Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sapporo Revisited

We didn't stay in the same hotel as on our arrival in Sapporo, but we did revisit the park and a couple of cafes there.  Here a very unconventional surfer's cafe, run by this young man who had California memories hanging up all over the place.  T'was very nice to relax in his chaotic kaf.

A little more ordered, the Sapporo concert hall which seemed to host mostly 'western' music. 

Not far away,  this 19th(?) building,

and a traditional Japanese garden, the first we had seen in our three weeks stay on Hokkaido.

We had already booked out of our hotel and were treading water until our evening flight back to Singapore.

Ancient and almost modern. 

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Jacks - Japan Two

In the long underground mall leading south from Sapporo's main line station.  This chap was walking so fast his image is blur one.

I have no idea what this 'S' was advertising.  Step up to what?

Two young school girls kindly let me photograph the badges on their bag and coat.  Strange fellow this one.

A 13 pound hoodie.

Smallest Jack seen yet, alongside an Italian flag.

These boots are made for walking, all over the Union.

Friday, August 07, 2015

The Return to Sapporo

Not a bullet, just a four coach local train to Sapporo, a journey of six hours through beautiful countryside.  A unique feature of this train was the swiveling seats.  When the train has to reverse its direction of travel, the seats are turned around to face the other way.   This happened once at a switchback on the track on our way to Sapporo.

Back to tram spotting,

and, unfortunately mall shopping, some thing I managed to mercifully avoid on our first stay in the city a couple of weeks earlier. 

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Good Bye to Judy

Our faithfully servant for the last two weeks, 13-31 and of course Judy our GPS navigator.  Thank you both.

On driving in Japan,
  1. Watch out for traffic lights.  The lights are not at the line where you are expected to stop, they are up high on the opposite side of the junction.  Nearly caught me out a couple of times, especially in the towns.
  2. Watch out for trams, if they are around, especially if you are turning right across their tracks. Do a double take in your wing mirror and keep well away from the tram tracks.  Again, almost got side swiped by one, my fault entirely.  At traffic lights, trams have a different light signal, a 'X'.
  3. Journey times.  Add at least 25% to your expected travel time for a planned route.  Speed limits in Japan are lower than most other places and the drivers in the main abide by them, 60 km per hr on stretches of single lane motorway (never experienced those before) and 50 km per hr on many stretches of open road.  I was always catching cars up and was only overtaken twice, as I remember. 
  4. On dual carriageways, drivers in Japan tend to progress in the outside lane, with undertaking being the norm.  I was assured my a friend that this is not a the rule but is practice. I noticed the same thing on Taiwan's roads but there the drivers are a little crazy, making the driving experience there more like Penang than Japan.
Once out of Sapporo, the roads are empty, making the 1,500 km we motored a real pleasure, the open road through a green and pleasant land.  Mind you, in winter you would need  to put  snow chains on.

Notoro Lake

Our last stop before our return to Sapporo,

a Japanese style room where the dining area is converted sleeping space for the nights sleep.

A selfie variant, a shadowie.  Do you think it will catch on?  Much more arty than a straight mug spot, don't you think?

A walk by the side of the lake before dinner.

There are mosquito here but they are not as bright as their SEA cousins.  I managed to squash a couple when they dug into a visible area of my skin.  SEA mosquito come at you low and from behind. You feel them after they have left. Very sneaky.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015



Grebes.  Now you see me, now you don't. 

I think it is a Little Grebe.

Eagle, not such which bred.

Egrets preparing to kip.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Lake Akan

Grebes on the hunt.  The water discolouration is from the shores  hot mud pool. See below.

Setting sun.

I cannot tell you how very grateful I am that the rest of the human race have decided to adopt my native tongue as their lingua franca.  I would be a lost soul on this planet of ours otherwise.  How could you not love a language that is so flexible that whatever the word order or context, the message still gets through.  

The offending puddle.

Monday, August 03, 2015


A photo of a photo, Ainu man with black bear. 

Mary-Ann finally got to confront a bear, although that would not have been a smart move in the national park.  I had already a strategy worked out for if we were to meet one of these monsters for real.  Gather in group and make our combined body mass look bigger than the bears.  Good job these guys don't go around in packs like wolves.