Night in Sapporo, Japan
We arrived to Sapporo Station at about 9pm at night with a bunch of heavy snowboard bags and camera gear. After a long journey we were hoping to dump our bags somewhere and find a place to stay for the night. We wandered out of the station and saw huge amounts of snow everywhere and the bright lights of the city for the first time. Random groups of people started pointing at our bags and asking if we had snowboards in there. We finally managed to get across the fact that we needed a “cheap hotel” to the group and two ladies grabbed one of Stern’s bags and started leading us down the block. A couple streets later they dropped us off in front of a hotel and politely waved goodbye as we went to book the hotel room. Surprisingly we managed to get a decent room for about 12,000¥ which is about $120 dollars. As we checked out the room we immediately noticed the “shower toilet” which has a heated seat and built-in bodet with a bunch of buttons we couldn’t read. This is way more advanced than an American toilet and we stood bewildered at what all the options on the “toyre” (toilet) could possibly do.
After unloading our bags we hit the streets to find some food and we knew it was going to be an adventure. It was really cold that night in Sapporo, so we quickly decided to just pop in to a restaurant and see what happens. A glaring difference between Japan and the states is that you take your shoes off in the entryway to restaurants and homes and put on some slippers. They even have slippers strictly for bathrooms where you take off your house slippers and put on another pair at the entrance to the bathroom. It was pretty crazy to pop off our shoes and put on slippers, but as they say “When in Japan, wear your slippers….” The place was pretty cool, you sit on the ground, with a sunken floor under the table. They gave us a menu with some broken English on it and the cover advertised all you can drink in 120 minutes, which sounds like it could be quite the party. We were not feeling it so we ordered a couple Sapporo’s and asked the waiter to bring us whatever he could recommend. We had some funny chicken sausages on a stick and some katsu ramen.
We spent the rest of the night wandering around looking for potential jib spots and freezing our butts off. Then we retired to rest for another journey in the morning to reach our destination of Niseko where our friend of a friend Sam was working at a lodge and snowboarding a place called Grand Hirafu.