Archive for May, 2011

Niseko Co-ed Spa! 

A visit to an Onsen Hot spring is popular with the visitors to Hokkaido.
There are more than 200 of them!
One of the best area to find good co-ed hot springs is Niseko.
In Niseko, tGrand Hotel has the best co-ed hot spring.
(I don’t really care for co-ed places. I tend to avoid visiting one.)
But this is an exception.

It’s just across from a natural spring drinking water site.

Niseko Grand Hotel

I will show you the women’s bath area.
When I went there, there was nobody.

There are three bathtubs inside.

Outside, there are two different kinds of bathtubs.
This is only for women. Not yet..

This water us rich in iron.

This one is sodium-rich.

The area is surrounded with lots of trees.
While taking a bath, you’ll enjoy the aroma of fresh leaves.
I decided to take a bath in the co-ed bathing areas.
So I put on a bathing lobe rented at the reception.
Walking down a narrow corridor, you get to the outdoor co-ed bathtub area.
There are two large ( one relatively small) bathing basins surrounded by trees and huge rocks.
When I went there, to my reliefe, there was nobody- just me.
I took a short bath and returned to the safety of women’s bathing area.

But you may be curious how the co-ed baths look like.
So, I took the photo from the website of the hotel.
This is the pictute of one of the two co-ed baths.


The Season of Sports Days at Elementary Schools

One of the most important events for parents,grandparents, aunts, uncles of an elementary school child is a school sport day.

In Sapporo, it is usually held on a Saturday around the end of May or early in June.
The night before the day, all supermarkets are crowded with shoppers.
Then on the day
father wakes up early to secure a good position on the school ground.
mother wakes up early and cooks a huge festive lunch.
At 6 o’clock, when the parents hear the sounds of firecrackers,
they know the Sports Day will be held as planned.

In the moring of the day, all supermarkets are empty as well as golf courses, hot springs, and gyms in the neighborhood.

Where are they?

Yes, you are right–
they are here on the school ground.

Watching their kids compete in games

And enjoying drinks, foods, and chatting with neighbors.

I miss the day when my children were in elementary school….

Flowers in Sapporo Odori Park

Sapporo Odori Park is located right in the center of Sapporo.
It stretches 1.5 km east west and divided in 12 blocks.

This is how Block 12 looked like yesterday.

Meibaum from Munich ( sister city of Sapporo)

Mulan ( Lily, Tulip) Magnoria is in full bloom and some blossoms falling and fallen petals are scattered on the grass.
Singing swan song? They looked gracious.

The garden in front of Sapporo Archives ( former high court)

There are some cherry trees in full bloom.

It’s the beginning of beautiful season in Sapporo!

Japan’s Sit-up Comedyー Rakugo

Come and see/hear this professional rakugo sit-ip performer!

Laughter is the Language That Bonds People in the Worls

KATSURA Kaishi is coming to Sapporo!
He’s a famous Kamigata Rakugo performer.
Don’t miss it!

Date: June 24 (Friday)
Time: 18:00~19:30
Place Sapporo University Hall
Admission: free 
No reservation is required. Just come to the venue. 
Sapporo University Culture Department: 011- 851-1181

Japanese Wood Poppy

I love this flower. Japanese Wood Poppy.
They are endemic plants in Japan and they grow only in the nortehrn and eastern part of Hokkaido and the nortehrn Honshu.

You see them along paths in the woods near my house in the suburbs of Sapporo.
The flower looks like a poppy. Thin and brittle and the colors are pale purple or blue.
I tried to grow some in my garden and failed.
Today I was happy to see them in Sapporo City Zoo.

They are obviously well tended.

Coffee Machine- Japan Style!

I found this vending machine at s shop in Sunagwa Parking Area on Hokkaido Expressway.
I have tried the coffe many times form this machine.

The coffee always tastes really good.
And I love this MACHINE!
Why? because it a friendly machine and it tries to communicate with you!

When you put the coin and push the botton, they start making your coffe.
On the screen at the top-right of the machine messages and pictures appear.

The first one says
” We are brewing your coffee.”

The pictures of the coffee making process appear on the screen.

It says the drink is almost ready.

Now it is putting a lid on your cup.

Now when it’s ready, the machine thanks you!

Thank you for the good coffee, Mr. Robboty!
Isn’t it very Japanese?

Hokkaido is safe!

Hokkaido has been badly affected by the reports ” Japan is contaminated and dangerous!”
All the tour have been cnaceled from the quake and the accidents at the nuclear ower plants.
We have been suffering from the economic damage.

Let me tell you Hokkaido is safe!
It is now in the best season and all the sightseeing spots are almost empty.
So why not come now?

If you are still worried about the radiation, here’s the daily measurements.

Radiation Monitoring in Hokkaido
Radiation levels are regularly measured at 22 sites around the Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc. Tomari Nuclear Power Station, aiming to monitor environmental radiation in those areas. In order to ensure safety across Hokkaido, survey meters are used to measure radiation levels in 13 subprefectures.

・Radiation levels around the Tomari Nuclear Power Station
  The following chart shows that the levels have remained normal.   (Unit: µGy/h [microgray per hour])

Month/day Time 5/12 17:00

Date range measure in 22 sites
~0.044 0.030
~0.043 0.031
~0.043 0.030~0.044