Sapporo, Hokkaido ー A lot has happened since my last update. In mid-August, I returned to Canada for 1 month with my Japanese friend. We had the chance to tour around Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara, and Banff while we were there. It was nice being home and getting to see my family again after almost 2 years.
After returning to Japan, I had a few weeks to settle back in before starting second semester. My schedule worked out well this semester, and I have Fridays off every week. Originally I thought it might be nice to have the extra day to travel once in a while, but it seems to have only given me more time to work – funny how that happens!
The past few months have been quite busy. I started an internship at a think tank based in Tokyo doing translations and research. Before going to Canada, I had the chance to go to Tokyo and take part in one of their conferences. It was wonderful getting to meet the team in person and inspiring to see how dedicated they are to their work. I have learned so much already and can’t wait to see what new opportunities await!
At the same time, I’ve started working part-time in the Faculty of Law’s International Consultation Room helping with short-term exchange students and Japanese students who are looking at studying abroad. It has been a lot of fun getting to know the faculty better and working with students from around the world.
At the beginning of November, I decided to travel to Hokkaido for a long weekend and visit some friends who went to university in Sapporo. It had been 5 years since I was last in Hokkaido, so it was nice to be back and experience northern Japan for a second time.
Tapping into my more adventurous side, I decided to stay in a hostel in Sapporo. To my surprise it was actually quite nice! Given that it was the down season for travelling up north, there were hardly any guests. The hostel was extremely clean and very comfortable. If anyone is thinking about staying in Sapporo for a few nights, I’d strongly recommend Guest House Yuyu.
After checking in, my first stop was Sapporo station to have a taste of the famous Sapporo miso ramen. Having somehow missed this dish the first time I went to Sapporo, these was no way I would miss it again. I finally understood what all the buzz was about and now know why it stands at the top of the ramen rankings alongside Hakata ramen.
The next day I visited Otaru, a small harbour city approximately 40 minutes from Sapporo Station (¥640). This picaresque town was a fishing and trade port since the early days of Hokkaido’s colonial past. It has since transformed into a famous tourist area with beautiful canals running through the city. There is a noticeable western influence, and the town is famous for handmade glass products.
On the final day of my quick trip I visited Hokkaido University (where my friends attend), which has become a tourist destination of its own. The university boasts the largest campus in Japan and is filled with nature. There are forests, ponds, and even a farm on campus. There’s one section that is particularly popular with tourists at this time of the year because of the bright yellow ginkgo trees.
Although it was a quick trip, it was nice to get out of Osaka, see something new, and meet my friends for the first time in months. Next time – and there certainly will be a next time – I want to go back to Hokkaido in the summer to do some hiking and take in more of the beautiful scenery.