Going to Chubu, Kansai and Kyushu

I am going to the above places by a combination of local/rapid train (Seishun 18 Kippu), plane, and highway bus for the next 10 days so if your wondering why there is no updates, thats why.

Hokkaido Trip Day 3 of 6: Sapporo to Abashiri (網走)

Feb. 22, 06

Location of Abashiri:

On this day I rushed to the train station to catch the 1st train because I woke up a little late and if I missed this train I would have had to wait for 1 hour for the next one, and that would have wasted a lot of time because it takes 5 hours by train to go to Abashiri.

I left Sapporo at 7:24 am and arrived at Abashiri at 12:45 pm. During the trip, the train traveled through the Hokkaido countryside which looks more like North America than Japan. You see so many mountains and natural rivers, unlike the endless amounts of grey and concrete in the rest of Japan.

Final Fantasy XII Launch

(Updated: June 16, 2013 with high resolution photos)

On Mar. 15, 2006 there was a mini-concert at Bic Camera at Yurakucho where the theme song “Kiss Me Goodbye” was performed and also the theme song from FF8 which I don’t remember the title was performed by the probably half-Japanese singer Angela Aki. There was about 100 people there and it took place at 5 pm. The funny thing is to prevent more people from gathering they had many 20 Bic Camera people holding the rope *by hand* for the 1 hour that this event lasted. Afterwards you could get your CD signed by Aki if you bought the CD, I didn’t because I didn’t feel like wasting more money. Also I had actually recorded the performances on my camera, but I put my camera on mute mode so that there wouldn’t be any sounds from the menus and this also put the microphone on mute, so there is no sound in any of the movies...

The mini-concert.


Hokkaido Trip 2006 Day 2: Sapporo (札幌) and Otaru (小樽)

(Updated: November 2, 2013 with high resolution photos and updated descriptions)

On February 21, 2006, on the second day of my Hokkaido trip, I explored Sapporo and Otaru.

I was surprised that the breakfast offered at this “business hotel” that I was staying at was a breakfast buffet. Here “business hotel” means inn or motel, but way newer and cleaner than anything found in American or Canadian roadside “motels” with doors facing an outdoor hallway. I was surprised that the buffet had grilled fish, meatballs, Japanese-style congee, Hokkaido potatoes, croissants, and soup. And this was a budget style hotel.

One of the highlights from that day was the view from the Sapporo TV Tower.


Lining Up for Nintendo DS Lite Launch and the Final Fantasy Energy Drink

(Updated: June 14, 2013 with high resolution photos)

Today we woke up at 4:30 am for the purpose of lining up to buy a Nintendo DS Lite. In Japan, the Nintendo DS gaming handheld is so popular that when the white color of the brand new Lite version shipped last week, it sold out within hours. Also Nintendo DS is here not just popular but a cultural phenomenon. You can see old people, woman, children, businessman playing the DS anywhere.

At 5 am.


Hokkaido Trip 2006 Day 1: Tokyo Haneda to Sapporo

(Updated: October 27, 2013 with high resolution photos and updated descriptions)

On February 20, 2006, I started my Hokkaido trip. I had bought a flight and hotel package from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies' co-op travel shop which only included 2 nights at a hotel but I extended my stay by 4 days and booked a hotel on the other days by myself.

JR Sapporo station in Sapporo.


Going to See Sumo, the Final Event of the 2006 Winter Tournament

(Updated: June 15, 2013 with high resolution photos)

On January 22, 2006, it was the day we got to go see sumo. We had signed up in December and there were only 50 places available so I was lucky I signed up early. The sumo ticket was worth around 4300 yen, also we were given a free bento lunch box.

The scene outside the Ryōgoku Kokugi-kan, the arena where sumo is held.