Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sara-Hakodate, Hokkaido(More catching up)

On October 27th, I went to Hakodate with a few of my teachers as a teachers only field trip. Hakodate is a port city in the south of Hokkaido. It is the port that Commander Perry arrived at and he wrote about it as being one of the safest ports for ships to enter. When we arrived it was a cloudy day and it reminded me of Boston. You can see a lot of cargo ships and fishing boats. Just down the street is an open fish market where you can get fresh crabs and other sea food. I bought some as a gift for my mom and some friends back in Kobe.
Hokkaido is famous for it’s seafood (like Boston) particularly their crabs and other shellfish. On Saturday night, we had a really good dinner that consisted of raw fish and clams. We also had grilled lamb which was a Korean dish that they call Genghis Khan, and a seafood Nabe. Nabe means pot in Japanese. Nabe is a pot dish that has a lot of vegetables and fish cooked together in boiling water. Soy sauce is added for flavor, but the soup stock comes mainly from the fish that gets cooked. As for the Genghis Khan, I couldn’t get an answer for the reasoning behind the name.

Hakodate is also famous for its various western European buildings, and for being the last stand for the Shinsengumi Army, and the place where the famous poet Ishikawa Takuboku wrote many of his poems and taught at a local elementary school . There are many catholic churches in Hakodate and a French nunnery (They make really good ice cream!). Since it was my first time to Hakodate, I explored the city a lot. One attraction I went to was the old warehouse. It used to be for storing cargo and fish, but now it is a shopping mall with an army of Santa Clauses. The other fun place that I went to was the rope way. It takes you up to a high mountain and you can see Hakodate at night. It was very beautiful and the picture that I have doesn't do it justice.
All in all, I had a lot of fun and it's a great place to go if you're already up north. The trip only cost me 30,000 yen (about $300) which was the round train trip and one night at the hotel. I heard that it was through a special deal through JR travel agents.

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