Sapporo - City of Shopping Malls

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
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Trip End Sep 02, 2010


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Where I stayed
Best Western Hotel Fino

Flag of Japan  , Hokkaido,
Monday, August 30, 2010


I was really lazy this am but, in my defense, I was obsessed with finding my post card stamps so I could mail out the post cards I had written.  I essentially had to go through everything before I found them in a logical place:  the envelope that held my important papers.  So in the process I organized my room for the next 2 days (as of this morning).

I had planned to go to the Sapporo Beer Museum today because it is Monday and lots of other things are closed, like the Botanical Garden.  Since the Museum has some beer tasting, I decided to delay it until mid-afternoon and thought I might as well do some shopping in the meantime.  I could walk around above ground...maybe see some sights....and check out some of Frommers recommendations for shopping.  I headed for the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade first.  I managed to find the right street fairly well considering I don't know how to identify streets by any signs even though Frommer says they are in English too.  It was a little disappointing.  I had walked through it not knowing it was what I was looking for because I had been thinking it was an underground mall.  Then I got to see inside a little police station when an elementary school guard took me there to confirm that the Sapporo Underground Shopping Mall listed at that corner by my Sapporo map wasn't there.  So I headed for another site with the same name a few blocks away.  I was following the map pretty well...my shopping was leading me nowhere even when I tried a big department store.  Then all of a sudden when I asked someone where the Sapporo station (my North Star) was, the response was startlingly different from what I expected.  It was in the opposite direction.  I kept asking my way....I have no idea how I could have overshot it by so many blocks.  My last helper said "follow me" and walked me through a park, down quite a few blocks, and asked me where I wanted to go once I got to the station.  I hesitated to tell him I wanted to go to the Sapporo Beer Museum by bus.  He helped me find the bus stop and we worked together to find the right spot for me to wait for the #88 bus that went to the Beer Museum and the Beer Factory Mall.  People are extremely nice here ... and all over Japan.  Once he left, a woman took over and had me stand in the right place for the bus.

The Sapporo Beer Museum's high points for me were its old red brick building and its advertising posters created over time.  They had a whole wall of the posters across from one of the beer tasting venues.  Most of the early posters showed beautiful women with a glass or bottle of beer....only a few I think were of women serving beer.  A few of the early posters showed children with beer.  Interesting.  More of the later posters showed famous male athletes or movie stars.  There was an exhibit of the various steps in making beer, the ingredients and tools, including the huge copper vats.  They are gorgeous.  They didn't have English-speaking guides so I got a laminated flip booklet for a self-guided tour.  The beer tasting wasn't free...which was just as well....I wouldn't be tempted to drink more than was good for me.  I tried a Yebisu black beer.  It was good.  For some reason, I am enjoying the lagers a lot more in Japan, but this was very good too.

After the Sapporo Beer Museum tour, I headed back by bus to the Factory Mall.  I thought I would check out the stores and then have dinner at the Bier Keller.  There were some craft shops in the old brewery building and lots of other regular stores in the attached mall with a huge atrium in its center.  I think I checked out everything very thoroughly but didn't even buy one thing.  I was tempted by a few things but dismissed them because of weight or fragility.  Then I headed to the Bier Keller and ordered a seafood shabu dinner with another Yebisu beer.  I guess I didn't really realize what shabu entailed until a waitress came with a huge burner.  Then some time later a waiter came with a huge plate of food and explained that I dip the food in to cook it and then dunk it into the two bowls of sauce.  I tried the first piece and realized that the temperature needed to be hotter; the waiter came back and said that I should wait for it to boil....not in those words, but I got the idea...or at least I thought I did.  It took awhile and I didn't manage to eat all of the daikon or green onion tops but I did enjoy all the seafood that I ate. 

From the Factory Mall, I thought I could walk back to the hotel without much problem.  I started out and then asked someone where the station was and she pointed in the opposite direction.  So I turned around, got back to the Factory Mall, and asked again.  This woman pointed in the direction from which I had just come.  She and her mother (I think) conferred a bit.  She thought I should get a taxi.  Then they conferred with 2 other women and now they pointed in the opposite direction.  I started off and then had misgivings and decided a taxi might not be such a bad idea after all.  I got back to the hotel at 8 pm....a late night out for me here....and here I am.  Now to try to upload more photos....some for the last 2 days and a few for today maybe.


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