Sapporo cont.

Tiny capsule history: Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Tokyo harbor in 1853 and sails about surveying without permission. The feudal Tokugawa Shogunate, which has ruled in isolation for 220 years, is not long for this world: two domains in particular join forces to recenter power on the figure of the emperor and to rearrange Japan’s political, economic, and social structures, all broadly towards industry and military in response to Western imperial threat. Hokkaido, Japan’s large northernmost island, at the time was largely unsettled by the Japanese, populated instead by the native Ainu. Sapporo was established by the Meiji government as a frontier capital from which to rapidly industrialize the island. This was done with some help from the Americans, who of course had their own frontier, and would you believe these buildings: 

The last two are from the botanic garden, populated by many cawing jungle crows, big as a small child and with a similar hop.

The day I left Beijing it was 95 degrees, swampy as hell. Even Seoul was high 80s and with enough haze to dull the light. Today was 80 degrees and crystal clear. Good to be reminded. The former Sapporo brewery is now a mall:

I was nervous to exchange my rail pass voucher for the actual thing, and to make reservations, but it went smoothly, and my Japanese was useful. I washed my clothes this morning at the coin laundromat next to the hostel and ate lunch at the curry rice shop on its other side as the clothes dried. Walked back to the hostel through the tanuki shopping district (tanuki are Japanese raccoon-like creatures). I finished the Mason book, (it loses a bit of its heft towards the end but I still hope you all read it), and think next I’ll read Don Quixote. Here, a major discount-store brand:

Slot machine emporium, one of many

And a few more photos of the city. Over a loudspeaker in English in tanuki-ville a woman said, “the smiles on the faces of its residents, as they drink beer and eat food under a blue sky, are something the city of Sapporo prides itself on.” 


Headed to the mountains tomorrow. Very happy always to hear from you all. 💗

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5 thoughts on “Sapporo cont.

  1. it will surprise you not in the slightest that i’m terribly fond of your jungle crow. humble request from the lower east side for tanuki imagery, should you happen upon it (or, hope of hopes, one of the little fellows themselves); it’s lovely to consider them in a context in which they’re not vermin (looking at you, europe).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t manage to do that final bit of mother-hover in which I asked you where you were going in Japan and why. So I’ll ask now, how did you choose Sapporo, and why first? Are you starting in the North and going South from there? And, I am very glad you managed some laundry and some Japanese.

    Here’s to hopping crows.

    Like

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