Road to Sapporo Yuki Matsuri in EZO 2010 → Day 10

After checking out of SUPER HOTEL SUPER EARLY in the morning, we once again headed towards the train station to drop our stuff off in a coin locker. We then headed to the Morning Market to search for food. We agreed that uncooked seafood was in order, and found a restaurant that served a bowl of rice covered with raw things, only you got to select the raw things. I opted for squid, ikura, salmon, and tuna. Miwako basically had the same thing, except scallops instead of tuna. I had seen all kinds of touristy seafood places like this in Otaru a million times before, and being sleep-deprived, I misinterpreted the menu to mean it would be really expensive. It wasn't, and it was tasty. Walking around the maze of streets filled with seafood and souvenir vendors, we couldn't help but wonder how people living that lifestyle manage to survive when it looks like everyone else is selling the exact same things within a very small radius. Weird.

After breakfast, we took the street car thing past good ol' SUPER HOTEL towards the actual factual downtown-like area of Hakodate (which I had assumed was around the train station until we saw the city from above), and to Goryokaku Fort, which is (or was, really) not only one of the very few castles in Hokkaido, but also shaped like a star for some reason. We went to the top of the air traffic controller-like tower first to get a view of the park first, which has a fantastic view of not only the park/fort/star, but all of Hakodate. Off to the south east where the onsen we stayed at was was mostly clear, and there was a clear view across the water to Aomori. The area around Hakodate Station and Mt. Hakodate was visible at first, but then was devoured by a giant series of clouds that dumped snow on the city, while the mountains to the north of the city kept disappearing and reappearing in the clouds. It was neat. The fort itself looked HUGE when seen from space, and there were a million billion sakura trees, which probably means there are a million billion people there in spring.

We then headed down into the park itself. Unfortunately, certain parts were blocked off, possibly because of some kind of winter festival, so we ended up getting trapped in a corner of the park near the winter festival of some kind. We were able to climb over a wall, and then down to the inside of the outermost moat, but at some point we hit a dead end and had to turn back. We really only made it about 2/5ths of the way around, but it was still pretty.

We took a break in a cafe at the base of the giant tower for some coffee and to exchange Valentine's Day presents before making our way back to Hakodate Station. We weren't at all looking forward to a 5-hour ride on the uncomfortabus back to hang out with Miwako's mom on our last night together, but the walk to the street car thing was awesome... the combination of ridiculously slippery sidewalks, lack of sleep, and our best inside jokes from the past few days probably made us look like complete idiots to people around us. I'm okay with that. When we got on the bus back to Sapporo, we lucked out and were placed all the way in the back where the seats are actually next to each other (seat-seat-seat-seat instead of seat-aisle-seat-aisle-seat). We alternated between enjoying the beautiful scenery and falling asleep until it was too dark to see anything outside, when we made our best attempt at napping. Stupid unfomfortabus.

Many hours later, we made it back to Zenibako, where Mom was patiently waiting for us with a steaming hot vat of nikujaga (literally "MEAT POTATO"). Although we didn't exactly want to spend our last night together with Miwako's mom, I do have to give her mad props for watching The Lost World: Jurassic Park. I didn't even notice until we were eating and all of a sudden I realized the sounds coming from the TV behind me were incredibly familiar. Man. Japanese voices dubbed over anything are so fake-sounding. Anyway, Mom of course hung out with us for a while, and when we realized that in order to make my flight in the morning, we would have to take the absolute earliest train possible, she offered to drive us to the airport. I straight up told her no, that was NOT going to happen. F'real, yo. Eventually she wandered off to bed, so Miwako and I had like... 2 hours together before it was time to wake up.


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