The #1 thing I always take for granted and forget since I've been abroad, is my parents. I'm not around them 24/7 anymore to see that they work hard everyday for the sole purpose of keeping everyone happy. By going on a week-long trip to Hokkaido with them this past week was one of the best memories I made during my abroad time here.
SO! First stop was Hakodate, Hokkaido. LOVE at first sight, Wow. Yeah it was snowing, Yeah it was single digits Celsius temperature, but when the city itself is surrounded by the bay along with gorgeous buildings and scenery, it's all perfect. We stayed 2 nights there, and unfortunately I did NOT like Hakodate ramen (Shio ramen), but their Bread was unbelievably tasty. And the tourist websites were for sure damn correct about the Hakodate night view as one of the top 3 most beautiful night view cities in the WORLD. On another unfortunate note, because this was the beginning of the trip, my only child side came out and there were lots of usual fighting with me against 2 adults -___-
Next, we trucked on a 5 hour train ride to Obihiro. Honestly there's absolutely nothing there, but my dad's college friend lives there with his family, so we went to visit. They were great hosts with a HUGEEE house..especially in Japan, mos def around the same sizes as the average ones in San Marino, yowza. Then they took us to Lake Akan for a night at this ballin' hotel with an endless number of hot springs omgeezerz. There were some on the top floor where it was outdoors, with the frickin snowy mountain just a short distance away as your view, bah it was unreal. Of course the lake was still frozen (at the end of March -__-), but I got to go snow-mobiling, yeh. We also were able to see Japanese cranes roaming around in the nature marshlands, families of deers running through the snow, and packs of swans floating along the lakes. Oooooh and the legitimate hot springs. It was crazy to see mountains with snow coated on top, yet random smoke coming out midway, with the natural scent of boiled eggs (fart) and yellow powdered rocks. View > Temperature, hands down.
And This is where my mom made her grand mistake of the trip. She planned for us to do a day tour of Sapporo, but previously decided that we would end up staying at Asahikawa instead for our last 2 nights. Before I start, I have already decided that I am going to temporarily live in Sapporo after I graduate. That is HOW MUCH I fell in love with this sweet city. Describing it will just sound like any other great snowy busy city with great food and environment, so I will just leave it as is. After the taxi day tour, we headed for about an hour and a half to Asahikawa. This city is well-known for their zoo filled with penguins, polar bears, and seals. The day we went was the last day the zoo allowed the daily winter attraction of releasing the penguins free and letting them walk as they want in certain zoo grounds. Other than that, the zoo will always be a depressing place for me. After seeing the other animals running free in the mountains of Hokkaido, mannnn the zoo was a prison.
8 days came and went, and I already miss them. Next time I see them is when I come back home to L.A. after my studying abroad term has ended. Until then, let's just hope that Tokyo will treat me and my friends a lot better. Seriously.