Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday or Funday?

 

We had a fun day in snowy Sapporo yesterday. It’s mid-March and there are cherry blossoms in other parts of Japan, but it is still winter in Hokkaido.

Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido and the fourth largest in Japan.
It’s kind of exciting to be able to find our way around the big city on public transportation, being illiterate and all.  Some things are in English, but addresses and directions are totally different than what we are used to in the US.  That’s a post for another day.

We traveled to Sapporo by bus, getting off near Odori Park, two blocks from the subway.  Since it was Saturday, we bought the all day subway ticket, which is available on weekends and holidays.

Our first destination was the art museum.  I had already seen the Ainu Arts and Crafts exhibit, but wanted to see it again and Ted wanted to see it too. Photographs were not allowed, unfortunately.

Next we went to Maruyama Koen and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. We ordered the “lunch for two” and had to make lots of choices.

 
We ordered squid with celery and chicken with ginger sauce and cashews from the first category.

 
Shrimp wontons from the second. We both ordered shrimp in chili sauce for the main course.


Fried rice was next.

 
Chinese tea and mango custard finished the meal.

It was a bit more than we usually spend on lunch, but it was a lot of lunch and very delicious.  When you eat out in Japan, the price you see on the menu is the price you pay at the end.  You don’t have taxes and tip added on.

(2900 yen was the food, 680 was a beer)
After lunch we went to the zoo. We wanted to see the animals that were outside in the snow. The animal enclosures here are much smaller than we are used to in the US, but as a result, you get very close to the animals.

The snow owls probably think this weather is just for them.

The wolf pack consisted of four wolves.  The wind was blowing their fur and they seemed to like being outside in the snow.



The Hokkaido Bear was my favorite animal of the day. When we were at the zoo in the warm weather, he was hiding. When the bear saw Ted's camera bag next to the plexiglass, he ran up to it, like he thought it was a picnic basket of food. I’ve never been so close to such a monster of a bear.


 
 
 


 
We’ve seen polar bears other places, but this was probably the first time we ever saw a polar bear in real snow.


The penguins were so cute.  Several of them were at the edge of the water, like they were trying to decide whether they would go for a swim. Finally one dove in, but the others didn’t follow.



Splash!


It was dark when we made it to the bus station.

It was still snowing and blowing and the temperature had dropped, so the roads had gotten bad. It took a very long time to get back home, but we did make it home last night.  It was both Saturday and a fun day in Sapporo. Today will be funday Sunday and I'm going to stay home and stitch.

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