Japan Diaries 4: Week 9

Week 9: December 27-31, 2021

Day 56: December 27, 2021

Monday - Rumoi

Good morning everyone! Today is officially the first day of winter vacation for the students. Unlike in the Philippines where teachers are also on vacation, we are required to report for work until the school officially closes for the Shogatsu or New Year season which is from December 29 to January 3. Students, on the other hand, return to school on the third week of January.

Rumoi High School 12/27/21

Inside one of Motoyama-sensei's classes

Some teachers take this opportunity to file their nenkyu or paid leaves while others prefer to report back to work on the 4th of January. For this year I chose to report for work on the 27th and 28th of December and use my nenkyu from the 4th to the 14th. 

Here's what I did today:

1st period - Essay writing @ Eiken Class of Motoyama-sensei

Rumoi City Hall

Kazumo chan greeted me as I went inside Rumoi City Hall to get my  "My Number Card"

3rd - 4th period: Sekiguchi-san drove me to the city hall to get my "My Number Card"

Engan Bus Ticketing Office

Inside Engan Bus Ticketing Office

Lunch - I walked to the Engan Bus Ticket office to buy a Garutto Hokkaido Ticket for Sapporo. I also reserved a seat for my upcoming Sapporo trip.
6th period - Edited tests for Kutsumi-sensei and Shiko-sensei.

Day 57: December 28, 2021

Tuesday - Rumoi

Hello guys! Today I'm heading to Rumoi is the last day of work for this year. It's also -11 degrees today. It's the coldest that I have experienced here so far. 

-11 degrees in Rumoi City

Rumoi High School 12/28/21

Here's what I did today:

1st period - Listening activity @ Eiken Class of Motoyama-sensei
3rd period - Edited Komai-sensei's written output. 

I'm one of the last to leave today. It's the last day of work before the Winter Break.

Rumoi English Chat Club

That night, Adachi-san picked me up at home for our bi-weekly Rumoi English Chat Club. We talked about New Year traditions in our country. 

Day 58: December 29, 2021

Wednesday - Rumoi

It's my last full day here in Rumoi City for this year. Tomorrow, I'll be heading south to Sapporo City to celebrate New Year with the other Filipino ALTs and then fly to Osaka on January 7 to spend time with my Japanese family. 

Heading off to Mo's Burger to meet friends

Since there's I didn't report for work today, I spent the whole morning packing up my stuff for my upcoming trips and also doing some laundry. 

Mos Burger - Rumoi City

Chicken set meal of Mos Burger

Mos Burger with ALT friends

That evening, I was invited by my Rumoi ALT friends for dinner at Mo's Burger. We talked about their trip to Asahikawa earlier and also some other future plans for our group.

Day 59: December 30, 2021

Thursday - Off to Sapporo

Cold morning everyone, today's my trip to Sapporo City. I left my home in Rumoi City at around 8:30AM and boarded the Engan Express bus bound for the city. I arrived at Sapporo Station Terminal Middle Lane 11 Platform a little before 12NN.

Bye for now Rumoi City

Boarding the Engan bus to Sapporo City

Off to Sapporo City

Finally met my Filipino ALT friends

From there, I proceeded to Sapporo Station to meet my friends; Batch, Flong, and Gelene. We then rode the Gakuentoshi Line going to Takuhoku JR Station. The train fare was 3340 yen. From the station, we walked for about 15 minutes to Batch's house where we'd stay for the week. Upon arrival, we were assigned our rooms so that we could unpack and rest for a bit. 

Rode the train to Takuhoku JR Station

Batch's place. This is my home for the remainder of my stay here in Sapporo

That night, we were picked up by Mihara-san, a friend and churchmate of Batch. He drove us to his house where we partook in a sumptuous feast. I met his wife Ai-san and their adorable children. Mihara-san was a very funny and genki fellow. We had an awesome time in his home. We even got to bring home some food. 😁

Dinner with Mihara-san and his family

Overall, today was a very memorable day. I got to meet lots of new people and also reconnect with my fellow Filipino ALTs after two months here in Japan. I'm looking forward to our plan tomorrow. So oyasuminasai for now everyone. 

Day 60: December 31, 2021

Friday - Exploring Sapporo

Hey guys! Today is the last day of 2021. What better way to spend it than visiting different places in Sapporo City with my Filipino ALT friends. 

Batch cooked us some Filipino breakfast. I suddenly missed home

Off to Takuhoku Station. Check out all those snow

Waiting for the train at Takuhoku Station.

From Batch's house, we walked to Takuhoku Station and ride the Gakuentoshi Line to Sapporo Station (340 yen). From there, we headed to the subway line and bought the Donichika Ticket (520 yen). The Donichika Ticket is available only during the holidays and the weekends. It gives one an unlimited pass to all subway lines in Sapporo City for a day.

Touchdown Sapporo Station

Heading to Sapporo's Subway system

Donichika Ticket

First stop - Odori Park

Exploring Odori Park

We rode the Tozai Line from Sapporo Station and boarded down at Nishi Jyuichi JR Station. From there, we walked to the westernmost part of Odori Park to visit the Sapporo Archives Museum. Sadly, it was closed during our visit. 

The Backpack Adventures visits Sapporo Archives Museum

Searching for a restaurant at Tanukikoji Shopping Street

I visited Tanukikoji Shopping Street for the first time

After taking dozens of photos, we resumed our walk. This time we doubled back eastward going to Sapporo TV Tower. There were numerous photo spots along the way and we didn't notice that it was already lunchtime. So, about halfway through Odori Park, we walked south to Tanukikoji Shopping Street to look for a place to dine. Still, there were so many restaurants to choose from, not to mention numerous shopping store distractions along the shopping street. 

Settled for Yoshinoya outside Tanukikoji

We eventually settled for Yoshinoya. It seems like it's famous for Filipinos as we met several Filipinos dining there during our stay. 

Former Hokkaido Government Office

From there, we went to see the Former Hokkaido Government Office which is also referred to as the Red Brick Office or Akarenga. Like the Sapporo Archives Museum, it was also closed during the visit. 

Sapporo TV Tower

The Lego display inside Odori Station

We didn't stay long though as it was already getting dark so we went back to Odori Park and resumed our walk to Sapporo TV Tower. Although we didn't go into the tower, we settled on watching its illuminated beauty and of course, taking tons of pictures of it. 

The tunnel under the Sapporoshindo Avenue and Hokkaido Expressway

Sapporo Latter-Day Saints Temple

Heading back to Oyachi Station

Our day didn't end there though, we walked to the nearby Odori Station and then rode the Tozai Line once again this time going to Oyachi Station. Upon boarding the subway, we walked several blocks to see the Sapporo Latter-Day Saints Temple which was beautifully illuminated. Since Batch and Gelene both belong to this religious group, they toured us around the sacred grounds of the temple while explaining to us the history of their faith. 

Super 2nd Street Oyachi Shop

Window shopping at Super 2nd Street Oyachi Shop

Before going back to Batch's house we did some shopping at the 2nd Street Oyachi Shop beside Oyachi Station. Although I didn't buy anything, my friends got to shop for lots of things during our short stay. From there, we rode the subway and headed back to Sapporo Station where we rode the train to Takuhoku Station. Before going back home, we did a quick grocery shopping for our New Year's Day celebration. 

To end the day with a bang, we all stayed up late and celebrated our New Year by doing the traditional New Year's toast. We didn't have much of a feast compared to how we celebrate New Year in the Philippines but being together during these special times really did make our celebration a little more special.

Happy New Year everyone!

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  1. I enjoyed reading your article. It's amazing how you manage to balance life and work.

    1. Thank you! Please do follow The Backpack Adventures for more of my trips.


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