For those reading who don't know me, or have forgotten my name, I am Neil Gordon and I intend to keep this blog up to date with my travel activities in Japan - taking place from mid July 2010 till some time in January 2011.
I'm English and am interested in the Japanese culture and language, as well as computers and technology.
The blog name neiltanken is simply my name + 探検 (tanken) - which means expedition.


Sapporo - Days 2 & 3

The next morning I went to the Sapporo beer museum with 3 of the girls I met at the lodge (only 1 the same as last night)
There were explanations about how beer is made, and also cute models depicting the process.
The display of all the posters they have historically used was also very interesting.
Me as a can of 'Sapporo Classic' Hokkaidou limited beer and the 3 beers we sampled.
I liked the Kaitaku (pioneer) beer best.

2 of the party left at this point, leaving the 1 remaining girl (E-san from hereon) and myself to sightsee the Former Hokkaidou Government Office Building and the Sapporo click tower.

E-san and I parted ways here and I went to check out Oodoori Park, then had beef sinew miso ramen.
It was okay, but I didn't like beef sinew much.
After that I checked in at a capsule hotel.
Capsules are like this. Surprisingly, there was enough room inside to sit up.

After checking in I went to the Chitosezuru sake museum, but they only do tours on weekends so I ended up just sampling various sakes and buying a bottle for a souveneer.
After returning to the hotel, I got the man on reception to tell me where I could eat soup currey - one of Sapporo's specialties - and went there to eat dinner.
It was very tasty, but the system was you choose from 1-5 how spicey you want it. I chose 3.5 and it was a bit too spicey, if I get another chance I think I'll go for about 2.
The soup currey I ate in a restaurant called 'Yellow'

I then returned to the hotel, took a bath and slept!

On the 3rd day I used the train and a bus to visit "Sapporo Artpark"
In the art gallery I took my time to appreciate various pictures of (mostly Hokkaidou) wildlife.
I then went to the outdoor gallery and looked at lots of sculptures amidst lots of nature while listening to explanations from a volunteer lady doing tours.

On the way back I checked out Nakajima park and the Japanese garden inside the grounds.
It was a beautiful and relaxing place.

I ate salt ramen in "ramen sidestreet" then walked around night time Oodoori park before returning to the capsule hotel.


Otaru day 3 & Sapporo

In the morning I went to a restaurant at the market and ate sashimi.

I then walked through Temiya park, which is right by where I stayed, then visited the Otaru Inari shrine.

I said my farewells to the host who was so kind to me, then left for Sapporo by bus.
The first place I went was the Sapporo University campus. I ate my lunch there and wondered thr grounds a bit.
Picture of a child being allowed to play where they aren't allowed to on the pretty campus.
There was a museum on campus, so I looked at the displays for some time.
Besides information about Sapporo University's history and earthquakes, there was a display about Alaskan dinosaurs.

Next I walked to the backbackers lodge I'm spending the night at.
Everyone staying there introduced themselves, and I ended up eating "Genghis Khan" (A Hokkaidou meal involving lamb & veg cooked on a dome shaped grill) together with 3 of the girls. (How delightful!)
After eating we went to the Sapporo broadcasting tower (TV tower or "Terebi tou-san" = "TV father" a pun on 'tou' for tower and 'tou' for father).
We went up to the viewing room and enjoyed Sapporo's night scenery.


Otaru - Day 2

On the 2nd day, I walked down the old rail line on part of which there was a photograph display.
There were a lot of scenic pictures of Otaru, it's wildlife, the old streets and even the many stray cats and it was quite interresting.
Slightly overgrown with weeds

I ate my lunch at a restaurant started by a friend of my loge's host who moved to Otaru and started the western style store.

After getting something to eat, I went to a shrine called Suitenguu.
The shrine was very pretty, but the view across Otaru was beautiful too.

Next I went to the old Japanese bank building.
It's presently a financial museum, so I went in and had a look.
They were letting people feel the weight of 100,000,000 yen (currently 774000 sterling) so I did that too.
The old Japanese Bank and some inconsiderate taxi

The sun set after I wondered around a bit (I also went to the electronics store)
The Jouyatou monument at night
Finally I went to the Otaru beer microbrewery - which is in a converted warehouse - and drunk the season limited festival beer and Dunkel Bock,
Both were delicious.
It seems they are brewing the beer in the same way it is done in Germany, and when I was drinking, by chance a German guy spoke to me.
According to him the beer was genuinely good from a German perspective too.
The Otaru Festival Beer


Otaru - Day 1

On the way to Otaru, I got off the train on the way at "Hokkaidou's Navel" - Furano and walked around a bit eating icecream.

Me in front of the landmark showing Furano is the center of Hokkaidou. The other picture is a sort of a mascot for Furano's "Navel Festival".
During the actual festival lots of people walk around like this with a face painted on their bellies.

After I got to Otaru, I went to a ramen shop called "Shodai" and ate my first miso base ramen. It was pretty good.

Next I went to "Meruhen(fairy tale) Crossroads" where a lot of western style buildings stand.
A Canadian steam powered clock and the monument to a lighthouse which was known as the "jouyatou" (all night light).
While I was walking there was also a musical box museum, participatable glass blowing and places selling sweets.

The Otaru canal. It's not being used any more, but it's become Otaru's main tourist attraction.
I walked by the canal, enjoying the view as I walked to my lodge.

This is where the Japan Mail Shipping Line dock used to be. Barges used to load & unload their cargo here.

My lodge was on top of quite a high hill. The view was great.

I greeted the host then went down the hill again to eat conveyor sushi for dinner.
The canal and the view of Otaru were beautiful at night too, but I didn't do a very good job of photographing them.
I ate an "octopus head" cut - which is only available in Hokkaidou - at the restaurant.
It was surprisingly tasty, but I still like tuna and salmon better (excuse the poor comparison)