Frank took a business trip to Hokkaido, Japan last week, and agreed to let me share his ramen-powered Sapporo adventure.
Here I am in Hokkaido, safe and sound. The flights from the US were uneventful, the usual trans-pacific 12 hour drag, and after a decent layover, I made the connection to the domestic ANA flight within Japan to Sapporo’s International Airport (actually Shin Chitose International Airport, about 20 miles south of Sapporo) with no trouble.
Actually, I take that back; there was a bit of trouble – I forgot to take my leftover Yen from the currency drawer at home, so I got to Sapporo at 9 pm with only US$ in hand, and by then the foreign exchange office was closed. I thought I might be stuck, but I asked at the information counter, and they directed me to a hidden row of ATMs, which took some time to find. Fortunately, they worked, and I could withdraw Japanese cash and be on my way. But not without noticing that the Sapporo International airport is HUGE – giant shopping malls (all closed at this time of night), and 4 floors of long curved corridors that go on forever. By the time I found the ATM, I’d walked nearly a half mile. Not quite what I wanted after traveling for nearly 20 hours.
The JR train station was in the airport basement, and once I got my ticket a train was ready to depart in a few minutes. The train was comfortable (all seats, not a sand-up commuter train), and, and in half an hour I was in town at the Shin Sapporo station.