Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Otaru City Of Canals - Hokkaido

I would vote Otaru as the most interesting place to visit in Hokkaido. It is a small harbour city which you could make a day trip from Sapporo by train. We only covered Sapporo, Otaru, Muroran & Chitose towns during our trip.




We walked out of our Sapporo hotel to visit a small Buddhist Shrine
which is located on the next block. Here is the nice entrance
to the shrine.




This is the Amitabha Buddha's Shrine which was closed on that day.





Our hotel is just next block to this Hosui Susukino Train
Station in Sapporo. It is very easy to reach everywhere once
you are inside the train station. We connected our way to the main
Sapporo Station and hopped to the line that took us to Otaru.


OTARU CANAL CITY - HOKKAIDO




It takes slightly over 1 hour by a normal train which passed 
through many picturesque snow scenery and mountains along 
the way. Here at the Otaru Station, there is a Tourist Information
Booth where there was a friendly lady who spoke Japanese,
English, Mandarin and Cantonese!! She advised us to take the
public bus to the end of the bus route and get off.



 My postcard pose at the lovely old buildings with European
architectures during Hokkaido's colonization during the 1800s.




They have many lovely old warehouses and herring mansions that line
along the famous Otaru Canal.





 We had to stop by the world famous Hokkaido Ice Cream parlour.
They have the purest lavender and melon flavours. Too many to choose.



  
Here is my yummy 6 flavoured ice cream! Sluurrpss!!




There are many fresh seafood restaurants along
the many streets in Otaru.



It was my first time seeing Snow Crab alive!


  
The prices scared me!




We took a ropeway (cable car) up to Mount Tengu.



Mount Tengu is a very popular ski resort in Hokkaido.



This is the panoramic view of Otaru Town with its harbours
and the Shakotan Peninsula across the seas.





***





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

68th Sapporo Snow Festival 2017

We just got home after a week long holiday in Hokkaido, Japan. It was a wonderful experience for my wife to see real snow falling from the skies for the first time. She screamed so excitedly like a happy child again. In the past, she had seen plenty of snow in China and even South Korea during our ski trip but the snow didn't fall from the skies then. 


NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT - HOKKAIDO, JAPAN


  
Our overnight flight took over 8 hours from Kuala Lumpur
to Sapporo at Hokkaido, Japan. We had difficulty to sleep well
even with the front row's spacious "hot seats".




 This is the New Chitose Airport which is very huge and
made headlines recently when the China tourists had
a nasty brawl inside with the airport officers over the
unexpected delays due to snow storm.




 They have many interesting facilities inside the airport
such as retail shops, seafood markets, museums,
children's play lands and even a spa with a hot spring
onsen for the public to relax.



 They have ample sitting areas to have coffee or browse
your smartphones with free WIFI which was very powerful.



  
The famous ROYCE chocolate factory in Hokkaido
took up large areas to house their chocolate museum,
cafe and retail shops!

  
There are so many types of chocolates here!




 We saw many cute and lovely cakes, desserts and ice cream
sold in many shops. They are so creative and innovative!



This is one of the many seafood mini markets indifr the airport
that sold all kinds of seafood catch from Hokkaido's famous seas.




 They sold many frozen crabs, fishes, squids and everything
from the ocean..... Yes, inside the airport!



68th. SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL 2017




 We took a train from the airport and arrived at this Sapporo's
JR Station which was full of people and excitement inside.




 It is always packed with locals and the thousands of tourists 
who arrive each day to discover Hokkaido.



  
 My wifey outside the Sapporo's JR Station.
It was -3 degrees C.



  
Yours truly posing outside the Sapporo's JR Station.




The snow festival was held in 3 different park areas in Sapporo
but we only visited the main one at Odori park.
They had many stalls selling barbequed seafood, sake
and souvenirs.
 


There were many snow sculptures on display and we came
here because Sapporo's Snow Festival has always been rated
the BEST. It is different from Ice Carvings.



Yours truly with 2 cute Japanese cartoons.




 They even built Donald Trump.




 Everything was so white and would hurt our eyes!
So we wore shades.



You could guess who is this singer?




 The snow man and I.




We made our way walking through their mile long shopping
area underground and spotted this talking robot who was
so talkative, friendly and welcomed everyone in
any language you wished to speak.


  
We stayed for 2 nights at the popular red lights area in Susukino
district and my wife's eyes went wide seeing the hot
GROs wearing skimpy G-strings ogling at their
customers at the full window views of the drinking clubs!


  
We enjoyed so much eating the Japanese barbeque
food which was delicious and hot to keep warm
together with a bottle of sake wine.



  
We toasted and cheered "Kampai"

Happy Valentine's Day 
to all the readers!


***





Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Next Destination - Hokkaido

We will be flying off to Sapporo tonight and will be away for a week.
The plane will take off at midnight and arrive at Hokkaido, Japan
the next morning. It has been my long planned trip to see their
Sapporo Snow Festival which had reviews as the world's best!




I will find time to update my blog and share photos
from Japan!




***


Friday, February 3, 2017

Joy Of Sharing

We had a very quiet Chinese New Year this year as a mark of respect for both my parents who passed away recently. They both departed from this world within 17 months apart to be together again in the Land Of Eternity. 

I stayed at home in KL throughout the one week's office closure for the celebrations. We went to watch movies, visited some malls and went to feed our homeless friends again. My kind neighbour Joe Tan gave me a huge turkey which I kept in the freezer for some weeks. Finally, I got my sister to help me to cook a huge pot of curry with lots of potatoes and gravy to feed the homeless friends.




My wife helped to cook the warm rice to pack into neat boxes
to be served with hot turkey curry and fresh cut fruits. 
We also gave everyone a huge bottle of mineral water together
with biscuit rolls donated by the kind Blogger Wenn.





We always had to drive to the city at close to midnight hours.
The homeless friends would not appear in the streets before 11:00pm
and I have no idea for this reasons. I woke up this fatty who was snoring
below the flyover outside the Pudu's wet market. He had many big cockroaches
and rats running over his sleeping body! I shook him up repeatedly
to eat and was shocked to see his face! Some gangsters must have
beaten him up and punched both his eyes very badly. He was
in pain with both swollen eyes blue black! What a sad life!




I was very sad to see the 80 something years old uncle
who reminded me so much of my late father. He looked sick
and hungry as he had not eaten for 2 days. 
Many years ago, I was afraid to get too close with the
homeless friends but now I realised they are more afraid
of strangers like me. Today I put on a brave smile and 
gave them friendly pats & shoulder hugs with love.





We cruised around the areas of Pudu and ended up the night
at the KL Bus Stand along Jalan Tun Perak. There were plenty 
of homeless people which included some foreigners.
We were sad that we did not have enough food boxes to
feed all of them. I apologised to many disappointed faces
and silently prayed that they would be blessed in future.
Next day my facebook posting has attracted the attention of a relative 
whose church runs an active Soup Kitchen. 
They were surprised to see the high numbers of hungry 
people at midnight in the city. I hope they will spring 
into action soon as they have better means and manpower 
to cope with the big number.

Please spare your thoughts and time always
to help all the sentient beings around us 
in kinds and prayers.




****






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Muslim Food Street in Xi'an

Ramada Hotel - Bell Tower Xi'an


I would highly recommend that visitors could stay in the trendy Ramada Hotel Bell Tower in Xi'an when you are on holiday. The price is very reasonable and it is located in the busiest main street like Singapore's Orchard Road or Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road where it easily connects to many interesting places.




  
Drum Tower Xi'an is just beside the Muslim Food Street

You can easily walk to the ancient landmarks like The City Wall, Muslim Food Street, Bell Tower, Drum Tower and Subway train stations underground. We also enjoyed our daily hot coffee at Starbucks and snack breads from Tous Les Jours.


Muslim Food Street 



  
This famous & interesting Muslim Food Street is quite long and has
several main entrances that connects different streets. All the street
hawkers here are the Chinese Muslims who hail from
the ethnic "Hui Clan". Their facial features are very nice with
some Russian eyes & cheek bones.




 We saw the Monkey God (Sun Wukong) walking
all over and teased the ladies to pose photos with him.
He would charge them a fee, of course..




 This stall sells the cakes skewers that dip into
some sweet caramel.


  
Their fresh pomegranate juice was so refreshing and cheap!
It boosted up my energy and immunity.





We never missed their famous signature yoghurt in nice
white bottles. We brought home the bottles as souvenir
and converted them into pen holders.


 This is a tray full of very hot spicy bean curds. They were so
delicious and burnt my mouth.




 It was not a pleasant sight to see the carcasses of the lambs
hanging in several corners.



There are many stalls selling the famous Lamb Kebabs in skewers.
They eat a lot of lamb there.




This macho guy was showing off his stunts to pull the
sweet thick peanut caramel many times before cutting them.




Here they are cutting the soft peanut caramel before they harden into
sweets to be sold in plastic boxes.



  
This stall was selling their Spicy Noodles.




This stall was selling the preserved fruits which were harvested before winter.




 The above baskets trays are walnuts.




The dark coloured drinks are boiled dates with pears and honey.
They are really tasty and good for health.




 Many guys would shout loudly to attract the tourists as it was very competitive.
This guy was selling what is similar to our "Lok Lok" in bamboo sticks.




 Their bread looked very attractive and it is quite hard!
They could keep them for days and dip them into soups 
to eat. I think this is the common palate to the Hui and Uyghur
populations in the region of Xi'an and Kashgar in Xinjiang.





Rolled cigarettes are very cheap and popular which
comes in attractive tin containers.


***