Archive for May, 2011

Lilac Miku

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Lilac flowers in Sapporo started to bloom.  They are beautiful and smell good!

Lilac is the city tree of Sapporo.


So, this is “Lilac Miku”. 

Maybe it can pass by the name of  “Sakura (cherry blossom) Miku”?

Categories: miku, seasonal events Tags:

I want to ride my bicycle, as Freddy sings

May 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Again we went to the “cycle station” in Kitahirohima, rented bikes, and hit the  road.

Today the weather’s fine and the maximum temperature is 20 degrees Celsius  (68F) — 

surely we can’t ask for more. 

Today’s destination is the end of this bike road: the convention center in Sapporo,

17km from the bike station. 

The cycling road between Kitahiroshima and Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo, has road signs,

mileposts, and maps, so one cannot be lost easily.

Some of the maps are in English, too. 

There are some rest stops, where you can park your bike and stroll around the forest. 

There are lavatories, too.  This one has a solar panel on the roof!

This is a cherry tree tunnel!  There are many cherry trees along the road,

so it’s so nice to take this road at this time of year. 

The road goes through the site of Asahi Beer Brewery. 

Visitors join the tour of the factory can have two jugs of freshly brewed beer for free! 

Should we join now? 

Now we have arrived at the end of the cycling road! 

This is “iias”, the shopping center near the Sapporo Convention Center. 

After taking lunch here, we go back to the bike station in Kitahiroshima. 

Okay, it’s just another 17 km!  A piece of cake!  (so I hoped)

Bicycle! Bicycle!

May 26, 2011 2 comments

Last weekend we enjoyed cycling –for about one hour!  Ouch! 

The greater Sapporo area has several good cycling roads, and this “Elfin road” is one of them.

It was like “forest bathing”, for the road runs through the woods.  So refreshing!

This 21 km of cycling road connects Kitahiroshima and Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo. 

The road has a milepost (or should we say meterpost?) like this  so that you can see

how many kilometers you pedaled. 

Bicycles can be rented at this “bike station” near Kitahiroshima.

It’s only 300 yen per day, from 9 a.m. t0 5 p.m.

We rented those bicycles in the photo. 

I’m hoping to come here again with my own bicycle, but this station  is  in 30 or 40 km

from my house and I suspect it takes me forever.

Categories: sport / cycling Tags:

Cherry Blossoms at “Red Brick”!

May 25, 2011 2 comments

Now “yaezakura” cherry blossoms are full bloom in Sapporo!

There are more than 100 cherry tree varieties in Japan, and most cherry trees have

blossoms with five petals, but yaezakura blossoms have more than five petals.

And yaezakura trees are the last ones to open their blossoms.

In Sapporo, “chishimazakura” bloom first, then “ezo-yamazakura” and “somei yoshino”,

and lastly, “yaezakura” cherry blossoms.

This is the path to the front garden of the former Hokkaido Gevernment Office Building,

aka “Red Brick”.

If you go straight this way under the cherry trees, you can see why the building is called

Red Brick.

Voila!  This is the Red Brick, the former Hokkaido Government Office Building.

Now its front garden has a lot of beautiful spring flowers.

Can you see those red and yellow tulip flowers?

It is also a good place for cherry blossom viewing.

(There’s a Hokkaido flag on the top of the dome of this building,

and I wanted to take the picture of it, but alas! this day (last weekend) had no wind)

Flag-bearer Miku

May 19, 2011 2 comments


Another Snow Miku with another flag. 

This is the flag of Hokkaido.  The seven-point red star represents hope and development.

Blue stands for sea and sky of Hokkaido, red for people’s energy, and white for

light and snow.

Another option.  Which Miku would you like?

Categories: miku Tags: ,


May 17, 2011 Leave a comment


Hokkaido has a professional baseball team : Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. 

The Fighter’s home games are played at Sapporo Dome. 

This is the team’s mascot, Brisky-the-Bear. 


At the home game, every time the slugger Makoto Kaneko steps to the line,

many people in the stands raise a certain kind of flag  — a flag that has a word “Makoto”. 

The flag surely has the slugger’s name, but it originally has nothing to do with him

and it belonged to Shinsengumi,  a group of Samurai warriors at the end of samurai era.

But the fans chose it as an unofficial supporter flag, and now it seems everyone has it! 


It’s quite amazing, because the particular flag is only sold at the Hakodate Tower

in Goryokaku (for the price of 1,000 yen, if you are thinking of getting it).

Did they actually go all the way to Hakodate to get the flag?


So, it’s an unofficial Ham-Fighters supporter Snow Miku with the Makoto flag!


Cherry blossoms in Shizunai

May 15, 2011 2 comments

Shizunai Nijukken Road is one of the popular spots for cherry blossom viewing. 

It has 3,000 cherry trees lined seven (seven!) kilometers along the road. 

We visited the site on Monday (May 9th, 2011).  As you can see from the picture,

the cherry blossoms were in bloom, but it was a bit too early. 

The official “in full bloom” declaration was issued on Wednesday, so  now the road

must be even more beautiful.  It’s a pity that the best timing for cherry blossoms

viewing only lasts for one week or so. 

You should be there on this weekend.  Right now!

Another fun to visit this region at this time of year is seeing foals that were born this spring. 

Can you see a young horse wearing a cute little horse coat in the picture above? 

This is the view from “Thoroughbred Ginza Park”. 

You can see Hidaka mountain range in the distance, still covered with snow. 

This area is called “Thoroughbred Ginza”, because there are a lot of thoroughbred

racehorse ranches.