Friday, September 14, 2012

Seeing Sapporo with Miwako

I had a big adventure yesterday.  Miwako, the shibori artist, invited me to meet her in Sapporo to have lunch and see a famous shrine.

As I walked to the train station, I passed a group of school children and for the first time since I’ve been here, not one of them yelled “Hair-o” to me.  Maybe I’m starting to blend in and not look like a foreigner any more.  Well, maybe not.

We buy train tickets in a pack of 11 and they are good for three months.  I pulled out the three tickets we had left and found out the expiration on them was the eighth of September! I took them along, hoping I’d still be able to use them.  The ticket man here stamped the day’s date on it and let me go.  Coming back from Sapporo I wasn’t so lucky and had to buy a new ticket. 


I’m still working on this same small train stitching project.  I’m getting closer to finishing it, maybe a few more train trips.

 
Miwako met me at the train station and led me to the subway, knowing where to get on and where to change and where to get off. I was interested in this sign.  Certain cars are for women and children only during the morning rush hour.


We had a wonderful Japanese lunch with sushi, tempura, soba, salad, and a fish flavored egg custard dish. It was delicious and we were both full after eating it all!

 
We walked a few blocks to a beautiful wooded park, called Maruyama Koen.   There were several children’s groups in the park, each group with a different color hat.






 
There is a little bird in this tree.

 

Our destination was the shrine inside the park.  The shrine is one hundred years old, which doesn’t sound that old compared to the ones in Kyoto, but Japanese people haven’t lived in Hokkaido as long as in the rest of Japan.
 
 
As you approach the shrine area, there is a water area to wash your hands and mouth.  It is a tradition for children at ages three, five, and seven to be blessed at the shrine. (I'm not sure if blessed is the correct word).  I think those are the unlucky years for children.  We saw this little boy in the kimono who was one of those at that age.

 
When you get up to the building, there is a slotted trough.  Each person throws in a five yen coin, then bows twice, claps twice, and says a prayer.  Every person, even little children, know to do this.

 After leaving the shrine, we took the subway to the Odori Park area and Miwako showed me several shops she thought I would be interested in, and I was.  I didn’t take any store pictures because that always gets me in trouble.  We went to the Junkudo bookstore, which has books in English on the second floor.  We also went to two small-ish fabric/craft stores in the same block as the four story Kanariya that I visited recently. I was very surprised!  In the US, there are very few needlework stores and you always hear about ones that are closing.  There must be a lot of people sewing/stitching/crafting here to keep all these stores in business.

On our way back to the train station we saw this man with his two dogs on his bicycle.
 
At the station went our separate ways.  Thank you, Miwako, for a fun day!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a fun blog post. It brought back memories of my visits to Sapporo and that park and shrine. It's always great to have a "local guide" isn't it.

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