Posted by a Foster School student on exchange at Akita International University.
Another holiday weekend meant another adventure for my friends and me. With our hearts set on the supposed snow and the promise of fresh powder for snowboarding we headed off to Hokkaido for 4 days and 3 nights. Though we ended up coming when there was no snowfall, we still made lemons out of lemonade and made the most of our trip. Going to Sapporo, we did what most AIU students have done; sightseeing at the major tourist attractions. Some of the places we ended up going to was:
Sapporo Beer Factory: Obviously the namesake of Sapporo beer came from the city it originated from back in 1876. With a unique chance to see the history of the beer and to do a beer tasting we jumped at the opportunity and it definitely did not disappoint. A great place for omiyage (souvenirs), a restaurant that makes Genghis Khan-styled lamb, and a variety of beer to try, I was glad to experience a part of the Sapporo culture.
Shiroi Koibito Chocolate: Coming here was vaguely reminiscent of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when I was watching the factory workers make the cookies they let visitors taste. The best part was trying out the other sweets they make and going in a group is extremely beneficial because you get to try a little bit of everything.
Susukino: We actually stayed at a inn in this area, and it was definitely a contrast to AIU life and even what Susukino looks like during the day. Restaurants, bars, and billboards lit up the night and there was a surprising amount of people on the streets past 10pm. If you want to experience the nightlife in a place other than Tokyo then this is what Susukino is known for.
All in all Sapporo was amazing and it didn’t feel as rushed as my Tokyo trip, so it was the relaxing type of trip I needed so I could get to know my international friends a little bit more and practice my Japanese. With less than a month left, I’m definitely feeling the pang of having to leave all of the friends I’ve made and go back to UW and finish up what’s left of my degree, but I certainly wouldn’t have given this up for a second. With that said, do what I did and try something different and study abroad at Akita International University and experience what I’ve experienced in Japan. Try the sushi, go to an onsen, and interact with the people.