Akio Wannabe-San

Fish Market In Otaru

Unlike the popular fish market in Tokyo, this one in Otaru is way smaller but of course, the folks there were a lot more friendlier too.  I loved how one can choose and pick your seafood without feeling like you were being rushed or like a tourist. It is not difficult to find the fish market in Otaru because it’s just next to the Otaru train station.

You can also decide to have your live seafood cooked in the nearby restaurant and eat there.  I was told that you have to negotiate your seafood because it’s become too touristy.

The food was so fresh – I wished i had another chance to go again, alas, my schedule didn’t permit me to do it.  Did you see the sea urchins in the bowl – they were awesome! out of this world!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Japan has left me with many good memories and the people are mostly sweet and polite and what I loved most about Japan is the little villages outside the big city.  The air is fresher and you find some real jewels when you are here and out of the city I find that the folks are way more relax – simpler.  I’ve always enjoyed spending a day or two out of the city when I used to live in Tokyo.

I’ve always enjoyed the Onsens in Japan as well although I was a little shy at first. Undressing and scrubbing yourself clean in front of woman and girls of all ages and then all jumping into the hot spring.  The chattering of Japanese woman – laughing and giggling as I struggle to get into the hot spring was quite embarrassing at first but slowly I too became an expert in it.

One thing for sure about Japan is when you buy or eat something from Japan, it is of the best quality, even if it was street food, it is prepared well and good in test.  I wished I had more time to explore Japan but I will see her again soon I’m sure.

Factory Outlets In Japan

While I’m out looking for factory outlets for branded goods, the spouse hunted down a factory outlet for designer watches.   This watch factory in Hokkaido was busy at work when we arrived and they were really working with all kinds of machines with  linear bearings  as far as i can see.  Designers watches manufactured here for big brand companies were selling the watches at only 30% of the original asking price because of a small flaw to the watches.  If you are not an expert in watches, you will probably not notice the flaw at all but since perfection is the middle name for the Japanese, we were able to buy a few watches to bring home to re-sell.  Pretty smart of us  don’t you think?

Noboribetsu Grand Onsen

We stayed at the Noboribetsu Grand Onsen a couple of times – and we weren’t disappointed.  The front desk were very nice to us because we came with a co-worker who was not feeling her best – and they immediately called in the house doctor for us and put her in another room – so that we won’t catch  whatever she had gotten from her. The onsen has 3 different types of onsen – and you can choose the one that you much prefer to soak in – they are all indoor – so even in the winter – one will  have no problem doing the onsen.  I prefer the salt one because the other 2 have very strong smell – I don’t quite like how I feel like I can’t breathe in it.

The onsen is very well located as the bus station is right in front of the hotel and it’s relatively cheap for being an onsen – but the hotel is quite old – and like all old hotel –  you can imagine it does need a little work.

A simple room – but it does have all the amenities that one needed.

Asahiyama Zoo Hokkaido

The Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido is one of my favorite zoo when I visit Japan – I think everything is so well planned that you don’t feel like you are really in the zoo – the landscaping part was magnificent and you don’t get your usual zoo smell  – it’s really very clean and well maintained. A bus or train ride from Furano – will get you to the zoo – and I know it’s an hour long but it’s worth it.  Getting into the zoo is about 800 Yen and it closes at 5pm mostly and in the summer – till 9pm I think.

Love the giraffes

But the highlight of the zoo are the penguins and the polar bears.  But I love the underwater tunnel where you can see the penguins swim and seals too.

Huge polar bear swimming around and seems to like the visitors a lot.

Pretty – but there are tigers and monkeys too – but I didn’t take pictures of.

Mount Hakodate

Mount Hakodate is quite a beautiful place – but I heard the night scenery is a lot better than the day time but also it’s a lot colder in the night too.  There are several ways that you can get up to the mountain – some use the lift/cable car type – while others like us went up by the hill using the ropeway and we took the bus down the mountain when it got a little dark.

There is really nothing much you can do once you reach up to the mountain – there is a pizza cafe there if you choose to get a snack – and have a cup of coffee and many tourists did that.  To me it’s really a touristy thing but if you are on vacation – go for it.  Oh Mount Hakodate is also known as the million-dollar night view mountain.

Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

Located in Hokkaido –  5 – 10 Ote-machi, Hakodate Hokkaido Japan – I feel that the hakodate kokusai hotel is a no frill hotel.  Located near the JR Station about a 10 minutes walk past the morning market.  The hotel itself is quite large – with a huge reception area and a restaurant.

The room and bathroom as you can see is pretty small and really not enough room for more than 2.  It’s more like B & B than a regular hotel if you asked me – and everything seems pretty outdated.

Pretty small room as mentioned early – but the market is just right round the corner – you can find all sorts of Japanese street food and seafood in the market.  Don’t forget to check out the Red Brick Shopping district about 5mins away from the hotel.   The restaurant in the hotel does serve breakfast and the hotel employees speaks in English and are pretty good.

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