Monday, December 26, 2011

The HIOC Christmas Party

We had another big adventure yesterday!  Ted has been in contact with the Hokkiado International Outdoor Club by way of FaceBook, but we hadn’t met any of the members yet.  The group’s leader, Leon, invited us to the group’s Christmas party at his home in Sapporo. It was a potluck dinner, so we made a noodle salad, then headed for the train station in the late afternoon. Ted had directions from Leon and his iPad in case we got lost. We had to walk, then take the train, then the subway, then a bus, then walk. It was about 30 degrees F and wasn’t really snowing when we left home.
We had taken the train to Sapporo before and knew what to do to get there, but the subway and bus in Sapporo were new for us.  Not being able to read Japanese makes public transportation a bigger challenge than getting around in Chicago or London.  We found the green subway line on the map and luckily the ticket machine was bilingual.  We didn’t get our money counted out fast enough so the machine timed out and we had to start over, but we did finally get our tickets.

Ted was wearing his Santa hat, so everyone was looking at him and several people wanted to practice their English with him.

The bus was a little trickier and we weren’t real sure where to get off, but we made it.  Leon had given us directions from the bus stop and after stopping at the Spar convenience store for beverages, we made it to Leon’s.

It was a friendly crowd and the food was good.  We had a nice chat with Leon, who is from New Zealand.

The two Santas - Ted and Leon

We would have liked to stay longer, but we had the walking, bus, subway, train, walking return trip, so we left while the party was still in full swing.  Sapporo and Iwamizawa are in two different weather zones.  It was snowing lightly in Sapporo.  When we stepped out of the train station in Iwamizawa, we were in what I would call a blizzard, but here it’s just considered a snow shower.  It had snowed six or eight inches and we were knee deep in new snow walking home.  It was a long walk home!

We had another fun evening and look forward to meeting up with these folks again.

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