Hokkaido Day 2: Otaru 

Otaru is a popular city close to Sapporo that takes about an hour via bus from the city. I was especially happy to go here since the last time I came to Hokkaido this city was not on the itinerary. 小樽というのはバスで札幌から1時間ぐらいかかる有名な町で、前回行かなかったので、今年行けて本当に良かったと思います。

En route to Otaru we went to the Nikka Whiskey Distillery in the city of Yoichi. The distillery is a large campus that is made up of different exhibitions in several buildings. Apparently the founder also lived there because their old houses are on the campus as well. At the end of the tour there is a free whiskey testing opportunity similar to the Sapporo Beer Museum. They give you generous portions of whiskey in three different flavors. I’ve never tried whiskey so it was cool to try it for the first time here, but honestly I didn’t like it at all and was only able to drink the apple-flavored one. I don’t think I will ever develop a taste for whiskey… 道中で余市町に位置するニッカ蒸溜所を見学し、キャンパス内には様々なウィスキーの作り方が説明されている展示会があります。それに、創設者がそこで住んでいるので古い家もあります。ツアーの終わりにウィスキーを3杯試飲し、三つの味を経験できます。飲んだことがなくて、初めてのはすごい!と思もいましたけど、実はアップルの味のみ試飲できなかったのです。ウィスキーを決して好きにならないかもしれないですね…

Lunch was at the Kihinkan Mansion, a giant Japanese mansion owned by a former red herring fisher. Naturally, we had a delicious Japanese meal of red herring over rice as the main dish. Then we toured the mansion and got to see how a rich Japanese person lived. 次に、ニシンの元漁師に所有されていた小樽貴賓館(旧青山別邸) で昼食を取り、もちろんニシン丼の懐石を食べました。そして旧青山別邸を見学して、昔の時代にお金持ちの生活を見ました。

To learn more about the old red herring industry, we visited a museum that explained the technology used at the time. I remembered the museum well when I first went in 2004. My favorite part about this museum is the mini Japanese old street and the taxidermy animal exhibition. ニシン産業についてもっと知るようになるために、昔の漁具が説明されている博物館に行きました。2004年に初めて行った時からよく覚え、博物館の好きな部分は古い日本の街並みとかわいい動物の剥製術です。

The last place we visited was the famous Sakaimachi street with lots of tourists. Although it is touristy, there were a lot of awesome shops that I really want to go back to again. The street is most known for its glass and music box souvenirs. I was so happy to have finally gone to the music box hall as I love music boxes! There are two music box halls; one small one with a little place for music box “concerts” and a giant one that is so huge! The huge one is amazing and I wish I had more time; there are so many music boxes and they separate them by theme (i.e. Disney songs, anime, etc.). If I had more money I would have totally bought more stuff, but I only bought one music box that looked had some Marie Antoinette inspired design. On the way back to the bus we walked along the street and got some ice cream. I got white peach ice cream and unexpectedly bought some more peach foaming soap from this lady who was doing a demonstration. The soap is cool because it feels like a mochi and is placed in some bamboo. 最後に、有名な境町通りに行き、少し旅行者向けなんですが、気に入る店がたくさんあって、また行きたいと思っています。境町はグラス商品とオルゴールで知られていますので、オルゴール堂に行ってすごく嬉しかったのです。オルゴール堂が二つあり、小さいのはミュージックボックスのコンサートみたいなイベントが行われ、大きいのは無数の書類を売っています。音楽のテーマで別れ(例 ディズニー、アニメなど)、もっと時間かお金を持っていたらたくさんのオルゴールを買えばよかったと思いますが、今回一つのマリーアントワネットのようなオルゴールを購入しました。バスに戻った時、道中で白桃のアイスを食べて、そして泡立て方法を示している店員さんからモモの泡立て洗顔をまた買ってしまいました。石けんは、触った際にはふわふわな餅という感じがして、竹材に包まれていてすごいです。

We had some time before dinner so a lot of us went to the Daimaru department store. I helped one of the tour members look for some cosmetics and a sweater and was able to practice my Japanese. I think although I can’t always express myself elegantly, my comprehension surely has improved. 夕食の前に少し時間があって、また大丸に行きました。ツアーの一人の女性が化粧品とセーターを探しているため、一緒に手伝って日本語を練習しました。まだ日本語ですらすらに意味を伝えられないんですが、理解が上手になってきました。

Dinner was a little interesting—we all went to an izakaya and ate yakitori. The food was good but the service was incredibly horrible. They couldn’t separate the bill although our group was large (didn’t even separate it by table), took forever to bring the food out, and overall just looked confused. I sort of felt bad for our waiter because she looked like this was her first job, but it really was hectic. At least we were all together and had good conversations. 夕食にはみんなで居酒屋で焼き鳥を食べ、サービスがすごくひどかったんです。勘定書を別々に別れなかったし、食べ物を出すことが長い時間かかったし、全体的にレストランの方がみんな困惑した表現を見せたことでした。ウェイトレスが始めてのアルバイトをしているかなと思って、ちょっとかわいそうですが、食事にはグループといい会話をしてよかったです。

For the rest of the trip we will venture more into nature! では、残りのツアーは北海道の自然に踏み出します!

May 24

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