Sunday, August 27, 2006

time out

pls do check out coboypb's blog for more great pics of our adventure in hokkaido.

while i am away at a seminar all weekend!

have a great week ahead people.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

otaru cat

the sumire cats

coco - top cat

chobi - "i want more" cat

kuro - the playful one (human = oka san, she cooked all the delicious food!)

at cats livin'

this mother with her 2 children are so cute!

nyanda park - feeding time

Monday, August 21, 2006

men like cats too

japan is truly (in general) a cat-friendly and cat adoring nation. just look at the number of guys who actually travel to an ulu small town to pay money to pet cats and spend time with them.

our ryokan in furano

while waiting for dinner, we hung out with the residents.
chobi who just loved us petting him!

hello, i am a cat, what are you?

dinner is served!

breakfast was equally sumptious too. and it would not be complete without
a slice of juicy melon!

my favourite is kuro.

this is coco, he stays in the family room and on the lounge chair.


the lavender in hokkaido's supposed to be in full bloom in mid-late july, so by the time we got there, the colour has faded quite a bit.

marigold and other flowers are in bloom.

the ever popular farm tomita! packed with taiwanese and local tourists. we even caught an ugly singaporean picking lavender from the field (cant run away from that accent!). shame on her!

yummy lavender soft cream - very therapeutic on a hot day!
pretty flower field - fields like this one are in abundance in summery hokkaido.


i am struggling to stay awake.

damn sleepy... zzzzz....

too long never use brain liao.

for the past 2 weeks, all decisions were mundane ones, like what to eat, what to buy, where to shop, where to take photo, how to pose for photo, etc...


Sunday, August 20, 2006

wed 9 aug

we had onigiri (triangular rice balls) for breakfast everyday, and this toyoko inn served the most variety. however by the end of week 1, we were quite sick of onigiri :(

we made our way early in the morning to furano, the land of lavender.

at the furano station, we could see blooming lavender, and smell it too!

we checked into the sumire ryokan, and the owner was nice enough to let us have our room keys at 9am!

we were greeted by kuro

and chobi

now to the lavender fields!

tue 8 aug

it was an uneventful day.

we went to an almost deserted sounkyo (save for a few local and foreign tourists), took a chairlift ride and soaked in a foot hotspring. i guess it would be more crowded in winter.

the chairlift must have been the most exciting part of sounkyo, bcos it was 1st time for me and coboypb!

coboypb's back view as we headed back to base.

a nice little pavilion where we soaked our tired feet in relaxing spring water from the mountains. it was damn hot the water!

in the evening, we stayed at asahikawa where its shoyu (soy sauce) ramen was famous. it was yummy with lots of spring onion, and equally refreshing as the hakodate counterpart.

mon 7 aug

we woke up at 5.30am to catch the first shinkansen to hokkaido.

we took subway to ueno where hayate no. 1 was waiting to depart at 7.04am. the hayate no.1 end stop was hachinohe (in aomori i think), and we had to change to another train tsugaru to hakodate (in hokkaido). crossed a very long underground tunnel and had to equalize my ears constantly.

at hakodate, as it was nearing lunchtime and we only had less than 10 mins to change to next train, we wanted to buy 駅弁と (train station lunchbox). i asked the guy at the bento wagon, for 2 boxes, he was rather rude and held up his hands to show a "cross" sign, signalling it was sold out. i thought he could have just replied in japanese as i spoke to him in his language. oh well. rushed to the convenience store to get 4 onigiri and drinks.

we boarded the super hotoku and reached sapporo at 5pm. the train was jerky and ventilation wasnt so good causing me to feel nauseous! the train looked old too.

after check-in, i brought coboypb to ramen republic at esta (jr sapporo station) to eat ramen.

i chose the hakodate style 塩 (salt) ramen as it was refreshingly salty but wont leave you thirsty.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

sunday 6 aug

the sun was up at 4am, can you beat that? coboypb and i were quite kiasu, we woke up at 7am to start our day. we tried to find this maneki neko shrine which was near asakusa.

we didnt have a map, just a sketch from my cat book, i had to use my broken japanese to ask for directions. we searched for more than 30 mins, went in the wrong direction twice, but finally arrived at the shrine. it was surprisingly quiet.

imado shrine - for singles to pray that they will find their other halves!

wishes were written on wooden plagues, there were some that thanked the shrine too (after finding their other halves)

one thing i learnt, try not to ask a guy for directions. they will tell you quite briefly, thats how we got lost twice! and in this heat and hot sun!

we then headed for cat town aka 谷中. black/white in a temple courtyard.

after getting a little lost with inaccurate maps, we finally reached this cool shop on a slope in a residential area that sells cat-related stuff.

entrance is very small like for gnomes!

this is the cashier cat, a nice orange tabby

this is the logistics cat in charge of t-shirt stocks and he's sleeping on the job!

that night while we were fretting about how disappointed we were at the mere number of cats we saw, this darling was sitting outside the izakaya we had dinner at.

am finally back ^-^

2 weeks - is a long time. due to lack of cable tv, was not updated of news outside of japan. hot on japanese tv was pm koizumi and his visit to the war shrine. it's all over the news. on talk shows, in prime news.

didnt even know us airlines implemented no liquid onboard the cabin. luckily coboypb and i arrived at the airport way too early, we heard announcement of the ban and squeezed our moisturizers, hand cream, toothpaste, hair gel, etc into our check-in luggage.

meanwhile, trying to cope with the humid weather here. though tokyo and even hokkaido were hot, they werent as humid as here. i'm actually spotting a nice little tan :)

anyhow, i have concluded after this trip - i am officially sick of tokyo and hokkaido liao. perhaps due to the fact i travelled to both places twice this year.

next - kansai and perhaps okinawa

saw in cat magazines featuring cat-related places and shops there!

well, maybe will plan a trip in next year autumn (cannot go to kansai in summer, will die from the humidity)

dont know about coboypb, but i realised from previous trips that travelling with only 1 partner can be quite tiring and monotonous. cos you have to face the same person for more than 15 hours a day! dont get me wrong, not that i dont enjoy her company, but more people means can take time to rest, more ideas, varied companionship.

so i guess a group of 4 is a nice number.

coboypb suggested i should organize a cat tour to tokyo and hokkaido since i knew the area quite well. hahaha... any takers?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

we got a tan

for the past 2 days, we spent most of our time doing :

1) smelling lavender flowers in the fields
2) taking photos of the flowers
3) petting the 3 cats at sumire ryokan

at 6.30pm today, we arrived back at sapporo.

now : suddenly everything seems too close by and people are stressed. withdrawal symptom from not hanging around cats.

i wanna go back to the hills and potato fields :(

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

good news

my luggage lock mysteriously opened by itself.. hehe... no excuse to buy new 360 deg wheel new luggage liao.

check out the cat ryokan in furano where we are staying now.

3 cool cats hang out here, by the names of kuro, coco and chobi. all very big sized ah!

to : kxbc

from : coboypb and me

lavender ice cream oishikatta yo!

not sweet at all :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

update in land of cats

hi everyone, sorry for the long silence. you must be thinking i am enjoying in paradise. well, got some bad news for you.

1. weather here is extremely hot - as high as 33 deg c in the day
2. due to 1, cats do not come out to let coboypb and ksn seek and find and pet.
3. my lower back has a slight sprain, thanks to faulty seat on northwest airlines
4. took 10 hours to get from tokyo to sapporo , changed trains twice, the last train from hakodate to sapporo was jerky and nauseous.
5. which resulted in me suffering from a headache now as i am posting.

otherwise, heck, i am on vacation, i am with great company, food's awesome.

ps dont think i will come back here in summer. just too hot.

more later...

Friday, August 04, 2006


here i am, 6 hours away from my flight, and my luggage lock had to break down!

one zip was in the catch and the pulley is stuck, ie cannot be pulled.


luckily the other zip was free. i can still open the luggage.

so there.

just have to make do with it.

i am all packed.