Japan Diaries 4: Week 10

Week 10: January 3-7, 2022

Day 63: January 3, 2022

Monday - JR Tower Observatory T38

It's a beautiful morning! We all got tired from our adventure yesterday so as expected everyone wanted an extra few hours of sleep. I took this opportunity to update my travel diary.

Batch, Flong, and I head out once again to Sapporo.

When everyone was awake, we had our brunch at around 10AM. During that time, we discussed what places we could visit if we'd head out after lunch. There were some suggestions like Mt. Moiwa and Moerenuma Park but they were all outdoor destinations that involved more walking plus we also need to factor in the weather. We settled for Mt. Moiwa as it is known for its beautiful nighttime view of Sapporo City. However, thankfully, I checked its official website while everyone else was preparing and saw that there was a video feed live from the peak. Sadly, the view was obscured by clouds.

Sapporo City
Destination for the day - JR Tower Observatory

It discouraged the group which delayed our departure even further. By this time, it was way past 1PM already. Originally, we wanted to see the nighttime view of the city. Batch offered an alternative. She suggested that we go to the JR Tower Observatory 38F instead. It also has a nice nighttime view of the city but can be visited easier as it is conveniently connected to Sapporo JR StationWe left Batch's house at around 3PM and arrived a little before 4PM. Ms. Gelene did not join us on this trip as she needed to finish something. So it's only Batch, Ms. Flora, and I who proceeded with the trip. I'm happy that my friends were willing volunteers as I was actually self-studying some video-taking techniques. Before heading up to the 38F of the JR Tower, we did some Inception-ish videos for fun and it worked out well. 

I got my JR Tower Observatory 38F ticket and brochure

To go up to the 38th floor, we paid 740 yen each. Upon exiting the elevator to the 38th floor we were instantly amazed by the view, as a matter of fact, we were so amazed by the view that we forgot that we were together. For some time, each of us was in different areas of the 38th floor doing our own thing. 

The view of Sapporo City from JR Tower Observatory 38F

Enjoying the view and the bonding time with friends

Of course, I made sure to take photos of each area for my future blog article about JR Tower Observatory T38. One of the first things that I did was look for a commemorative stamp for my travel diary. I eventually found it near the cafe. I also didn't miss out on the opportunity of calling my wife to show her the magnificent view. As mentioned earlier, I was self-studying some video-making techniques so I took the opportunity to also try out the time-lapse video here. 

Dinner at Cobarra Hetta

Here's what I ordered...

From JR Tower Observatory T38 we went back to Sapporo JR Station but before heading back home, we decided to eat dinner first. However, there were so many restaurants to choose from. After probably, half an hour of indecision, we finally settled in Cobarra Hetta. It was a bit pricey but it was something for a change from our usual Yoshinoya diet. 

Sapporo Station with JR Tower Observatory T38

Wrapping up Day 63 for me!

Before going back home, we bought Gelene dinner at McDonald's. Overall, we might have only visited one destination today but I can say that it was totally worth it. I also learned something new today about video taking, which makes me excited to try on our next adventure.

Day 64: January 4, 2022

Tuesday - COE Application

Ohayougozaimasu, everyone! Well, today is the big day, we will apply for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to finally bring our family here to be with us. We left for Sapporo Station a little past 10AM after eating a heavy breakfast and double-checking our requirements.

Heading to Sapporo Regional Office

We got our number buttons. We can now proceed to the Immigration Office

Waiting for our turn to be called

Files successfully submitted. 

We reached the Sapporo Regional Office at around 12NN. There were only a few applicants when we arrived, hence we were entertained immediately. The process took less than an hour. 

Having fun with myself at Odori Park

Sapporo Clock Tower

Since the Regional Office is parallel to Odori Park, we enjoyed a bit of a stroll around Odori Park after submitting our paperwork. Since we were in high spirits, we didn't notice the time. We were surprised that it was already about to get dark. 

Big Echo Sapporo

Karaoke time!

We talked about extending our celebration by doing karaoke. I immediately Google for a karaoke place nearby and saw Big Echo several blocks away. We passed by and took photos of the famed Sapporo Clock Tower on our way there.  

Chapeau Rouge in Sapporo Station

After walking for several blocks, we finally reached Big Echo. We booked a room for two hours and sang our hearts out. It wasn't enough though so we extended it for another hour. It was totally a perfect way to celebrate the day. Before heading back home, we decided to eat first. We chose Chapeau Rouge inside Sapporo Station.

It was almost 10PM when we got home. We were all tired but definitely happy. 

Day 65: January 5, 2022

Wednesday - Otaru Day Trip

This is it! I have been looking forward to this day ever since we were planning it a few months back. So, for today's trip, the gang will be heading to the historic city of Otaru. 

Arrived at Otaru Station

For our Otaru Day Trip, we'd try to visit as many spots in the city as we could but of course, at the same time do it on a budget. You can read about this trip in the special article - Japan Diaries 4: Day 65.

The Backpack Adventures in Otaru Station

Overall, we did get to visit numerous spots in Otaru City for this trip like the Otaru Canal and the Otaru Music Box Museum to name a few. I'm also proud to share that we spent only more or less 5000 yen during this trip. Something that I'd like to do with the family in the future. 

Day 66: January 6, 2022

Thursday - Maruyama Park, Hokkaido Jingu, and Maruyama Zoo

It's another beautiful snowy morning here in Sapporo City. Today is actually my last full day here too. Thank goodness my friends are up for a back-to-back trip. This time, we would be heading out to Maruyama Park on the western side of Sapporo City. The plan is to explore the park and then visit all the nearby tourist spots around it. 

Maruyama Koen Station

As usual, we first had breakfast at Batch's place before heading out. Afterward, we went the usual route of riding the Gakuentoshi Line from Takuhoku Station to Sapporo Station. We then walked the whole length of the underground walkway going to Odori Station where we bought our tickets to go to Maruyama Koen Station on the Tozai Line.

Exploring Maruyama Park with friends

These are the places that we visited:

You can read about this trip in the special article - Japan Diaries 4: Day 66.

Day 67: January 7, 2022

Friday - Flight to Osaka

It's time to say goodbye to my friends and also to Sapporo City. It has been a very memorable week indeed. Regardless, I have been looking forward to the next chapter of my winter break adventure. This time, I'm heading to Osaka Prefecture to spend the last week of my winter vacation with my Japanese family. 

Arrived at New Chitose Airport

After saying goodbye to my Filipino ALT friends, I walked to Takuhoku Station and boarded the train to Sapporo Station where I transferred to the train going to New Chitose Airport Station. 

New Chitose Stamp Rally

Since I arrived early and had plenty of time to spare for my 11:35AM flight, I took the opportunity to explore New Chitose Airport (CTS). It just so happens that there was a stamp rally in the airport which made my spare time fun and productive, The goal for the New Chitose Airport Stamp Rally is simple, locate all 12 stamps scattered around the airport and stamp them on the official stamp rally sheet. Once completed, I simply need to show the stamp rally sheet to the Flyers shop on the fourth floor of the Domestic Terminal to receive my small gift. 

I got a notepad for completing the stamp rally

To cut a long story short, I managed to collect all the stamps and I got a New Chitose Airport notepad for my efforts.

It's boarding time

Off to Osaka!

I completed it just in time for the check-in counters to open. I boarded my Peach flight MM106 bound for Kansai International Airport (KIX) Terminal 2. I reserved seat 9F which had an amazing view of CTS upon departure. 

Rode Peach to KIX

Landed at Kansai International Airport

I arrived at KIX Terminal 2 at 2PM. Mr. Toshi was already there to pick me up and it was like a family reunion. From the airport, we drove back to his home in Tsubasagaoka where we rested while waiting for his family to return home after buying groceries.

It's nice to see you again Mr. Toshi

Driving to Mr. Toshi's home

Kameyama residence

That night, my Japanese family brought me out to Konpira which is one of their favorite local restaurants. I tried the udon, pork tonkatsu, and chicken karaage. It became clear to me why they liked this place. The food was very delicious, it's like eating something prepared by your parents.  

Dinner with my Japanese family.

Pork tonkatsu of Konpira

These are the stamps that I collected last January 7, 2022

After dinner, we drove back home. Mr. Toshi and I had our usual lengthy chats which are also one of my favorite things to do whenever I'm in Japan. Same as before, we ended our chats a little around midnight. To wrap up the day, I took a long dip in the hot tub before calling it a day. It was the perfect way to end the day. See you in my weekend article!

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