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Hi Blog. It has been a busy past few months. August and September were spent proofing and indexing my new book Embedded Racism. But while doing that, I was working for a group called Netmobius who asked me to do some touristy writeups on Sapporo and environs. Since I’ve lived in the area for more than two decades and already written three chapters for Fodor’s Japan Travel Guides, I was happy to do it. Here are the eleven articles and titles I wrote for them:
Sapporo New Chitose Airport — how it’s run like airports everywhere should be.
Transportation from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Hokkaido Shinkansen – Traveling from Tokyo to Sapporo (or at least Hakodate by March 2016)
History of Sapporo Station — From Meiji to the Present
Sapporo Station Layout and Facilities
Shopping Near Sapporo Station (Paseo, Stellar Place, APIA, ESTA, Daimaru, Tokyu)
Sightseeing near Sapporo Station (Odori Park, Sapporo Chikagai, Akarenga, Hokkaido University, Tanukikoji, Sapporo Clock Tower)
Prominent Hotels Near Sapporo Station (JR Tower Nikko, Century Royal Hotel, Keio Plaza Hotel, Sapporo Grand Hotel, Hotel Monterey)
Getting Around Sapporo: Sapporo Subway Namboku, Tozai and Toho Lines
Getting Out and About: JR Hakodate Main Line for Otaru, Niseko, Hakodate, and Asahikawa
Getting Off the Beaten Track: JR Hokkaido Train Lines Accessible from Sapporo (Asahikawa/Furano, Obihiro/Kushiro)
About my sponsor: Netmobius is an online media company developing quality websites since 1995. The company is based in Singapore and specializes in travel and transportation guides. I look forward to writing for them again.
You see, there is plenty to like about Japan, and I can switch off the critical tone when I want to. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
12 comments on “Eleven touristy articles of mine about touring Sapporo, Hokkaido, and environs, published by Netmobius”
Very nice articles, encouraging people to visit Hokkaido.
However, a few questions/comments to the article on transportation from the airport:
1. JR SHIN-Sapporo Station (the future shinkansen bullet train stop)
Why do you think that Shin-Sapporo will be the future shinkansen stop? Because it has shin in its name? Then Shin-Shizuoka is the shinkansen stop in Shizuoka city? I think that Sapporo (main station) will be the future shinkansen stop.
2. Stay on the train until everyone prepares to get off, since Sapporo Station will likely be the terminus.
This is misleading, as only one out of four trains per hour terminates at Sapporo. Two continue to Otaru, and one to Asahikawa. Better take care where to get off.
3. Departing from JR Sapporo Station to JR New Chitose Station (Shin Chitose Kūkō Eki) is recommended, because the Limited Express trains take only 30 minutes
A bit nit-picking here, but the trains to the airport are express (or rapid) trains (kaisoku), not limited express trains (tokkyu). There are no limited expresses to the airport.
4. However, some trains before and during morning rush hour (6AM-8:30AM) will be local trains that alight at every stop,
These trains go to Chitose, not New Chitose Airport, so why do you mention these trains here?
Otherwise, very good articles and useful information.
— Thank you very much for the feedback!
Are the people in Hokkaido quite friendly?
— As anywhere, it depends.
The people in Hokkaido were very friendly when I visited about 15 years ago, In fact I couldnt find the way back to my hotel (remember this was before cell phones) and I found a koban and the friendly keystone gave me a ride in his police car back to my hotel. Now thats friendly!
— Yes, very friendly. But that’s because it was Hokkaido? Let’s just keep friendly people on the “it depends” scale, because Hokkaido cops nowadays (as are cops in general in Japan due to their training) are a very mixed bag when it comes to dealing with NJ.
A student recently told me an interesting story. She was on a return flight from Canada to Japan. It was a Japanese airline, and the flight crew were all Japanese, as were the passengers (mainly sightseers). Upon landing, the captain made an announcement, something along the lines of “I’m sure you all enjoyed sightseeing in Canada, but welcome back to the most beautiful country in the world.” The passengers all burst into enthusiastic applause. Some of them even cheered.
Honestly, I wonder why they ever bother leaving Japan.
Congratulations Dr. Debito. I think this is a good way to share your knowledge of Hokkaido and, as an aside, is a nice riposte to your ‘anti-fan club’ who accuse you of only having negative things to say about Japan.
The crew were probably trained to tell the passengers this to make them feel good and patriotic about being back home. It’s all meaningless fluff.
Twenty years ago I was a hands on owner of a tour guiding business in Melbourne Australia, catering exclusively for the Japanese inbound tourist market. Japan was then the darling of inbound tourism to Australia.
My tourism suppliers were the then Old Boys Club of Japan Travel Bureau, Kinki Nippon Tourist , Nihon Ryoko ,HIS , and other lesser known operators such as
Travel Land and Jet Tour which went belly up.Even Qantas and Thomas Cook finally pulled out of the Japanese tourist market here.
But during that time I still cannot count the number of times ,that while driving Japanese tourists around Melbourne,one of the most multicultural cities in the country, on the “allocated compulsory prepurchased city sights tour ” ,I heard the comment…. (suck breath through teeth) “gaijin ga ooi ,bikkuri shita.”
Then on another tour when a middle aged couple asked me why there were so many “old cars” in Melbourne (that is they saw many Toyotas, Nissans,Hondas that
were more than a few years old) .I replied that there is no “shaken” system as in Japan…..the response was “Nihon wa zeitaku neeeee…”
Those comments represented to me the insularity, sense of superiority and latent xenophobia which permeated Japan then and is still prevalent.
@ Becky, #4
I don’t know what it is about that story that really annoys me most; the fact the the pilot honestly believed his comment and felt it was appropriate to share it (because, hey, those stupid NJ can’t really understand our ‘special’ language), or the fact that all the Japanese passengers so readily buy into such shallow facile nationalism?
@ Karjh12, #7
Interesting that you mention Japanese attitudes to old cars. I used to do consultancy with some J-companies (Seiko, Panasonic, Toyota). They were all obsessing over how to crack the luxury end of their markets, that they saw as dominated by (in their opinion) old-fashioned European manufacturers. They always seemed to think that adding more gimmicks (for want of a better word) was the way ahead.
I remember the last time I spoke to Toyota, they had just adopted the distorted spindle front grille for their cars, and were very excited about it because it was very ‘now’ and ‘cool’, and luxury European cars had distinctive grilles, so they considered that this was the way to finally crack it. I asked one Toyota executive how many models of car Toyota were selling at that time, and he said ‘more than 100’, and I told him that Rolls Royce only made ten models of car in the last 100 years; that’s why their brand image is so strong, almost no improvements, and those they make aren’t publicized.
They were extremely offended.
“They were extremely offended” (Jim v Toyota). Theyre ALWAYS getting offended in Japan. Arguably the hyper sensitivity that Abe is but the elected representative of is one reason why 1. real democracy has failed and 2.improvements are rarely made. and 3. you, a gaijin consultant, were presumably let go after that last time.
They just cannot handle the truth and everything has to be happy smiley. I used to work on radio and was not allowed to say I didnt like anything for fear of offending a listener who did. Result? No opinions are ever given on J Radio, its just “facts”, figures, and fluff.
@ Becky #4
I wanted to make this comment last week, but didn’t have time to search for your comment until now.
Last week I flew back to Japan from Christmas and new year in my homeland with my Japanese wife and two Japanese kids. The four of us are sitting there in JAL Business Class when the Cabin Attendant comes round asking people if they need disembarkation forms. Since I was returning to Japan, I didn’t need one as I had embarkation/disembarkation papers stapled into my passport when I left Japan.
So, I just waved off the CA and said I didn’t need it in Japanese. But instead of moving on, she asked me in English ‘Is this your first trip to Japan?’.
Unable to control myself I said in Japanese ‘What kind of stupid question is that? I’m sitting here with my Japanese family and speaking to you in Japanese. Do you really think this is my first trip, or does JAL make you ask every customer with a non-Japanese face? is this Japanese hospitality? I thought the customer was god? Are you intending to embarrass me in front of my family and other passengers because I didn’t accept a disembarkation form from you?’
I didn’t see that CA for the rest of the flight, but I’ll never fly JAL again.
— I flew JAL domestically for more than a decade, and often internationally. I have had issues like you say as well, and have called JAL HQ to find out why these types of assumptions. They said (more than ten years ago) that this was due to CA training, and that nothing could be done about it. They were uncharacteristically frank about their training being untweakable, IIRC. I always found the prospect of being socially othered like this to be a major downside to flying domestically, but it had happened to me on ANA too, and by the time I got my courage up to call HQ (I was much more of a cultural relativist when I started flying domestically in the mid-1990s), I was locked into frequent-flyer miles on JAL. Anyway, I empathize.
Jim, while I sympathize, better be careful being “rude” to the attendants as according to the Japanese definition of “abuse/domestic violence” it only takes a raised voice to be labelled 妻ビーター. This is just another Japanese “rebranding” of words with formerly seriously implications, that once rendered into Katakana tend to be used spuriously.
(e.g. Thinking of calling up that woman who gave you her namecard? Be careful, so you are not called a “ストーカー”)
I wouldnt be surprised if they try an “air rage” charge-so it is OK for the staff to be rude to us but not the other way around?
Ok so its currently translated as 空気激怒 but I bet it gets katakanized and then its true meaning trivialized into a catch all means of control.
@ Baurillard #11
On reflection, given Japan’s paranoia about IS attacks, I’m surprised they didn’t scream ‘Terror!’.