Japan 2022: Sapporo

I had planned several days of hiking the alpine peaks of Daisetsuzan National Park, but that was out of the picture due to my knee. I decided to spend the time in Sapporo while waiting for my flight to Toyama.

I’ve taken a lot of trains in Japan, but nothing like the six-hour local from Wakkanai to Sapporo: a single car, powered by diesel from the smell, that slowed several times while the engineer sounded the horn at deer that refused to get off the track. Check out the AC units in the ceiling:

Sapporo Station

My wife discovered not one but two hospitals in Sapporo that are in-network for NC State Health Plan members; go figure. So I went to get my knee checked out; at this point I could not walk down a flight of stairs.

Sapporo Higashi Tokushukai Hospital was amazing! They assigned an English-language interpreter to spend the day with me, and even had a private waiting room for international patients:

I had time to kill, so I ate a lot of yakitori.

I discovered Kushidori, a fantastic yakitori chain
Angry chicken lantern on the outside means yummy yakitori on the inside – Cocco Chan

I’ve been to Japan several times, but I’ve never had sake served in a masu box. They pour the glass to the top and then let it overflow into the box. I texted a Japanese colleague in a panic as to what to do, then googled it. Apparently this is an old-fashioned way to serve sake, and the boxes are supposedly not clean. I drank all the sake in the box anyway.

Nijo fish market
Sushi at the market – this cost me $16
Botanical gardens in Japan are dangerous

The Japanese are scrupulously honest. Drop your wallet with $1,000 worth of yen and it will be turned into the police, all cash intact. Yet they steal umbrellas like fiends – the Hokkaido Museum actually has a an umbrella stand with individual locks.

How to harpoon a seal
Everything you wanted to know about bear poop
Memorial tower, I thought it looked like something out of Lord of the Rings
By Stephen

About me

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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