A brief tale of my travels through Japan (in particular Sapporo, my second home). I started travelling to Japan in 2003, and have made 9 trips since then... I've been married (to T-chan), bought my first house, and had one child (our son, L-kun) and now a second one (our daughter, C-chan).
I'm writing this in 2012, so it's sort of like going back in a time machine. Eventually I will get back to current day!...
30th July, 2010 - Well, this is a little strange... I'm writing this in "now time", but most probably won't post it until I've finished my posts from previous trips. So, here I am. On my way to Japan. T-chan and L-kun had already been in Japan for about 6 weeks, having a good time with Ojiichan and Obaachan (grandfather and grandmother)... and enjoying an unseasonably hot/humid summer. I have to admit that I was somewhat worried about just how hot it was going to be in Japan - especially coming from a cold and miserable Adelaide winter.
Still - my first reaction when stepping off the plane in Narita was: it's actually not that bad. What was all the fuss about. This was further heightened by the trip to Sapporo (departing from Narita about 4 hours later) which was conspicuous for it's lack of view from the window seat. Cloudy the whole way.
L-kun and Okaasan waiting in the public area
Arriving in Sapporo, I had been a bit worried about how L-kun would react. New Chitose Airport is quite frustrating in that they separate the new arrivals waiting at the luggage belts from those waiting for their loved ones by a series of big glass windows. So close... but unable to hug or even really talk to each other while waiting for luggage to appear. Those 6 weeks of just seeing Daddy on Skype were over... and L-kun was stoked to see Daddy. Even if he Daddy did seem to take forever to find his suitcase.
It was great to T-chan... 1.5 months without my gorgeous wife had left me a hollow man. And I was so happy to get a squeeze from her at the airport. Don't expect any great shows of intimate affection in public however. That's not the Japanese way. Especially in front of her parents.
Sapporo's New Chitose Aiport is getting bigger and bigger. Impressive - but still for all that work, it's a very, VERY long way from the city, and even longer away from home. We stopped off at the rest-stop along the highway to have some home-made rice balls (onigiri) and tea. Time to stretch the legs and breath in some nice fresh (warm) Hokkaido air.
At the rest stop....
I hadn't slept at all during the night flight from Australia - not that unusual for me. Of course, it was hard to take some time off to rest during the day as L-kun was full-on and I didn't want to miss a second of it. He was even more handsome and funny than when they had left Australia... and his Japanese had improved more in those 6 weeks than they had in perhaps years of myself. Impressive - but also somewhat sobering at my own lack of dedication to improve my Japanese.
That night I hit the sack early and was literally asleep before I had time to say "oyasumi"... goodnight.