18th October, 2006 - Well T-chan has definitely been feeling worse in the mornings now - and still no sign of her taste returning. We decided to borrow the parents car and head off across to Otaru to spend some more time together. On the way we planned to visit <a href=" />Asari Dam again. The "UFO Bridge" looks quite different during the day, and I have to say that it's even more freaky to drive over when you can see what you're doing! Did I mention my growing fear of heights?
This is generally a good place for Autumn Colours, however, this year was definitely a disappointment. There was very little colour around, especially when I recall Jozankei and how absolutely impressed I was.
We left Asari Dam and continued on to Otaru (here's a link to a useful map of the Otaru). It had been three years since we last came during the Autumn months, and it had be beautiful back then. Once again the weather was beautiful for strolling around... but the chill air had started to appear lately. These sorts of days were coming to an end with the approach of winter in Hokkaido. Otaru is separated into two main tourist areas. The canal and the Sakai-machi street where you will find most of the glass and music box shops.
The following shows just some of the scenes along Sakai-machi street. The big building here is the Kitaichi Venetian Museum of Art. Why in Otaru? I think it's the link to the glass/crystal industry. Venetian glass being the yardstick by which others are measured.
School kids on excursion. This is a typical "real school uniform" look... very smart. Not exactly sure what they'd be doing here today - T-chan says they'd be part of a school trip from somewhere else in Japan (2nd year High School students invariably go for a trip either to another part of Japan or even overseas). You'll notice that there's not that much bling on these girls. When T-chan went to school (a few years ago now)... their dresses were measured to ensure that they were "appropriate length", and hair dying was definitely prohibited. T-chan and her mother had to convince that her hair was naturally curled (actually it was permed... shhhh... family secret). Generally things have loosened up a lot in Japan these days - even in the private schools.
Out the front of the Orgel Emporium is the Steam Clock... yes - a steam powered clock. It's supposedly the largest in the world, and only the second to be built. Actually, whilst this appears old, it was made in 1995 by Raymond Saunders. Steam clocks are a generally recent thing, the first popular one was actually made in Gastown, Vancouver in 1977. Every 15 minutes the chimes ring out...
Whislt your here - if you've got any anime interest at all, make sure you stop in at Yume no Oto (The Sound of Dreams). There's a great range of Studio Ghibli gear, as well as a raft of other anime-themed gear.
Good ol' Totoro! And if you don't know about Studio Ghibli then you should go out and hire one of their movies - especially anything by renowned director Hayao Miyazaki.
And here's the obligatory canal shot. Not much has changed in 3 years.
Our fourth trip to Sapporo is winding up... and today was just a test-run for our hectic adventure in Kyoto. It's been a good day - but we know it's going to be hard trip.