I reckon I could’ve spent the entire day at Odori Park for the Sapporo Snow Festival – just eating, and watching random performances on the snow stages, and drinking hot sake and hot mojitos (yes, hot mojitos are a thing, and they are delicious; plus, with the lime and mint together in a hot beverage, it almost feels like it’s actually good for you) – but, of course, there was more to see, and time was limited!
Besides, walking up and down Odori Park is pretty exhausting, considering how big it is, and also the added challenge of walking on snow and ice. In the late afternoon / early evening, KF and I went back to Mister Donut to refuel and regroup before going to see the ice sculptures at the Susukino site of the festival.
I know I’ve mentioned Mister Donut in a previous post, but I just wanted to add that when I think of our time in Sapporo, and I think of the times we went to Mister Donut there, I feel like I have a kind of attachment to the place. Like, if KF and I lived in Sapporo, that’d be the place we’d meet up for a coffee and a chat on a Saturday afternoon or something. It’s got that sort of feel to it – the memory of it does, anyway.
I’d already had Hokkaido Milk gelato earlier that afternoon, but I got Sakura mochi ice-cream at Mister Donut too. Nobody in Japan seems to stop eating ice-cream just because it’s zero degrees (Celsius) and snowing. I kept getting told that Hokkaido is famous for having amazing dairy, so I was basically trying to have as much dairy products (mostly in the form of ice-cream and cream) during our visit. Mochi everything is also pretty big all over Japan.
Anyway, once the sun had set, and we’d gathered sufficient warmth, we strolled down to the ice sculptures. You know that saying about pictures, a thousand words, etc, etc? Yeah, that, and also I’ve just had a really packed week (I originally wanted to post this on Wednesday or Thursday last week), so here are some photos in lieu of extensive rambling. (I’m sure you’ll excuse the absence of my usual wordiness, understanding that these sculptures don’t really require more introduction/descriptions)
Once we’d made our way up and down the street (they close off a pretty decent stretch of road for this), and I’d taken hundreds of photos (not literally, of course), we decided it was time for dinner. KF being not overly fussy about what we ate, and me being the one who could actually read all the Japanese signs, I got to choose where to go. If I remember correctly, we were also still quite full from all the food at Odori Park, so didn’t want anything too filling.
Serendipitously, I happened to notice a sign for an izakaya down a little side street, and quickly decided that that’s where we’d be going. An izakaya is basically a bar that serves light meals or share food (and cheap drinks). Perfect.
I pretty much liked all the food in Japan, but my favourite places to eat were izakaya. The atmosphere was always pleasant and unassuming, the food good but unpretentious, and the service friendly as ever.
Sadly, I don’t remember the name or exact location of the one we went to that night in Sapporo, but I know roughly where it is, I’m sure if I came across it again, I’d recognise it easily. Maybe, in this hypothetical world where I live in Sapporo and frequent Mister Donut, it’d be a regular haunt too.