it, and none of them have the Konami e-Amusement Pass set up. Also played some Puyo Puyo, and Taiki showed me that they had a The Simpsons pinball machine. Sitting right next to an Elvis-themed pinball machine. Quite interesting to see in an arcade otherwise full of Japanese games.
We had been traveling so much, and all of us were tired in some way. Taiki kept asking us to do more, but we just couldn’t. Not to mention we had to wake up pretty darn early this morning, if we were to catch our morning train out of town. So, we declined further entertainment, and got ready for bed and for the next day’s travel.
I’m awake now, and I’m about to set out to the local subway to reach Sapporo station for the long trek from one island to the next. Tokyo tonight, baby!