After our wonderful lunch it was off to Sapporo, the second destination of my trip. It was a bit of a mystery how we got there since there was a mix up on our bus ride. Our pick up was at an adjacent hotel and when a driver came in around the time we were expecting pick-up (there were several buses that came and went), the driver said he wasn’t there for us. This was troubling given the schedule. The 4pm shuttle, our shuttle, was the last one for the day. We talked to the clerk who called the bus line and within a minute of departure, we were on the bus that was supposedly not our bus. Go figure. And even more surprising, we were the first to be let off. Wonder if they made an exception for us.
Anyways, we checked into the Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu. A good hotel, but no One Niseko Resort Towers. Still, it was big enough for two beds and a sitting area in front of the TV. I won’t complain about that since most hotels in Japan were much smaller. Who cares anyways, we weren’t staying in.
It was off to this so-called Ramen Alley. A mythical sounding place where bowls of delightful noodles sing songs of beauty to lure you into its trap. Bam! An eternity of slurping one endless ramen noodle until the end of time. Muhahaha. Wait. This may be heaven to some of us. And actually, this place sorta was, especially for the ramen affectionado. There are two alleys and we only found the newer one. It had about ten ramen shops all peddling their own version of this meal. We didn’t do any research before hand so we went with the one with the best pictures and a place that wasn’t empty. We ended up at Toraya Shokudo toward the middle of the alley. It’s small like the other shops, seating about six people at a time. And when we ordered, the chef did something I wasn’t used to, he fired up the wok. I must not know how ramen was made, but I always thought everything was boiled. Silly me. What I’ll learn later was that this brings out the individual tastes. Something that will turn me into a junky. More about that later.
Somewhere in Ramen Alley
Verdict: Most likely will skip next time around.
After our meal, we went for some drinks at Rad Brothers. An expat bar which didn’t resemble expat bars in other major cities. There were far fewer foreigners than we expected. In fact, our presence doubled the number of foreigners there. Yay? Well, we ended up meeting some really cool locals who gave us the 411 on places to go and eat. This is how I gauge “getting to know a city” and that’s through it’s people. Hurrah!