Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hokkaido Tour Day 2 - 18/01/2008


Wakey, wakey! For some reasons, I'm always the one waking up earlier when I go for tours.. Grrr..

Anyway, after a hearty western breakfast (buffet-style) at our hotel, our group set off for Mt. Okura Ski Jump Stadium (大倉山ジャンプ競技場, Ookurayama Jyampu Kyougijyou).

The ground was covered in a thick layer of snow when we reached there... And haha, it was snowing again.. And the temps seemed to be even lower than before.... BRRRR... (maybe coz we're at a higher ground level..?) Was really amazed by the sight of the ski jump... Never in my life did I know that a ski jump is THAT steep...!! *Gulp* Think I was having fear of heights without the need to be up there... (Luckily) We didn't manage to go up though.. They were holding an event or something....

Group photo! Snowing....

Niko Niko!

The next part of our itinerary was an impromptu decision. With the whole group's consensus, our trip to some milk factory (how to make icecream..?) was changed to an exciting hour at the Snowmobile Land Sapporo. Even though the ride was at our own expense, it's money well-spent. ^.^ (10,000 yen for renting a single rider for the 60-min ride, and 15,000 for renting the double rider also for the 60-min ride) XB and I chose the double rider and I might only be the passenger, it was still a thrill to enjoy the chilly breeze while speeding across the snow plains and bumpy slopes to the quarry. Not to mention, as a passenger, I got to enjoy the sight of beautiful Nature dressed in her magnificent white gown.

Ready to go!

At the quarry area... Sitting on snow! (It looks fun, isn't it.. NOT! Try getting ice shavings into ur pants.. ==)

Our instructor.. Notice the really beautiful scenery!

There's this family who opted out of the ride... Look what they've made during the hour! (Should have taken a photo of this snowman when it was still wearing winter hat and scarf...)

After the exhilarating ride, we made a move to Asahi Beer Factory.

Asahi Biiru Hokkaido Koujyou

Nope, we didn't get to tour around the actual manufacturing premise... Were only shown a video of it... *roll eyeballs* We did get to try their fresh beer though, and it's free flow. =P (I only tried a sip... Chickened out and chose the soda instead... LOL)


Before anyone of us could get high from the "endless" supply of free beer, we went back to Susukino district to have our Ramen lunch at the famous Ramen Alley (ラーメン横丁, Ramen Yokochou).

The shop where we had our lunch...

The ramen chef in action...

XB and I ordered gyoza too.. ^.^

Ramen Yokochou... Me not included... LOL

After lunch, XB spotted this while walking back to our tour bus.

A really plump crow and a nonchalant pigeon... HAHHAHA...

I'm sure these words "白い恋人" are not alien to some people. We had the chance to visit the factory that produced these yummy Shiroi Koibito chocolates (Factory is also called 石屋, Ishiya). Unfortunately, we couldn't enter the factory (closed to visitors temporarily due to some issues) and could only tour around the garden within the premise. The garden was like a mini fairytale land filled with mini traditional European style houses.

Yokoso Ishiya e!

Even the security guard fitted into the whole fairytale land scene!

Pink statues..? Nah, these are plants which were wrapped up to be protected from the harsh wintry conditions.

I've never seen such an elegantly designed washroom...

Even the toilet bowl was intricately decorated.... O.O Each cubicle also had a very interesting gadget attached with it... When you sit on the toilet bowl, this gadget will start producing flushing noises... The sounds will refuse to go away until you have flushed the toilet... LOL... For the next few days, I realized this was not the only female toilet to have such gadget equipped.

We then finally made our way to Otaru, a port town for Sapporo. (Our bus ride passed through some hilly areas....... and it was pretty foggy.. kooooo) Otaru is a very nostalgic place with all the historical buildings. We were brought to see what's remained of a canal (which has been preserved) that once ran through the middle of Otaru. Just like Singapore river, this canal was used to let traders transport their cargoes and disembark just next to the storage area. Similarly, European style store houses and Victorian street lamps adorned the surrounding area.

But of course, most of us were more interested in shopping. So we had some free time walking around the shopping area.. Which was more like shops housed in magnificent historical buildings. We passed by a cafe that apparently is famous for its ice cream. Since I felt much better, XB and I made a mental note to try the ice cream. However, I was more interested in the Otaru Music Box Museum.

There's a steam clock located outside the Main Hall. Every hour, it would play a melody through the release of steam. Cool huh. Didn't manage to take a reasonable photo of the steam clock though... Oh well, I was more interested in the musical boxes anyway...

Stepping into the main hall is like stepping into a wonderland of glass, lights and music. The array of musical boxes and the likes was just mind boggling!


And this was just the 1st level.. There were even more varieties on the 2nd level... But I got excited when I read a notice saying that DIY musical box is at the 3rd level... That's it... HAHAH.. But once faced with the different types of materials needed... I was kinda stumped... I read and re-read the instructions... But I was still feeling unsure.. There were all sorts of musical gadgets, and I could only roughly guess which casing should go with which gadget... I finally made the decision of choosing the gadget that's already mounted onto a wooden base.. (cheaper... LOL..) I chose a cubic glass cover and a couple of the cheapest glass ornaments and a sheet of bling bling stickers...

After paying at the counter (Aye, it already cost me near 3000 yen even though I think mine was one of the cheapest DIY musical box ever made...), the friendly staff (he's a Chinese who spoke really fluent Japanese!!!) ushered me to a work area and showed me how to mix the 2 types of adhesive and how to use it.. After the instructions, I got my hands dirty and started assembling and decorating MY OWN musical box.

Work in progress...

The final product! Too bad they didn't have angels in a pinkish or purplish tone.. It looked kinda empty huh.. That's the outcome of trying to be stingy on the decoration... LOL

Had to let the musical box sit and rest for about 30 min to make sure the adhesive is totally dry.. So in the mean time, we took a look around the rest of the shopping area.

This classy building actually housed a chocolate shop! And we knew coz there's this guy standing outside distributing green tea chocolates for everyone to sample... Talking about chocolates.. I was given a bar of chocolate for free for choosing to make the DIY musical box!

There were a lot of arts-related shops and museums. There was this glassware shop/museum that had free glassware making seminars (too bad I didn't attend any). Lots of small shops selling cute souvenirs (e.g. Hello Kitty). There was even a mini-market that was selling fresh seafood and some other food stuffs... Many interesting things to look at, but most of them were too expensive for my budget.

Nevermind... The ice cream was affordable though! And it's value for money! We bought the special and they stacked 5 different flavors onto a cone!! There's lavender, vanilla, melon, strawberry and chocolate(if I wasn't wrong..).

See? Many flavors! Why do I see question marks all over your head!?? Eating ice cream in winter is crazy?? Not at all! In fact, my body felt slightly warmer while eating the ice cream! And the ice cream would never melt in this sub-zero temps! How cool is that????

After retrieving my already dried musical box, we walked about a little more before returning to our tour bus.

We're back to the same place for dinner. Menu for today was Japanese grill! Ooh la la... 1 big plate of vegetables (with 2 big scallops) and free flow of meat... Another night with an overly full tummy... ==''' And I think this was the most I'd ever eaten of meat... Arhhh... (Though XB claimed that most of it was eaten by him...)

A spread... sans the meat

Some in our tour group ordered 2 big abalones

and Kobe beef..

Ready to tuck in!

Took a walk outside once we're back at our hotel. (Wanted to venture more but shops were closed.. except for Lawson(s?) Convenience Stores...)

An astro observatory??

"Scary" tree.. LOL.. My camera somehow managed to capture it in an eerie manner.. It wasn't scary at all in person. ==

A chapel just beside our hotel. Very cute and manga/anime-ish, isn't it??

And that's "nite nite" for today!


ALLE said...

hi couzzie ^^

needta seek your advicee on sth..

"to be happy or unhappy"

is it solely one's choice? like dependent on yourself right?
is that what most religions teach too??
cos after watching chc's video sermon tat day, good that i learnt some stuff, but i didnt really understand what they meant and had no one to ask about, thus i felt more confused than before tat. -.-

Rhinestic said...

hrmm.. what did it say about happiness?

chantc said...

938 Slice of Life:

What you (Inner Voice) tell yourself about yourself shapes your life. Happy and successful people talk lovingly and positively to themselves. Nurture your inner voice to speak with love, respect, optimism and gentleness, and you're on your way to greater happiness.

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