Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Golden Week: Sapporo, Hokkaido
Jun and I snatched up a great package deal to Hokkaido, the farthest northeastern part of Japan (roundtrip airfare & 2 nights hotel for less than ¥30,000, about $250!!) It has been said that Hokkaido is the "dragon's head" of the dragon body of Japan (and Okinawa forms the "tail" way in the southwest).
So, with my Christmas trip to Okinawa and this recent trip to Hokkaido, I have pretty much gone to the farthest places possible in Japan, much to the envy of many of my Japanese friends and teachers!
Since Hokkaido is so far north (and typically under meters of snow for half the year), the cherry blossoms were just starting to open when we were there. It was still pretty chilly at night, in the 40s, but the daytime weather was unseasonably warm. Sapporo is much like other modern Japanese cities such as Kobe & Hiroshima, full of skyscrapers and lights and big clean parks.
We met up with two of Jun's Japanese friends that she had met when they were all tour guides at Niagara Falls in Canada. Rie and Kae were seriously two of the nicest, friendliest, easygoing people I have ever met. I don't think the 4 of us stopped laughing the entire time we were hanging out together. Their English was fantastic and they immediately made me feel comfortable, even after my cold came back!!!